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Learn CQB Drills to Shoot Like the Marines

Want to do CQB shooting drills like the United States Marine Corps does? Want to do it with minimal gear and ammo requirements? Then let’s talk about Tables. 

In the U.S.M.C., we have several different shooting qualifications that many people are unaware of. These are called Tables. Table 1 and 2 are shot every year by every Marine. Table 1 is the completely non-tactical 200- to 500-yard rifle range that’s focused on accuracy and fundamentals. Table 2 is our intro into close-range tactical shooting.

Additional Marine Corps Tables – Enhancing Combat Readiness

From there we have Tables 3 through 6 that are tactical quals that focus on close- to mid-range drills for combat marksmanship. These CQB training drills incorporate a ton of different shooting skills and situations including night shoots. Today we are looking at Table 5, Short Range Day.

Why Table 5? Because as far as these quals are concerned, Table 5 requires the least amount of logistics to complete in terms of range use. It also requires very little ammo or supplies to complete.

Here is all you need to make magic:

  • a semi-automatic rifle (I used a SAINT Victor)
  • two magazines
  • two human-shaped targets set one yard apart
  • 60 rounds of ammo
  • a shot timer (you can download one for free on your phone)
  • 25-yard rifle shooting range

That’s it, that’s all you need. You can go full Marine and wear a plate carrier and helmet as well, but it’s not necessary for a little fun and skill-building. And the techniques are the same regardless if you practice these tactics in body armor not. Not everyone is on a special operations entry team conducting dynamic entries through doorways to engage terrorists or hostage takers.

The Table 5 course of fire is shown here:

The course of fire takes place from 25 to 5 Meters, with multiple movement drills between each firing line.

My Thoughts on CQB Techniques

As a Marine – back when I was a cool guy – I remember doing the Table 5 CQB drill multiple times, and doing it at night as well with NVGs and PEQ 15s and feeling like Ghost Recon. There is nothing complicated in these drills. There is no use of cover and you only shoot from the standing position. There is only one reload the entire time.

The weapon handling techniques are simple – and that’s not a bad thing, especially for new shooters. You can conduct the drill safely without accelerating past your own level of skill. New shooters should work with a qualified instructor and will be taught shot placement, quick engagement, and a variety of close-quarters engagement techniques.

It’s also a fun drill, and I used a scorecard to write down my times. Now I keep chasing time, getting a little faster and a little more precise. For new shooters, this could be a great way to practice and enhance the close quarter battle techniques once they have established a good set of basic marksmanship fundamentals. It’s more exciting than shooting a standard paper target and gives new shooters a new challenge. You do not need an AR-15-style rifle, and you can even use a rimfire rifle chambered for .22 Long Rifle if you so choose.

I will admit I cheated a hair by using the SAINT Victor. I had an advantage as it has a few features the U.S.M.C. M4 carbines and M16 rifles don’t. This includes a muzzle brake that reduces recoil and a single-stage nickel boron-coated flat-faced trigger. It outclasses the issued guns by quite a bit. However, the U.S.M.C. does issue its guns with the Trijicon ACOG (Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight), and I was using the iron sights.

Regardless of the gun setup you use, you’ll be getting some solid, awesome training with minimal time, ammo requirements, and difficulty. If it works for the Marines, it works for me.

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