Moving Towards a Solution

Beginning in 1978, a series of field experiments was conducted to evaluate potential solutions to some of the problems listed in Table 1. Initially, three different experimental training programs were compared, using airborne soldiers from a FORSCOM unit preparing for their annual rifle qualification. Soldiers in the training program that featured greater performance feedback, increased instructor quality, and increased instructor quantity achieved significantly more hits on a culminating record fire scenario than other soldiers.1' This training program was subsequently published by the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit as a recommended interim marksmanship training program for FORSCOM units.'2

Two of the major problems identified in BRM were that soldiers didn't understand the zeroing process and inadequate feedback was provided about shots fired at ranges

ARI Develops an Easier Way to Zero

The old 25m zeroing target, called the Canadian Bull, gave soldiers no intrinsic clues about what they should do to zero their rifle. Its aiming point was like no other target they would ever encounter and its large grid squares didn't really correspond to the increments of sight adjustment (i.e., clicks) built into the M16A1 rifle. So ARI set about designing an easier and more meaningful zeroing target for soldiers. The new 25m ARI zeroing target featured a scaled 250m silhouette surrounded by an easier-to-understand grid system Each grid square corresponded to one click of sight adjustment, whether windage or elevation. Small diagrams of the rifle's front and rear sights in the margins of the target reminded soldiers which way to turn their sights to make subsequent shots hit closer to the silhouette's center. Grid lines were numbered, so soldiers could easily tell how many clicks of vertical and lateral adjustment were needed.

Invisible from the firing line, a 4cm circle was positioned at the center of the silhouette target. This circle a zeroing performance standard for consecutive three-round shot groups. Based on minutes of angle, it also equaled the width of the most distant silhouette target on the record fire range (i.e., 300m). Thus, the marksmanship ability needed to consistently place shots in the 4cm circle of the new 25m zeroing target was roughly equivalent to that needed to hit 300m targets on the record fire course with no crosswind. Although the ARI zeroing target has since been redesigned by USAIS personnel to better accommodate the ballistics of the M16A2 rifle and M4 carbine firing new ammunition, all of its instructional features have remained intact.

beyond 25m. Another field experiment addressed these problems by evaluating the effects of a revised zeroing target and downrange feedback training on the record fire scores of 2,124 basic trainees.13 The intent of the revised zeroing target was to simplify the zeroing process, while making it more meaningful to the soldier. Downrange feedback training involved firing at paper silhouette targets on a modified field fire range at 75m and 175m distances. After firing a shot group at each of these targets, soldiers walked downrange and placed spotters in the bullet holes, enabling instructors on the firing line to see which individuals needed additional coaching. Compared with standard training, the revised zeroing target and downrange feedback training each led to significant increases in record fire scores. As a result, it was decided that these two features would form an integral part of a projected new BRM program for the Army.13

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