BAGHDAD, Iraq - Over the course of three days, Soldiers of the 6th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, United States Division - Center, competed to be the top "Saber Shooter".

The competition, unlike static ranges, was built around rules and principles used by the International Defensive Pistol Association. The competition measured how effectively an individual Soldier could timely and accurately engage multiple targets while maneuvering and managing magazine changes. Designed to expose soldiers to shooting their weapon in realistic conditions, the competition was also an opportunity to build morale through a friendly competition.

"I liked the competitive atmosphere; it wasn't like a normal range. The competition pushed everyone to do better," said Spc. Paul Murray, of A Troop, from Prescott, Ariz.
Divided into three separate stages, the first stage required the troopers to rapidly engage three targets, multiple times, while switching between magazines to reload. The second stage tested a Soldier's capability to effectively use and move to cover while engaging multiple targets. The final stage, much like the second, tested a soldier's ability to cover to engage targets while maneuvering through obstacles.

"I gained a lot of experience out of this competition. We don't always get a chance to shoot like this," said Pfc. Maurice Theriault of C Troop, a native of West Springfield, Mass.
Ranges like this are especially limited considering the patrols and other work priorities that occupy the Soldier's time while they are currently deployed in Baghdad. However, the Soldier's response to the competition was positive and they look forward to more opportunities like this.

"I would definitely do the competition again. I think they could improve it by making it a team competition too," said Pvt. Gregory Pike, of A Troop, from Mackon, Ga.

At the end of the competition, Spc. Kristopher Mancha, of H Troop, earned the title of "Saber Shooter" by posting the best score. His best score was followed by: Spc. Paul Murray, Pfc. Beach, and Pfc. Evans, all from A Troop. Incidentally, having three of the top four shooters, A Troop earned the award for the best troop from the competition.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16