Close Quarters Combat (CQC) is a system of combined combat techniques which allow rapid alternation between armed and hand-to-hand combat while engaging enemy personnel. It was developed together by The Boss and Big Boss.
In the typical CQC stance, the user holds their gun (a one handed weapon such as a pistol) with their dominant hand while supporting it with the other hand, which holds their CQC knife. By using this stance, the gun remains steady for accurate engagement of opponents outside the range of unarmed combat, while allowing a quick transition to the knife for close-work. The style also incorporates various grabs, chokeholds, strikes and throws to disarm and disable opponents. One powerful CQC slam could knock even the strongest opponent unconscious. In addition, CQC, when used by experts, can also be used to field-strip a firearm effortlessly, should the opponent attempt to attack the CQC expert with a firearm, and thus force the opponent to concentrate on repairing their weapon.
CQC closely resembles other martial arts such as judo or jujitsu. This was supported by both Colonel Volgin and Major Ocelot, who, at various encounters with Naked Snake, quoted "I've had enough of your judo!!" (Ocelot, Rassvet), and "What was that? Some kind of judo?" (Volgin, Groznyj Grad). Moves displayed by Snake and The Boss also closely resembled certain judo moves. Judo was made an official sport during the 1964 Tokyo Olympics a few months (October) after Operation Snake Eater (August).
CQC was developed by The Boss and Naked Snake in the 1950s. The original concept was derived from The Boss's time in World War II, namely snatch missions when she needed to capture an enemy officer alive (as shooting his escorts or the guards was not an option). However, it wasn't until the Virtuous Mission and Operation Snake Eater that she told Naked Snake. During those missions, CQC proved valuable to Snake; he beat four members of the Ocelot Unit and Ocelot himself with it; The Boss beat him several times with CQC; he disarmed Colonel Volgin; and he also beat The Boss herself in their final duel by countering her CQC. Ocelot and Snake met on the WIG and fought with CQC there. Ocelot had learned CQC by observation, and in their duel they proved more or less a match for each other.
Later, it was adopted by FOX, being an incredibly effective combat technique that combined hand-to-hand and firearm combat. FOX's second commander Gene became proficient in the style and independently developed an enhanced version of it, known as "CQC Enhancer", increasing CQC's destructive power.
During the San Hieronymo Incident in 1970, all the Red Army soldiers that Big Boss (Naked Snake) and Roy Campbell recruited (into what would later become FOXHOUND), had varying skill levels in CQC. At some point afterwards, he would master the field-strip technique, eventually practicing it on Kazuhira Miller during a backfired ambush on Big Boss's group (something that one of the guards had earlier warned Miller about). He would later go on to train his personal military group, the Militaires Sans Frontières, in CQC, with at least some members having previously learned Combat Sambo and having a fifth degree black belt in karate prior to joining. Although the Peace Sentinels did not practice CQC, they were familiar enough with it to attempt to counter it, as evidenced by the Scouts bringing combat wires onto the battlefield specifically as a way to overcome CQC by catching the soldier attempting to use CQC and then placing him in a chokehold over the scout's back until the soldier breaks free.
Solid Snake was also taught CQC extensively by Big Boss in the 1990s. However, after the latter betrayed FOXHOUND in Outer Heaven in 1995, Snake vowed to never again use that part of his extensive training (although he would later admit that it was far advanced for its time, as few special forces groups were using it at that point).
Sometime before the events of the Guns of the Patriots Incident in 2014, the Patriots declassified highly sensitive documents regarding the events of Operation Snake Eater. Thus, Big Boss's popularity grew once again, prompting worldwide knowledge of CQC. It was at this point that Old Snake (Solid Snake) decided to lift his own ban on CQC, and began to use the fighting style once again. On the battlefield, Snake showed the extent of this incredible combat system while engaging Liquid Ocelot's PMC soldiers, showing how CQC could be used on the open battlefield and within close-quarters environments. Talking to Otacon in the Middle East, Snake called the enemies' version of CQC a "cookie cutter imitation" since he had learned directly from Big Boss himself, while they had only read about it from books. The PMC soldiers had no real training in CQC, and only chose to use it because of its popularity. Snake mentioned to Otacon that whenever he saw this imitation his body would instinctively react and use the original style, to quickly out maneuver and outclass the imitation one.
