Physical and Mental Preparation Physical Preparation

In combat, targets can present themselves without warning. Therefore, it is essential for the Marine to maintain proper balance and control of the pistol at all times so that the pistol can be presented quickly and the target engaged accurately.

Speed alone does not equate to effective target engagement. The Marine should fire only as fast as he can fire accurately, never exceeding his physical ability to apply the fundamentals of marksmanship. To be effective in combat, the Marine must train to perfect the physical skills of shooting so they become second nature. The more physical skills that can be performed automatically, the more concentration that can be given to the mental side of target engagement.

Mental Preparation

While combat is unpredictable and constantly changing, the Marine can prepare mentally for the contingencies of the operational setting and confrontation with a threat. The stress of combat, coupled with the limited time available to engage targets, requires concentration on the mental aspects of target engagement; e.g., identification of targets, shoot/no-shoot decisionmaking, and the selection and use of cover. Minimizing stress and maximizing the limited time available to engage targets can be accomplished by—

• Knowing the combat environment and being constantly aware of the surroundings (e.g., terrain, available cover, possible threats) enables the Marine to quickly present the pistol and accurately engage targets.

• Identifying and evaluating possible courses of action and developing potential plans for target engagement that will be appropriate to the combat situation.

• Instilling confidence in a Marine's ability to fire well-aimed shots in the stress of a combat situation. A key factor in a Marine's level of confidence is the degree to which he has mastered the tactics, techniques, and procedures of pistol marksmanship.

Threat Levels No Immediate Threat

When there is no immediate threat, the Marine assumes the holster transport. The pistol should be in Condition 1. This is the lowest level of awareness for the Marine in a combat environment, but the Marine must stay alert and aware of any nearby activity. To prepare for target engagement at this level, the Marine must—

• Be aware of likely areas of enemy contact.

• Be aware of the condition of his pistol.

• Establish a plan or course of action to present the pistol to a target should a target appear.

• Mentally review appropriate actions such as reloading and remedial action.

Contact Likely (Probable)

If enemy contact is likely (probable), the Marine assumes the Alert. When enemy contact is likely, the Marine should—

• Expect enemy contact and be constantly prepared to present the pistol.

• Search the entire area for indications of enemy targets and for suitable terrain features that offer cover and concealment. The Marine should avoid restricting the search to a single terrain feature because this hinders awareness to a sector of the battlefield and to approach by the enemy.

• Be mentally prepared for contact. Plan a course of action for immediate response to a target. Modify the plan of action as needed.

• Be physically prepared to fire. Maintain proper balance at all times. Avoid self-induced physical fatigue. For example, do not grip the pistol so tightly that fingers, hands, and arms tire from carrying the pistol.

Contact Imminent

When contact with an enemy target is imminent, assume the Ready. In this carry, the Marine is at the highest level of awareness and is constantly searching for and expecting a target. To fire well-aimed shots upon target detection, the Marine must be at the peak of his mental preparation, all distractions must be eliminated, and his focus must be on firing an accurate shot. In the Ready, the Marine must—

• Keep the pistol oriented in the general direction of observation (eyes, muzzle, target).

• Maintain a clear field of view above the pistol sights until the target is detected.

• Be mentally and physically prepared to engage the target. The Marine must be ready to:

o Identify the target. o Sweep the safety.

o Apply the fundamentals of marksmanship.

• Move only as fast as he is capable of delivering well-aimed shots, ensuring that speed of engagement does not exceed his physical abilities.

• Search the entire area for indications of enemy targets, lowering the pistol enough to observe a clear field of view of the area.

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