The RFA can contribute to a unit's marksmanship program when 5.56-mm ammunition is not available or when ranges that allow the firing of 5.56-mm ammunition are not available. The RFA can be useful for marksmanship training such as night fire, quick fire, and assault fire. It is not recommended for primary marksmanship training.
Training Considerations. When service ammunition is in short supply, the RFA can be used to complement a unit's training program.
Rifle performance. The RFA/.22-caliber rimfire ammunition cannot replicate the exact ballistics of the 5.56-mm ammunition. Efforts to match RFAs with specific rifles can result in reasonable replication. Under ideal training conditions, the RFA should be used with dedicated rifles. Some variability can be eliminated by finding the right match of RFA and rifle. A trial-and-error technique can match RFAs to rifles, which results in good firing weapons. The RFA cannot be depended on to fire in the same place as 5.56-mm ammunition; therefore, it is not necessary for the soldier to use his own weapon during RFA training.
Rifle zero. The RFA will not usually group in the same location as 5.56-mm ammunition at 25 meters; therefore, it cannot be used for weapon zero. It normally fires a slightly larger shot group than 5.56-mm ammunition. When a soldier uses an RFA in his rifle, he must be careful not to lose his 5.56-mm zero. This can be accomplished by using hold-off while firing.22-caliber ammunition or keeping a record of sight changes so the sights can be moved back. The .22-caliber round approximates the 5.56-mm trajectory out to 25 meters. The correct zeroing target or appropriate scaled-silhouette targets can be used for practice firing exercises at 15 meters (50 feet) or 25 meters.
Advantages and Disadvantages. If the RFA is selected as a training aid, the advantages and disadvantages of the service must be considered during training.
Advantages. The .22-caliber ammunition is cheaper and, therefore, may be available in larger quantities than 5.56-mm ammunition. It can be fired on all approved indoor ranges and in other close-in ranges where 5.56-mm ammunition is prohibited. RFA training can be used to sustain marksmanship skills between periods when full caliber 5.56-mm ammunition training cannot be conducted.
Disadvantages. Some negative training aspects exist because of differences in the weapon's functioning when using the RFA. These differences include the forward assist not working, and the bolt not locking to the rear after the last round is fired. More malfunctions can occur with the RFA than with 5.56-mm ammunition, and immediate-action procedures are different.
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