Squad Designated Marksman

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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/

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

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“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?

Graubünden Jäger: Swiss Hunter-Shooters

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This video is a fine example of how much more serious and skilled hunters in Europe are compared to Americans.

Let’s just pause to consider this: In Switzerland, animal rights activists are mad at hunters because their marksmanship tests aren’t rigorous enough and they want them to do more practice on the range! Marion Theus, president of the Swiss Wildlife Conservation Association, says the already-mandatory hunter marksmanship tests are too easy to pass, should be more frequent, and should use ammunition reminiscent of the recoil/muzzle energy actually used in hunting. Georg Brosi, Hunt Inspector for the canton of Graubünden, agrees. Let’s also consider that Swiss hunter-shooters consider it common to practice on electronic targets. How many hunter sight-ins in the States have you seen using something similar?

I’d like to share their opinion about current U.S. military range qualifications with current leadership!

How to move the Overton Window

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“I would have gotten the results I wanted if ‘those people’ had just done what I wanted” doesn’t mean that those people messed up — it means that you messed up.

The only way to achieve excellence is to hold yourself to uncompromising standards, with no excuses.

Figure out what you need to do to actually deliver results. Then do it.

https://opensourcedefense.substack.com/p/osd-65-diving-headfirst-through-the

Instruction is not Training

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“Education is not the piling on of learning, information, data, facts, skills, or abilities – that’s training or instruction – but is rather making visible what is hidden as a seed.”

Thomas More

Too many in the firearms community define “training” as attending a class to receive instruction. While taking a class is a good idea, this tends to be self serving for people selling instruction classes (“you need training and that’s what I sell!”). Worse, receiving more instruction, even if you call it training, does not help.

If you’ve taken a good class, you already know about 70-80% of what every other good class offers. Once they’ve received good instruction (although, many gun owners, military, and law enforcement personnel have not…) shooters are better served working on skill on their own. If they can’t/won’t do that, taking another class or watching/reading another bit of instruction provides no help.

 I have friends and family asking me to put together workout routines for them. It usually goes something like this:

“Hey Chris, I’d like to have a good workout routine and was hoping you could design a two-a-day, six-day-a-week hardcore program.”

Are you working out at all now?

“No, I’ve been pretty busy.”

OK, I’ll make you a deal. If you can workout 30-minutes a day, 3-days a week for one month, I’ll design you a custom program. To this day I have not designed a single workout program for any of those people.


Gun Fighting is a Skill That Requires More Training, Not More Information
https://www.itstactical.com/intellicom/mindset/gun-fighting-is-a-skill-that-requires-more-training-not-more-information/

OSD: Read this now!

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Great series of essays worth your immediate attention.

https://opensourcedefense.org/blog/

Hunter Safety Report

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Wisconsin’s 2019 gun Deer Season closed recently. Of the state’s 72 counties, 71 allow hunting. During the nine-day 2019 Deer Season (November 23 – December 1) 564,664 licensed hunters legally pursued big game with firearms. 160,569 deer were legally harvested.

During the nine-day hunt, there were a total of four reported shootings among all 71 counties. Three of these injuries were negligent discharges where the hunter injured himself, and one involved a hand injury where a hunter’s negligent discharge injured a member of his hunting party.

This puts the injury ratio at 1:141,166, or 0.0007%. 99.9993% of Wisconsin’s hunters in 71 counties took to the field and woods with loaded firearms in pursuit of deer for nine days without incident.

The National Safety Council had previously reported twenty years ago that deer hunting typically saw seven injuries per 100,000 participants, making it slightly safer than table tennis (ping pong) and about twenty times safer than golf.

https://firearmusernetwork.com/lessons-learned-of-hunter-education/
https://firearmusernetwork.com/lessons-learned-of-hunter-education-2/

Current trends indicate hunting continues to get even safer.
https://firearmusernetwork.com/deer-hunting-getting-safer/

Wisconsin’s 2019 data indicates this continued increase in safety is still improving and hunters are even safer than ever, going from about seven incidents per 100,000 to one incident per 141,166.


Milwaukee is Wisconsin’s lone county disallowing hunting. During that same nine-day period, Milwaukee county reported 25 people were shot, including seven murders. Good thing they banned hunting!

Freedom Is Scary

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All of your Constitutional Rights come at the cost of safety.

For example, you would be much safer if I could search houses, cars, and people whenever I wanted to, for any reason, or no reason at all. I’d catch more real bad guys. You know those stories about creeps who keep sex slaves locked in their basements for years? I’d find those victims and rescue them. That neighbor of yours who might have a meth lab that is going to send poisonous fumes into your child’s bedroom window, or explode and burn down your house? I’d find out for sure whether a lab was there.

How about all those guys who are probably child molesters, and we’ve got some evidence, but it isn’t enough to convict in front of a jury, especially with that defense attorney throwing doubt all over our evidence? Those guys are on the street right now, and a child you love may be their next victim.

Give up your rights under the 4th, 5th, and 6th amendments, and I’ll make the world safer for you. No question about it.

The only problem is that if you give up all those rights, which are really just restrictions on the things I’m allowed to do to you, what’s going to keep you safe from me?

Every right you have increases your danger from other people who share that right. Free speech? It allows monsters to spread hateful messages, possibly about a group to which you belong, just the same as it allows you to petition your government with legitimate grievances.

That free speech even allows you to argue in favor of discarding freedom and liberty as just too dangerous to trust in the hands of ordinary people. Now that, my friend, is what scares me – that people with opinions like that will spread them to weak-willed individuals who haven’t really thought through the consequences. I won’t argue for taking that right away, though, despite the dangers. That would be even more scary.

Yes, some people in a free society are always going to abuse those freedoms. Criminals are going to hide behind the 4th amendment to conceal the evidence of their crimes. People who commit horrific acts are going to hire excellent defense attorneys who can convince a jury that doubt exists. And, yes, some people are going to use guns to commit murders.

Freedom is scary, but lack of freedom is scarier.

from Paul Harding, Deputy Sheriff

https://www.quora.com/How-can-a-gun-enthusiast-still-claim-their-right-to-bear-arms-is-more-important-than-public-safety

Shawn Lupka on Skill

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In shooting there is always this haunting notion, this specter of “good enough”. As Claude Werner has pointed out over and over again untrained people have successfully defended themselves with firearms at rates that are impossible to ignore. That may seem an odd statement from a dude so into training to post on a blog about training but its true. I would contend if the problem doesn’t require skill than having skill won’t hurt, but if the problem does require skill then no amount of wishful thinking will do.

If you can shoot competitively then a simple shooting problem will offer you no challenge, but if you’ve only prepared for the easy problems a complex one will not stand still and allow you to catch up.

https://antifragiletraining.com/if-it-doesnt-work-against-a-skilled-opponent-then-it-doesnt-work-at-all

Boer Wars

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Shooting SACRA in South Africa and CAFSAC in Canada afforded me the opportunity to visit the Anglo-Boer War Museum in Bloemfontein and the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa on different trips within a few months of each other.

Their difference in descriptions of the Boer Wars was… interesting. The lesson to be learned is that you’re wise to learn lessons from multiple sources and perspectives.

Boer Rifleman

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