The Dragon gunner should receive training in the following sequence to control the missile launch and flight:
• Tracking exercises.
• Qualification and verification.
The gunner must acquire and maintain a stable body position relative to the weapon and be able to move smoothly when tracking a moving target. The round must be solidly anchored on the muscle of the gunner's shoulder. His arms and hands must be properly placed to squeeze the trigger and to maintain the stability of the round. The position of the eye against the eyepiece is critical. Keeping the eye firmly pressed into (against) the eyepiece reduces launch-induced movement and prevents obscuration. The three basic firing positions for the Dragon are the sitting, standing supported, and kneeling. The gunner uses a modified sitting position to fire the Dragon from the M175 mount. The M175 mount fits the M3 or M122 machine gun tripod. (For more information about use of the tripod, see Appendix E.)
a. Sitting Position. Demonstrate the sitting position, then have the soldiers assume the position also (Figure 5-1). Instruct them as follows:
(1) The sitting position is the most stable. Sit with your legs extended as far as possible. Place the notch of your boot heels on the bipod and push outward.
(2) Lean forward from your waist as far as possible. Pick up the round and place it on the muscle portion of your shoulder, keeping it tight against the curve of your neck (Figure 5-2).
(3) Grasp the barrel of the sight with your left hand, curling your thumb under the tube. Grasp the firing mechanism with your right hand, with your thumb on the safety, three fingers on the firing lever, and your little finger on the front of the firing mechanism. Place the heel of your hand on the base of the firing mechanism to provide a firm grip and reduce slippage. When firing, hold the trigger in the depressed position; if you release your hand, you will experience an involuntary muscle reaction that will affect the sight and in turn the path of the round.
(4) Lift your head to align your right eye with the telescopic sight. Press your head forward and press your eye firmly against the eye guard. This forces your eye to stay open. Close your left eye, and keep it closed. If necessary, focus the sight.
(5) Pull down and back with your hands while pushing out with your feet. Try to touch your elbows together and to your chest at the same time (Table 5-2).
(6) Keep your back as straight as possible while leaning forward for better breath control. This limits discomfort and increases your ability to move your upper body.
(7) Maintain arm, back, and leg muscle tension. Use enough force that you do not experience an involuntary muscle reaction when the weight of the missile is removed from your shoulder.
1. Stress the need for keeping the pull-down force on the sight and the eye tight in the eye guard.
2. Body position and breath control are the two key elements to effectively engage targets.
3. Ensure the gunner keeps his body and limbs clear of the backblast area. He must keep the round at least 6 inches off the ground in order for the missile fins to clear the ground.
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