FY2013 Summary

2013 All Army

I am very pleased to let you know that members of the USAR Marksmanship Team just won virtually every match at the US Army Long Range Championships.

MSG Anderson won 4 out of 5 of the matches. The matches were shot from 800 to 1000 yards. He was firing the Army’s new XM 2010 Sniper Rifle. He was crowned the US Army Long Range Champion. He outperformed Snipers from many Infantry units in the Active Army and National Guard. MSG Anderson and SFC Lewis also received 3rd place in the Open Division Team Match.

SGM Mauer and SFC Gervasio won the Army Long Range Team Championship. We were firing M24 Sniper Rifles at 1000 yards in the team match. We now have the #1 Long Range Individual Champion and the #1 Long Range 2 Man Team in the entire Army.

A full report on All Army and Long Range will follow.

ALL ARMY

ARCD TEAM 2ND PLACE PISTOL TEAM

ARCD TEAM 3RD PLACE COMBINED ARMS (CQB)

ARCD TEAM 5TH PLACE OVERALL

SFC BUOL 2ND PLACE PISTOL, 2ND PLACE COMBINED ARMS, 2ND PLACE OVERALL

SFC LEWIS 13TH PLACE OVERALL

SFC PARKER-EARNED 10 POINTS TOWARDS DISTIN-GUISHED PISTOL BADGE

The US Army Long Range Championships were fired at ranges of 800, 900 and 1000 yards. Soldiers either fired the M24 Sniper Rifle(.308) or the XM 2010 Sniper Rifle (.300 WIN MAG). On day 1 and day 2, individual matches were fired at 800, 900 and 1000 yards. On day 3, Soldiers fired an individual 1000 yard match and teams fired a 1000 yard team match.

MSG Norman Anderson (4th BN ARCD) was the overall match winner with a score of 1045 with 58 x’s out of a possible 1050 points. MSG Anderson and SFC Lewis also earned 3rd Place in the Open category of the Team Championships. They fired a 148 with 6 x’s .

SGM Mauer and SFC Gervasio earned 1st Place honors for ARCD in the Army Long Range Team Match (Service Rifle Category) fir-ing the M24 Sniper Rifle with a score of 143 and 3 x’s.

The All Army Small Arms Championships consisted of matches with the M16A4 and the M9 along with Combined Arms Matches utilizing both weapons in a Close Quarters Battle scenario. ARCD Soldiers excelled in many of the matches conducted at the All Army Small Arms Cham-pionships. SFC John Buol earned 2nd Place Overall and also was 2nd Place in Pistol and 2nd Place in Combined Arms.

The ARCD Team finished 2nd Place in Pistol, 3rd Place in Combined Arms (Close Quar-ter) and 5th Place Overall.

Service Pistol

2013 Interservice Pistol Event Accomplishments (team and individual wins, awards earned, personnel trained, etc.): Team .22 Match, 2nd place Team .45 Match, 2nd place Team Overall Aggregate, 3rd place

Individual SFC Keith Sanders, 3rd Overall Individual Aggregate

2013 National Matches – Pistol

The Army Reserve Marksmanship Program Service Pistol Team wrapped up the National Rifle Association and Civilian Marksmanship Program National Matches at Camp Perry.

Starting with the NRA events, two ARMP members made the cut for the Mayleigh Challenge, a pistol team match open to one team of ten firing members and two alternates from each nation. From the ARMP, MSG Robert Mango was a firing member and SFC Stephen Spencer was selected as an alternate. In the Center Fire individual championship, SFC Keith Sanderson took second overall. SFC Sanderson would go on to take the Army Reserve Pistol Trophy, awarded to the high scoring Army Reservist in the NRA National Pistol Championships.

In NRA Team events, USAR Black, the ARMP’s top team, was High Master Service Team in the .22 and Center Fire events.

ARMP members also competed in the Harry Reeves Revolver Match. MSG Robert Kolesar won the High Service award, beating out all other military shooters in the event. Both MSG Kolesar and CPT Thomas Bourne earned “leg” points toward the Distinguished Revolver award.

