Scheisskopf and Himmelstoss

Leave a comment

BLUF: Modern drill is found in developing currently-useful and relevant Soldier skills, not in the nonsense that now passes as Drill and Ceremonies.

A Leaders Corner podcast with CSM Ted Copeland demonstrates how some Army leaders have lost the plot.

https://www.usar.army.mil/News/Videos/audioid/61030/

“Time is our biggest enemy,” he says, and then harps on the “good ol’ days” as if boot polish, uniform starching, parade ground pageantry, and similar wastes of time can provide some sort of solution.

How about we take the idea of building NCOs by having them drill and then instruct useful skills to subordinates? Paying attention to detail demands learning which details are worth paying attention to. Identifying what skills are useful and then successfully training them provides the same benefit to learning how to pay attention to detail while actually helping with readiness.

Operation Cold Steel was the Army Reserve unwittingly admitting that units on their own were largely incapable of successfully training crew-served weapons and that “any NCO with the FM” does not work. Parade ground nonsense doesn’t help, either.

Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben and his “blue book” are cited by CSM Copeland. Upon Washington’s recommendation, Congress appointed Steuben as a Major General and the Inspector General of the Continental Army. Steuben promptly formed a model company of soldiers and trained them to march, use the bayonet, and execute orders quickly on the battlefield.

Learn more about Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben’s approach:
https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Revolutionary_War_Drill_Manual

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bs1A5Q45FgM



Critical point: Baron von Steuben’s drills in his “blue book” had nothing to do with current D&C. His approach used to be a relevant, useful, real-world skillset ideal for then-current equipment and tactics. It was not a self-serving exercise in discipline for its own sake or to look good. Unfortunately, D&C has since devolved into parade ground foolishness.

Effective drill emphasizes individual precision of movement and a manual of arms based on useful skill. See Appendix D (Drills) in all current small arms Training Circulars, starting with TC 3-23.9. You’ll note CSM Copeland never mentioned this in his interview that was recorded years after this manual was released. For precision of movement in small teams, do the same thing with Crew Drills for crew-served weapons. Couple this with an understanding of gunnery and basic ballistics. Perhaps if Soldiers were already doing this regularly, Operation Cold Steel could have been avoided.

Drill should also emphasize group teamwork and moving in tandem. Use the formations listed in Chapter 2 of ATP 3-21.8 (Infantry Platoon and Squad) and the drills in Chapter 8 in TC 3-21.76 (Ranger Handbook) as examples.

Modern D&C is NOT found in TC 3-21.5 and that manual should be discarded as the useless fluff that it is.

https://www.lethalityranch.com/how-to-train-using-tables-i-iii-of-the-iwts-to-maximize-results/

The Army continues to perpetuate a culture of illiteracy and fails to implement the notion of Disciplined Disobedience our former Chief of Staff of the Army prescribed. Sadly, CSM Copeland’s podcast reveals that our current leadership seems to have no interest or insight in how to fix this.

More:
https://firearmusernetwork.com/army-broken-culture-fix/
https://firearmusernetwork.com/literacy-us-army/

Use of Force

1 Comment

Anyone commenting, investigating, judging, or jurying a use-of-force incident that has never participated in a training event as depicted in these videos is uneducated on the matter. Kudos to these folks for trying it and then reporting what they learned.

Squad Designated Marksman

Leave a comment

From Ash Hess:
The U.S. Army Squad Designated Marksman program is a source of much debate. Many are angry that this rifle fielded with a 1-6 optic. What those people fail to acknowledge is where the SDM really is in both doctrine and real world application.

The SDM is a Rifleman with an additional tasking of being the DM. He is employed by the Fire Team leader or Squad leader(ATP-3.21.8) This means he/she remains part of that fire team and must be capable of doing anything the Squad is tasked with doing, from trenches, enter and clear, to assault.

Thus, at the beginning of the SDMR, the optic choice was heavily debated. The result is an optic that allows the DM to engage targets from 0-600 meters with relative ease.

That’s part of the debate. Sniper trained SDMs are different from normal trained SDMs, and neither one want to meet the doctrinal concept.
The “program” should be a real course 2-3 weeks, immediately following OUSIT required for privates who are assigned to Light, Airborne or Stryker units.


Training the trainer does not work with SDM. You trained NCO’s, I trained NCO’s, MMTC is training NCOs and nothing has improved. By training the private, and all the privates that follow him, by the time that first private is a Squad leader, the entire squad would by SDM trained, improving the entire unit. As it is now, those NCO’s retain 60% of what they are taught, pass on 30% of that, and the private gets none of it. Then they task someone else with the role and handicap what they should be doing.

