RANGER AGAINST WAR: A Bullet in the Heart is Worth Two in the Bush <

Friday, January 29, 2010

A Bullet in the Heart is Worth Two in the Bush


People will die of fright in anticipation
of what is coming upon the world
--Luke 21:26

I can see clearly now, the rain is gone,

I can see all obstacles in my way

Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind

It's gonna be a bright, bright

Sun-Shiny day

--I Can See Clearly now the Rain is Gone
Johnny Nash


Til they were outed, Trijicon, Inc. : Brilliant Aiming Solutions™ featured little Bible quips on their advanced combat optical gun sights, things associated with death and destruction. Friend FDChief recently made note of this on MilPub (Blessed Are the Snipers), and we will extend it since Rifle Marksmanship is one of Ranger's life tools.

All of us Old Goats were taught basic Rifle Marksmanship with iron-sighted, .30 calibre service weapons. This training included Known Distance Shooting prone, sitting and kneeling and offhand. All positions were fired both slow and rapid fire. All these aspects and the course of fire (200, 300 and 600 yards) were modeled after the National Rifle Association National Match Course.

The only difference from the NRA was that military matches issued GI ammunition while civilian matches shot their own personal match ammo using a service rifle. Ranger's first National Match competition was through the Director of Civilian Marksmanship at Camp Perry, Ohio.

The last time pulling range duty for ROTC Summer Camp (Ft. Bragg), the course of fire was simply foxhole, standing and supported shooting at pop-up silhouettes. That was the sum total. Since soldiers usually do not carry around foxholes or field sandbags in their rucks, this course did not provide realistic combat training.

But for scopes. In the past, only the 1903/A4, M1C and M1D and the XM21 service rifles were issued with scopes for sniper use. Interestingly, the effective range is not extended by using a scope, since the limiting factor is the shooter's ability and the accuracy of the rifle. The figure is usually 460 meters normal rifle range for the average shooter and rifle.

If one cannot shoot sans scope, adding one does not change one's inability to hit the target. If you flinch without a scope, you will probably flinch worse after you are bitten by a scope.

The ACOG/Trijicon brags it's Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight is "the most technically advanced combat gun sight available" (brownells.mil-le.com, pg. 39). The US Marine Corps has contracted 800,000 ACOG's at $660 Million USD ($825 per unit in 800,000 lots) for the USMC. Not such a good deal when the catalog lists them at $792-$836 for lots of one, depending on the mounting system.

Probably the Bible quote costs the USMC extra.

The following questions arise:

  • How many people are in the USMC? Why are they ordering so many scopes?
  • Why is a $792-$836 scope being added to a $1,500 rifle? Why not just train the soldiers to use the factory iron sights?
  • Why put an ACOG on an auto-fire weapon?
  • Does the use of this scope really effectively extend the 5.56 mm round's range to 800 meters?
  • If the enemy is beyond 460 m., why not just work them with mortar and artillery fire?
  • If we are currently using Rules of Engagement, then we can't fire until fired upon, and clearly, anybody doing so will not engage unless within 460 m. So, what is the advantage to our soldier's using the ACOG?
  • If the enemy is 400-600 m. away, why not apply 7.62 Machine Gun fire on them? Anything further is why God created Redlegs and mortarmen, God bless their souls.
  • The AK47, DPM MG and RPD MG are all iron-sighted, 460 m.-effective weapons. We are fighting rag-tag, rag bags for heaven's sake.

So, we now have an issue rifle, with ACOG scope, which costs $2,575 (including after-market add-ons), but what is it?

It is a rifle that often malfunctions in combat. This is a functional as well as a training problem. Fire discipline must be inculcated in the troops; shooting to make noise alone overheats a weapon. Excessive full auto/burst regulated fire also prematurely overheats the weapon.

If we are putting ACOG's on every rifle, then
we should eliminate the auto/burst function on the service rifle for all except one auto rifleman per team. Aimed fire should be stressed.