The CMP Nationals immediately followed the NRA events. The first individual event, the President’s Trophy match, established by 26th U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt in 1904, recognizes the top 100 competitors. MSG Mango, SFC Sanderson, MSG Kolesar, and SFC Spencer made the President’s Hundred.

MSG Mango would go on to win the General Custer Trophy and U.S. Army Reserve Memorial Trophy for his overall victory in the National Trophy Individual championship. He would also lead USAR Black to winning the U.S. Coast Guard Memorial Trophy for the National Trophy Team match. “These are my favorite national events to shoot,” MSG Mango commented, “I’ve always liked these matches.”

ARMP is now under the 416th Theater Engineer Command and CSM Robert Stanek attended the awards ceremonies. The Civilian Marksmanship Program had CSM Stanek present a series of awards at the conclusion of the Nationals.

Tactical Buzzwords to watch for

Tactical Buzzwords to watch for
by Caleb Giddings

We’ve been discussing Derp-Based Training for the past week or so on Gun Nuts, because it’s important to recognize silliness and bad ideas within our own community. Obviously, getting good firearms training isn’t something that everyone is going to do, but if you do choose to get training there are things you can do to make sure that you’re getting quality instruction.

Good firearms techniques should be based on Three Pillars of Radness: Demonstrate, Measure, and Refine. What that means is that your instructor should be capable of demonstrating the techniques he’s teaching. That doesn’t mean they have to demonstrate every single drill, but they should be able to demonstrate the skills they’re imparting to you. For example, if we’re working on revolver reloads, a good instructor should be able to demonstrate the different methods of revo reloads and explain each one. He doesn’t need then to demonstrate a 1-reload-2 drill, which is used for the “Measure” part of training.

Measuring the skill means using an objective standard. How do we do that? Group sizes and timers. Here’s an objective drill: “5 shots with no time limit, all shots must be within the 2 inch circle at 5 yards.” Or for timed skills such as the draw: “draw and fire two shots from the holster at an 8 inch circle with a par time of 2 seconds. Repeat 5x for a total of 10 rounds, you must have 9/10 in the 8 inch circle to pass.” Now, the inverse of this is that not all drills need to necessarily be that detailed, but a good class should use some kind of objective standard to measure performance and improvement. It doesn’t matter if it’s the FAST Drill, El Pres, or the Humbler. If you’re not measuring performance, you’re just fooling yourself.

Finally, refine. Every class I’ve ever gone to, regardless of whether I’ve been the top gun or middle of the pack, the instructors have offered refinements on my technique. “Try doing this differently to get result x” means they’re working to refine my performance on the objective metrics they use to measure performance. Now, refinement is the only pillar that also involves the shooter keeping an open mind. However, if you’ve picked your training class smartly based on the first two pillars, you’re probably in a good position to learn something from the class you’re attending.

Here are some warning signs to watch out for:

  • The instructor prefaces various drills with “in most real gunfights” or the phrase “in the streets”
  • If the instructor dismisses shooters with advanced skill as “gamers”
  • No use of objective, measurable standards, and bases everything on “feelings”

Remember, the goal of training is to get better. If your class or instructor isn’t providing you an objective way to measure that improvement, than they’re not worth spending your money on. I’ve taken classes from all kinds of different instructors; tactical guys to USPSA Grandmasters and everything in between. Every single one of them provided objective measures of skill, and as a result I’ve benefited from every class I took.

If I had to condense this class into a single rule of thumb, it would be this: “If you class/instructor doesn’t use a timer to measure performance, they’re not worth it.”

Feel Good Training

Feel Good Training
by Caleb Giddings

When I was shooting Collegiate Bullseye, I was pretty good. Then I started shooting IDPA, and I realized that I wasn’t very good. So I practiced until I was, and made Master class. Then I went to my first Nationals and got wrecked. I also started shooting USPSA and wasn’t very good at that. So I practiced until I made A-class. I thought I was an accurate shooter, until I started shooting Bianchi Cup.

The point is that shooting well is actually hard and there are no shortcuts to the top. I know if I want to win an IDPA Championship, I’m going to have to train my butt off so I can beat some of the best revo shooters in the world.

