I recall watching a documentary about the US military’s reluctance to go from single shot main weapons to full/semi auto. Their thinking was that soldiers were taking carefully aimed shots. Research suggested soldier were, in fact, firing at places they thought enemies might be, or firing toward groups rather than carefully aiming at individuals.
It was also found that aiming for individuals, and consciously deciding to end a specific person’s life was mentally and emotionally taxing. The kind of mentality necessary to endure that wasn’t universal. This in turn influenced sniper selection and training.
“Without aiming” may be going too far, but the common soldier does not, generally, pick out an individual target, with the intention to place one or more shots into said target. A lot of combat happens at ranges where that kind of visual identification is difficult if not impossible. A lot of combat happens at ranges where precise aiming is unnecessary, because you’re close enough to get effective center mass shots without using the sights.
In Afghanistan, I never aimed at a person. Instead, I just shot in the same direction that everyone else was shooting. Why? Well, whomever I was shooting at was usually so far away, that either I wouldn’t be able to see them to properly aim, or if I were to take the time to properly aim, I might get hit with a bullet before I could pull the trigger.
If you’re lucky, you get to see your target and engage. In this type of warfare, before IR and NVGs, camouflage made it hard to see them until it was too late. When the first shot was fired, you dropped or moved to cover and returned fire. Usually, the first shots are in the general direction of the shot or shots fired. Then you get to figure out where to return fire.
But, there are other instances. A series of buildings with a solitary shooter taking shots at you. Finding one man in a series of windows and doors can be as hard as finding one man in a jungle.
So, what’s the point then in shooting if I don’t really know where I’m shooting?
Suppressive fire. Shoot more bullets than the other guys, and it might keep them down long enough for them to either run out of ammo, for you to send a fire team to assault their position, for you to shoot mortars at their position, or for you to call in an air strike.
Additionally, we frequently had a sniper with us during patrols, so giving enough suppressive fire gives him enough time to get his sights on somebody. It also gives the Air Force guy we commonly had with us (JTAC) the opportunity to call really big scary planes to drop really big scary bombs.
One time we were actually pinned down in a grape field momentarily while out on patrol in a village, and the little familiar circus whistle and crackling sounds of bullets began to appear. Even saw the dust fly up in front me where they were hitting. I looked to my left and saw a young infantryman poke his head up and start aiming through his scope. I thought, “this guy is fucking nuts.” And then I grabbed my balls, set up on the berm, and started firing some shots downrange too.
When, suddenly, the platoon leader started shouting for everyone to cease fire, because there was another company down range in the general direction we were shooting, also engaging with the Taliban (presumably the same fighters who were shooting at us).
So, we waited in cover, let the other guys do their thing, and eventually, the fire stopped. And, that’s one downside of not seeing your targets.
Portuguese Army new Assault Rifle: SCAR-L in 5,56x45mm
On the 20th February 2019, FN Herstal was awarded a major contract for thousands of assault rifles, by NATO’s Support & Procurement Agency (NSPA) on behalf of the Portuguese Army. The contract is for the 5.56x45mm caliber FN SCAR L assault rifles. Included in this contrat, FN will also supply other guns, namely the FN40GL grenade launchers, MINIMI 5.56 and 7.62 Mk3 light and medium machine guns respectively, and the designated Marksman Rifle SCAR-H in 7,62x51mm.
The NSPA, is the main logistics and procurement agency of NATO and is able to handle and support procurement for member nations. NSPA described the contract as a ‘major milestone’ for the agency. The contract was signed by FN’s sales director and NSPA General Manager.
NSPA made a short statement:
“NSPA awarded today a contract to Belgium-based FN Herstal, one of the world’s leading designers and manufacturers of small caliber weapons. This is for the Agency a major contract to produce FN SCAR® assault rifles and FN MINIMI® machine guns as new standard issue weapons for the Portuguese Army’s.
The contract includes the manufacture and supply of 5.56mm and 7.62mm NATO caliber FN SCAR® assault rifles, FN40GL grenade launchers, MINIMI® 5.56 and 7.62 Mk3 Tactical light machine guns, and all related accessories.
The Portuguese Army’s standard issue service rifle is currently a Portuguese license produced variant of the Heckler & Koch G3, while the MG3 and HK21 are used in the General Purpose and Light Machine Gun purpose. The exact size of this new contract and its worth have not yet been announced, but In 2017, when the program was released, the acquisition called for 11 000 assault rifles in 5.56x45mm. The value of this weapons package procurement would be €42.8 million ($50.3 million).
This is a major acquisition for the Portuguese Army as the old G3 Battle Rifles are outdated, even in its class, and are obvious not adequate for the assault role. This purchase does not only manage to replace the G3 Battle rifle with one of the best current assault rifles, if not the best, but it will allow that the Portuguese Army to change the fire dynamics of it´s small units, increasing firepower and combat capabilities and being able to have more Hit probability on the enemy.
The Murph Challenge Workout
Special operations operators are well beyond professional athletes. SFO’s are in extreme physical conditions. they are prepared to react instantly, in defense of our county. One SFO stands out to me. Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy, Navy Seal. No, I never had the supreme honor of meeting the man, but I have read and followed every piece of information I could find on him. “Lt Murphy” became a Navy Seal in July 2002. After several if not numerous mission combating terrorism, Lt. Micheal P. Murphy was surrounded by Taliban soldiers, along with his three other Navy Seals.
“Murphy was killed on 28 June 2005 after he left his cover position and went to a clearing away from the mountains, exposing himself to a hail of gunfire in order to get a clear signal to contact headquarters for relaying the dire situation and requesting immediate support for his team. He dropped the satellite phone after being shot multiple times but picked the phone back up and finished the call. While being shot, he signed off saying- “Thank You”, then continued fighting from his exposed position until he died from his wounds.” Michael P. Murphy – Wikipedia
Lt. Murphy left behind a legacy of honor and fitness and preparedness that many strive to archive. Lt. Murphy called this workout Body Armour, after his death, the workout was renamed The Murph Challenge.
- A 1-mile run.
- Then 100 pull-ups.
- Then 200 pushups.
- Then 300 squats.
- And ANOTHER 1-mile run.
I’m not saying professional athletes couldn’t do it, but Lt Murphy did this for fun.
That being said, I once met an SFO, in Hampton, VA. He was in his late fifties and ran alongside our platoon one morning during pt. , We finished a five-mile run, and he turned to us, and said… that’s it? cmon let’s do it again. The Master Chief was about 6′1 looked like he weighed about 220. It wasn’t until afterward, When I asked him, what was his weight, and almost fell out learning he was 185.