Category Archives: Military

Articles with a focus on Military.

Standard Qualification for the M4

We are going to start a discussion on qualification standards. Specifically, we are going to address what the standard is for qualification with the M4. The references for this is TC 3-22.9, change 1 dated January 2017. Appendix F of TC 3-22.9 Change 1 states that “The 25-meter scaled target alternate course is used when a standard record fire or KD range is unavailable for weapon qualification.” What is the definition of ‘unavailable?’ For the purposes of this discussion and in general, ‘unavailable' means no pop-up qualification range exists at the duty station. So if we have a place like Fort Bragg, where there are multiple pop-up ranges, but you are unable to schedule it due to a lack of previous planning, does that still count as ‘unavailable?’ The answer is no. Paratroopers need to qualify on the standard qualification range. This will build confidence in their ability to engage targets past 25 meters, which is all they are getting with the ALT-C target. Units need to incorporate the Integrated Weapons Training Strategy into their unit training plan in order to be able to plan successfully and utilize the six qualification ranges on Fort Bragg efficiently. Moreover, it is important

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Rates of Fire for the M4 and M4A1

We are continuing our discussion on control. Specifically we will be addressing the rates of fire for the M4 and M4A1 platforms. The Reference for this discussion is TC 3-22.9 Change 1 dated January 2017. The Paratrooper needs to determine what rate of fire meets the needs of their specific engagement. Just as each threat is different, each shooting technique is slightly different in their applications. There are three rates of fire that we will discuss: Slow Semiautomatic fire, Rapid Semiautomatic fire, and automatic or burst fire. We will discuss each one of these in sequence. Slow semiautomatic fire is fires typically used in a training environment or when the Paratrooper has time to take a well-aimed shot. Examples of this are when the squad is engaging targets in the defense past 300 meters. The rate of fire for this is 12 to 15 rounds per minute, approximately one round every 4-5 seconds. This rate of fire is also used in a training environment to allow the Paratrooper to focus on their shot process. Rapid Semiautomatic fire is approximately 45 rounds per minute. It is typically used for multiple targets or when the soldier is within 300 meters of the

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Low Power Variable Optics

We will be discussing optics, and what trends there are in the civilian market that may carry over to the military force modernization efforts. One of the biggest trends in the optics market for firearms the past few years has been in Low-Power Variable Optics. For the Definition of this discussion, a low-power variable optic is a scope that is a 1-6 or 1-8 power scope, that has very little parallax. A Low Power Variable optic, such as the Leupold Mk VI 1-6 gives the Paratrooper the capability of engagements from near to far. For day-to-day use, the optic is left on 1x, and as needed, the Paratrooper can dial up the magnification to be able to reach out and engage targets more efficiently. Moreover, there has been improvements in reticle technology. We now have reticles available similar to the one presented in the above picture, that allow the Paratrooper to apply a more precise hold for both wind calls and moving targets. A simplified ‘christmas tree,’ like in picture two, makes it possible for consistent shot placement. When you couple this reticle with a first focal plane scope, it makes the reticle change scale based off the magnification selected.

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Fire Control for Machine Guns

We are continuing our discussion on Fire control for machine guns. Specifically, we are addressing what fire control is, and what methods are available to the Paratrooper. The reference for this discussion is ATP 3-21.8 dated April 2016. Fire control includes all the actions the Paratrooper does in planning, preparing, and applying fire on a target. Generally, it is a team or squad leader who does this, but based off the nature of the Airborne, a paratrooper needs to have an understanding of fire control so as to make it more effective. Fire control is organized by whether it is terrain-based or threat-based. The team or squad leader designates targets, identifies their midpoint, ends, or flanks, and lets the gun teams know what rates of fire and classes of fire to use. The Gunner (or team) then engages on the Squad or team leaders’ signal, adjusts rates of fire, shifts, and lifts fires, all based off fire control measures. The noise and confusion of battle can limit the effectiveness of some of these methods, therefore, the Paratrooper needs to use multiple methods to ensure the signals are sent at the appropriate times. the methods are illustrated above. For today, we

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Even More On Boresighting

We are continuing our discussion on the Boresight. Specifically, we will be boresighting lasers. The reference for this is TM 9-5860-226-13&P dated August 2007. The boresight needs to be zeroed to the weapon prior to zeroing anything else. To learn how to zero the Laser Boresight, and why it is important to do this, reference the TTP Thursday post from last week. Lasers are handled differently than the primary optic for the weapon. To set up the weapon for lasers, you will place the weapon in as stable a platform as possible with the boresight on its point on the offset. The Paratrooper does not need to hold the weapon, a gun vice or shadowbox will work. Once that has been accomplished, you will then use the adjusters on the laser to adjust to the point on the target for the IR aiming laser. Always use the IR aiming laser, not the visible aiming laser. The IR is the primary laser you will use in combat, and even though they share the same optical bench, you want to zero the primary laser to the weapon. The Paratrooper does not need to be behind the weapon at this point, as there

