Engaging Targets While Wearing the Field Protective Mask

While engaging targets in a combat environment, a Marine is under considerable stress caused by fear, fatigue, and the noise of battle. His stress is further aggravated by the fear and uncertainty associated with a nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) threat. However, a Marine must be able to operate under any battlefield condition, including an NBC environment. If a Marine wears the field protective mask, its bulk and reduced visibility can affect his firing position which in turn affects the rifle's zero and his ability to engage the target. A Marine must make adjustments to his firing position and the application of marksmanship fundamentals to counter the additional gear worn in an NBC environment. Therefore, a Marine should practice wearing his field protective mask when he is not in a combat environment. This allows him to overcome any restrictions caused by the mask, develop confidence in his ability to execute well-aimed shots while wearing the mask, and develop a plan of action. This plan should address how the rifle is presented to the target, how long the mask is worn, and the likelihood of enemy contact. If a Marine expects to wear the mask for an extended period and enemy contact is likely, he should consider adjusting the rifle sights so that his first rounds are on target.

a. Marksmanship Fundamentals. Wearing the field protective mask requires a Marine to make modifications to his aiming and breath control techniques.

(1) Aiming. Wearing the field protective mask affects the aiming process and the ability to locate targets. The bulk of the mask may require an adjustment to stock weld, eye relief, head position, and placement of the buttstock in the shoulder.

(2) Breath Control. Wearing the field protective mask affects breath control because breathing may be harder. Temporary fogging of the lens also may be experienced. If fogging occurs, a Marine should take a deep breath and fire while holding a full breath of air (inhaling clears the fog).

b. Firing Position. A good firing position provides balance, control, and stability during firing. The field protective mask's added bulk and other restrictions may require a Marine to make changes to his firing position. The adjustments are unique to each Marine and based on his body size and shape and his ability to adapt to the mask. Adjustments should be minor. However, all firing positions will be affected in the following areas:

(1) Stock Weld. Changing the placement of the cheek on the stock may affect the rifle's zero. Therefore, if an NBC attack is possible, a Marine should obtain a zero for the rifle in full MOPP gear. Stock weld will not be as comfortable or feel as solid as it does without the field protective mask. The loss of sensitivity between the cheek and the stock, due to the mask, may cause the cheek to be pressed too firmly against the stock. Pressing the cheek too

1 firmly against the stock can cause the seal of the field protective mask to break. If this occurs,

2 quickly clear the mask and resume a firing position. If the lens of the field protective mask

3 fogs up while in a firing position, this indicates that the mask's seal has been broken. Clear the

4 mask and resume the firing position.

5 (2) Eye Relief. The added bulk of the field protective mask may increase eye relief because

6 the head is farther back along the stock. If the eye is too far from the rear sight aperture it

7 may be difficult to acquire the target and to maintain a precise aiming point; if the eye is too

8 close, the rear sight can hit the mask, possibly breaking a lens or its seal.

9 (3) Head Position. The mask's shape and bulk can make sight alignment difficult to achieve.

10 The restrictive vision caused by the mask may force a Marine to roll or tilt his head over the

11 stock to achieve sight alignment. The Marine should keep his head as erect as possible while

12 maintaining sight alignment.

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