Figure Grouping procedures

a. Concept of Grouping. Shot grouping is a form of practice firing with two primary objectives: firing tight shot groups and consistently placing those groups in the same location. Shot grouping should be conducted between dry-fire training and zeroing. The initial live-fire training should be a grouping exercise with the purpose of practicing and refining marksmanship fundamentals. Since this is not a zeroing exercise, few sight changes are made. Grouping exercises can be conducted anywhere that provides precise location of bullet hits and misses such as a 25-meter live-fire zeroing range, KD range, Weaponeer, MACS, LOMAH, LMTS, or EST. No sight adjustments should be made to the sights until the firer can shoot six consecutive shots (two shot groups) inside a 4-centimeter circle. Once this is accomplished the soldier is now ready to conduct zeroing procedures.

b. Organization of Grouping on a 25-meter range. The organization and conduct of a grouping range are based on the availability of ammunition, number of personnel, and the firing ability of personnel in training.

(1) The unit is divided into firing orders. The first order fires while the second order coaches. Ten firing points are reserved to conduct corrective instruction.

(2) Sandbags should be provided at each firing point to accommodate supported firing positions (Figure 5-2).

(3) Each shot is fired using the same aiming point (center of mass) from a supported firing position.

(4) Each soldier ensures his sights are set for 25-meter firing.

(5) The soldier fires a three-round shot group at the 25-meter zero target. The firing line is cleared, and he moves downrange to examine the shot group. The soldier and coach examine the shot group for fundamental errors, triangulate the shot group and put the number 1 in the center of the shot group.

(6) If the shot group is off of the 25-meter zero target the weapon should be mechanically zeroed. If the shot group is barely on the target a bold adjustment should be made.

(7) Each shot is fired using the same aiming point (center of mass). The objective is to fire tight shot groups and to place those shot groups inside a 4-centimeter circle (the actual location of groups on the target is not important).

(8) The soldier returns to the firing line and fires a second three-round shot group.

(9) The firing line is cleared, and he moves downrange to examine the second shot group, triangulate, and mark the center of the shot group with the number 2. The soldier groups the two shot groups and marks the center.

(10) Steps 1 through 8 are repeated until the soldier places six out of six consecutive rounds inside a 4-centimeter circle. (The majority of the round must be inside the circle or it is not counted). If the soldier is not grouped in 18 rounds, he should be removed from the firing line and given remedial training before attempting to group again.

(11) Once firing proficiency has been demonstrated from the supported firing position, grouping exercises can be conducted from the unsupported firing position. For example, 27 rounds are allocated for the grouping exercise, if the soldier groups in 18 rounds, he can fire the remaining 9 rounds from the unsupported firing position.

Fire Procedure Guidance Example
Figure 5-2. The 25-meter range.

c. Shot-Group Marking. The instructor-trainer must understand how to analyze shot groups correctly. If the soldier is to benefit from this exercise and if the instructor-trainer (or coach) is to provide useful guidance, the soldier must mark each shot group for a clear record of his firing practice (Figure 5-3). He connects the three bullet holes on his target with a straight line and places a number inside the shot group. The number represents the center of the three shots. When two shots are near one end of the group and the third shot is toward the other end, the number is placed closer to the two near shots (Figure 5-4). This is not a precise marking that requires a measurement but a procedure to help shot-group analysis. The three-round shot group allows the firer's performance to be evaluated. While some of the variation in a single shot group is due to the rifle and ammunition.

Figure 5-3. Shot-group marking.
Figure 5-4. Central point of an odd-shaped group.

d. Shot-Group Analysis. The purpose of shot-group analysis is to identify firer errors on the single shots of a shot group so the soldier can correct these errors while firing the next shot group. Shot-group analysis begins with the instructor-trainer observing the soldier while he fires. The instructor-trainer observes the firer's position, aiming, trigger squeeze and breathing. The instructor-trainer then analyzes the shot group to confirm problem areas. The coach should not use shot-group analysis as a stand-alone tool without observing the firer. The ideal shot group will have all three rounds within a 2-centimeter circle. Three rounds within a 4-centimeter circle is the minimum standard.

