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Spray and pray, or aimed shots in "real" combat?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by The Real Hawkeye, May 11, 2006.

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  1. The Real Hawkeye

    The Real Hawkeye member

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    Someone on another thread commented that in combat the best approach is spray and pray, and that this is what he sees when he sees images of real combat, so that must be the best approach. That fact, however, doesn't necessarily mean that's the best approach, and I've seen plenty of footage of professionals in combat taking carefully aimed shots with an AK or other weapon. That is the most effective way to use one, in fact. You should not, in my opinion, pull the trigger unless your sights are lined up on something. Otherwise, you are just wasting ammo. Anyone have a different opinion?
     
  2. goon

    goon Member

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    I wouldn't really support just haphazardly sending rounds all over the place but I wouldn't say that you should always have your sights lined up on something either. If someone were firing in my general direction I wouldn't know whether they were aiming or not. All I would know is that bullets were hitting near me. Since getting shot is generally a bad thing, I would want to not get shot and probably take action to avoid that. That would decrease my ability to accurately fire my own rifle. So I disagree that firing without sighting is always just a waste of ammo.
     
  3. Niner

    Niner Member

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    Spray and Pray

    I never was sure what this meant although it makes pretty good sense in one way that it can be taken.

    Have you ever "aimed" at a soda can with a pistol and as you fired off multiple rounds you saw the rounds hit the dirt and walked the rounds into the can? Kind of like taking a water hose with the water turned on and "walking" it to the tomato plant.

    In combat... in Vietnam as I knew it... people shot at a point of fire received more than at somebody, most of the time, unless it was up close and personal. All those sniper books are something else, mostly bull sh...t. And the best thing about a semi or fully auto rifle is that you can watch the hits move, like spaying a garden hose, into the target. It isn't the same as one shot and one kill. It is a dfferent thing.

    You give fire also to "surpress" fire. If you are shooting back in the general direction the other guy probably has his head down . That gives you an advantage. You don't have to be the best shot. You just have to have the best firepower.
     
  4. trickyasafox

    trickyasafox Member

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    i prefer the term "while there is lead in the air, there is hope"
     
  5. The Real Hawkeye

    The Real Hawkeye member

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    good points. I have to admit I hadn't considered some of them.
     
  6. SnakeEater

    SnakeEater Member

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    It's called "suppressive fire". Upon initial contact lay down suppressive fire to disrupt the bad guys ability to take well aimed shots. Some lucky hits might occur, but the real damage is done by those cool few who actually aim after being engaged.
     
  7. Seraph

    Seraph Member

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    Suppressive fire allows soldiers to maneuvre more freely upon the enemy, by making it dangerous for the enemy to raise his head up to return fire. If you can achieve a superior volume of threatening fire, you will likely suppress the enemy's attempts to move or fire upon you. This is why infantry tactics tend to involve the use of high volume weapons, such as MG's and SAW's, to suppress the enemy, while other elements, such as rifle marksmen, are maneuvred into positions of advantage, from which to make decisive kills. A terrorist running around, firing full auto, with his AK held high up over his head, is using Spray and Pray, and he and his side will probably lose. A soldier who shoulders his weapon, and quickly fires bursts in the direction of the enemy, perhaps using only his front sight base to aim, is employing Suppressive Fire. His shots are probably landing threateningly close to the enemy,
     
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  8. MM

    MM Member

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    This technique is especially effective when using 16" naval guns !
    SatCong
     
  9. Limeyfellow

    Limeyfellow Member

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    As others have said its merely suppressive fire techniques in use and using volume fire at target areas. Nothing really new about it. The tactics have been used for over a century.
     
  10. LAK

    LAK Member

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    Suppressive fire is a calculated tactic applied to specific targets or target areas. Not a good general practice.

    In works discussing and recounting everything from general warfare to sniping it has been suggested that the average rounds fired for each enemy dead was 25,000 in WW2, 50,000 in the Korean War and 100,000 during the Vietnam War. By far the most cost effective efforts during the Vietnam War were sniping activities, where approximately 1.3 rounds were fired for each enemy dead.

    While it is improbable that an entire army could be trained to produce such results, certainly an army intensely schooled in marksmanship and provided the right tools could do much better than 25,000 rounds per enemy dead.

    Some of the best accounts of the effective emplyment of rifles and marksmanship can be found in accounts of the Great Boer War. Aside from the use of shrapnel shells, Maxims etc, volume rifle fire was used suppressively and effectively at individual targets at distances ranging from very close out to a thousand yards or more.

    ----------------------------------------------

    http://ussliberty.org
    http://ssunitedstates.org
     
  11. redneck2

    redneck2 Member

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    If you're of the "one shot, one kill" theory, you'd never use automatic weapons
     
  12. 1911 guy

    1911 guy Member

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    Not just special circumstances.

