RANGER AGAINST WAR: Calling the Shots <

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Calling the Shots

Smokey, this is not 'Nam. This is bowling.
There are rules 
--The Big Lebowski (1998)

The essential American soul is
hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer.
It has never yet melted
--D. H. Lawrence  

What right have you to be morose?
You're rich enough 
--A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens

The recent film American Sniper brings Ranger to the idea that the entire Phony War on Terror (PWOT ©)  has been about "chasing a zero" -- a losing proposition if one is aiming to be an effective sniper and make one's shot.

Some background: in Army rile marksmanship training, soldiers learn to "call their shots". Calling one's shots is essential in order to zero one's rifle. Zeroing one's rifle is what allows for the shooter to hit his mark with accuracy and consistency. When shooting at the range, it allows the shooter to achieve a tight shot grouping.

If one does not achieve a zero one fires "scattershot", which implies throwing everything you have downrange and hoping that something will hit the target. It shows a lack of discipline and skill.

Riflemen used to be taught to record and thence learn from every shot. For example, after firing the round and before the primer would send the round on its way, Ranger would note mentally: "seven ring, three o'clock." After practice noting where the trigger breaks and where the shot impacts, the shooter can then put a zero on his rifle's sights. The gun and its shooter are then well-adjusted and in accord. A zero is an adjustment which compensates for any peculiarities of the weapon.

If one fails to zero one's rifle one will be forever "chasing a zero", meaning that the rounds hit the target in an unpredictable fashion -- helter-skelter, like the efforts in the War on Terror. If one cannot call one's shots one cannot hit the center of the target with any surety, and such willy-nilly placement does not make for effective sniping.

Today soldiers use expensive sights with fancy range finders, but if one cannot zero without a scope, one cannot zero with a scope. A scope on one's rifle does not a rifleman make. Only training and experience will produce riflemen, and riflemen grow up to be snipers.

Like a rifleman unable to zero his rifle, the United States is fighting wars that cannot be accurately zeroed. Even if you inadvertently hit something not aimed at, you cannot count that an intentional hit on the range. Likewise, you cannot call the occasional winging of the target a foreign policy on the national level.

If you cannot zero your rifle, you will be an ineffective shooter. Likewise, if you can't zero your foreign policy -- whether because you lack absolute control of your weapons of state or the target keeps moving -- it, too, will be ineffective.

Instead of calling the shots the U.S. has been chasing a zero in its War on Terror.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Then there is always the issue of cross winds. Curious, did Ranger adjust the windage knob or just hold to right or left (Kentucky windage)?

Anyhow, always to my mind, the ability to deal with crosswinds is the sign of a true expert.


Thursday, February 5, 2015 at 5:08:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger H. M. Stuart said...

Jim & Lisa,

I'd like to invite you to join us in Alexandria, either as occasional guest authors or as a fully privileged Resident Author.

www aleksandreia com

Alexandria might also be the perfect place in which to write about issues and interests which may not yet be an ideal fit for your current blog.

If you think you might be interested in becoming a Resident Author, let me know and I'll forward our formal invitations for you to look over and return, if you decide to proceed.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Thursday, February 5, 2015 at 6:21:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Robot Smith's AI needs a wee bit of a tune up.


Friday, February 6, 2015 at 9:18:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous jim hruska said...

it depended on the situation.
also if iron sights or scope was being used.it also depended on the spotter.
at the national matches at camp perry i once put a bunch of windage on my rifle at 600 meters and my next shot was an x,without a coach i may add since it was an individual match.
i think that shooting thru mirage is a greater skill than shooting thru wind.

Friday, February 6, 2015 at 12:21:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

mirages, yes. a lot of crosswinds and mirages in the middle east.


Friday, February 6, 2015 at 2:30:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

excellent analogy jim. and yes, shooting through a mirage is a beast. we have those a lot in the California desert where I live.

Saturday, February 7, 2015 at 11:45:00 AM GMT-5  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home