NOTE: The M16A2 zero target squares are .96 centimeter in size while the M4 zero target squares are 1.3 centimeters in size. Two single shots on a 25-meter zero target that are 2 centimeters apart does not equate to two squares from each other on the M4 zero target. The M16A2 25-meter zero targets difference in distance is so small that it can be disregarded.

(1) Match-Grade Performance. The target shown in Figure 5-5 illustrates a match-grade quality rifle-ammunition combination, which places all bullets in almost the same hole, and helps detect the slightest errors of the firer.

M16 Shot Group Target
Figure 5-5. 25-meter match grade performance.

(2) 2-Centimeter Shot Groups. When firing a standard service rifle and standard ammunition combination the dispersion pattern may be up to 2 centimeters apart without human error. This dispersion pattern is not considered firer error. The targets shown in Figure 5-6 reflect possible 25-meter shot group performances by standard rifle-ammunition combinations and proper soldier performance. The variances of the standard rifle and standard ammunition must be considered during shot-group analysis and the instructor-trainer must ensure the soldier understands that his weapon or ammunition may not be capable of placing three rounds within a 1-centimeter square.

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Figure 5-6. Shot groups indicate no firer error.

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Figure 5-6. Shot groups indicate no firer error.

NOTE: The following figures and paragraphs discuss indicators that may assist the trainer-coach or firer by identifying potential problems with the firer's four fundamentals.

(3) 3-Centimeter Shot Groups. The targets shown in Figure 5-7 represent minimum acceptable firing performances. A better firing performance should be expected, and the instructor-trainer should ensure the soldier is properly applying the four marksmanship fundamentals. He should explain that this shot group size is not due to weapon or ammunition performance. The placement of shots in these groups (about 3 centimeters apart on the target) reflects minor shooting error. Any of these three shot groups could have been a minor change in sight picture, breathing, trigger squeeze, position or an erratic round.

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Figure 5-7. Shot groups indicate minor shooting error.

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Figure 5-7. Shot groups indicate minor shooting error.

(4) 4- to 5-Centimeter Shot Groups. The targets shown in Figure 5-8 represent unacceptable firing performance. A better firing performance should be expected, and the instructor-trainer should ensure the soldier is properly applying the four marksmanship fundamentals. He should explain that this shot group size is not due to weapon or ammunition performance. The placement of shots in these groups (about 4 to 5 centimeters apart on the target) reflects considerable shooting error. Any of these three shot groups could have been a change in position, sight picture, breathing, trigger squeeze or an erratic round. Firers with these shot groups should receive dry-fire training to help correct firing problems. (See Appendix A for more information.)

Rifle Shooting Grouping Error Diagnosis
Figure 5-8. Shot groups indicate considerable shooting error.

(5) 6-Centimeter or Larger Shot Groups. The targets shown in Figure 5-9 represent unacceptable firing performance. A better firing performance should be expected, and the instructor-trainer should ensure the soldier is properly applying the four marksmanship fundamentals. He should explain that group size is not due to weapon or ammunition performance. The placement of shots in these groups (more than 6 centimeters apart on the target) reflects major shooting error. Any of these three shot groups could have been a change in position, sight picture, breathing; or trigger squeeze, or the firer may be anticipating the shot. Firers with these shot groups should receive extensive dry-fire training to help correct firing problems. (See Appendix A for more information.)

M16a1 Training Rifle

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Figure 5-9. Shot groups indicate major shooting error.

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Figure 5-9. Shot groups indicate major shooting error.

e. Multiple Shot-Group Analysis. Shot-grouping analysis is the ongoing analyses of individual shot groups while comparing them to each other for consistent aiming. The instructor-trainer must understand how to mark shot groupings correctly. If the soldier is to benefit from this exercise, and if the instructor-trainer (or coach) is to provide useful guidance, the soldier must mark each shot group individually and locates the center of more than one shot group. In Figure 5-10 three shot groups were fired. Each shot group was individually connected, marking the center of each with a number (1, 2, 3 and so on). Next, the soldier connects the numbers and places an X in the center. The X represents the center of all three shot groups.

Shot Rifle Grouping
Figure 5-10. Central point of three shot groups.

