Monday, May 14, 2018

Basic Training - Rifle I

Hours 3,4,5,6,7

FM 23-9 Rifle Marksmanship M-16A1/2/3/4/M4 (April 2003)
MCRP 3-01A USMC Rifle Marksmanship (October 2012)
Warrior Skills Level 1

(No page numbers. It's Day Three. Learn to use a Table of Contents and an Index. You'll be a better person. Semper fi, mac.)

Americans overwhelmingly think they're all born reincarnations of Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett, Carlos Hathcock and Chris Kyle.
I've been to the range a time or two. News flash: you're not. You're not even Sonny Crockett, or Boone from Animal House.

The smart ones realize they don't know the entire encyclopedias worth of weapons information out there, let alone the basics.
And they try and remedy that lack, with study and diligent practice.

The rest miss a lot.

Before you shoot anything, the first thing you have to do is know what the parts are, so future instruction makes sense to you.
Read the references, and watch the videos.
With an unloaded weapon(!!!)*, go through everything you read, and everything you see, Until you know this better than the book, and better than the video.
Until you do something, you don't know something.

*(If, at this point, you have an AR-series or other semi-automatic rifle, and don't know how to make sure it's unloaded beyond all doubt before going any farther, leave it right where it is, and stop reading this until you go and find someone who can impart and convey that information to you in person, with crystal clarity. No, really.)

And for the overachievers and nitpickers out there (I hear you breathing), bear in mind everything for this week's course of instruction is basic instruction, and that the military conveys it over several weeks, not in five days. There is far more to all of this that's properly the subject for intermediate and advanced instruction, many hours of practical experience, and repeated trips to live fire ranges, before anyone should consider themselves "there".

The military goes over this for the infantry at MOS-specific training for another month after basic training.

Sniper schools take all this, and then pile on an additional month, minimum.

We won't even talk about the time taken by the folks at Ranger School, SF, BUD/S, and MARSOC.

You won't know everything about this subject before you're dead; but this is enough knowledge to help anyone push getting dead off quite a ways, in comparison with someone completely untrained.

So before you rush to start throwing in all the "Yeah, but"s into comments, take a deep breath, and re-think anything that isn't related to bare basic competency.

If you missed this note, and dive right in anyways, your comments may very well disappear into the internet ether.

Just saying.

One other word:
There are no such things as ADs (accidental discharges). Guns don't shoot themselves, and as more than one drill instructor pointed out with excruciatingly correct logic to fellow recruits within my direct hearing on numerous occasions, "That weapon isn't going to jump up and butt-f**k you in the @$$, private!" That is why ADs are unicorns. They do not exist.

There are Negligent Discharges (NDs). I have never, not once, from now back to the Jimmy Carter presidency, ever had so much as even one negligent discharge. There are people who have not had NDs, and there are Idiots. There is no third category, in case you were waiting.

Idiocy of that type can happen to anyone, though, and it doesn't have to be a permanent lifelong condition. Multi-event idiots of the ND type are a special kind of stupid. An ND can get you summarily dropped from places like sniper school, Ranger School, BUD/S, and SF, for criminal stupidity in public. If they take that sort of jackassery that seriously there, you should too. (Personally, I suspect they're mainly disappointed they can't go back to the days of "wall-to-wall counseling", or the accepted military punishments from the Articles of War, from long before the UCMJ came along.)

IMHO, anyone nearby (i.e. close enough or in range to be struck by it in any directional plane) when an ND happens should be authorized to sucker punch the offending Idiot, and the idiot should have to take it. (Think "Flogging Around The Fleet". I'm sentimental like that.) If you disagree, you've proven my point about idiocy. If you've been an Idiot before, long ago, but are now in recovery, bravo. Keep up the good work. But I've got my eye on you.

Weapons training is serious business, and bullets in flight are no respecters of who's in the way once they fly. Even in boot camp, the weapons training phase was much lower stress than other phases, and we always got a good night's sleep (by design, although they didn't tell us this then), because tired and stressed-out jittery recruits with loaded weapons is a poor combination. Respect the tool you're learning, and respect what it can do, especially if you're stupid or careless, because it won't care, and excuses are like @$$holes. Don't give anyone a new one unless you were meaning to. Especially not yourself.

Carry on.

 Hour 3: Nomenclature, Firing Cycle

You're going to get a lot of videos on this stuff. That's because I'm not going to re-type the info just to beat my fingers. Some of them are better than others, and all of them are decent coverage. And the beauty of video is, you can stop, go back, and go over a section, to the limits of your needs and/or bandwidth.

And the lessons are in a certain order, for a reason.

For these two (or any other one that bugs you) turn down the music.
The animations are top-notch. (And I can't call the guy up and teach him Video 101 classes now, starting with "Why you shouldn't annoy your audience by picking crappy soundtracks". More's the pity.)

The first one will teach you the parts, and you could probably take a whack at building an AR from scratch with that.

The second one shows you, rather than tells you, the Firing Cycle.
(Firing, Unlocking, Extracting, Ejecting, Cocking, Feeding, Chambering, Locking, if you were wondering).
This embigens. Yuuugely.
Which, compared to the military method of beating the steps into your head, is probably a better approach for some people.

Hour 4: Disassembly, Cleaning, Reassembly

Once more, faster
And now, how to clean it. You will see this material again. Pretty much every time you shoot the weapon, and several days afterwards, and at regular intervals as long as you own it.
Weapons with rust don't happen by accident. They happen by neglect.
In the military, particularly the Corps, it is considered a flogging offense.
Diligent weapons cleaning is a pooch you should not screw. Ever.

