For Manual Monday, we are continuing our discussion on aiming the pistol. Specifically, we will be addressing common sighting errors with the pistol. Discussing all elements of the shot process for the pistol is a vital discussion, 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 FM 3-23.35 Dated May 2017.
As a refresher, the aim element of employment is the continuous process of orienting the weapon correctly, aligning the sights, aligning sights on the target, and applying the appropriate hold during a target engagement. Aiming is a continuous process conducted through pre-shot, shot, and post-shot, to effectively apply lethal fires in a responsible manner with accuracy and precision. Orienting and aiming a weapon correctly is a practiced skill. Through drills and repetitions, Soldiers build the ability to repeat proper weapons orientation, sight alignment, and sight picture as a function of muscle memory. The most common aiming errors include—
INCORRECT SIGHT ALIGNMENT
Soldiers may experience this error when failing to focus on the front sight post. Soldiers can also have incorrect sight alignment when using the dots to aim.
INCORRECT SIGHT PICTURE
This occurs typically when the threat is in a concealed location or moving. This failure directly impacts the Soldier’s ability to create and sustain the proper sight picture during the shot process.
Now that we know what two of the most common errors are, how do we overcome them? The answer lies in dry-fire. Appendix D, TC 3-23.35 outlines the recommended drills for the pistol. Drill D, Draw, and Holster, has the Paratrooper practicing the five steps of the draw. If the Paratrooper is having issues with getting a good sight picture with the pistol, practicing getting a good grip at step four, then presenting the pistol to step five may useful. This establishes for the Paratrooper what a proper grip feels like, and how to get the sights aligned and achieve a good sight picture. This must be supervised by leaders who are proficient with the pistol to be most effective.
Keep in mind; the pistol is the most perishable skillset for any soldier 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.
So to sum up, we’ve discussed improper sight alignment and sight picture for the pistol, and methods of training to overcome them. Next week, we will continue our discussion on aiming as we address non-dominant eye use, incorrect zero for the PEQ-14, and Light Conditions.