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Author Topic: U. S. Army info on current shooting ability of soldiers  (Read 3016 times)
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M1A4ME
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« on: October 24, 2006, 01:49:00 PM »

This is from an on line article about the US Army Sniper School.   http://usmilitary.about.com/od/armytrng/a/sniperschool.htm

According to the U.S. Army, the average soldier will hit a man-sized target 10 percent of the time at 300 meters using the M16A2 rifle.

Doesn't sound too good does it.  I wonder if it's lack of good training, lack of good practice/experience, or lack of understanding of the importance of being able to hit what you aim at?
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Santander
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« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2006, 02:32:47 PM »

Have you seen the Discovery Channel "documentary" on the US Army Sniper School? Very interesting. It doesn't go too deep but it gives you an taste and an appreciation for what they go through. It's not just who they hit or how they do it but also the phsychological effect on the enemy and intel provided by being an up front scout. Very cool.
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« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2006, 02:52:17 PM »

Training has been really BAD in the past. They're working on improving it. It will get better eventually.
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“Shooting is a deteriorating skill, if you don’t practice it often enough it will go away from you….and there is no way to get it back” Gunnery Sergeant Carlos N. Hathcock II, USMC

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mkh100
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« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2006, 03:34:54 PM »

I remember spending a training day with the Swat Sniper team 10 or so years ago. If each man shot a dozen rounds I would be surprised. And this was the twice a year training !

We recently had a cop get shot, police dog shot, and the K9 officer shot and killed. Police from all over converged, found the suspect the next morning and fired 160 some odd shots, only hit the bad guy 68 times.....not exactly sharpshooters. 
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mountainman
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« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2006, 04:51:55 PM »

Unfortunately , many young people today have grown up in a "civilized" urban environment, and have had little exposure to firearms previous to entering the military. This no-doubt contributes to the poor shooting ability of some of todays military. They simply need to spend more time on the range, and get better instruction.
If we can get more young people involved in the Appleseed program, we can play an important roll in their pre-military marksmanship training.

mountainman
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Spartacus2002
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« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2006, 07:17:04 PM »

Modern doctrine relies more on close air support and indirect fire than aimed rifle fire, so consequently marksmanship training suffers.
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« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2006, 08:10:51 PM »

Modern doctrine relies more on close air support and indirect fire than aimed rifle fire, so consequently marksmanship training suffers.

So TRUE!  Another consideration is that the government has little interest in teaching soldiers how to shoot well, you never know when that might come back to bite them...it bit the British back in 1774.  If the average soldier spent a couple of weekends at an Appleseed, the military would not be working so hard on "Designated Marksmen" for each platoon/squad, to be able to engage targets out to 500 yards.  But then again, if you are only going to give a soldier a carbine, why expect him to use it like a real rifle. Tongue
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Oohrah
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« Reply #7 on: February 8, 2007, 12:50:05 PM »

Well my friends, don't want this to sound like a comparison, as it is
only an update.  Last month I had the opportunity to travel back
fifty years with a visit to MCRD, San Diego.   We had some spare time
from a mid winter National Marine Corps League Conference.   The young Marines
that graduated from Lima Co, 3rd Bat. were every bit as quality men as
years passed.   We got pretty much VIP treatment and a chance to
mingle.
   During this week stay, we spent two days at Camp Pendleton where
state of art stuff is deminstrated at Marines West Expo.   The same
location is also now the Recruit qualification rifle and pistol range.   The
weapons have changed; however, the standards have not.   To become
a Marine, each must be a qualified rifleman .   My eyes don't see that far
but I beleive the firing is done up to 600 yards.   Every Marine that grad-
uates wears a shooting badge of standing without exception.
   I don't think I will ever believe that we are not a nation of shooters!
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funfaler
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« Reply #8 on: February 8, 2007, 01:03:32 PM »

With all due respect to the Marines and Oohrah, the Marines that I discussed this very subject with say that while they shoot out to 600 yards and "qualify" to that distance, they seldom if ever shoot that distance after basic training.  Some years back, my best friend joined and told me about shooting that far, I was amazed, but he admitted that the Gunny set the sights, and that he really had no idea what it would take to shoot that far on his own (his experience may be nontypical).  He was in the air wing and not infantry, but it was interesting.

Even if the Marines are up to speed on long range riflemanship, the rest of the services don't bother, and unforturnately, the Marines are a small part (too small for my liking) of our military.  And they issue the wrong tool for the job, in my humble, tax paying opinion. Wink
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Nickle
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« Reply #9 on: February 8, 2007, 01:44:03 PM »

The Army currently trains to 300 Meters, when we're shooting on a KD (Known Distance) Range, and to 400 Meters on pop-ups. That includes the Army Guard as well. My unit does KD to 300 Meters. A couple of years ago, we were doing 25 Meters as the Alternate Course.

