A Different Approach To Training: Shooting Better For The Sake Of Shooting Better

Outstanding write up by John Van Swearingen. Compare his comments to these reviews of the Magpul Dynamics DVD series mentioned below.


A Different Approach To Training: Shooting Better For The Sake Of Shooting Better
by John Van Swearingen
(The opinions below are those of the author, John Van Swearingen, and they do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the American Gunfighters crew. No endorsement is implied by the mention of any brands or products. Further, the author is not that tough. You can probably take him.)
Continue reading

Rifle Shooting May Predict Your Lifespan

Simple Sitting Test Predicts How Long You’ll Live
Flexibility, balance and muscle strength are key indicators of longevity.
by Becky Lang
Discover Magazine November 2013


Brazilian physician Claudio Gil Araujo noticed long ago patients having trouble with motions such as bending down to pick up something off the floor or easily rising from a seated position indicated a loss of muscle, balance, and flexibility, all which indicate an increased chance of mortality.

Araujo eventually developed a simple test requiring no equipment called the Sitting-Rising Test. In a study published in the European Journal of Cardiology, Araujo had more than 2,000 patients ages 51 to 80 at at Clinimex Exercise Medicine Clinic in Rio de Janeiro take the SRT. The study concluded that people scoring less then eight points on the SRT were twice as likely to die within the next six years compared with those scoring higher and scoring scored three points or less indicated a 500% increased chance of dying within the same period compared with those scoring more than eight points. Each point increase in SRT score was associated with a 21 percent decrease in mortality from all causes.

To perform the SRT, sit down on the ground. Using no support is a perfect score of five. Using your hands or forearms on the ground or your body to help is a one point deduction for each contact. Appearing to lose balance is a half point. Then stand up, with the same scoring and deductions. Add them together for total score.

These illustrations from Discover Magazine shows how to perform the SRT.

If you imagine a rifle in that woman’s hands, you’ll notice she basically assumed a cross leg sitting position. Being able to get smoothly into and out of a sitting position with a rifle in your hands and using minimal to no support to do so yields a high SRT score. As with your marksmanship, shooting seated from a bench is also harmful to your health.

Medical professionals have spoken. An ability to get into and out of rifle shooting positions indicates a maintenance of sufficient muscle, flexibility, and balance for long, healthy life. Dry practice and live fire regularly from field shooting positions. It’s for your health!

Lack of Institutional Training for Leaders on How to Instruct Marksmanship

Get the full copy of the Read Ahead paper:

Lack of Institutional Training for Leaders on How to Instruct Marksmanship

Shooting Team members have been saying this since about forever ago. I suppose it’s progress that somebody outside of the marksmanship programs finally noticed as well.

Note the authors of this paper failed to mention the US Army Reserve Marksmanship Training and Competitive Program (who largely staffed the Small Arms Readiness Group back when it used to be effective and relevant), the National Guard Marksmanship Training Center, the All Guard Team, and the Guard’s state-level Small Arms Readiness Training Sections.

These exclusions are especially sad because the NGMTU, state-level SARTS, Guard and Reserve teams are officially declared by published military regulations. Most of the programs listed under paragraph 2d. are not.

I’d point out these exclusions just emphasize the paper’s point as even the authors of this document citing vast ignorance of effective marksmanship training are themselves ignorant of effective marksmanship programs throughout the Department of Army.

5 February 2014


Subject: Lack of Institutional Training for Leaders on How to Instruct Marksmanship

1. Purpose. To provide the current status

2. Facts. There is no current training available within the institutional base that instructs leaders specifically on “how to” instruct marksmanship. No formal instruction exists today that develops all leaders on how to adequately teach marksmanship skills, firing or engagement techniques, and methods.

a. NCOES. This includes the Noncommissioned Officer Education System (NCOES) or any other course currently offered at the Maneuver Center of Excellence. No course includes instruction on the variety of training aids, devices, simulations, and simulators (TADSS) that support marksmanship instruction, or how to use them effectively to achieve any desired increase in Soldier performance.

b. U.S. Army Drill Sergeant School. The Drill Sergeant School does provide limited instruction on marksmanship training; however, it is tailored to the instruction modules for Initial Entry Training (IET) and is not available to all leaders Army-wide. In an Army Research Institute study, even the Drill Sergeant courseware required additional attention and that “a common theme identified was that many drill sergeants misunderstood parts of rifle marksmanship doctrine and / or inconsistently applied training techniques and procedures” (Army Research Institute, 2011).

