Category Archives: Training

Movement as a part of the shot process, part 1

  “Though he was in a similarly desperate situation on the south side of the roof, the idea of leaping off a four-story building never occurred to Corriveau. Instead, as he bounded back and forth across the building’s edge, alternately firing into the northern stairwell door and taking cover from whatever return fire came his way, his mass of conflicting emotions was overridden by only one thought: get to the radio on the other side of the roof.”  -Excerpt of The Longest Morning by Jeff Manuel For Manual Monday, we are beginning our discussion on Movement. Specifically, we will define movement, and what the different movement types there are according to doctrine. Our reference for this discussion is TC 3-22.9 Change 1, dated January 2017. For those who have not kept up with it, the Army has updated their doctrine when it comes to shooting. There are now four functional elements of the shot process. To recap, they are Stability, Aim, Control, and Movement. We’ve discussed Stability, Aim, and Control previously. Now we are addressing movement as a part of the shot process. The reason movement is a functional element, is because, on the modern battlefield, it is imperative that Paratroopers be able

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Developing Wide-Band Situational Awareness

There are a lot of cliche statements repeated over and over ad nauseum in the training world. Many of those statements refer to situational awareness (SA), the most popular being, “Keep your head on a swivel!” While it is true that it depends on how you interpret it, honestly I think that any shallow interpretation is going to miss the essence of what situational awareness is and how it actually works. If we think back to the conditions of awareness first laid out by Jeff Cooper (Google this if you have not seen it yet) we see that the main thing that changes with each condition is that our focus actually narrows with each increase in intensity. This is critically important to understand. The more tense and focused you are, the smaller your field of vision actually becomes. As the threat becomes more apparent, you become more fixated on that particular threat. I’d like to point out the most common mistake I see in the gun carrying community: mistaking high intensity for wide-band SA. Picture the most ridiculous culprit, he’s wearing tactical pants, tactical boots, requisite shirt to hide obvious gun gear, and his eyebrows are pulled into the center

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The Safety Brief

For Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures Thursday, we are going to be discussing something that is basic but needs standardizing for every time we go to the range: The Safety Brief. Every day at the Enduring Range, a safety brief is given to the Paratroopers in attendance for Zero and Qualification. They receive the same safety brief covering the same topics every time: Orientation to the range, the four rules of firearms safety, ‘what is the primary safety of any weapon?’ and the course of fire. Orientation to the range is the Range Safety Officer or Officer In Charge physically pointing out the left and right limits of the range to every person coming on the range. This is done so as to ensure that the Paratroopers know what their limits are, along with the injunction that all their rounds must go between these limits. The four rules of firearms safety are discussed next. They are: Treat every weapon as if it is loaded, Never point your weapon at anything you do not intend to destroy, Keep your finger straight and off the trigger until on target and prepared to engage, and know your target; know what is in front of,

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Why We Fight

" War is not violence and killing, pure and simple; war is controlled violence, for a purpose." -Robert Heinlein, Starship Troopers We are continuing our discussion on why we need to train our Paratroopers more efficiently.  Last week we discussed how little space it takes on the calendar, so how do we ensure it has emphasis placed on it? It boils down to leaders of all levels and types understanding the reason why it should be a priority. The mindset that every leader needs to have is that Weapons Mastery should be the goal of every soldier, with weapons proficiency being accepted as the minimum standard. In the 82nd Airborne Division, the commander has addressed this in DIV PAM 600-2, which has weapons mastery as a part of the ‘82nd eight.’ Regardless of Military Occupational Specialty, we are all a part of America’s Army. That means that when called upon, all of us fight and win the nation’s wars. In today’s Unified Land Operations environment, that means that everyone needs to be proficient at weapons. The reality is, most of the insurgents we have fought in the past 15 years are not looking for a ‘fair’ fight. They are looking to

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Introduction to Ballistics

  ‘There were over thirty of them in continuous action, and all I could do was touch the Germans off just as fast as I could. I was sharpshooting. I don't think I missed a shot. It was no time to miss.’ -Alvin C. York’s account of October 8, 1918 For Walkthrough Wednesday, we are starting a discussion on a topic that is commonly misunderstood and appreciated: we are going to begin a conversation on ballistics. Reference for this is Appendix B, TC 3-22.9, Change 1 dated January 2017. Ballistics is the study of a projectile in motion. TC 3-22.9 defines it as “Ballistics is the science of the processes that occur from the time a firearm is fired to the time when the bullet impacts its target [and ceases movement].” Put simply, Ballistics is everything that happens the moment the firing pin comes in contact with the primer, to just before the projectile ceases movement in its target. There are three major categories of ballistics: Internal, External, and Terminal. Internal ballistics are everything that happens to the projectile from the moment the trigger is squeezed to the moment before it exits the barrel. External ballistics is everything that happens to

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Transitions from Primary to Secondary Weapon

