Dryfire Training

Dry-fire training is designed to teach the gunner the essentials of MG gunnery, including safety. Dry-fire training also includes sighting, aiming, sight setting, laying, manipulating the gun, manipulating the T&E mechanism, and determining the range. Thorough, carefully supervised training of these essentials is necessary to conserve time and ammunition during live fire. Practical exercises should be used to determine gunners' proficiency. Mastery of these skills is a must before the gunner is allowed to move on to the next phase of training. Practice is a must to achieve mastery.

a. Sighting and Aiming. Sighting is the ability of the gunner to use correct sight alignment and correct sight picture to engage targets.

(1) The first step in proper sighting is finding a natural, comfortable spot where the gunner is able to see the front sight blade through the rear peep sight. It is important the gunner understands that the spot he chooses to sight from must be constant throughout his firing.

(2) The second step in sighting is to move the weapon until the top center of the front sight blade is exactly in the center of the rear sight peep hole. The gunner can achieve this by drawing imaginary lines that bisect in the center of the rear peephole and then placing the top of the front ight blade center of them. This is correct sight alignment (Figure 5-6).

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Figure 5-6. Correct sight alignment.

(3) The third step is to establish correct sight picture. To perform this task, the gunner adjusts the weapon until the top center of the front sight blade is bottom center of the intended target. Correct sight picture is a combination of sight alignment and placement of point of aim (Figure 5-7).

(3) The third step is to establish correct sight picture. To perform this task, the gunner adjusts the weapon until the top center of the front sight blade is bottom center of the intended target. Correct sight picture is a combination of sight alignment and placement of point of aim (Figure 5-7).

Correct Sight Picture Handgun
Figure 5-7. Correct sight picture.

b. Range Setting and Laying. Range setting and laying the gun are important elements in marksmanship training. It is this training that prepares the gunner to accurately and rapidly place fire on his target in combat. To properly set ranges, the gunner must be trained in rear sight operation.

(1) Setting ranges on the rear sight is a simple but important task. The gunner just has to rotate the elevating screw knob in a clockwise manner to move the peep sight up or counterclockwise to move it down. The range scale on the left is graduated in mils and the scale on the right in yards. The gunner must align the hairline index of the peep sight with the scale index line at the desired range as quickly and accurately as possible.

(2) Laying is placing the barrel of the weapon on a direct line with the target, using the sights. This must also be done as quickly and accurately as possible.

(3) The range setting and laying exercises are designed to require the gunner to practice and the instructor to evaluate both correct sight alignments and correct placements of aiming points. The exercise starts with the gunner in the sitting firing position with rear sight down. The coach will announce a range and general aiming point. The gunner will then repeat the range and direction of target. The coach will then announce, "Begin." The gunner will then raise and set his sights, and align the weapon on the aim point. When the gunner completes this task, he will announce "Up." The coach will then get behind the weapon and check the range setting and aim point and critique the gunner on his findings. This exercise will be continued until speed and accuracy is obtained.

c. Traversing and Elevating Mechanism. Manipulation of the T&E mechanism (Figure 5-8) is another key factor in effectively engaging targets. The gunner is taught how to instinctively manipulate the T&E mechanism to shift from one target to another. The gunners are trained to use the traversing handwheel, the traversing slide lock, and the elevating handwheel.

(1) The traversing mechanism consists of a traversing handwheel, locking nut, scale, and yoke. The T&E mechanism is attached to the traversing bar of the M3 bipod.

(a) The traversing bar is graduated in 5-mil increments and fits between the trail legs of the M3 tripod. The traversing slide and screw assembly are clamped in place on the traversing bar by the traversing slide lock lever. When the traversing slide is locked to the traversing bar, the traversing handwheel should be centered. The traversing slide is properly mounted when the lock lever is to the rear and the traversing handwheel is positioned to the left.

Figure 5-8. Traversing and elevating mechanism.

(b) To make changes in direction, loosen the traversing slide lock lever and move the slide along the traversing bar. This permits traverse of 400 mils left or right of the zero index in the center of the traversing bar. Readings on the traversing bar are taken from the left side of the traversing slide. For changes of 50 mils or less in deflection, turn the traversing handwheel. This allows a traverse of 50 mils left or right of center. One click in the traversing handwheel signifies 1 mil change in direction.

(2) The elevating mechanism consists of an upper and lower elevating screw, which is connected to the gun by inserting the quick release pin assembly through the holes in the upper elevating screw yoke and the rear mounting lugs of the receiver. A scale, graduated in mils, is fitted to the upper screw to indicate elevation. This scale is marked to show (-) minus 250 mils in depression and ( + ) plus 100 mils in elevation from the zero setting.

(3) The elevating handwheel is graduated in 1 mil increments from 0 to 50 mils and is fastened to the elevating screw by a screw lock. This synchronizes the handwheel graduations with those on the upper elevating screw. A spring-actuated index device produces a clicking sound when the handwheel is turned. Each click equals 1 mil change in elevation. The handwheel is turned clockwise to depress the barrel and counterclockwise to elevate.

