The Zeroing Process for the M4A1
For Walkthrough Wednesday, we are going to begin a discussion on how to zero the M4A1 Carbine and coach our Paratroopers through the zero process. The reference for this discussion is appendix E, TC 3-22.9, Change 2, dated August 2017.
Zeroing a weapon is not a training exercise, nor is it combat skills event. Zeroing is a maintenance procedure that is accomplished to place the weapon in operation, based on the Soldier’s skill, capabilities, tactical scenario, aiming device, and ammunition. Its purpose is to achieve the desired relationship between the line of sight and the trajectory of the round at a known distance. The zeroing process ensures the Soldier, weapon, aiming device, and ammunition are performing as expected at a specific range to target with the least amount of induced errors.
For Soldiers to achieve a high level of accuracy and precision, it is critical they zero their aiming device to their weapon correctly. The Soldier must first achieve a consistent grouping of a series of shots, then align the mean point of impact of that grouping to the appropriate point of aim. Soldiers use the process described in Appendix E, TC 3-22.9, Change 2, dated August 2017 with their weapon and equipment’s technical manuals to complete the zeroing task.
The term battlesight zero means the combination of sight settings and trajectory that significantly reduces or eliminates the need for precise range estimation, further eliminating sight adjustment, holdover or hold-under for the most likely engagements. The battlesight zero is the default sight setting for a weapon, ammunition, and aiming device combination.
An appropriate battlesight zero allows the firer to accurately engage targets out to a set distance without an adjusted aiming point. For aiming devices that are not designed to be adjusted in combat, or do not have a bullet drop compensator, such as the M68, the selection of the appropriate battlesight zero distance is critical. Examples of battlesight zeros are 100-, 50/200-, and 300-meter zeros.
A specific process should be followed when zeroing. The process is designed to be time-efficient and will produce the most accurate zero possible. The zero process includes mechanical zero, laser borelight, 25-m grouping and zeroing, and zero confirmation out to 300 meters. Keep in mind, although wind and gravity have the most significant effect on the projectile’s trajectory, air density and elevation must also be taken into consideration.
The borelight is an eye-safe laser that is used to boresight optics, iron sights, and aiming lasers. The borelight assists the first shot group hitting the 25-m zeroing target when zeroing the weapon. Using the borelight will save range time and require fewer rounds for the zeroing process. Borelighting is done with a borelight, which is centered in the bore of the weapon, and with an offset target placed 10 meters from the muzzle of the weapon.
So to sum up, we’ve discussed that zeroing is a maintenance, not a tactical function. Leaders of all levels need to educate themselves now on this so that they can be more efficient in their use of one of our most valuable assets: range time. Next week, we will continue our discussion on zeroing as we discuss how to use the boresight and offests.
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