M249: AR vs. LMG

The M249 is supposed to be used in either an Automatic Rifle and Light Machine Gun role. What differentiates either? For years, both qualifications were conducted in a very similar manner and many personnel failed to appreciate any difference.

An Automatic Rifle is individually issued, carried, and used while maneuvering as a part of a team. A Light (or Medium or Heavy) Machine Gun is a crew-served weapon that supports maneuvering elements in offense and defense. The same M249 can be pressed into either role but the usage differs depending on which.

I’ve found many personnel are confused by this difference and merely conduct whichever qualification is easiest.

A Proposed Fix

The following is merely an idea from one person (me) that has no official basis or status. I suggested this to personnel writing current Army small arms doctrine and they will have final say what becomes official.

Given that personnel don’t seem interested in reading and learning the difference, I’d say we should make the AR and LMG quals more distinct. The current AR qual mostly looks like a watered-down version of the LMG/MMG qual.

Grouping and Zeroing: Use the new 25-meter rifle/carbine zero target at 10 meters. Given that target’s 6 MOA “legacy” dashed circle is 4cm – same width as the 10 meter MG paster – and the 4 MOA circle and diamond is about 2.5 cm. The grid at 25 meters is 1 MOA squares, making it 2.5 MOA/0.75 mils at 10 meters. Zero standard becomes to shoot a centered three round burst inside the 4cm circle on that target from prone bipod supported.

Eliminate the 10 meter MG target and course and use the 10-meter range as a preliminary group/zero exercise, like the rifle/carbine.

Qualification: The Automatic Rifle qualification should be similar to the new four-table Modified Record Fire (Barricade) course. Phase 1 and 2 becomes Bipod Supported. Phase 3 and 4 uses a barricade and are fired kneeling and standing supported, respectively. Current Automatic Rifle transition ranges (100-400 meters) can be used as-is with the addition of a barricade and emphasizing longer shots bipod prone and closer distances from kneeling and standing, like the rifle/carbine.

Like the rifle Modified Record Fire (Barricade) course, this makes the qual similar to Drill G (Fight Up).

The Modified Record Fire (Barricade) course requires a reload while changing positions during the timed lull between tables, which (obviously) should be required to be done with magazines in the FLC/LBE/etc. I’d suggest having at least one reload for the AR course in the same manner, reloading with an ammo can, soft assault pack, etc. in a manner as how ammunition would normally be carried on person.

As a side note, we should also have the pistol qualifications require all tables start holstered and reloads done from gear on the clock. LMG/MMG qualifications should have a timed reload and a barrel change portion between tables for the same reasons.

If this sort of thing was built into qualification requirements, leadership might start to care more about it.

Advertisements

Safety Of Use Message: M16/M4

BLUF

  1. A small number (881 out of 259,000) of M16/M4 weapons have been found to potentially have an unintended discharge while manipulating the selector.
  2. An additional step in the updated Function Check will readily determine if your M16/M4 is affected.
  3. If your M16/M4 passes the additional steps to the Function Check to inspect for this problem, there is absolutely no need to change Immediate Action procedures.
  4. The previous Immediate Action procedure (“SPORTS”) has been since replaced with an improved procedure described in TC 3-22.9. TACOM and the published Technical Manuals have not yet updated to the new standard.

SOUM #18-004 alerted the field of an unintended discharge on an M4A1 PIP’ed (Product Improvement Program) weapons that occurred when the operator pulled the trigger with the selector switch between the SEMI and AUTO detents (outside of detent). The weapon did not fire when the operator pulled the trigger and instead fired when the selector was moved further. As a result of this incident, an on-going investigation determined that there is the potential for all carbines and rifles noted above, to behave in this way.

First, this potential mechanical problem is uncommon. The Army has converted 259,000 M4s to M4A1s in the past three years with the M4 carbine product improvement program. Out of 259,000, 881 have been found to exhibit this problem.

Second, TACOM’s updated Function Check will easily determine if your M16/M4 is one of those of the small number affected.

Updated Function Check
User Actions: Until a resolution is found, units are required to perform the following additional function check on all M16 and M4 series rifles and carbines. If the unit reported failure data IAW SOUM 18-004, then reporting action for those weapons has been satisfied.

1. Ensure weapon is clear by observing the chamber, the bolt face, and magazine well. The weapon should always be pointed in a safe direction. Do NOT perform this check with live ammunition.

2. Perform standard function check IAW WP0007.

3. Move the selector lever to the SEMI position then move the selector to a position between SEMI and AUTO (BURST for non M4A1’s) and squeeze the trigger. The hammer should drop when trigger is squeezed. If the hammer drops, repeat by slightly repositioning selector between SEMI and AUTO (or BURST). If the hammer does not drop when the trigger is squeezed, this is a failure. Record this information and continue to the next step.

4. If hammer does not drop, move the selector in either direction. If the hammer drops without squeezing the trigger, this is a failure. Record this information.

5. Gather information recorded from the additional function check and submit to TACOM Equipment Specialists.

Do NOT use SPORTS or C-SPORTS

The SOUM goes on the describe a suggested “update” to the now out-of-date Immediate Action procedure that has since been replaced in TC 3-22.9.

First problem, an Immediate Action amendment is completely unnecessary if the Function Check is passed. Confirming correct mechanical function is an administrative action conducted during Drill A – Weapon Check, not something to do while engaging targets.

Second problem, SPORTS was replaced as an overly-convoluted and less effective approach than what the new Immediate Action procedure in TC 3-22.9 directs. Taking a tangled “immediate” six-step procedure and adding yet-another step defies the entire point of immediate action.

Third problem, this low percentage mechanical problem only occurs while manipulating the selector. Immediate Action is only necessary after attempting to engage target(s), meaning the weapon was already set to discharge (obviously) and there is no need to manipulate the selector while performing it.

