In keeping with the discussion of the proliferation of the LPVO, there are some other considerations to keep in mind to be more effective and efficient at the employment and use of the system.
Many are familiar with the cycle of an infantrymen or similar processes for individual actions. The LPVO is no different. There is somewhat of a rhythm, rhyme or checklist to employing it most effectively.
- Determine how you are going to get your firing solution. This means the angle you are going to fire from and the ballistic hold you are going to apply given the available target. This can change rapidly and needs to be constantly reworked. As an example, if you whiff a shot at a guy at 350m, where he was giving you his entire torso (19” wide by 18” tall”, you may now be forced to make a hit on something that is more in tune with a 8-10” circle. The slop you can get away with may no longer be there. Some hasty methods for developing your hold in the field are:
- Shoot, see, shoot. Also known as spoiler or cheater rounds. You fire your best guess of a hold, spot impact, adjust, fire. The benefits to this is it can be quite fast. The downsides include the environment must support visible bullet splash. Your position must support recoil mitigation. If you plan on doing this for every shot…carry twice as much ammo… This method is best employed when given limited time (limited exposure) and the element of surprise is already lost. If using this method, it is best to miss low. High misses rarely make themselves visible. Low misses may clip hips and guts (still a hit). If using barrier defeating ammunition, depending on what the target is behind you still may connect. High misses just turned the engagement into whack a mole.
- Range Guesstimation. This method is very quick and should be running in the back of your mind at all times. There are a variety of methods for guessing range. The bottom line. Its all guessing. The best guys I know at guessing ranges are still guessing. Terrain, lighting, fatigue can all come into play and effect the accuracy of the guess. A simple method to help train this, or see how off your Mk1 eye ball is take a walk with a laser range finder. Guess the distance to various objects then check your work with a LRF. Do this in a variety of lighting conditions and environments. Guessing range, also requires you to know your holds for those ranges. This may be a photographic memory, or a cheat sheet on your magwell.
- Technology based. Using a LRF to determine a range is by far the most accurate, however not the most timely depending on the engagement window. It also means you must carry additional gear. Using a LRF in a LP/OP, DFP to build a range card is absolutely realistic and can greatly increase the capability of the force. LRF’ing every target in a running engagement…not realistic. Another method is using offline electronic mapping solutions (CIVTAK for the general public) and the static distance measuring tool. You can draw a line from your position to the target and receive a very accurate distance. Knowing the range is only half the battle. You still need to know your hold for that range.
- Reticle based. This method can be as in depth as using the mil relation formula for determing range, to a significantly simpler version of the rapid engagement technique (RET) that was mentioned in a previous article, to the simplest version is “hold top edge of target, incrementally hold higher until hit”. Depending on the degree you go down this rabbit hole, it can be field fast, deliver first round hits, and simple if rehearsed and practiced. Reticles with built in BDC/range finding marks also serve this role.
Regardless of how you get your firing solution. Just remember this needs to be trained. And can be trained without ammo. You can “mentally” shoot UKD ranges without firing a round. Determine your range/hold, then check your work with a LRF and ballistic calculator. See if what you mentally fired, would have connected.
- Once you have determined your firing solution, you must build a position that supports the degree of precision required to make the shot, while still being tactically feasible. What does that mean? Going prone, can give you a very high degree of precision and make shooting a relative ease. However in an environment where you are getting maneuvered on, or require increased visibility of your surroundings, prone may not be feasible. Determine the position that gives you the precision you need, not the precision you want. You do not need to build a position capable of 1 MOA groups, when shooting a 5 MOA target.
Building your position means nothing more than using what is at your disposal, to support your rifle and potentially help reduce the effects of recoil. Realistically this means lots of single or double knee positions (waist high walls, fences, downed trees, car hoods, windows), bent standing (walls at awkward heights) or upright standing (embankments, trenches, fences).
Building positions can too be trained dry. A folding aluminum ladder provides incremental levels you can use to practice various positions. Stick a piece of cardboard at 50m with a 1” white paster on it. Assume various positions, hold them, and watch your wobble zone as compared to the 1” paster (this translates to approx a 6” target at 300m). Dry fire press the trigger. Mentally walk through what your hold would be. If using a reticle based hold, hold that and visually become familiar with using not the center crosshairs for delivering rounds. The AMU is a huge proponent of “hold drills” (doing the above and holding the position for 60 seconds or so). Most places call this “snapping in”. It works. You will notice your wobble zone start to tighten with disciplined practice.
- The final part of this is the appropriate application of the fundamentals of shooting (trigger press) with follow through. Follow through is incredibly important here because it allows us to assess the effects of what we have just done. Did you miss, or hit. If it was a miss, what do I need to do to get a hit? If it was a hit, do I need to repeat, or can I move on? When pushing 5.56 at 400,500,600m it may not have the most spectacular effects on a target. However, I will take ice picks at 600m at the weight cost of 5.56 over more “spectacular” rounds.
Some other random thoughts on the subject:
- Get the hit you need. Not the hit you want. Engagements are mostly surprise events and fleeting opportunities. Sinking a round into the hips, may buy you more time to deliver more precise/accurate fire on vital areas.
- Realize big targets, can become little targets, and this precipitates a need for a more refined firing solution.
- Each shot is an individual effort.
- The information gained from the previous round fired, has a half life
- The target while obscured, may not be covered ballistically. Don’t be scared to feel out a not ballistic wall…ballistically
- Determine your firing solution
- Build your position
- Follow Through
It all can and needs to be trained. It all can be trained dry, with great effect.