Scaling a Force on Force (FoF) Package and OPFOR Considerations 


All firearms training should have the end state being opposition based training as the final evolution. Force on Force (FoF) training is the ultimate tool in preparing a unit for deployment or for conducting a final assessment on marksmanship and techniques that will be employed on operations in a close quarter setting. So why is it constantly going wrong?

One massive difference that separates us from the rest of the industry is the importance we stress on opposition based training. Everything from the range programs right up to the CQB Offensive Clearance Program is centered and built around opposition based training.

If your team is running any form of clearance operation/ systematic structure clearance, the end result of your training should be the run phase: Force on Force (FoF) training - the ultimate pressure cooker. The value of this training package cannot be stressed enough, yet I’ve seen it fail and constantly deliver poor results/ under-prepare units who deploy within weeks; this is doing nothing short of setting up shooters for failure.

Training should do the following;

  • Develop a skill set and standards necessary to execute the mission profile/ packet (read our review on “Developing Department/ Agency” standards here)

  • Be scalable from clean skin to full kit

  • Put external agencies on the same playbook when inter-agency co-operation/ oversight is required

  • Environment immersion and familiarization

  • Stress inoculation

  • Develop team unity/ shared consciousness and,

  • Maintain operational effectiveness

Sadly, more than half of the above is being diluted or inadequately reinforced due to FoF programs involving;

  • Static range standards and square movements employed when clearing a structure

  • Extended training days fatiguing shooters and instilling negative TTP’s due to inaccurate scalability

  • Assault element fixating on a performance via a (unarmed) role player and not providing adequate security (I barged in on an element from behind and was in an optimal position to wipe out the entire team - not a single person reacted or stopped me which highlighted a serious deficiency)

  • Poor communication and leadership within assault elements once they are split up into smaller fire teams due to incoming fire

  • Both the assault party and OPFOR are providing zero feedback and turning the training scenario into a paintball match which disassociates shooters from the very real consequences of the environments they will find themselves in


A regular mistake I see in quite a few military and law enforcement units, whose instructors were from some form of branch within their countries military, was units working a very pre 9/11 marksmanship package paired with square range movement techniques. This means hitting the apex of a corner and stopping then turning to the unknown in the room, regular stopping and starting at any phase of the clearance preventing continued momentum and often over communication in an environment which causes stalling on stairwell landings and in large multi entry/ exit rooms. Doing this will get you killed. Unfortunately luck and “close enough” are not viable courses of action. Bad guys also get lucky and shooters need to be prepared to counter that when the day comes.

When clearing a structure and engaging threats, shooters shouldn’t be relying on “making noise” and just sending rounds to the threat in the hope of hitting or, second best, intimidate and scare the threat. Sound marksmanship paired with adequate small unit tactics is the key to maintaining momentum, dominance and success.

3rd Group Members (ODA) conducting Close Quarter Battle Offensive Clearance, Ft. Bragg, NC, in the crawl phase - Dry Run

3rd Group Members (ODA) conducting Close Quarter Battle Offensive Clearance, Ft. Bragg, NC, in the crawl phase - Dry Run

Okay, to the nitty and gritty of how we solve this dilemma. If you’re experiencing the above, rip apart your play book, right down to your range programs, and start again. To evolve your static/ square range program to fit a high risk environment that could turn opposition based, a strong focus on movement and mechanics needs to be implemented shortly after basic marksmanship on pistol and carbine are well executed.

Each program and their respective modules need to be scalable and relevant to cover the full spectrum of your mission profile/ packet. The tried and tested mnemonic of crawl, walk, run is still the ideal template to develop and secure success for your team.

The program we run operates in the crawl, walk, run phase and utilizes everything from inert training aids, to dry runs both clean skin and with equipment, force on paper and then force on force.

CAD Group CQB Offensive Clearance Package

Day 01 - Range -Marksmanship Management Skills - Pistol

Day 02 - Range -Marksmanship Management Skills - Carbine

Day 03 - CQB Offensive Clearance with introduction to low light/ no light operations in the evening - Crawl phase

Day 04 - CQB Offensive Clearance with Force on Paper (FoP) - Walk Phase

Day 05 - CQB Offensive Clearance with Force on Force (FoF) - Run Phase

The final key to executing a well tailored program is understanding the concept of force on force and having adequate Opposition Force (OPFOR) personnel qualified to conduct that role. Sorry, having civi clothes/ enemy fatigues and a heart beat does not qualify you for an OPFOR role. Sounds simple, yet, poorly executed more often that not.

OPFOR teams should be of a higher skill level than the trainees/ students and scale their tactics and intensity to push and test the assault element without destroying them completely.

  • Test penetration

  • Engage the assault element and break them up into smaller fire teams to force communication and leadership under duress

  • Employ tactics the enemy uses in respect to the environments students are being deployed to and,

  • If you are shot, collapse and be dead

This last point can’t be stressed enough and is critical. Your job is NOT to turn the training exercise into a running paintball fight. As there is no injury or pain from adult training markers, shooters (OPFOR and student alike) will enter into an ongoing gunfight until one or the other runs out of ammo. This flaw in standard is usually in close proximity as well. This is a serious issue that detracts from the goal of training and disassociates shooters from the seriousness of what they are heading into.You have executed the role of your trainees/ students overseas and you should bring that real world experience back to the table so they learn from your mistakes. If you get shot, you are DEAD!

If it isn’t fatal or you want to increase tempo a little, drop and be injured then go hands on when possible to assess detainee/ subject control techniques. Being your experience to the table and set your shooters up for success. Their survivability depends on you.


If your department or agency requires consulting or an OPFOR element to test your teams, head to the Connect page to establish a comms line to increase your lethality and capability today.