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Ultimate Firearms Training Guide

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1- Capabilities and Limitations.

a. Night Vision. Night runs the gamut from absolute, darkness to bright moonlight. No matter hew bright the night may appear to be, however, it will never permit the human eye to function with daylight precision.

For maximum effectiveness, the sniper must apply the proven principles of night vision.

(1) Darkness Adaptation. It takes the eye about 30 minutes to regulate itself to a marked lowering of illumination. During that time, the pupils are expanding and the eyes are not reliable. In instances when the sniper is to depart on a mission during darkness, it is recommended that he wear red glasses while in light areas prior to his departure.

(2) Off-Center vs. Direct Vision. {TA #1) Off-center vision is the technique of focusing attention on an object without looking directly at it. An object under direct gaze in dim light will blur and appear to change shape, fade, and reappear in still another form. If the eyes are focused at different points around the object and about 6 to 10 degrees away from it, side vision will provide a true picture of the object.

(3) Scanning. Scanning is the act of moving the eyes in short, abrupt, irregular changes of focus around the object of interest. The eye must stop momentarily at each point, of course, since it cannot see while moving.

(4) Factors Affecting Night Vision

(a) Lack of vitamin A impairs night vision. However, overdoses of vitamin A will not improve night vision.

(b) colds, headache, fatigue, narcotics, heavy smoking, and alcohol excess all reduce night vision.

(c) Exposure to a bright light impairs night vision and necessitates a readaptation to darkness.

{d) Darkness blots out detail. The sniper must learn to recognize objects and persons frcm outline alone.

b. Twilight. During dawn and dusk, the constantly changing natural light level causes an equally constant process of eye adjustment. During these periods, the sniper must be especially alert to the treachery of half light and shadow. Twilight induces a false sense of security, and the sniper must be doubly careful for his own safety. For the same reason, the enemy is prone to carelessness and will frequently expose himself to the watchful sniper. The crosshairs of the telescopic sight are visible from about one-half hour prior to sunrise until about one-half hour after sunset.

c. 11 lumination Aids. On occasion, the sniper may have the assistance of artificial illumination for observation and firing.


(1) Cartridge, Illuminating, M301A2. Fixed frcm an Slim mortar, this shell produces 50,000 candlepower of light which is sufficient for use of the binoculars, the spotting scope, or the rifle telescopic sight.

(2) Searchlights. In an area illuminated by searchlight, the sniper can use any of the above equipment with excellent advantage.

{3) Other. Enemy campfires or lighted areas and buildings are other aids to the observing sniper.

d. Observation Aids.

(1) Binoculars. (TA #2) Of the night observation aids, binoculars are the simplest and fastest to use. They are easily manipulated and the scope of coverage is limited only by the sniper's scanning ability. Each sniper team will be equipped with binoculars to aid in observing the enemy and in searching for and selecting targets. The binocular, M17 1, 7 x 50, has seven power magnification and a 50mm objective lens. Focal adjustments are on the eyepiece with separate adjustments for each eye. The left monocle has a horizontal and vertical scale pattern graduated in mils that is visible when the binoculars are in use.

(a) Method of Holding. Binoculars should be held lightly, monocles resting on and supported by the heels of the hands. The thumbs block out light that would enter between the eye and the eyepiece. The eyepieces are held lightly to the eye to avoid transmission of body movement. Whenever possible, a stationary rest should support the elbows.

(b) Adjustments

(1) Interpupillary Adjustment. The interpupillary distance (distance between the eyes) varies with individuals. The two monocles that make up a pair of field glasses are hinged together so that the receptive lenses can be centered over the pupils of the eyes. Most binoculars have a scale on the hinge, allowing the sniper to preset the glasses for interpupillary distance. To determine this setting, the hinge is adjusted until the field of vision ceases to be two overlapping circles and appears as a single sharply defined circle.

(2) Focal Adjustment. Each individual and each eye of that individual requires different focus settings. Adjust the focus for each eye in the following manner:

(a) With both eyes open, look through the glasses at a distant object.

(b) Place one hand over the objective lens of the right monocle and turn the focusing ring to the left monocle until the object is sharply defined.

(c) Uncover the right monocle and cover the left one.

(d) Rotate the focusing ring of the right monocle until the object is sharply defined.

(e) Uncover the left monocle; the object should then be clear to both eyes.

(f) Read the diopter scale on each focusing ring and record for future reference.

(c) Reticle. The mil scale that is etched into the left lens of the binoculars is the reticle pattern and is used in adjusting artillery fire and measuring vertical distance in mils. The horizontal scale is divided into 10-mil increments. The zero line is the short vertical line that projects below the horizontal scale between two numbers "1". To measure the angle between two objects (such as a target and an artillary burst), center the target above the zero line. Then read the number which appears on the scale under the artillery burst. There are two sets of mil scales, one above the zero on the horizontal scale, the other above the left horizontal 50-mil line on the horizontal scale. The vertical scales are divided into increments of 5 mils each. The vertical angle between the house and point A at the base of the tree is 10 mils. The third vertical scale is the range scale. It is used to estimate ranges from a known range but is not used by the sniper since he estimates his ranges by eye.

(2) Rifle Telescopic Sight, IPX Ultra. When equipped with the telescopic sight, the sniper can observe up to 800 meters with varying effectiveness in artificial illumination. In full moonlight, it is effective up to 600 meters. For best results, a supported position should be used.

10 Power. At 10 power, the field of view is more reduced and scanning clarity is impaired. High power can be used to distinguish specific objects, but scanning will lend a flat, unfocused appearance to terrain.

