For Training Tuesday, we are discussing the topic ‘how many rounds should I use to zero?’ Reference for this discussion is Appendix, E, TC 3-22.9, change 2, dated August 2017.
As we mentioned in a previous post, five-round groups are the preferred technique, as they allow you to discount fliers and adjust based off of the mean point of impact of the remaining impact holes. Standards of Training Ammunition (STRAC) allocate 18 rounds to zero. For the enduring range of the 82nd, we round to 20 rounds, giving each Paratrooper four, five-round groups.
Where we do things differently is hold the Paratroopers to a standard. If they don’t zero in twenty rounds, they can come back the next day. It shows the master Gunner cell that no PMI was conducted, and so this Paratrooper has recieved no instruction prior to coming to the range.
If you as a leader have not boresighted your Paratroopers using the laser boresight and offsets, there is a field-expedient technique you can use that will get your Paratroopers on paper. Have the Paratrooper pull their bolt and look through their barrel. As they are looking through their barrel, they should focus on their target, centering it in their line of bore. Once they do this, have them look through their sighting system. Then you as the leader adjust their sighting system onto target. Have them periodically check to make sure their line of bore is still on target.Keep in mind, the adjustments will be in the opposite direction as indicated on he knobs of the sight, as you are adjusting your point of aim to you point of impact’s location, such is the opposite of how we normally zero.
This needs to be done the moment you realize your Paratrooper is off of paper or you can’t see your bullet impacts. If you know for a fact you have someone who is a poor shooter, you might consider putting an FBI silhouette target behind their zero target to give them a clean surface to zero on.
Hold your Paratroopers to the standard. If they can’t do it in twenty rounds, pull them from the line. Give them retraining, preferably with a diagnostic tool like a MantisX to get an idea of what their mistakes are. Once you’ve identified that, then you consider giving them a chance to zero again. On the enduring range, we tell Paratroopers to come back the next day. This gives their NCO’s a chance to retrain them.
So to sum up, train your Paratroopers before coming to the range, identify if they are off target in the first group, and boresight that weapon if needed, and hold them to the standard.
As NCO’s, it is our responsibility to be the subject Matter Experts on the employment and training of our weapons. Do the work before coming to the range, and you will have set your Paratroopers up for success.