Soldier and Trainer Issues

The ARI training assessments were the first time four different aiming or optical devices, plus the borelight, had been trained simultaneously with the same soldiers.47 Prior to that time, each device had been examined independently. Two major lessons emerged from these assessments. One lesson was that inconsistency in device design for windage and elevation adjustments created confusion for the soldier, led to errors, inefficient training, and wasted ammunition. The other lesson was that the diagnosis of shooting problems has become more complex for soldiers and trainers, because the number of potential causes for problems has increased almost exponentially.

With respect to their design, each device has adjusters or knobs that provide for windage and elevation adjustments. For example, if bullets are hitting high on the 25m zeroing target, an elevation knob on each device must be turned a particular amount (i.e., "clicks") and direction (i.e., clockwise or counterclockwise) so subsequent rounds will hit lower and closer to the target's center of mass. Unfortunately for trainers and users, the devices were not designed to accomplish these adjustments in the same manner. In addition, soldiers are faced with two 25m zero targets, one for the M16A2 rifle and one for the M4 carbine. However, these targets are not identical, with grid squares on the M4 target being larger than grid squares on the M16A2 target. Soldiers must also remember the amount of movement a "click" produces at a boresight distance

M16a2 Silhouette
A silhouette target equipped with a thermal blanket, as seen by a thermal camera.

of 10m. It was not surprising that soldiers had trouble remembering which adjustments went with which device and what adjustments should be made when zeroing and boresighting. A summary of these device design differences is shown in Table 3.

10m Boresight
Note. CW stands for clockwise. Distances given for zeroing at 25m. Boresight distances at 10m would be proportionately smaller. The amount of movement within a square is illustrated only for the PAC-4C. For the borelight, a clockwise turn moves the barrel to the right and up.

When soldiers miss targets with iron sights, the immediate reaction of a trainer is to check their application of the four marksmanship fundamentals (see Chapter 1). With the advent of aiming devices, optics, and borelights to the world of small arms, there are many more potential reasons why a soldier could be missing targets. The common core of probable causes has expanded beyond just the four fundamentals, and there is now a unique set of possible causes associated with each device. Trainers need to ask a host of diagnostic questions to determine why soldiers are missing targets. To effectively diagnose shooting problems, soldiers, trainers, and leaders must now fully understand each technology, how to use each device, and the complete collection of steps and procedures that result in effective rifle marksmanship performance, both during the day and at night.

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