Read Hdbk.PDF text version


About the Author The author of this publication is Charles F. Ruggiero Jr, a civilian employee of the Department of the Army. Chuck is employed by Headquarters, 10th Mountain Division (LI) & Fort Drum. He is assigned to the Directorate of Logistics, Maintenance Division, and serves as the Ordnance Equipment Specialist assigned to the Technical Services Branch of the Support Maintenance Activity. Chuck serves as the course manager and primary instructor for the 10th Mountain Division Unit Armorer Course. The UAC is an 80 hour formal course that encompasses all of the material presented in this publication, and which goes into much greater depth than this single reference volume can provide. In addition to his instructional duties at the UAC, Chuck also provides training at the unit level. Among the subjects he teaches are machinegun operating theory, small arms maintenance, MOS 45B upgrade training, and premarksmanship instruction. A qualified range instructor, he is a Distinguished Honor Graduate of the USAF Combat Arms Instructor Academy. His military experience includes active duty service with the US Army. A graduate of the US Army Infantry School, he served as an infantry soldier in Vietnam during the period July 1968 to July 1969. His US Army service includes duty with the Army National Guard in MOS 45B (Small Arms Repair), and with the US Army Reserve in MOS 12B3H (Combat Engineer Instructor). Currently a member of the NY Air National Guard, he serves as an Air Force Security Police Officer, specializing in weapons instruction. His experience includes virtually everything related to firearms. He is a qualified instructor with rifles, shotguns, revolvers, pistols, sub-machineguns, grenade launchers, machineguns, rocket launchers, flame weapons, mortars, demolitions and pyrotechnics. He has worked at the Organizational, Direct Support and General Support levels of maintenance as a weapons specialist. He also served more than eight years as the weapons quality assurance inspector at Fort Drum. In addition to training thousands of students in his long career, and working on a myriad of different weapons and systems, he has used most of these types of weapons in combat situations.


Foreword Congratulations! Whether you have been serving as a Unit Armorer, or have been recently appointed to such a position, you are a member of an important group of weapons specialists. Throughout history, man has engaged in armed conflict. Over recent centuries, the advancement of technology has resulted in more lethal and sophisticated arms and ammunition. Today, these weapons are used by America's military and law enforcement personnel to deter aggression and defend the public. Armorers have always played a vital role in tactical operations. Whether building offensive weapons of war, designing and fitting body armor, or casting lead shot for muskets, their contribution to the outcome of battle is undeniable. As technology improved the implements of war, it was always necessary for the armorers to keep up with the changes in order to maximize these contributions. The requirement for trained and highly skilled armorers is as critical now, even with today's modern weapons systems, as it ever was. The assumption that modern metallurgy and design technologies have lessened the need for small arms maintenance specialists is false. In fact, the opposite is true. Today's armorer has a serious responsibility, providing quality assurance through inspections and periodic preventive maintenance checks. A trained and experienced armorer can detect faults and make repairs, preventing failures of firearms in the field environment. Military personnel and law enforcement officers have a tough, dangerous job. They need reliable weapons to protect lives, safeguard property, achieve the objectives of tactical operations, and defend themselves. The reliability of their weapons is the direct responsibility of the armorer. In addition to performing firearms inspection and maintenance, armorers have many other duties. Included among these are administrative, logistics and training support functions. This publication, which provides guidance primarily to US Army armorers, details these other duties. Members of other military branches and police organizations may also find this publication useful. No single publication could ever provide all the useful information relating to the maintenance of firearms. The subject-matter area is so expansive, that I could go into endless detail. Instead, I will attempt to present general principles and their application to a broad range of common military and law enforcement weapons.


In my many years of military and civil service, I often wondered why there was not a handbook like this one in circulation. Hopefully this publication will fill the need for a single-volume reference, providing answers to the most common questions encountered in the weapons maintenance field. In addition to maintenance training, I also have extensive experience as a tactical instructor. This book is written from a different perspective than one usually finds in a maintenance document. It will combine the maintenance and tactical aspects of firearms, by explaining not only how weapons are repaired, but also how they are used. As a result, there will be extensive information on ballistics, ammunition, marksmanship and maintenance. I have long been critical of single-issue training programs. Defense attorneys must study the entirety of statutory and case law before graduating from law school. Likewise, cardiologists must complete their general medical studies before they can become specialists. No one would ever consider consulting a lawyer or doctor who only had a partial education, for obvious reasons. It is only logical that armorers should be well versed in all aspects of firearms theory and practice. Just as surely as no one would want to be operated on by a poorly trained doctor, no person who carries a duty firearm should ever have to rely on a weapon maintained by an armorer with inadequate training. This book includes review exercises and a "final examination," much like any correspondence course. This process provides immediate feedback to the reader, validating the study process. I must caution the reader, however, that this handbook should not be used as a substitute for formal training! No one ever qualified for any career by reading a book or two. Formal, hands-on on study is essential to success. This book will not re-invent the wheel. Much needed data can be found in technical manuals and other publications. I will simply provide a reference listing to achieve that study. This is only proper, since data in manuals changes frequently. If I were to reprint technical manual data here, this book would soon become obsolete. No document like this could ever have been created without reference materials or the input from other knowledgeable persons. At the end of this book you will find a comprehensive listing of relevant publications, reference materials and recommended reading on the subject of firearms and armorers.


This is the third revision of this publication. The format is different from the two preceding volumes, which were basically "read-along" handbooks. Undoubtedly, this will be revised again. If you find a problem with this document or wish to make a change or inclusion, please contact me. Here are my address and phone numbers: HQ, 10th Mountain Division (LI) & Fort Drum AFZS-DL-MT (ATTN: Mr. Ruggiero) DOL Maintenance Division, Technical Services Branch T-790 Eighth Street West Fort Drum, New York 13602 Telephone: Commercial - 315-772-9023 FAX: 315-772-0015 DSN: 341-9023 DSN FAX: 341-0015 Commercial FAX: 315-772-0015 E-mail: [email protected] [email protected]


Throughout this publication you may encounter opinion-based statements that appear critical or negative about existing policies or programs. I'm truly sorry if these statements offend some bureaucrats, but I'm more concerned with what happens to the soldier on the battlefield or the police officer on the street. I have spent a good number of years engaged in my profession, and I consider my opinions to be valid and professional, not personal. If I appear critical about a program, it's probably because that program needs to change! Please don't think that my position is one of arrogance. Instead, it is that of a clear-thinking, analytical professional, who does not react emotionally to situations. As a result, I speak my mind without consideration of political correctness and bureaucratic attitudes. Sorry, but since the employment of firearms is always a life-or-death struggle for the combatants, I focus on reality...not politics! If this offends you, please don't read this book! Chuck Ruggiero July 1998


Table of Contents:

1. About the Author 2. Foreword 5. Table of Contents 6. Chapter 1, Introduction to Arms Room Duty 8. Armorer Duties 12. Files Management 14. Publications Management 24. Supply Management 32. Maintenance Management 41. Physical Security 50. Range Operations Support 55. Tactical Training Operations Support 57. Combat Operations Support 63. Chapter 1 Examination 65. Chapter 2, Firearms Operating Characteristics 66. Cycle of Functions 72. Cooling 76. Operating System Design 80. Ammunition and Ballistics 82. Propellants and Projectiles 92. Cartridge Cases 95. Priming 97. Ballistic Terminology 103. Chapter 2 Examination 105. Chapter 3, Firearms Safety and Marksmanship 107. Safety Awareness Concept 110. Safety Rules 120. Marksmanship 121. Human Physiology and Anatomy 129. Ballistics Factors and Marksmanship 132. Chapter 3 Examination 134. Chapter 4, Armorer Tools and Maintenance Tips 136. Calipers 137. Hammers 138. Pliers 139. Wrenches 140. Files and Stones 142. Special Tools and Gages 148. Maintenance Tips 156. Chapter 4 Examination 159. Armorer's Glossary 196. Unit Arms Room Operations Checklist 204. Arms Room Publication Reference 207. Recommended Reading List 209. Final Examination 210. Answer Keys


Chapter 1, Introduction to Arms Room Duty

An arms room, or vault, is a fixed facility used primarily for the purpose of storing weapons and associated equipment. Arms rooms should meet certain general standards for physical security, storage capacity, operating ease and accessibility. Although the general specifications for military arms rooms are defined in manuals printed by the Department of Defense, those standards primarily address security, fire protection and construction techniques. There are other considerations not addressed in those documents, the most important of which is ergonomics, the interface between man and technology. As an arms room inspector, I have been in hundreds of arms rooms on military bases and in police agencies throughout the country. I have seen well-designed rooms, and some which were totally impractical. However, all of them met the standards for security, fire protection and construction techniques. The properly designed arms room will have: - racks specifically designed to hold each type of weapon on hand - sufficient rack space for the total number of weapons on hand - administrative space for a desk, file cabinets, computer, etc. - storage lockers for auxiliary equipment such as night vision devices - storage cabinets specially designed to hold ammunition - minimum 60 square feet of maintenance area for repairs - properly designed electrical service to accommodate power tools - lighting adequate for detailed inspection of metallic components - a dehumidifier capable of maintaining 30% to 45% humidity - a telephone and duress alarm system - parts bins sufficient to contain all authorized repair parts - non-skid cushioned rubber floor mats in maintenance areas - an electric fan or other positive ventilation means - an intercom to the front desk or orderly room - a minimum entrance width of 36 inches - a "day door" or "issue door" which denies entry while issuing weapons - an agency-approved alarm system - an emergency eyewash station - an operating sink with cold and hot water supply - a set of gunsmith tools and all special gages as required - a large bench vise, bench grinder and rotary multi-tool (Dremel Tool) - illuminated magnifying lamp with six inch lens - comfortable, cushioned desk chair - a clearing barrel or clearing container - a steel workbench, 18 feet square, with a wooden top


The previous listing is not a "wish list". It is what should be designed into each arms storage and issue facility nationwide. In addition to the stated requirements, the arms room should also have a lobby or waiting area. This should accommodate the number of personnel expected to stand at the door during issue or turn-in of weapons. If your soldiers or officers are standing in the rain, so are their weapons! Some arms rooms also double as evidence rooms. This is not the best policy, since the evidence technician or evidence officer usually needs total control over the evidence area to protect the "chain of custody" for legal purposes. Limiting the number of persons with access to the evidence storage area is always the best policy. Keeping evidence in the arms room increases the number of persons in the evidence area, and should be avoided. However, not every agency has the luxury of owning two secure, alarmed areas for separation of arms and evidence. If the co-location of both is necessary, make sure you have key and lock control programs that prevent the possibility of unauthorized persons gaining access to evidence. Likewise, found property and civilian privately owned weapons (POW's) should be maintained separately from organizational weapons and property, for accountability purposes. In addition to the standard alarm requirements for weapons storage areas, the interior entrances to arms rooms should be well illuminated and clearly visible. An entrance in a secluded, poorly lit part of the building is an invitation to a strong-arm theft. If possible or affordable, video surveillance should be provided, with a direct video feed to the agency's alarm monitoring station or desk sergeant. If a direct video feed is impractical, a still-frame video recording system is strongly recommended. Video equipment should be positioned and installed so as to not be easily detected, accessed and disabled by potential thieves. I have seen arms rooms with entrances that were located on the outside of buildings. This is never wise, but if you are stuck with such a facility, measures should be taken to protect your operation from public view. Hedges, bushes, fences or shrubbery should be placed to block direct viewing by the public in an unsecured area. Traffic control aids such as speed bumps should be placed to prevent rapid escape by vehicle. Also, a critical failing of most arms room design is found in the day door or issue door. This typically is a half-door or "Dutch door" with a counter-top surface. It allows the arms room to be open for issue and turn-in, while keeping people outside. However, the typical lock inside the door is easily reached, and is a simple dead-bolt that turns without a key in the lock. Replace the lock with a double-keyed dead-bolt to maximize security. This can prevent intrusion while your back is turned, which it will be as you are getting weapons out of the racks.



Armorer Duties: The duties of a typical military armorer fall into two major areas of activity: garrison duty and field duty. Although there are functions common to both types of duty, there are many differences. Take note that many of the concepts and operating principles apply to military and civilian agencies. Garrison duty describes those activities of the armorer when the unit is not engaged in field or tactical operations. It is composed of the activities the armorer performs routinely. It also implies that the operation is conducted from an arms room. The arms room may or may not be equipped with an intrusion detection system. Some arms rooms require 24-hour surveillance by military or law enforcement personnel. Garrison duty includes five separate and distinct functions: 1. Files Management 2. Publications Management 3. Supply Management 4. Maintenance Management 5. Physical Security Additionally, the armorer usually serves as an in-house source of information and expertise in matters related to firearms training and maintenance. As such, the armorer frequently will be tasked to support classroom and range training sessions. Armorers usually also perform numerous other duties, and in the US Army force structure, there is no dedicated position for the unit armorer. The lack of a dedicated full-time position for the armorer means that the quality of the work the armorer can perform is compromised to some degree. Consider the following factors: - soldiers usually have physical training formations in the morning, and after PT are given time to eat, shower and change into their uniform. As a result, they may report for work in the duty section about 0900 hours or even as late as 0930 hours. - soldiers may be given a 90 minute lunch break, from 1130 hours to 1300 hours. This accommodates soldiers who do not eat in the dining facility, and who must go home or to a restaurant. - the soldier's duty day typically ends at 1700 hours. - during a 5 day workweek, the armorer is really only present in the arms room 32.5 hours, but only if he or she is there on a full-time basis


With an understanding of how few hours are actually spent in the performance of mission-specific tasks, now consider these factors: - in a 13 week period, there are 422.5 work hours using the above stated method of determining available hours. - the armorer is responsible for performing all the Preventive Maintenance Checks and Services (PMCS) on all the equipment in the arms room. These tasks must be completed once every 13 weeks ( a calendar quarter). - in a typical military arms room, there will be approximately 120 rifles, 18 light machineguns, a half dozen pistols, 6 medium machineguns, 160 bayonets, and about 1000 rifle magazines, in addition to any other auxiliary equipment such as night vision devices, GPS gear, etc. - each quarterly PMCS takes approximately one hour per weapon, if the armorer is to complete the tasks according to the technical manual. - just the inspection process (not including any repairs) will take over 200 work hours per calendar quarter. - the 200 hours needed to conduct PMCS also does not include any of the time needed for supply management, files management, general housekeeping, publications management, issue and turn-in of weapons, or any other arms rooms duties. It should be easy to understand why it is so difficult for armorers to keep up with the workload in the arms room. This should be a full-time position in the Army force structure, as in other branches of the armed forces. The Army assigns the job, typically, to a supply specialist. But for this soldier, it is still only a part of the duty day. The supply specialist has many other duties besides the arms room, and also can not afford all the hours needed to do the job well. Compounding the problem is the fact that there is no training standard for unit armorers. Even worse, where there are at least armorer courses offered, there are no training or qualification standards for the instructors! I should know, as I perform this duty on nearly a full-time basis. The only attempt to provide training for armorers on an Army-wide basis is at the 92Y Supply Specialist course. This would be acceptable if every unit had a 92Y Supply Specialist, but that's not the case, and 92Y training only teaches minimal skills. Also, the commander has the latitude to appoint whomever he or she considers fit for the position. A unit armorer can be any soldier from any occupational specialty; i.e., infantry, signal, artillery, maintenance or food service.


