Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by JCooperfan1911, Jul 15, 2021.
I’m one of them. As I’ve commented multiple times in this thread. I used to shoot Service Rifle in the era we still had to use A2’s, but haven’t fired irons on a rifle in years - I can’t resolve my front sight any longer, so rather than installing diopter lenses on any of my rifles, I simply don’t shoot irons.
As I also stated in my first post on this thread, I’m intrigued to get out and play with my irons soon. Since I haven’t shot Service Rifle at all in about 5-6yrs, and haven’t shot irons for SR in - I forget, when did we start using 4.5x optics? Longer ago than 5-6yrs... - maybe it’s gotten harder to hit targets with irons than I remember. My eyesight has gone to absolute pot the last few years. But I do have a couple 20” AR’s I could take to play with, and while I don’t have any true mil-surp ammo on hand, I believe I do have some Rem/UMC 55grn ball on the shelf. With an optic, and bipod, I know what the result will be at 500, no question. With irons, I also know what the result will be; ugly at first, but progressive - I’m just not certain the volume of practice I’ll need to get back in the groove with irons.
That's actually kind of the point with military qualifications. They aren't to make you skilled they are to prove that you are proficient. Add into that the fact the military teaches everyone from rabid anti-gunners who have never touched a gun before to kids who were basically born with a gun in their hand and can shoot the sack off a gnat at a 1,000 yards plus and you quickly see that the military's effective max range range is far from absolute but basically a minimum standard.
I can verify that many of the people in my particular unit made 500+ hits on bad guys overseas shooting M855 out of M4's with Eotech sights and that several of us who were DM's made hits at 800+ shooting M262 out of MK12's with Leopold 3.5x10 scopes so it is certainly possible, though not necessarily easy, to actually make hits on actual humans from field expedient conditions at more than 500 yards using 5.56.
Now ,with both of those statements in mind, it is easy to conclude that a skilled marksman can easily exceed that minimum standard.
@zdc1775 is correct. And that is also why there are three levels of marksmanship in the Army and Marine Corp. Not everyone is at the same skill level. I don't expect someone that barely qualifies as a Marksman to hit a 500 meter (or farther) target with any degree of accuracy. Now someone that qualifies as a Sharpshooter or Expert will do a lot better at hitting targets at 500 meters or farther. And the squad designated marksman is usually the guy that qualified as expert with a perfect score (or near perfect).
And after using the various methods of zeroing the M16A2, I have to give credit where it id due. The Marine Corp got it right with the 36 yard zero. You don't have to move the rear elevation dial or flip the rear aperture once you establish your battle sight zero like you do when using the 25 meter zero.
. My NM rifle has some advantages for precision shooting vs a standard A2, but they are rapidly eclipsed by rifleman's skill as the distance and/or wind increase. I believe with a standard A2 or M4 iron sighted and heavier bullets, the 20" at 500 yard goalposts could easily be split by a good rifleman. With 55 or 62gr military ball, the bar would get higher, requiring a greater level of precision and skill on the part of the shooter, but I believe would still be attainable given known distance and relatively consistent and mild wind.
I was always jealous of your DMs getting actual acopes. The SDMR we had in the Army probably shot as well as the Mk12 (didnt look as cool though) but we got issued ACOGs. While the ACOG is a great bombproof optic, it really hamstrung the capabilities of the rifle/ammo.
Two questions spurred from this - both of which I assume two things 1) Google fu can answer, but 2) you fellas likely know off of the top of your heads and can answer more quickly and directly:
1) It’s sensible that the worst shooters would struggle to hit the 500yrd targets, but can they pass the qualification without hitting at all at 500? In other words, is success at the shorter range enough to get to Marksman qual without any points from the 500yrd line?
2) What actually happens when a shooter fails to qualify as Marksman?
I'll answer for Army. Army qualifies at 50-300 meters. The 300 meter target pops up 4 times. So you can miss the 300 all 4 times and still get a 36/40 for expert qualification, assuming you hit everything else.
Also Army answer, you try again. Depending on the commander, they will only give you so many do-overs to qualify. Marksman starts at 23 out of 40 hits. So in order to pass, you need just slightly more than half. Continual failures can lead to a bar to reenlistment or separation from the military. Many commanders consider marksmanship a critical soldier skill. So it is treated like failing a physical fitness test or some other critical component.
This is how it was in the late 80's mid 90's:
To qualify as marksman you have to hit at least 23 out of 40 targets. 23-29 out of 40 hits qualifies you as a marksman
To qualify as a sharpshooter you must hit between 30 and 35 targets.
To qualify as an expert you must hit between 36 and all 40 targets.
If you failed to qualify (hit 23 targets) during basic training you would get held back and sent through basic again. IIRC, you only got 2 or 3 chances to qualify before you were sent home. If you failed to qualify in regular units, the commander could make you repeat qualifications, get remedial training, bar you from reenlistment, or separate you from the service. As herrwalther stated, it was possible to barely qualify as a marksman without hitting the farthest targets.
The Army wide standard was to shoot out to 300 meters for qualification. Now some infantry, combat engineer, and special forces units would have their soldiers qualify out to 500 meters. It all depended on the type of unit, their mission and what the chain of command wanted. For some of the units I was assigned to, we did the normal qualifications out to 300 meters and also had to qualify out past that separately. Failing to qualify past 300 meters would get you sent back to regular type units.
