Shot Process and Functional Elements

#USArmyReserve #WednesdayWisdom @USArmyReserve #WeaponsMastery #WalkthroughWednesday

Download an illustrated copy of this article:
2 Shot Process SACM

The Army’s previous training doctrine distilled basic shooting procedures into four fundamentals. The idea was to eliminate details and only use those components deemed absolutely necessary. These four fundamentals were: Steady Position, Aiming, Breath Control, and Trigger Control.

The primary failure of this approach has been that it dumbed down the shot process by ignoring concepts that are very useful and critical for anyone wanting to shoot better than merely passing routine qualification. It also gave equal weight to a comparatively unimportant concept like breath control to the point that it has wrongly been considered to be as important as factors that really are very important, such as trigger control.

The Shot Process

Regardless of the weapon system, the goal of shooting remains constant: well-aimed shots. To achieve this end state there are two truths. Soldier’s must properly point the weapon (sight alignment and sight picture) and then fire the weapon without disturbing the aim (trigger control.) Even though the Shot Process and Functional Elements might seem to additive, this approach is really about gaining enough control for this to occur.

The Shot Process is the basic outline of the engagement sequence needed to land a hit. Learning how to pay attention to detail requires learning which details are worth paying attention to. The Shot Process formulates an approach to learning and using those elements that are actually important and necessary.

Every well-delivered shot uses this. The sequence does not change, although the application of each element varies based on the conditions of the engagement. Grouping, for example, is simply moving through the shot process several times in succession. Rapid fire speeds this up. Multiple targets in quick succession adds the need to transition between them. Regardless, the process remains the same.

The Shot Process allows focus on one cognitive task at a time. As a shooter becomes more skillful, they need to mentally organize the shot process tasks and actions identified as important. For a novice and new recruit, a simplified approach such as the old Four Fundamentals is adequate. When a Solider decides to become a skilled marksman, additional elements and points of emphasis are added to their Shot Process as needed to obtain improved results. In competitive shooting circles, it is common for the developing marksman to write out a personal Shot Process that expands to several pages of description. Such detail creates a disciplined mental checklist which becomes a subconsciously-controlled task through practice. The focus for a skilled shooter becomes a simple anchor allowing them to focus their attention on their external environment while executing their Shot Process as a subconsciously-programmed response.

The Shot Process has three distinct phases: Pre-shot, Shot, and Post-shot. Pre-shot items include position, natural point of aim, initial sight alignment/picture, and hold stability. Shot items include refinement of the aim and trigger control causing discharge. Post-shot includes follow-through, recoil management, shot call, and evaluation.

Functional Elements

Functional elements of the shot process are the linkage between the Soldier, weapon system, environment, and the target that directly impact the consistency of each fired shot. Used appropriately, the Functional Elements build a greater understanding of delivering accurate fire in any engagement. The Functional Elements are Stability, Aim, Control, and Movement.

Stability is stabilizing the weapon well enough to provide a consistent base to fire from and maintain through the shot process until the recoil pulse has ceased. This includes the hold, position or posture during the engagement and structures or objects used to provide stability.

Aim is the continuous process of orienting the weapon correctly, aligning the sights and on target, and the appropriate lead and elevation (hold) during a target engagement to obtain the lay of the bore needed for a hit.

Control are all actions taken before, during, and after the shot process that the shooter is specifically in control of. Of primary concern is trigger control and body control so as to avoid a flinch, pre-ignition push, or other unintended reaction/anticipation during the shot phase of the Shot Process. Control also includes whether, when, and how to engage. It incorporates the Soldier as a function of safety.

Movement is the process of moving during the engagement. It includes moving into and out of positions, adjusting as needed (natural point of aim), and moving laterally, forward, diagonally, and in a retrograde manner while maintaining stabilization, aim, and control of the weapon.

Functional Elements include important concepts during all phases of the Shot Process and the emphasis will vary based on the shooting. For example, being particular about position stabilization, natural point of aim, a highly refined aim, and smooth, controlled trigger press is important for a Designated Marksman shooting at 500 meters. This changes for a Soldier conducting a room entry and engaging quickly at a target inside the room while moving. The Shot Process concepts remain the same but the emphasis on various Functional Elements varies based on the shooter and environment.

