Follow Up on TC 3-22.9

A year ago, we finished the last edits on the TC 3-22.9 that published in May of 2016. For those that have taken the time to read this book, you know it’s very different than the books we have used since the 1970’s.  For those that haven’t, this post will hold less value because you have no context. I just wanted to take a few minutes to post up some responses to issues that have been brought up recently from those that are finally realizing that there is a new Sheriff in town.

First off, I want to explain a bit about how books are produced in the US Army. The short version is an NCO or Officer sits at a computer and types the book. From there it goes to paid editors who are SMEs in formatting, word usage, and English. The writer has a graphics team who make bad pictures into awesome things. Then the book is set through several levels of what is called Staffing. Staffing is simply getting the draft into people hands for comments. Usually it starts with stake holders and prior to publishing the draft is sent to “World Wide Staffing” The draft is sent to every command and Center of Excellence for review. They are given a period of 30-45 days to review and provide comments. These comments are compiled and adjudicated for acceptance or rejection. I bring all this up for two reasons. One, we have received feedback that the books are written in a vacuum and two that we are writing without involving the Army. This process is done by regulation and effectively kills those arguments.

Once a book is past staffing, it goes up higher for final signature. In the case of TC 3-22.9 it went up past the Infantry School, who is the proponent, and was signed by the Maneuver Center commander and ultimately the Chief of Staff. Each of those levels had eyes on the book and gave their approval. You can see that this is a long painstaking process. The Rifle book went to staffing in November of 2015 and didn’t publish until May.

 Now, after this process and 9 months of being published we are starting to get feedback on the book. Let me put this in context though. The major commands and the entire leadership of the Army has known this book was coming since 2015 and we are just now getting people reading the book. Finally, I can begin to address some of that feedback.

“The book talks about yards and minutes of angle because the civilians that wrote it all shoot yards, In the Army we use meters”

 As I laid out above, be assured that civilians did not write this book alone. Yes, we have civilian leadership but they are all prior service senior NCO’s and very tuned into the process. We used minutes of angle for a very specific purpose. Our service rifle optics are standardized in MOA clicks. The book needs to provide the knowledge of how to adjust those optics. Now as an Army we are very bad at consistently in units of measure. Every day we go on runs in miles, adjust uniforms to the 1/16th of an inch, but measure groups in centimeters. To make a clear delivery on Minutes of Angle we used yards to teach the process. It would have been much easier to write it in metric units and teach mill radians as used by most long-range shooters. Even our snipers learn MOA first then go on to Mils. So, we had to start somewhere with the process.

I know that we have all learned and executed a certain process for adjusting optics in the Army. But just because that’s the way we have always done it doesn’t make it right. In fact, the people who are arguing the hardest against the MOA based zero target are the guys who use the M4 side of the obsolete zero target to zero RCO’s and CCO’s. This target is not only in inches, but it isn’t squared blocks. It is also designed for iron sights so the adjustments are for those and don’t match the optics.

“The book doesn’t match the old book”

No, it doesn’t. You have a learning curve. Did I mention the book is signed by the proponent and includes the Chief of Staff in the list of signatures of approval? I only have 21 years in the Army but I am sure that means it is the way we do business now. I might be mistaken though.

“but how do we zero our lasers?”

The same way you always have, rather the way you have SUPPOSED to be doing. This involves getting a parallel zero using a borelight and confirming at distance. If your laser intersects with your impact at any range you are doing it wrong. Your laser should be parallel to the bore for the duration of the flight. Your elevation will change with range which requires you to teach yourself and your soldiers ballistics.

“but the TM say Centimeters”

Are you using CM on the range? Are you flipping the zero target to the M16 side or pulling out the metric ruler to measure at on a target shot at distance? Willing to bet if you are shooting at paper at distance you are using inches. Few are even confirming at distance and fewer are using CM to do it.

“I don’t like it”

To this I refer to the beginning of this article. Thank you for reading the book we published in May. Most of the issues are going to be addressed in upcoming manuals that are in the draft right now. We will be providing a book on how to train the things in the TC 3-22.9 so you can succeed at the things that will be in the TC 3-20.4. This will cover in depth the zeroing process, reloads, drills and proper use of simulators.

Things are changing.  The institution is changing. Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. As of right now we all agree that Army marksmanship is lacking. Yet we have said the same words over and over again since 1974 and expect a different result. We fail to use 50% of our allotted rounds every year but complain about not having the ammunition to qualify.

“but we have had always had four fundamentals”


In the FM 23-9 published in 1966 it states the two fundamentals of rifle marksmanship are Aiming and Steady Hold. Aiming was “In aiming, the firer is concerned with weapon correctly pointing his rifle so that the bullet will hit the target when he fires. To do this, he must have the rear sight, the front sight, and the target or aiming point, in their proper relationship.

This relationship is known as sight picture. Sight picture involves two elements: sight alignment and placement of the aiming point.” – FM 23-9 1966

  Steady Hold was “the technique of holding the weapon as steady as possible while obtaining a sight picture and firing. There are 8 factors which effect holding the weapon steady” FM 23-9 1966. Some of these factors are Stockweld, breathing and trigger control.


Some might think that I am biased because of my position about using the books. When I was a young NCO in the last century I was told to be technically and tactically proficient. This means being in the books and up to date. I have heard “I joined the Army to kill not to read” so many times it makes me want to kick a kitten. It’s your job as a leader. The NCO creed says “My two basic responsibilities will always be uppermost in my mind—accomplishment of my mission and the welfare of my Soldiers. I will strive to remain technically and tactically proficient. I am aware of my role as a noncommissioned officer. I will fulfill my responsibilities inherent in that role.” The tactics are laid out in several other books that will be used in future articles and part of leadership is training. FM 7-0 2008 states “Training subordinates, teams, and units for mission success involves training the unit to established standards under a variety of rapidly changing and stressful conditions.”  The TC is short for Training Circular, which means you should be training the latest published documents. That would be the established standards unless of course, your integrity is in question.

-Ash Hess


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Ash Hess
Senior NCO in the US Army currently serving as the Senior Writer for Small Arms in the Weapons and Gunnery Branch at the Maneuver Center of Excellence Fort Benning, Georgia .
Army Schools include US Army Master Marksmanship Trainer Course, Rifle Marksmanship Instructor Course, Urban Combat Leaders Course, Air Assault, Rappelmaster, Senior Leaders Course, Army Basic Instructor course, High Angle Marksmanship Course, and Unit Armorer course.

Has also attended the TigerSwan Basic Carbine course, Defoor Proformance Advanced Carbine and Scoped Rifle courses, Sionics Weapon Systems M4 Armorer course, and the MDTS Practical Small Knife 1course.

Four combat tours totaling fifty-two months overseas.