Red Bulls: Weapons qualifying - beyond the basics
CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait - Weapons qualification ranges for most soldiers are pretty basic. Using their M4 or M16 assault rifles, they have 40 rounds to hit 40 targets 50 to 300 meters out on fairly level ground.
That training does a good job of determining who understands the basics of rifle marksmanship, but infantry soldiers also need the ability to engage targets beyond 300 meters on uneven terrain.
Soldiers from the 1st and 2nd Platoons in the Winona, Minn. based Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 135th Infantry Regiment (2-135 IN RGMT) trained on shooting targets up to 600 meters away. If the formal course is completed, the soldier can become a squad designated marksman.
Charlie Company had two days of the training from civilian contractors at the SDM range. The first day was spent on briefs and re-zeroing their weapons with different sights.
On the second day, each soldier shot targets from 100 meters up to 600 meters at different elevations, postures, and weak-handed. Soldiers learned how to estimate wind speed and adjust their aim point for the wind.
Estimating wind speed becomes more crucial at longer ranges. The standard "aim center mass" works well at the average marksman’s distance because he or she can still hit the target, but failing to adjust for wind speed beyond that means that the sight picture and breathing alone won’t put the rounds at the correct place.
“This instructor has been very helpful with showing us the proper technique to hit 600 meter targets with ease,” explained Spc. Dane Schroeder of Owatonna, Minn.
Spc. Corey Sveen of Winona, Minn., agrees with Schroeder’s assessment. “I feel more comfortable estimating targets further out than 500 meters. This can be a great advantage for any infantryman.”
That confidence in their training and equipment will be crucial to the success of Charlie Company. They will continue to train for any tasks they face as a reaction force.