Combat Mindset

Spec Ops Shooting

Ultimate Firearms Training Guide

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In a combat environment, the Marine must be constantly prepared to engage targets. When a target presents itself, there may be little time to take action. The target must be engaged quickly and accurately. Combat presents a unique set of demands on a Marine. Common experiences include: violence, danger, fear, stress, uncertainty, pain, rapidly changing situations, and death. Marines must be both physically and mentally prepared to face these horrors. It will not be enough to simply know marksmanship techniques. The Marine must have the ability to eliminate their own hesitancy, fear, or uncertainty of action and focus on the actions required to fire well-aimed shots. The combat mindset requires both physical and mental preparation.

a. Physical Preparation. In combat, targets can present themselves without warning. Therefore, it is essential for the Marine to maintain proper balance and control of his weapon at all times so he can quickly assume a firing position, present the weapon, and accurately engage the target. However, 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 capabilities to assume a good firing position and 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.

1 b. Mental Preparation. While combat is unpredictable and constantly changing, the Marine can

2 prepare himself mentally for the contingencies of battle so he can act readily when confronted

3 with a target. The stress of battle, coupled with the often limited time available to engage targets,

4 requires concentration on the mental aspects of target engagement, e.g., scanning for targets,

5 detection of targets, and the selection and use of cover.

6 (1) Knowledge of the Combat Environment. Be constantly aware of the surroundings to

7 include the terrain, available cover, possible areas of enemy contact, backdrop of the target

8 etc. This awareness will enable the Marine to select and assume a firing position and to

9 quickly and accurately engage targets.

10 (2) Plan of Action. In combat, the situation will dictate the action to be taken. The Marine

11 must identify and evaluate possible courses of action and develop a plan for target

12 engagement that will be appropriate to the requirements of the situation when it presents

13 itself.

14 (3) Confidence. A Marine's level of confidence is rooted in the belief that future challenges

15 will be overcome-- particularly the challenge of firing well aimed shots in a combat

16 environment where the enemy may be returning fire. A key factor in a Marine's level of

17 confidence is the degree to which he has mastered the tactics, techniques, and procedures of

18 rifle marksmanship. Mastery of rifle marksmanship can only be obtained by classroom

19 instruction and the application of the marksmanship fundamentals during range firing, field

20 firing, or while using marksmanship training devices.

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