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New data books released for range qualification using rifle optics

By Lance Cpl. Aaron Diamant | | January 28, 2010

Noting the need to update training materials for rifle marksmanship, the Corps announced the release of one new data book and two updated editions to be used for annual rifle qualifications December 2009.

When the Marine Corps adopted its standard rifle combat optic in 2005, the marksmanship data books that Marines use to keep track of their shots and make adjustments to their weapon sights became obsolete.

The new book reflects the use of the RCO, making it much easier for Marines to use during qualifications.

“It serves the same purpose as the old data books,” said Sgt. Robert Edgar, air station marksmanship instructor. “It shows us underlying trends in shooting, which can be indicative of any problems the shooter may or may not have.”

The new data books do not require Marines to keep track of adjustments to their sights, rather they just have to make wind calls, plot their shots on the diagram of the target, added Edgar.

“Some people learn better visually, and this might be easier for them,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Allen Young, station range officer.

While many Marines believe the new optics have made it easier to qualify, the basics taught from the first day of weapons training still apply.

“Shooters still need to use the proper fundamentals of shooting,” said Young. “We teach the same classes each range, and it’s important to pay attention. You might catch something new that you hadn’t picked up on before.”

Marksmanship data books used by station Marines are made on the air station according to the specifications set forth by Training Command, said Young.

During rifle ranges, Young often checks the data books of the Marines on the firing line to ensure they are using them properly.

“Lots of Marines don’t use the data book at all or use it improperly. That doesn’t help improve your score,” said Young, an award-winning competitive shooter. “Competitive shooters use every detail, down to a rumbling stomach when you take a shot and what you ate for breakfast.”

Two of the new data books are still designed for iron sights, one being an updated version for initial training Marines receive as recruits and the other for annual qualification with the M-16A2 service rifle, the M-4 carbine or an M-16A4 with iron sights. 

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