18 January 2013

Front sight

Two of the three rifle and pistol clubs in easy driving distance from me have published their High Power match schedules. To get prepped I took out the circular front sights on my Daisy 953 and CMP refurbed 853 air rifles and replaced them with post inserts.  Shooting with a front sight post felt like coming home.

I also got in some practice with the shooting jacket.  It is amazing how much that coat helps me stay steady.  And it is amazing how much that even without the coat I shoot better on what seems like everything else because of daily practice session in the basement.

Last November I had a chance to catch a quick trip to the Army popup qual range, and I decided that I would do it.  I ended up using an M16A4 with back up irons.  It is a bit different than shooting an A2 model.  The NCO in my section that I was shooting with that day is B4 qualified (Army Sniper) and we ended up shooting the same lane.

The lane sucked, rolling hills made the 50 meter targets a significant dip, and the 300 meter targets a significant elevation.  I shot a 34, the sniper qualified NCO shot a 32.  And that made me realize that a lot of the time when I have shot 40 out of 40 it has been on an "ideal" range, where shifts between targets are small and easily done.

It also brought back the lesson that being good on the range is not the same as being good in combat, and the other way around either.  Being good in combat isn't about tight groups, it is often about being aggressive enough and accurate enough to dominate the situation.  Being good on the target line is often about ritual perfection.

Now, that is not to say that I think competition should be abandoned, by all means it should be your primary avenue of judging your skill level.  If you are good on the target line that can only help your accuracy in combat.  However marksmanship cannot replace ruthless aggression combined with cunning wisdom.

For the last three years of my life military school or deployment has prevented me from competing in EIC matches, and this year looks to be no different.  No matter.  One thing I learned about myself from earning the Ranger tab is that it didn't fundamentally change me in any way.  A marksmanship badge is no different.  The skills needed to earn the Ranger tab, or an marksmanship medal, are much more important than the proof you earned it.


oldfudd said...

One comment on earning the Ranger tab. You might think you're the same person, but I submit that when you earn the tab, you have much more self confidence than before you completed the course.

AM said...

oldfudd, before earning the tab I went through SFAS and completed, 24 day non-select. I learned there that I could dig deep enough to get through the suck. It is nice to accomplish a goal, but like I learned with Ranger school, the goal like a tab or a marksmanship badge shouldn't be an end, at best it is a checkpoint along the way.

Liam Callahan said...

Oldfudd an AM you both are correct. Also wanted to say thank you AM I have been reading your posts for a while and appreciate the knowledge and experiences you share.

M. Liam Callahan

John Mosby said...

Despite having a triple canopy on my shoulder, I agree 100% and then some with AM on this subject. It's not those pieces of embroidery that lend me my overwhelming self-confidence that some decry as arrogance. It's the knowledge that allowed me to earn them. Whether I had earned them or not, I'd possess the same confidence.