Aiming Point


Fifurv 64. Importance of correct tight eiinement.

(b) Since it is so important to obtain and hold perfect flight alinement when shooting, the rifleman mast concentrate on it as the first and last steps in aiming. That is, he first concentrates on getting perfect sight alinement, then establishes the proper placement of the aiming point to complete the sight picture, and finally« as he starts to squeeze the trigger, he again concentrates on maintaining perfect sight alinement. At no time during the trigger squeeze should the firer divert his con centration from the front sight blade and main-taining perfect Right alinement. With practice, these three steps will become an almost continuous, automatic process. No matter how quickly they are done, the three steps are always distinct for the flimple reason that the human eye can focus at onty onr distance and on only one point at a time. Therefore, the firer focuses first on the front sight blade to obtain perfect sight alinement, then focuses on the placement of the aiming point to complete the light picture by shifting or adjusting the position of the weapon as necessary, and finally, as he starts to squeeze the trigger, he devotes total concentration back to the front sight blade and maintaining sight alinement. At this point the flrer should see a picture similar to the one shown in figure 61. Notice that the front sight blade stands out clear and distinct while the aiming point and rear sight aperture are slightly fuzzy or blurred.

b. Steady Hold Factora. As the name implies, steady hold is the technique of holding the rifle as steady as possible while alining the sights and firing the weapon. There are eight factors which affect holding a rifle steady. These factors are the same for all firing positions; however, the precise manner in which they apply differs slightly with the various positions.

Note, Neither the hinged shoulder rest nor the iliac ¡* used. Experience hee proven that the soldier will seldom have, or take, time to adjust either la combat.

11) Grip of the left hand. The rifle should lie across the heel of the left hand and reet in the "V" formed by the thumb and forefinger. The grip on the rifle should be relaxed but, at the same time, exerting a slight rearward pressure. The rifle is held at a point which suits both the conformation of the firer's body and the location of the target. If the target is high, the left hand is moved closer to the body thereby raising the muzzle of the rifle. Conversely, if the target is low, the left hand is moved forward causing a corresponding drop in the muzzle of the rifle. The left wrist should be as straight as possible. The left elbow should be directly under the receiver of the rifle or as close to this position as the conformation of the firer's body will permit. With the left elbow directly under the rifle, the bones (rather than the muscles I of the arm support the rifle's weight. The farther away from this position the elbow is located, the greater will be the muscular effort needed to support the rifle. The resulting tensed muscles cause trembling and a corresponding movement of the rifle. However, firers must avoid excessive muscular strain in positioning the elbow as this will also cause trembling. Consequently, inexperienced firers must of necessity undergo a trial and error period until they find the position best suited for them.

<21 Rifle butt in (he pochet of the nhoulder. The firer must place the rifle butt firmly into the pocket formed in the right shoulder. The proper placement of the butt lessens the effect of recoil, helps steady the rifle, and prevents the rifle butt from slipping on the shoulder during firing.

(3) Grip of the right hand. The firer's right hand should grip the small of the stock firmly, but not rigidly. A firm rearward pressure must be exerted by the right hand to keep the rifle butt in its proper position in the pocket of the shoulder and to keep it secure enough against the shoulder to reduce the effects of recoil. The thumb extends over the small of the stock in order to enable the firer to obtain a spot weld- The trigger finger should be positioned on the trigger so there is no contact between the finger and the side of the stock 1fig 651. This permits the trigger to be pressed straight to the rear without disturbing the firer's aim of the rifle.

HI Right elbow. The placement of the right elbow provides balance to the firer's position. Correctly positioned, the elbow helps form a pocket In the shoulder for the rifle butt. The exact location of the right elbow varies in each position and will be described in the explanation of each position.

Spot Weld Rifle
Figure 65. Correct trigger finger position.

(.">1 Spot and stock welds. The spot weld is the point of firm contact between the firer's cheek and thumb on the small of the stock (fig 66). It is obtained by lowering the cheek to the thumb, which is curled over the small of the stock, and rolling up a pad of flesh against the cheekbone to act as a buffer. The firm contact between the head, hand, and rifle enables the head and weapon to recoil as one unit, thereby facilitating rapid recovery between rounds. The spot weld also enables the eye to be positioned the same distance behind the rear sight aperture each time the rifle is aimed and fired. This causes the diameter of the rear sight aperture to appear the same each time a sight picture is obtained, thus further assisting in maintaining correct sight alinement. If the soldier is unable to obtain a spot weld he should use a stock weld (fig (>7l by placing his cheek directly against the stock. The stock weld, if properly used, will achieve the same results as the spot weld.