Garrison Commanders, Division Commanders and MACOM Commanders may appoint an individual to teach an armorer's course, and fund that effort locally. There is, however, no qualification standard for such a position. An armorer instructor must be well versed in all areas concerning weapons maintenance and training. Among the subjects that this person must master, are the following: - The Army Maintenance Management System (TAMMS) - The Modern Army Recordkeeping System (MARKS) - Operations Security (OPSEC) - Physical Security - Firearms Design and Operating Theory - Publications Management - Army Supply Procedures - Shop Safety - Use and Care of Hand Tools - Basic and Advanced Marksmanship Principles - Ammunition and Ballistics - Firearms Maintenance Techniques - Firearms Safety - Tactical Employment of Firearms - Inspection Techniques - Principles and Techniques of Instruction - Small Arms Pre-embarkation Standards - Destruction of Small Arms to Prevent Enemy Use - Transportation, Storage and Handling of Ammunition This list is far from inclusive. The armorer instructor must not only be familiar with the subjects presented, but experienced as well. He or she should have served in a combat arms MOS as an actual user of the equipment, to understand the use of the equipment. A background in maintenance and inspection at the direct support or higher level of maintenance should be mandatory. Formal training in the presentation of instructional materials should likewise be mandatory. Unfortunately, there are no duty positions in the Army, which prepare an individual for this mission. A good infantry NCO does not necessarily make a good maintenance instructor. The maintenance NCO might not know a thing about OPSEC, Physical Security or marksmanship training. The search for a good candidate to teach armorer's courses can be exhaustive and fruitless. Again, this is because like the armorer position, the job does not actually exist, so there are no job standards. When a suitable candidate is found, there is no school that prepares the candidate to teach armorers.


I am presenting this information for the purpose of enlightenment, not criticism. I prefer, since you ostensibly are about to enter the world of armorer duty, that you be given the facts. The fact is, in the Army there is no such position as Unit Armorer. It is an additional assigned duty. There is no such position as Armorer Instructor. It also is an additional assigned duty. What this means in reality is that you, the armorer, will be evaluated on the basis of your performance within your MOS. You must perform all the duties previously mentioned and still perform your MOS duties. The sad news is, you will inherit two full-time jobs, because one is not properly recognized for the fulltime work it requires. I also urge you to understand that I am not being critical of armorer instructors at other installations. If these people were not good at what they do, their respective commanders or supervisors would fire them. I am sure they are the best persons locally available for the job. What I am openly critical of, is the fact that I have no knowledge of who these people are and what qualifications they have, even though I'm one of them.....and neither does the Army! The bottom line is: there is no support structure for this duty like there is for any MOS. There is no standardized training, no advanced training, no central system for the identification of school-trained armorers, no special skills identifier, no kind of recognition system, no patch, no badge, no medal......nothing except hard work, above and beyond that expected of your peers. If you can feel comfortable with all that, then let me personally welcome you to the greatest challenge in the US Army, the unit arms room. The armorer's job is dynamic, difficult, and one of the most important areas of responsibility in the military. The use of military force to settle international disputes is always filled with danger. The nature of battle is such that if one side wins, the other must surely lose. Any soldier who faces an enemy on a battlefield must have reliable equipment and good training. If we do everything else correctly; if we train, feed, house, care for and support the soldier in everything he or she does, but we fail to maintain that soldier's weapon to the highest standard, we have compromised the military mission. When the soldier meets that enemy, the cost of failure can be death. Preventing the failure of weapons on the battlefield is the direct responsibility of the armorer. Since the essence of battle melds into that one moment in time, when foe meets foe, there is no greater responsibility.


Welcome to your new job.


Okay, now that we understand how tough the armorer's job can be, let's discuss what you need to know to succeed. We'll begin by examining those five areas of responsibility previously mentioned in the definition of garrison duty. Files Management The need for a standardized filing system should be readily apparent. Such a system would enable a soldier working in one office to move to a new office and find all needed documentation in the same familiar folders. This not just a matter of convenience, but of military necessity. No one likes to think of himself or herself as being expendable. The Army does not like to think of you that way, either. But let's be honest, we have to expect casualties. That's the nature of battle. If a soldier is lost as a result of an enemy action, that soldier must be replaced. The new soldier needs to become familiar with the work in progress as soon as possible. A standardized file system makes the transition quick and efficient. Even if we are not contending with a combat environment, we still always lose soldiers due to permanent change of station (PCS), end term of service (ETS), promotional reassignment, etc. A good file system allows us to deal with the change while keeping disruption to a minimum. In the arms room, the filing system is a vital part of the management process. The armorer has to handle a large volume of documentation. This material not only provides an historic reference of what you have accomplished, but also provides information to others on current operations and planned maintenance actions. There is a large quantity of technical data associated with weapons. This data can be found in technical manuals, maintenance advisory letters, lubrication orders, safety of use messages, modification work orders, maintenance directives, technical bulletins, and general correspondence. How these documents are maintained is important. They define the essence of the arms room operation. They include policy directives, regulations, and other sources of critical information. These documents have an impact on all levels of activity within an arms room. This is true whether you are a military armorer or a member of a civilian law enforcement agency. The same principles apply, because proper administrative management of the arms room is essential to success.


The method of using and maintaining files is found in Army Regulation 25-4002, the Modern Army Recordkeeping System, or MARKS. This program is easy to understand and use, applies to all files of every type at any location, and is based upon the numbering system used for Army Regulations and other publications. The following information will help to explain the purpose of MARKS: - Provides instructions for the systematic identification, maintenance, storage, retirement and destruction of Army information recorded on any medium (paper, microform, electronic, or any other). - Ensures the Army has the information needed to complete the mission. - Preserves records needed to protect the rights and interests of the Army, its members, and former members. - Provides for the removal of less active records from office space to low-cost storage areas. - Furnishes the only legal authority for destroying Army information. MARKS applies to all unclassified records, including those identified as For Official Use Only (FOUO). It also applies to classified materials identified as CONFIDENTIAL or SECRET. Records that are identified as TOP SECRET may be set up under MARKS, or in any other manner that will make accountability or control easier. Whatever method is used, the disposition instructions found in Army Regulation 25-400-2 will be applied for TOP SECRET records. Most US Army installations have a Directorate of Information Management, or DOIM. This agency is responsible for administering the files policies at the local level. Even if the installation or base you are assigned to is too small to have a functioning DOIM, there is still an office responsible for files oversight. Detailed information on MARKS can be obtained by reading the applicable DA publications, or in many cases by contacting your DOIM or servicing agency with files inspection authority. At Fort Drum we are fortunate enough to have a files management specialist who provides classroom instruction on MARKS. This individual, Mr. Doug Thomas, can be reached at 315-772-6647, or DSN 341-6647. Mr. Thomas is an associate instructor at the Fort Drum Armorer Course, and an invaluable asset to the Fort Drum community. Check with your local DOIM to determine if classes are available to you. I personally believe every soldier in the Army should attend a MARKS class. There is usually no cost for this training.


Publications Management MARKS prescribes the method for filing, controlling and disposing of information. As such, it also determines the manner in which you will maintain publications in your arms rooms. Reference publications must be properly identified as defined by MARKS, and labeled accordingly. However, merely having the publications on hand, and in the correct binders, is only part of your responsibility. Publications have to be inventoried periodically, and the content changes must be posted as needed, to ensure your publications are current and complete. A separate publication, DA Pamphlet 310-13, prescribes the manner for posting content changes. The armorer is required to have technical publications on hand, as they are the source of authority for the application of maintenance procedures. Army Regulation 750-1, titled "Army Material Maintenance Policy and Retail Maintenance Operations", establishes the need for the use of technical manuals at the unit level. Before we can understand how this need is established, we need to look at Army maintenance policy in general. AR 750-1, paragraph 3-8a, states that the Army has four basic levels of maintenance. They are the Unit, Direct Support, General Support, and Depot levels of maintenance. Actually, unit maintenance is broken down further into two categories; operator and organizational maintenance. So, in reality, we have five maintenance levels to contend with. The levels of maintenance are also known as echelons. A number and code letter identifies each echelon as follows: 12345Operator/Crew Maintenance Organizational Maintenance Direct Support Maintenance General Support Maintenance Depot Maintenance Code C Code O Code F Code H Code D Crew Maint. Organizational Field Maint. Heavy Maint. Depot Maint.

The code letters are used in technical manuals to identify specific maintenance procedures, and parts to be replaced, at each individual level or echelon. The echelon numbers, 1 through 5, are used to identify series of publications. The publications address policies and procedures for the particular level of maintenance identified by the series number of the document. The following explanation of the publication numbering system will help you understand the relevance of this information


Let's take technical manuals as an example, because all weapons have technical manuals, and you will deal with them on a daily basis. We'll use as an example, the technical manuals for the Browning .50 caliber M2 machinegun: TM9-1005-213-10 TM9-1005-213-23 TM9-1005-213-23P Are the numbers confusing? They are for most people, because almost no one is trained to understand the TM numbering system. Here's what the above numbers mean: The designation TM means that the publication is a technical manual. All publications have a designator, which tells us what type of document we are dealing with. The following are some of the more commonly encountered designators: TM TB LO SC AR DA PAM GTA CTA TDA TOE MTOE Technical Manual Technical Bulletin Lubrication Order Supply Catalog Army Regulation Department of the Army Pamphlet Graphic Training Aid Common Table of Allowances Tables of Distribution and Allowances Table of Organization and Equipment Modification Table of Organization and Equipment

So, since our reference publication is a technical manual, it begins with the designator TM. The number 9 refers to the proponent agency, the organization responsible for the development of the included policies or doctrine. In the case of the .50 caliber machinegun, the designator TM9 means that the proponent agency for this machinegun is: The US Army Tank-Automotive/Armament Command, Armament and Chemical Acquisition and Logistics Activity, Rock Island Arsenal, IL. You can see it is much easier to use TM9 as the designator, rather than having to print the full name of that agency every time a reference to it is made. There are different designators for different proponent agencies, such as "1" for Aviation, "3" for Chemical, "5" for Engineer, "7" for Infantry, "9" for Ordnance, and so on.


Okay, so good. We understand TM9. The next item in our example of the .50 caliber machinegun is the number 1005. This second element is known as the Federal Supply Class. Every item of type-classified and standardized materiel in the US Federal Supply System falls into an FSC category. Some examples would be: FSC 1000: FSC 1005: FSC 1010: FSC 1340: FSC 1370: FSC 4240: FSC 6920: Small Arms (general classification) Small Arms to 30mm (specific items) Small Arms above 30mm (again, specific items) Anti-Tank Weapons Pryotechnics Chemical-Biological masks and equipment Training Aids and Devices

There are literally thousands of FSC's, covering many types of equipment. There are some in the 1000-series (1000 to 1099) for mortars, howitzers, selfpropelled howitzers and so on. Let's catch up to our .50 caliber machinegun example so far: TM9-1005 (it's an Ordnance TM, for small arms up to 30mm) The next element is the item identifier, which allows us to single out an individual piece of equipment within the same FSC as another item. For instance, FSC 1005 includes all rifles, machineguns, shotguns, pistols, revolvers; in fact, any firearm less than 30mm in terms of bore diameter. The item identifier is usually a 3-digit number, and in the case of the .50 caliber machinegun, the number is 213. This identifies it among other .50 caliber machineguns as the Browning .50 caliber M2 machinegun. This number is sequential in nature. It means that of all the items in this FSC, the Browning M2 is the 213th item in the FSC requiring a technical manual. If we were to have 500 items in an FSC that required a TM, the last TM would be number 500. If we added another, and it required a TM, it would be number 501, etc. Not every item in an FSC requires a TM. For instance, there is a stock number for a paper clip, but no technical manual for it. So the item identifier is merely an indicator of what items in an FSC require a TM, and what particular item it happens to be. Our example so far tells us: TM9-1005-213 (Ordnance TM, small arms to 30mm, 213th item) Of course, the 213th item happens to be the Browning M2 machinegun. All of the TM's relating to the Browning M2 machinegun will therefore begin with TM91005-213, regardless of what level of maintenance they cover.


Next we come to the maintenance level indicator, which tells us several things. First, it describes which level(s) of maintenance the manual is written for. Do you recall the levels of maintenance described earlier? Ignoring the codes for a moment, let's identify each level of maintenance by its respective number, 1 through 5: 12345Operator/Crew Maintenance Organizational Maintenance Direct Support Maintenance General Support Maintenance Depot Maintenance

The maintenance level indicator tells us which levels of maintenance activity the manual addresses. It is a two-digit number. The first digit tells us the lowest maintenance level included in the publication. The second number tells us the highest maintenance level included. If the second number is a zero ("0"), this means that the publication is written for the level indicated by the first digit only. 102030405012131415232425343545Operator manual only Organizational manual only Direct Support manual only General Support manual only Depot manual only Operator and Organizational manual Operator, Organizational and Direct Support manual Operator, Organizational, Direct Support and General Support manual Operator, Organizational, Direct Support, General Support and Depot manual Organizational and Direct Support manual Organizational, Direct Support, and General Support manual Organizational, Direct Support, General Support and Depot manual Direct Support and General Support manual Direct Support, General Support and Depot Manual General Support and Depot Manual

So the Browning .50 caliber M2 machinegun technical manual for the Organizational and Direct support levels of maintenance would bring us to: TM9-1005-213-23 (Ordnance TM, small arms to 30mm, 213th item (the Browning .50 caliber M2 machinegun), Organizational and Direct Support Maintenance Procedures)


Now there are several items left to discuss. The first one is whether or not the letter "P", for "parts" is included. If, at the end of the maintenance level indicator, we see the letter "P", this indicates that parts diagrams and listings are included. If the letter "P" immediately follows the second digit, as in "23P", it indicates that the manual contains only parts diagrams and listings. Manuals that contain both maintenance instructions and parts data are indicated by the placement of an ampersand (&) between the second digit and the letter "P", as in "23&P". Examples would be: TM9-1005-213-23P Parts and Special Tools Listing for the Browning M2 .50 Caliber Machinegun TM9-1005-213-23 Organizational and DS Maintenance Manual for the Browning M2 .50 Caliber Machinegun Organizational and DS Maintenance Manual, Including Repair Parts and Special Tools Listing, for the Pistol, 9mm, M9 Organizational and Direct Support Repair


Remember that if the letter "P" is absent, there is no parts listing. Just the letter "P" means that there is only a parts listing, and no maintenance instructions. Also, the inclusion of the ampersand (&) and the letter "P" means both maintenance instructions and parts listings are included. There are some pieces of equipment so complex that multiple TM's are needed. This should be obvious from observing that some weapons have a TM dedicated to maintenance instructions and another to parts listings. However, there are TM's with such large amounts of maintenance instructions that they need to be broken down into different volumes. When this is necessary, the volume numbers are shown at the end of the designator, separated by a virgule. What's a virgule? You probably know it by the common slang term: slash. It looks like this - "/". So a TM broken into three volumes would have the symbols /1, /2, and /3 at the end of the TM designator. You will become more familiar with the numbering system as you work with it. After a while, the numbers will seem less important. What is important is making sure you have the current technical data on hand.