From Dan Shea:
The Dragunov. It was the doctrinal difference from US to Soviet thinking. The US, well, we want to hit a fly’s eye at 1000 meters with highly trained snipers we’ve invested heavily in. The Soviet theory was to take marginally trained people with reasonable skills and have them hit chest size at 600 meters. And as a bonus, a Dragunov in the hands of someone with natural skill honed in a better training environment, can shoot really, really well. Nothing like one of the Knight rifles of course…. but a Dragunov has a place well above an AK on a battlefield.

That bit, “…. theory was to take marginally trained people with reasonable skills and have them hit chest size at 600 meters” is telling.

This was the intent of U.S. Army doctrine. The old (around 2003) SDM qual as originally directed by the now-redacted FM 3-22.9 was supposed to be shot with a rack-grade M16A2 and M855 by personnel given a bit of additional training (which a fully-trained Rifleman arguably should already know…)

Table 2 of that SDM course allowed optics only if the Soldier’s unit had them available. If not, Table 2 was supposed to be shot with a base BZO (no wind 300 meter zero) and use hold overs and hold offs as needed.

Then everyone wanted to church it up and re-envision SDM into “sniper lite”… The quality of training behind it is has been all over the map. As Ash Hess wisely points out, to be fully useful this needs a formal course (possibly an Additional Skill Identifier) taught by vetted instructors rather than the Army norm of “telephone game“*** training, euphemistically known as “train the trainer”, which is too common with all small arms skill. The myth that “any NCO with the FM” (TC now, but most NCOs are still unaware of this, hence the problem) can teach small arms skill is one of the most detrimental training lies infesting the U.S. Army.

*** “The game has no winner: the entertainment comes from comparing the original and final messages. Intermediate messages may also be compared; some messages will become unrecognizable after only a few steps.” It would be funny if it weren’t such a tragic waste of taxpayer money and Soldier ability.

More:
https://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2020/06/12/raiders-field-new-squad-designated-marksman-rifle/

Mark Westrom: Rapid Semiautomatic Fire

1 Comment

“I could never get a kick from full-auto.”

– J. C. Tate, CDR USN (Ret.)

Lt. Col. Mark A. Westrom was one of my previous commanders as well as the former owner of ArmaLite and Eagle Arms. Before retiring from the Army, he published an informative paper:
Rapid Semiautomatic Fire and the Assault Rifle
Firing Rate Versus Accuracy
United States Army Reserve Command Small Arms Training Team

In his paper, LTC Westrom detailed a series of tests conducted with competitive shooters and military personnel shooting scored and timed courses at various rates of fire. With him in attendance, we ran a similar test based on his findings at the All Army Small Arms Championships at Fort Benning one year.

The basis of testing was to have shooters to fire on scored targets at varying rates. Given there was no fixed round count, every shot fired added to the score, but only if it hit.

The results were unsurprising to anyone in the know: Rapid semiautomatic fire at the maximum pace a shooter can get something resembling aligned sights on target ends up with the highest score. This is much faster than Rapid Fire in High Power and is fast enough to result in occasional misses, but is controlled. Obviously, the pace varies based on shooter skill and target size/distance. Taking the speed above the shooter’s limit sees the score decline and increasing the rate of fire further reduces the score even more. All shooters maxed their score with semiautomatic fire; nobody improved their result with full auto.

Lt. Col. Westrom concluded his paper with this:

IV. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Today, the U.S. Military is generally conducting small arms training with much the same emphasis on single round accuracy that it did eighty years ago. Preliminary data suggests that a substantial increase in lethality can be obtained by increasing the firing rate of the line. The principles now taught are generally sound, and little additional training is needed to squeeze an important increase in effectiveness from our soldiers. Rapid semiautomatic fire is a simple extension of existing training, and its benefits are easily achieved by emphasis during training.

To make the best of Rapid Semiautomatic Fire we must:

  1. Test the benefits of rapid semiautomatic fire.
  2. Experiment. Additional firing data needs to be gathered to learn the effect of training, position, tactical situation, and weapon design. Fortunately, the experiments aren’t lengthy or difficult to conduct. The apparent flattening of the firing rate curve suggests that a rule of thumb rate of fire such as “50 shots per minute in the final assault” is adequate guidance. Lengthy testing to pin down exact numbers under a variety of scenarios might be interesting, but will probably not prove useful.
  3. Train soldiers to use rapid semiautomatic fire, and to shoot until the target is down.

Current qualification courses provide the shooter one round with which to engage each target. This isn’t tactically realistic. The current courses punish a shooter using rapid semiautomatic fire for even nearby targets.

In combat, the soldier is presented with a significant logistics issue: how to consume his basic load of ammunition with greatest efficiency. When presented with a distant target, he may need to fire several rounds to get a hit. If he does so, however, he may run low on ammunition. When presented with a threatening, nearby target later, he may be out of ammunition. He certainly must not decline to fire a second shot at that nearby opponent if the first shot is a miss.