There are several competitive and perfectly serviceable sights and scopes on the market. All are sold by Brownells and can be viewed online. These included the Burris fast-fire ($219.95) and the Trijicon Red Dot ($310.83). There are three pages of comparable M16-family scopes, many of which are more economical and just as serviceable as the ACOG.

Just my opinion based on a lifetime of shooting rifles.

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Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

you keep insisting on making sense jim.

our convention in the teams was to avoid full auto almost all the time (except for the big guys who were lugging the 60's). we operated out of sight of each other a lot of the time, and a lot of the time we were using same weapons that the enemy was using (rifle reports, especially distinctive ones, can be a sure fire (pardon the pun) friend or foe identifier). one thing we would know in those situations, was that if we heard rock'n'roll it most likely wasn't one of us.

they will come up with all kinds of lame ass bullshit excuses for how what they did wasn't a damaging thing. they are full of shit. most average grunts in the field are point and spray types, not lethal aimed fire. they need scopes like a fucking fish needs a bicycle.

from the lessons of history department, one of the flashpoints of the sepoy rebellion in india was the rumor that the cartridges for the enfields of issue were greased with pork fat. this would have been an anathema to the muslim, sikh and hindu troopers. it wasn't true, they were greased with vegetable oil, but, the rumor had strength because the british went out of their way to make sure that any native troops knew that they were only wogs and not worth much as human beings to the british.

putting christian bible verses on the optics of those weapons is courting disaster. it puts our troops at greater risk. it was arrogant and stupid.

they need to shitcan those contracts most ricky tick.

(my post code is altitty. i'm ain't touchin' that one)

Friday, January 29, 2010 at 4:31:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Ranger Hazen said...

The use of specific scopes has nothing to do with their performance and everything to do with how the contract was awarded and who profits from it...

I agree with you Jim...Fire superiority on the battlefield is still the name of the game be it Iron Sights or Scope.

PS. I shot National Match for a couple of years while in the Reserves. Had a blast.

Friday, January 29, 2010 at 8:05:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous b said...

Life imitates art. Remember the gospel spouting Ranger sniper in Saving Private Ryan? "Get me and this here rifle within one mile of Adolf Hitler and pack your bags boys, war's over".

Friday, January 29, 2010 at 10:08:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous barcalounger said...

b was me. whoops, sorry 'bout that.

Friday, January 29, 2010 at 10:11:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger BadTux said...

This is a question easily answered via a game of "follow the money". Which nobody will ever do. What you bet that the procurement officer who approved the purchase of these useless things has been guaranteed a job once he leaves the Pentagon?

Saturday, January 30, 2010 at 12:04:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

My initial take on this event was not about the rligous quotes on the scopes but rather the large amount and the individual price considering such a large order.
The USMC ordered more scopes than they have people in their entire force structure.
This post is cross published with milpub.com

Saturday, January 30, 2010 at 10:40:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

you don't want to get me going on the movie Saving Ryans Privates.
The rifle used in the movie was never used in the ETO.The used 03a4's with the small Lyman Alaskan scope. They also had a 2 groove barrel which was a cheap piece of work. This was not much of a sniper piece and a 750 yd shot would be remarkable.
Why didn't htis hot shot sniper take out the MG42 gunners in the assault scene with the swearing Waffen trooper?

Saturday, January 30, 2010 at 10:45:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Special ops and regular infantry has a few little differences.
The infy needs a volumne of accurate auto fire to gain superiority when assaulting enemy positions. This does not require that every man have a full auto wpn.A cdr can weight the attack by cross attaching assets.This is for a planned assault.
Hasty assaults can back off and realign for the assault.

Special purpose teams really only need auto weapons to break en contact when running for their lives. A belt fed MG is best for this purpose. This combined with explosives salting the escape route are good tools for survival.

Of course 40mm is a nice tool, also.
In short auto fire is over rated.