TC 3-22.9, page 8-10

RULES FOR CORRECTING A MALFUNCTION
Do not attempt to place the weapon on SAFE (unless otherwise noted). Most stoppages will not allow the weapon to be placed on safe because the sear has been released or the weapon is out of battery. Attempting to place the weapon on SAFE will waste time and potentially damage the weapon.

TACOM-SOUM-18-005

New Mexico Veterans set sights on Golden Age Games competition

The Games include ambulatory, visually impaired and wheelchair divisions, with each divided into age categories. Competition events include 3-on-3 basketball, air rifle, badminton (singles and doubles), boccia (singles and doubles), bowling, pickleball, cycling, field (discus, javelin, shot put), golf, horseshoes, nine ball, power walk, shuffleboard, swimming, table tennis and track.

Volunteer registration for the 2018 National Veterans Golden Age Games opens April 20. For more information, or to volunteer, visit https://www.va.gov/opa/speceven/gag/index.asp

More:
https://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/47517/new-mexico-veterans-set-sights-golden-age-games-competition/

Captain Horace Wayman Bivins

Captain Horace Wayman Bivins: America’s First Double Distinguished Marksman

Captain Horace Wayman Bivins

Captain Horace Wayman Bivins

Download an illustrated copy of this article:
Captain Horace Wayman Bivins: America’s First Double Distinguished Marksman

The U.S. Army enacted a Distinguished Marksman program in 1884. In the entire 133-year history of the program, with tens of millions of Soldiers eligible to try, as of 2017 a total of 5,102 Army personnel have earned either Distinguished Rifleman or Distinguished Pistol Shot. Captain Horace Wayman Bivins was the first person to earn both in 1894; a Corporal at the time. Cpt. Bivins was also the first marksman to win three Army marksmanship gold medals in one year.

Cpt. Bivins had a military career that was so varied and full of adventure that early newspapers wrote his life’s account ‘‘reads like fiction from the imagination of a pulp magazine writer.” He was assigned to Troop E of the 10th Cavalry, which took a prominent part in the campaigns against Geronimo, Apache Kid, and other Indian chieftains of the southwest. While serving in Cuba during the Spanish-American War, Bivins was awarded a Silver Star from actions during the famous battle of San Juan Hill. A sergeant by then, Bivins was assigned to a Hotchkiss gun battery. With all other members of his unit killed or wounded, he single-handedly fired 72 shells from a Hotchkiss guns, which recoiled six to eight feet after each shot. His performance was all the more remarkable because early in the battle, he had been knocked out briefly by a slug that passed through an iron-plated hub of a gun carriage and hit him in the temple. President Teddy Roosevelt recalled of the action “I don’t think it an exaggeration to say that but for the timely aid of the 10th Cavalry, the Rough Riders would have been annihilated.”

Cpt. Horace Wayman Bivins, the first Double Distinguished marksman in United States history in 1894, was an African American. It would take more than five decades after this before Jack Roosevelt “Jackie” Robinson was able to receive the same acceptance in baseball, as detailed in the film 42. Lieutenant Colonel Earl Woods, father of pro golfer Tiger Woods, served two tours in Viet Nam as an officer in the Infantry and Special Forces. While in college, Woods once was not allowed to play golf because of his skin color. In fact, the Professional Golfer’s Association of America (PGA) enforced a “Caucasians only” clause in their official published rules until the 1960s.

Army marksmanship programs trace their lineage to when General Philip Sheridan officially created the Distinguished Marksman class, as announced in General Orders Number 24, back in 1884. This was formalized by the War Department (predecessor to the current Department of Defense) in 1887. The original concept has been run continuously ever since. Marksmen participate in Excellence In Competition events and the top ten percent of the eligible, non-distinguished competitors are awarded “Leg” points at the event. Like the leg of stool or chair or the leg of a journey, a number of points have to be accumulated over the shooter’s lifetime for specific awards. The first leg is the EIC Bronze medal. After 20 lifetime points are accumulated, the Silver EIC medal is awarded. Once 30 or more points are earned, the shooter reaches Distinguished status. EIC events are held for rifle and pistol shooting and there are Distinguished Rifleman and Distinguished Pistol Shot badges.

These awards are more prominent than normal qualification badges and eligible for wear on dress uniforms. Like combatives, instead of Level 1-4 to recognize accomplishment, Bronze, Silver and Gold badges are awarded. Army marksmanship programs are published in Army Regulation 350-66 and 140-1, with the awards and their wear detailed in 670-1. While first started by the U.S Army, all branches of the Department of Defense maintain this program, as does the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) for civilians. Distinguished marksmen come from all walks of life, even outside the military. The CMP maintains all master records dating back to 1884 in their Competition Tracker.

Read more about Cpt. Bivins
https://ct.thecmp.org/app/v1/index.php?do=contactDistinguishedView&distinguished_id=1370

2018 USAR Midwestern

Results

PAO Wrap Up:
https://armyreservemarksman.info/2018-usar-midwestern-wrapup/

This page will host all event information for the 2018 U.S. Army Reserve Midwestern match, including registration, additional information, match results, etc.

The permalink is:
https://armyreservemarksman.info/2018-usar-midwestern/

Registration
All participants need to fill out and submit the following Registration form (.xlsx spreadsheet).
Registration Army Midwest Regional

Send the completed form to the Event Registration Officer:
usarmy.usarc.arcd.list.bn10-ops -at- mail.mil

Note: This form will contain Personally Identifiable Information. Send it from a mail.mil email address.

Event Program and Flyer

2018 USAR Midwestern Small Arms Championship Event Program FINAL

2018 USAR Midwestern Small Arms Championship Event Flyer