U>l lireathing. If the firer continues normal breathing while aiming and firing the rifle, the movement of his chest will cause a corresponding movement of the rifle. To avoid this, the soldier must learn to hold his breath for the few seconds required to aim and fire the rifle. Initially, the firer takes a normal breath, releases part of itf and holds the remainder in his lungs. He should not hold his breath for more than approximately 10 seconds; otherwise, his vision may begin to blur, and lung strain may cause muscular tension.

<7) Relaxation. The soldier must be able to relax properly in each firing position. Undue muscular strain or tension causes trembling of parts of the body, which in turn causes a corresponding movement of the rifle. If he finds that a particular position causes excessive strain, he should adjust that position slightly until he is able to relax, providing he does not violate any of the other steady hold factors. An indication of a properly relaxed firing position is the soldier's ability to relax and still maintain his sight picture.

Soldier Shooting BrowningM14 Action FiguresSoldiers With The Rifle
figure ()7. Stork ueld.

(Hi Trigger control. Trigger control is (he independent action of the forefinger on the trigger pressing it straight to the rear with a uniformly increasing pressure until the weapon fires. The trigger finger should contact the trigger at some point between the tip and second joint of the finger <fig 651. The finger must not touch the side of the stock as this will cause pressure to be applied at a slight angle rather than straight to the rear. Such a side pressure on the rifle, no matter how slight, will tend to pull the sights off the aiming point. Correctly applied pressure on the trigger causes no movement of the rifle barrel. It also prevents the rifleman from knowing exactly when the rifle will fire, thus helping him to avoid flinching. Trigger control is the most important of the steady hold factors, and without its proper application the other marksmanship skills are practically useless.

Therefore, instructors should con tinuouslv em •

phasiz-c this fundamental point throughout rifle marksmanship training.

'W. Kiring Positions a. The six standard firing positions taught in the rifle marksmanship program are the prone, prone supported, kneeling, kneeling supported, standing, and foxhole. On the battlefield, a rifleman must assume the steadiest possible position which can provide observation of the target area and some cover and / or concealment. Considering the many xariables of terrain, vegetation, and tactical situations, there are innumerable possible positions that might be used. However, in most instances the\ will be variations of those listed above.

I). Some soldiers will have more difficulty in assuming a particular position than will others. So long as the firer applies the fundamentals of maximum support for his rifle, relaxation, and trigger control, he should be permitted to adjust the position to fit his own body conformation.

c. During initial training in fundamentals, positions are taught in a step-by-step process. The soldier is guided through a series of precise movements until he is in the correct position. This is to insure that he correctly applies all of the steady hold factors. Through practice, the soldier will gradually become accustomed to the feel of the positions and eventually he will know instinctively whether or not his position is correct. This is particularly important in combat since the soldier must be able to assume positions rapidly. There are any number of intermediate positions a combat rifleman might use before assuming his final firing position. He must know instinctively whether or not his position Is correct rather than follow a set sequence of movements to insure its correctness.

d. Throughout position training, the soldier should be continuously checked to insure ba is employing the proper application of the eight steady hold factors, particularly trigger control.

e. The methods of assuming the positions and the conditions governing their use are as follows:

(1) Prone positions. The prone positions (fig 68 end 69) are relatively steady positions, which are easy to assume. These positions present a low silhouette and are easily adapted to tbe nse of cover and support. However, their effectiveness as battlefield firing positions is frequently limited since vegetation and irregularities of terrain will oflsn limit the soldier's field of view.

(a) Assuming the prpno position. To assume the prone position the firer stands facing his target, turn 30 degrees to his right (right banded flrer), spreads his feet a comfortable distance apart, and drops to his knee*. With his right hand at the heel of the stock, he places the rifle butt well out to hie front on an imaginary line drawn between the target and his right knee. Using the rifle butt as a pivot, the firer rolls down on his left side, placing his left elbow as nearly under the rifle as possible. He positions the rifle butt Into the pocket formed in his right shoulder, grasps the small of the stock with his right hand, and lowers his right elbow to the ground. His right elbow should be placed well out from his body and slightly forward so his shoulders are approximately level. The firer exerts a firm rearward pressure with his right hand. To complete the position, the firer obtains a spot weld and relaxes. His spine is straight, and hia legs art spread a comfortable distance apart. Normally, the angle made by the firer s body and the axis of his rifle is approximately 30 degrees. This places enough of the firer'* weight behind the rifle to absorb recoil without unduly disturbing his position.

Proper Finger Placement For CarbineM14a1 Rifle

I Supported

Figure 6M. Prone position.

M14a1 Rifle
2 Alternate Figure 69—Continued.

