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Ultimate Firearms Training Guide

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Dry-fire training and live-fire training are necessary to mastering basic rifle marksmanship. The soldier must adhere to the following procedures and applications to be effective in combat.

Dry-Fire Exercises. Repeated training and dry-fire practice are the most effective means available to ensure all soldiers can function efficiently after dark.

Target detection and dry-fire exercises must be conducted before the first live round is fired. They can take place almost anywhere -elaborate live-fire range facilities are not needed. Modified fundamentals can be taught in a classroom/practical exercise situation. Further training in the proper zeroing and engagement techniques can take place anywhere that targets can be set up and darkness can be expected.

Without extensive dry-fire training, soldiers do not perform to standards during live fire. Valuable range time and ammunition are wasted in a final attempt to teach the basics.

The soldier must demonstrate skill during daylight live fire. Next, he is trained in the differences and modifications needed for successful night firing. Many dry-fire exercises are conducted until skill at night firing is displayed. Only then is the soldier ready to move on to the night live-fire exercises.

Live-Fire Exercises. These exercises continue to develop the firing skills acquired during dry-fire exercises, and they allow the soldier to experience the effects of darkness on downrange performance.

The basic unassisted live-fire exercise allows all soldiers to apply night-fire principles, and to gain confidence in their abilities to effectively engage targets at 25 and 50 meters. Practice and proficiency firing can be conducted on any range equipped with mechanical lifters and muzzle flash simulators. A small square of reflective material and a shielded low wattage flashing light (protected from bullet impact) may be used to facilitate target detection. (Figures 5-3) The light should be placed to highlight the center of the target with a flashing, faint glow (intended to represent a muzzle flash). The light should not be on constantly, when the target is not exposed, or on when the target is exposed but not being used in actual engagement. The light should provide the firer with a momentary indication that a target is presenting itself for engagement. It should not be attached to the target or provide the firer with a distinct aiming point, regardless of how dim it may be. Practice can also be accomplished by the use of MILES equipment and target interface devices.

Figure 5-3. Night fife target.

Figure 5-3. Night fife target.

M16 Record Fire Range

When an automated record fire range (RETS) is used for this exercise, the two 50-meter mechanisms are used. Before training, one E-type silhouette target is replaced with an F-type silhouette target. The F-type silhouette target is engaged at 25 meters from the prone unsupported position. The soldier is issued one magazine of 15 rounds (5 rounds ball; 10 rounds tracer) and presented 15 ten-second exposures. The firing line is moved, and the soldier engages the E-type silhouette target at 50 meters. He is issued a second 15-round magazine (5 rounds ball; 10 rounds tracer) to engage 15 ten-second exposures.

When the automated range is used, the soldier's performance is recorded in the tower. If automatic scoring is not available, F-type and E-type silhouette paper facings are attached to the mechanical target, and bullet holes are counted. Facings may be repaired or replaced for each firer.

To meet the annual/semiannual minimum performance requirements, all soldiers must hit and kill seven separate targets out of 30 exposures. The results are annotated on the soldier's record fire scorecard.

• Individual. Application of immediate action, rapid magazine changes, and refinements of the modified quick-fire aiming point should be tested and evaluated for further training.

• Unassisted. After soldiers exhibit proficiency of individual tasks, training and evaluation at ranges beyond those possible using only the rifle are indicated.

• Artificial illumination. After mastering the unassisted night fire task and after repeated dry-fire training under artificial illumination, the soldier is ready to be tested and evaluated using live fire under illumination. Pop-up or stationary targets at ranges out to 175 meters (depending on light conditions, terrain features, and vegetation) may be used. Illumination is provided by flares, mortar/artillery, or floodlights. Once these tasks are mastered, further training and evaluation using NVDs is indicated. Multipurpose range complexes can be used for night firing by using artificial illumination. Automated field fire or record fire ranges can also be used by adding lighting. During this training, soldiers engage targets at 75 to 175 meters. Several target scenarios are possible. A typical training exercise would present 30 random exposures of the 75-meter and 175-meter targets (or optional 100-meter and 200-meter targets). Soldiers should be expected to hit at least 10 targets. Tracer ammunition can be used to enhance training.

• Night vision devices. Repeated training and dry-fire practice on the proper use of NVDs are essential to the successful conduct of any live-fire training using these devices. Firers must understand the equipment and skillfully employ it. NVDs can provide engagement capabilities out to 300 meters.

NOTE: Spotlights or floodlights can be modified through use of a rheostat to simulate the flickering, bright/dim nature of artificial illumination. Lights should not be used to continuously spotlight targets. Unanticipated artificial illumination may render NVDs difficult to see through or may shut the device off. Live-fire training should consider any problems incurred by such unexpected illumination.

• Unit. Parts of unit STXS, FTXS, and LFXs should be conducted at night. This training should include target detection, unassisted MILES and live fire, artificial illumination, and NVDS. Targets out to 300 meters may be used, depending on the existing conditions. Emphasis is on soldier knowledge and skills displayed.

NOTE: See FM 25-7 for a description of ranges available and recommended for live-fire training.

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