Saturday, November 24, 2012

Designing Realistic Courses of Fire.

Via Oleg Volk


Designing courses of fire is a very personal thing. We often fault police and other agencies for having unrealistic qualification requirements, but how do our own methods stack up? For example, is firing at a high-contrast bullseye at 100 measured yards a good indicator of how our guns would fare on a hunt or in combat. Here's an en example of a marksmanship test that helps sharpen multiple skills. It works particularly well on ranges with grass rather than concrete.
Set up two brown paper bags from a grocery store at a random distance between 100 and 200 yards, weighing them with rocks of empty brass to keep them from blowing away in the wind. Have two shooters fire on them on cue. The two need not have the same kind of rifle, an AK and a scoped bolt action would work just as well. The key is to use whatever you consider your primary fighting weapon. Even a shotgun or a .22 would work, though neither would be optimal. The first shooter to score a hit and alert the timekeeper wins.

Why does this drill work so well? For one, you have a low contrast target, brown against brown, tan and green backdrop. That's reasonably similar to a camouflaged foe, as the age of the bright uniforms has long passed. Grocery bags are good approximations of a torso in size. Unknown distance that has to be estimated or ranged is another real-world problem. The shooters are under a time pressure and have to choose between shooting rapidly and aiming more accurately. At over a hundred yards, most cannot make out holes in paper, so there's no certainty of having scored a hit. Calling a hit without getting one loses the competition. Hitting the target but not calling it before the other shooter also loses it, provided the other competitor got a hit as well. 


  1. I wish I had somewhere to practice that without having to rent the whole tactical part of the range. $$$
    We have done it, but had the instructor with us. It was a good day. Included team tactics with wife and moving for cover while shooting. Learned a LOT.

    1. Me too. At Dixieland I can shoot off the back porch, but here, I have to put all the stuff in the car, drive about 20/25 minutes, pay, take all the crap out and then get stopped from shooting every few minutes. Pain in the butt and I do it seldom.

  2. The late 3%4 Freedom recommended 5 gal buckets with water and bright food color. Bucket also represents kill zone. At distance food color shows hits well.