Automatic fire delivers the maximum amount of rounds into a target area. It should be trained only after the soldier has demonstrated expertise during slow and rapid semiautomatic fire. Automatic fire involves the rapid application of the four fundamentals while delivering from 3 to 13 rounds per second into a designated area. This technique of fire allows a unit to place the most fire in a target area (when conserving ammunition is not a consideration). It is a specialized technique of delivering suppressive fire and may not apply to most combat engagements. The M16A1 rifle has a full automatic setting. (The M16A2 uses a three-round burst capability.) Soldiers must be taught the advantages and disadvantages of automatic firing so they know when it should be used. Without this knowledge, in a life-threatening situation the soldier will tend to switch to the automatic/burst mode. This fire can be effective in some situations. It is vital for the unit to train and practice the appropriate use of automatic fire.
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