You will, if you read or take instruction from folks like John Mosby et al learn that the AR and many other military rifles can be maintained adequately with ordinary automobile motor oil.
This is correct. Anything that will keep pistons in your car running at 3000rpm for 5K miles, will also keep the bolt carrier in your rifle moving at 45-600rpm under sustained fire.
But like grammar with literature and poetry, or perspective and painting, you have to learn the rules correctly the first time, and get damned comfortable with them, before you can learn when it's okay to break them. Just like this time.

If you have CLP or equivalent, or need dry-lube items in a dry, dusty environment, use them. But if all you have is 10W40, and you still need to keep your banjo playing, don't let it fail because you didn't have CLP.

Hour 5: Function Check and Immediate Action Drills

Hour 6: Basics of Rifle Marksmanship

This is the whole business in about 17 minutes.
Go over it, learn the steps, and make it second nature.

Hour 7: BRM Dry-fire Practice

While this guy is teaching mainly pistol, the comments in this video are equally valuable for all dry firing drills.

The Army's training was a blur, but MCRD was much more vivid. And we spent an entire week doing dry-fire training before we chambered a single live round at the rifle range. (Pistols, OTOH, was a class or two, then a quick trip to the range for two magazines of fam-fire, same afternoon, because 90% of the guys there would never touch a weapon again except their rifles, and mostly just for annual qualifications. Anybody with a career handling pistols was going to get that training down the road.)

The point is, the more time you spend doing dry-fire, the more you can mentally and physically get the motions down.

Don't just spend time; spend time doing it perfect.
Get some snap caps, and knock it out every chance you get.
And brush up every few days, or weekly. Not once every three months, or once a year.
Remember, unlike live fire practice, dry-fire (once you buy the snap caps) costs you nothing but the time and effort. And pays yuuuuge dividends.

Print out an Appleseed target, like this one:

It's the same as the standard military silhouette meant to represent the head and shoulders of a man at up to 300Y distance.

Or use these:

The A (or Able) target is a man's head at 200-300y;
The D (or Dog) target is the same head and shoulders Appleseed uses in reduced size.
The B modified is a standing man at 500Y.

If you take a Sharpie, you can put these, in various sizes, on anything flat, and use them to aim at indoors. Smaller sizes for longer distances.
Use your rifle's front sight blade and a calibrated eyeball to experiment with how big in real inches a silhouette looks like what range and target on your sight for real.
We spent two weeks in boot camp pointing at those shapes, 1"-2" across, black on white, painted on all sides of a 55-gal. drum, while 80 of us sat in a circle around it, practicing the various positions. It works. Get a kitchen timer or stop watch, and practice getting X rounds fired properly in Y minutes.

{For reference, USMC standards - currently only Table 1 firing:
Slow fire at 200Y was 5 rounds standing (offhand), 5 rounds kneeling, and 5 rounds sitting in 15 minutes of slow, aimed fire, loaded one round at a time, at the Able target.
Then ten rounds rapid at the Dog target, starting standing up, then sitting down, and begin firing 5 rounds, changing magazines, and firing 5 more rounds, in 60 seconds.
Slow fire at 300Y was 5 rounds in 5 minutes from the sitting position at the Able target.
Then ten rounds rapid at the Dog target, 5 rounds-mag change-5 rounds, this time from standing to prone, otherwise the same as at 200Y.
Finally, 10 rounds slow fire in 10 minutes at the B modified target, from the prone position.
The target scores 5-4-3-2, from the black outwards on all targets. Any misses or unfired rounds are 0s.
That was the old-school qual.
They now add five additional tables of firing, including while moving, and at moving targets, going from near to far, and far to near range. Including a course for all infantry Marines. Just FYI. We'll get there.

The Army course back in the day was plastic pop ups of the D and B-modified type, at 50Y, 100Y, 150Y, 200Y, 250Y, and 300Y. You had to see them when they popped up randomly, shoot them, and knock them down. And because some of them had large holes already shot in them, and they were too cheap to replace plastic targets, or go to something solid, you could bullseye one and have the round go right through the old gaping hole, and get scored a "miss". For the 50Y target, you could see the gaping hole. So they taught you to shoot low in order to ricochet bullet fragments, stones, and dirt that would knock them down. Chickenshit, guys. That, and the 300Y max is why no one took them seriously. Don't get butthurt about that comment. They've made some much-needed changes and improvements since then, and they've got more in the works.}


T-Rav said...

When I took a firearms course in Memphis some years ago, the training instructor (former Memphis PD, really cool guy) had a great way to prevent accidental/negligent discharges and other mishaps. He told us, "Folks, we like all of you and we want to have a good time here on the range with you today. But be aware, do not point those guns at anything or anyone other than the target. If you turn toward us while holding a gun, even if it's just from being forgetful or by reflex, we will draw on you, and we will shoot if we have to." No discharges.

waepnedmann said...

+1 on the "gaping holes in the plastic pop-up targets."
Our company (as in all things Army) qualified alphabetically.
My last name starts with a "W".
I could not understand why the 50 yard and 100 yard targets would not drop when I engaged them. I had no problem dropping all of the targets at greater ranges.
Once again, being a "W" and, therefore, at the tail end of any training we we got the duty of policing up and setting up for the next company.
When I went out to replace the plastic targets I saw that the center of the 50 yard and 100 yard targets were shot out. The background was OD brush, so you did not see the gas ng hole in the target. It really ticked me off because I did not qualify as Expert due to the "misses" related to the shot out targets.
It still ticks me off.
Thanks for all the good info you are putting out.
I am probably (I hope) too old to need it, but the info is out there for future generations.