Once the sniper has been taught the fundamentals of marksmanship, his primary concern is his ability to apply it in the performance of his mission. An effective method of applying fundamentals is through the use of the integrated act of firing one round. The integrated act is a logical, step-by-step development of fundamentals whereby the sniper can develop habits that enable him to fire each shot the same way. The integrated act of firing can be divided into four distinct phases:
a. Preparation Phase. Before departing the preparation area, the sniper ensures that—
(1) The team is mentally conditioned and knows what mission they are to accomplish.
(2) A systematic check is made of equipment for completeness and serviceability including, but not limited to—
(a) Properly cleaned and lubricated rifles.
(b) Properly mounted and torqued scopes.
(c) Zero-sighted systems and recorded data in the sniper data book.
(d) Study of the weather conditions to determine their possible effects on the team's performance of the mission.
b. Before-Firing Phase. On arrival at the mission site, the team exercises care in selecting positions. The sniper ensures the selected positions support the mission. During this phase, the sniper—
(1) Maintains strict adherence to the fundamentals of position. He ensures that the firing position is as relaxed as possible, making the most of available external support. He also makes sure the support is stable, conforms to the position, and allows a correct, natural point of aim for each designated area or target.
(2) Once in position, removes the scope covers and checks the field(s) of fire, making any needed corrections to ensure clear, unobstructed firing lanes.
(3) Makes dry firing and natural point of aim checks.
(4) Double-checks ammunition for serviceability and completes final magazine loading.
(5) Notifies the observer he is ready to engage targets. The observer must be constantly aware of weather conditions that may affect the accuracy of the shots. He must also stay ahead of the tactical situation.
c. Firing Phase. Upon detection, or if directed to a suitable target, the sniper makes appropriate sight changes, aims, and tells the observer he is ready to fire. The observer then gives the needed windage and observes the target. To fire the rifle, the sniper should remember the key word, "BRASS." Each letter is explained as follows:
(1) Breathe. The sniper inhales and exhales to the natural respiratory pause. He checks for consistent head placement and stock weld. He ensures eye relief is correct (full field of view through the scope; no shadows present). At the same time, he begins aligning the cross hairs or front blade with the target at the desired point of aim.
(2) Relax. As the sniper exhales, he relaxes as many muscles as possible, while maintaining control of the weapon and position.
(3) Aim. If the sniper has a good, natural point of aim, the rifle points at the desired target during the respiratory pause. If the aim is off, the sniper should make a slight adjustment to acquire the desired point of aim. He avoids "muscling" the weapon toward the aiming point.
(4) Squeeze. As long as the sight picture is satisfactory, the sniper squeezes the trigger. The pressure applied to the trigger must be straight to the rear without disturbing the lay of the rifle or the desired point of aim.
d. After-Firing Phase. The sniper must analyze his performance If the shot impacted at the desired spot (a target hit), it may be assumed the integrated act of firing one round was correctly followed. If however, the shot was off call, the sniper and observer must check for Possible errors.
(1) Failure to follow the keyword, BRASS (partial field of view, breath held incorrectly, trigger jerked, rifle muscled into position, and so on).
(2) Target improperly ranged with scope (causing high or low shots).
(3) Incorrectly compensated for wind (causing right or left shots).
(4) Possible weapon/ammunition malfunction (used only as a last resort when no other errors are detected).
Once the probable reasons for an off-call shot is determined the sniper must make note of the errors. He pays close attention to the problem areas to increase the accuracy of future shots.
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