    While I think that if you're alone it's not a good idea to spend too much effort suppressing fire at the expense of killing the enemy, it has a wide application in actual warfare. We used six man fire teams, everyone having a different role depending on where you were in the line-up. One automatic rife man, two to give suppressive fire when others were reloading, three to get hits. Since the Navy doesn't get saws, our auto man was the guy who flipped his switch. Yes, USN gets full auto M-16's not three round burst models. This allowed us to switch the line up at any time, except when we had a larger force and had an M-60 in tow. Then, switching up wasn't as much of an issue because you had more rifles on the line.
     
  13. 1 old 0311

    1 old 0311 member

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    Gaining fire superiority is critical in a ambush. Also when they are 'in the wire.' Other than that aimed fire is the way to go.

    Kevin
     
  14. dfaugh

    dfaugh Member

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    As mentioned there's a time and a place for both...Full auto (especially from a SAW or heavy machine gun) is useful to keep the enemies "heads down" while maneuvering, etc. But, you'll see the the real "shooters" using aimed fire, when they have good cover and defined targets.
     
  15. The Real Hawkeye

    The Real Hawkeye member

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    So, if I am understanding you all, if I only had a six man team, and I had four accurate centerfire rifles (say, four Winchester Model 70s), and two Ruger 10/22s with high cap mags, four highly experienced shooters, and two somewhat less accomplished shooters, the most efficient use of my resources would be to assign the two less skilled shooters the 10/22s and make their job laying down suppressive fire, while the other four take the accurate centerfire rifles with which they would find advantageous positions and wait for enemy heads to pop up over cover to pick off.
     
  16. Niner

    Niner Member

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    Going to war with a 10/22 isn't an altogether good idea..... but remember...if the other side has a forward observer, or has air support, you are in deep trouble no matter what small arms you have. :)
     
  17. The Real Hawkeye

    The Real Hawkeye member

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    No, dude, not war, per se. Let's say, however, you have a ranch on which some heavily armed pot growers are located, and action is required right away, for some reason (e.g., your boys are camping out in that area). You have six men, including yourself, and the six rifles I mentioned. What's the best use of your available resources? The .22s are certainly able to cause people to take cover, even out to 250 yards. Just aim high. I can make the sand kick up where I want it at 250 yards with a .22, and anyone at the receiving end is going to hear lots of pings and pongs. Once they have taken cover, the guys with the accurate rifles can take shooting positions for carefully aimed shots, while the cover fire continues. What's wrong with the strategy? I have fifty round mags for the 10/22s, by the way, in this hypo.

    PS This is ALL hypothetical. I don't even own a 10/22, though I do have several Model 70s.
     
  18. pcf

    pcf Member

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    The ability to mass fires has been essential to organized fighting units since spears were thrown and arrows launched.

    Wouldn't "best" be the way that efficiently accomplishes the mission with the smallest amount of acceptable losses?

    Nearly 7 out of every 100 men in WWII would become a casualty. 2.5 out of every 100 men would become a casualty in Vietnam. Counting bullets is an asinine way to measure the efficiency or "cost effectiveness" of war.

    [​IMG]
    A Machine Gunner on Iwo Jima
     
  19. 30-06 lover

    30-06 lover Member

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    Spay and pray has it's worth. I am currently trying to become an LEO and am taking numerous classes for a degree in the field. One of the instructors (A man that changed my life) is a recently retired LEO. He stated to me that he had been in several shootouts during his time as a LEO, and spray and pray saved his butt a few times, as well as some civilians. He said he was the first to arrive at an active shooter scene where civilians were stuck hiding from the active shooter. He got to a location where the civilians were and told them to run out of the area when he started firing. He got into position stood up just enough, then emptied the mag as fast as he could. He told me that once the active shooter started taking rounds, he hit the floor for cover, giving the civilians time to escape. My instructor told me that once he and another officer got the area cleared, they waited for good shots and took him out...I believe he shot twice and the other officer once...three hits, two seconds, no more bad guy.

    Spray and pray can work and has it's place, but for most shooting, aimed shots are much better.
    -Mike
     
  20. Byron

    Byron Member

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    If an enemy is in your vision,eliminate. If return fire is coming from a specfic to general area,fire in that area.Spray and pray waste too much ammo and resupply can be hard from the air. It is no fun running to get crates of ammo a chopper just kicked out overshooting where your company is. Byron
     
  21. AndyC

    AndyC Member

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    Sometimes suppressive fire is all one can do - did a fair amount of this (controlled, aimed semi-auto fire) during ambushes of our convoy in Iraq. Full-auto was only from the SAW and it was still very controlled.
     
  22. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    In combat you don't often see live enemy soldiers. As a company commander, I trained my troops to vizualize a shallow box. The bottom of the box is the line where you know there are no enemy that close, the top is where you know there are no enemy above that. The right and left sides of the box are your limits.

