Shooting Straight Years Of Rifle Marksmanship Research

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ARI has produced a rich history of rifle marksmanship research and related research products spanning more than two decades. Based on growing concerns that rifle marksmanship training was not producing qualified marksmen for U.S. Army units, ARI began a systematic examination of basic, advanced, and unit marksmanship training programs in 1977.1 After developing and implementing a series of improved marksmanship training programs in the early 1980s under the joint sponsorship of the U.S. Army Infantry School (USAIS) and the U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM),2 ARI researchers began to increasingly focus their attention on issues related to marksmanship simulation and training devices.3 With an eye towards supporting the new training programs, new devices and simulators were either evaluated or developed in the 1980s and early 1990s. In 1992, ARI research began to address problems associated with night firing and night operations in general. Over a period of seven years, the NIGHTFIGHTER program identified the most problematic combat tasks performed at night and addressed those problems through the conduct of training experiments and the development of research products.4

The marksmanship research featured in this report is generally presented in chronological order, recognizing that a small amount of overlap actually existed among some of the individual research projects.

Chapter 1 describes ARI efforts in the area of program development, including the creation of course materials like paper targets, graphic training aids, and written guides for both students and instructors. Chapter 2 presents research and product development work in the areas of marksmanship simulation and training devices. Chapter 3 highlights marksmanship research and development associated with the NIGHTFIGHTER program. Finally, Chapter 4 discusses marksmanship problems and associated research questions the Army will likely face in the first decade of the new millennium.

Until now, the entirety of ARI research related to rifle marksmanship had never been summarized in a single publication. Although this report serves that purpose, it does not describe every single marksmanship research project conducted by ARI. Rather, it presents only those projects that have made the greatest contributions to the Army, still exerting their influence in the training of today's soldiers. Readers interested in a more exhaustive history should consult the references listed at the end of the report, especially the first four, which are summary reports in their own right.

Chapter 1

Program Development

Rifle marksmanship training in the U.S. Army is conducted in three separate, though conceptually related phases: Basic Rifle Marksmanship (BRM), Advanced Rifle Marksmanship (ARM), and unit rifle marksmanship training.' BRM training focuses on teaching common rifle marksmanship skills needed by every soldier. All initial entry soldiers receive BRM training, which is conducted at every Army Training Center (ATC). A minimum performance standard against stationary personnel targets, measured on a prescribed qualification course of fire, must be met by each soldier. ARM training focuses on more advanced skills, such as the engagement of moving targets. This training is given only to Light Weapons Infantrymen as part of Infantry One-Station Unit Training (OSUT) at Fort Benning, GA. Unit marksmanship training has a twofold purpose. First, it attempts to maintain soldier proficiency in the marksmanship skills acquired during BRM and ARM. Each soldier must annually meet a minimum performance standard on a qualification course of fire. Second, units must selectively develop and maintain other marksmanship skills based on the nature of their assigned missions (e.g., quick fire techniques for use in urban operations).

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