(b) Assuming the prone supported position. To assume the prone supported position II, fig 6c))t the firer first assumes the prone position. He then adjusts the position to the available support, placing his left hand and forearm against the support. Whether the left elbow is directly under the rifle is of less importance in this position because now the support» rather than the arm, sustains the weight of the rifle. No part of the rifle should be touching the support as this reduces the firer's control of his rifle and hinders rapid recovery between shots.

fc) Alternate prone position. The alternate prone position is an alternate to both of the above positions allowing the firer to cock his right leg (2. fig 601 to assume a comfortable position while maintaining the same relationship between his body and the axis of the rifle. This position relaxes the stomach muscles and allows a heavier firer to breathe easier. In addition it shifts some of the firer"s weight more directly behind the weapon thus absorbing the recoil better.

(21 Kneeling positions. These positions are suitable for use on level ground that slopes gently upward. They can be adjusted in height and are readily adaptable to such supports as trees, corners of buildings, and vehicles.

(a) Kneeling unsupported position. To assume the kneeling unsupported position II, fig 70K the firer faces his target and executes a right face. He places his left foot to his left front pointing toward the target. He kneels on his right knee, sitting on his right heel as he does so. He places his left upper arm on the flat portion of his left knee. With his right hand, he places the rifle butt into the pocket formed in the right shoulder. His right elbow should be horizontal, or slightly above the homontal, to aid in forming a pocket in the right shoulder. To complete the position, he shifts his weight forward and obtains a spot weld. In 2, figure TO, two additional methods of positioning the right foot are shown when assuming the kneeling position.

Aiming Gun While Kneeling
1 I. nnupported Figure 70. K neeling positions.

(b) A Iternate kneeling position. The alternate kneeling position is an alternate to the kneeling positions above allowing the soldier to drop his right elbow down to a position comfortable to the firer while still maintaining the proper placement of the butt in the shoulder to prevent the butt from slipping on the shoulder during firing (3. fig 701. This position is suggested for individual firers who have difficulty maintaining the right elbow horizontal to the ground without experiencing muscle strain and excessive movement of the rifle.

(r) Kneeling supported position. To assume the kneeling supported position Ifig Til. the firer first assumes the kneeling position. He then shifts his weight forward, allowing his left shoulder, left arm, and left leg to come into contact with the support. The rifle should not touch or rest on the support, since the friction of the rifle against the support would slow recovery between shots and limit the firer s ability to rapidly shift his point of aim.

(3 I Standing position. The standing position 11. fig 721 is used in the assault, to engage surprise targets, and / or when no other position can be used.

(af Assuming the standing position. To assume the standing position, the firer faces his target, executes a right face, and spreads his feet a comfortable distance apart. With his right hand at the small of the stock, he places the rifle butt high against his shoulder so that the sights are level with his eyes. He holds his right elbow high to form a pocket in his right shoulder. This also permits him to exert a strong rearward pressure with his right arm and hand. He places his left hand under the rifle in a position to best assist in supporting and steadying the rifle. To complete the position, the firer shifts his feet until he is aiming naturally at the target and <1 ¡»tributes his weight evenly on both hips.

(b) Alternate standing position. The alternate standing position (2, fig 721 is suggested for the individual firer who has difficulty maintaining the position above without experiencing muscle strain and excessive "wobble/* To assume the alternate standing position, the firer faces the target, executes a right face, and places his feet a "comfortable" distance apart. The right hand and arm are placed the same as in the position above except that the right elbow may be dropped below the horizontal to a comfortable position. The left elbow is held tight against the firer's left side and the left hand grasps the bottom of the magazine (balance of the weapon! palm up, with the base of the magazine resting in the palm of the hand in the %%V" formed by the thumb and four fingers. The weight of the rifle should be supported by the firer's left forearm such that the elbow is resting on the firer\ left side and the bone of the forearm is supporting the rifle weight rather than the muscles of the left arm. The firer must arch his back slightly and obtain a good stock weld. To complete the position, the firer shifts his feet until he is aiming naturally at the target and distributes his weight evenly on both feet.

<4) hoxhole position. The foxhole position I fig 731 is used whenever such prepared positions are available. The soldier enters the foxhole» adds or removes dirt, sandbags, or other supports to best fit his height, and then assumes a comfortable firing position. He assumes this firing position by placing his feet as in the standing position and then leans forward until his chest is against the right forward corner of the foxhole. He extends his left arm and elbow over the forward side of the foxhole, allowing the parapet or sandbags to support the left forearm. The firer places the rifle butt into the pocket formed in the right shoulder and grasps the small of the stock with his right hand. He places the right elbow outside of the foxhole, blocking it against solid support. As in the other supported positions, the rifle must not rest on or touch the support.

Rifle Butt Stock Wire Shoulder Support
2 Kn**ling position ; variation» of right foot poaition Figure 70—Continued.
Standing Position Aiming

3 Alternate Figure 70—Continued.

M14 Standing Stance
Figure 71. Kneeling supported position.
M14 Standing Stance

1 Primary Figure 72. Standing position.

'2 Alternate Figure 72—0*n tinned.

M14 Standing Stance
rigure i J. Foxhole position.

