‘Calling the Shot’ with the Pistol as a Part of the Functional Element of Control


For Manual Monday, we are continuing our discussion on control and the pistol. Specifically, we will be addressing How to call the shot for the pistol. Learning all elements of the shot process for the pistol is vital, as the M17 will be fielded to elements of the 82nd within the near future. The M17 will also be going to more people than it is currently. So all of us need to improve our shot process with the pistol. The reference for this discussion is TC 3-23.35 Dated May 2017.

As a refresher, the functional element of control is the act of firing the weapon while maintaining proper aim and adequate stabilization until the bullet leaves the muzzle. Trigger control and the Paratrooper’s position work together to allow the sights to stay on the target long enough for the Paratrooper to fire the weapon and bullet to exit the barrel.


For accurate shot analysis, the Paratrooper must know exactly where the sights are when the weapon discharges. Errors such as flinching or jerking of the trigger are visible in the sights before discharge.

Calling a shot refers to a firer stating exactly where the Paratrooper thinks a single shot strikes by recalling the sights relationship to the target when the weapon fired. This is normally expressed in clock direction and inches from the desired point of aim.

The Paratrooper is responsible for the point of impact of every round fired from their weapon. This requires the Paratrooper to ensure the target area is clear of friendly and neutral personnel, in front of and behind the target. Paratroopers must also be aware of the environment the target is positioned in, particularly in urban settings—friendly or neutral personnel may be present in other areas of a structure that the projectile can pass through.

Keep in mind, the pistol is the most perishable skillset for any Paratrooper to learn. The best combat shooters in the Army will devote the majority of their training time to this weapons system, even though it might be utilized in less than one percent of the engagements they encounter. The reason being when they need that pistol, they need to be fast and accurate.

So to sum up, we’ve discussed what calling the shot is, and why it is important for the Paratrooper to learn. Next week, we will continue our discussion on the functional element of control as we discuss follow through.

#weaponsmastery #shotprocess

Raymond Miller
82nd Airborne Division Small Arms Master Gunner: primary weapons trainer, force modernization for individual weapons, and range liason for the 82nd.


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