Rules for Aiming Part 2

Theory of Small Arms Fire

The accuracy of small arms fire is affected by several factors. These include:

  • The inherent mechanical accuracy of the rifle,
  • The inherent mechanical accuracy of the ammunition
  • The firer’s ability

Weather conditions

The mechanical accuracy of the rifle is affected by several factors:

  • The quality of manufacture, eg the closeness and consistency of the construction.
  • The design of the rifle, including the stiffness of the barrel, the action, the amount of play if any between components, the barrel mounting, eg free floating, dampened.
  • The materials that the rifle is constructed of.

Design

The mechanical accuracy of the ammunition is dependent on several factors including:

  • The quality of the propellant
  • The quality of the projectile
  • The quality of the case
  • The firer’s ability

The firer’s knowledge – affects the firer’s ability to apply the principles of marksmanship to the practice of marksmanship.

The firer’s strength – affects the firer’s ability to hold the rifle correctly and with minimal effort, which reduces shake/tremor.

The firer’s fitness – the fitness of the firer affects the firer’s ability to breathe, and control the breath and shaking/tremor due to breathing and oxygen levels in the blood and muscles.

Weather

Temperature – affects the burn speed of the propellant, the air density (and therefore the trajectory) as well as the expansion or contraction of the rifle. High temperatures also introduce mirage, which can affect the aim.

Humidity – affects the air density (and therefore the trajectory), the burn rate of the powder as well as having an effect on the moisture content of the stock in a rifle with a wooden stock, leading to inconsistency of the rifle components.

Precipitation – affects visibility. Wet or moist ammunition, chamber or barrel can also affect the chamber pressure. In addition, a wet wooden stock is likely to warp slightly.

  • Wind – affects the trajectory and introduces drift to the fired bullet.
  • Factors Affecting the Mechanical Accuracy of the Rifle

When a rifle is fired the state of the rifle changes. Most of these changes are not perceptible to human senses, yet each of them has a real and definite effect on the accuracy potential of the rifle. For example, when the rifle is fired the barrel flexes along its axis, this flexing is called whip. In order to obtain maximum accuracy this whip should be as close as possible to the same each time the shot is fired. One way of achieving this is to minimize the whip. This can be done by stiffening the barrel. Barrel stiffening is usually achieved by adding more material to the barrel, i.e. making it heavier. In some cases, the rifle is fitted with longitudinal flutes (ie grooves cut into the barrel along its length). These flutes increase the stiffness of the barrel, while reducing the weight – or at least reducing the weight compared to a solid barrel of similar stiffness. At the same time the barrel is flexing along its length, the muzzle of the rifle is moving, probably in a circle or oval, but possibly in some other pattern, across a plane at right angles to the bore. Maximum accuracy demands that the round leaves the muzzle at the same position on this plane every shot. The pattern described by the muzzle on this plane is affected by many factors. The most controllable factors are the pressures exerted on the barrel by the receiver and the stock.

Terminology

Beaten zone – the intersection of the cone of fire with the ground

Image: Beaten zone.png

Cone of fire – volume of space described by the outermost projectiles in a burst of fire.

Dangerous space – the area between first catch and first graze.

Image: Dangerous space.png

Enfilade – the application of the length of the beaten zone to the longitudinal axis of the target.

First catch – the first point where the trajectory of a projectile intersects with a target

First graze – the first point where the trajectory of the projectile first intersects with the ground.

Grazing fire – fire where the trajectory is largely or approximately parallel to the ground

Mean Point of Impact (MPI) – the centre of a group, ignoring any obviously “pulled” or  “jerked” shots.

Plunging Fire – fire where the firer is higher than the target and therefore looks and fires down upon the target. Plunging fire results in a – small beaten zone not significantly larger than the cone of fire.

Whip – the axial flexing of the barrel at firing.

The initial author of this page was formally trained in marksmanship in the Australian Army. Therefore, the terminology and definitions on this page are strongly influenced by Australian and Commonwealth terminology. In addition, the page has a military orientation. Some of the information may not be useful in a purely civilian context, however the basic terminology and techniques discussed should be helpful to any shooter.

12. Tactical Use of Firearms

Police forces, Security departments etc. use it for personal protection and asset protection. A large variety of shooting clubs with various shooting disciplines are found all over the world that has led to the manufacture of all kinds of rifles made especially for those shooting disciplines.

The main use is defensive, and most people possess a manual operated rifle or carbine for personal protection.

Being big and relatively heavy and bigger fire power, the rifle lends itself to various tactical defensive and offensive uses depending on the needs of the individual or the department or business.

Tactical Safety

Dealing safely with various situations where someone is shooting at you, and you need to take defensive action to get out of the way of incoming fire.

Movement out of line of fire

Your action will depend on where the attack is launched from, the front, back, left or right.

This tactic will apply where there is no cover. This normally happens in a busy shopping Centre where your attacker is close to you and surprises you. To take cover in the prone position will not always help you if the attacker is too close to you.

Attack from the front

After you have identified the attack, move quickly to the left or right depending on the situation. In the same movement, you will draw, cock and fire. Your grip, firing posture and all the other fundamentals apply. Speed is of the utmost importance.

Attack from the left

After you have identified the attack from the left, you will move quickly to the front or back depending on the situation. If your momentum is moving forward, you will keep on moving forward. To stop and move backwards can cause you to slip and fall. In the same movement, you will turn to the direction of the attack and draw, cock, and fire. Your grip, firing posture and all the other fundamentals apply. Speed is of the utmost importance.

Attack from the right

After you have identified the attack from the right, move quickly to the front or back depending on the situation. If your momentum is moving forward, you will keep on moving forward. To stop and move backwards can cause you to slip and fall. In the same movement, you will turn to the direction of the attack and draw, cock, and fire. Your grip, firing posture and all the other fundamentals apply. Speed is of the outmost importance.

Attack for the back

When identifying an attack from behind, move quickly to the left or right depending on the situation. Then turn to the back and get your firearm into action. If your momentum is moving forward, you will make a sudden stop and then move to the right or left. This action must be completed quickly. In one movement, you will turn to the direction of the attack and draw, cock, and fire. Your grip, firing posture and all the other fundamentals apply. Speed is of the outmost importance.

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