AR15 Familiarization Course of Fire recomendations


November 6, 2009, 01:29 AM
Here's the deal. I'm trying to work out a familiarization course to present to my Chief. The catch is that the training ammo is already bought (lets say about 800 rounds) and he is reluctant to spend money on duty ammo for budgetary reasons. So there is little motivation to get quallified on the rifles at all. So there the rifles sit all lonesome in the vault.

In your response (which is not limited to LEO responses) please keep in mind that there WILL BE NO MORE money spent on this familiarization course. Please limit extra equipment needed to common household items (as I also have a very limited home budget).

Additional info: I am familiar with the operation of the AR15 but am not at all an expert on the platform. The Sgt. is just retiring from the National Guard so I will of course be utilizing his experience. The two of us are really the only "gun nuts." So everyone else will be new to the rifle. I would really like some ammo left over so we have some for continuing practice. So the challenge is spending no $, using minimal ammo while still getting people familiarized with the AR. Max distance available is 200 yards. I would also like to keep it around a 2 hour course. There are only 2 rifles for 7 guys. I hope I'm not being too restrictive but I'd like to convince a very budget conscientious boss that this would be helpful. I also figured you guys are up to the challenge. If you don't feel like plotting a general course, examples and general ideas are also welcome. Oh, and I will not be keeping all the credit for myself, I really appriciate all the help everyone gives on THR.


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November 6, 2009, 01:43 AM
So there is little motivation to get quallified on the rifles at all. So there the rifles sit all lonesome in the vault.

That's just all manner of stupid.

You should be able to do a lot without firing. I.e., drills, drills drills. Reloading, manipulating the controls, consistently reacquiring a sight picture, dryfire, etc.

Once that's down, then break out the ammo for a little shooting practice. Getting out to 200 shouldn't be a problem...

800 rounds practice ammo total? I'd say 50 rounds per person firing at least...ration it out and don't try for fast firing drills. It's slow, smooth, and steady that gets you to the finish line. I'd start out at a maximum of 25 yards, fire 15 rounds or so, then move out to 100, 10 more and 200, 10 more. That leaves 10-15 rounds for however you feel best. It's a tall order.

Maybe bring in some personally owned .22 rifles for more practice? I use my 10/22 with TechSIGHTs as a trainer for proper sight picture...

November 6, 2009, 02:12 AM
I agree with the suggestion of using .22 rifles as inexpensive training aids.

Army field manual FM 23-9 or FM 3-22.9 Rifle Marksmanship M16A1, M16A2/3, M16A4, AND M4 CARBINE ... Has a variety of training scenarios from a minimum of equipment to computerized ranges. It is quite thorough. The book is cheap, copy what ever pages you need.


November 6, 2009, 02:20 AM
PM sent.

November 6, 2009, 07:06 PM
What role will this rifles fill? How will they be deployed? Who will have access to them and what kind of access will they have?

Just wondering because it makes a difference. No reason to train someone who isn't ever going to have access to the rifle if access is going to be tightly restricted. Save the training time and ammo for those who will have access to the guns. (And, if that's everyone, then great!)

As for what to include in a "familarization" course I think if the goal is really just to familarize the officers with the operation of the rifle then stick to the basics. Include things like:

Basic loading and operations procedures. Explain the controls and procedures to load the rifle, chamber a round, and work the selector. Explain the procedures for unloading and making safe.

Basic firing procedures. Explain basic rifle marksmanship with these rifles, starting at the 25 yard line. Make sure that everyone understands which sight peep to use at what range (small peep or large peep) if the rifles are equipped with that style rear sight. If optics are mounted everyone needs to know how to turn them on and how to use them correctly.

Also make sure everyone understands the proper hold over or hold under for very short range shooting. It's easy to miss at 7 yards with a rifle with a 50 or 100 yard zero if you don't know how to account with the offset.

I'd also work on the procedures for SMOOTH magazine changes. They won't be fast, but being fumble-free is the goal. Make sure everyone understands why they should only load 28 rounds in the 30 round mag (because it's hard to insert a fully loaded 30 rounder with the bolt closed).

