I’m a writer and, while doing some research, I found your blog.

I would like to ask a few questions regarding marksmanship qualifications and nomenclature.
I came across a lot of articles and questions on the whole marks men, sharp shooter and expert differences and read your article on the NRA classification. That was very interesting and enlightening. I also found a lot of references out there to snipers.

From a qualification perspective, what’s the difference between snipers and expert sharpshooters? I wasn’t able to find anything conclusive on that.

– Chris Almeida

FM 23-10 is the previous US Army sniper manual with qualification course
pdf.textfiles.com/manuals/MILITARY/united_states_army_fm_23-10 – 17_august_1994.pdf
I have a print copy of the current update but haven’t found it in digits yet.

Current US Army rifle qual
FM 3-22.9

Both quals are on RETS “pop up” targets. Scoring is hit or miss on full size, usually E-type (19 inch wide and 36-39 inch tall) humanoid silhouettes and rarely assess hit quality, unless done on a rare LOMAH range (LOcation Miss And Hit) range.

Electronic scoring has been widely used internationally (since 1984 in Olympic and World Cup events) and is fairly common in Europe. The Army Reserve team has Suis-Ascor units for training. Big Army or the Marine Corps doesn’t bother.

Basic rifle qual is a series of target exposures, one or two at a time, averaging about five seconds per shot. The shooter is already in position, aimed in and waiting for targets that he/she knows where and when they will appear. A hit any where is full value. The furthest shot is 300 meters but that accounts for six out of 40 shots. Most are closer and a consistent 5-6 MOA group will score “expert” consistently (90% or 36×40). A passing score is 58% (23×40.)

Sniper qual is similar with targets going out to 700 meters. The difference is the sniper student is given a rudimentary course on basic ballistics and environmental effects (most Soldiers are not), uses an accurized rifle (M24 or M110) with a 10x optical sight (usually a 3.5-10x or fixed 10x by Leopold), shoots from rest (bag or bipod) and has a spotter with a 20-30x spotting scope watching mirage and trace. Missed shots can be made up for half score (5 instead of 10 points) and 70% overall passes.

Confirm all this in the Army publications I linked you too. Yes, they suck that bad.

Fast X,
John Buol


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