Transitions from Primary to Secondary Weapon


For Manual Monday, we are continuing our discussion on Control. Specifically, we will continue our discussion on malfunctions by discussing when to transition from a Primary weapon to secondary. Our reference for this discussion is TC 3-22.9 Change 1, dated January 2017, FM 3-23.35 dated June 2003, and FM 3-22.31 dated February 2003.

A secondary weapon, such as a pistol or the M4, is the most efficient way to engage a target at close quarters when the primary weapon has malfunctioned. The Paratrooper controls which actions must be taken to ensure the target is defeated as quickly as possible based on the threat presented.

In the case of the M9 pistol, the firer transitions by taking the secondary weapon from the HOLSTERED position to the READY UP position, reacquiring the target, and resuming the shot process as appropriate.

This brings us to a point most have not considered: for the grenadier, which is their primary weapon? and which is their secondary? As the job title implies, their primary weapon is the M320 Grenade Launcher, not the M4. How to we transition from primary weapon to secondary in that case? The Grenadier should have both firing and non-firing hand on the appropriate pistol grips of their weapons when in the mounted configuration on the M4. This means that all that is required is a rapid transition from primary to secondary weapon hand and picking up the shot process with the secondary weapon.

If the M320 is being used in a stand-alone configuration, the drill to transition from primary to secondary must be practiced, and the grenadier must understand how to employ both weapons efficiently. The Grenadier has to practice the transition to the secondary weapon from the HANG position to the READY UP position, reacquiring the target, and resuming the shot process as appropriate.

For the specific procedures to transition from a Primary to a Secondary weapon, refer to the appropriate secondary weapon’s training publications for the specific procedures to complete the transition process. FM’s3-22.31 and 3-23.35 do not currently address transitions, but this is being added to the revised editions of the manuals due out this year. Once that happens, we will re-address this topic to reflect the updated doctrine. In the interim, Paratroopers need to start thinking about what it takes to train for efficient transitions between their weapons.

So to sum up, we’ve discussed transitions, we’ve discussed what a primary weapon is, and what a secondary weapon is.  and we’ve discussed how doctrine is changing to reflect these needs for Paratrooper. Next week we will begin our discussion on control.

#weaponsmastery #shotprocess #gotosecondary


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