The difficultly of shooting well is exactly why low-skilled tactical instructors continue to exist. Guns get wrapped up in ego, so when you’re suddenly confronted by your own suck, it’s awfully tempting to hear the siren call of these clowns. “Shhh, it’s okay” they say as you dump 500 rounds aimlessly into the berm, “that’s how it will be on the street.” Instead of teaching you to excel, they give you an opportunity to hide from your own inadequacies with their pablum of “the streets.” It feels good to shoot a lot of rounds and have a nice old man pat you on the head and tell you that you’re “combat accurate.” It feels good to do drills without a timer and have the instructor (who doesn’t even demo) tell you that he “felt” like it was faster.

If your instructor isn’t using a timer to objectively measure standard drills, you’re wasting time and money. If your instructor doesn’t believe in using the sights ever, he’s a fraud. I understand the temptation of “feel good” shooting, and there is absolutely a time and place for that. If you want to feel good about your shooting, train for a year. Then go to a public range. I guarantee that you’ll feel smug about your shooting for at least a week. But after that, go to a class that kicks your ass.

Feelings are liars. Your feelings will almost always lead you down the path of mediocrity. The best way to feel good about your shooting is to look an objective metric like a standard drill and see your performance on it. Or look at your match scores and how they’ve improved. Then you have something that you’re justified to feel good about.

Blaming Equipment

Blaming Equipment
by John Tate

Regarding the “blame your equipment” issue and the value of dry fire & shot calling

Army Reserve Marksmanship Program coach and shooter has some splendid videos on dry fire practice.

https://armyreservemarksman.info/2011/01/19/sfc-sanderson-on-dry-practice/
https://armyreservemarksman.info/2011/02/22/keith-sanderson-off-season-position-building/
https://armyreservemarksman.info/2011/05/22/keith-sanderson-followthrough-in-marksmanship/

He mentions how much he uses that technique, talks about incorporating follow through, etc. One thing that’s also critical is calling your shot.

I won’t dwell on its benefits; you know them. But one brought out by my SWAT sniper story is one I’ve seen too many times: a shooter who doesn’t recognize the problem is not him, but his equipment. It might be bad ammo, broken bedding, a loose gas cylinder plug (M14), loose sights, etc. But such things are easy to detect when you can confidently say, “I didn’t do that!”

Here are three more examples: two personal.

At FLETC’s F/A instructor class, there was a youngster who just about got sent home ’cause he couldn’t shoot. (But consider he wouldn’t have passed their screening if he couldn’t shoot.) This mystery went on for 2 days. Finally someone inspected his pistol – loose sight, not loose shooter was the problem.

I refinished and re-built a Remington Speedmaster (Model 552) for a fellow. It came with but was NOT returned with a receiver mounted scope. When using the receiver mounted scope, it shot all over the place. I worked and worked to sight in that rifle. As the saying goes, I chased the spotter all over the place too. Whoever, with the barrel mounted iron sights, the rifle shot great. Why? Because there was slop between the barrel and the receiver. The only remedies will be to mount the scope on the barrel or put some epoxy filler between the barrel and the receiver.

One day my M1A seemed to shoot much larger groups than normal. I checked the bedding, barrel gas cylinder, etc. All tight. What was the problem? I’d changed powder cans – a different lot of Accurate Arms 2520. With a bit more powder, she was all right again.

My point here: I’m not interested in telling my SWAT work but there may be some benefit to you if working with group of people to have some “It was my gear!” stories.

There are two lessons:
First is, don’t be too afraid to blame your equipment (that’s why God made armorers!)

Second, learn to call your shots. Not only will this help identify equipment problems, but no shooter will ever learn to deal with the wind if he can’t say just where the sights were when the hammer fell.

Beyond Expert: Story Behind The Book

I had always wanted to write a book about shooting. Turns out, I would be asked to publish it.