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Q/A on IWTS

We are answering some questions that have been brought up in reference to the Integrated Weapons Training Strategy and how it is reported. As we discussed in previous posts, there are six tables for each gate, and four gates that take the unit from individual training through unit training. Specifically today, we will address what it takes for a squad or.vehicle crew to be qualified. The reference for our discussion is TC 3-20.0 dated June 2015. Above illustrates what this looks like for the squad. Table I is a Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures evaluation. Gate II is simulations: for the squad, this entails use of simulation systems to practice coordination between the teams. Gate III is the TADSS, for the squad is MILES Gears. Table IV is the squad STX lane. It is dry-fire as an organization. Paratroopers need to practice not only their shot process, but also need to be communicating with their fellow team members. Team leaders need to learn and reinforce that they are in control of what the team does or does not do. New squad leaders learn that this is where you take that step back and look at the bigger picture. Table V is

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Fire Commands

We are going to address something that is common for machine guns and AT weapons to need to know; fire commands. The reference for this is FM 3-22.68 Dated July 2006. A fire command is a command given to deliver effective fire on a target quickly and without confusion. There are six elements to a fire command: the Alert that the guns are going to fire, a cardinal direction to the target, along with an estimated range, a description of the target, the Method of fire, and the command to fire. We will discuss each of these elements separately. The alert lets the gun teams know which guns will be engaging the threat: Gun 1, Gun 2, or both. The direction can be done one of three ways: by speaking, pointing (either with a hand, or with a laser), with tracer fire, or with reference points. The description gives the gunners a visualization of what the target is, if they cannot see it clearly (or at all, in the case of defilade fires). The range is an estimation by the weapons squad leader. A technique that can be used is to take the laser range finders that are a part

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More Zeroing With Boresight

We are going to continue our discussion on the Laser Boresight. Specifically, we are going to talk about how to zero the enabler with a zeroed LBS. The reference for this is TM 9-5860-226-13&P dated August 2007. To learn how to zero the Laser Boresight, and why it is important to do this, reference the TTP Thursday post from last week. Now that we have established a good solid zero for the boresight, the next task we will conduct will be zeroing the weapon. To do that, we start with as solid a position as possible. There are three people involved in this process: the Weapon man making corrections to the optic, the Target man who has secured the appropriate offset to the wall, and the Paratrooper whose weapon is being zeroed. The Paratrooper assumes a very stable position. The prone supported with a sand sock if possible is ideal. Bench rests or a gun vise are an excellent method of securing the weapon as well. The Paratrooper acquires their sight picture with their optic, and as soon as their dot is on the dot at the center of the target, they call out ‘mark.’ The Target man looks at

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Machine Gun: Ammunition Planning

We are continuing our discussion on machine gun theory, specifically we are addressing an oft overlooked thing for support by fire: Ammunition planning. I know most of us thought we were joining the military and we wouldn't have to do math anymore, but we were wrong. Ammunition planning is in doctrine in the ATP 3-21.8 dated April of 2016. The first thing you must know is what the rates of fire are for your specific weapons system. Pictures one and two illustrate the sustained, rapid, and cyclic rates of fire for our machine guns. Once that is done, as a part of the mission planning process, the weapons squad leader needs to identify key events, allocate ammunition to each event based off SOP, some units want 15 seconds of rapid rate to establish the support by fire or when shifting fires. Others want 30. The Weapons Squad Leader takes that into account and gets the total figures needed per gun. The Weapons Squad Leader then analyzes this amount and adjusts if necessary. The main planning point with this is knowing your rates of fire. Sustained should be approximately nine rounds per burst with a four to five second pause in between. That

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Calling the Shot

We are continuing our discussion on the functional element of control. Specifically we will be discussing ‘calling the shot.’ The reference for this is TC 3-22.9 Change 1, dated January 2017. Calling the shot, is when the Paratrooper notes where the sights or reticle is when the weapon discharges. This is essential so that the Paratrooper can perform a shot-by-shot analysis of their groups. This expression is usually given in a clock direction and inches from their desired point of aim. If the Paratrooper is on target, then the call is ‘center-hold.’ If the Paratrooper is honest with themselves at the beginning, there will be very few center calls. This also means that the Paratrooper is responsible for every call, both bad and good. This reinforces in the Paratroopers’ mind that they are the primary safety of the weapon, and responsible for knowing their target, what’s in front of, around, and behind it. When the shot is called, a Paratrooper can diagnose bad habits. For example, if the paratroopers keeps jerking their trigger, and they are right handed, they will notice the sights will be right of the target when the trigger breaks. Calling the shot carries over from the

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