The 300 Meter KD Course is 20 shots slow fire at 300, prone supported, 2 mags, full shilouette; 10 shots rapid fire at 200, prone unsupported, full shilouette; 10 shots rapid fire at 100, prone unsupported, head and shoulders shilouette.

This is for Annual Weapons Qualification, and we adjust our own sights.

We don't have special Marksmanship Instructors running the range, just NCO's and maybe an Officer (usually an SFC E-7) as the Range Officer.

FWIW, this past year was the first time in a bunch of years that I had to shoot the M16A2 for qualification, as I was issued an M9 Pistol (we are short the M4 Carbine I wa also supposed to have).

I ended up with a 36 (out of 40) for a score in November, and that isn't even Expert (38). 17 at 300, 10 at 200 and 9 at 100. And I didn't have the highest score for the unit, either.

Current Army doctrine calls for using a Designated Marksman (M14 or M21) or Sniper (M24 or M107) with a 7.62 or .50 at further ranges than 460 Meters. 460 Meters is the accepted Maximum Effective Range of the M16A2. Now you know why.
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“Shooting is a deteriorating skill, if you don’t practice it often enough it will go away from you….and there is no way to get it back” Gunnery Sergeant Carlos N. Hathcock II, USMC

"Hathcock got it slightly wrong. You CAN get it back." Nickle

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Mountain_Boys
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« Reply #10 on: February 8, 2007, 02:05:43 PM »

Guys and Gals.

One of my prize positions is a book that was given to my father on his 12th birthday. Written and illustrated by a Marine Captian about his experiences in WWI it describes Marines picking of the "Hun" at eight hundred yards with their Springfields. The nature of warfare and the weapons used to fight it have changed , but thank God, Marines are still first and foremost, Riflemen.

mountainman
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"To the distinguished character of patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian" George Washington [May 2, 1778, at Valley Forge]
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« Reply #11 on: February 8, 2007, 09:52:43 PM »

Just the thought of our Military getting issued real rifles make me all giddy.  Imagine some city kid, never seen a "gun" before, being handed a M14 by the Sgt.  Then told to shoot the target there at 500 yards.  Makes me want to join now!

Thanks for the info guys
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teotwawki
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« Reply #12 on: February 8, 2007, 11:24:10 PM »

I forget where I read it, or where I even got this idea, but someone had mentioned that one of the reasons the MBR was taken away from the common soldier and replaced with poodle shooters was that TPTB didn't want skilled riflemen returning to the ranks of civilians as they could be a problem later on.  They changed the complete doctrine of the ground soldier to make up for this deficit.
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« Reply #13 on: February 8, 2007, 11:39:43 PM »

With all due respect to the Marines and Oohrah, the Marines that I discussed this very subject with say that while they shoot out to 600 yards and "qualify" to that distance, they seldom if ever shoot that distance after basic training.  Some years back, my best friend joined and told me about shooting that far, I was amazed, but he admitted that the Gunny set the sights, and that he really had no idea what it would take to shoot that far on his own (his experience may be nontypical).  He was in the air wing and not infantry, but it was interesting.

Even if the Marines are up to speed on long range riflemanship, the rest of the services don't bother, and unforturnately, the Marines are a small part (too small for my liking) of our military.  And they issue the wrong tool for the job, in my humble, tax paying opinion. Wink


The Marines qualify out to 500 yards annually.  If you are on the USMC shooting team you also shoot out from 600 to 1000 regularly.

When I wasn't shooting competition I was instructing Marines on the rifle and pistol range.  It has been my opinion that the military in general doesn't take marksmanship seriously enough.  IMO a big part of that reason is time and money.  It cost quite a bit of money to send company sized elements to the rifle range for a week.  For a large majority of Marines and soliders this one week of qual is the only live round shooting they will do all year until they hit the ground in a LZ and they are on a two way range. 

I have been lucky enough after my active duty in the Marines to spend 4 years in the Army reserves, again instructing marksmanship.
As much as I think the USMC rifle training is too little, the Army training it even less.  I've been out for 4 years so this may have changed, but in the 8 years of my service marksmanship for both branches needed an overhaul...

Just my .02
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teotwawki
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« Reply #14 on: February 8, 2007, 11:59:16 PM »

In my experience, no one wanted to ever go to the range.  I was a spook type, but becuase the scouts and tankers in my unit were such lazy bastages I got qualify with just about every weapon a modern cavalry unit carried.

I still remember that freakin' cold afternoon in Graf sitting with my legs wrapped around a ma-deuce, with empty shells piling arouind my knees walking fire out to a mile on orange 55 gallon drums (tracers), I got to shoot tons of ammo that no one wanted to count - the armorer changed the barrel 3 times before I was done - what a rush.