At the time of this writing, the DOD is making the transition to Electronic Manuals. It's about time! Private industry made the change many years ago, and the savings this system affords should be obvious. On the surface, it appears as though they save a lot of printing and distribution costs. My experience with the current EM's is that they are not efficient enough in terms of printing out the documentation when it's needed in the hands of a soldier. For instance, they print out blank pages, wasting paper. Operator manuals, which are usually small enough to fit in a shirt pocket, are now 8.5 by 11 inches in size. Also, the programs that manage the EM's only permit printing on one side of the page, since computer printers don't print to both sides of a page. The end result is that an operator manual, any operator manual, uses 8 times as much paper, since each page is four times the normal size, and only prints to one side. Is that efficient? Not by my estimation, but who am I to judge? After all, the distribution costs alone probably justify the use of the electronic medium. If you are on-line, you can even download the TM's. This eliminates the need for a distribution system totally. The big benefit to electronic manuals is that the need for conducting traditional, time-consuming inventories will be reduced. Each CD-ROM will have the most current data. All you need to do is make sure you have the most current disc. In addition to the current publications and all applicable changes, you must also subscribe to the TB43-0001-62-series, the TACOM Equipment Improvement Report Digest. This publication includes late-breaking technical information and changes resulting from product improvements. Within the EIR Digest will be information on the current recommendations to improve equipment such as your unit weapons. The suggestions are printed along with investigation results, engineering reports, and actual changes to TM technical data. These changes might not appear in an actual change to a TM for a long time, so you need the EIR Digest to be absolutely current on the Army's maintenance standards for your weapons and combat equipment. Now that you know how to decode TM designators, the question arises; "What must I have on hand in my arms room library?" The following four pages will sum up all of the preceding information on the publications needed in the arms room.


Earlier in this section I stated that AR 750-1 required the use of technical manuals by unit personnel. In my classes, and in the course of my routine duties, Persons who want to know why they need so many TM's on hand frequently challenge me. Let's discuss this in detail. Paragraph 2-28 of AR 750-1 (1 August 1994) provides the following mandates, excerpted and given verbatim as appears here: 2-28. Commanders at all levels will a. Emphasize the importance of maintenance and ensure that subordinates are held accountable for the conduct of maintenance operations. Maintenance is a command responsibility. c. Emphasize the conduct and supervision of PMCS performed at the unit level. Material will be maintained at the maintenance standard specified in paragraph 3-1a. (Author's note: for reference and clarity, the first two sentences of paragraph 3-1a state: "The Army has one maintenance standard. The maintenance standard is based on TM 10 and 20-series, PMCS". PMCS, of course, refers to Preventive Maintenance Checks and Services, which are conducted by unit-level personnel.) e. Establish, maintain and conduct training of operators and crews to properly use and maintain equipment. o. Ensure that all unit level PMCS as required by the -20 level TM's to include all DS level services are scheduled and performed. AR 750-1 makes it clear that all unit level PMCS will be conducted to one standard: the one found in the equipment TM. This includes operator and organizational level maintenance tasks. Literal requirements for the use of the TM by the armorer are found in paragraph 3-9c, which states: c. Unit mechanics will use the TM 10- and 20- series to identify and repair faults. The TM 20-series PMCS tables are used to perform scheduled PMCS services that sustain and extend the combat capable time of the equipment. Where does one find the requirement for a TM for each operator or item of equipment?


The need for operators using the TM 10-series is also found in AR 750-1, paragraphs 3-9a and 3-9b as shown here: a. Unit maintenance is the first and most critical level of the Army maintenance system. It is the foundation of the maintenance system and requires continuous emphasis by all commanders. Commanders must establish a command climate that ensures that assigned equipment is maintained to the maintenance standard defined in paragraph 3-1a above. Commanders are responsible for providing resources, assigning responsibility, and training their soldiers to achieve this standard. b. The cornerstone of unit maintenance is the operator/crew performing PMCS from the applicable TM 10-series. The before and during PMCS checks concentrate on ensuring equipment is fully mission capable (FMC). Faults detected during before operations checks that make the equipment not FMC or violate a safety directive must be corrected before the mission. Faults detected during the mission affecting FMC must be corrected during the mission. Faults detected before or during the mission not affecting FMC may be corrected, if time permits, or recorded/reported for correction after the mission. After operations checks detect faults resulting from the mission and ensure the identification and correction of faults to maintain the equipment to the maintenance standard. So, a literal reading of these paragraphs tells us that the commander must create a climate in which maintenance is performed to the PMCS standard. The operator must perform maintenance checks according to the TM 10-series PMCS tables. And, the checks are a continual process. The operator must continue to make checks before, during and after the use of the equipment, and using the operator level TM. In order to meet this requirement, the operator must have the TM is his or her possession, because it must be used to conduct PMCS while the equipment is being operated! Translation: you need one operator TM for each operator, because in the field environment (where the weapon is actually used), the operator needs to perform the during operation checks. So, if your arms room has 160 M16A2 rifles, you need 160 M16A2 operator manuals, one per operator/rifle combination. As for the TM 20-series manuals, you should only keep one on hand. The manual is to be used only by the armorer, and should never be given to the operators. Organizational maintenance can only be performed at the 2nd echelon level by trained, qualified and appointed personnel. This excludes the operators from performing organizational PMCS. As a result, only one organizational manual is really needed.


The exception to this would be in a unit where there is an assistant armorer who desires his or her own copies of the TM's, or in a consolidated arms room where each armorer from each unit must have his or her own publications. This is because the units sharing an arms room in garrison will probably deploy to different locations, and each unit will need its own manuals. Okay, you know how to decode TM designators, how to conduct inventories, how many copies you need on hand, and why you need the EIR digest in the arms room. Now we'll cover the last, and most important items concerning publications; how to keep them current. This applies to printed manuals only. Several pages earlier, I mentioned DA Pamphlet 310-13. The title of this manual is "Army Publications, Posting and Filing of Publications." This manual prescribes the manner in which changes to publications are posted. Posting a change means to actually go to the basic publication, and cross out, remove, and/or replace information on the pages therein. There are two primary means of making changes to publications; they are called pen-and-ink changes, and page changes. Pen-and-ink changes involve the looking up of the old information, crossing it out, and then writing in the new information. Obviously this is useful only where there are minor changes to be made. Otherwise, the pages would be cluttered with scribble and become illegible after a while. Page changes usually arrive in the form of a small booklet made of individual pages stapled together. The first pages will be instruction pages that tell you how to post the changed information. They will typically tell you to remove page X and replace it with page Z, and so on. All you need do is remove the staples from the manual, remove the old pages, and put in the new ones. Unfortunately, in my many years of inspection experience, the overwhelming majority of unit armorers do a dismal job of maintaining current manuals. They usually receive the changes and just put them in the binder, in front of the basic publication, without posting the changes. Sorry, but if I inspect your arms room and find the changes not properly posted, you get no credit for having them at all. Reading the instructions on the first pages, as well as those in DA Pamphlet 310-13, makes doing the job easy. It only takes a few minutes. After you change the pages, put the word "posted", the date you accomplished the change, and your initials on the page change cover sheet. Then post that sheet in front of the manual to prove that the information has been placed within the TM. That's all there is to it.


Also, you must use the manual when performing PMCS. Why? Just because the technical data may have changed since you last read the book. The armorer who attempts to memorize the PMCS tables will be doomed, because the data in the tables is subject to change so often. In addition to the equipment TM, and all the changes thereto, and the EIR Digest, there is another significant source of relevant maintenance information. This is the PS Magazine, which is actually a Technical Bulletin, in the TB 43-PS series. Are you familiar with PS Magazine? It is a small, hip-pocket sized publication which is in a sort of "cartoon" format. It stars MSG Half-Mast and a cast of other familiar cartoon characters. Many soldiers don't really take this publication seriously, because of its design and image. The information contained within, however, is certainly valid form a technical point of view. Since it is printed monthly, there is usually updated information in the section on small arms. On the top of page one is a disclaimer which states that the use of the information contained within an issue is optional with the user. Honestly, I can not understand the disclaimer, since the content is approved by the relative proponent agencies. Since it is an official publication, and the content is approved by the appropriate agencies, it seems that this would therefore be a source of official data for the user community. I am frequently challenged by persons who state, rightly so, that the use of the information appearing in this technical bulletin is optional. This results in my having to go to reference publications to find the actual source of authority for a maintenance procedure. Since I have had to do this "reverse referencing" many dozens of times, I can state with certainty that anything appearing in PS Magazine is definitely printed in the appropriate source documents. Therefore, read the PS Magazine and apply the information it contains. Also be aware that each year they print a summary of all the articles appearing in that year's issues. Make sure you keep copies of the annual article summary. It can make finding information a lot easier when you need to research a particular piece of information. Finally, make sure your publications are maintained in sturdy, waterproof binders. The reason for this is simple. When the unit goes to the field, so do the manuals. Publications that are torn, weathered, page-worn, or which have missing pages should be replaced. Information in all your publications needs to be legible and complete, in order to be useful.


Supply Management In many arms room inspections, I have found most areas to be in full compliance with the intent and letter of the applicable regulations, yet I still find problems with the management of the arms room. One of the most glaring deficiencies is in the area of supply management. The Army supply system is not difficult to understand. It is a demandsupported system, meaning that you only get what you ask for. The stocking of parts, tools, lubricants, cleaning materials and other needed items is based upon customer demand. If the system has no requirement for a green widget, there will be no green widgets in stock. Order several hundred green widgets every month, and you'll find the warehouse overflowing with green widgets in the very near future. This is the same method by which commercial retailers operate their businesses. If the customer stops purchasing a certain item, the retailer drops it from the inventory, because no one wants it. Think about it: how many hula-hoop repair kits have you seen on store shelves recently? I have to admit that some armorers constantly amaze me when it comes to the area of supply management. I do not know how someone can take something so simple, and make it so complicated! Usually, I find many arms rooms lacking in the basic supplies they need to sustain training and contingency operations. I hear these excuses all the time: "The unit is out of funds...." "The Self-Service Supply Center was out of stock...." "I didn't have time to re-order it...." "We're not authorized to have that stuff on hand...." All of the foregoing excuses are without merit. Monetary appropriations are based on unit size, mission, mobilization requirements, type of equipment used, number of vehicles operated, and other common factors. If you find that there is never enough money to support the arms room operation, something else is wrong. It is probable that not enough emphasis is being placed on arms room needs when the unit budget is looked at. You can help to cure that problem by being a vocal advocate, using the wisdom of the old adage, "the squeaky wheel gets the grease."


The meaning of this is simple; you will not get something unless someone knows you need it. Most times, I find the armorer has taken no steps to inform management of his or her needs. The end result is the excuse that the unit can not afford it. I honestly believe that you will not find a single Unit Commander, First Sergeant or Supply Sergeant who thinks the arms room is unimportant. These personnel hold their positions because of their training, experience, proven abilities and personal commitment to excellence. None of them considers the weapons in your arms room unimportant. Each one of them knows that those weapons are the reason we have an Army in the first place. If you find you are usually waiting at the end of the line for supplies or equipment, you need to communicate your problem up through your chain of command. Often I see unit armorers complain about the lack of funds, when every other aspect of the unit supply operation seems to be well organized, efficient, and well funded. This tells me that the problem is not the supply system or financial resources. More than likely, it's the armorer's fault. Self-Service Supply Centers (SSSC's) stock common tools, equipment and cleaning materials. The unit, using unit funds purchases these items. It is true that you sometimes go to the SSSC site, and find that they are out of a particular item you need. This does not mean that the item is unavailable. It means that you have to go back after a week or so has elapsed, to see if a shipment has arrived. Also, talk to your SSSC manager about availability of an item you need. Again, you must let people know what you need if you expect to get it. There is always time to procure what you need, if you anticipate your operational requirements. Prior planning is essential to all successful military operations, and that includes supply management as well. You should always maintain on hand the amount of supplies and equipment needed to sustain 30 days' operation under field conditions. Therefore, there should never be an excuse for running out of something, as long as you anticipate your needs. And, what about the excuse that you are not authorized to have something on hand? Well, this is an easy one to answer. The back of each technical manual has a listing of materials and supplies authorized for the maintenance of the equipment covered by the TM. It is usually found in Appendix D, depending on the format of the manual. If it appears in the manual, and is indicated for your level of maintenance, you are authorized to have it on hand in the arms room. With the current downsizing (at the time of this writing) taking place within the Department of Defense, things are changing. How the supply system will evolve is not presently known.


Downsizing is a reality. The re-defining of global threats in the post-Soviet era is driving it. Changes will take place and the system as we know it now might be radically different in a few years. Currently, supply operations information is codified within the 710-series of Army publications. The entire system is being evaluated for change, so keep abreast of things, and always refer to the current doctrine to make sure you follow proper acquisition procedures. Here at Fort Drum, we went through a re-organization of our local SSSC, and they eventually re-established the system similar to the way it was set up originally. The "re-engineering" seemed to not be as effective as the proponents of change stated it would be. Change for the sake of change is not always beneficial. At the present time, many installations are under what is known as a "commercial activities study", or CA study. This is a study the DOD conducts to determine if it is least expensive to contract out a function, or keep it in-house. DOD leadership is currently calling for the elimination of tens of thousands of DOD civilian jobs, and additional rounds of base closures in the years 2001 and 2005. All of this will have an impact on you, the military armorer. By necessity, the DOD needs to become more efficient, since the cost of military operations continues to climb. However this efficiency is attained, the system will have to change to accommodate it. The end result, which will be noticed at the user level (that's you!), will probably be in the support structures involved in the general logistics field. Logistics deals with three specific areas of activity; supply, transportation and maintenance. You might obtain everything you need from a local contract vendor, such as Sears or J.C. Penney. The move to the use of the IMPAC credit card for unit local purchases is an example of this trend. It is also possible that contractors will establish their own warehousing and supply operations right on military installations. If the operations are kept inhouse, meaning DOD civilian employees will continue in their present status, you should expect more streamlined business methods to be employed. DOD agencies will have to cut back the number of employees, and may employ only temporary, seasonal, on-call, or contingency-justified personnel. Hours of operation may be fewer, and support services may be less than what you are used to.


