149 Troop Diary – Weeks 11 & 12
The Troop embarked on a two week shooting package at Straight Point ranges, just a few miles down the coast from CTCRM. It was here that we would put into practice the entire weapon handling techniques we had learned on camp. There was a nervous anticipation, for we all knew the realities of live firing from our days shooting at 40 Commando in week 6, and the consequences of not carrying out the proper drills. After arriving at the ranges we were briefed and shown our accommodation for the 2 weeks, a large tent, which we were all enthused with; having heard other recruits had been under bivies for the whole 2 weeks. However, if we did not perform correctly on the range the flank would draw us to the same fate.
The aim of the package was to see everyone through their Annual Combat Marksman Test (ACMT) and equip us with all the necessary skills to competently handle the SA80 A2 in battle. The test would comprise of shooting from the four main firing positions, standing unsupported, kneeling, sitting and prone. We would further expand into supported standing and kneeling (particularly pertinent for longer range firing). Shooting would be conducted over 50m, 100m, 200m, 300m and 400m.
The first day saw us zeroing our weapons on the 100m ranges; this took some time but was vitally important. We then moved onto firing at 200m and I was surprised at how much additional information I had to take into account in order to accurately hit the target, (such as aiming off for wind, bullet trajectory etc.) and get my point of aim. Take this back to 300m and finally 400m and the target became even more minuscule and difficult to hit.
Following on from this we started using the ETR range (where most of our ACMT would be conducted), where targets popped up and then fell when hit. It took a while to find your point of aim but once we did and the targets started dropping one shot after the other we were buzzing, particularly when dropping them continuously at 300m. We conducted a night shoot at 25m, which was challenging but built our confidence hugely.
By midway through week 12 we had all passed our ACMT and then began more complex close quarter drills at the 25m ranges. The Troop were incredibly lucky as we had 3 PW’s (Platoon Weapons) on our training team (to watch them in action was incredible). Most troops did not get the opportunity to experience such techniques and it is a testament to our training team that we were able to do this. Here, we learned how to fire and maneuver in close environments, shoot at opportunist targets, attack targets on the move and use rapid and automatic fire. We were amazed at how far we had come from day one, and how naturally it felt with weapon in hand. By the final day everything felt like second nature.