Fundamentals Of Shortrange Marksmanship

During SRC, there is little or no margin for error. Too slow a shot at the enemy, too fast a shot at a noncombatant, or inaccurate shots can all be disastrous for the soldier. There are four fundamentals: proper weapon ready positions and firing stance, aiming technique, aim point, and trigger manipulation. Mastery of these fundamentals is key to the soldier's ability to survive and accomplish his mission in close quarters. All SRC- and SRM-related training should begin with a review of the principles of safe weapon handling—assume the weapon is always loaded and never point the weapon at anything you do not intend to destroy.

a. Firing Stance and Ready Positions. Regardless of the ready position used, soldiers must always assume the correct firing stance to ensure stability and accuracy when engaging targets. The two weapon ready positions are the high ready and low ready

(1) Firing Stance. The feet are kept approximately shoulder-width apart. Toes are pointed straight to the front (direction of movement). The firing side foot is slightly staggered to the rear of the nonfiling side foot. Knees are slightly bent and the upper body is leaned slightly forward. Shoulders are square and pulled back, not rolled over or slouched. The head is up and both eyes are open. When engaging targets, the gunner holds the weapon with the butt of the weapon firmly against his shoulder and the firing side elbow close against the body (Figures 7-34 and 7-35).

(2) High Ready Position (Figure 7-34). The butt of the weapon is held under the armpit, with the barrel pointed slightly up so that the top of the front sight post is just below the line of sight but still within the gunner's peripheral vision. The nonfiring hand grasps the handguards toward the front sling swivel, the trigger finger is outside of the trigger well, and the thumb of the firing hand is on the selector lever. To engage a target from the high ready, the gunner pushes the weapon forward as if to bayonet the target and brings the butt stock firmly against the shoulder as it slides up the body. This technique is best suited for the lineup outside of a building, room, or bunker entrance.

(3) Low Ready Position (Figure 7-35). The butt of the weapon is placed firmly in the pocket of the shoulder with the barrel pointed down at a 45-degree angle. The nonfiring hand grasps the handguards toward the front sling swivel, the trigger finger is outside of the trigger well, and the thumb of the firing hand is on the selector lever. To engage a target from the low ready, the gunner brings the weapon up until the proper sight picture is achieved. This technique is best suited for movement inside of buildings.

(4) Movement Techniques. Soldiers must practice moving with their weapons up until they no longer look at the ground but concentrate on their sectors of responsibility. Soldiers must avoid stumbling over their own feet. The low ready method is the best method to use when moving or turning. To execute a left turn the soldier places his firing foot forward, shifts all his weight to the firing foot, and pivots, bringing the non-firing foot forward to complete the turn. To turn to the right the firing foot is to the rear, the weight is evenly distributed between the feet, and the body pivots on both feet. To turn to the rear, the firing foot is forward, the weight is placed on the firing foot and the body pivots similar to the drill movement "rear march."

(5) Kneeling Position. Although short-range engagements generally take place from the standing position a soldier may be required to engage targets from the kneeling position. The kneeling position is generally used when correcting a weapons malfunction.

Figure 7-34. Weapon held at the high ready.
Low Ready Position Sniper
Figure 7-35. Weapon held at the low ready.

b. Aiming Techniques. Four aiming techniques are used during SRC. Each has advantages and disadvantages and the soldier must understand when, how, and where to use each technique.

(1) Slow Aimed Fire. This technique is the slowest but most accurate. It consists of taking a steady position, properly aligning the sight picture, and squeezing off rounds. This technique should only be used to engage targets in excess of 25 meters when good cover and concealment is available or when the need for accuracy overrides the need for speed.

(2) Rapid Aimed Fire. This technique utilizes an imperfect sight picture. When using this technique the soldier focuses on the target and raises his weapon until the target is obscured by the front sight post assembly. Elevation is less critical than windage when using this technique. This aiming technique is extremely effective on targets from 0 to 15 meters and at a rapid rate of fire.