I wish I could provide more guidance than this, but I have no extra-sensory powers, and have no more ability to read the future than you do. Keep up with the changes in policies and implementing regulations. One thing is certain: the changes will alter the way you handle supply issues right now As far as current Unit Supply Procedures are concerned, there exists excellent guidance on the subject. It appears in DA Pamphlet 710-2-1, the title of which is "Using Unit Supply System Manual Procedures." This publication covers how to request and receive supplies, how to account for items, repair parts procedures, inspection and inventory procedures, and much more. For a greater understanding of the logic behind this publication, check AR 7102. Both of these publications appear in the most recent SUPPLY UPDATE, and at this time the most recent issue is Supply Update 14. DA Pam 710-1-1 explains the term PLL. This is an acronym that means Prescribed Load List. The PLL is the quantity of repair parts kept on hand to support a unit's daily organizational maintenance requirements. This is normally for a pre-determined number of days of supply. Every unit that is authorized personnel, tools and equipment to perform maintenance, will usually keep a PLL. Normally, you will never maintain your own PLL items in your arms room, for different reasons. The physical security of gun parts, which are easily pilfered and sold at gun shows, is one such reason. For non-Army personnel, your agency policies will determine the availability and access of small arms parts. What you must understand about a PLL is that it is demand supported. An item will be stocked and maintained in your PLL, only if there have been a sufficient number of historical demands for the item. The item must also be appropriate to your level of maintenance, with an essentiality code of "C". Active duty Army units must submit three demands for an item within a 180-day control period, in order to qualify for PLL stockage. Army Reserve and Army National Guard units have a 360-day control period in which to submit the necessary demands. This is, of course, based on policy at the time of this writing, which is subject to change in the future. Again, make sure you refer to the current doctrine. Regardless of the number of items you might require in a PLL, the unit can not have a total of more than 300 items in its' entire PLL. There are exceptions as explained in DA Pam 710-2-1, Chapter 8, Section 1, but don't count on being given any policy waivers. There must be a demonstrated need for an item before it can be added to your PLL.


This is why it is so important to use the supply system properly. When you hoard parts or swap them with a buddy, you subvert the system. Demands will not be shown in the system according to your actual usage. Then when you really need a part, it won't be there, because you have not shown a consistent demand over time for that particular item. Remember that you are authorized by the equipment TM to maintain certain items on hand in the arms room. These are not PLL items. PLL items are the parts you need to make repairs. The items you are authorized to have on hand are found in Appendix D in the back section of most technical manuals. Using the maintenance level codes discussed earlier (page 15), you may keep on hand any items with a maintenance level code of "C" or "O". These are items used by the operator and armorer. Find the codes in column two of the table in Appendix D, commonly titled "Expendable/Durable supplies and Materials List." Remember also to maintain a 30-day supply, which is tailored to your unit's field requirements. Keep in mind that in the field your weapons will get dirtier, be fired, etc. Do not base your requirements on a typical month's usage in the arms room, or you will fall short of what you actually need in the field. In addition to the items found in this listing, you must also maintain the required Basic Issue Items (BII) or Additional Authorization List (AAL) items as found in the back of the operator TM. These items include cleaning rods, magazines, slings, patches, tool cases, barrel bags and so on. Do not assume the operator has what he or she needs, even if you have issued it to that person. Things get lost, misplaced, stolen, broken or worn out. Make sure you have everything you will need to sustain operations in the field. Lastly, you must be mindful of the fact that there are items prohibited in the arms room. These items include homemade tools, unauthorized cleaning agents (brake cleaner, carburetor cleaner, 409, etc.), unauthorized cleaning materials (wire brushes, green pads, etc.), and commercial cleaning items not approved by the Department of the Army. Here's the simple rule concerning these materials: Don't buy any, don't store any, and don't use any! You are only authorized to use those items appearing in the technical manual or otherwise approved by the Army.


The reasons are many and varied. First, if you use an unauthorized material or cleaning agent, you can do physical damage to the weapon. Many of today's weapons have hi-tech finishes which do not tolerate chemicals like brake cleaner being repeatedly used on their surfaces. Regardless of what someone tells you, the use of these items is strictly forbidden. Also, the fact that people have been doing it for years does not justify anything, either. The fact is, they've been violating Army policy for years! If you use one of the unauthorized cleaning agents or materials, and damage your weapon, the Army might expect the unit to pay for the damage out of unit funds. This is especially true if the use of unauthorized procedures is encouraged within the unit. Second, these items are not authorized because they can have deadly, injurious, or carcinogenic (cancer causing) effects. Many of these chemicals are toxic (read the label), flammable (read the label), explosive in confined spaces if ignited (read the label), carcinogenic (read the label), or classified as hazardous materials (read the label). Are you getting the point about reading the label? I made some subtle hints about it in the preceding paragraph, for very good reasons. One of them is called the DOD Hazard Communication Program. This policy, applying to all branches of the DOD, states that a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) will be maintained in each work area where hazardous chemicals or materials are used. Has your squad leader provided you with the MSDS for that can of brake cleaner? Probably not, since the use of that item is prohibited in the arms room. Do you know the hazards associated with this chemical compound? Have you read the label warnings? How about the fact that any flammable, toxic, dangerous or explosive material must be stored and handled in accordance with Army fire prevention regulations? The items must be maintained in certain types of facilities or specially designed cabinets, and the areas in which they are stored must be placarded and identified to firefighters and emergency personnel. The installation's Fire Inspectors must approve the storage. What about the fact that there is no ventilation in any arms room, and all of these products require "adequate ventilation"? When is the last time you visited an arms room with windows or an air purification system? When you spray that stuff in your arms room, you re-cycle it through your lungs. You don't need a chemistry or biology degree to know that breathing cancer-causing solvents is not a wise thing to do.


Also, when you use these chemicals, residue is left on the surface of your weapon. When you fire your weapon at the range and it heats up, the chemical cooks off. Your nose is right over the weapon, and you inhale the vapor created. Do you recall, from your chemical warfare classes, the methods by which chemicals attack your body? Absorption: Ingestion: Inhalation: Through the skin or mucous membranes Through the mouth or nose, to the stomach Through the mouth or nose, to the lungs

Of the three methods, inhalation is most dangerous, since with the other two we need to actually touch the material or swallow it. With inhalation, all we need to do is breathe and it invades our body. Think about it; it's sort of necessary to breathe, so the likelihood of your inhaling a chemical in a contaminated area is very high, especially if you are ignorant of the danger. Some compounds take years to do their damage, but the end results can be deadly. A final point or two about supply: when broken down to its essential elements, the supply cycle is extremely simple to understand. Here is a simple explanation of the supply system at the user level: 1. You determine you need something 2. You order it 3. The order is shipped and you receive it 4. You use the item 5. As you need more, you re-order it That's all there is to it. But can you see where most people fail? Step 5 is usually ignored until the entire on-hand stock is exhausted. By simply anticipating demands, you can prevent depletion of the items on hand. Conducting routine inventories can prevent shortfalls. The end result of such a policy is the availability of needed items at all times. Regardless of how simple this seems, many armorers fall short in this single aspect of supply management: the ability to properly forecast requirements and maintain adequate stockage of needed items. In your arms room, you generally will work without direct supervision. This does not mean that you will not have a supervisor. But it does imply that the boss is not always there, managing your daily activities. As such, it is important that you set up a management program that prevents you from overlooking an important task.


One method the Army is using to deal with this problem is ULLS. The acronym stands for "Unit Level Logistics System", and is a computer system using special software that tracks maintenance and supply actions. ULLS is the Army's means of moving into an information-based electronic data tracking system at the unit level. ULLS is effective and efficient, but has limitations. For instance, an ULLS Specialist enters data into the system. This person can only input the data that you provide. Therefore, if your data is incorrect, incomplete or inadequate, the system will not reflect the true scope of your operation. Also, the ULLS system is not located in the arms room. This means you have to collect all the data needed for the ULLS clerk, and submit that data for input into the system. So, you still need to use paper-based forms anyway, to collect the data. And, when the unit goes to the field, there may be times when the ULLS system is not available. The ULLS system tracks organizational maintenance. Operator maintenance of small arms will still have to be recorded on an inspection form, and maintained by the armorer outside the ULLS system. Eventually, these issues will be addressed, with the possibility of portable or laptop computers being issued to the armorer at some time in the future. But for the present, the system used by the armorer is manual in nature. It involves the filling out of forms, the filing of documents in folders, and the submission of maintenance requisitions. All of these activities will be your personal responsibility, and must be accomplished without direct supervision. There is a system for tracking maintenance actions on a scheduled basis, as we will learn in the next section. When all else fails, ask your Supply Sergeant. I really sympathize with supply NCO's. They have a tough, demanding job that goes unappreciated by most people. As an armorer, you need to have a strong working relationship with your Unit Supply Sergeant. Often, he or she will be your first-line supervisor. In this case, a good rapport obviously benefits both parties. Your Supply Sergeant earned that position by being proficient, and should be able to answer almost any supply question. Remember that the responsibility for keeping the arms room properly supplied and functioning in the correct manner is yours, and yours alone. You can expect help from your superiors, but don't expect that anyone else will do your job for you.


Maintenance Management The proper management of maintenance actions is essential to the successful operation of an arms room. Merely possessing the ability to perform repairs does not guarantee that the work gets done. A comprehensive maintenance plan will ensure that required tasks are scheduled and completed. Using such a plan can prevent you from overlooking something critical. Considering the sheer volume of work that must be done in the arms room, it is easy to forget a required task. The information needed to establish a maintenance program for your arms room is found in the Maintenance Management UPDATE. This publication includes AR 750-1, which establishes maintenance policy, and DA Pam 738750, which implements those instructions. Make sure you are using the current issue! Maintenance actions are scheduled on DD Form 314, titled "Preventive Maintenance Schedule and Record." This form is merely a scheduling calendar that provides for the entering of specific information concerning the equipment for which it is used. The use of the DD 314 is required for any item that has periodic maintenance requirements, established by its respective organizational maintenance manual. A separate DD 314 may be used for each item in your arms room, or you may combine up to 20 identical items on one form. However, the maintenance for all the items appearing on the DD 314 must be done at the same time. Therefore you may find that scheduling the disassembly and inspection of 20 machineguns on the same day is a bit challenging. The intelligent armorer divides and balances the workload to prevent stress that can contribute to errors. The DD 314 is ordinarily used only to schedule organizational maintenance such as Preventive Maintenance Checks and Services, or PMCS. However, you should also schedule events such as mandatory annual safety and serviceability inspections of your unit weapons. Also use this form to schedule the mandatory 180 day verification inspections for all your night vision devices. Concerning inspections, let's get specific about what they are and how they should occur. There are many different types of inspections, each with a specific purpose.


Command Inspections are conducted to provide unit commanders with an assessment of the capabilities of the units or personnel under their command. A command inspection will often look at the entire operation of a military organization. This includes OPSEC, training, morale and welfare, social actions, maintenance, supply, and other major organizational functions. Usually teams composed of subject-matter experts from varied areas of interest conduct these inspections. They may require several days to complete, and may also involve a formal in-brief and out-brief, as well as written summaries of findings. Annual Safety and Serviceability inspections are special inspections of equipment to determine its suitability for military use. As the name implies, they are conducted to determine whether an item meets required safety standards and maintenance specifications. The mandatory annual small arms inspections should be conducted according to TM standards, to include not only the use of all gages authorized, but also a disassembly of the weapon. During this disassembly, the inspector should look for any obvious defects, enter findings on the DA 2404, then reassemble and function check the weapon. The armorer is the individual responsible for scheduling this annual inspection. The units providing your Direct Support or General Support maintenance functions do not normally maintain a schedule of units to inspect. It will have to be your personal initiative that gets this critical inspection accomplished. Technical Inspections are normally conducted to determine the suitability of an item for turn-in or issue through the supply system. Supply condition codes are assigned, and a tag that indicates the supply status of the item is affixed to it. A technical inspection involves a complete maintenance evaluation of an item, to include all components thereof. Quality Assurance Inspections may be part of the repair or rebuild process, or may be conducted on items within the supply system. They determine whether items have deteriorated or reached the end of their life cycle. Some items, such as chemical compounds used in cleaning and repair, have a maximum life span known as shelf life. After a certain amount of time their age prevents them from performing properly. QA inspections may be sampling inspections, meaning that a representative quantity is inspected. If any defects are found, the entire quantity on hand will then normally be inspected. Sampling keeps the cost of inspections down, and provides fairly reliable results.


Surveillance Inspections are normally conducted by QASAS personnel. The acronym stands for Quality Assurance Specialist for Ammunition Surveillance. QASAS inspectors work at ammunition supply points, depots and ammunition plants, to guarantee that the munitions issued to soldiers are safe and combat ready. Their function is highly technical and can be dangerous, and their training is extensive and challenging. If a QASAS inspector tells you to do it! Compliance Inspections are conducted to determine conformity to written policies or regulations. An example would be a Physical Security Inspection. Accredited personnel, usually assigned to the Provost Marshal Office conduct these. Other compliance inspections might include Safety Equipment Inspections (SEI's), or roadside spot checks. These inspections determine whether equipment in use or operating techniques comply with safety standards. Maintenance Inspections are usually conducted in a shop environment. This is due to the requirements for special tools and fixtures that are sometimes used. There are several different types of maintenance inspections: Acceptance Inspections are conducted upon receipt of an item. They are conducted to determine whether an item is complete, clean and/or serviceable. Some acceptance inspections are done when a new item is received, others are done when you are turning in an item with a maintenance request. In the case of turning in a weapon for maintenance, the weapons must be cleaned prior to turnin. This is necessary for certain gaging steps to be accomplished during the subsequent initial inspection. Initial inspections are bench inspections conducted to determine the total condition of an item submitted for repair or ECOD (Estimated Cost of Damage) evaluation. The item will be completely disassembled, visually inspected, gaged and tested according to strict technical requirements. Any faults found will be annotated, and either repaired or referred to the appropriate maintenance level for action. In-process inspections, also called inline inspections are conducted as an item is being repaired or overhauled. Very often a problem will be discovered during the repair or rebuild of a component, that could not be found during the initial inspection. This may be due to the fact that some assemblies are not routinely broken down for initial inspections, or may result from a problem occurring during the repair cycle. The inspection worksheet is amended, and additional parts needed are ordered and replaced.


