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Functional Element of Control and the M9: Arc of Movement and Trigger Control

For Manual Monday, we are starting our discussion on the functional element of control for the pistol. Specifically, we will be addressing arc-of-movement, and trigger control 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, Control is the act of firing the weapon while maintaining proper aim and adequate stabilization until the bullet leaves the muzzle. Trigger control and the Paratrooper’s position work together to allow the sights to stay on the target long enough for the Paratrooper to fire the weapon and bullet to exit the barrel. This chapter also discusses malfunctions and how to clear malfunctions for the pistol.
ARC OF MOVEMENT
Regardless of how well trained or physically strong a Paratrooper is, a wobble area (or arc of movement) is present, even when sufficient physical support of the weapon is provided. The arc of movement may be observed as the sights moving in a W shape, vertical (up and down) pulses, circular, or horizontal arcs. The wobble area, or arc of movement, is the extent of lateral horizontal and front-to-back variance in the movement that occurs.
The picture below illustrates the control element consists of several supporting Paratrooper functions and includes all the actions to minimize the Paratrooper’s induced arc of movement. The Paratrooper physically maintains positive control of the shot process by managing their trigger control, calling the shot (firing or shot execution), and follow-through.
TRIGGER CONTROL
Trigger control is the act of firing the weapon while maintaining proper aim and adequate stabilization until the bullet leaves the muzzle. Trigger control and the shooter’s position work together to allow the sights to stay on the target long enough for the Paratrooper to fire the weapon and bullet to exit the barrel.
Stability and trigger control complement each other and are integrated during the shot process. A stable position assists in aiming and reduces unwanted movements during trigger press without inducing unnecessary movement or disturbing the sight picture. A smooth, consistent trigger squeeze, regardless of speed, allows the shot to fire at the Paratrooper’s moment of choosing. When both a solid position and a good trigger squeeze are achieved, any induced shooting errors can be attributed to the aiming process for refinement.
Picture three illustrates the correct placement of the trigger finger. It is necessary to apply pressure on the trigger with the index finger between the tip and second joint (the first bone section). Unnatural trigger finger placement can lead to an inaccurate shot.
The Paratrooper pulls the trigger in a smooth, consistent manner adding pressure until the weapon fires. Regardless of the speed at which the Paratrooper is firing the trigger control will always be smooth.
Once the Paratrooper fires a shot, the trigger must be reset before firing the next shot. The trigger finger needs to move forward but should maintain contact with the trigger. This will help maintain consistent trigger finger placement. The trigger only needs to move forward far enough to reset. These actions need not be slow and must happen during the recoil of the pistol.
Do not place the trigger finger on the trigger unless the sights and target are both visible. Do not pin the trigger back; after firing, let the trigger reset.
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.
So to sum up, we’ve discussed arc-of-movement and trigger control as a part of the functional element of control. Next week, we will continue our discussion on control as we discuss workspace management and calling the shot.
#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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