Tuesday, February 25, 2014

On Long Range Combat Shooting

Several times on Internet fora I have been challenged for a "discrepancy" in my position on small arms ballistics, that my claims of having shot man sized targets with 5.56mm weapons out to 900 yards didn't mesh with my assertion that infantrymen are going to have a very, very difficult time hitting anything beyond 500 meters. I've responded to this in various ways over the years (something I've found difficult, never having given military service myself), but here's Chris Hernandez on the matter (H/T, Weaponsman):
Second thing: For most modern combat, 300 meters is plenty far. I carried an M14EBR (Enhanced Battle Rifle) in Afghanistan, and I could consistently hit a torso-sized rock at 900 meters – at the range, with perfect weather conditions, a good firing position, on a stationary target at a known distance. In combat, with extreme heat or cold, unknown distances, hasty firing positions, adrenaline and moving targets, plus little annoyances like incoming fire, I would have been ecstatic to smoke a mofo at 200 meters.
Every now and again, the stars will align, and a (usually very good) shooter will get a chance to hit targets in combat beyond 500 meters, but this is very rare. Even so, specialized 5.56mm ammunition seems to perform decently at these ranges.

Go forth and read the whole article (which is about optics selection).

1 comment:

  1. The facts of the matter are that, given the ROE that our forces operate under and the way the military trains marksmanship, 200m is about as far as you SHOULD be pulling the trigger anyway. Without magnified optics positive target/threat identification beyond 150m is extremely difficult, yes there's at least one 4x ACOG in each squad but most guys have M3s which while very dependable do not provide any magnification. As for the marksmanship training, regardless of the "maximum effective range" of the firearm, the marines only train out to 500m and the rest of the services only train to 300m, and seldom practice stress shooting at those ranges. These are deficiencies that the NCO Corps as a whole have been screaming about for years, but the officer corps refuses to facilitate correcting.