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Slow Fire

Military Handbooks: The Plattsburg Manual Advanced Training

Following satisfactory gallery practise scores the men go on the range

for known distance practice. Here the army rifle is fired with service

charges at known ranges; first, for instruction if time permits, and

then for record. To obtain satisfactory results the firer must perform

correctly five essential things, namely:

1. Hold the rifle on the mark.

2. Aim properly.

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3. Squeeze the trigger properly.

4. Call the shot.

5. Make the proper sight adjustment.

They will be briefly and separately discussed:

1. Holding. Unless the rifle is held steadily the bullet will not hit

the desired mark. The firer must be able to hold the rifle steadily in

the three positions, kneeling, sitting. lying down. Holding is a

question of the proper body position, use of the sling, and practice.

Body Position. The position of the firer must be comfortable. You may,

at first, feel constrained or cramped in the different positions but by

continued practice the muscles and joints will become so supple and

pliable that you can easily assume the correct position. Each man who is

trying for a high score should utilize all available time to this end.

The following photographs illustrate the correct and incorrect


No. 1. Notice the position of the elbows. They are advanced past the

knees so that the flat muscles on the back of the arms, above the

elbows, rest against the legs. Notice the position of the right thumb

and aiming eye; also sling. To assume this position correctly, it is

necessary that you lean well forward. Avoid the tendency of getting the

feet too far apart.

No. 2. Notice The proper manner of working the bolt during rapid fire.

Keep your gun at the shoulder while loading. Turn the gun to right and

down a little. Don't make any unnecessary motions'

No. 1. Left elbow is resting on knee cap. No support to steady right

arm. Eye too far from rear sight. Lip is against stock. (This causes

sore lips.) Thumb around stock. Sling on outside of arm.

No. 2. This shows the common error of lowering the gun from the shoulder

to load it during rapid fire.

No. 1. Correct kneeling position. Notice that the back of the left arm

(not elbow) is resting on knee.

Notice that the firer is sitting well down on the right leg. This is


No. 1. Thumb is around small of stock. Eye too far from rear sight. The

gun is turned (canted) to the right. The sharp point of the elbow is

resting on the knee which has a tendency to make the position an

unsteady one.

No. 2. The improper manner of loading the gun during rapid fire. He has

lowered the gun from his shoulder to load it, which is a time-killing


No. 1. Notice the right eye. Notice that the left arm is well under the

gun. Notice where the gun is pressed against the shoulder. Notice

position of right thumb.

No. 2 Notice position of left arm. Notice the pressure of the sling

against the left arm.

No. 3 Notice the correct position of the legs and feet. Notice that the

toes are turned out.

No. 1. Gun is canted to the right. Sling is on the outside of the arm.

Right thumb is across small of stock which is the cause of bruises and

sore lips. Left elbow not well under. Eye too far from rear sight piece.

No. 2. Legs not straight. Gun canted to right. Left elbow not well under


No. 3. Legs are in an improper position. Body is twisted to the left.

Sling. Your ability to hold the rifle steadily in any required

position will be greatly increased by the proper adjustment and use of

the sling. Indeed, you cannot hope to hold the rifle steadily unless the

sling is properly used. The following photographs illustrate the correct

way to get into the sling.

No. 1. Notice that the left arm is slipped in between the sling and the

gun from the left side. It is then run through the sling from the right

side of same. Notice how gun is held against leg. Notice that the muzzle

of the gun is pointing up, not down. The bolt should be drawn back while

you get into the sling. This is to avoid accidents. Notice that the

sight leaf is down.

No. 2. Notice that the sling has been slipped up and over the large

muscles of the upper arm. Also the left hand after being run through the

sling is grasping the gun to that the sling is to the right.

By turning back now to the photographs illustrating the correct body

positions you will see how the sling is used.

2. Aiming. An error of one one-hundredth of an inch in the amount of

front sight seen, at the instant the gun is fired, will cause you to

completely miss a man 500 yards away. Hence, the eye must be trained

unless the firer has at all times a mental picture of how the sights and

the bull's-eye look when properly aligned. You should acquire this

mental picture during your aiming exercises and by the time you go on

the range you should have the eye so trained that you will focus it

properly on your sights and target without mental effort.

3. Trigger Squeeze. If you convulsively jerk the trigger to discharge

the rifle, you disturb your hold and aim and the mark is missed; this

is the recruit's most common error. To properly squeeze trigger observe

the following suggestions:

(a) As you place your rifle to the shoulder, take up the loose play in

the trigger (called the creep).

(b) When the gun is properly aimed, don't endeavor at that particular

moment to fire it but be content to apply additional pressure to the

trigger and then hold this pressure until the gun is again steady and

properly aimed when a little more pressure is added and so on until the

gun is discharged. By using this system, the firer does not know the

exact instant the gun is to go off and the common faults, namely,

flinching and jerking the trigger are unconsciously avoided.

(c) Fill lungs full, that is take a deep breath, let a little out, and

then stop breathing to fire.

4. Calling the Shot. If the aiming eye is open when the gun is

discharged, the firer should know at what part of the target the gun was

aimed at that instant, and he should announce this fact to his coach or

in the absence of a coach make a mental note of it. If the bullet struck

the target at the point where the gun was aimed the instant of

discharge, no sight correction is necessary; on the other hand, if the

bullet did not strike the target at the point where the gun was aimed

the instant of discharge, the sights are probably improperly adjusted

and should be changed as indicated in the following paragraph on sight


5. Sight Adjustment. If, after firing two or more shots, you find

that, in each case, there is a constant error between where the bullet

hits the target and the place where you called the shot, your sights

should be readjusted in accordance with your preliminary elevation and

deflection drills. When you decide to change your sight adjustment don't

be timid and deal in half measures but apply a sufficient correction so

that the rifle will hit where the shot is called. The inexperienced man

has a tendency to change his sights after each shot. Avoid this