I also remember tossing 203 rounds for what seemed like hours once.  I love that 'FWOOOP - THUD".

Ah well...
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« Reply #15 on: February 9, 2007, 05:19:50 AM »

When I was in the TXARNG, I would qualify with any unit that would have me, but with my unit I shot my SMC issued NM M14. I was the envy of the unit. Every body wanted one. I let the CO and XO shoot it  and they pushed hard to get the mouse gun gone and the M14 reissued. We all do what we can.
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« Reply #16 on: February 9, 2007, 05:57:11 AM »

I'm not nor have I been in the military, but I cross paths regularly with many who are/were.

1. The Marine Corps is the ONLY branch of the US Military that puts any value on individual marksmanship, from the top down.

2. As noted here, even that Marine Corps training is not as frequent nor thorough as in some/most past times.

3. Individual units/commanders/local Guard influences can make some smaller units decent, good, or even excellent.

4. These groups are several sigma out of the norm and have no bearing on overall marksmanship in the military, statistically.

That's it.  The sum?

The Military can't shoot straight, as a whole.

Wish it weren't so, 'fraid it is.
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« Reply #17 on: February 9, 2007, 07:00:38 AM »

It has been my opinion that the military in general doesn't take marksmanship seriously enough.  IMO a big part of that reason is time and money.  It cost quite a bit of money to send company sized elements to the rifle range for a week.  For a large majority of Marines and soliders this one week of qual is the only live round shooting they will do all year until they hit the ground in a LZ and they are on a two way range. 

As much as I think the USMC rifle training is too little, the Army training it even less.  I've been out for 4 years so this may have changed, but in the 8 years of my service marksmanship for both branches needed an overhaul...

Just my .02

I agree D. The Army (after boot camp) spends ONE DAY per year on marksmanship, to qualify, and that's it. Pretty sorry, if you ask me. Yes, we do shoot real distances, and some of the troops can shoot well enough, but, there just isn't the emphasis on marksmanship that should be there. The "higher ups" would rather use Arty, Air and high-tech weapons.

Now, we've been paying the price for it all the past 4 years in Iraq, and the past 5 years in Afghanistan, we're the distances can get long. That's why the Army jumped through their butts and reissued M14's. The M16A2's just flat weren't cutting it at the longer distances. No fault on the gun, though, they weren't designed for much over 400 meters.

And Atlas, though overall, many of the troops, especially in the Army can't shoot for beans, some of them can.
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“Shooting is a deteriorating skill, if you don’t practice it often enough it will go away from you….and there is no way to get it back” Gunnery Sergeant Carlos N. Hathcock II, USMC

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Mountain_Boys
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« Reply #18 on: February 9, 2007, 07:31:36 AM »


     Nickle, I don't doubt that some can shoot, but speaking as a evaluator of other people's marksmanship-in-action, most cannot.

     On the RWVA range, over the last 15 years, I've seen marines, army spec forces, airborne, even some rumored delta-types (but no confirmation of the last).

     To a man, the lot were poor shooters, turning in no better scores than the typical civilian off the street.

     Well, maybe a little better - but I didn't bother to quantify who was best among the "Fs". Sad Grin

     This is not to dispage military people. But to point out that if you round up the military, put a rifle in their hands, and a target out at whatever distance - in other words, forget the rhetoric and the "urrahs" - their performance is not life-enhancing.

      One of the stories I tell on the Appleseed line to point out the Rifleman Dance is about the young army guy with an M16 on our range who was handed a 30-rd mag by his sarge and told to knock down the 300-yard popup.

      He laid down on the line, fired the first shot - which splashed in the dirt just in front of the popup.

     And then proceeded to put the next 29 rds into the dirt in front of the popup!

     Prob closing his eyes, certainly not observing the target, and totally ineffective.

     The guy who told me this story said he witnessed this, then looked over at the sarge and asked "is this the way you teach them to shoot?"

     And got the standard, US-issue, sh*t-eating grin in reply.

     At least the young trooper did not totally waste all that effort and ammo. He created single-handedly a good instructional lesson for (so far) hundreds of Appleseeders. Grin
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« Reply #19 on: February 9, 2007, 08:03:43 AM »

And Atlas, though overall, many of the troops, especially in the Army can't shoot for beans, some of them can.

Understood.  I'm only talking about the overall situation.  I did note that there are units and individuals scattered around that are quite capable.  It's just that the masses are not.
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« Reply #20 on: February 9, 2007, 09:46:33 AM »

     On the RWVA range, over the last 15 years, I've seen Marines, army spec forces, airborne, even some rumored delta-types (but no confirmation of the last).

     To a man, the lot were poor shooters, turning in no better scores than the typical civilian off the street.

