STOWAGE AND ISSUE OF SMALL ARMS
LEARNING OBJECTIVES: Explain the importance of proper stowage and issue of small arms. Identify the instruction that contains information on security of small arms.
As an MA, you may be responsible for the security, stowage, and issue of all small arms at a security department ashore. The increasing number of reported instances of ammunition and weapon pilferage by dissident groups and individuals indicates the necessity for stricter control of storage, security, custodial responsibility, and inventory reconciliation procedures for easily pilfered items, which includes small arms.
Small arms should always be stowed in an authorized and secure stowage to preclude pilferage. A strict accountability must be maintained at all times. OPNAVINST 5530.13, Department of the Navy Physical Security Instruction for Conventional Arms, Ammunition, and Explosives (AA&E) contains detailed instructions for the security of small arms and other AA&E materials. This includes access control, key custody, and storage requirements. Since this instruction is subject to frequent changes we will not go into any detail on its contents. However, you are strongly encouraged to become familiar with the specifics of this document and to make its contents the object of frequent training and review in your work center.
Since all small arms are considered equipage, a signature of subcustody is required before they are issued from their normal place of stowage. Any type of signed custody record may be used as long as it bears the receiving individual's signature. Inside your
armory you should have a list of personnel who are qualified to be issued weapons. Anyone who is not on that list should not be able to draw a weapon from the armory. A second consideration for issuing small arms is to determine whether or not the requesting person is authorized to draw a weapon at this time. Any out-of-the-ordinary requests for weapons should be prearranged and authorized. When in doubt, call your chief, division officer, or the command duty officer. Again, the important security measures are to keep the weapon locked up and, when it is issued, to determine qualification and authority, and to get a signature.
Access to each storage facility will be limited, to maintain accountability and control of firearms, and the facility will be secured when not under the direct supervision of an authorized custodian. The keys to each lock used to secure firearms also will be controlled. Personnel on duty in arms storage rooms must be armed at all times.
The commander will develop written procedures for control and operation of storage facilities to ensure
that all firearms are accounted for. Unit personnel maintain a list containing the type, model number, caliber, name of manufacturer, and serial number of all firearms for which the unit is responsible. (This list will be useful in making required inventories and rapid identification of lost or stolen weapons.) Current policy and guidance relative to small arms and weapons management may be found in Small Arms and Weapons Management Policy and Guidance,
LEARNING OBJECTIVES: State the primary use of a side arm and describe the three elements of marksmanship. Explain the importance of maintaining small arms qualifications for Master-at-Arms personnel.
The primary use of the side arm is to return quick, accurate fire at close range. Accurate shooting is the result of knowing and correctly applying the elements of marksmanship. The important elements of marksmanship are (1) position, grip and aim, (2) sight alignment, and (3) trigger control.
Marksmanship training is divided into two phases; preparatory marksmanship training and range firing.
These two phases may be divided into separate instructional steps. All marksmanship training must be progressive.
A thorough course in preparatory marksmanship training must precede any range firing. This training must be given to all Masters-at-Arms expected to fire the side arm on the range, including those who have previously qualified with the weapon. The MA should develop correct shooting habits before range firing. The purpose of preparatory marksmanship training is to establish correct shooting habits.
Preparatory marksmanship training should be taught as follows:
2. Proper grip of the weapon.
3. Sight alignment.
4. Trigger control.
Proper aim is achieved through correct position and grip. Aiming is the relationship of the firer's position and weapon to the target. When assuming a position, the firer's body and weapon must be aligned to the target. Proper grip of the weapon is essential to ensure that the aim of the weapon is in line with the firer's alignment to the target.
A proper grip is one of the more important fundamentals of quick fire. The pistol is gripped as tightly as possible until the hand begins to shake. The grip is then relaxed until the tremor stops. At that point, the firer is applying the necessary pressure for a solid grip. With practice, the same amount of pressure will be applied each time the firer assumes the grip.