(3) Starlight Scope. Although the function of the starlight scope is to provide an efficient viewing capability during the conduct of night ccoibat operations, the starlight scope does not give the width, depth, or clarity of daylight vision. However, the individual can see well enough at night to aim and fire his weapon, to observe effect of firing, the terrain, the enemy, and his own forces; and to perform numerous other tasks that confront Seal's in night combat. The starlight scope may be used by snipers to:

(a) Assist sniper teams in deployment under cover of darkness to preselected positions.

(b) Assist sniper teams to move undetected to alternate positions.

(c) Locate and suppress hostile fire.

(d) Limit or deny the enemy movement at night.

(e) Counter enemy sniper fire.

a. Factors Affecting Qnployment. Consideration of the factors affecting employment and proper use of the starlight scope will permit more effective execution of night operations. to which these factors aid or limit the operational capabilities of the starlight scope will vary depending on the light level, weather conditions, operator eye fatigue, and terrain over which the starlight scope is being employed.

(1) Light. Since the starlight scope is designed to function using the ambient light of the night sky, the most effective operation can be expected under conditions of bright moonlight and starlight. As the ambient light level decreases, the viewing capabilities of the starlight scope diminsion. When the sky is overcast and the ambient light level is low, the viewing capabilities of the starlight scope can be greatly increased by the use of flares, illuminating shells or searchlight.

(2} Weather Conditions. Clear nights provide the most favorable operating conditions in that sleet, snow, smoke, or fog affect the viewing capabilities of the starlight scope. Even so, the starlight scope can be expected to provide some degree or viewing capability in adverse weather conditions.

(3) Terrain. Different terrain will have an adverse effect on the starlight scope due to the varying ambient light conditions which exist. It will be the sniper's responsibility to avaluate these conditions and know hew each will affect his ability to observe and shoot.

(4) Eye Fatigue. Most operators will initially experience eye fatigue after five or ten minutes of continuous observation through the starlight scope. To aid in maintaining a continued viewing capability and lessen eye fatigue, the operator may alternate eyes during the viewing period.

4. Observation Telescope. The observation telescope is a prismatic optical instrument of 20-power magnification. It is carried by the sniper teams whenever justified by the nature of a mission. The lens of the telescope are coated with a hard film of magnesium flouride for maximum light transmission. This coating together with the high magnification of the telescope makes observation and target detection possible when conditions or situations would otherwise prevent positive target identification. Camouflaged targets and those in deep shadows can be distinguished, trcop movements can be observed at great distances, and selective targets can be identified more readily.

a. Operation. The eyepiece cover cap and objective lens cover must be unscrewed and removed from the telescope before it can be used. The cap and cover protect the optics when the telescope is not in use. The eyepiece focusing sleeve is turned clockwise or counterclockwise until the image can be carefully seen by the operator. CAUTION: Care must be taken to prevent cross-threading of the fine threads.

(2) Observation Procedures. The sniper, having settled into the best obtainable position, is ready to search his chosen area. The process of observation is planned and systematic. His first consideration is towards the discovery of any immediate danger to himself, so he begins with a "hasty search" of the entire area. This is followed by a slow, deliberate observation which he calls a "detailed search". Then, as long as he remains in position, the sniper maintains a constant observation of the area using the hasty and detailed search methods as the occasion requires.

(a) Hasty Search. This is a very rapid check for enemy activity conducted by both the sniper and the observer. The observer makes the search with the 7 x 50 binoculars, making quick glances at specific points throughout the area, not by a sweep of the terrain in one continuous panoramic view. The 7 x 50 binoculars are used in this type search because they afford the observer with the wide field of view necessary to cover a large area in a short time. The hasty search is effective because the eyes are sensitive to any slight movements occurring within a wide arc of the object upon which they are focused. The sniper, when conducting his hasty search, uses this faculty called "side vision" or "seeing out of the corner of the eye". The eyes must be focused on a specific point in order to have this sensitivity.

(b) Detailed Search.

(1) If the sniper and his partner fail to locate the enemy during the hasty search, they must then begin a systematic examination known as the 50-meter overlapping strip method of search. Again the observer conducts this search with the 7 x 50 binoculars, affording him the widest view available. Normally, the area nearest the sniper offers the greatest potential danger to him. Therefore, the search should begin with the terrain nearest the observer's location. Beginning at either flank, the observer should systematically search the terrain to his front in a 180-degree arc,

50 meters in depth. After reaching the opposite flank, the observer should search the next area nearest his position. This search should cover the terrain includes about ten meters of the area examined during the first search. This technique ensures complete coverage of the area. Only when a target appears does the observer use the observation scope to get a more detailed and precise description of the target. The observation scope should not be used to conduct either the hasty or detailed search as it limits the observer with such a small field of view. The observer continues searching from one flank to the other in 50-meter overlapping strips as far out as he can see.

(2) To again take advantage of his side vision, the observer should focus his eyes on specific points as he searches from one flank to the other. He should make mental notes of prominent terrain features and areas that may offer cover and/or concealment to the enemy. In this way, he becomes familiar with the terrain as he searches it.

(c) Maintaining Observation

(1) Method. After completing his detailed search, the sniper may be required to maintain observation of the area. TO do this, he should use a method similar to his nasty search of the area. That is, he uses quick glances at various points throughout the entire area, focusing his eyes on specific features.

(2) Sequence. In maintaining observation of the area, he should devise a set sequence of searching to ensure coverage of all terrain.

Since it is entirely possible that this hasty search may fail to detect the initial movement of an enemy, the observer should periodically repeat a detailed search. A detailed search should also be conducted any time the attention of the observer is distracted.

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