Modifications For Automatic Fire Positions

Trainers must consider the impact of the greatly increased rate of fire on the soldier's ability to properly apply the fundamentals of marksmanship and other combat firing skills. These fundamentals/skills include:

Immediate Action. To maintain automatic fire, immediate action must be applied quickly. The firer must identify the problem and correct it immediately. Repeated dry-fire practice, using blanks or dummy rounds, followed by live-fire training and evaluation ensures that soldiers can rapidly apply immediate action.

Marksmanship Fundamentals. The four fundamentals are used when firing in the automatic mode. The following differences apply:

Steady position (Figure 4-4). Maximum use of available artificial support is necessary during automatic fire. The rifle should be gripped more firmly and pulled into the shoulder more securely than when firing in the semiautomatic mode. This support and increased grip help to offset the progressive displacement of weapon/target alignment caused by recoil. To provide maximum stability, prone and supported positions are best. One possible modification involves forming a 5-inch loop with the sling at the upper sling swivel, grasping this loop with the non firing hand, and pulling down and to the rear while firing. Another modification involves grasping the small of the stock with the non firing hand, and applying pressure down and to the rear while firing. If a bipod is not available, sandbags may be used to support the rifle. The non firing hand may be positioned on the rifle wherever it provides the most stability and flexibility. The goal is to maintain weapon stability and minimize recoil.

Figure 4-4. Steady positions.

Figure 4-4. Steady positions.

What The Most Steady Firing Position

Aiming. The aiming process does not change during automatic fire. The firer's head remains on the stock, his firing eye stays aligned with the rear sight aperture, and his focus is on the front sight post. Although recoil may disrupt this process, the firer must try to apply the aiming techniques throughout recoil.

Breath control. Breath control must be modified because the firer will not have the time to breathe between shots. He must hold his breath for each burst and adapt his breathing cycle, taking breaths between bursts.

Trigger squeeze. Training and repeated dry-fire practice will aid the soldier in applying proper trigger squeeze during automatic firing. Live-fire exercises will enable him to improve this skill.

NOTE: The trigger is not slapped or jerked. It is squeezed and pressure is quickly released.

• M16AI. Trigger squeeze is applied in the normal manner up to the instant the rifle fires. Because three-round bursts are the most effective rate of fire, pressure on the trigger should be released as soon as possible. The index finger should remain on the trigger, but a quick release of pressure is necessary to prevent an excessive amount of rounds from being fired in one burst. With much dry-fire practice, the soldier can become proficient at delivering three-round bursts with the squeeze/release technique.

• M16A2. Trigger squeeze is applied in the normal manner up to the instant the rifle fires. Using the burst-mode, the firer holds the trigger to the rear until three rounds are fired. He then releases pressure on the trigger until it resets, then reapplies pressure for the next three-round burst.

NOTE: Depending on the position of the burst cam when the selector is moved to the burst mode, the rifle may fire one, two, or three rounds when the trigger is held to the rear the first time. ff the rifle fires only one or two rounds, the firer must quickly release pressure on the trigger and squeeze again, holding it to the rear until a three-round burst is completed.

Magazine Changes. Rapid magazine changes are vital in maintaining automatic fire. (See SECTION II. RAPID SEMIAUTOMATIC FIRE, Magazine Handling, for detailed information on rapid magazine changes.)

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