You won't have a lot of time for a lesson on maintainence and lubrication in a two hour course, but you should at least touch on the subject and maybe have some handouts. They need to understand that the rifle does need to be kept clean and especially kept lubricated and have a basic understanding of where to apply lube and how much to apply. They should also know where to squirt in a little lube in the field if the rifle appears dry or isn't functioning correctly without having to field strip the rifle.

In two hours you'd also have a hard time working in malfunction drills. I would try to cover the most fundamental malfunctions and how to clear them so they have at least some idea.

The problem I see isn't your ammo availability: It's your time commitment. Two hours really isn't much time for multiple students to get hands-time with only two rifles and really learn much of value. If you can add anything I would suggest adding more time.

(One cheat would be to have two instructors. Break the students into two groups and one does "classroom" work with one instructor and one rifle while the other does range work with the other students and the other rifle. The smaller groups should make things a little easier for the students).

I know you don't want to buy anything, but I very strongly suggest you get at least 10 dummy rounds of 5.56 for the instruction (10 per rifle would be better). The dummy rounds would allow you to demonstrate loading and clearing and even some malfunction procedures in a classroom setting without having live ammo in the mix. The students can also practice these skills with the dummy rounds. (Just make ABSOLUTELY sure that live rounds are not mixed in if you are using dummies only in a "sterile" environment. And keep good muzzle control as well).

The best source for good, inexpensive dummy rounds I've found is They are worth the small investment you'd make.

November 6, 2009, 09:03 PM
per shooter:
5 rnds prone @ 50 yrds to confirm zero
5 rnds standing @ 3 yrds to understand offset
10 rnds standing @ 7 yrds, double-tapping
10 rnds standing @ 10 yrds, double-tapping
10 rnds kneeling @ 15 yrds, double-tapping
5 rnds standing @ 25 yrds
5 rnds standing @ 50 yrds

i am not a LEO and claim no authoritative knowledge... but common sense would say, if you guys aren't going to train more than that, then you don't need to be shooting at anybody past 50 yrds, and even that is a STRETCH as you are likely to find out when you take those 5 shots standing.

so don't waste your ammo beyond that.

November 6, 2009, 10:16 PM
Thanks for everyone's suggestions and ideas. I think everyone has contributed great advise that we can use.

I fully agree that it's a sad state of affairs in reference to the lack of motivation from the Chief to get us quallified. Everyone else is motivated. I suppose I should've mentioned that the only additional expense that will be incurred is the overtime spent to do the training. Which is also a major concern in general. I will push for two hours of this training becuase that's all that I think he will allow if he agrees to the course at all.

The entire dept will/does have access to the rifles. Once quallified, we will deploy them when situations dictate more distance and require more powerful rounds.

Thanks again for everyone's input. I'll try to post an update after I put this together and present it.

November 6, 2009, 10:22 PM
Maybe see if you can cajole the motivated into purchasing some ammunition for their own practice? Or learning on their own time? Is it possible to get ammunition from the DRMO program (if that's what it's called)? What about more rifles from that program? I know some of the smaller departments/agencies do good at getting stuff from the .gov...

Hopefully you can get the Chief to agree to the two hours...

Bartholomew Roberts
November 7, 2009, 09:47 AM
The only thing I would add is that you should teach the officers a realistic cleaning and maintenance regimen for the AR15. Too many people buy into the "must be spotlessly clean" mythology. The key points of AR maintenance are checking the critical wear parts (bolt, extractor, cam pin, gas rings) for signs that they need to be replaced and keeping the rifle well-lubricated.

You should disabuse them of the "white-glove" cleaning mentality right out of the gate as it does nothing to help reliability, and can occasionally hurt it when people get overzealous about trying to spotlessly clean a design that shoots carbon back into the upper receiver (which doesn't hurt reliability at all; but does make it damn hard to keep spotlessly clean).

November 7, 2009, 10:08 AM
Are the officers generally familiar with rifles and this really only need training on using the AR in particular or will most of them need to be taught the basics of rifles as well?

November 9, 2009, 01:46 AM
They will need to be taught the basics of the rifles. The first time some of the guys shot them (AR's in general) was at our last pistol quallification to see what they were like.

Thanks for the cleaning tips too Bartholomew, I was worried I'd have to spend a lot of time cleaning them after each use. After the pistol qualification, I cleaned one of the rifles (my first AR cleaning) and it took me two hours. I knew I could shorten that time up after lots of practice, but still.

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