(3) Aimed Quick Kill. The aimed quick kill technique is the quickest and most accurate method of engaging targets up to 12 meters. Experienced soldiers may use the technique at greater ranges, as they become familiar with it. When using this technique, the soldier aims over the rear sight, down the length of the carry handle, and places the top 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch of the front sight post assembly on the target.

(4) Instinctive Fire. This is the least accurate technique and should only be used in emergencies. It relies on instinct, experience, and muscle memory. The firer concentrates on the target and points the weapon in the general direction of the target. While gripping the handguards with the nonfiring hand he extends the index finger to the front, automatically aiming the weapon on a line towards the target.

c. Aim Point. Short-range engagements fall into two categories based on the mission and hostile threat. Most short-range engagements will be decided by who hits his target with the first round first. During this type of engagement it is more important to knock the enemy soldier down as quickly as possible than it is to kill him immediately. During this type of engagement soldiers must aim at the "lethal zone" (center mass) of the target as in regular rifle marksmanship. Although shots to the center of the target may prove to be eventually fatal they may not immediately incapacitate the enemy. During SRC a shot that does not immediately incapacitate the enemy may be no better than a clean miss. Because of this, and the possible presence of military equipment or protective vests, soldiers must be able to not only engage soldiers in the "lethal zone" but also to engage them with "incapacitating" shots.

(1) Lethal Shot Placement. The lethal zone of the target is center mass between the waist and the chest. Shots in this area maximize the hydrostatic shock of the round (Figure 736). Due to the nature of SRC, soldiers must continue to engage targets until they go down.

Figure 7-36. Lethal zone aim point.

(2) Incapacitating Shot Placement (Figure 7-37). The only shot placement that guarantees immediate and total incapacitation is one roughly centered in the face, below the middle of the forehead and the upper lip, and from the eyes in. Shots to the side of the head should be centered between the crown of the skull and the middle of the ear opening, from the center of the cheekbones to the middle of the back of the head.

Ardesa Vest Pocket
Figure 7-37. Incapacitation zone aim points.

d. Trigger Manipulation. Short-range combat engagements are usually quick, violent, and deadly. Due to the reduced reaction time, imperfect sight picture, and requirement to effectively place rounds into threat targets, soldiers must fire multiple rounds during each engagement to survive. Multiple shots may be fired either through the use of a controlled pair or automatic weapons fire.

(1) Controlled Pair. A controlled pair is two rounds fired in rapid succession. The soldier fires the first round and allows the weapon to move in its natural arc without fighting the recoil. The firer rapidly brings the weapon back on target and fires a second round. Soldiers must practice the "controlled pair" until it becomes instinctive. Controlled pairs should be fired at single targets until they go down. When multiple targets are present the soldier must fire a controlled pair at each target, then reengage any targets left standing. Rapid, aimed, semiautomatic fire is the most accurate method of engaging targets during SRC.

(2) Automatic Fire. Automatic weapons fire may be necessary to maximize violence of action or gain fire superiority when gaining a foothold in a room, building, or trench. When properly trained, soldiers should be able to fire six rounds (two three-round bursts) in the same time it takes to fire a controlled pair. The accuracy of engaging targets can be equal to that of semiautomatic fire at 10 meters with practice. The key to firing a weapon on burst or automatic is to squeeze the trigger, not jerk it.

(a) For the majority of soldiers, fully automatic fire is rarely effective and can lead to unnecessary noncombatant casualties or fratricide. Not only is fully automatic fire inaccurate and difficult to control, but also rapidly empties ammunition magazines. A soldier who finds himself out of ammunition with an armed, uninjured enemy soldier during SRC will become a casualty unless a fellow soldier intervenes.

(b) Controlled three-round bursts are better than automatic fire but they are only slightly faster and not as accurate or effective as rapid, aimed, semiautomatic fire.

(3) Failure Drill. To make sure a target is completely neutralized, soldiers should be trained to execute the failure drill. A controlled pair is fired at the lethal zone of the target, then a single shot to the incapacitating zone. This type of target engagement is particularly useful when engaging targets wearing body armor.

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