Again that was the Cold War Era standards that we used up to at least 1996. I'm sure somethings have changed since then.
Those that were in the Marine Corp will have to answer on how they do things.
I must say my eyes, well, have seen better days. There is quite a variety of devices under the category “iron sights” and I can still do pretty good with some of them, with the right combination of front, rear, target and distance. optics make it easier for everything else.
Where most of them drop points is at the 200. Some from the kneeling and most from the standing.
The rapid fire is 10 round, two magazines, with 30 seconds to fire. The dog target is used. At the 200 it’s fired from the sitting position and the prone at 300. You start from a standing position and move to your shooting position on the command to fire. If you don’t get a good shooting position, you can drop some points.
In a line infantry unit in the 90's they wouldn't let us leave the range until we shot expert. In both units I was in, CONUS and Asia, we marched to the range every Friday and basically shot all day. We were pretty proficient at that point. You need an expert qualification to compete for an EIB (Expert Infantry Badge) every year and that was pretty much mandatory. TBH, I don't remember it being a hard. It was almost a game in that you know which targets were shot out and we would even shoot in front of them to kick dirt into them and make them fall. That was all open sights, mainly with M16A2 but the M4's had just started showing up. I remember firing the M4 and I wasn't as accurate. Looking back it could have been sight radius but at the time I contributed it to the collapse able stock and noticeably shorter barrel.
I also served time as being a remedial trainer. My typical score was 39 and I had gone through SDM and gunfighter schools, giving a lot more trigger time than a typical soldier. I would tell particularly poor students what a CO can do if they don't qualify: bar to reenlist, separation etc. The very last student I coached before separating was my company commander. He was scoring 11 out of 40 at the rifle range. I remember standing next to a few NCO trainers contemplating what would happen to an infantry CO that couldn't qualify.
I was glad that I never had to work people that couldn't qualify with their assigned pistols, there would have been quite a few officers in trouble. When I was stationed in Germany,, one of the worst shots with any weapon was our battalion commander. That particular Lt Col. could not shoot a 1911, M9 or M16A2 to save his life.
Personally I hated the ACOG, I actually only qualified as a marksman my first time shooting with it after qualifying expert three times using iron sights, so I was extremely happy that I had went to DM school and got issued a rifle with a real scope before I ever deployed. And I don't doubt that the SDMR was just as accurate as my Mk12 if the optics and shooter were equal.
It's changed a little bit since I was in but on just the KD course you needed a 185/250 to qualify Marksman, Sharpshooter was 205/250, and Expert was 225/250. The course of fire consisted of 25 rounds at 200, 15 rounds at 300, and 10 rounds at 500. All rounds were worth up to 5 points each. So to answer you question yes, it is possible for someone to completely miss the target at 500 and still qualify as a Marksman. Though like @GunnyUSMC said above it's actually much harder to hit the 12" bullseye at 200 yards shooting standing unsupported than the 20"x40" semi silhouette at 500 yards from the prone.
But for your actual rating you also have to include the "Table 2" course of fire. That consists of 42 rounds fired at 25 yards/meters and 8 rounds fired at 100 yards/meters. Those rounds are worth up to two points each for a total of an additional 100 added to your KD score.
Off the top of my head that raised the score to 245 for Marksman, 275 for Sharpshooter, and 305 for Expert, but don't be surprised if you look it up and I'm off by a little as I have slept a time or two since then.
As to your second question other than remedial training and being flagged as non-deployable I honestly don't know what would happen if someone failed requalification after getting to their unit. Possibly admin separation with either a "general" or "other than honorable" discharge if they continued to fail.
^^^ This was my experience, qualified expert. All in the black at 500 yds, but that was back in the 80’s.
At 62 years old, eyes aren’t what they used to be. Farsighted so need some correction, have settled on a compromise. If I use lenses that give a crisp front sight picture then I can’t see the target, so I accept a slightly fuzzy front sight and I can still see the targets. Works great out to 300 yds. Beyond that luck plays a big part! Even managed to hit 1 out of 3 at 400 yds with my Mosin.
There’s a lot of things I was able to do when I was younger. I can still do most of them, but some not just as good. Getting older has its advantages and disadvantages.
I will speak about pistol shooting though... My Dad was amazing with rifles (small bore), standing off-hand... but always made a point of mentioning that he couldn't hit much of anything with a GI 45 and of course as an officer that's what he was supposed to carry... but that's typical in real world armed forces where you're dealing with what you're issued (or finding some way around it...).
My question is how did he became a CO?
Qualifying marksman ain’t that hard.
I spent time in ROTC on an officer path as well as enlisted. I have 2 therories. 1) Some piss poor ROTC program worked him through without a good basis in marksmanship. Which happens based on program budget, not enough money to go to the range etc. or 2) perishable skill. Go so long without practice, you can't hit the broadside of the barn. Seeing how every soldier, regardless of rank, is supposed to qualify yearly at the bare minimum. I am not sure what I am more comfortable believing. Marksmanship was not the only thing this officer was lacking competency in so a few months after the range, I hung up my uniforms for good.
I acknowledge that my experience is anecdotal, but I never knew anyone who didn’t meet STRAC and get promoted, let alone become a CO.
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