We don’t need to spend more military resources, time or money, but make better use of what is already being spent. Most public sector training is so deficient that improvements can be made just by cleaning up current procedures.

In the military context, we have Drill Sergeant Nitwit, himself a novice level shooter, “teaching” raw recruits marksmanship. DS Nitwit is limited to regurgitating nonsense passed on to him by some other novice level shooter. We’re lucky if he’s even bothered to look up what the actual standards are.

Because qualification standards are set low enough that a complete new shooter instructed by a novice can pass them, and because DS Nitwit is completely unaware of what good shooting looks like, he believes he is “good.” If he has deployed overseas, he’s incorrigible.

He’ll probably never bother with any higher level shooting experience, such as organized competition. If he does, there are plenty of vocal tactical instructors online and elsewhere to console him into believing his loss was due to a flaw in the competition, or that there is a mystical difference in shooting on a range compared to shooting the exact same firearm in combat. This is easier than admitting the truth that low scores are due to low skill.

A competent marksmen can surpass military and police “expert” standards by 300%, possibly more. Many handgun standards can by surpassed by 600% or more. I even wrote a book about this outlining the particulars. But you’d have to attend events to interact with people capable of this.

Consider the cost of maintaining a RETS (Remote Engagement Target System) “pop up” range at 40 rounds per attempt and no feedback of where shots are going. Compare this with the cost of simple shooting exercises on a 25 meter range, shooting three round groups and getting feedback of every shot. Better yet, compare the cost of dry practice.

The Department of Defense spends plenty of time and money on shooting. What we lack is will.

Motivated teenagers involved in organized competition and willing to dry practice at home are better marksmen than most school-trained snipers, to say nothing of the general military population. Uncle Sam greatly outspends them but kids actively involved in competition have a greater desire to improve and actually do it.

Until this sort of problem is addressed, no amount of money spent on public sector marksmanship training will ever yield significant improvement.