March 25, 2013

Part II from "How to Shoot The U.S. Army Rifle" handbook, circa 1943

When you hit the Jap or Nazi, it is because you remembered these steps.

In a recent post on GunReports.com, I related that I found a copy of the U.S. Army’s How to Shoot The U.S. Army Rifle handbook, published in 1943. I noted that the Army then was non-politically-correct, providing lessons which were soon translated to the battlefield.

Here’s another installment, with chapters SIX STEPS TO PERFECT MARKSMANSHIP, IN SIGHTING AND AIMING, THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS ‘ALMOST RIGHT,’ FIRST SIGHTING AND AIMING EXERCISE, and how to CLEAN AND BLACKEN YOUR SIGHTS.

SIX STEPS TO PERFECT MARKSMANSHIP

Before you can shoot well, you must take six important steps. When you hit the Jap or Nazi, it is because you remembered these steps. If you miss, it is because you forgot.

These steps are shown on the opposite page. Practice until you do these things the right way from habit!

Then you can't forget, no matter what is going on around you. That will give you confidence in yourself. It will give the other men in your platoon confidence in you. That's what wins battles.

These steps are so important your platoon leader will keep a record of how well you do them. The "Progress Chart" on which this record will be kept by your platoon leader is also shown. In addition to the six points, you will also be marked on other important things you must learn to do.

REMEMBER: The more crosses on your progress chart, the more crosses over the Axis.

SIX STEPS TO PERFECT MARKSMANSHIP

1. Correct sighting and aiming

2. Correct positions

3. Correct trigger squeeze

How to Shoot The U.S. Army Rifle

Courtesy, US Army

The six steps were promoted as a way to be "effective" in the field. And the stakes were high: "The more crosses on your progress chart, the more crosses over the Axis."

4. Correct rapid fire

5. Correct sight adjustment

6. Final examination

IN SIGHTING AND AIMING, THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS "ALMOST RIGHT"

To hit the bull's-eye, you must know exactly what your eye should see when it looks through the rear sight of your rifle.

Cut out the white center of the circle on the opposite page and you are looking through the peep sight of a rifle, somewhat enlarged.

To hit the bull's-eye, the peep sight, front sight and bull's-eye must be lined up in a certain way: A vertical line drawn through the center of the front sight must coincide with the vertical diameter of the peep sight. The top of the front sight must lie exactly on the horizontal diameter of the peep sight. The bull's-eye must be tangent to the top of the front sight-at its midpoint.

There is only one correct sight picture; every other position is wrong. Only the correct position of peep sight, front sight and bull 's-eye will give you a perfect hit.

FIRST SIGHTING AND AIMING EXERCISE

The first thing to learn about the correct sight picture is the correct alignment of the front and peep sights-without the bull's-eye.

What should you see through the eyepiece of the sighting bar? You should see the top of the front sight through the middle of the circle. A vertical line drawn through the center of the front sight should coincide with the vertical diameter of the peep sight.

The first sight picture (upper left) is correct; the others, of course, are wrong.

The next thing to learn about the correct sight picture is the correct alignment of the front and peep sights-with the bull's-eve.

How to Shoot The U.S. Army Rifle

Courtesy, US Army

Still good advice today: There is only one correct sight picture; every other position is wrong. Only the correct position of peep sight, front sight and bull 's-eye will give you a perfect hit.

The first sight picture at the bottom of the page (left) is what you should see through the eyepiece of the sighting bar-the bull's-eye is in proper position. This is the correct alinement. The others show common errors you should never make.

In the correct picture, the top of the front sight is seen at the middle of the circle and just touches the bottom of the bull's-eye, so that all the bull's-eye can be dearly seen. The eye should be focused on the bull's-eye.

CLEAN AND BLACKEN YOUR SIGHTS

You are now ready to line up the bull's-eye through the sights of your rifle. In order to see your rifle sights and the bull's-eye clearly, you must always do two things first:

(1) Clean your sights

(2) Blacken your sights.

Why? Look at these diagrams at the bottom of the opposite page. These dirty sights will make you aim too low. With clean sights, you line up the bull's-eye squarely on top of the front sight itself, and not on dirt.

Shiny sights glint in the sunshine. They cause a reflection in your eye.They are hard to see.

Clean and blackened sights stand out clear and bold—they are easy to see. Always clean and blacken your sights before sighting and aiming your rifle.

These pictures show how. Be sure all traces of oil are removed. Then hold each sight for a few seconds in the point of a small flame, so that a uniform coating of lampblack is deposited on the metal.

A carbide lamp is ideal. But you can use a kerosene lamp, candle, small pine stick, smudge pot or even match sticks when a carbide lamp is not available.