By Mike A. Glasch, Fort Jackson LeaderMarch 27, 2008
FORT JACKSON, S.C. (TRADOC News Service, Mar. 27, 2008) -- "One shot, one kill" may be the motto of the Army sniper, but for Soldiers qualifying in Basic Rifle Marksmanship the traditional one shot per target on the range could soon come to an end.
The Basic Combat Training Soldiers of 2nd Battalion, 39th Infantry Brigade, are testing a new BRM qualification, which combines elements they will experience on the battlefield - movement, concealment, presence of civilians and using multiple-rounds on an enemy.
"This is to give Soldiers a qualification standard that is more combat focused," said Capt. Sammie Burkes, Company C commander. "It requires them to use those marksmanship skills that they will encounter in a modern-day battlefield environment."
L-shaped barriers have been placed in front of the berms on the firing ranges. At the start of the "Combat Shoot," Soldiers are given four 10-round magazines. As they walk down the range on a simulated patrol, targets pop up and a loudspeaker blares the sound of shots being fired at them. Soldiers are required to engage multiple targets at different distances. The targets require one to three hits before they will go down.
"Lessons learned from Afghanistan and Iraq show that you may have to engage that target more than once before it goes down," Burkes said. "This will teach the Soldiers that they may have to engage the enemy more than once, versus the regular BRM where one hit and a target goes down."
After the first round of targets, Soldiers rush to the barrier and change magazines, and repeat the scenario three times from behind the barrier - standing, kneeling and prone positions.
Company C drill sergeant Staff Sgt. Randall Weeks said this gives Soldiers more realistic training.
"They are actually moving, needing to find cover and reloading just like they will have to do in Iraq. The old BRM didn't teach them that," he said. "They are moving more. Having to run up to cover gets their heart beating. Once your heartbeat increases it actually moves your weapon and affects your aim. You have to learn how to manage it."
During the last three scenarios a new twist is added. A target painted white appears representing a civilian. If a Soldier shoots the civilian, he or she is automatically disqualified.
"It's teaching the Soldiers to have a little bit of target discrimination," Burkes said.
"We've placed the civilian "target" in the middle of the others," said Weeks. "The Soldiers have to look beyond it and aim in front and behind."
Another twist is dummy rounds loaded in the Soldier's magazine. They can be in one, two three or all four of the magazines. The dummy rounds are designed to simulate a weapons jam, requiring Soldiers to perform SPORTS (slap, pull, observe, release, tap, shoot) to their weapon in the middle of their BRM qualification.
Burkes said he hopes the "Combat Shoot" will eventually replace the current BRM qualification.
"We would like to see this become the qualification standard versus the way we qualify now," he said. "This is teaching Soldiers to have a little bit of target discrimination, to change magazines quickly, and that they may have to fire more than one round to put an enemy down. It keeps them more focused."
Weeks agreed with his commander's assessment. He said that training to the "Combat Shoot" standards makes his current group of Soldiers 100 percent better at BRM than previous cycles.
"We started teaching the techniques needed from day one of BRM. We had 100 percent of the company qualify (on the standard BRM) on the second day. In the past it would take all three days to get everybody qualified. That gives us a whole extra day of training," he said. "When they are in Iraq, they're not just going to be lying in a prone position or in a foxhole. They are actually going to have to learn how to get behind a car, or a wall and engage the enemy from around and over a cover."