Saturday, January 30, 2010 at 1:15:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agreed on your point re; contracting and obvious nepotism; aka bizness as usual (though surprised to see this instance in the Marines as opposed to the Army where all the best and pricest infantry gear usualy goes ;-).

That being said, I do like the idea of scopes on rifles. The M16 A2 has far too thick of a front sight post to deliver accurate fire past 300 yards. The post pretty much covers up a target the size of a human torso at extended ranges.

Given equal marksmanship skills, the scope will allow faster target acquisition and more accurate fire; especially given partially concealed targets and ranges beyond a couple hundred yards.

Personally, I like the ability to go full auto. There are times when it is the way to go. I would definitely kick that thumb switch all the way back if a group of murderous maniacs charged my position from within 50 yards or so.


Sunday, January 31, 2010 at 5:01:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

This post is cross posted at milpub.com and i've made cmts there about what you discuss.
The O3 had a very narrow sharp sight which was no good b/c it was too narrow. The eye must focus on the front sight and not the target.
You Marine types used to have a thing called the Navy Hold which solved the problem that you mention.The point of impact is exactly where the top of the sight sits in relation to the target
To my old eyes i still prefer a wide front sight. Incidentally National Match sites on the m1 and 14 were not thin.
If the target is more than 300 yds then use arty.

Sunday, January 31, 2010 at 12:09:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

If i were engaging multiple targets i'd prefer single selective fire.
Auto fire seems the way to go but it's really self defeating.

Sunday, January 31, 2010 at 12:12:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim, even with the Navy Hold, I found myself struggling to identify the center of that thick post on M16A2. The A1 was a little better in this regard, but the thinner barrel caused the point of impact to "string" more as more rounds were fired and barrel heated up (at least I think this was the cause).

I would have liked to have had a thin blade front sight. I know that thechnically this would have posed problems because of the way the front sight is used to adjust to zero for elevation. Maybe there would have been a mechanical solution that would have allowed the operation and a thin blade.

I own a springfield 03. It's a WW2 production model A3 model with the peep sight. I love that thin front blade. If I wear my prescription shooting glasses - and load with 168 grain factory match rounds - I can put rounds right in the center of a paper plate sized target all day long at 300 yards to 400 yards.

And, I do agree, based on my limited knowledge of what infantry troops do in actual combat, that there is a tendency to abuse the ability to go full auto. The answer, IMO, is not to eliminate the option, but to train better.

Also agree that, ideally, with targets beyond 300 yards, arty or airstrike is called for, but, in reality, in Afghanistan, I imagine that this isn't always feasible. By the time airpower arrives the target may have melted back into the mountains. Mountain peaks between the fire support base and the target could interfere with the rounds' trajectory, meaning blocking it. So sometimes the best you're going to get is a rifle shot at ranges beyond 300 yards.


Sunday, January 31, 2010 at 1:33:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

The next time you get attacked by a paper plate you'll be in good shape.Shoot the closest first to break up the assault.
Try putting a 1 inch sq center in your target, just for fun.
Airstrikes are not arty. I'm talking mortars ans indirect fire.Infy should never move outside of a arty fan.

Sunday, January 31, 2010 at 4:01:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL re; attacked by paper plates.

I think you will find that in Afghanistan troops are moving well beyond artry fans.

Mortars take time to set up. And they and their ammo are heavy and difficult to lug around in the mountains; even the 60mm. I wonder how often squads are patrolling with them.

But I'' defer to your infantry experience and knowledge here.


Sunday, January 31, 2010 at 6:10:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

My infy knowledge and experience don't seem to add up to a hill of beans these days.
If units are outside of arty fans then something is seriously missing in the leadership department. Arty fans can include Bn Mortars.
Strolling around the country side is not warfare but rather armed mobile picnics.
btw-PIE PLATES just don't get it. Buy some damn targets.

Monday, February 1, 2010 at 10:34:00 AM GMT-5  

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