When engaging multiple targets, a Marine must prioritize targets and carefully plan his engagements to ensure successful target engagement. Mental preparedness and the ability to make split-second decisions are the key to successful engagement of multiple targets. The proper mindset allows a Marine to react instinctively and to control the pace of the battle rather than just reacting to the threat.
After the first target is engaged, a Marine must immediately engage the next target and continue to engage targets until they are eliminated. While engaging multiple targets, a Marine must be aware of his surroundings and not fixate on just one target. He must rapidly prioritize the targets, establish an engagement sequence, and engage the targets. A Marine also must maintain constant awareness and continuously search the terrain for additional targets.
a. Prioritizing Targets. The combat situation will usually dictate the order of multiple target engagement. Target priority is based on factors such as proximity, threat, and opportunity, and no two situations will be the same. The principal method is to determine the level of threat for each target so all may be engaged in succession from the most threatening to the least threatening. The target that poses the greatest threat (e.g., closest, greatest firepower) should be engaged first. Prioritizing targets is an ongoing process. Changes in threat level, proximity, or the target itself may cause a Marine to revise his priorities. Therefore, a Marine must remain alert to changes in a target's threat level and proximity and other target opportunities as the battle progresses.
b. Technique of Engagement. To engage multiple targets, the Marine performs the following steps:
(1) Engage the first target with two rounds.
(2) The recoil of the rifle can be used to direct the recovery of the weapon on to the next target. As the weapon is coming down in its recovery, the Marine physically brings the sights onto the desired target. Pressure is maintained on the trigger throughout recovery and trigger control is applied at a rate consistent with the Marine's ability to establish sight picture on the desired target.
(3) When possible, such as when all targets are of equal threat, the Marine should engage targets in a direction that maximizes support and control of the weapon.
(4) The preceding steps are repeated until are targets are engaged.
c. Firing Position. The selection and effective use of a firing position is critical to the successful engagement of multiple targets. A Marine should make a quick observation of the terrain and select a firing position that provides good cover and concealment, as well as the flexibility to engage multiple targets. If enemy targets are widely dispersed, the selected position must provide the Marine with flexibility of movement. The more restrictive the firing position, the longer it will take a Marine to eliminate multiple targets.
(1) Prone. The prone position limits left and right lateral movement and is, therefore, not recommended for engaging short-range targets. This adjustment occurs because the elbows are firmly placed on the ground and they restrict upper body movement.
(2) Sitting. Like the prone position, the sitting position allows limited lateral movement. This makes engagement of widely-dispersed multiple targets difficult. To ease engagement, the forward arm can be moved by pivoting on the elbow, but this movement disturbs the stability of the position.
(3) Kneeling. The kneeling position provides a wider, lateral range of motion since only one elbow is used for support. A Marine moves from one target to another by rotating at the waist to move the forward arm in the direction of the target, either right or left.
(4) Standing. The standing position allows maximum lateral movement. Multiple targets are engaged by rotating the upper body to a position where the sights can be aligned on the desired target. If severe or radical adjustments are required to engage widely dispersed targets, a Marine moves his feet to establish a new position rather than give up maximum stability of the rifle. This avoids poorly placed shots that can result from an unstable position.
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