However, Snake was still bested by Liquid Ocelot in CQC when they met in Eastern Europe. It is unknown if Liquid Ocelot's skills were developed from Ocelot's own CQC skills from observing Naked Snake (Big Boss) during Operation Snake Eater. When Snake and Liquid Ocelot battled for the final time atop Outer Haven, they incorporated CQC into their brutal fist fight, though without the weapons that were best suited for CQC. This time it was Snake who bested Ocelot in CQC. Later on, Big Boss, upon meeting Solid Snake at Arlington National Cemetery upon being revived, also easily disarmed Solid Snake via a CQC-field strip on his firearm before embracing Snake in a fatherly hug.
Weapons used in CQC
Size and sturdy build is the biggest requirement for an effective CQC weapon. Rifles, shotguns and most longarms are next to useless due to their length. Pistols and knives are the weapons of choice. A knife, while sometimes used for stabbing and slashing, is mostly used to control the opponent. It cannot be too large, and it requires a serrated edge. On most knives, a serration is used to saw through wood and other tough material, but a competent CQC user pins the enemy's limbs in place during grabs. Ideally, the tang would be one-piece, and the blade single edge with a serrated spine.
The firearm used is generally a pistol. It must be reliable even when knocked around by CQC moves, and pack enough punch to quickly take down an enemy. As it may be used with one hand, a very large caliber handgun or machine pistol may not work very well. The M1911A1 employed by Naked Snake had a number of ideal features. CQC is also used with tranquilizer pistols, such as the Mk.22 Hush Puppy. Solid Snake managed to master CQC with his Operator and Mk.2 tranquilizer, as well as an unprecedented and limited form of CQC when using long arms (assault rifles, shotguns) and handheld explosives (grenades).
Prominent CQC users
- The Boss (co-developer)
- Naked Snake/Big Boss (co-developer)
- Ocelot (Liquid Ocelot)
- Old Snake (Solid Snake)
- Venom Snake
Behind the scenes
Motosada Mori, the military advisor of the Metal Gear series, adapted the "handgun" CQC style for Naked Snake's use in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. In an interview, Mori related how he learned the technique as a SWAT instructor, and its potential role in warfare. It was featured on GameSpot and included in the BradyGames strategy guide. The latter has slightly different text and additional images. According to the motion-capture actor for Naked Snake, Muziho Yoshida, Motosada Mori often came at him for real during motion capture sessions relating to CQC, which frequently left his toes blackened from internal bleeding from being stepped on many times. In the Secret Theatre film Payback, the CIA Director was also revealed to have learned CQC. It's implied that the CIA Director learned CQC himself so he'd have revenge against Big Boss for not shaking his hand at the awards ceremony. In the 2005 MGS4 Director's Trailer, Raiden was also shown to be poor at CQC, being effortlessly defeated by Snake. However, in Portable Ops Plus, he is later shown to possess an S2 rank in CQC/knives.
Gameplay in Metal Gear Solid 3
For a full list of controls see the walkthrough
Using the directional buttons to sneak up on your opponent, press O to grab your opponent. Pushing O with a direction held on the Left Analog Stick throws the enemy to the ground. After grabbing you can then do a number of things—moving the Left Analog Stick will drag your opponent, Pressing L3 will interrogate your opponent, pressing Square will allow you to shoot other guards while you are using the grabbed opponent as a shield, Pressing the Left Analog Stick while pressing O will throw the opponent to the ground stunning him, pressing O hard will slit your opponent's throat and tapping the O button will stun your opponent, while if you continue tapping Snake will snap their neck. In Metal Gear Solid: HD Collection, there are multiple trophies/achievements that can be unlocked via CQC. If the player does CQC while interrogating an enemy, they'll gain the trophy "Tell Me Where the Bomb Is." If the player knocks them out with a CQC slam, they'll gain the trophy/achievement "Mama Said" referencing the rap song "Mama Said Knock You Out." If the player CQCs an opponent while holding them up, they will gain the trophy/achievement "Like He Just Doesn't Care." If the player CQCs an opponent and then slits their throat, they will gain the trophy/achievement "Close Shave."
