What is the maximum expected engagement range expected of the shooter in the role of the "Squad Designated Marksman"?
IIRC, it is 800m. I could be wrong. They started this after I got out.
800m seems a little long...that's Sniper territory.
I was thinking 500m with most real world shots being taken at 300. But I could be wrong as well.
Soldiers evaluate weapons, optics for program
Marksmen test fundamentals of firing
Story and photo by Spc. Natalie Loucks/3rd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs
FORT BENNING, Ga. (TRADOC News Service, Nov. 5, 2004) – Soldiers fighting the Global War on Terrorism have stressed the need for a squad designated marksman – a rifleman whose marksmanship skill is higher than the average squad member.
To meet this need, Fort Benning’s Soldier Battle Lab and Directorate of Combat Development teamed with Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, Oct. 18-29 to evaluate various weapons and ammunitions in support of the Squad Designated Marksman Program as outlined in Field Manual 3-22.9, “Rifle Marksmanship.”
The four evaluation weapons were the M-16 A4 rifle, the M-4 carbine, the M-14 rifle and an M-16 A4 rifle modified by the Army Marksmanship Unit. All weapons were mounted with the advanced combat optic gunsight for magnified and accurate target engagement, said Dutch Waldheim, project officer for Soldier Battle Lab’s Lethality Branch.
At Griswold Range, 25 Soldiers fired each weapon at targets ranging from 100 to 600 meters. The hits and misses were recorded and sent for analysis of the percentage of hits for each weapon.
The Squad Designated Marksman Program has five phases to assess Soldiers’ ability to apply the fundamentals of marksmanship. Phase I evaluates the Soldiers’ firing position. Soldiers must be able to demonstrate the proper position and be able to consistently execute and maintain each position, as indicated by FM 3-22.9.
Phase II consists of dry-fire exercises to demonstrate the Soldiers’ fundamentals of marksmanship, including aiming, proper breathing techniques, correct trigger squeeze and relaxation.
In Phase III, Soldiers must demonstrate range-estimation methods to determine the distance between their position and the target. Three factors that affect the range estimation of target distance are the nature of the target, the nature of the terrain and light conditions.
Phase IV consists of shifting the point of aim to achieve the desired point of impact. This technique is used at varied distances ranging from 100 to 500 meters when the squad designated marksman does not have time to change his sight setting.
The final phase of the program is a live-fire exercise where Soldiers must demonstrate, by using all the fundamentals and techniques he has learned through the program, that he can hit at least 14 of 20 targets each at 100 to 600 meters.
Once the firer has completed the Squad Designated Marksmanship Program, he is identified as a squad designated marksman.
“If the squad leader spots an enemy up in a window 400 or 600 meters away, he can rely on the squad designated marksman to get him with one shot,” said Staff Sgt. Robert Jones with DCD.
Pfc. Gene Kemper, B Company, 1st Bn., 30 Inf. Regt., shot 20 out of 20 targets using the M-4 rifle the first time on the firing line Oct. 27.
“When I got up on the line, I concentrated on breathing and I focused on the targets,” he said. “I tried to clear my mind of everything else.”
Waldheim said the Soldiers chosen are gaining more firing time and will be able to bring back to their companies the fundamentals and techniques they learned while out on the range.
as far as the shooter feels confident in shooting
If you will read the article, you will see that there is no standardization of rifles: "M-16 A4 rifle, the M-4 carbine, the M-14 rifle and an M-16 A4 rifle modified by the Army Marksmanship Unit"...I have seen all these in pics from Iraq in the role of SDM. So if you have guns ranging from a stock M-4 to a Crazy Horse M-14, you will see there is a wide range of performance encompassed in the DMR role AS IT IS CURRENTLY BEING PRACTICED IN THE FIELD. 600m against a man-sized target is within the envelope of an optically sighted M-14 or even M-16A4, but the M-4 sounds maginal to me.
Don't get me wrong, the DRM idea is a good one, but the execution seems flawed. The Stryker and other multi-million dollars projects can get pushed through development and rapidly fielded, but not it seems something as inexpensive as an accurized M-16A4 and the training to go with it...at least in the large numbers needed.
The Soviets knew all about the need for DRMs going back to the early days of WW2 and they never forgot about it to this very day. Why has our Army seemingly just woken up to it? Training is being done on a unit-by-unit basis instead of service-wide. Troops are showing up to DRM courses with all the above weapons, some without optics.
Here's how it could be done cheaply:
A) M-16 (any configuration)
B) Quality 20" barrel
C) Free-float handguard
E) A training course where all the above are brought together.
I know its being done now, but in dribs and drabs.