Infantry: Wartime Rifle Training Returns


February28, 2007: As has happened several times in the past century, combat experience has caused rifle training to get more realistic. It works like this. In peacetime, there's a tendency for marksmanship training to become rather sterile, with troops graded on their ability to hit obvious targets (often the traditional bull's-eye) at specific distances. When a war comes along, and a lot of people realize that you don't shoot at obvious targets, at known distances, in combat, the rifle training and testing tends to change. It becomes more realistic. So the U.S. Marine Corps has changed its rifle qualification procedures. Marines will now wear combat gear, and fire at the kind of unexpected targets they would encounter in combat. There's still some of the old "known distance" firing, but the "combat firing" performance counts a lot more towards your qualification score. If you cannot demonstrate a certain degree of accuracy firing a rifle, at annual "qualifications," you can no longer be a marine. The army has a similar program, but in the navy and air force, only troops in jobs that require the use of small arms, are rules like this imposed.


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