In part part one of this article series, we discussed the dangers of linear thinking in close-quarters combat situations. In most Western armies, the focus for training is almost always on that classic box-shaped room with four corners. In my CQB courses, one of the most important things I’m after, long before establishing specific tactics to take down a room, is providing my team a picture or a layer upon which they can determine the best course of action.

Where did we leave off? Oh yeah… Not all rooms are made equal. There’s different shapes and sizes. Some are small, some medium, some large. This is termed short rooms and large rooms. That’s so easy I’m not even going to show you a diagram of it. In places like Afghanistan there are a lot of short rooms – both in size and height – therefore it’s a key consideration when working within that environment.

A short room is small, entries usually only permit around two people… so call it if you come across a short room. An example might be a small outhouse or outbuilding – a shed, an out-house toilet, a storage building or a barn. Get it? Back to heavy and weak side. Let me explain further.


So as you can see, in a box-shaped, corner-fed room that “runs” or “feeds” to the left, the heavy side is situated on the left. It has the largest unknown area left to clear. Teams usually clear from known to unknown so the right side would be their target area to clear.

Entrypoint placement is a tick. Room structure is a tick. Let’s look at the room again but this time with consideration towards the rest of the layout – starting with the corners. The corners that you can see from the entrypoint are called easy corners. The corners you cannot see from the entrypoint are called hard corners. Now looking at a consistently regular box-room with the same length walls on each face of the room, we can see that the easy corners would be the corners furthest away from the entrypoint. This is nearly always true – easy corners tend to be further away.


This is important because what we can see, we can examine and engage. From the entrypoint, if we can see the easy corners, we can engage into them before meeting threshold* and pulling into the hard corners. If we see bad news like a boobytrap, we can pull away. This gives you a time and space advantage to the entry. It also leaves you with the understanding that hard corners are rather significant because you cannot see them until you physically enter the room. They are essentially blind spots. Of course, that is unless you have an observation device** and so on, but you get the point.

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