Combat Readiness

Leave a comment

Members of the U.S. Army Reserve Competitive Marksmanship Program discuss their combat experiences and how competition shooting helps with military training and readiness.


SSG Bonjour

MAJ Garcia

SSG Porter

SSG Rosene

MAJ Rosnick

MAJ Sleem

SSG Fuentes

SGM Gerner

SGT Hall

SSG Hartley

Drill Sergeant Willis

CPT Freeman

SSG Kizanis

SSG Volmer


Advertisements

Analysis: The Army has a range problem, but it’s not because of the 5.56 round

Leave a comment

[G]iving soldiers a more reliable weapon with greater range is kinda pointless if we don’t address one of the Army’s most persistent and glaring faults: its marksmanship program sucks. There’s no one part of the thing we can point to as being problematic. It’s not just the BRM taught at Basic, or the qualification tables. The whole thing, from start to finish, really, really, sucks.

What’s the point of giving soldiers a shiny, new rifle if they can’t hit the broadside of a barn with the one they’ve got?

Now, before you break out the pitchforks and your Expert qualification badges, sit down and think about what I’m saying. Unless your MOS directly involves shooting things in the face, when was the last time you went to the range during the workday for something other than qualification? When was the last time you broke out the rifles for anything other than to qualify, or to clean them for inspection?

For most of you, that answer will be either the last time you deployed, or never. And that’s a huge problem.

Over the last ten-and-a-half years in the North Carolina Army National Guard, I’ve spent more time being told not to kill myself or rape people than how to shoot. I don’t have a problem with qualification myself; I can reliably shoot high sharpshooter to low expert. But I also make a point to shoot recreationally whenever I can. Not everyone has that option, and plenty of folks who do don’t take advantage of it.

For most folks, the entirety of their marksmanship training will consist of three weeks in Basic, the few days out of the year when they go qualify, and maybe a few days or even a week or two of extra training when they mobilize. And that simply isn’t enough.

Nevermind that the Army’s qualification system is stupid and outdated. Shooting static popup targets at ranges between 50-300 meters is a good start, but to rely on that as the sole measure of a soldier’s ability to engage the enemy is insane. According to the Army Times article linked up at the top, one of the driving forces behind looking for a new round is the fact that something like half of all firefights occurred at ranges greater than 300 meters. Meanwhile, your average soldier doesn’t even bother shooting at the 300 meter targets, because they know they can’t hit the damn things.

If the Army’s quest for a new sidearm is any indication, the search for a new rifle will take at least a decade, untold millions of dollars, a half-dozen Congressional inquiries and investigations, and probably a few lawsuits before they settle on the final product. Which means there’s plenty of time to teach soldiers how to shoot before the new gear ever starts filtering its way through the system.

As a starting point, come up with a comprehensive training plan that utilizes Basic Rifle Marksmanship, then build on that foundation throughout the soldier’s career. Get soldiers to the range more often. Update the qualification tables to more accurately represent the threat they’re expected to face. Enforce qualification standards like PT standards, and offer regular remedial training for folks who fail to meet those standards.

Or just carry on before and put a shiny new rifle in the hands of a kid who barely knows which end goes bang. I watched a guy from our battalion’s Forward Support Company shoot a 6 this year. That’s good enough, right?

Full article:
http://www.wearethemighty.com/tactical/analysis-the-army-has-a-range-problem-but-its-not-because-of-the-5-56-round

Inches, Minutes, Clicks- Zero That Blaster

4 Comments

Ash Hess has a solid write up on using the Army’s new zero target. What’s interesting is that this really describes how the zero process used to be taught before it was deemed too “confusing.”

https://primaryandsecondary.com/inches-minutes-clicks-zero-that-blaster/

https://primaryandsecondary.com/grouping-the-baseline/

>> I use the new Army Zero target since it was designed for this exact thing vs the old school one that was designed by an idiot.

FC 23-11 (Unit Rifle Marksmanship Training Guide) was published in the early 1980s for the M16A1 era and it claims the reason for the silhouette-shaped aim point was to replace the “confusing” Canadian Bull zero target and have troops zero on the same shape/relative size target they’d see during qualification.

They also eliminated explanation of “confusing” minutes and mils and went with 1 square=1 click as well as “confusing” descriptions of basic ballistics. Just use the “L” sight on your M16A1 when zeroing at 25 meters and flip it back when done. The zero target even has pictures with arrows to show which way to click the sights to adjust them.

Brilliant! Until the M16A2 was adopted, followed by the M4 and then optics, lasers, and other sighting accessories that became common issue… Try to explain the how and why of the Small Arms Integration Book to someone that doesn’t understand Inches-Minutes/Mils-Clicks and basic ballistics.

It’s worth noting the FC 23-11 is a well-written manual published by knowledgable shooters that did a great job explaining the decision process for the zero and qualification procedures the U.S. Army has been using since the early 1980s. The real failure was that this basic, initial program of instruction and qualification was intended to be only a basic, initial program. Soldiers were supposed to eventually shoot field courses (the Alt-C target was originally intended for other exercises to prepare for this), at full distance, on KD ranges, and learn higher level shooting. All of that is explained in FC 23-11. The simplistic nature of the initial course was to be added upon during a Soldier’s career.