40. Wobble Area

"Wobble" is the movement of the rifle that occurs during aiming. "Wobble area" is the extent of this movement in all directions. From the firer's viewpoint, the wobble area is indicated by the movement of the front sight post on and around the aiming point. This movement is a natural occurrence and can never be completely eliminated. The size of the wobble area depends upon the stability of the firing position.

a. Firing Positions. The more stable a firer's position, the smaller his wobble area will be. Therefore, if a firer has a choice of positions, he should select the most stable position that affords observation of the target area.

h. Trigger ('ontrot. Wobble is a relative matter: e.g.. the prone position affords more stability than standing. Since the body, and thus the weapon, will tend to move back and forth and / or up and down, the inexperienced firer must be taught to apply pressure to the trigger during his wobble and not attempt to jerk the trigger when the sight picture "looks perfect." The application of this principle of pressing-through during the wobble will great)) reduce the tendency of the shooter to jerk or snap the shot, which may result in a miss. Kssent¡ally. the firer must learn to control the pressure on the trigger so that the rifle will fire during the few seconds it is wobbling the least. As soon as the firer has obtained a correct sight picture, he applies pressure to the trigger, even after the rifle fires, fhis procedure helps to prevent excessive wobbling at the instant the rifle is fired.

41. Ko I low through

Follow through is the continued application of the fundamentals after each round has been fired. That is. the firer maintains his position and sight alinement. holds his breath, and continues to press the trigger to the rear, even though the rifle has fired.

12. Calling the Shot u. When a soldier "calls his shot" he is indicating the place on the target at which he thinks his rifle was aimed the instant it fired. In case of 25 meter range targets, a shot is "called" by indicating the relationship between where the rifle was pointing at the instant of firing, and the aiming point on the target. If his sights were alined anv where on the aiming point, the firer would call "Hit." Over or under the aiming point, the call w ouhi be either "II igh" or "Low and to the sides. High I' or "Left." These calls can also be combined. such as "High-right or "Low-left.' As the firer becomes more experienced he can become even more precise in his "calls." Kor example, "Hit. high-right would mean the firer hit the upper right portion of the black rectangular square. "Low, slightlv left would mean the firer was well beneath the aiming point but just barely off its left edge.

During 25-meter firing, the soldier must immediately record his call of the shot on his firing data card (fig 76k h. Initally, soldiers may have difficulty in calling their shots. The primary reason for this is that many soldiers vrill not properly follow through and thus have no idea of their sight picture at the instant of firing. Such firers must receive close supervision if they are to correct this fault. The ability to call his shot will greatly assist the flrer in zeroing his weapon. 43. Shot Group Analysis h. A perfect shot group is one in which all rounds hit the target at exactly the same point. However, factors wuch as wind, the ability of the firer, and the slight manufacturing differences between rounds of ammunition make such a shot group virtually impossible. Shot groups are analysed by studying the arrangement of the bullet holes on the target. The distance between these holes and the overall pattern made by the shot group are considered in determining the proficiency of the firer. As a general rule, the smaller the pattern, the better the shot group (fig. 74).

h. Most unsatisfactory shot groups are elongated, either vertically or horiaontally, and are the direct result of Incorrect sight pictures. That la, at the instant of firing, the soldier ha* an error in sight alinement, in the placement of the aiming point, or a combination of the two. However, the fact that an obviously Incorrect sight picture occurred at the instant of firing does not necessarily isolate It as the only mistake. For example, incorrect application of pre**ure on the trigger will almost always pull the sights out of alinement and / or off the aiming point. Improper breathing or undue muscular strain can also cause aiming errors, although these are less common mistakes than improper trigger control. Instructors must keep in mind that any of several improperly applied fundamentals can disarrange the sight picture and cause unsatifactory shot groups. Consequently, they should carefully observe a fixer's application of all fundamentals to insure that the actual mistake is identified.

c. Assuming that all fundamentals except aiming have been eliminated as the cause of the firer's unsatisfactory shot groups, the coach or instructor can then use the size and configuration of the shot group patterns to determine the specific type of aiming error. The relationship of these patterns to the type of aiming errors is as follows:

111 Long, vertical shot groups are the result of vertical sight alinement. That is, the firer has positioned the front sight blade too high or too low in the rear sight aperture.

(21 Long, horizontal shot groups are the result of improper horizontal sight alinement. That is, the firer has positioned the front sight blade too far to the right or left in the rear sight aperture.

(31 A small or 4'tight" shot group indicates proper application of the eight steady hold factor*, and correct sight picture.

d. During fundamentals training, each soldier should be given a rifle shot group analysis card (fig 741 to assist him in determining and correcting hit own mistakes. These cards depict several different types of unsatisfactory shot groups, the probable error* that caused them, and the necessary corrective action.

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