Sight alignment is the relationship of the front sight to the rear sight. Correct sight alignment is having the front and rear sights level, with the front sight being centered in the rear sight. Perfect sight alignment is virtually impossible, since the front sight is continually moving. The object is to maintain the front sight level and centered with the rear sight as closely as possible, which holds the weapon within the area of aim. When you are sighting, the eye cannot focus on three objects (rear sight, front sight, target) at different ranges. Therefore, the focus should be on the front sight through the rear sight. The front and rear sights will be seen clearly and sharply while the target will appear to be a bit hazy. The bullet will strike the target within the area of aim if the sight has been aligned correctly. Since it is impossible to hold the weapon perfectly still, the shooter must understand that he or she must apply trigger control and maintain correct sight alignment while the weapon is moving in and around the target. This movement of the weapon is referred to as "arch of movement." The shooter must make an effort to keep movement of the weapon to a minimum.
Correct sight alignment is essential for accuracy, particularly with the side arm because of the short sight radius. For example, if a 1/10-inch error is made in aligning the front sight in the rear sight, the bullet will miss the point of aim by about 15 inches at 25 meters of range. The 1/10-inch error in sight alignment magnifies itself as the range increases; at 25 meters it is magnified 150 times.
If the firer does not call the shot correctly in range firing, he or she is not concentrating on sight alignment; consequently, the firer does not know what
the sight picture is while firing. To call the shot is to state where the bullet should strike the target according to the position of the front sight at the instant the weapon fires; for example, "high," "a little low," "to the left," "to the right," or "center target."
It is important to emphasize that holding the breath properly is necessary to good marksmanship. Emphasis on this point is required because many persons hold their breath improperly or not at all. The breath should be held while the firer is aiming and applying trigger pressure. While the procedure is simple, it requires explanation, demonstration, and supervised practice. To hold the breath properly, the firer inhales an ordinary breath, lets a little out, and holds the rest by closing the throat.
Poor shooting is generally caused because the aim is disturbed before the bullet leaves the barrel of the weapon. This is usually the result of the firer's jerking the trigger or flinching. The trigger does not have to be jerked violently to spoil the aim; even a slight off-center pressure of the finger on the trigger is enough to cause the weapon to move and disturb the firer's sight alignment. Flinching is a subconscious reflex caused by the firer's anticipating the recoil of the weapon. Jerking is an effort by the firer to fire the weapon at the precise time the sights align with the target. Flinching and jerking will cause the bullet to hit the lower left section of the target for a right-hand shooter. Heeling is caused by a firer's tightening the large muscle in the heel of the hand to keep from jerking the trigger. A firer who has had difficulty with jerking the trigger will attempt to correct the fault by tightening the bottom of the hand, which results in a heeled shot. Heeling will cause the bullet to hit on the top-right section of the target. The firer can correct these shooting errors by understanding and applying correct trigger control. Correctly applied trigger control imparts no unnecessary movement to the weapon. Improper trigger control causes more misses on the target than any other single step of preparatory marksmanship training.
To apply correct trigger control, the trigger finger may contact the trigger anywhere from the tip of the finger to the first joint, depending on the length of the trigger finger. If pressure from the trigger finger is applied to the right side of the trigger or weapon, the strike of the bullet will be to the left. That is due to the normal hinge action of the fingers. When the fingers of the right hand are closed, as in gripping, they hinge or pivot to the left. (With the left hand, this action is to the right.) The firer must exercise care in the control of the trigger, so as not to apply pressure left or right but straight to the rear.
All Master-at-Arms personnel must maintain small arms qualifications. The guidance for qualification and proper range procedures can be found in the Law Enforcement Manual, OPNAVINST 5580.1, Physical Security Manual, OPNAVINST 5530.14 and Small Arms Training and Qualification, OPNAVINST 3591.1. MAs failing to maintain these qualifications may face removal from the MA rating.
In this chapter, we defined the term small arms, explained small arms nomenclature, and looked at the small arms cycle of operation. Next, we covered firing systems, basic types of operation for small arms, and range and rates of fire. The Navy's two standard handguns, the .45-cal pistol and the .38-cal. revolver, were then considered. The M14 and M16 rifles, shotguns, and the 7.62-mm M60 machine gun were examined, followed by grenade launchers and special safety precautions. Then we looked at pyrotechnics, pyrotechnic safety, and small arms maintenance. Finally, we covered stowage and issue of small arms and the elements of marksmanship.