As with any potentially-useful program, when left to be handled by under-skilled personnel with no background or interest in the subject at hand (drill sergeants and other NCOs) along with leadershit with no background or interest in it, the program stopped at the simple, introductory level and began to retrograde. KD courses and full-distance course were eliminated due to logistics, followed by even the scaled exercises at 25 meter. The entire affair eventually dumbed down to the lowest-common-denomitor, minimalist affair common to every Soldier that has served since Reagan’s first term. 25 meter zero followed by “pop up” targets (or just the 25 meter Alternate “C”) course is the least effort approach that technically satifies minimal requirements.

Sadly, because most Soldiers are illiterate this is the totality of their understanding.

Canadian Sniper Record Shot: An Analysis

4 Comments

I’m sure you heard about a Canadian sniper that reportedly set a new world record by taking down an ISIS target from a distance of about 2.2 miles. The exact distance of the shot was 11,316 feet (3,772 yards), taken by a special forces sniper from Canada’s Joint Task Force 2. In an official Forces Canadiennes statement, “The Canadian Special Operations Command can confirm that a member of the Joint Task Force 2 successfully hit a target from 3,540 metres [2.2 miles].”

http://www.range365.com/canadian-sniper-breaks-record-with-22-mile-shot/

http://www.duffelblog.com/2017/06/canadian-sniper-kill-shot-record/

One suggested motivator for this:

Here’s a commentary about this. Please comment with your thoughts below.

Jason Brown
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=42212919

A dozen shots at a dozen ISIS combatants 2 miles away and you’re bound to hit one. The vital zone is smaller than the zone where a quarter of the shots under controlled conditions would land. These guys are never alone. If he could reliably hit one with one shot, one kill certainty, then why weren’t there multiple kills? The reason is that this was a lucky shot.

Ten inch vital zone at 3,540m is 0.25MOA. That rifle shoots 0.5MOA BEFORE you throw in the Coriolis effect, which will move the point of impact between 7 to 10 inches depending on the actual time of flight of the bullet, but can’t be can’t be determined any better than that due to variability in muzzle velocity from shot to shot. That time of flight is also going to be affected by the inconsistent air density along the 4km arc of flight. This will also affect the amount of spin drift. Mathematically, this is like hitting a bullseye that’s smaller than the point of the dart. Do the math. Learn about long range shooting. Spend some time on the thousand yard range with guys that hold world records. Or better yet, answer that question – If this was a reliable one shot kill, why was there only one kill when the ISIS combat doctrine presents multiple targets…

This was walked into a crowd just like Craig Harrison’s shots, no doubt about it. World record 1,000yd benchrest is 0.3MOA where Coriolis is negligible with handloads that have a standard deviation of only a few feet per second and heavy support on concrete bases that weigh a ton. Obviously, a tactical rifle is not going to match that, and at over triple the distance, that group will open up due to variables that cannot be calculated such as uneven air density which no ballistic computer will predict. Hitting that first shot, cold bore is statistically like rolling six-sized dice and getting a 6.33, or measuring 0.0004″ with digital calipers that read to the nearest 0.001″, or measuring your speed to 1/10th MPH with a speedometer that has an accuracy of plus or minus 1MPH. If the error ellipse is larger than the target, the hit probably is less than 1.

Comparing Small Arms Training: WWII and Today

3 Comments

Zeroing Day

1942:

taken from this more comprehensive film:

Today:

I guess yelling at recruits 25 meters away with a mug of coffee is considered "coaching"...

Gunnery/Musketry

1933:

1935:

1944:

What machine gun gunnery is supposed to look like.

1960:

 

Today:

Who needs sights anyway?

However, this 1971 classic remains my favorite official Army training film of all time.

SHARP was invented after 1971, obviously...

Simulators For Training?

Leave a comment

A primary flaw of simulators like the Weaponeer were/are there aren’t enough of them around in routine use to make an actual difference. The Army’s EST 2000 suffers the same problem. Dry practice remains the best “simulator” based on availability and price, but only if you can get people to actually do it regularly and care enough to pay attention when they do.

Improvements via training require regular, programmed, on-going sessions. Instruction serves as an introduction, and may be adequate for tasks/skills that aren’t time-critical, but this ceases to be training after ideas are introduced.

Even lousy physical fitness programs commonly found in military and police PT use recognize that about 3-6 sessions each week are needed for improvement. Skill development for tasks that must be trained – like shooting – are no different.

The Weaponeer could have accomplished the designer’s intent if trainees used it 3-6 sessions a week for the duration of basic training. Instead, recruits get shuttled through it once so the Drill Sergeant can check a block and that’s it.

Weaponeer: A US Army Rifle Simulator from a Bygone Era

Musketry & Combat Practice Firing

Leave a comment

Note how often that competition was suggested as a good approach to training.

US Army Training Film TF-24
Musketry & Combat Practice Firing

1935 US Army Training Film

The application and control of collective fire of rifle units (Rifle Squads & Rifle Sections) is called “Musketry.”

This film covers rifle firing skills.
– Reel 1 provides an introduction to methods of estimating range to target.
– Reel 2 shows how unit members communicated knowledge of the target in the field.
– Reel 3 instructs squad leaders on the construction and use of ranges for landscape target firing.
– Reel 4 details technical characteristics of rifle fire and its effects.
– Reel 5 demonstrates the application of rifle firing techniques in field exercises.
– Reel 6 features a schematic drawing of the effect of combat fire.

Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: