Building Clearance and Speed


Speed, Surprise and Violence of Action - the most over used and poorly referenced concept in CQB history, with speed being the main element that is used and abused. Due to dilution and misconception of this powerful yet misunderstood application, speed has been poorly applied resulting in training scars and destroying overall unit lethality and capability.

Speed is imperative to dominating an objective and maintaining tempo. It’s utilized in;

  • Covering terrain

  • Crossing the threshold/ fatal funnel

  • Breaking contact and,

  • Jumping out of the shower when the Mrs turns up the water temp

It becomes unhelpful when unit cohesion, marksmanship, movement and the ability for the individual to conduct information capture are all affected.

Building clearance is all about executing the fundamentals, moving into the unknown via the information you capture and discriminating between legitimate and illegitimate targets. Going so fast you can’t adequately capture all the information to make split second decisions is counterproductive, especially when you are on point and the team rolls with the motto “number 1 is never wrong” - your team makes a play on your command and movements.

One response I always hear is “we need to clear the threshold and fatal funnel quickly - that’s why we go so quick;” my usual response is that if the room has been “aired” then the fatal funnel has drastically reduced/ is no longer in its original form and in addition to this, there is no point in moving so quick you bring your gun 5 minutes late into the fight and are either dead or getting hands on because you closed with the enemy ahead of schedule.

Further discussion on fatal funnel and room clearance coming soon!

Further discussion on fatal funnel and room clearance coming soon!

Hitters from 3rd Group hot washing movements and staging before re-tackling the objective.

Hitters from 3rd Group hot washing movements and staging before re-tackling the objective.

What if you don’t air the room? Blast through that door but dial it back once you cross the threshold so you don’t get tunnel vision, fixate due to surprise or miss any information in the room. Speed is vital but it’s important to know when to dial it back. Crossing the threshold and stressing over the fatal funnel, which is a minor portion of CQB, will force mistakes and reduce your ability to capture all the information necessary to execute your mission.

In regards to weapon manipulation, this is something that can be perfected and requires its own tempo and training pace but there is no point in running your legs quicker than what you can present your weapon. The fatal funnel is the real issue for a lot of units due to misinterpretation of the situation; once the room is aired, not only can you do the killing from the hall but it also prepares you for the likely position of any potential threats in the unknown, allowing a greater coverage and concentration of firepower to the potential threat. How is this possible? Through information capture.

One false analysis of speed is the term “rabbiting effect”. It is often the point man/ shooter in front who is to blame but rather, it is either a lapse in judgement from number two in the stack (and he needs to hold himself accountable) or it is a training scar. Dropping it all on the point man is cheap cop out. If this is an issue for your team, you need to go back to the crawl phase and re-build unit tempo and cohesion so everyone moves fluidly: insert Bruce Lee water quote. When dealing with gunfights, split second lapse in judgement or going too quick can be fatal. Speed is a great ally in delivering overwhelming force to an enemy but it can turn against us. It’s important to train to develop unit tempo and cohesion along with adequate pace/ control when clearing a structure. Be the hare when the time comes but, also don’t forget the importance of the tortoise.