Follow-Through 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 begin to address what follow through means 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


Follow-through is the sequence of steps required to complete the shot process. Follow-through consists of all actions controlled by the Soldier after the bullet leaves the muzzle including the following:

Recoil management: This includes the slide assembly recoiling completely and returning to the battery. It includes the unlocking, extraction, ejection, cocking, feeding, chambering and locking of the cycle of function. Anything that stops these from happening indicates a weapon malfunction and require the Paratrooper to take appropriate action.

Recoil recovery: Returning to the position the Paratrooper was in prior to the shot and reacquiring the sight alignment or sight picture. The Paratrooper needs to watch the front sight post during recoil.

Trigger or sear reset: Once the ejection phase of the cycle of function is complete, the weapon initiates and completes the cocking phase. As part of that phase, all mechanical components associated with the trigger, disconnect, and sear are reset. Any failures in the cocking phase indicate a weapon malfunction and require the Paratrooper to take the appropriate action.

The Paratrooper maintains trigger finger placement and releases pressure on the trigger until the sear is reset, demonstrated by a metallic click. At this point the sear is reset and the trigger pre-staged for a subsequent or supplemental engagement if needed.

Don’t hold the trigger back on reset. Once the round is fired, let the trigger go forward while maintaining contact with trigger finger. The longer the trigger is held to the rear, the longer the Paratrooper prevents the pistol from functioning and delays reengagement.

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 some elements of follow through are. We also discussed methods of training to be proficient with it. Next week, we will continue our discussion on Follow Through as a part of the functional element of Control.

#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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