During week 11 of training we deployed to Straight Point shooting ranges. Located near Exmouth, just a short bus ride away, Straight Point is a large shooting area with various ranges for live firing. We arrived on Monday, deposited our kit and received a brief from the range staff. After preparing our weapons for firing we then we were straight onto the gallery range to zero our weapons. This involved shooting at 100m from the prone position and receiving feedback on where the rounds were landing. After a few SUSAT adjustments we were all zeroed and ready to fire for the rest of the week. There are showers and accommodation at the ranges, however, we had not quite ‘earned’ the accommodation so we bivvied out for the week. We were fed at regular intervals from hay boxes from the galley and 12 hour ration packs. At the end of each day we kept on top of our kit, cleaned our rifles and got into our sleeping bags whilst keeping a running sentry position on the main gate.
While one group was shooting on the range at any given time, the other groups were either practicing firing positions or manning the targets. We shot from different positions including prone, sitting, kneeling and standing and we learned how to build up each position with direction from the training team. We then put these positions into practice at ranges of 100m, 200m and 300m shooting at stationary targets. At night we got to go inside and have some more practice on the DCCT, indoor electronic shooting range, which helped us get used to these positions for the live firing.
By the middle of the week we moved onto the Electronic Target Range (ETR) where the targets pop up at different intervals. Again, we fired from varying positions at different ranges and the targets fell when hit. After what was a shaky start, we eventually started to find our aim and the targets were dropping more often than not!
On Thursday we completed a shoot after dusk in ‘limited visibility’. This was tougher than expected as the target is merely a shadow against the background. However, we only did this shoot at 50m which was not too bad in the end.
The week on the range moved pretty quickly and we were encouraged to move fast in whatever we did but obviously safety was paramount at all times. We were treated to some phys on a few of the mornings, with the PTI coming to the range to make sure we were not too comfortable. This proved interesting as we learned to get to grips with the regain technique, which will no doubt help us in future.
All in all it was a good week of firing practice and you can definitely start to see the improvements the more you practice your firing positions and the more you are on the range.