Preform Effective Close Quarters Combat (CQB)

Perform Effective Close Quarters Combat (CQB)

Close quarters combat, or CQB is a type of combat scenario commonly used in military, police, and special teams operations in specific scenarios where room-to-room fighting is required. Close-quarters combat can include hand-to-hand combat but may also have weaponry, firearms, and particular technical gear. Professionals use CQB often during hostage situations and direct confrontations with enemy soldiers and is executed with specific operating procedures.

CQB requires skill, experience, and knowledge of the subject to implement the most effective tactics properly. The elements of surprise and speed are critical for an operation to go well, but there is a lot of nuance to the topic that goes well past the main principles.

Here is a video explaining Close Quarters Battle in more detail. 

What Is Close Quarters Combat (CQC)?

Close quarters combat (CQC) is a type of fighting that involves close-range physical confrontations between two combatants within a confined space. It mixes aspects of martial arts, military, and police tactics to create a complex technique that can be used even within close range. Close quarters combat is often used because it can help minimize the number of friendly casualties.

Close Quarters Combat (CQC) Tactics

For a close quarters combat encounter to go well for a team, its members must understand and follow the principles of close quarters combat. Further, they should understand how to properly execute the most effective close quarters combat tactics in the field and when they are vital.

3 Principles Of Close Quarters Combat

There are three fundamental principles to close quarters combat: surprise, speed, and controlled violent action. For an operation to be successful, all team members must understand these principles and how their role fits into the overarching combat strategy before executing any combat tactics.


Surprise is the first principle of close quarters combat and arguably the most important. Failing to implement the element of surprise will allow the enemy to make a move first, causing potential friendly casualties and costing you essential time. The element of surprise can be achieved by stealth tactics or by deceiving and misleading the enemy.

Soldiers can deceive the enemy through psychological deception – such as staging a distraction – or more direct visual deception, such as creating a visual barrier between themselves and the enemy. Soldiers might try to surprise their enemy by using suppressed weapons or flash grenades, staging a false emergency, or ambushing the enemy when least expected.


Successfully implementing the element of surprise ensures that the team can swiftly approach and enter the room unannounced. By making a speedy approach, soldiers can stay as safe as possible and take advantage of the window opened by the surprise ambush. 

Close quarters combat encounters can be hazardous and fast-paced; often, whoever moves first wins. Therefore, moving with haste is crucial to properly execute close quarters combat tactics; being the first to enter means being the first to move or shoot. However, it is worth noting that one should maintain safety and accuracy for the sake of speed. All movements should be controlled and planned.

Controlled Violent Action

The last principle of close quarters combat is controlled violent action, also known as violence of action. This idea entails neutralizing the enemy while ensuring the least amount of friendly casualties. Controlled violence utilizes physical and psychological violence to corral the enemy into unfavorable positions and create a soldier mindset of domination. The principles of close quarters combat involve minimizing the number of friendly casualties while ensuring no more casualties will occur.

Close Quarters Combat Basics

When organizing a close quarters combat operation, there are many fundamentals soldiers should consider. Soldiers must first thoroughly familiarize themselves with the three principles of close quarters combat, which underlies every aspect of close quarters combat. Then, they can understand the basics of properly implementing each of these aspects in the actual execution of close quarters combat.

Make A Stealthy Approach

In close quarters combat, it is critical to make the first move. If opponents see soldiers approaching, though, they will, of course, take action. Because close quarters combat is so dangerous and soldiers need to ambush the enemy team, a stealthy approach is necessary. 

It is integral to make as little noise as possible when approaching and draw no attention to your or your allies. One mistake can be risky for you and your allies, so remaining stealthy is crucial.

Move Quickly To Maintain Control

In close quarter combat situations, it is vital to establish and maintain dominance of the situation quickly and efficiently. On a single command, soldiers should be able to position themselves in areas that allow high visibility for themselves and their companions and eliminate all enemy soldiers quickly, using accurate fire. Moving quickly and decisively can make or break any CQC encounter.

Communicate With The Team

During intense close quarters combat encounters, while arriving as silently as possible is essential, it is equally important to convey the current state of the situation to friendly soldiers. Prioritize neutralizing enemies to protect you and friendly soldiers before you call out that the room is clear. After you have secured the room, call that it is clear to your allies.

Maintain Constant Security

Close quarters combat encounters are highly risky, and enemies will likely have their defenses and offenses up, ready to ambush. As such, soldiers should maintain constant security from all angles at all times. It is important to pay attention to the rear or front security, as enemies can approach from anywhere at any time.

Army Flashcards

Whether you need a refresher on the Army basics or you’re studying for Ranger School, it’s essential to know all of the best tactics, and fundamental strategies of close quarters combat. has hard-copy flashcards that help you master the basics quickly so you can put your best foot forward in your Army career.

Check out all of our military training materials, including flashcards, free Ranger School resources, and more at our website!

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