1960s US Army Trainfire marksmanship demo. Come for the history, stay for the psychedelic music.
Category Archives: Service Conditions-Combat
Connors on Combat
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Established in 1991, the Armed Forces Skills at Arms Meeting (AFSAM) is a multinational and interservice competition created to promote marksmanship training and competition between the different components and services of U.S. military forces and allied nations.
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Chief Knote: On Observation
I was at your Best Warrior train up/selection range last week and I observed you do something that I felt was worth commenting on.
You had a Failure to Fire. I observed you smash the magazine violently into the magazine well with 3 good strikes. I observed you retract the charging handle like you were trying to RIP the handle off. In the process, likely out of muscle memory you locked the bolt to the rear and slammed the charging handle back forward. Remember this later. From my vantage point, I did not observe an ejection. I did observe you briefly flip the rifle sideways and cock your head in the general direction of the ejection port, at which point you slapped the bolt release, desperately smashed the forward assist, pointed the rifle in the general direction of the target, and ripped back on the trigger like an artillery piece…
And, nothing happened.
You, my Warrior, failed to Observe. You failed to observe the indicators of failure in the cycle of operation.
In this case, your first clue being the failed ejection. Apparently, you did not observe the lack of ejection, so, where is it? Is it still in the chamber? Is there even any ammunition in the magazine?
Failure to observe a failed Ejection will likely result in a failure to Feed, and definitely a failure to Lock. Failure to observe a failed Extraction will only devolve into an assortment of problems. If the magazine still contains cartridges, the bolt carrier will attempt to Feed another round into a chamber currently occupied. If you are lucky, it will end up tip up and simply halt, hopefully calling attention to itself and its buddy still stuck in your chamber.
Remember the point earlier about the bolt locked to the rear? With the bolt back and the charging handle forward you’ve created the opportunity for the cartridge to hop up and get caught tail up, in the underside of the charging handle and just atop the bolt lugs. Congratulations you’ve just given yourself a bolt override… easy enough to fix as long as you don’t panic, use a “something” like a sturdy pen, inserted through the ejection port, against the bolt face to move the BCG to the rear without pulling on the charging handle.
If you did observe the failed Extraction, you will need to recognize that you are done with immediate action, and now must execute remedial action.
You need to understand the cycle of operation, and you need to be observant during the Observe step of Immediate Action. Failure to observe which stage within the cycle of operation has failed will lead to more problems.
In your case, my Warrior, your bolt had not locked to the rear on an empty magazine. You were out of rounds. Fortunately for you, you had completed your qualification table.
“Kan du alltid slå merke til deg (May you always hit your mark)”
Competition Shooting in Special Operations
SGM (ret.) Patrick McNamara (1st SFG, SFOD-D) was interviewed by LCDR (ret.) John “Jocko” Willink (SEAL Team 3) about shooting experience within special operations forces. While serving as his Unit’s Marksmanship NCO, SGM McNamara developed his own marksmanship club with NRA, CMP, and USPSA affiliations, running monthly IPSC matches and semi-annual military marksmanship championships to encourage marksmanship fundamentals and competitiveness throughout the Army. This is common throughout military special operations. All Army is an annual Service Conditions match held by the Army Marksmanship Unit at Fort Benning, similar to Service Conditions matches held throughout all NATO and Commonwealth militaries.
3D SFG(A) Soldiers report that “Most members of SOF (Special Operations Forces) use competitive shooting as a training tool. Our gear looks like that used in 3-Gun because that sort of practical competition is how we set up equipment.”