Soldiers should be well trained in all aspects of slow semiautomatic firing before attempting any rapid-fire training. Those who display a lack of knowledge of the fundamental skills should not advance to rapid semiautomatic training until these skills are learned. Initial training should focus on the modifications to the fundamentals and other basic combat skills necessary during rapid semiautomatic firing.
Dry-Fire Exercises. Repeated dry-fire exercises are the most efficient means available to ensure soldiers can apply modifications to the fundamentals. Multiple dry-fire exercises are needed, emphasizing a rapid shift in position and point of aim, followed by breath control and fast trigger squeeze. Blanks or dummy rounds may be used to train rapid magazine changes and the application of immediate action. The soldier should display knowledge and skill during these dry-fire exercises before attempting live fire.
Live-Fire Exercises. There are two types of live-fire exercises.
Individual. Emphasis is on each soldier maintaining a heavy volume of accurate fire. Weapon down time (during immediate action and rapid magazine changes) is kept to a minimum. Firing should begin at shorter ranges, progressing to longer ranges as soldiers display increased proficiency. Exposure or engagement times are shortened and the number of rounds increased to simulate the need for a heavy volume of fire. Downrange feedback is necessary to determine accuracy of fire.
Unit. Rapid semiautomatic fire should be the primaiy means of delivering fire during a unit LFX. It is the most accurate technique of placing a large volume of fire on poorly defined targets or target areas. Emphasis should be on staggered rapid magazine changes, maintaining a continuous volume of fire and conserving ammunition.
Automatic fire delivers the maximum amount of rounds into a target area. It should be trained only after the soldier has demonstrated expertise during slow and rapid semiautomatic fire. Automatic fire involves the rapid application of the four fundamentals while delivering from 3 to 13 rounds per second into a designated area. This technique of fire allows a unit to place the most fire in a target area (when conserving ammunition is not a consideration). It is a specialized technique of delivering suppressive fire and may not apply to most combat engagements. The M16A1 rifle has a full automatic setting. (The M16A2 uses a three-round burst capability.) Soldiers must be taught the advantages and disadvantages of automatic fir ing so they know when it should be used. Without this knowledge, in a life-threatening situation the soldier will tend to switch to the automatic/burst mode. This fire can be effective in some situations. It is vital for the unit to train and practice the appropriate use of automatic fire.
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