New Training Circular Walkthrough

#USArmyReserve #WednesdayWisdom @USArmyReserve #WeaponsMastery #WalkthroughWednesday

Download an illustrated copy of this article:
New Army Training Circulars

New Army Training Circulars

The Army Publishing Directorate has released a number of new manuals that completely revise and update small arms training for all Soldiers. For Soldiers to be expert and professional and able to maintain arms requires knowing how best to use them. For leadership to remain technically and tactically proficient, seeking continually to improve knowledge and practice of their profession requires learning current doctrine as it evolves.

The Evolution

Back in the early 1980s, Army publication Field Circular 23-11, Unit Rifle Marksmanship Training Guide was designed to provide useful marksmanship guidance to combat, combat support, and combat service support units. It covered a wide range of topics from the basics, such as zeroing and shot-group analysis, to advanced information, such as night firing, automatic firing, and using the then-new Multi-integrated Laser Engagement System (MILES).

The information was specific to guide trainers in providing a sound unit marksmanship program without bogging them down in needless detail. Its intent was to provide deeper understanding behind the how and why of the then-current small arms Field Manuals, such as FM 23-9.

The most current Training Circulars are very new and are complete rewrites that establish new procedures and doctrine. Many units have not yet implemented this and many leaders remain unaware of these changes. Like the FC 23-11 did in the eighties, this article provides an up-to-date overview of implementing current Army small arms training doctrine into a sound unit marksmanship program without bogging down into needless detail.

Training Circular 3-22.9, Rifle and Carbine was officially released May 2016 with Change One in January 2017, superseding FM 3-22.9 dated August 2008. Since then, all of the Army’s small arms manuals have been completely rewritten from scratch throughout Fiscal Year 2017. If you haven’t downloaded the most current versions since before then, you’re completely behind on current training procedures.

The new manuals include:

Rifle and Carbine: TC 3-22.9
Pistol: TC 3-23×35
Light Machine Gun M249 series: TC 3-22.249
(covers Automatic Rifle and Light Machine Gun use)
Medium Machine Gun: TC 3-22.240
Heavy Machine Gun M2 series: TC 3-22.50
Grenade Machine Gun Mk19 MOD 3: TC 3-22.19

Note these are listed as Training Circulars, not Field Manuals. Previously-released small arms doctrine were released as Field Manuals. The current manuals have been released as Training Circulars.

Doctrine changes don’t replace fundamental principles for the same reason that doctrine changes don’t supplant known laws of physics. What does change is how the official approach organizes and describes those principles.

These new manuals are well over a thousand pages of new training and technical information. Unless they’re gun nerds like us, most Soldiers won’t read all this. My purpose here is to distill the new information in these Training Circulars into something more manageable.

Ash Hess: Army Marksmanship and MMTC

SFC Ash Hess (ret.) was one of the primary authors of the Army’s new Training Circulars. He was asked to speak before a recent graduating class at Marksmanship Master Trainer Course. Here’s a link to his original post and the transcript. Bold highlights were added to emphasize important points.

Speech for the Marksmanship Master Trainer Course

I want to start off by saying that I am honored and humbled to be here. When SFC Chain asked me to speak I checked to make sure he was messaging the right guy because honestly I never expected to receive that message. I immediately, upon that confirmation, jumped at the chance to speak to the graduates of the Master Marksmanship Trainer Course 03-18.

You see, the people in this room, guests, cadre and most importantly the graduates are the future of Army Marksmanship. One would be pretty naïve to assume that anyone could stand here and say that we don’t have issues in that realm. Five weeks ago, you may or may not have agreed that we are a couple of minutes of angle off across the Army.

During the course, you have learned better ways to shoot and train, things you never heard of, and things you learned in basic training and lost over the years. You slaughtered some sacred cows and destroyed perpetual myths centered on our service rifle. You are now part of a relatively small group of people in the Army that have attended an Army level class on marksmanship.

