Clearing a building is among the most treacherous tasks a warfighter can be faced with in a combat zone.  A building full of unknown twists, turns, and hiding spots, potentially full of well-armed opponents isn’t anyone’s idea of an easy day, but the reality of modern warfare requires that our service members are experts in how to properly, and safely, clear a building of enemy combatants.

Like most military training, this ability is honed through compounding learned skill sets onto one another until each puzzle piece fits into a larger whole, but even once the disparate components in a warfighter’s tool box have been assembled in one place, the training is far from over.  With an understanding of how to execute the individual tasks required for the job, it’s time to put those skills to use in a realistic setting that forces a war fighter to assemble those skillset puzzle pieces on the fly.

That’s where the Shoot House comes in.  Although there are no opponents firing live rounds back at you, the shoot house can still be a chaotic, frightening, and dangerous place.  Let there be no confusion, a live-fire shoot house is a dangerous situation to be in, even without real opponents.  Clearing a building requires cooperation, confidence, and above all else, communication to ensure no one is injured, or killed, by a stray round.  Muzzle awareness is often an easy enough task for those of us carrying a sidearm in our day-to-day lives, but as you creep through a building with your rifle at the ready and looking for targets, with your peers doing the same, the potential for danger increases exponentially.  Poor trigger discipline, poor muzzle awareness, or confusion about where you’re supposed to be can result in the death of one of your squad mates.

In this video, recorded on a Marine’s helmet-cam during training, you can follow along as the Marines clear rooms, communicate clearly with one another, and maintain constant awareness of what they’re doing with their rifles and their bodies.  This will certainly not be the last time these Marines make their way through this or similar shoot houses, as they continue to develop and reinforce good habits, while having errors in their execution or judgement addressed and corrected.  Like so many other things, clearing a building is a perishable skill set, and the process of improving is continuous.