  For Manual Monday, we are continuing our discussion on Control. Specifically, we will continue our discussion on malfunctions by discussing when to transition from a Primary weapon to secondary. Our reference for this discussion is TC 3-22.9 Change 1, dated January 2017, FM 3-23.35 dated June 2003, and FM 3-22.31 dated February 2003. A secondary weapon, such as a pistol or the M4, is the most efficient way to engage a target at close quarters when the primary weapon has malfunctioned. The Paratrooper controls which actions must be taken to ensure the target is defeated as quickly as possible based on the threat presented. In the case of the M9 pistol, the firer transitions by taking the secondary weapon from the HOLSTERED position to the READY UP position, reacquiring the target, and resuming the shot process as appropriate. This brings us to a point most have not considered: for the grenadier, which is their primary weapon? and which is their secondary? As the job title implies, their primary weapon is the M320 Grenade Launcher, not the M4. How to we transition from primary weapon to secondary in that case? The Grenadier should have both firing and non-firing hand on

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The Engagement Skills Trainer

For Tactics, Techniques and Procedures Thursday, we are going to be discussing a system that has a reputation for being more trouble than it’s worth: The Engagement Skills Trainer. The legacy EST system was a tethered system that allowed NCO’s the capability to identify issues with their paratroopers prior to coming to the range. It had many good tools and capabilities built in that could refine the Paratrooper’s shot process. The only drawback it had, was that it was required to be hooked to the line, which degraded realism when the Paratrooper got off their belly. The new system that has been installed on Fort Bragg is a wireless system. It fixes this issue and makes it much more realistic for use. Information on it can be found at the following link: https://www.meggitttrainingsystems.com/Law-Enforcement/Simulation-training/BlueFire-wireless-weapon-simulators What needs to be taken away from this is how the leaders are going to implement the use of this new system prior to qualification. All Paratroopers need to demonstrate proficiency in the scenarios outlined in the table below as a part of the new Integrated Weapons Training Strategy Table II. This can be implemented up to 6 weeks prior to the range.  Planning factor for these

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Implementation of Dry-fire into the Training Calendar

“As there is no ammunition, every day when they come here for training, the shooters just aims the gun, pull the trigger to hear the ‘tick’ sound, and that’s all,” -Hoang Xuan Vihn   For Walkthrough Wednesday, we are re-addressing a topic that has been brought up before at the request of several leaders. 'How do I have my Paratroopers achieve an ‘advanced’ level skill set?' The answer lies in the judicious application of dry-fire. In the 2016 Rio Olympics, Vietnam won their first-ever gold medal in ten-meter air pistol. The gentleman who did this, Hoang Xuan Vihn, was at a severe disadvantage compared to most of the other competitors, as he was limited to 100 rounds of air pistol ammunition per day prior to the Olympics. Hoang incorporated a regimen of dry-fire, practicing thousands of repetitions of his shot process, and practiced honest self-assessment of what he was doing. These things are what allowed him to compete at the highest level and win. So to do that for our Paratroopers, we need to have an area set up for them to use for dry-firing. Ten-meter scale targets like in picture two are a good resource to start with. Paratroopers

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Training Emphasis on Weapons Mastery

For TrainingTuesday, we are starting a new discussion on how to train our Paratroopers more efficiently. Specifically, we will be addressing how to train more efficiently. The reference for this discussion is TC 3-22.9, change 1 dated 10 January 2017. The main thing that I always get asked by leaders is: how do I train my Paratroopers ‘advanced rifle marksmanship?’ The problem I have with this is, we are not training the foundational tasks enough to even be ready for ‘advanced’ skills. So how do we address this? The answer comes back to a solid understanding of what our organization’s wartime mission is. The mission of the Infantry in War Time is to “to close with the enemy by means of fire and maneuver to destroy, capture, or repel an assault by fire, close combat, and counterattack.” (ATP 3-21.8 Change 1 dated April 2016) That mission applies to everyone in the 82nd Airborne Division, not just the infantry, as our mission set of airfield seizure in a unified land operations environment means that everyone is a potential Infantryman. In order to ensure all our Paratroopers are trained to the same level of proficiency, it begins with leaders placing emphasis on

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Malfunction with a Primary Weapon Part 3

For Manual Monday, we are continuing our discussion on Control. Specifically, we will continue our discussion on malfunctions as we address when in the cycle of function immediate action will correct the malfunction, and the rules of correcting a malfunction, which is a specific part of the shot process that was not addressed under the fundamentals. Our reference for this discussion is TC 3-22.9 Change 1, dated January 2017. To refresh our memories, Remedial action requires the Paratrooper to quickly identify one of four issues and apply a specific technique to correct the malfunction. Remedial action is required to correct the following types of malfunctions or symptoms: Immediate action fails to correct symptom – when a malfunction occurred that initiated the Paratrooper to execute immediate action and multiple attempts failed to correct the malfunction. A minimum of two cycles of immediate action should have been completed; first, without a magazine change, and the second with a magazine change. Stovepipe – can occur when either a feeding cartridge or an expended cartridge case is pushed sideways during the cycle of function causing that casing to stop the forward movement of the bolt carrier assembly and lodge itself between the face of

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