(1) Acceptable Shot-Grouping Performance. The shot groups in Figure 5-11 represent acceptable shot groups (4 centimeters or less) in the same location. A soldier firing this shot grouping should make a sight change of left 10 and down 4. Any change should be clearly marked on the target and saved for reference. The soldier would then be ready to zero his weapon.

Figure 5-11. Acceptable shot grouping performance.

NOTE: Location of the shot group on the 25-meter target is not important when conducting a grouping exercise. The size of the shot groups and the dispersion of the shot groupings are the main focus of this exercise. Two consecutive shot groupings must fall within a 4-centimeter circle at 25-meters before the soldier should be allowed to make any adjustments or to start zeroing procedures.

(2) Shot Groups with Inconsistent Aiming. The groups in Figure 5-12 indicate that the soldier for each shot group is applying proper firing fundamentals, but is using a different aiming point each time a shot group is fired. The soldier's understanding of the aiming process is questioned, and his position checked for consistency. The instructor-trainer cannot determine which shot group best represents the firer's zero.

Eotech Zeroing Target
Figure 5-12. Shot groups with inconsistent aiming.

(3) Shot Groups with Consistent Aiming and Major Shooting Error. The groups in Figure 5-13 indicate consistent aiming, but the soldier is not applying the four fundamentals properly while firing each shot group. The firer should be assigned a coach to troubleshoot the soldier's four fundamentals in an attempt to isolate the soldier's firing errors.

Figure 5-13. Shot groups with consistent aiming and major shooting error.

(4) Shot Groups with Inconsistent Aiming and Major Shooting Error. The groups shown in Figure 5-14 indicate inconsistent aiming and major shooting errors. The firer should be assigned a coach to troubleshoot the soldier's four fundamentals in an attempt to isolate the soldier's firing errors.

M16 Shot Group Target
Figure 5-14. Shot groups with inconsistent aiming and major shooting error.

(5) Shot Groups with Improper Vertical Placement. The shot groups shown in Figure 515, when viewed as nine shots, reflect proper horizontal placement of shots but unsatisfactory vertical dispersion. This indicates a failure to vertically aim at target center of mass for each shot. The soldier's aiming procedure is checked along with other marksmanship fundamentals.

Improper Sight Picture
Figure 5-15. Shot groups with improper vertical placement.

(6) Improper Shot Groups on the Edge of the Target. The shot groups shown in Figure 5-16 are improper groups. A sight change is made to bring the groups closer to the target center. A bold sight change should be made to ensure the shot groups remain on the 25-meter zero target.

(6) Improper Shot Groups on the Edge of the Target. The shot groups shown in Figure 5-16 are improper groups. A sight change is made to bring the groups closer to the target center. A bold sight change should be made to ensure the shot groups remain on the 25-meter zero target.

Rifle Grouping
Figure 5-16. Improper shot groups on the edge of the target.

f. Troubleshooting the Fundamentals. The imagination is the only limiting factor in troubleshooting the fundamentals as a coach. The following examples can be used to identify errors in soldier's fundamentals.

(1) Aiming. Attach the M16 sighting device and observe while the soldier fires.

(2) Breathing. Watch the rise and fall of the firer's chest for consistency.

(3) Trigger squeeze. Place your finger over the firer's finger while he fires, feeling for jerking and smooth follow through.

(4) Position. Observe the following areas for consistency:

• Placement of the tip of the nose is always the same.

• Placement of the trigger finger is always the same.

• Placement of the nonfiring hand is always the same.

• Placement of the legs is always the same.

• Cheek-to-stock position is always the same.

• Positioning of equipment is always the same. (5) Other Potential Problem Areas. Ensure—

• Nonfiring eye is not shuttering.

• Equipment is fitted properly.

• Soldier is not flinching when the trigger is pulled.

• Soldier is firing with the dominant eye.

• Soldier is wearing glasses if applicable.

• Soldier is maximizing full use of the supported position.

5-2. ZEROING PROCEDURES

This paragraph provides guidelines for the instructor-trainer to zero M16-/M4-series weapons at 25 meters and at actual range (Figure 5-17). It includes concept, organization, mechanical zero, zero recording, 25-meter sight settings, field-fire sight settings, and troubleshooting of the fundamentals.

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