Until MMTC unveiled, the last formal, Army level marksmanship training was basic training. Think about the thousands of leaders and soldiers that have done nothing more than execute what their Drill Sergeants taught them over their careers with no chance of learning more.

If you were lucky, you had the privilege of attending one of the many Division Schools like I ran when I attended MMTC in 2015. While these schools were awesome training, they lacked one important element that MMTC does not. Army-wide recognition. We trained people and when they left the Division, that knowledge was often met with “that’s great, but here is how we do it. ”

When you walk out those doors you are not facing that challenge of trying to sell your skills. You have the backing of the Infantry School. You also have something else that is near and dear to my heart. That would be TC 3-22.9. By now you have been in that book and if you wondered who the good idea fairy was, well, that’s me.

That book was written under this simple guidance “write the book you needed while you were instructing” The course I ran for 10th Mountain graduated 1600 students under my watch. 1600 people learned and executed great things and went back to their units only to be hamstrung by an old book. My team and stakeholders from across the Army, active and reserve, set out to make a book that supported not only everything we have learned in the war but something that would support good marksmanship techniques and most importantly, teaching techniques.

We not only vetted the book within the Army, but we brought in several professional instructors from across the industry. Many of them have been teaching every weekend for 10+ years as their primary income. These pros helped us streamline the message and cleared up wording to make it teach more effectively. Believe that these guys are on your side and want nothing more than effective American Soldiers. Many times, business comes second and they gave the Army things that people would pay a lot of money to learn.

In our research, we found some things. Our weapons aren’t bad for what we are asking them to do. All of you fired issued weapons from five meters out to 600 meters. The ammunition is good enough for what we are asking it to do. You guys know this as you got hits. If the weapons and ammo aren’t the problem, what is?

Is it the caliber of Solider? If that were it, it wouldn’t cover 40 years of marginal performance

Is it the number of rounds we fire? Could be in some cases but if SFC Chain and the cadre had simply said, “here is 100,000 rounds; blast away” without any teaching would you guys have seen the improvement you made the past few weeks?

We decided that is was WHAT we were saying and how we were saying it. We relooked what we were providing to leaders and instructors to teach. Here at Fort Benning, you can’t present anything that isn’t in a book. No matter what we wanted to teach, the book was the book. I think we made big strides on fixing that.

So that leads to what you guys learned here in MMTC. For those in the room, you were successful. Some were not. The difference is the message that the cadre challenged and graded you on delivering. You had to group to higher standards than normal, get more precise zeros and get hits beyond what many of you were used to. You also had to teach back things that improved your own performance. You not only learned how to shoot better but learned how to make others shoot better, which is the big picture.

This is how we are improving Army Marksmanship. No more will you leave a school and not be able to use the information provided there because a leader asks one simple question, “What does the book say?” The knowledge passed on to you from the cadre cannot be undermined nor argued with by those who have always done it one way. When you go back to your units and later your next unit, that knowledge will still be relevant.

I close with a challenge. I challenge you, the MMTC graduates to transfer all the knowledge gained here to four people. You may get more than that but if you can get four people to the same level you are the result will be astounding. You and your subordinates need to get the message out to 1 million people as they fire 400 million rounds next year. You now know how to get all the rounds you and your Soldiers are allocated and the best ways to use them. Those rounds will be fired, we hope, but the question remains are they good rounds or are they fired the same way we always have done it.

I thank you for all you are doing and you have my support in your continued efforts.

2018 AFSAM program

From Service Conditions-Combat Team OIC, LTC Scott D. Klawon

2018 Armed Forces Skill at Arms Meeting

Even if you are not on the list to go use this to train for those matches to prepare for the training / team selection event. We may be able to bring a few more based on funding.

2018 Dixie Match

2018 Dixie Match
April 13-15
Gateway Rifle and Pistol Club, Jacksonville, FL

The 2018 Dixie Match will feature a NRA Regional 2700 match with teams, NRA Distinguished Revolver match, CMP Service Pistol EIC match and CMP .22 Rimfire EIC Pistol match. New for 2018 will be a 10 meter Air Pistol Closest to the Center and 20 shot Re-Entry match.

Please refer to the match program for details.