Final inspections are conducted on an item when it has been through the maintenance process. This ensures the quality of the work meets established Army criteria. The final inspection process usually includes a full function check of the item, and re-checking with all appropriate gages and test fixtures. Sometimes a weapon must also be test-fired during final inspection, to determine accuracy and proper function. PMCS inspections are conducted by unit personnel at the operator and organizational levels. PMCS stands for Preventive Maintenance Checks and Services. As the name implies, the focus here is to prevent problems. Accordingly, PMCS inspections are conducted routinely according to a schedule mandated by the equipment TM or unit SOP. PMCS is the foundation of the Army maintenance effort. More than 90% of all maintenance problems are detectable and repairable at the organizational level. Proper PMCS inspections will prevent most problems from occurring in the field. As a unit armorer you must be familiar with the nature and intent of inspections. In fact, you serve as your unit's quality assurance inspector. As the armorer, you have special responsibilities and training that make you best qualified to perform this function. The armorer is appointed by the unit commander to serve as the unit organizational maintenance specialist for the items contained within the arms room. Only personnel trained and appointed to this duty position can perform this level of work. Operators may not perform organizational maintenance functions. They may assist the armorer by disassembling, cleaning and layout of their weapons, but the organizational level PMCS may be conducted only by the unit armorer or assistant armorer. This means the armorer must perform PMCS for every weapon and item of equipment in the arms room, including unassigned equipment. First line leaders and supervisors such as squad leaders, section leaders and platoon sergeants have the authority and responsibility to supervise the work of their subordinates, and to inspect that work. That should not be confused with the organizational maintenance inspection responsibilities of the armorer. They are separate and distinct functions.


The armorer represents the interests of the commander in the arms room. This is because the assets in that arms room are the ultimate responsibility of the unit commander. As an appointee designated by the unit commander, the armorer is directly representing the commander. His or her conduct must be exemplary and professional in all aspects. The armorer must display tact in dealing with first line leaders and supervisors whenever necessary. Difficulties invariably result from the misconception that the armorer is interfering with the authority of a troop leader. The armorer must make the individual NCO or officer involved understand the requirements of the armorer position. It is not uncommon for a troop leader to feel that the armorer is challenging his or her authority by re-inspecting a weapon before accepting it into the arms room. However, the armorer is required to check all weapons before taking possession of them. This is for logical reasons, the most important of which is the fact that the transfer of possession of a firearm is a custody transaction. When the armorer accepts a weapon and returns the issue card to the operator, there is an assumption of responsibility. This assumption of responsibility means that while the weapon is in the possession of the armorer, he or she is responsible for its care and condition. The same is true when the operator possesses the weapon. If the armorer fails to inspect a weapon when it is turned in to the arms room, it is possible that the weapon may have parts missing or maintenance deficiencies. In this case, the armorer has just assumed responsibility for these problems. If you fail to inspect a weapon and accept it with faults, and are then inspected by a higher echelon, the problem is now your problem, not the operator's. The operator can always claim ignorance of the problem and state that it happened while the weapon was in your possession. As a result, an operator can intentionally turn in a weapon he knows to be defective, and deny the responsibility for it...because it was in your possession. All because you failed to inspect it on acceptance. It should be easy to understand then, why the armorer has inspection authority and responsibility. It is a function of the proper stewardship I mentioned earlier. It should not be difficult to explain this to an individual who feels you are directly challenging his or her authority when you re-inspect a weapon at the arms room door.


So, I hope this clarifies the subject of inspections; what they are, when they are conducted, and by whom. Let's move on to a related topic, the use of the DA Form 2404, the "Equipment Inspection and Maintenance Worksheet." The specific instructions on the use of the DA 2404 are found within DA Pam 738-750, Chapter 3, paragraph 3-4. Again, there will be no re-invention here, but a caution to refer to the guidance in the governing directive. I will, instead, provide certain highlights for your use of the form. To begin with, always use the DA 2404 whenever conducting any inspection, no matter how simple or trivial it might seem. Remember that the written word lasts longer than the best memory. Very often you will be interrupted while working on a weapon. Writing down your findings will make sure they are not overlooked. This will permit others, like the assistant armorer, to continue or add to your efforts. Always use the carbon paper and make a second copy. This way, if you turn in a DA 2404 with a maintenance request, you will be protected against the loss of the original by having a record of all your findings. Always leave a blank line between entries, so that maintenance personnel will have the space they need to make their entries on the form when your weapons are repaired. Also, the blank line might be needed if a status symbol change is made. You must always keep the most recent DA 2404 used during PMCS on hand for inspection or quality control purposes. When a DA 2404 is returned with your copy of a maintenance request after repairs are completed, maintain that form in the files with your copy of the maintenance request. This copy should be retained for 180 days according to DA Pam 738-750. Copies of paperwork related to annual inspections are retained until the next inspection. Now that we have come to the subject of PMCS, let's look at how it should be conducted. PMCS is always performed in accordance with the schedule required by the equipment TM. Most TM's have a PMCS checklist that will tell you the interval at which a certain PMCS function is to be performed at the organizational or higher level of maintenance. When performing a maintenance function or during PMCS, you must have the equipment TM opened to the page that provides the guidance for that function or check. This is a valid requirement, because technical data in manuals frequently changes.


Memorizing the steps in a PMCS procedure is a fatal mistake, because if the procedure changes, you will not be performing it to the specifications resulting from the change. Always use the current TM while working on any equipment in your arms room. With the TM in front of you, it is a simple matter to follow the checklist and do as it instructs. Note any deficiencies or shortcomings you find, on the DA 2404. Use the item number that appears in the first column on the PMCS checklist, as the item number entry in the first column of the DA 2404. This tells the repairer where you found the problem on the PMCS checklist. If you encounter a problem that meets the requirements listed in the column titled "Not Fully Mission Capable If:," then that item is deadlined. This means that the item cannot be used until the deficiency is corrected. If you do encounter such a problem, then circle the item number in the first column of the DA 2404, to let the repairer know that the TM mandates the deadline. Continue going down the PMCS checklist until you have inspected every listed component, and annotate your findings on the DA 2404. You must repeat this same PMCS procedure for each item in your arms that has a PMCS requirement, using the schedule you established on your DD 314's. Yourself, or the assistant armorer must repair any maintenance faults found which are correctable at your level. By the way, it is highly recommended that there be a trained assistant armorer in each arms room, to ensure operational continuity. Order the parts needed from your PLL clerk, and make the repairs according to the organizational maintenance procedures listed in the equipment TM. Make sure you follow the instructions exactly. You will get no extra points for creativity! Maintenance faults that cannot be repaired at your level must be transferred to a maintenance request. When this is accomplished they should be submitted to your servicing DS maintenance unit for repair. Items with deadline deficiencies indicated by the status symbol "X" should be submitted immediately, as these items are non-mission capable, or NMC. Other shortcomings should be submitted within a reasonable period of time, but certainly no more than three working days after discovery.


The servicing DS maintenance unit may have to defer, or delay the repairs, based upon their operational workload, parts availability, or other factors. If so, there are steps they will take to schedule your repairs when they are able to do so. You will be notified when to return with the items needing repair. According to DA Pam 738-750, items with deadline deficiencies may not be deferred. This is because that equipment is incapable of performing the combat mission for which it was designed. When a weapon, especially a crew-served weapon like a machinegun is deadlined, that is a serious event. The reason is obvious; it can affect the unit's warfighting capability. Let's examine how you determine what is and is not repairable at your level of maintenance: In each technical manual for the organizational level and above, is a chart called the Maintenance Allocation Chart. This chart authorizes and assigns to each level of maintenance the responsibility to perform certain functions. These functions may be inspecting, testing, servicing, installing, removing, replacing or overhauling an item or component. The MAC assigns responsibility to each level of maintenance using the five maintenance level codes given earlier: C, O, F, H and D. It also allocates the tools and test equipment required, the amount of time the procedure should take, and provides special remarks concerning individual procedures. In addition to the general information provided for in the MAC, specific authorization to install, replace, use or repair an item is given in the Source, Maintenance, and Recoverability code, or SMR. The SMR code is a five digit alphabetic code that tells you how to procure, use and dispose of an item. The SMR code for each individual part of an end item is given in the parts listing and breakout diagrams within equipment TM's. Remember that the TM must have the "P" designator in its TM number, or the parts will not be listed in that publication. Specific information on the SMR and its breakdown is usually found in Appendix C of most 20-series and higher level equipment TM's. The basic codes used for the assignment of responsibility in the MAC are also used in the SMR code. There are several additional codes you must learn, so study the manual. Earlier in this text I made reference to the term ECOD, an acronym for Estimated Cost of Damage. The unit armorer, as the best trained individual where small arms are concerned, needs to know about the ECOD process.


This is because the unit armorer, as the official custodian of the weapons for maintenance and physical security purposes, is most likely to detect damage to the weapons and related equipment. As the commander's representative in the arms room, the armorer has a responsibility to the commander, the Army, and the taxpayers to ensure that any damage to equipment is found and reported. How does equipment become damaged? There are five basic causes of equipment damage: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Fair wear and tear (FWT) Acceptable training damage Battle damage Negligence Willful Misconduct (criminal intent)

If damage to a piece of equipment results from one of the first three reasons stated above, we hold the soldier harmless. This is because that damage is usually due to factors beyond the control of that soldier. If the damage is due to the negligent or criminal behavior of that soldier, that's an entirely different matter. In cases such as these, it may be possible to recover the cost of the damage from the soldier involved, and a Survey Officer may be appointed. The decision rests with the unit commander, who "owns" the assets in the arms room, and who is ultimately responsible for them. The Survey Officer will conduct an investigation to determine the circumstances of the loss or damage, and will probably request an Estimated Cost of Damage inspection. If an ECOD is to be conducted, complete a maintenance request and specify that the ECOD is being requested. Do not first make any unit level repairs, or modify the condition of the item in any manner, until a determination of cause has been made by the appointed Survey Officer. If the cause is determined, handle it like any weapon being turned for maintenance. If not, turn the weapon in as-is, as the DS personnel may need to determine the cause for the Survey Officer's report. Cleaning or modifying the weapon may hide the true cause of the damage. In the event that a determination is made that criminal intent was involved, there are some basic rules you should know about the investigation that will result. First, you will be a principal in the investigation, since you discovered the crime. You will be questioned as a matter of procedure. This is nothing to be concerned about. Simply be honest and accurate in your statements, even if you fear that something you say might make you look bad in terms of how you perform your duties.


Second, do not interrogate the soldier(s) involved. This does not mean that when you first discover the damage that you should not ask what happened. When it becomes apparent to you that something criminal might have occurred, discontinue your questions and report your knowledge of the incident to your commander. Lastly, keep all copies of your inspection findings and associated ECOD papers until your chain of command or the investigator has informed you that they may be discarded. It may be helpful for you to keep notes concerning your statements or facts revealed to you, but these should be considered confidential and properly disposed of when no longer needed. Remember that your role in this entire process is limited, and you have no authority over the decisions or findings. By reporting your initial discovery and making your statement to the commander or case investigator, you have fulfilled your official responsibility. The detection of failure or damage to weapons is your responsibility as the unit armorer. Do not rely upon the honesty of others, and make the false assumption that every soldier will honestly report damage to you. Many times, they won't. This is one of the reasons why PMCS has to be conducted properly, by the book. If you don't look for problems, they won't become apparent until the weapon is needed in training...or combat. Conducting proper inspections is the foundation of good maintenance management. You can not fix problems until you know they exist. Remember, you schedule maintenance according to the PMCS tables in the appropriate TM's, at the frequency indicated. Usually these PMCS inspections will be done quarterly, but it depends on the weapon, it's usage, the type of unit you are in, and local policy (which may require you to exceed the PMCS frequency as given in the TM). Physical Security The regulation that deals with this subject is AR 190-11, Physical Security of Arms, Ammunition and Explosives. It is typically found in a copy of the Physical Security UPDATE. You should maintain a copy of this publication in your arms room, since it mandates the practices you must observe on a daily basis. The physical security of unit weapons is one of the most important aspects of your job as an armorer. You must maintain full accountability for the whereabouts of your unit's weapons, 24 hours per day. I strongly urge you to get AR 190-11, read it, learn it, and know it inside and out. Failing to maintain adequate physical security of your weapons can have severe legal consequences.


There are resources you can rely upon for information on physical security. One is the publications dealing with such matters, and the other is the Physical Security Branch of your local Provost Marshal Office. If you have any questions concerning physical security matters, you should contact one of the physical security specialists working in that office. Do not rely upon what your "buddy" knows. He may know less than you, and you can wind up in legal jeopardy. I do not need to go into great detail to make you understand the importance of the security of your weapons. They are portable, easily concealed in some cases, and the tools of the trade for terrorists and violent criminals. As such, they must be controlled in a manner that prevents even the slightest chance of them falling into the wrong hands. There are many elements to a good physical security program. One is the type of facility in which the weapons are stored, and whether or not it has an alarm system. One is the controls placed on personnel issuing or receiving the weapons, and how they handle the weapons when they are in possession of them. Still another is the careful selection of the personnel who will have unrestricted access to firearms and ammunition. For this last reason, all personnel appointed to positions as unit armorers or assistant armorers must have a background check to determine suitability for the duty appointment. Your medical records will be checked to see if you have any history that would indicate mental instability or substance abuse problems, to include excessive alcohol consumption. Local law enforcement agencies will be asked to provide information about any arrests or legal problems in your past. Negative domestic or financial information may be disqualifying. Other factors concerning you will be evaluated to determine if you are eligible to serve in this position. Your personal integrity, trustworthiness and judgment are critical. In your arms room may be as much as a million dollars in equipment, or even more. All those machineguns, mortars, grenade launchers, pistols, rifles, NVG's, and other high dollar items are in your personal care. Once appointed, you become the person in the "hot seat" as far as physical security goes. This is because you have unrestricted unaccompanied access to the arms room. You have the combination to the main door and the safe, access to the rack and locker keys, and the ability to turn off the entry alarm system. In such an important position, you will be required to explain any discrepancies in the methods of weapons issue and inventory.


You will have to make frequent checks on the security of the assets stored in the arms room. You will conduct serial number inventories and sign documents attesting to the accountability of unit weapons. You will be responsible for transporting the firearms to and from maintenance facilities. In short, you are the functional security manager for the arms room, even though an officer or NCO may actually hold that title. The security of the arms room not only deals with the assets stored therein, but also applies to the information concerning your unit's weapons. Operations Security, or OPSEC, is also your responsibility. AR 530-1 provides the regulatory guidance for this program. You should become familiar with its requirements. Particularly important is the information in Appendix B of this regulation, which describes OPSEC indicators. Learn them, and know them. They are extremely important, more than you might think. Information about your unit's weapons, such as quantity and type, maintenance status, and availability should not be discussed with anyone outside the Army who does not have a specific need to know. The status of weapons training, qualifications, availability of ammunition, and other similar information should likewise be restricted. Why is this essential? Regardless of what you believe about the Cold War being over, the threat posed in the past still exists. There are those in the international community who will always be envious of the United States, and we will always have enemies. Enemies do not have to be foreign. We live in a time where the threat of domestic terrorism has become reality. The domestic terrorist may come from any segment of society. Some have been religious extremists, anti-government, anti-technology, or environmentalactivist extremists. These people can live in any community and range from highschool dropouts to college post-graduate students. Aside from domestic terrorists, there is the ever-present threat created by criminals. These persons range from local drug users desperate for cash, to sophisticated crime organizations with international contacts and millions of dollars in assets. The best way to deal with the problem of not knowing who might have a hidden agenda is to keep the information to yourself. This solves the problem of data falling into the hands of the wrong people. In the Second World War, the concept was summed up in the slogan "Loose lips sink ships." The logic still applies. If you allow the wrong persons to gain information about a planned movement of your unit's weapons, the results could be disastrous. Good OPSEC means protecting sensitive information from prying eyes and ears.