c. Several courses, products, and publications have been developed in the past decade to support marksmanship training at the unit level. The Small Arms Weapons Expert (SAWE) course, the Small Arms Integration Book (SAIB), Short Range Marksmanship course, Long Range Marksmanship course, and Small Arms and Optics (SA-O) course, are examples of those previously developed and provided by the MCoE. These items are no longer supported or provided by the MCoE. Other Army organizations have filled the training gaps created by the loss of these items, such as the Army Marksmanship Unit (AMU), the Asymmetric Warfare Group (AWG), and PM Soldier, Sensors, and Lasers (PM SSL) which offer mobile training teams to small groups (10-20 Soldiers per class).

d. Operational and Army Reserve units have subsequently developed their own marksmanship programs to fill these training gaps, particularly as AMU, AWG, and PM SSL cannot meet the training demand. The following organizations have developed or are developing their own marksmanship instruction courseware to alleviate training shortcomings and the expected loss of MTT support by AMU and AWG in the future:

  1. 10th Mountain Division
  2. 82nd Airborne Division
  3. 101st Airborne Division
  4. 7th Army Training Command (USAREUR)
  5. Warrior Training Center (WTC, National Guard Bureau)
  6. Small Arms Readiness Group (US Army Reserves)

These courses vary in design, content, and duration, but each does reference and use FM 3-22.9, Basic Rifle Marksmanship and the specific weapon technical manuals.

e. The MCoE provided a restructured SAWE Program of Instruction (POI) to units as an exportable training package for unit use. This POI can be found on the Warrior University at: https://www.warrioruniversity.army.mil/training-wiki/-/wiki/main/sawe and can be accessed from any government computer (Maneuver Center of Excellence, 2013).

f. During the AEWE analysis in 2012, specific attention was made to the training shortfalls within Army units. “The Army should consider teaching not just marksmanship to its Soldiers, but formally developing marksmanship training skills for its NCOs” (Army Training Evaluation Center, 2012). The report went on to comment that senior Command Sergeants Major “provided an overwhelming support towards relooking at the Army’s training approach…of US Army NCOs and Officers” concerning instructing rifle marksmanship training skills to leaders.

g. In a white paper from the then 197th Brigade Commander, this position was further promoted to “aggressively pursue consolidation of the different marksmanship courses we currently offer to the field under the auspices of the Global War on Terror into one course that produces a Small Arms Master Gunner. This course needs to build upon the basic knowledge all NCOs get from attending IET, the Warrior Leader’s Course, the (then) Basic Noncommissioned Officer’s Course, and other specialized training they receive during the course of their careers” (Gregory C. Kane, 2009).

3. Recommendation: The Maneuver Center of Excellence evaluates its current curriculum structures and their inherent ability to support any additional training hours specifically dedicated to the instruction of how to train marksmanship. This includes:

  • NCOA assess feasibility of including additional instruction on small arms training.
  • USAIS assess feasibility of implementing stand-alone functional training course that is specifically geared to certification of instructors at Home Station for small arms weapons, optics, and illuminators.
  • NCOA inquire with the Sergeants Major Academy for the feasibility to incorporate small arms instructor training within the Warrior Leader’s Course.

Stephen Krivitsky/AZTD-TDD/6-1828

APPROVED BY: COL Richard Timmons


Army Research Institute. (2011). Research Product 2011-07, Rifle Marksmanship Diagnostic and Training Guide. Fort Benning: Army Research Institute (ARI).

Army Training Evaluation Center. (2012). Analysis Report for the Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiment (AEWE) – Bold Quest 2012. Fort Benning: U.S. Army.

Ellison IV, M. I. (2005). Current Inadequacy of Small Arms Training for all Military Occupational Specialties int eh Conventional Army. Fort Leavenworth: U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.

Gregory C. Kane, C. (2009). Forging a Coordinated Small Arms Training Strategy. Fort Benning: 197th Brigade.

Maneuver Center of Excellence. (2013). Small Arms Weapons Expert – Training and Educational Material. Retrieved FEB 03, 2014, from Warrior University: https://www.warrioruniversity.army.mil/training-wiki/-/wiki/main/sawe

Maneuver Center of Excellence, Directorate of Training and Doctrine. (2011). Analysis of Alternatives, Live Fire Training Strategies, Task 9. Fort Benning: Maneuver Center of Excellence.

Rand Corporation. (2013). Changing the Army’s Weapons Training strategies to More Efficiently Meet Operational Requirements (RESTRICTED DRAFT). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Army.