While spending 2003-2010 as a mobilized small arms instructor with the Army Reserve Marksmanship Program I noticed a trend in the different range of skills found among typical military-trained personnel and skilled marksmen, such as those involved in competition. On average, skilled competition shooter were able to exceed Army “expert” qualification standards by 300% or more. Military qualification standards are such that even an “expert” score may still be a novice-level effort as the course of fire isn’t capable of measuring higher skill.

Note I said “skilled competition shooter.” Not National champion or Olympian, just a competent marksmen among competition shooters. As one of my fellow instructors put it, a shooter that doesn’t finish in the top ten percent at a match isn’t competing, he’s participating. Now, there’s nothing wrong with participation (I still do it sometimes :) but a skilled competitor will manage to top out in the top ten percent of his/her shooting peers. That is good enough to at least earn “leg” points towards a Distinguished badge, earn a Master classification or something similar.

After managing to stumble into the Gunzine game and getting some articles published, I queried an Editor at Harris Publications to write this up. He agreed (see, sometimes gun magazines do publish actual marksmanship material.)

I originally wanted it to be a series of articles but was directed to make it a single, very large article. I titled it 300: Tripling Military Shooting Skills and it published as Shoot 300% Better (http://www.tactical-life.com/magazines/tactical-weapons/shoot-300-better)

Of course, my originally-intended-series-turned-article piece was considerably larger than most. When it wound up in the word processor of a Harris copy editor, he was directed to cut it in half! He sent me the cut-to-fit revision to review in an email with the subject “Buol Chainsaw Massacre.”

Turns out this copy editor was friends with the Editorial Director at Paladin Press. While lamenting over hist chopping and dissecting assignment, he quipped that she should ask me to write a full length book for Paladin about it because, “he practically wrote a damn book about it already.” So I was contacted, contracted and the rest is the ISBN-indexed dead trees package here:

http://www.paladin-press.com/product/Beyond-Expert

Short Range Training

Short Range Training
by John Tate

It’s been suggested that some of my drivel might be of interest here. Here’s a true story that might fit.

As I’ve indicated, I’m not a world class shooter. Instead, I’m one of those guys who can win an occasional local club match … and that’s only if (1) I practice A LOT, and (2) have a good day.

Regarding #1, when I was stationed in Panamà (’92 – ’95), it was very hard to get access to the USA’s Fort Clayton range, and that was the only good KD range in the area. However, Rodman Naval Station had a nice 25 yard range to which I had 24/7 access.

Now I’ve always been pretty good at calling the wind, so that wasn’t an issue. But what I needed was near constant, intense practice with was the basics of national match position shooting, especially sitting and prone rapid fire … for which dry fire just won’t help.

Now, the Navy also had a bunch of M80 ball ammo. Not the most accurate round, but it does go boom and make holes down range.

Now, do the math: If at 25 yards (1,000 inches, 25 meters, whatever), you can shoot a max 2 MOA group at 25 yards, you can hold the 10 ring at 200, 300, 600 and 1,000. And that’s what I did – I dry fired a lot and also shot a lot – with the goal of a single hole… at 25 yards.

(I always shot/shoot my own 1970s vintage “Devine M1A” (serial # on my Devine TX Springfield Armory M1A is 0008XX) on which I’d had Glen Nelson put a heavy, target barrel. Otherwise, it has “my” trigger, “my” rebuilt stock, and NWSC Crane match sights.)

The results, in my “swan song” match, the ’95 Atlantic Fleet matches (some 230 competitors), I shot the best 600 yard score of my life, a 195-6X. My overall score of 483-13X (also my best ever) tied for first place among active duty Navy shooters (tie broken by 600 yd X-count), and I won a Secretary of the Navy Trophy M1.

Now I know that both 483 and 195 would be a shameful score for you pros. But for me, a duffer, this was something special! And all my live fire practice for the year had been at 25 yards.

So here’s the lesson. Dry firing can only teach so much. Sometimes you really need to deal with recoil. Shooting at any range, even 1,000 inches, and holding a near 2 MOA group will help make you competitive at any range. Can reduced range practice take the place of real mid- and long range shooting where the wind can be a huge factor? NO! But as part of a training regimen, it can help. And it’s certainly better than doing nothing because a full KD range isn’t available.