Sensitive information may appear in places that seem unlikely. The front cover of some of the TM's used in your arms room bear the following cautions: "WARNING: This document contains technical data whose export is restricted by the Arms Export Control Act (22, USC 2571 et seq.) or Executive Order 12470. Violations of these export laws are subject to severe criminal penalties." "DESTRUCTION NOTICE: For unclassified, limited documents, destroy by any method that will prevent disclosure of contents or reconstruction of the document." These warnings are clear and unambiguous. The government means business when they print statements like this. You can be criminally prosecuted for allowing the contents of such documents to fall into the hands of unauthorized persons. Where do these warnings appear. Well, the TM's for the M203 Grenade Launcher and the Mk19 Machinegun are two examples. Yes, it may be true that you can go to a gun show, swap meet, thrift store or similar establishment, and purchase a copy of one of these books. It would be stupid to assume that persons outside the Army do not know the knowledge contained in these books. But the fact that someone else committed a crime and got away with it is not a valid defense if you are charged with an offense under the law. You must protect the information in these manuals as indicated, including burning or shredding out-of-date or unwanted copies. Do not throw them in the trash! Also note that the destruction notice refers to unclassified material! Did you know that there was a requirement to destroy some unclassified documents? You know it now! To sum it all up, Physical Security deals with the lock-and-key issues, and OPSEC deals with the information aspects of your arms room security program. Both are important, and each requires the other to succeed. Never make the false assumption that you can trust someone because you know them. There are countless crimes committed by friends and acquaintances every day. The key to adequate security is your behavior. Be above reproach in your behavior, and it will be impossible to compromise you. Be professional in your attitude towards security, and others will rise to meet your standards. Your efforts may actually deter crime by denying an opportunity. Always be security conscious!


Until now we have covered the duties typically performed in a garrison setting. Although this is where the majority of time will be spent, the real mission begins when we go to the field. After all, this is the very essence of the military wage war. Although there are many things unique to field duty, many of the requirements and practices we covered in the garrison duty section will apply. For instance, just because you are in the field does not mean that the PMCS schedule is abandoned. All the elements; files management, publications management, supply management, maintenance management and physical security, still must be performed in the field environment. The field offers new challenges and difficulties. You do not have the physical facilities that make your tasks easier. You will now be exposed to the external environment. Rain, wind, snow, ice, mud, sand, and extremely high or low temperatures will tend to lessen your abilities and induce physical and mental stress. Apart from the lack of comfortable support facilities and the effects of the environment, there is something else waiting to ruin your day...the enemy. Here the challenge takes on a new dimension. Your job is no longer a matter of performing the routine tasks to a technical standard. You must now do everything under the most adverse conditions imaginable. Picture yourself doing your work to the same standards of excellence if subjected to the following: Blizzard conditions Artillery barrages Aerial bombardment Tactical blackout Mortar attack Sniper fire Chemical attack Ground assault Torrential rains Sabotage

Any (or many) of these conditions may exist on your battlefield. If you want a real perspective on this, ask any soldier or veteran with an appreciable degree of combat experience the following question: how bad can it get? You might be shocked by the answer. Remember, anything that can go wrong, probably will go wrong. Now let's discuss field duties in greater detail.


Field duty describes those activities when the unit is in the field or engaged in tactical operations, including active combat with an armed enemy. If no one has ever explained the combat nature of the armorer's job, remember that the job has everything to do with combat support. After all, that's why we have the weapons in the first place. The majority of soldiers are not infantry troops. It takes a lot of support personnel to make the Army work effectively against an enemy. To understand the role you might be called upon to play, we must understand some facts about force structure. This will be in very general terms and not very detailed, but it is important for you to understand. Each infantry battalion requires support to sustain operations in the field. Soldiers need food, water, medical attention, clean clothing, maintenance items, morale support and many other things to remain sharp and efficient in the field. The importance of logistical support can not be overstated. An Army without food and bullets will win no wars. The soldiers who support the combat arms troops (infantry, artillery, engineers and others), typically are assigned to units that may be medical units, finance units, maintenance units or any other type of organization required by the mission. The mission defines the force structure. Normally, we want to keep strategic assets and key support organizations out of the direct path of the enemy. The result is usually to define a "rear area" where non-tactical troops and organizations can function normally. This rear area may be a mile or dozens of miles away. Sometimes, however, it is necessary to deploy support elements to forward positions. For example, if the enemy is being routed and our troops advance, support elements may roll forward to provide adequate levels of assistance. So, although the idea may be to keep strategic support elements out of harm's way, the events will dictate the tactics employed by field commanders. The result is that not all support troops can expect to sit comfortably in a rear area, waiting for the maintenance work to come to their door (or more appropriately, their tent flap!) In addition to the placement of support troops in proximity to the fighting, there is also the fact that the enemy will bring the fight to your territory. As previously stated, there is the ever-present risk of artillery, chemical or aerial attack no matter where you might be located. However, let's look at the enemy's logic and possible plan of action for ground attack.


The enemy has some options in battle. He has to maximize his potential by making the most efficient use of manpower, ammunition and supplies. In looking at the means the enemy may employ to defeat you, we'll examine a hypothetical situation: The enemy infantry brigade commander has an array of assets to use, including ground troops, aviation assets, artillery, chemical, air defense, intelligence and signal forces. This commander can commit his forces to a head-on, full frontal attack against our own combat arms troops, to defeat our warfighting capability. To do so may cause massive casualties for the enemy force and the loss of valuable equipment and resources. The loss of those personnel and other resources could spell disaster for that enemy. As an option, the enemy may elect instead to go for the softer target: ...our support systems. If the enemy can disrupt our communications, logistics and intelligence capabilities, this increases the odds of a favorable outcome for him. Without food, water, ammunition, fuel, commo and intel, the effectiveness of our operations may degrade with the passage of time. It may be more effective for the enemy to wage a campaign against our resources instead of against our troops directly. This type of campaign, if successful, can have the net effect of incapacitating our forces overall. Understanding this is simple. Combat arms troops perform their primary functions in the field environment. They train in the field more frequently than support troops, and their training is mostly in combat-related tasks. On the other hand, support troops perform their daily tasks in a non-tactical environment. Keep in mind, these are general statements and do not address specific types of units or personnel. The enemy knows how hard the combat troops train, and just how suicidal it might be to take them on directly. There is less risk in seeking out you, the support troop, and eliminating your contribution to the battlefield effort. Most support troops only qualify with a weapon once a year, and don't spend as much time in the field as combat arms soldiers. The enemy believes the support force to be an easy target, and given the option, may bring the battle to you while avoiding our infantry and other "hard" targets.


So, the bottom line of the preceding statements should be apparent to you. It is not necessary for you to be in a front-line infantry unit to meet the enemy in a combat area. He may well come looking for you, especially if you are perceived as a "soft" target. There is a distinct reason for going through all this. The reason is: many soldiers believe that it will "happen to the other guy." History illustrates how likely it is that a soldier can complete an entire 20-year tour without facing an enemy. In fact, that is the average experience. Look at the members of your own force structure. Whether you are a member of a Division, an enhanced Brigade, or training cadre organization, look at the shoulders of the members of your unit. How many wear combat patches? How many actually faced an enemy, gun barrel to gun barrel? You will quickly realize that the percentage of soldiers with actual "trigger time" against an enemy is relatively small. This fact is responsible for the mindset that says "that stuff happens to other guys, I'm a supply specialist in a support unit, and I'll never see the enemy face to face." Now, this mindset may be validated by the experience of millions of other soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen, who have gone through their period of service without firing a single shot in combat. But this validation is no justification for failing to train for the possibility of meeting the enemy. It's sort of like auto insurance. As long as you pay your premiums and never have an accident, it seems like a waste of money. But what happens if you have a wreck and have no coverage? Now let me ask you a harder question: if you are a military professional (which you are), why gamble on being prepared to deal effectively with the enemy? After all, if you do meet the enemy, and have no skills, you increase the odds of the enemy prevailing over you. End result? Your defeat. Preparing to meet the challenge presented by a potential enemy begins with the proper attitude. You have heard the term "attitude adjustment", and we all know that sports coaches give "pep talks" to motivate their players. You must have the winning attitude in combat. Your defeat of the enemy begins with your personal sense of confidence in your abilities. Where do you gain that confidence? Through training that develops the skills needed to perform those tasks required in combat. Who provides that training?..... YOU do!


Wait a minute! What did you just read? How can you provide the training you need? Well, you have to do it, out of necessity, because no training plan currently exists to prepare you for what you may experience in combat. It comes back to my earlier talking points in this book. There is no dedicated full-time MOS for the armorer, and therefore no Soldier Training Plan, no MOS upgrade training plan related to armorer duty, or any other kind of training and evaluation process. Remember that the Army does not even have a standardized plan or concept for armorer training at the basic level. It should therefore follow logic that advanced training does not exist. So, from where does the concept for self-training spring? Well, it really comes from the collective experience of those who have performed the duty in the past. But that experience is not documented or annotated anywhere that I know of, and I have looked for such information for a long time. Most of your effort will therefore have to rely upon two factors: First, your understanding of what combat is like or may be like, the duties you may have to perform, and how you perceive yourself accomplishing those duties. Second, the common sense, practical recommendations I will now make in the remainder of this chapter. Most of these are based on a combination of personal experience, my many years of work and teaching experience, and my personal interviewing of many persons who have experience in the field. I truly hope that you take this issue seriously. If for some reason you deploy to a combat area, these skills are essential. You do not want to develop them by trial and error on the battlefield! Your training begins right now with the development of the proper attitude. If you honestly don't think this is important, and if you honestly believe "it will never happen to me", then I have two questions I'd like to ask: a. Why are you in the military? b. Why are you even bothering to read this book? Now, right now, is where you begin to adopt the winning attitude needed to prevail in battle. Machismo, cadence counting and bonding are not enough to defeat the enemy. You must want to win! You must possess the needed skills!


Field duty encompasses three principle areas of responsibility: 1. Range Operations support 2. Tactical training operations support 3. Combat operations support Range Operations Support Fortunately, major conflicts involving military force structures on a global or multi-national basis do not happen very often. As stated earlier, it is possible to spend an entire 20-year career in the military services without engaging in armed conflict. Most of your live-fire experience with weapons will result from range training operations. My primary point is this section is simple: the armorer should always go to the range whenever personnel assigned to the same unit conduct live-fire training. Whenever a weapon fails on the firing line, it interferes with the training mission. If there is no armorer present to repair the weapon, a soldier loses a valuable training opportunity because of equipment failure. GTA (Graphic Training Aid) 7-1-30 should be completed by the Range OIC or other responsible officer or NCO, whenever the unit will occupy a range facility. This document is a checklist of all the equipment and personnel needed to conduct range training. GTA 7-1-30 requires "checking the block" for the armorer, tools, spare weapons and maintenance area at the range. If you are not going to the range whenever the unit conducts live-fire operations, something is seriously wrong. Your chain of command needs to know the importance of your presence at the range. It is important that you develop skill in dealing with many different types of malfunctions. You must know their causes, and the remedies for them. It is true that the equipment TM will contain troubleshooting procedures, but let's do a reality check on this subject. Can you see yourself digging around for a TM when the enemy is firing on you, as you attempt to repair a machinegun that has failed during an enemy assault on your unit? The skill must be developed before it is needed, and it must be reflexive in nature. This means that you have the ability to do it with your eyes closed. That will not happen if you do not go to the range and work on weapons as they fail. It is also extremely important that you be there to assess the failure.


When someone clears the weapon and brings it back to the arms room, you can't examine the unique circumstances that caused the failure. The ammunition has been turned in, the gun may have been disassembled and reassembled, and even just clearing the gun can eliminate important indicators of the failure. Your lack of visual indicators of the failure may lead to a wrong diagnosis of the failure. End product?......a weapon in the rack that may still not work properly. Why? didn't properly assess the situation, and you're not at the range now, so you can't test-fire the weapon in the arms room. A function check may not reveal the problem, and so the defective weapon goes back in the rack. All of this is easily avoided if you are at the range! You will be exposed to a greater variety of problems, develop better diagnostic skills, improve your ability to work with the tools needed, and add to your experience level. Why else do you need to be at the range? Equally important is the fact that you need to actually fire each of the types of weapons in your arms room. You need to qualify with each one and become proficient as an operator. Sorry, but I have looked for any kind of mandate for this in Army doctrine, and have found nothing. You will have to convince your command element of the necessity for this concept. Here's the logic: If you own a car, you know how important the braking system is. If the brakes fail, you literally can be killed. Would you ever consider taking your car to a mechanic who has no driver's license, has never driven a car, and does not know how the brakes work? Of course not! Only a certifiable idiot would do that! Okay, let's complete the analogy.... You are an infantry soldier. If you go to combat and your weapon does not work, you literally can be killed. Would you ever consider taking your weapon to an armorer who has no training, has never operated a weapon like yours, and does not know how it works? Of course not! Only a certifiable idiot would do that! Oops!! We have discovered a problem here! The sad, but brutally honest truth is: this describes the present reality in too many cases.


In combat, the soldier is dependent upon his or her assigned weapon for two reasons: mission completion and survival. It is not exaggeration to state that the mechanical and functional status of a weapon can mean the difference between life and death in combat. The best way to lessen the chance of failure is to have an aggressive preventive maintenance program. But wait a minute....such a program presupposes that there is a maintenance capability involved. All the tools, books and equipment in the world are worthless without the skills needed to employ them. It is only logical that if you are to be the maintenance specialist for the weapons at the organizational level, your skills should at least be equal to those of the operator. How can you possibly attain that skill if you do not train with the weapons? You need to discuss this with your chain of command, so time and ammunition can be allotted for your training. Again, there is no program that supports this requirement. It will be your personal initiative that makes this happen. Remember always that the quality of your work is dependent upon the quality of your training. Whether playing the piano or fixing a machinegun, the level of your performance is tied directly to your abilities, which result! By the way, let me re-iterate a statement made in the foreword to this book: do not use this book as a substitute for formal training! Doing so is foolish and dangerous. Get formal training! If you don't have a resource, call me at one of the numbers listed in the foreword. I will travel worldwide in TDY status to any location that wants to host the training, including hostile areas. I frequently take my training on the road to distant locations, and would be glad to help you and your fellow soldiers. Of course, this only applies if I can survive the downsizing of DOD! Once you have received proper instruction and gained experience, your skills will improve! From that point on you have a responsibility to share certain elements of your knowledge with others, using the train-the-trainer approach. Many soldiers have developed no skill at clearing obstructions or applying immediate action in the event of a malfunction. When you are at the range, and a malfunction occurs, use the event to conduct on-the-spot training for the operator. Explain what went wrong, what you are doing to solve the situation, and how the operator can take positive steps to do the same thing in case your service is not available in an emergency. Maximize your opportunity to learn from experience every time your unit goes to the range!