This is just what the current qualification courses train the soldier to do. Current training teaches the wrong lessons. Each target is addressed by one cartridge. The correction to this is simple. Issue sufficient ammunition to allow for misses. Reward the shooter based on targets ultimately hit. Reward him further with a few points based on ammunition remaining. The highest scores obviously continue to go to the best shots, who both hit many targets and return with ammunition, but all are trained to engage.

  1. Aim every shot.

The current edition of FM 23-67 [since replaced by TC 3-22.240, TC 3-22.249, and TC 3-22.50, and TC 3-22.19 – Ed.] providing doctrine for the [then-current] M60 Machinegun, shows a machinegunner boldly firing the weapon from the hip. An M60 is too heavy to fire readily from the shoulder, so aiming every shot with this manner may be difficult. Nonetheless, advancing with a weapon firing from the hip must be regarded as an act of desperation or idiocy. The very fact that such an unsound technique is posted to the cover of a major document is a poor indicator of fire discipline.

The correction for this omission rests properly with the NCO Corps. Every NCO must assure as a matter of faith that every shot must be aimed in both training and combat. Even machineguns must be sighted. There can be no exceptions for blanks.

  1. Avoid burst or automatic fire.

As previously noted, there is ample evidence proving that automatic fire is almost useless beyond 25 yards. It is essentially useful for room to room fighting or trench clearing. Three shot burst if largely useless for both close combat and longer range fighting. It is truly the worst of both worlds. Both automatic fire with the M16A1 and burst fire with the M16A2 should be strenuously discouraged by the same NCOs who reinforce the act of aiming every shot. This is especially important during training with blanks, because soldiers enjoy automatic fire as a matter of play.

In summary, aiming assures maximum efficiency with each shot. Rapid semiautomatic fire assures maximum efficiency with each moment of contact. Combined, they offer a substantial increase in combat effectiveness with little change in resources or doctrine.

Full-automatic: Why does it render gun owners stupid?

1 Comment

“Let’s waste thousands of dollars on BATFE-restricted gear and ammo, and then destroy it for no reason. Everyone will love it!”

“This is a highly restricted, very expensive, difficult-to-obtain firearm. Let’s wreck it!”
“I don’t know what I’m doing, but the other idiots will love it!”

What I don’t understand is why someone would go through the hassle and expense to obtain Class 3 equipment while having no interest in learning gunnery or anything related to effective full auto use. It usually ends up being a big jerk-off giggle fest. Knob Creek is a stunning and sad example. Military training on this is rarely better, even though the principles are there to be learned by anyone literate enough to read them.

Myths about what is and isn’t suppressive fire are common.
https://firearmusernetwork.com/suppressive-fire-myth-fact/



Handheld full auto always sucks. I should put “almost” in there as absolute statements are always wrong (as the self-conflicting adage goes) because outliers and exceptions do exist. However, these are unicorns in this case. With the very rare exception of a very few highly-trained full-auto shooters, semi-auto fire is much more effective with handheld firearms. Basically, only people that compete in and win NFA submachine gun matches. Nobody in the military or police is this good and those that claim otherwise are breathing Dunning-Kruger graphs.

Side note: The first NFA match I attended was with a friend from my local USPSA club using his M1A1 Thompson. After looking at the courses, I asked if I could just shoot everything with the “Tommy gun” on the single (semi-auto) setting. “No,” I was told, “That would be cheating.”

Every class, match, or range event that tested this proved this true.

Handheld full auto fire is almost always less effective than aimed semi-automatic fire.


Acutal machine guns are a different matter but they are only effective when employed using gunnery concepts, tripods and T&Es, and a knowledgable crew. For all the bluster of full-auto fire, I still know of only one free, public video discussing this. Let me know if you can find another.


If you can find a better video giving a more thorough discussion of gunnery with machine guns, please share it!

What do you think? Why does full-auto fire render so many gun owners into idiots? Why aren’t people interested in fully-automatic firearms interested in learning how to employ them effectively?

Recoil Anticipation

2 Comments

I’d argue that recoil anticipation (also known as flinch, pre-ignition push, trigger jerk, and a variety of cuss words…) is the single biggest detriment to novice shooters. Novice here also includes gun owners, law enforcement, and military personnel with years and decades of “experience” that never developed shooting ability beyond passing routine qualification.

Learning how to overcome (or at least greatly reduce) the very natural tendency to react to recoil, noise, flash, and movement of a discharging firearm while attempting to maintain alignment on target is the most single most important thing a firearm user can do to improve proficiency. This also increases the ability to followthrough and call shots, critical to refining a shot process.

