Commanders should consider using disinterested or outside evaluators for the official record fire to assist in objective collection and analysis of data. Soldiers, squads, or platoons should not score themselves.

Commanders should be concerned about rating distributions. High distribution in the unqualified lowest category indicates skill erosion in the unit. A normal distribution for every 100 soldiers in an average unit should be at least 30 experts, 60 sharpshooters, and 10 marksmen. A well-trained unit will be higher.

The standard fire course designed to measure and provide indicators on the application or performance of several individual combat tasks/skills. When record fire is conducted correctly, most of the following tasks can be observed and objectively measured.

• Maintenance of weapons and magazines.

• Conduct of a serviceability check.

• Demonstration of an understanding of the rifle.

• Application of immediate action.

• Scanning of a designated area/sector and detect targets.

• Quick and consistent application of the four fundamentals of marksmanship.

• Engagement of targets from supported and unsupported positions.

• Knowledge of the effects of wind and gravity.

• Management of ammunition.

• Accurate battlesight zero of the rifle.

Commanders may designate what uniform and equipment will be worn during record fire. Firers should wear LBE and a helmet while firing the record course. When record firing is done for qualification, the soldier does not receive coaching or assistance. If a rifle malfunctions, the soldier applies immediate action and tries to clear the stoppage. Soldiers should prepare for training before live fire in the orientation and ready areas.

Orientation Area. This area is located close to the firing area so soldiers cannot see the firing area. Record fire orientation includes conduct of record fire, instructions on safety, range operations, ammunition handling, and scoring.

Ready Area. This area is located near the firing range so soldiers cannot see targets on the range. The soldier blackens the rifle sights, lubricates the rifle (if needed), and checks for defects in the rifle, magazines, and ammunition that might cause malfunctions. Defective magazines or ammunition should be exchanged before firing. The NCOIC supervises the activities of soldiers in the ready area. The unit armorer replaces damaged or broken parts discovered before firing. Soldiers should load ammunition into their own magazines.

NOTE: Replacing any element of the sight system changes the battlesight zero of the rifle. When replacing the part, the ordnance repairman informs the ready area NCO so the rifle can be zeroed again.

When the M16 pencil is used, everybody loses. Automatic scoring eliminates many potential problems, but most ranges must use manual scoring. A buzzer or whistle should be sounded when the targets are lowered at the end of their exposure time so

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