Before leaving this subject, let's also discuss what should happen when a serious failure of a weapon takes place: with or without injury to the soldiers involved. I would like to first make the point that I am not talking about your "run of the mill" malfunction. We are not going to interrupt training and shut down the range because someone's rifle is not properly feeding ammunition. The following types of situations would warrant immediate action as a serious event: The catastrophic failure of a barrel, breech or action assembly, that results in damage to a firearm or tube weapon. Any event that results in injury or death. Any event that indicates ammunition defects. Catastrophic failure implies a situation that can not be remedied by immediate action due to the degree of damage experienced. In other words, if parts break, the barrel blows up, or the breech fractures in your weapon, that is a catastrophic event. The injury or death that happens from heat stroke or falling into a foxhole is likewise different in nature and scope than that which occurs as a result of a weapon failing on the firing line. Certainly, each is a serious event and training immediately should cease, but we are dealing with the weapon-related problem here. Events that indicate ammunition failure are important because a bad lot of ammunition can affect many other units and their personnel training at different locations. The ammo lot will be suspended pending inspection, to prevent others from experiencing the same problem. If two or more weapons are experiencing the same serious problems, suspect the ammunition. You must know, understand and obey all applicable safety regulations while conducting training at the range. Your range operations party personnel will attend a range safety briefing, and be issued a copy of the regulation. I will not go into the content and scope of the regulations, but will instead describe the proper way to react to a serious event. First, immediately cease-fire! Any military member or person present at a range who witnesses an unsafe act or accident can immediately call a cease-fire. If firing does not immediately cease, continue to call out the cease fire order until it does.


Next, simultaneously treat the injured persons while your RTO contacts Range Control. Advise Range Control of the need for medical assistance or MEDEVAC. The information required and the format for the transmission of information can be found in the range safety regulation. Move all non-essential personnel away from the firing line to a safe distance. For instance, if dealing with a catastrophic ammunition problem with the Mk19 HE ammunition, make sure all non-essential personnel are moved a minimum of 75 meters to the rear, and even further if possible. Secure the area. The area and all equipment present have now become an accident investigation site. DO NOT remove the affected weapon from the firing line. Leave it exactly where it is, in exactly the same condition it was in when the mishap occurred. The exception would be only if failing to clear and relocate the weapon would cause further injury or damage. Protect the scene. Do not allow others to walk about the accident site prior to the arrival of military police, range control personnel or other officials investigating the event. For instance, the ejection pattern of the weapon tells a lot about the placement of the gun and aiming point of the muzzle. Walking about the site, kicking and scattering shell casings and links with the toes of your boots may alter critical evidence unintentionally. The weapon should be inspected by someone from the direct support shop, your TACOM-ACALA Logistics Assistance Representative, or a weapons or ordnance specialist from your local Directorate of Logistics. This inspection should be conducted at the accident site. Range Control has a list of persons to contact, so let them notify everyone possible who might be able to come out to the range to inspect the weapon. If they are unsuccessful in making contact, and they clear you to remove the weapon from the range, take it back to your arms room. Do not clean the weapon, but turn it in for evaluation concerning the cause of the accident in "as is" condition. Remember, the presence of dirt in the receiver, or the lack of lubrication, can be a contributing factor. Cleaning the weapon eliminates critical evidence of the failure. If you go to turn that weapon in to your small arms support shop, and someone insists the weapon be cleaned first, ask to see that person's supervisor and explain the nature of the request for the inspection. Again, DO NOT clean the weapon! Range Control will handle the needed contacts regarding ammunition problems. Do not remove expended rounds from the range unless cleared to do so, and if possible, you should recover some casings for examination by the direct support troops. Remember, don't tamper with the evidence!


Tactical Training Operations Support The tactical training environment provides the best opportunity to develop critical skills needed by the armorer. Of course, the armorer must also be performing his or her primary MOS duties. But whenever time permits, take advantage of the field environment (and its pitfalls) to sharpen your skills. Working out in the wilderness provides many benefits. You will get the opportunity to train in all kinds of weather extremes. You might not be very comfortable disassembling a machinegun in frigid temperatures, but it is a realworld task you might have to perform in stressful circumstances. You will not be capable of performing a task like this with much ease and fluidity unless you have practiced it. Remember, you can't replicate the field conditions in your arms room, so train in the field whenever possible. Night training also imposes the difficulties of dealing with noise and light discipline. At times it will be absolutely necessary to turn on a flashlight with a red lens, but you should learn how to do so with a minimum of risk and exposure. Even with your flashlight, it can be difficult to see worn or cracked areas on a part, so training to improve skills is necessary. One way to improve your abilities is to develop tactile perception. In other words, you should become familiar with the feel of the parts, and how to determine their orientation in the dark. To acquire this ability, use the technique I have named "the bag drill." Here's how it works. Take several different weapons apart, i.e., one shotgun, one rifle, one pistol, etc. Do not take two of the same type of weapon apart, such as two M16A2's. Put all the parts in a laundry bag and gently shake it up. When you can reach into the bag and blindly identify the part in your hand, and the position of that part in your hand, you are on your way. Graduate from that to the "blackout drill." In this case, take a weapon apart completely, scatter the parts on a table, and then reassemble them in a totally dark room. Your arms room has no windows and is virtually seamless in construction, so close the door, turn out the lights and go to work. You can do this any day of the week in your arms room. Now, once you develop the tactile perception needed to accomplish this, do it under the worst conditions you can encounter in the field: cold, snow, rain, wind and high heat. Oh, let's not forget to try it in MOPP level 4 as well! If you do not develop these skills, no one will do it for you.


In the tactical training environment you can expect to see many more problems with your unit weapons. This is due to the fact that unlike the range exercise, soldiers will be running and hitting the ground with their weapons. They may also fire more blank rounds at the cyclic rate of fire during simulated attack and defense scenarios. Blank rounds will leave your weapons dirtier, and stoppages may be more frequent. The usual cause of the increased failure rate is due to improper attachment of the blank firing adapter (BFA), or use of the wrong BFA. There are different styles of BFA's for the M16/AR15 family of rifles. Make sure you check the type required against the description and stock number in the operator TM. Blanks must be handled with respect. At close ranges they can cause serious injury or death if mishandled. Do not allow soldiers to tamper with blank rounds. Changing the amount of powder in a blank round by opening the crimp and adding or removing powder can have very negative consequences. We're talking about safety, as well as the proper operation on the weapon. Do not tamper with blanks. In addition to blank rounds used for training, there are also SRTA (short-range training ammunition) rounds, and the transition to plastic ammunition for training in limited range areas is becoming very popular. Plastic rounds can be lethal! The .50 caliber rounds are lethal out to 700 meters! Many "simunitions" use frangible rounds, which are designed to disintegrate on contact. Don't make the mistake of thinking that these rounds are harmless! Use your time in the tactical training environment to learn an overview of your unit's operating policies in the field. You should have an intricate knowledge of how fighting positions are built to accommodate certain weapons. You should know how to maneuver through the area with relative ease. Spend some time becoming familiar with physical security of arms, ammunition and explosives in the field. Study the methods of chemical decontamination of the weapons and auxiliary equipment. Take apart some weapons in MOPP Level four, with gloves and mask properly worn. Get used to the work/rest cycle. Understand that if contact with an enemy is made, you may have to work under extremely difficult circumstances. Prepare for that by pushing your personal limits beyond the comfort zone. Stay properly fed, rested and hydrated. Attend properly to personal hygiene. You never know when the enemy will ring your doorbell!


All this will happen only if you are self-motivated and truly care about the quality of your work, and the survival of your fellow soldiers. Remember always that in unity there is strength. Become a part of the team, and do your job. That is the key to survival on the battlefield. Combat Operations Support Here's where all your training and experience pay dividends. You, the unit armorer, can contribute directly to the success or failure of your unit to close with and defeat enemy troops. Only a complete fool would deny the importance of properly functioning armament in a firefight. Each individual soldier will rely upon his or her weapon to provide the firepower needed to defeat the enemy and stay alive. The consequences of failure are unacceptable to even consider. Our forces fight to win by achieving specific objectives. If the weapons fail to operate, missions can fail, and soldiers will die. The responsibility for the proper care and maintenance of these essential tools of battle is a serious one. As I often say in my classes, "This is not the Olympics. There is no medal for second place. You win, or you lose. When death is the cost of failure, no budget is big enough to cover the price."

The armorer is a resource in combat. Like all resources, the armorer is only useful if he or she is equal to the task at hand. Your training, experience, courage and dedication can make all the difference in the world when needed. If no one has ever told you this before, let me explain it now: In combat, the armorer's mission is to ensure that all weapons are capable of sustaining fire against the enemy, If a weapon fails, and the operator can not resolve the problem by immediate action, it is the armorer's responsibility to get to that operator's firing position, and resolve the problem. To do so requires great courage, and the willingness to expose yourself to risk in getting to the soldier in need. If you fail to do so, or choose not to do so, your inability to perform your duty may result in the death of that soldier who can no longer defend his position. The loss of that fighting position may have catastrophic consequences, which might ultimately lead to the failure of the unit mission, of defeat of the unit.


I have trained hundreds of personnel for arms room duty a various military installations. Most of the soldiers I have trained, including those who graduated from the 92Y school, have told me that no one ever explained the nature of their combat duties to them. Keep in mind, these are not hunting weapons, not sporting weapons or competitive weapons. They are combat weapons, and like all combat gear must be maintained to the highest standards attainable. Yes, we use these weapons for training, but their purpose is combat. To keep these weapons operating at the highest possible state of efficiency requires a team effort. This team includes the trainer, the soldier, and the armorer. The trainer develops marksmanship and maintenance skills in the individual soldier. The soldier puts these skills to use by aiming true and keeping the weapon clean and serviceable to the operator maintenance standard. And the armorer provides technical expertise, inspection, and on-site repair. This does not only apply to the garrison or training environment. It applies specifically to the combat environment. The soldier is only as good as his equipment allows. In combat, there are no "time outs". The enemy will not wait until you fill out a form and evacuate a broken weapon to a repair facility. His mission is simple. He intends to kill you. If your unit's weapons fail because of poor maintenance, and you cannot repair them, he may succeed! In tactical environments, you will still have a forward support unit providing most of the technical assistance and maintenance support you require. The problems arise when you are actually engaged in offensive or defensive operations, or when your forward support unit is engaged with the enemy. At such times, the concept of how you will perform critical maintenance tasks needs to be flexible enough to adapt to the situation I am not advocating or supporting a deviation from traditional maintenance concepts and requirements, but you must understand the need for flexibility. The battlefield is a fluid and dynamic environment. Much happens by chance, such as being in the wrong place at the wrong time. You must be capable of reacting and adapting as needed. Therefore, the philosophy of "do what you have to" becomes the order of the day. It may become necessary for you to perform an emergency maintenance procedure under combat conditions. This procedure may be restricted normally to personnel performing duty at a higher maintenance echelon. But honestly, can you see yourself just throwing your hands in the air because you are not allowed by the TM to touch a particular part? If you don't do what you have to, there may be consequences that are completely unacceptable. Be flexible.


Obviously, the best kind of maintenance is preventive maintenance. Most maintenance problems are identifiable right at the unit level. You can eliminate the need for emergency repairs to some extent, just by conducting more frequent and more intense inspections. In a combat operations area, perform inspections as follows: - As directed by the unit commander - As dictated by climate conditions - Prior to engaging in offensive operations - During recovery from offensive operations - Immediately following defensive operations Regardless of how carefully you plan by inspecting everything thoroughly, parts, and therefore systems can and do fail. That is simply the nature of things. It's the basis for Murphy's Law, which states that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong, and usually at the worst possible time. We can mitigate the effects of chance through preparation. Remember the Boy Scout philosophy of being prepared? Your PLL will probably be increased if you go to combat. The most frequently used parts will be available to you. Make sure they are also accessible. If they are buried under a ton of canvas and wood in the back of a truck, you won't have them when you need them should the enemy attack your unit. Become familiar with those parts most likely to fail and have them immediately accessible. Having them in a toolbox or parts container may seem okay when nothing is happening. During a firefight, however, that's exactly the wrong place for them to be. Can you see yourself lugging a big, bright red toolbox across the battlefield? My personal method is to use a canvas pouch such as a map case or canvas bag with a closure device like a snap or buckle, and a shoulder strap. Take the common parts and tools, and wrap them in a brown towel. The towel will prevent rattling if you load the tools and parts correctly, and prevent them from falling out of the bag. It will follow you as you low-crawl from point to point, allowing both hands to be free. You can therefore control your weapon and movement easier under stressful conditions. The common tools to carry are side-cutting parallel jaw pliers, wire twisting pliers, a spool of wire, a set of straight punches, a rubber mallet, ball peen hammer and several screwdrivers. A multi-tool also is very useful. Make sure you have a red-lens flashlight also.


You can also pre-position critical PLL items. If you have only one M2 .50 Caliber machinegun, why not keep the parts with the weapon if at a defensive position? Any weapon in a fixed position like a DFP, bunker or tower is an excellent candidate for PLL parts pre-placement. If several weapons fail and you have no more parts to repair them with, consider cannibalization as a source of parts. Make a working weapon from the working parts available. Be aware of the dangers of swapping bolt assemblies between weapons without being able to check the headspace. But it may be preferable to take that risk rather than be overrun by the enemy because you have no crew-served weapons operable on the battlefield. What happens if a weapon malfunctions because a part has become dislodged, and the TM does not assign the reassembly to your level of maintenance authority? Do what you have to. This is why you must understand the weapon and all its parts, as well as the functioning of each part. To make the greatest contribution to your unit and fellow soldiers during combat operations, you need to have a response plan. What does this mean? Very simply, you must analyze your situation and draft a mental course of action to follow in case of emergencies. Here are four of the elements of a typical response plan: - Know the paths to the defensive fighting positions. Make sure that you walk the paths to the positions in daylight, so you can find your way without error in the dark. This will cut response time to the DFP in need, and prevent a broken ankle or a poked eyeball in the dark. - Know the personnel in the positions, and make sure they know you by sight and voice. Remember, personnel turnover will occur on the battlefield due to PCS, ETS, MIA, KIA, injury, emergency leave and so on. Make sure every new soldier knows your approach to his or her position, and that they can identify you. Don't rely only on the challenge and password. Fratricide happens. Try to prevent it. - Share your knowledge of the weapon with the operator. Train the operators to perform immediate actions using the PLL parts that may have been placed at the DFP. This may prevent the need for you to expose yourself to enemy fire (a good thing!), and allow the crew-served weapon to get back in action faster (also good!). - Anticipate failure, prepare for failure, and deal with failure. Get to know the weapons and anticipate what might go wrong.


