5th Regiment Cadets had the opportunity to learn about their rifles and shooting during Preliminary Marksmanship Instruction (PMI) at Cadet Summer Training Advanced Camp in Fort Knox, Ky on June 23, 2021.
At PMI, Cadets learned shooting positions, how to care for their rifles, fundamentals of shooting and even how math plays a role in their accuracy.
One lesson in particular focused on the fundamentals of shooting, such as breath control and trigger squeeze.
“When you’re shooting, breathing is important because whether you either inhale or exhale, it will affect where the rifle is,” said Cadet Kalley Magel, from University of Nevada, Reno. “If your breathing is all over the place, your rifle is going to be moving.”
While breath control and trigger squeeze are important topics, the Cadre also had the Cadets practice their shooting positions.
“A lot of times, you’ll see people laying with both feet spread apart and flat,” said Cadet Jonathan Andrews, from Tuskegee University. “It gives you the most contact with the ground and it’s all about balance. You can’t hold yourself up on your elbows and toes for very long. You don’t want to fatigue yourself by doing that.”
While the Cadets may be shooting in similar positions, the Cadre emphasized that everyone shoots differently when it comes to the small details. Those details can make all the difference.
“I’m going to shoot differently than a lot of other soldiers around me, but because I’m trusting my body and how I lie on the ground and how I stay relaxed, that makes me shoot better and it makes me a better asset to the team,” said Cadet Randall Beasley, from Campbell University. “Trust your body, trust how your hand holds that weapon, trust where your finger goes in the trigger well. That’s how you will most comfortably shoot.”
Cadre not only stressed the uniqueness of each soldier that shoots a weapon. They also wanted Cadets to get a feel for the fundamentals of marksmanship before they go to the range to qualify.
“You are doing a lot of this stuff fast, but if you’re doing it fast and all over the place, it’s still not going to work,” said Magel. “You have to learn how to do it quickly but be steady at the same time.”
Magel wanted future Cadets to know that they will need to shoot with a calm mind in order to be successful.
“If your mind is a mess, your body is going to be a mess too,” said Magel. “You’re not going to be paying attention to your aiming, how much you’re moving, your breathing. It’s important to take things step by step. It’s very simple as long as you don’t freak out.”
Having a background in marksmanship, Magel offered these final thoughts.
“No matter where you are in the military, everyone has to be a basic rifleman. Everyone needs to know how to shoot.”