The lack of attention paid to this critical element of successful shooting is the biggest reason why many gun owners, law enforcement, and military personnel never progress beyond the elementary, initial, basic skill levels used during initial entry , basic, academy training. Far too many personnel are not even aware of this being an issue and most of them completely fail to actively address it.

For intermediate shooters, DRY FIRE DOES NOT FIX RECOIL ANTICIPATION BECAUSE KNOWLEDGE CHANGES EXECUTION . Here’s the proof right here and this is extremely common. Slight disruption to the gun sufficient to cause a miss as distance increases. At close range, people often chalk this off to sight picture when actuality it’s a slight case of recoil anticipation. Take this back to 15 or 25 yards, it’s a miss. This drill works great with a partner but if you’re working alone, try mixing in some dummy rounds. Facts not opinions is what I am after. Hold yourself accountable and fix your deficiencies.

Note, this doesn’t mean that dry practice isn’t useful and won’t help at all. Continued dry practice will continue to enhance (or at least maintain) the ability to more rapidly obtain sufficient alignment on target and manipulate the trigger without causing disruption. The point is that after a certain point of development, dry practice alone won’t magically fix recoil anticipation because it’s purposely done dry/empty (obviously) and knowledge of that removes that tendency. Only intelligent exposure to live fire, preferably done with dummy rounds (skip loading and other approaches) and perhaps additional feedback from sensors (MantisX, SCATT, etc.), can do this.

If you want to get stronger, you need to subject yourself to the stress of lifting heavier weight, preferably done with intelligently-programmed increases. If you want to eliminate recoil anticipation, you need to subject yourself to recoil, preferably done with intelligently-programmed intermittent exposures (training partner loads as demonstrated below, dummy rounds, intermix shooting with lower recoiling firearm/cartridge, etc.)

https://www.facebook.com/114008039194217/videos/vb.114008039194217/435200330372416/

More on this:

https://firearmusernetwork.com/grooving-bad-habits/

https://firearmusernetwork.com/training-and-habits/

https://firearmusernetwork.com/misplaced-tactical-training/

https://firearmusernetwork.com/pistol-shooting-questions/

https://firearmusernetwork.com/head-shots-are-still-misses/

https://firearmusernetwork.com/shooting-basics-uspsa-idpa-ipsc/

https://firearmusernetwork.com/dummies-steal-dummy-rounds-smart-shooters-use-them/

Krag-Jørgensen History

Leave a comment

The Rifle That Help Make America a Superpower

Nice article in National Interest about a classic Norwegian-designed American issue rifle.

Krags are still used in the Norwegian practical rifle competitive shooting event called Stangskyting (Stang shooting, named after Colonel Georg Stang) Competitors in that sport also developed speed loaders as well.

Waffenlauf

Leave a comment

The Waffenlauf is a type of Swiss marathon where every current or former soldier can participate. A sort of modern hoplitodromos They are required to carry an army rifle (such as the K31, Stgw 57 and Stgw 90) and their uniform.

Pictured is the all-time champion Albrecht Moser, who won this competition numerous times while carrying his old K31 and his old army uniform.

http://www.okrunngun.com/

Train like you Fight

1 Comment

Wisdom from Frank Proctor

We’ve all heard it or said it: Train like you Fight. A lot of times, folks think that means wearing full kit in order to train to better shoot your gun. I disagree with the party line that you have to wear full battle rattle to train to shoot better.

For tactical shooters I would strongly recommend shooting ‘slick with no kit’ and learn what they can truly do with their guns, what their full capabilities are, how fast can they really put bullets on targets, maneuver through a challenging course of fire, get into positions, etc. Once that base line of what’s possible is established then put your duty gear on and see if you can still do the same stuff.

If you can’t, why?

If it’s because your body armor is too restrictive, there are plenty of ways to keep the defensive capabilities of your body armor AND be mobile and able to mount your gun to shoot well, and give yourself and your team mates some valuable OFFENSIVE capabilities. This concept applies to all the gear you carry to duty; if it hinders your optimal performance I would fix it or get rid of it and stay as light as possible.

Here’s a proven concept that we all as tactical shooters can use to ‘Train to Win’. Every organized sports team in the country (especially the ones that win) use a similar concept to train. Football teams don’t go full speed in pads everyday in practice. That would be the conventional shooter’s wisdom of “train like you fight”. What they do instead is break down individual skill sets and train them to perfection. Then they’ll put on the pads and put all those things together and scrimmage. They take note of what went well and what didn’t go well, and then they take off the pads and train again. When it comes game time they are prepared to WIN.

Free download: PMI slides and articles

1 Comment

These Preliminary Marksmanship Instruction slides and articles are based on the U.S. Army’s new Training Circulars.

Direct download:
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/wyf73hdv7ybit0u/AABBafKc-II1UzsXBNMca2xTa?dl=0

Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: