As a member of the
Air Training Corps, you will receive the opportunity to undertake
dry training to fire various rifles starting with the No.8 a .22
rifle, then on to the L98A1 a fullbore 5.56mm rifle.
Upon sucessful completion
of this training, you will be able to partake in various events,
such as the Shooting Competition, and you will have the opportunity
to improve your shooting skills and techniques.
Training for Cadet Shooting
Cadets at all levels of the Air
Training Corps have the opportunity to participate in the sport
of rifle shooting. Since the ATC was originally a recruiting organisation
for the Royal Air Force it made good sense for marksmanship to be
on the training syllabus. Though the military ties are not as strong
now, shooting has been retained as a cadet activity and a popular
A "range" is a location
designed so that people can take part in shooting under controlled
conditions and ranges come in many shapes and sizes. Initially,
shooting takes place with the target 25m from the firer, either
on a 25m indoor range or a 25m barrack (outdoor) range. As the firer
advances through the weapons they will start to shoot at ranges
of 100m or more.
Safety is paramount with all ATC
activities and shooting is certainly no exception. Training is an
integral part of the system and each cadet is fully trained in whichever
rifle they will be using. Supervising staff are similarly trained
to deal with any eventualities and to ensure that the range is run
safely and efficiently. All rifles are fired from the prone position
(the firer is lying on their stomach) at static targets.
The first rifle that a cadet will
be trained on is the No.8 bolt action rifle. This weapon started
life as the Enfield No4 rifle as used during World War II. It was
modified to have a shorter barrel and altered to fire the .22 long
rifle round instead of the .303. It also no longer takes a box magazine
holding 10 rounds - each round must be fed in manually.
"Dry training" is part
of a cadet's initial training and they are shown the No8 rifle in
detail. The commands and practices used on the range are also explained
so that the cadet knows exactly what to expect before they come
anywhere near the range. Only after the cadet has successfully passed
the Weapon Handling Test (WHT) will they be taken to the range and
allowed to fire ammunition.
The No8 rifle itself
is a nice, simple weapon - ideal for training. The sights are simple
iron-sights (as with all cadet weapons) and it operates with a manually
fed bolt action. There is very little noise from the rifle, though
ear defenders are always worn when it is being fired.
Onwards Cadets over 14yrs old may
fire the L98 Cadet GP rifle (L98)
The L98 is again a modification
of an existing design, but in this case it is modified from the
standard British rifle on current issue - the Enfield L85A1. It
fires the same ammunition (5.56mm) as the L85 but is manually cocked
and can only fire one round at a time so it is just like the No.8.
The primary difference in operation is that ammunition is supplied
in a magazine which is fitted to the rifle rather than loose to
be fed by hand each time the rifle is fired.
Since the weapon is different from
the No8, firers must be retrained with this weapon and go through
dry training and WHT again before they are allowed to fire. You
notice that you are firing higher calibre rounds because it makes
a louder noise and gives a more robust kick in your shoulder as
it does so.
It is planned to replace the L98A1
Cadet GP rifle with a semi-automatic version of the L85A1.
The basic automatic version of the
L85A1 rifle can fire semi-automatically (one bullet each time you
pull the trigger) or fully-automatically (it keeps firing until
you release the trigger or the magazine is empty). The big advantage
will be that the rifle will load the next round itself - most of
the problems encountered when firing the L98A1 are due to incorrect
operation of the manual cocking handle.
Hitting the Target
Although initially each shooter will concentrate at becoming familiar
with the weapon, the eventual goal is to hit the target accurately
Shooters with the ATC will typically be firing one of the following
The firer selects a single aiming
point on the target and fires a number of rounds at that point.
The aim is for all the rounds to fall as close to the aim point
as possible and it is measured as the diameter of a circle encompassing
all of the holes in the target. Grouping practice is excellent for
concentrating on perfecting your technique. There is no limit to
how long the shooter may take when firing groupings.
This practice is fired at a target
with marked, concentric scoring rings. The shooter aims at the centre
of the target with the intention of placing the shot as near to
the centre as possible.
The shooter's score is marked depending on how near to the centre
of the target they manage to get. Common targets for application
shooting are a large, single target or a card with 5 or 10 separate
targets marked on it. When firing at a card with multiple targets,
the shooter will aim to place one or two rounds on each of the targets.
The shooter can take as long as they like to make the shots as the
goal is optimum accuracy.
All that is required is that the
shooter gets the round within the target area. However, they now
have a time limit - for instance they may be required to fire 10
rounds in 40 seconds on a No.8 rifle and that really isn't too easy.
Again, all the shooter needs to
do is get the rounds to fall within the target area. However, the
targets only appear for a short time before vanishing again and
the shooter must typically hit the target with two rounds whilst
it is visible. A snap practice might be for the target to appear
and disappear 5 times, each time for 5 seconds. It will appear at
random intervals so the shooter cannot anticipate the