     Well, maybe a little better - but I didn't bother to quantify who was best among the "Fs". Sad Grin

I agree with that.  The problem is the branches are not concerned about the quality of the marksman.  They are only concerned that they make the qualification cut off score, which itself is a pretty simple task. 

When I pushed through recruits on the range I would get a platoon of about 60-70 and my Chief Warrant Officer was only concerned that they all qualified.  They would rather have a 97% qual rate with 50% being at the lowest qual level, than 50% qualing as expert and a un-qual (UNQ) level of 8%.  The problem with the case of Marines is if you can't qualify every year they will process you out of the Marines.  Because of this the primary goal for marksmanship training is maintaining that cutoff score for qual.  The quality of the marksman is a secondary goal, and IMO the USMC doesn't really care if you qualify as an expert or marksman, they just want you to qualify.

I did write a fairly long analytical report to the CO of Weapons and Field Training battalion detailing the need for change.  Because I was an E-5 and the USMC doesn't really care, it fell on deaf ears.   Undecided
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« Reply #21 on: February 9, 2007, 10:14:25 AM »

+1, Derek, it's the SAME way in the Army, get them all to pass.

Fred, I do have to say that the training was insufficient when I went through Boot Camp, and it's gotten worse since. That kid would've been toast, if he were one of mine. I think the term I'd use is "You're pretty simple, aren't you? Why didn't you compensate?" Then, I'd be rid of him, most rickety-tick, because he's too DUMB to work for me.

My ex was a Supply Sergeant at Fort Bliss in the late 70's, in the Training Brigade. I remember when she told about an incident that happened, I'll repeat it here. Don't think poorly of the folks that did this, the kid involved was a HAWK Missile Radar Operator, so, it's about 100% likely that in combat, he would never need to use his rifle. He wouldn't live long enough to get out of the radar van, when in a hot area.

This kid could NOT qualify with his M16 (last chance before discharging him), so they put the Supply Sergeant (female SP4) in the foxhole with him, to shoot his score. She shot a perfect (40 for 40), never missed one pop-up. Talk about adding insult to injury.

The funniest part is, when she went to Boot Camp, they didn't require females to qualify. So, she had gotten NO formal firearms training, except when she went to qualify with a 1911A1 a couple of years before the incident. She shot 39 for 40 then. I told her she cheated, she used a NM 1911A1.

And, remember, Fred, they haven't taught anything other than prone for a LONG time.
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“Shooting is a deteriorating skill, if you don’t practice it often enough it will go away from you….and there is no way to get it back” Gunnery Sergeant Carlos N. Hathcock II, USMC

"Hathcock got it slightly wrong. You CAN get it back." Nickle

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Mountain_Boys
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« Reply #22 on: February 9, 2007, 10:19:20 AM »

Not to hijack the thread:

But does anyone have any experience with the other nations troops?  Is marksmenship taught/valued more in other countries?  This may be tough to answer, because I suspect that our military's interaction with foreign troops may be more at the "elite" level, thus more training at that level.  I would be interested in your experience.
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« Reply #23 on: February 9, 2007, 11:55:13 AM »

Not to hijack the thread:

But does anyone have any experience with the other nations troops?  Is marksmenship taught/valued more in other countries?  This may be tough to answer, because I suspect that our military's interaction with foreign troops may be more at the "elite" level, thus more training at that level.  I would be interested in your experience.

I spent 3 weeks on a joint training mission with a Scottish unit over seas.  They showed us their weapons and we fired all of their man portable weapons, including the SA80.  Their course of fire was similar to what I shot on our Army posts.  The SA80's we shot had red dot optics and they were not nearly as accurate as the M16A2's we brought with us.  I don't believe we engaged targets over 300 meters. 

We did do a friendly shooting competition for pounds (the fat quarter sized coins).  We shot prone at 300 meters, head shots only.  If you missed you dropped off a pound in the pot and walked off the line.  After about 5 or 6 rounds the only four soliders left shooting were me and three other U.S. troops.  It's far from scientific, but we beat them with that.  I will say that the other three guys on the line with me were "gun guys".  By "gun guys" I mean guys who shoot outside of the Army as a hobby and take marksmanship seriously, so it wasn't a fair match.  I think the Scottish guys only get to shoot when they are on post.
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M1A4ME
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« Reply #24 on: February 9, 2007, 02:31:29 PM »

"Gun guys?"  I used to think that anybody who wore a uniform (especially 11B10's like me) would be a "gun guy" and have a belief that learning to shoot well would be a necessary thing for them.  It didn't take me long to realize it ain't so.  Even the guys wearing a badge and carrying a gun every day on the street don't see a need (most of them that is) to learn how to use their weapon.  I eventually came to the solution that if I ever got in a situation where I had to use my weapon I was pretty much on my own as there weren't too many guys I could depend on to help me survive it.
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