    1. No automatic firing (except as noted below.) Firing an M16 full auto will cost you $50 (in 1960s dollars!)

    2. You should see someone else shooting into your box. If you don't, widen your sector.

    3. In most cases, the box will be 2 to 4 front sights high (try it from a prone position.)

    4. Platoon leaders and squad leaders carry magazines full of tracer ammo:
    a. Mark sectors with two shots at the left limit, two at the right limit and two in the center. (this pattern allows people who don't see all the tracers to estimate the sector.)
    b. Steady firing at one point means "everyone shoot at this point."
    c. Full auto tracer fire at one point means "machineguns engage this target."
    d. Cease fire is by word of mouth.

    5. Without specific commands or an indication of an enemy position, cover your sector, using aimed, closely spaced shots.

    6. When a target is suspected, cover that area with very closely spaced shots.
     
  23. James T Thomas

    James T Thomas Member

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    suppressive fire or pinning fire?

    An interesting post; one of personal interest.
    My experience was as a combat platoon leader; Co.D, 2/7 Cav. First Air Cav. Divison, Vietnam, 1968-'69. During my tour of duty, I served with three Co's, and more Lt's than I care to remember. That is, all these men were KIA; the officer's were first to go. We battled the NVA mostly, the VC were no match for any of the good US units.

    SnakeEater: We were never able to disrupt the bad guy's ability to take well aimed shots, though I'm sure we forced him to do it quicker, and therefor, less accurate. The men who lived, and became "veterans" -very soon too, hardened themselves to "take aim after being engaged," just as you said, and that is what made us formidable. I found that generaly the men who were hunters, backwoodsmen, and that type were the most capable. However, I did have a few urban types who were exceptions; e.g. NYC, etc.

    Seraph: Your conception of supp. fire as allowing soldiers to maneuver more freely is what I observed. It gets the enemy down and restricts their movement; rather than ducking their head and precluding them from exchanging fire. That is the difference in this thread I am reading.
    Often with the initial moments of fire men will take cover, but the vets will in a moment get a view of the battle so that they can defend themselves. Even when the rounds are kicking up dirt nearby.
    These men have "steeled" themselves; guts, courage, determination.
    "Pinning" fire is an actuality. "Suppressive Fire" is a myth!

    SatKong: Never heard the Missouri's sixteen inchers, but would have loved to called them in. Have been near enough to "Arc Strikes" 500 lb. bombs to feel like an earthquake, and watch the sky become overcast with the dirt churned up.

    LAK: I had to constantly enforce fire discipline amoung the men I had responsibility for, and as they became seasoned, then, after that, only with the "FNG;" ...New Guys. Our ratio of shots fired to enemy dead was no where near 100,000. I would estmate five enemy soldiers per magazine. The 20 rounders.

    By the way, you AR shooters with the 30 round magazines. Instead of posturing at the range with those, try lying prone, and see it those mags don't interfere with leveling and shouldering your rifle. They also instill in your mind the "spray and pray" phenomenon that we are discussing.

    When you are frightened, very frightened, the normal response is to make a show. Fire a lot and make horrendous, but useless, noise.
    We had the "flip the switch" full auto capability, that 1911 guy mentioned, and could uselessly empty a magazine at the press of the trigger.
    Difficult as it is to believe; even at close -jungle distances, the full auto "spraying" did not result in an enemy casualty most of the time.
    Our army; military had, at one time, been trained to "produce such results" that well aimed fire can get, (LAK) but it also requires discipline; experienced combat vets to set the example. Leadership.

    Kevin Quinlan: I was caught in a cleverly laid, company size ambush, and caught with such ferocity, it is almost impossible to gain fire superiority.
    If they are "in the wire" they are at such a disadvantage, then, I agree, "aimed fire" is the way to go. Even if there are waves of them.

    30-06 lover: "Spray and Pray" may cause the inexperienced soldier to take cover, but not the man who has been there and knows. He will quickly take aim and kill you. Trust me.

    Byron: Had been in an all day long battle, and got down low to where resupply was critically requested. We did get up and get those crates, at great risk and some casualties, but by then, those poor "spray and pray" men were gone, and those who remained had learned that hard lesson of fire discipline. Please drop me a personal about what unit you were with and some of your experiences, if you want.

    Sincerely, Jim Thomas.
     
  24. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    Amen.

    Against trained, battle-hardened troops, "suppressive fire" must be killing fire. You can't scare good troops by shooting over their heads. Your shots must be slamming into their cover and ricocheting off the paraphet, and giving them the choice of stay down or die.
     
  25. The Real Hawkeye

    The Real Hawkeye member

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    Wow! That's what's great about this site. Ask a question, and you get people with real world experience answering it.
     
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