For Manual Monday, we are continuing our discussion on control and the pistol. Specifically, we will be addressing what workspace looks like 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.
As a refresher, the functional element of 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.
The workspace is a spherical area, 12 to 18 inches in diameter centered on the Paratrooper’s chin and about 12 inches in front of his or her chin. The workspace is where the majority of weapons manipulations occur. Conducting manipulations in the workspace allows the Paratrooper to keep his or her eyes oriented towards a threat, or the individual sector of fire while conducting critical weapons tasks that require hand-and-eye coordination. Use of the workspace creates efficiency of motion by minimizing the distance the weapon has to move between the firing position to the workspace and return to the firing position.
Workspace management includes the Paratrooper’s ability to perform the following functions (drills) routinely, with fluidity of motion and smoothness in execution to ensure the fastest possible return of the weapon’s orientation to the target area while maintaining observation of the target area or sector of observation.
The close fight requires rapid manipulations, a balance of speed and accuracy, and very little environmental concerns. Paratroopers must move quickly and efficiently through their manipulations of the fire control in order to maintain the maximum amount of muzzle orientation on the threat through the shot process. This second-nature efficiency of movement only comes from regular practice, drills, and repetition.
Bringing the pistol into workspace needs to be practiced. NCO’s need to make sure that Paratroopers understand the standard for the use of workspace, and then practice it. This does not require going to the range, just some time and creativity when it comes to dry-fire.
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 workspace is. We also discussed methods of training to be proficient with it. Next week, we will continue our discussion on the functional element of control as we address calling the shot.