Via the Army Times:
WEAPONS TRAINING AND QUALIFICATION OVERHAULED
Too much to fisk, here is the teaser:
This training regimen reminds us of the "First Ever Afghanistan 3 Gun Match" (Cogito Ergo Geek, April 29, 2008), which includes elements of shooting from cover and aggressive shooting while moving.
FORT BENNING, Ga. — Trainers here are testing a new marksmanship qualification course that stresses shooting from behind cover, fixing jams and changing magazines — key skills all soldiers need in combat.
The pilot program is a dramatic shift from the Army’s standard qualification course, an outdated exercise that trains soldiers on how to pass a test rather than how to master their weapons, said Col. Casey Haskins, commander of 198th Infantry Brigade. The 198th, a one-station training unit responsible for Basic Combat and Infantry Training at Benning, is overseeing sweeping changes to Basic Rifle Marksmanship.
Currently in Initial Entry Training, BRM culminates with soldiers taking a timed test in which they fire 40 rounds of ammunition at 40 pop-up targets. Firing from Cold-War-era prone and foxhole positions, trainees must hit 23 to earn a passing score.
“It focuses on meeting the minimum standard — 23 out of 40. Not too good,” Haskins said. “People train to the test ... We believe we need to teach people how to shoot.”
In the proposed qualification test, trainees would shoot a total of 30 rounds at 15 targets. But it’s not as easy as it sounds. The new test requires trainees to shoot from three firing positions — kneeling unsupported, kneeling supported and prone unsupported. They also would use available cover, change magazines, clear weapon stoppages and shoot until the targets are “dead.” Throughout the test, shooters would be required to perform these tasks on their own rather than waiting for commands from their drill sergeants.
“If we train soldiers properly, we should trust them to change magazines when they need to, not just when they are told to,” said Capt. Jeff Marshburn, commander of A Company, 2nd Battalion, 54th Infantry Regiment of the 198th at Benning. “We should trust them to seek cover ... and establish their position based on what they have at hand and the 40-out-of-40 really doesn’t get after that.”
As a graduate of the Fort Benning 1969 Non Commissioned Officers Candidate (NCOC) course, I highly approve.
The Army firearms training 40 years ago sucked. Almost anything would be an improvement, and this appears to be the first concerted effort to improve firearms since then.
But I admit, I miss the M14.