How To Clear Rooms: Doorways

When you work in the line of work I do (advertising) you hear a lot about funnels. People are always talking about sales funnels, ways to funnel customers to your product, or YouTube channel, or whatever. But since I also work in the gun industry and firearm education there is an entirely different kind of funnel that is the topic of this article. One in the bad variety, the fatal variety. I’m talking about the fatal funnel.

What Is The Fatal Funnel?

What is the fatal funnel? Well in layman’s terms it’s a doorway, a threshold. How did it earn the name “fatal funnel”? Doorways began being called fatal funnels by law enforcement and the military whose job it is to clear rooms, houses, and entire buildings. A doorway is called a fatal funnel because if you’re clearing a room, for example, you must pass through the threshold at some point. And when you do you are left completely exposed in an area that’s difficult to evacuate if projectiles are sent your way. As a result, skilled operators will never stand in front of a doorway let alone an open one. You can see videos on the internet of officers standing in front of doors ready to execute a warrant and they are gunned down through the door.

You can imagine how badly this would play out. If you were barricaded in your house and an intruder was coming in after you, you could easily hide and train your weapon on the door. That is essentially what the bad guys do, the smart ones anyways. That is exactly why operators train on making a quick precise entry to minimize the chance of casualties.

Man clearing doorway with AR15 in a house

How Do You Survive The Fatal Funnel?

So how do you clear the fatal funnel and survive? Because you and I in our everyday lives don’t have a team of people backing us up or aircraft waiting for a medevac in case something goes awry. As one man clearing your home with your home rifle or your EDC you have to be cautious, clearing your home slow but then making deliberate, fast, and precise entries.

The big problem with the fatal funnel is when someone is tucked in the corner of the room against the same wall as the threshold. As you pie the doorway and peer into the room this leaves the villain invisible and unable to be seen by the one passing through the funnel. But remember if you can’t see the bad guy in this scenario they can’t see you either. In order to minimize your time in the fatal funnel to a degree, you have to ditch the “slow is smooth and smooth is fast” adage. This is no time to gingerly peak through the doorway and look in both directions before crossing. That is a sure way to get shot.

Putting It In Action

The course of action is to pie the doorway seeing as much as you can see of the room ahead then pass through the door as quickly as possible and move toward the first corner along the same wall to make sure no threats are waiting there and as soon as your sure turn 180 degrees sweeping the entire room for threats as you move your sites to the corner opposite of the first one you cleared. This whole process has to be done quickly. As you probably figured out since the shooter has to turn in one direction and dedicate themselves to one corner first they leave their back open as a target that’s why the whole maneuver has to be done quickly.

This is something to think through and practice the best you can. This is a skill that won’t matter until it does. If you hear a bump in the night and you are making your way through your home this is a technique you will need to know. Just remember do not hang out in the doorway. The longer you stay in the fatal funnel the longer you will be an easy target.

Dylan C. @ GunSpot
Dylan C. @ GunSpot

I'm the Creative Director at GunSpot. My main job is to create content that you can read or watch on The GunSpot Academy. I'm a video guy first and foremost but now, as you can see, I guess I'm an author too. Only out of necessity though!