(4) Direction and elevation readings constitute the data necessary to engage preselected target areas during limited visibility. These readings are measured by and recorded from the traversing bar and the T&E mechanism. To obtain accurate readings, the T&E must be first zeroed with all measurements recorded in mils.

(a) To zero the traversing handwheel, the gunner must first hold the T&E so that the traversing handwheel is on his left as he looks at it. He then turns the handwheel toward himself until it stops, loosens the locking nut slightly, and aligns the zero on the scale with the zero on the elevating screw yoke. Once the zeros are aligned, he tightens the locking nut. He must then turn the handwheel two complete turns away from the body and stop. The scale should again be on the zero. If this procedure is done at night, the gunner will turn 50 clicks away from him.

(b) To zero the elevating handwheel, the gunner must first turn the handwheel up or down until the handwheel is level with the line directly under the zero on the elevating screw plate scale, and the elevating handwheel indicator is pointing to the zero on the top of the handwheel. The elevating mechanism sleeve is then rotated up until it is stopped by the handwheel. The gunner then rotates the sleeve down until it stops, making sure he counted each complete rotation. He then divides the number of rotations by two, rotates the sleeve back up that number, and stops. The T&E mechanism is now ready to be attached to the tripod.

(c) To obtain and record direction readings, the gunner sets the sight on the proper range to hit the target, loosens the traversing slide lock lever, and slides the T&E mechanism along the traversing bar until the weapon is sighted on the aiming point of the target. The T&E mechanism is then locked down by tightening the traversing slide lock lever. All readings are taken from the left side of the sleeve mechanism. If the left side of the sleeve is not exactly on one of the 5-mil tick marks, the gunner must slide the sleeve to the next smaller tick mark to align it exactly. The traversing handwheel is then used to move the weapon back on point of aim. The direction is now ready to be recorded. The reading is taken from the number on the traversing bar and the direction from the direction of the barrel of the weapon. If the sleeve mechanism is on the right side of the zero on the traversing bar, then the reading is left; if it is on the left side of the zero, then it is a right reading. The width of a target may also be measured and recorded by first moving the traversing handwheel until the sights are aligned with the right or left side of the target. The clicks required to do this measure the width.

NOTE: Before repositioning the weapon for another target, the gunner must realign the handwheel.

(d) To obtain an elevation reading, the gunner must first ensure that the sights are aligned and at the desired aim point of the target. The elevation reading is made up of two portions, a major reading and a minor reading. The major reading is taken from the elevating screw plate scale. The scale is graduated in 50-mil increments and ranges from a minus (-) 250 mils to a plus ( + ) 100 mils with a zero between them. There is an index line below each number and a plus or minus sign above each number, with the exception of the zero. The zero does not have a plus or minus sign. To obtain the elevation reading, the gunner should lower his head until his eyes are level with the elevating handwheel. The major reading is the first number with a plus or minus sign, with its index line just visible above the elevating handwheel. The minor reading is taken from the top surface of the elevating handwheel. It is graduated in l-mil increments for a total of 50 mils. The handwheel is also equipped with an indicator that points to each number on the handwheel as it is turned. Once the gunner has the major reading from the screw plate scale, he will then get the minor reading by looking at the number at which the indicator is pointing. Both portions of the elevation reading are recorded by placing a slash (/) mark between the two portions.

(e) An elevation reading is valid only on one T&E mechanism. If the same data is placed on another T&E mechanism using the same weapon, the data may be inaccurate. The number of threads exposed on the T&E must remain the same both when obtaining and recording data. If the number of exposed threads is changed in any manner, the firing will be off target. For example, when a gun is freed to engage targets in the secondary sector, the data will be correct if the gunner ensures that the same amount of threads is exposed when he returns to his primary sector of fire.

(f) To ensure that the data is correct, the gunner should fire and adjust his weapon.

(5) The T&E manipulation exercise gives the gunner practice and the instructor a tool to evaluate the gunner's progress (Figure 5-9, page 5-12). The exercise is conducted in two stages. Both stages require the coach to give directions and the gunner to respond. In the first stage, the coach positions himself about 10 paces to the front of the gun. He then directs the gunner to manipulate the weapon in certain directions. He indicates the direction by the use of hand signals. The gunner responds by manipulating the T&E mechanism with his left hand. The gunner must keep his eyes on the coach; at no time during this exercise is he permitted to look at the T&E mechanism. The coach must be very attentive during the first stage because the gunner will be manipulating using the elevating handwheel and the traversing handwheel. The second stage is done in the same way except the gunner must make bold changes in elevation and deflection. The exercise continues until the instructor is satisfied that the gunner can manipulate the weapon by T&E without looking at the device. This exercise can also be conducted using the basic MG target. The gunner will be shifted from one selected target to another. The coach must observe all movements of the gunner during this training.

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Figure 5-9. Manipulation exercise.
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