Characteristics Of Fire

Trajectory is the path of the bullet in flight. An understanding of the SAW's trajectory, or curved flight path, is required in order to apply effective fire throughout the full effective range of the weapon. The path of the bullet is almost flat at ranges of300 meters or less. At ranges beyond 300 meters, the trajectory is curved, and the curve becomes greater as the range increases.

a. MAXIMUM ORDINATE. This is the highest point the trajectory reaches between the muzzle of the weapon and the base of the target. It always occurs at a point approximately two-thirds of the distance from the weapon to the target. The maximum ordinate increases as the range increases.


b. CONE OF FIRE. This is the pattern formed by the different trajectories in each burst as they travel downrange. When several rounds are fired in a burst from a SAW, each round takes a slightly different trajectory. This is caused primarily by the vibration of the weapon. Variations in ammunition and atmospheric conditions also contribute to the different trajectories.

c. BEATEN ZONE. This is the pattern formed by the rounds within the cone of fire striking the ground or the target. The size and shape of the beaten zone changes when the range to the target changes or when the weapon is fired into different types of terrain. On uniformly sloping or level terrain, the beaten zone is long and narrow. As the range to the target increases, the beaten zone becomes shorter and wider. When fire is delivered into terrain sloping down and away from the weapon, the beaten zone becomes longer. When fire is delivered into rising terrain, the beaten zone becomes shorter. The terrain has no great effect on the width of the beaten zone.

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