Pistols allow you to attack opponents from a distance and stop them from shooting back. Once Snake is close enough punches can be used. Pressing the O button once will make Snake punch once. pressing it twice and Snake will make a one-two punch combo. Three presses and Snake does a one-two combo followed by a kick.
By repeatedly punching an opponent you can stun them. kicking or rolling into them sends them flying, if there are other guards nearby they'll knock them down too. It's worth figuring out where a guard will end up once you kick them, as kicking them off a cliff, into an electric fence or into quicksand will kill them.
Weapons that are able to be used with CQC have a red CQC symbol in the corner of its icon on the weapons menu. Generally they are weapons that can be operated with one hand. Although CQC cannot be performed with the other weapons, pressing the O button will still allow Snake to knock over an opponent using the weapon.
Gameplay in Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops
In Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, CQC was given a ranking system alongside the other weapons, due to the nature of the game. Depending on a soldier's rank in regards to CQC, the soldier will know various abilities in regards to CQC. With Rank C, the soldiers are absolutely useless with CQC, which makes it strongly recommended that they avoid getting into instances in regards to using CQC. Rank B allows for grabs, and Rank A allows for a throwdown.
Gameplay in Metal Gear Solid 4
For a full list of controls see the walkthrough
Due to the O button's use for initiating a reload, the R1 button has taken its place for both melee strikes and CQC (holding L1 -- "ready" weapon/over-the-shoulder—determines whether R1 performs a melee attack/CQC or fires an equipped ranged weapon). Otherwise, however, the basic idea is the same; you can still Grab the enemy with R1 from the standing or crouched position, Throw the enemy to the ground (move left analog stick and press R1, either knocking them out or leaving them conscious to be held up on the ground), use them as a Human Shield (standing L1), or kill them with a Throat Slash (standing Triangle).
New functions of CQC from the grab include the Ground Choke and the Disarm. The former is simply a variant on the standing Chokehold (Snake forces the target into a sitting position with X before rolling over—push the left analog stick left while holding R1—so that they're prone and then hold R1 to choke them), while the latter (hold R1 to initiate a grab and tap R1 just as Snake pulls the target towards him) has Snake pulling the target's arm and causes them to drop their weapon. Finally, the basic Hold Up (hold L1 from behind or from the front, see below) can be combined with a Frisk (Triangle to start, then Triangle when prompted) to acquire items and then upon patting the target's crotch subdue the target (for obvious reasons, the FROGS are immune to this method of subduing).
Unlike Metal Gear Solid 3, you cannot interrogate a target . However, submachine guns, assault rifles, and shotguns have limited CQC capability. While the majority of CQC-related moves are still reserved for one-handed weapons, you can still throw the enemy to the ground, strike them with the butt of the rifle (his R1 melee strike), and even perform disarms, as well as hold up an enemy. For example, it is possible for Snake to strike an enemy from behind, grab their right arm and spin them around, causing them to drop their weapon, then immediately raise his weapon and cause a hold up, all as part of one CQC combo.
Gameplay in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
CQC also gains some new abilities in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. When prompted, the player, while climbing a ladder, can also grab a soldier near the top of the ladder and thrown him to the bottom, which can either kill him or knock him out depending on the height. In addition, the player can throw the opponent via CQC by pressing the R button while tilting the analog stick in a specific direction. Restraining the opponent will also require the use of the R button, and can also knock the opponent out when restrained long enough, or throw the opponent in a direction specified by which way the analog stick was tilted. The ability to drag restrained opponents has been removed. Also, the player is also able to CQC multiple enemies, which require a prompt to execute the chain of opponents. Some enemy scouts know how to counter CQC.
Notes and references
- ^ Random soldier: I'm a martial arts expert - I know Combat Sambo and I'm a fifth degree black belt in karate! CQC? This I gotta see!
- ^ Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, Kojima Productions (2010).
Briefing Files > Briefing Library > Miller > Soldier Types > Scouts:
Kazuhira Miller: ... In addition to wielding normal weapons, the scouts also carry wires. // Naked Snake (Big Boss): Hm... Sounds like these guys know their CQC. // Miller: Could be. We've been getting reports of CQC attacks being blocked by wires. Stay alert.
- ^ 
- ^ http://www.tentenpro.com/muni_shinobu/mgs3/countdown.html