If you really want to be a good CQB (Close Quarters Battle) player then focus on only 2 main subjects: First, be aware of your surroundings and second, learn how to corner and use cover. If you are used to play Airsoft in woodland you need to change tactics to overcome the opposition. That is because a CQB environment exists of walls, doors, vehicles, buildings and other standing cover.
This is about being aware of your surroundings. In woodland environments the opposition can normally be seen before actual contact is made. In CQB environments doors, walls and other standing cover can obscure the view of the opposition. The difference in environment requires a different skill set. In woodland it is best to use a slow and methodical approach while CQB requires a high situational awareness whereby you treat every room and piece of cover as though there is a threat hiding behind it.
How to create situational awareness?
Situational awareness comes from studying your surroundings. By studying your surrounds you want to:
- Find the best path forward
- Find out the Oppostion’s location
- Get the best way to fall back
- use the best corner and cover techniques
- Look for cast shadows or small irregularities
While moving forward you always want to make sure that you are at the ready whenever possible. In CQB you walk from cover to cover. When you come to cover, come to the middle first. So come to the middle of the cover have your gun up at shoulder hight and then peak around the corners. When breaching a room check all the windows. That way you can see from different angles and which other players might be hiding. In tight choke points you can provide your own covering fire and moving at the same time. Try to never move faster than you’re comfortable.
Communication is key, especially when finding out the opposition’s location. Always try to communicate as to where the enemy is, where fire is coming from and any other potential information. If you have noticed something important, make sure that you inform your teammates for instance to call out the enemy’s positions. When calling out the enemy’s positions always do so quietly to not give away your own position.
Falling back means either you are being hit or you did parley with another player. When you parley with another player you actually disengage by moving back 15 feet and re-enter the game.
To use the best corner and covering techniques you need to keep your eyes and ears focused. That helps to determine which angles and openings have the highest probability of exposing you to enemy fire. I did an in-depth analysis in a later section of this article.
Besides awareness of your surroundings you want to have some skills on how to corner and use cover.
Cornering tactics in Airsoft
In CQB cornering is one of the most important skills. Cornering is actually moving to cover where you won’t get shot using the cover from different angles.
how to move into cover?
When you move into cover you want to make sure that the angle from which you could potentially be shot from is covered. That means if you know from which angle you are potentially get shot from in a specific situation you then move into cover from that angle. So if you potentially get shot from your direct front you want to move into cover from that angle. I made an image to get the idea of what I meant by moving into cover and the use of different angles.
Once you get into cover you do a search asses which means looking to your left and right making sure you didn’t miss the enemy. When there is nothing on your left and right you can safely peak all the other angles.
When you made it into cover you can begin peeking for enemies. It’s very important that you don’t press against cover. That way you won’t be able to maneuver around cover. Keep an arms length distance so you can maneuver better around the cover as opposed to being tight up on it.
Standing behind cover you slowly start to pie the corner scanning for enemies. A good rule of thumb is not to peak out to far as to expose all of your body to the enemy. How can you do that? Therefore we need to describe how to shoot from different angles.
Shooting from different angles
If you are a right handed shooter you have to be able to shoot off hand from a left corner. One way to do that is to shift your gun from your right to your left shoulder and still shooting with your right hand. The disadvantage is that your entire left arm is a huge target. To avoid that you can switch the gun to your left hand. So you hold it with your right hand on the front and with you left hand you shoot.
The transition between a strong and off hand is relatively simple. Muzzle up (fire ready), switch the stock from your right to your left shoulder, bring your right hand to front of the muzzle and take your left hand back to pull the trigger.
Peaking with your head
When you know that there aren’t any immediate enemies in front of you because there further back or you have an overview of the situation, you can just quickly move your head out of the corner. Don’t expose you whole face but only the left or right part of it depending on which side you peak.
Peaking only with your head, don’t take the full complete angle to expose your full face and get hit. So it’s just a quick peak. Now that you know where the enemy is you can hit and then come back. When you know where your opponent is you can bring you muzzle up, take him out and come bank behind the corner.
Switching firing positions
When you are behind cover you can switch firing positions. That is important to realize when you first engage and they peek out so you have to take cover. All the enemy is doing now is watching till you engage from the same corner/position. So you are forced to change position. You have several options like going from a standing position to a kneeling position and from a kneeling position to a prone position.
Good cover and bad cover
Always make sure that your cover is big enough to hide your body. Sometimes I see Airsofters picking cover that is just to small to hide. Just simply don’t pick something that is too small to hide. Besides that you won’t something to cover that is in the middle of the street or alleyway. (see Photo 😉
Last but not least: elevated positions. These are excellent positions to hide. Another advantage is the overall view of the battlefield and the fact that you can see a further distance than your opponent. The downside is that you will be exposed to all of the other players once they are being alert on your position.
How to become a better CQB Airsoft player?
Practice is key if you want to become a better CQB player. When you get more involved in CQB playing you will gain the experience to recognize different situations and how to react in those situations. These are the things to remember when going out and play:
Do not hesitate when breaching a room
When breaching or entering a room don’t hesitate. Don’t stop in the doorway! It seems like a natural thing to do for Airsoft beginners and sometimes even advanced players. If you stop in the doorway you have the highest change of getting shot. Why? Because doorways attract fire! So get into the room immediately with somebody watching your back and work your way from corner to corner.
Pie the corner
Pie the corner: learn how to do this properly with your teammates and you become very effective in CQB environments as well as on the field. Below a great video on Pieing the corner.
Get an CQB optimized gun
CQB guns are overall shorter in length because they are easier to manipulate in rooms and other small spaces. Maneuvering in CQB environments is the number one skill and a shorter gun will greatly help with that. For instance you can choose a Krytac Kriss Vector AEG or Tippmann M4 carabine M4 CQB airsoft gun.
When playing CQB Airsoft it sometimes is hard to recognize each other, especially in dark(er) environments. A great idea is to identify your teammates, for instance with tape or armbands.
Second, always try to stay in communication with your teammates. Therefore use radio’s and headsets to be able to stay in contact.
Third, choose (extra) accessories that will make your gun more effective. For example an red dot. That will greatly help you in darker environments and aim faster by giving target acquisition. A magnified scope is less suitable in CQB because you won’t see far ahead.
Fourth, a flashlight will also allow you to see in dark areas. Therefore you need an angle or vertical grip on your gun.
Fifth, stay in communication with your teammates. Use radio’s and headsets to stay in contact with your teammates.