Marksmanship Training

Image Credit: Pixabay

Marksmanship Training (Curriculum)

It should be noted that marksmanship is the most essential skill of any military because naval forces and Airforce and even the use of artillery and guided missiles in time of war are all used in a “supportive” role. Actual wars are won by men with boots on the ground. It could be argued that WWII atomic bombing of Japanese cities ended the war with Japan but the bombs dropped in that engagement are now considered to be “puny” by comparison to modern-day atomic bombs. With that said there is no “winner” of any wars when modern atomic bombs are used because the “fall-out” from this could end all civilization on earth.

This brings us back to employing soldiers in modern warfare to engage in national defense. The most important skill that a soldier can have is that of marksmanship because wars are not won by the use of artillery or missiles or other supportive role weapons. With that said it is important that shooter training begin in childhood so that boys know about how a projectile behaves in flight.

If a boy shoots a homemade slingshot for example (made of a forked branch) and some rubber from an tire innertube he will soon see that the projectile does not fly in a straight line. The projectile will fly in an arched pathway so the boy will have to aim higher in order to compensate when shooting at longer distances.

But the same principle also applies to air guns (like BB-guns or Pellet guns) because the shooter will have to aim higher for shooting at longer distances.

The same is also true of shooting the tiny .22 rim fire cartridge because the shooter has to aim higher when he is shooting targets located farther away. This concept of “holdover” is first picked-up by boys shooting simple devices like a slingshot which shoots the projectile so slowly that it is visible while in flight. Once a boy comprehends how a projectile behaves in flight he will not have trouble understanding how to shoot more advanced systems like a air gun or rim fire rifle or even a long-range center fire cartridge.

This has been proven true in the US military when new recruits were sent to the rifle range to qualify as marksman. The urbanite boys (who did not have any experience with guns growing up) would typically consume large amounts of ammunition but could never hit the target. The farm boys however were an exception to this and could qualify as “expert” marksmen immediately after firing the required number of rounds. The farm boys started off as small boys shooting their homemade slingshots then progressed to air guns (BB guns and Pellet guns) then rimfire rifles then centerfire rifles for long range shooting. By the time the farm boys entered the military they were already knowledgeable about how a projectile behaves in flight and they understood about the principle of “hold-over” to aim higher than the target at further distance or else they would adjust their rifle sights accordingly to shoot at farther distances.

Farm boys had all of the foundational knowledge when they were young boys before they ever entered the military and were vastly more knowledgeable in shooting that urbanite boys who never before fired a rifle. A rifle shoots a projectile up to 4,000 feet per second (depending upon the cartridge and caliber). This is too fast for the human eye to see in flight so generally the urban boys were not able to mentally “process” what was happening and were not able to adjust for longer ranges. They were typically so ignorant about shooting that even at close ranges they were unable to hit the target.

This deficiency in shooter knowledge (by urban boys) shows the great importance of having a “shooter-training” program that starts at young age and prepares them with the knowledge they need to qualify as “expert” riflemen when they enter the military. If every boy had such training from youth then every man in the military would be an “expert” marksman and this could have a big positive effect during time of war.

US Government Recognizes Marksmanship as a Valuable Asset for National Defense

The US military recognized that recruits who began shooting as young boys were better marksman that those who never shot a rifle in their whole life! The US Government started a program called “Civilian Marksmanship Program” or CMP for the purpose of training civilians (from their youth) to develop better marksmen for future military service. They recognized the great value of providing civilians with marksmanship training from their youth (as a great military asset in time of war).

History of CMP

CMP history goes back to late 19th century efforts by U.S. military and political leaders to strengthen our country’s national defense capabilities by improving the rifle marksmanship skills of members of the Armed Forces.

The CMP traces its direct lineage to 1903 when Congress and President Theodore Roosevelt established the National Board for the Promotion of Rifle Practice (NBPRP) and the National Matches. From then until 1996, first the Department of War and later the Department of the Army managed the program that became known as the “civilian marksmanship program. During this period, program objectives shifted from military marksmanship to training civilians who might serve in the military to developing youth through marksmanship training. In 1996, Congress acted again to establish the Corporation for the Promotion of Rifle Practice and Firearm Safety that now governs the CMP.

