Moving Target Fundamentals

The fundamentals needed to hit moving targets are similar to those needed to hit stationary targets. The main skill is to engage moving targets with the least changes to procedures. Another consideration is that soldiers in a combat defensive position do not know if their next target will be stationary or moving -they must fire immediately at whatever targets occur.

The fundamentals for engaging stationary targets are steady position, aiming, breath control, and trigger squeeze. They are also used to engage moving targets. Considering the environment and the variables of the rifle and ammunition, the well-trained soldier should be able to hit 300-meter stationary silhouette targets with a .5 PH. When the target has lateral movement, hits at 150 meters may be seven out of ten times, which is a good performance. Therefore, twice as much variability, twice as much dispersion, and a few more erratic shots are expected when soldiers are trained to hit moving targets.

The procedures used to engage moving targets vary as the angle and speed of the target vary. For example, when a moving target is moving directly at the firer, the same procedures are used as would be used if the target were stationary. However, if it is a close, fast-moving target at a 90-degree angle, the rifle and entire upper body of the firer must be free from support so that the target can be tracked. To hit moving targets, the firer must move the rifle smoothly and steadily as the target moves. The front sight post is placed with the trailing edge at target center, breath is held, and the trigger is squeezed. Several factors complicate this process.

Steady position. When firing from a firing position, the firer is in the standard supported position and is flexible enough to track any target in his sector. When a moving target is moving directly at the firer, directly away, or at a slight angle, the target is engaged without changing the firing position. When targets have much lateral movement, only minor changes are needed to allow for effective target engagement. Most moving targets are missed in the horizontal plane (firing in front of or behind the target) and not in the vertical plane (firing too low or too high). Therefore, a smooth track is needed on the target, even if the support arm must be lifted. Other adjustments include the following:

-- Non firing hand. The grip of the non firing hand may need to be increased and more pressure applied to the rear. This helps to maintain positive control of the rifle and steady it for rapid trigger action.

-- Non firing elbow. The elbow is lifted from the support position only to maintain a smooth track.

-- Grip of the tight hand Rearward pressure may be applied to the pistol grip to steady the rifle during trigger squeeze.

-- Firing elbow. The firing elbow is lifted from support only to help maintain a smooth track. NOTE: The rifle pocket on the shoulder and the stock weld are the same for stationary targets. Aiming. The trailing edge of the front sight post is at target center. Breath control. Breathing is locked at the moment of trigger squeeze.

Trigger squeeze. Rearward pressure on the handguard and pistol grip is applied to hold the rifle steady while pressure is applied to the trigger. The trigger is squeezed fast (almost a controlled jerk). Heavy pressure is applied on the trigger (at least half the pressure it takes to make the rifle fire) before squeezing the trigger.

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