Over a year ago I posted the following standard:
-4 MOA at any distance with a 90% hit rate less than 50 yards in less than 1 second standing.
– 1.5 seconds out to 200 with a 90% hit rate, standing and kneeling.
– 300-500 with a 75% hit rate and a time standard from 5-15 seconds on a 1 sec per shot cadence.
This overall standard was chosen based on findings that were published by the US Army Infantry School. I didn’t design them and they are part of a larger plan and buzzword use. I chose these standards because I needed to know how difficult they were to attain, how much training it took, and the level of understanding required by the shooter to achieve them. In addition to the software, what hardware was needed to be a success.
Since this blog posted I have done a few schools that helped solidify the foundation of my shooting. The first was the second class of the Us Army’s Master Marksmanship Trainer Course. This course was designed and conducted by the US Army Marksmanship Unit. The 5 week course had shooting from 5-600 meters and used iron sights, Aimpoints, and ACOG’s.
The next class I attended was the Defoor Proformance Scoped Rifle. This weekend class was very useful in testing the Leupold MK6 1-6x optics at distance. Kyle’s classes are demanding and the rifle/glass combo worked extremely well from 25-800 yards.
The real software gains came from my current job. I have spent most every day since February doing research and writing the new marksmanship manual for the Army. This required me to look at the 152,000 different ways of saying the same thing and taught me that words mean things. If something is fundamental, then it has to be done or you fail. It is not just a word we have always used. So for something to be a fundamental it has to have that status all the time, not just some of the time, or once in a while.
During this I had to set sights on several Sacred Cows and destroy some theories we have always held as laws. (During this I also alienated myself with many people and organizations) I had to rework everything I was saying as a teacher and coach. That’s where the real learning began.
As the words for what we wanted to say began to form, we began to test them. I ran them past friends, made new friends, and taught the “new” material over and over. Then in late spring I went and spent time with the US Air Force Academy Combat Shooting Team. While the material was in rough form, the Cadets are pretty sharp with a solid base which allowed them to catch on to things I missed.
This led to more refinement of the words on paper, which led to more teaching, which led to more writing. Just like with shooting, a book has to have a target. The target audience for the book is the Team Leader. That’s who will have the most understanding and use of the words. As he should, he is the “Fighting Leader” so he needs to be able to shoot and teach shooting. According to another book he is the SME on all his Teams weapons and equipment. This is not maneuver focused and true across all jobs. So we wrote it for him.
To achieve the above mentioned standards, the shooter has to “know” where his bullet is and does in flight. Not the old way of STFU and aim center. He needs to be able to hold over and under based on range and that knowledge.
He needs to understand how to attain stability in in position and know that it’s based on the feedback he receives while looking down the sights.
He needs to be able to aim the weapon based on range, target size and factors like wind. Aiming is perfectly aligned sights placed upon a target.
Then he needs to understand that he is in control and responsible for hits and misses. He chooses when, how many times, and how fast the trigger pressed.
Finally, he needs to know that in combat things are moving. He is moving, targets are moving, and people around him are moving. He needs to know how movement effects each of the things above.
This is true of all weapons and regardless if you use fundamentals, principles, tasks, employment, or pillars to identify them they hold true.
Now, even with the above mentioned skills, you equipment becomes an issue. If you have Iron sights, a rapid shot at closer ranges will be harder and slower. If you have a magnified optic those close range targets will be harder as well. That said, a red dot sight at 400-600 gets to be hard.
With distance, time and a hit percentage “hard” means falling short without many reps training. I have seen Kyle Defoor run Irons faster than most dudes with red dots. It took him a year of exclusive use to get to that point and they still proved slower than a red dot for most combat shooting.
So in order to accomplish the standards, you will need a few things. You will need magnification and 1x red dot capabilities. You will need a very accurate weapon that is closer to 2 MOA than 4 MOA from the prone supported.
You will need solid reliability and most likely a bipod. A rail that is long enough to hold the lights, lasers, and bipod that still allows you to hold onto the weapon is a must.
I now have what is a 90% solution for this rifle. Its sister is fully capable but has some things that I don’t like (one being a midlength) and can’t change. That experience was the driver for this gun.
What does it take?
Solid, reliable skills and equipment. Not what the internet says, but what actual real skills and quality. Standards, targets, timers, and quantifiable results are what are needed. It requires constant and perfect practice and the hardest of all mental agility. You must be able to question everything and adjust.
The last piece is purpose. Some people shoot just to shoot. Some are doing competition and some are police or warfighters. Without tactics your firearm skills are nearly useless. A realistic purpose for the skill sets desired is a requirement. Some call it “overmatch” but for most it is hard to determine who or what the threat is.