In addition to being a lead organization in the annual conduct of the National Matches, the CMP is the national governing body for several shooting sport disciplines that include Service Rifle and Pistol, As-Issued Military Rifle, Rimfire Sporter and National Match Air Rifle. The CMP provides competition rules and sanctioning services for events in each of these disciplines. It now sanctions over one thousand local and regional competitions a year in these disciplines. The CMP pioneered in developing its Competition Tracker system that applies computer and Internet technology to manage its database of competitors and manage competitions. Competition Tracker was the first such system in the world to support the live posting of competition results on the Internet. The CMP is also the custodian of the Distinguished Badge program that was initiated by the U. S. Army in 1884. Since Distinguished Badges are awards inaugurated by the U. S. Government, they are especially prestigious and coveted.

The point to make here is that the US government recognized the need to have a training program to teach marksmanship to youth so that they would be prepared to become expert marksman by the time they should enter military service. The Civilian Marksmanship Program was created for this purpose back in 1903 when President Theodore Roosevelt recognized the need to have a marksmanship training program for youth.

Farm Boy Marksmen

Alvin C. York – WWI
(Image Credit – Wikipedia)

Alvin C. York was born in December 13, 1887 in a primitive log cabin in the mountains of Tennessee. He was from an impoverished family and they harvested their own food (and this included hunting and fishing). He became a “crack-shot” as a boy through his experience shooting while hunting. He was drafted into the army and became the most decorated hero of WWI. His life story was made into a 1941 hit movie “Sergeant York” starring Gary Cooper. He won the medal of honor when he single-handedly attacked a German machine gun nest harboring 35-machine guns. York quickly killed 25-enemy soldiers with such accurate shooting that it resulted in the complete surrender of 132-surviving German prisoners. During this encounter, a bayonet charge was led by a German officer and five German soldiers against York’s position but York drew his automatic pistol and killed all the men involved in the bayonet charge before they reached his position.

See the link “York Fight Reenactment” for more details.

Also see the (1941) movie links “Sergeant York-Part 1” and “Sergeant York-Part 2” for more details.

Audie Murphy – WWII
(Image Credit – Pinterest)

Audie Murphy was one of the most decorated soldiers of WWII. He was born to a poor family of share croppers in Texas and used his hunting skills to help feed his family. These skilled later turned out to be valuable when he was a soldier involved in many battles of WWII.

Carlos Hathcock – Vietnam
(Image Credit: Pinterest)

Carlos Hathcock was born in Arkansas in 1942. He took to shooting and hunting at an early age, partly out of necessity to help feed his poor family. He joined the US Marines at age 17 and later became the most famous sniper of the Vietnam war with 93 confirmed kills and an estimated of 300-400 enemy soldiers taken out behind enemy lines by his long-range shooting acumen. Before deploying to Vietnam, Hathcock was involved in shooting competitions where he won shooting championship matches at Camp Perry and won the Wimbledon Cup in 1965. This is another example of a rural farm boy who was self-taught in shooting then continued to develop his marksmanship by being involved in shooting competitions.

Progressive Shooting Instruction

All three of these world-famous marksmen described above all grew up shooting and hunting as farm boys. Typically, when new military recruits go to the firing range for the first time it will be the farm boys who qualify as experts firing only the required number of rounds. It is for this reason that we want to start our boy training marksmanship programs from the youngest age. This is a process to take them from the most basic level learning elementary principles of shooting and bring them toward becoming long-range marksmen who shoot targets over 1,000-yards and more.

12-Year Boy Shoots Elk at 1,376-yards (1,258.214 meters)

Danner Davidson is the son of Aaron Davidson of Gunworks which makes high-end custom rifles for long range hunting. This boy was coached by his father Aaron and he made a shot at over 1,376-yards and dropped his elk! This shot has been a sensation on Utube and many gun companies have picked up on the story and everyone was excited about long-range hunting after that.

See the link “12-year-old Boy Wallops Elk at 1,376-Yards” for more details.

This is an example of how we can train boys to become legendary marksman even as young as this 12-year-old boy who shot his first bull elk at such a long-distance of over 1,200 meters!