Finally, we must look to TM 750-244-7 for the instruction on how to perform the final, unthinkable duty of the armorer. This manual details the methods by which you will destroy your unit's weapons to prevent them from falling into the hands of the enemy. This decision is made by the Commander, or in his or her absence, competent command authority. It is only used under the most extreme of circumstances, and rarely done. But, like all other combat tasks, you must train for it, so get the TM and read it. Understand it, and be ready to put your knowledge into immediate action if ordered to do so. The principal means of destruction are: - Burning. You must generate temperatures high enough to warp, melt or distort the metal components. A campfire will not suffice. Use an accelerant like POL products. If available, a thermite or a thermate grenade will totally destroy a pile of weapons. - Mechanical means. Bend, smash, break, cut, tear, shred, twist or puncture the weapon receiver to prevent its use. Use a hammer, sledge, axe, pike or other heavy tool to destroy the weapon. Or smash it against a tree, bend it between two thick branches, or drive over it with a heavy vehicle. Use heavy rock if you have to. Any method that works can be used. - Explosives or gunfire. Many types of explosives can be used, such as grenades, claymores, det-cord, HE rounds, etc. You can also use direct gunfire such as with armorer-piercing rounds through the most critical assemblies. If you use explosives, make sure the weapons are placed on solid ground, or bedrock if available. Place the demo material on top of the weapons, not the other way around, or you will just launch the weapons in different directions. The weapons must be crushed between the force of the explosive and the ground. - Scattering and burial of parts. Make sure you remove critical parts so the weapon will not function. DO NOT bury all the parts in one hole. If the enemy finds the hole, he'll put the weapons together and use them. Try to dump the parts in a deep body of running water if possible. If you dump them in a swamp, remember that standing water will show mud disturbances for a long time. Prevent discovery by stomping through the swamp water and muddying all of it up to conceal where the parts have been thrown. Burying parts in a cat-hole or field latrine is a good idea. Would you put your hand down there? Neither will the enemy.


Remember that only the Commander or competent command authority can make this decision. Acting on your own may have serious legal consequences! Before we leave this chapter, I want to touch again on the subject of inspection of small arms. In recent years, the DOD has moved away from the "zero defect" concept. This concept stated that anything less than perfection was unacceptable as an output. When it comes to military equipment, there are some basic items that must work reliably, the first time and every time they are needed. Examples are the soldier's chemical defense ensemble, a parachute and of course, the individual weapon. Think about it, if these items fail, the soldier will possibly not survive. To ensure reliability of these items, inspections must be thorough and the maintenance performed must be to the highest attainable standard. Certainly, in any unit that is deployable to a combat area, all equipment should be maintained this way. But when you get down to basics, the entire contest is about the individual soldier meeting the enemy on the battlefield. That weapon must work! Failure at that moment carries the highest penalty imaginable. How do you maintain weapons to that maintenance level? Where does the motivation and drive to achieve perfection in firearms maintenance come from? Well, it largely comes from the attitude of the maintenance soldier. How can you develop such a high performance capability? By adopting a standard which only permits total success. I urge you to use my standard, aptly titled "Chuck Ruggiero's 200% Rule", as the benchmark for quality assurance in your arms room. The 200% Rule is simple: 100% Reliability, 100% of the time = 200% Readiness Simple, concise, easy to remember, and absolutely correct. 100% reliability must be the standard. 99% just does not make the grade when it comes to weapons maintenance. Picture this: In a division with 10,000 soldiers, 100 soldiers will carry inoperable weapons into combat if 99% is the acceptable standard. That 1% of 10,000 can equal the size of an entire unit. Which unit do you want to send into battle with sub-standard weapons? You must be nearly fanatical in your devotion to quality. Remember that no one is going to stand over your shoulder to see if you are doing your best in the arms room. No one, that is, except your own conscience. The lives of your fellow soldiers may depend on the quality of your work. Never forget that, and you will succeed.


Chapter 1 Examination 1. Describe the five separate areas of Garrison Duty: a. _____________________ b. _____________________ c. _____________________ d. _____________________ e. _____________________ 2. What does the acronym "PLL" stand for? Answer: _____________________ 3. How often do you conduct a PMCS inspection? Answer: _____________________ 4. What are the 5 causes of equipment damage? a. _____________________ b. _____________________ c. _____________________ d. _____________________ e. _____________________ 5. Four elements of a typical combat response plan were outlined. Describe them: a. _____________________ b. _____________________ c. _____________________ d. _____________________ 6. What are the codes for the 5 basic levels of maintenance? Answer: ________________ 7. What publication establishes MARKS policy? Answer: ________________


8. What publication details the physical security of arms, ammunition and explosives? Answer: ________________ 9. The frequency of inspection for your unit weapons should be increased in a combat area according to certain criteria. What are the five reasons given in this chapter? a. _____________________ b. _____________________ c. _____________________ d. _____________________ e. _____________________ 10. Each parts listing includes a five-place alphabet code which tells you how to procure an item, who can replace the item, whether it is to be repaired, and how to dispose of it. What is the correct name of this code? ANSWER: ______________

Answers to this and all examinations can be found at the back of this book.


Chapter 2: Firearms Operating Characteristics

This chapter will examine firearms and how they work. I will cover topics of importance, which will help you understand common terms, theories and systems. This chapter will include information on operating systems, cooling, propellants and primers, ammunition and ballistics. This chapter only provides a broad overview of the subject of firearms. A detailed study would include subjects such as metallurgy, thermodynamics, human anatomy, chemistry, and physics. It would be ridiculous to assume that a basic handbook such as this could do more than make simple points to explain theories and data. Accordingly, I caution you to refer to the reference listing at the end of this handbook for specific sources of information. I will preface this chapter with a few words of caution. The subject of firearms is expansive and could go into endless detail. There are virtually thousands of different types of firearms in use all over the world today. These weapons are made by hundreds of manufacturing companies, and thousands of individual gunsmiths and pistolsmiths. Anyone who ever tries to tell you that they know all there is to know about firearms is a dangerous lunatic. These people should immediately be subjected to drug testing. In addition to the hard sciences referenced in the second paragraph on this page, there are many other areas of art and expertise involved in gunmaking, firearms training and the use of firearms in hostile situations. These other areas of expertise include drafting, tool and die making, pattern cutting, metalworking, non-destructive testing (magnetic particle inspection, dye penetrant testing, radiology and fluoroscopy), engraving, applying chemical finishes, stock bedding, instructional principles and techniques, street survival training, forensics (ballistic forensics, microscopy), advanced marksmanship theory, sniping, etc. Wow, the list could go on endlessly! If you ever meet anyone who has a detailed understanding of all these sciences, arts and other areas of expertise, please give that person my name and address. I could always use a good mentor (they're hard to find!). I will describe the most useful information in general terms. This is a primer that is designed to introduce you to concepts. Some of it may go beyond your duties as an armorer. But ask yourself a question: "How can I repair anything I do not truly understand"? Many soldiers and police officers know very little about their weapons, so let's solve that problem here and now.


The entire purpose of a firearm is to launch a projectile, with the specific objective of hitting a target. The nature of this act may vary. A firearm may be used for competitive shooting, target practice, hunting, self defense, military purposes or criminal purposes. Regardless of the intended use, the product will always be the same: the propelling of a projectile toward a specific target. Firearms may vary in the means of accomplishing this objective. There are different types of operating systems, using different technologies. There are handguns, rifles, shotguns, revolvers, machineguns, derringers and other types of projectile launching systems. Each of these has characteristics which are unique, although many of them share common features. Most, but not all, of the principles apply to different types of weapons. What features are common depends on the type of operating system employed. Cycle of Functions All weapons have a cycle of functions. This cycle is the sequence of events that takes place in a logical order, which supports the end objective of launching a projectile from the muzzle of the weapon. Most firearms use the following eight-step cycle: 1. Feeding 2. Chambering 3. Locking 4. Firing 5. Unlocking 6. Extracting 7. Ejecting 8. Cocking A more detailed explanation of each step in the cycle is as follows: Feeding occurs when a round of ammunition is positioned in such a way that it can be readily introduced into the chamber of a weapon. The method of feeding may be the placing of a single round in a feedway, or it may require the feeding of ammunition into a magazine. A magazine is a feeding device that loads more than one round, so that the weapon can rapidly be reloaded without having to open the action assembly area. The action assembly area is that area of the receiver or frame of the firearm which contains and uses moving parts to sustain the cycle of functions, causing the weapon to load and discharge a round of ammunition. It may include a bolt, slide or similar component that aids in the feeding or ammunition.


Ammunition may also be fed by means of a belt of ammunition. A belt is usually held together by metallic links which disassemble from the rounds during feeding. Chambering is that action which takes the round from the feeding position, and seats it within the chamber, or aligns the cartridge cylinder of the weapon. Chambering may be in-line or offset. In-line chambering is most common in revolvers, where the cylinder rotates to place the round of ammunition in a straight line with the bore of the barrel. The rotation of the cylinder accomplishes chambering, feeding is accomplished manually when the operator places the rounds into the cylinder. Offset chambering usually involves an inclined chambering ramp. As the round is pushed forward in the direction of the chamber, the projectile tip is deflected at an angle which allows it to easily enter into the chamber. This offset chambering will probably be a compound deflection, where the round first deflects from the ramp and then from a surface in the top of the chamber, perfecting alignment as the bolt or slide closes. Most slide operated semi-automatic pistols will have a chambering ramp (called a feeding ramp by some manufacturers, although that term is imprecise). The ramp sits at the top of the magazine well, directly below the chamber and aligned with the tip of the upmost round in the magazine. As the round is stripped from the magazine by the forward motion of the slide, it is deflected upwards into the chamber area. Chambering is completed when the shoulder of the cartridge (where the case tapers in a bottleneck cartridge, or the case mouth in a straight-walled cartridge) makes contact with the corresponding shoulder of the chamber. At this point the round can no longer travel forward, and chambering has occurred. Locking takes place when an assembly such as a bolt or slide closes and locks into position in preparation for firing. Not all operating systems utilize a locking chamber. Locking is usually required to protect the operator from the force of discharge in high-powered systems, and to prevent problems such as case deformations that would occur if the round were not forced to remain in the chamber during firing. Locking may involve the rotation of a bolt assembly with attached locking lugs that fit into corresponding recesses. It may also involve the use of a rolling or dropping "locking block", a device which fits into a locking recess in a similar fashion.


In all cases, locking protects the operator and weapon from damage, and keeps the proper headspace relationship between the bolt and chamber, or slide and barrel. I will get into the headspace issue later in this chapter. In some systems, as in some turning bolt weapons, locking takes place simultaneously with chambering. As the bolt moves forward to chamber the round, it is also rotating the locking lugs into the locked position. In other turning bolt systems, the round is essentially fully within the chamber by the time the bolt begins its rotation. Firing is initiated when a firing pin, striker, or similar part engages the primer or other ignition source, causing a spark or flame that will ignite the main propelling charge. It is completed when the propellant has been expended. Some systems may use electrical ignition systems, but these are not common on small arms, and are usually found in systems such as rocket launchers. Firing may result from the release of energy stored in a compressed spring, or may be the direct result of manual force applied to a moving part. At this point it becomes necessary to explain the terms single action and double action, since they describe handgun-firing methods. Single action refers to the fact that in a revolver or semi-automatic of that type, the act of pulling the trigger performs a single function: releasing the hammer or firing pin. This implies therefore, that the shooter must first cock the firing mechanism to put the hammer or firing pin in the proper position for release. In other words, the shooter performs two acts, cocking the weapon and pulling the trigger. The weapon provides only a single action, releasing that cocked part. Double action weapons provide both the cocking and release from a single pull of the trigger. As the trigger is pulled to the rear, the hammer or firing pin is forced back into the cocked position. When the trigger gets far enough to the rear, that device is then released, allowing the weapon to fire. So the shooter performs a single act, pulling the trigger, and the weapon performs a double action, cocking and firing. Single and double action firing are more easily explained if you consider the weapons that use these systems. For example, in the M1911 Colt semiautomatic pistol, the first shot must be fired in single action. The shooter must manually cock the hammer to the rear to prepare the weapon for firing. If the shooter pulls the trigger back on the first round, the hammer does not move to the rear, and the weapon will not fire.


In the case of the M9 9mm Beretta semi-automatic pistol, pulling the trigger to the rear does cause the hammer to move backwards, allowing firing with a single pull of the trigger. Both weapons, however, will fire all subsequent rounds with a single trigger pull, as the slide cocks the hammer to the rear after each shot. Unlocking is the opposite of the locking action, or the opening of the breech, chamber or cylinder to permit the removal of the spent cartridge case. Extracting is the removal of the expended cartridge case from the chamber, usually by means of a device called an extractor. The extractor usually has a claw device that fits into the groove at the bottom of the case, or in a rimmed cartridge, just above the rim of the case. As the bolt or slide moves to the rear, the extractor pulls the case from the chamber. The extractor is therefore usually attached to the bolt or slide. Most extractors are spring loaded so the extractor can snap into the groove or over the rim during chambering. Some are themselves made out of metal with springlike properties, and flex slightly as they snap into position during chambering. Ejecting is the removal of the spent cartridge case from the weapon itself, either by forcefully expelling the case, or allowing it to fall due to the effect of gravity. In the case of most bolt operated rifles, a spring-loaded device called the ejector is built into the bolt. This is essentially a round pin that presses against the left side of the cartridge base. As the mouth of the expended case clears the ejection port of the weapon, the spring expands under the pin, kicking the round out to the right (in a right-handed rifle). With most slide operated semi-automatic pistols, the ejector is a fixed metal part attached to the top of the frame at the rear of the gun. It usually is fit into an ejector rail cut into the slide. As the slide moves to the rear, extracting the shell casing from the chamber, the base of the case contacts the stationary ejector. This contact causes the shell casing to kick out of the slide in the opposing direction. Most commonly, the ejector is on the left side, and the case kicks out to the right. Gravity ejection occurs in weapons such as the M203 grenade launcher and the M2 .50 caliber machinegun. Gravity ejection usually is assisted, meaning that some part, or the next shell, causes the expended case to be forced downward. In the M203, the ejector is a spring-loaded pin that contacts the top of the cartridge at the base. It pushes the top of the case forward as the barrel is slid forward, opening the chamber. This causes the case to kick forward at the top, causing the expended cartridge to tumble downwards to the ground.


In the M2 machinegun, the next round feeding into the T-slot on the face of the bolt assembly displaces the recently fired case. This downward feeding of the new round forces the expended casing down, accomplishing ejection. Remember that ejection has not taken place until the case is removed completely from the firearm. In a revolver, ejection is accomplished by the manual effort of the shooter. After all rounds in the cylinder are expended, the cylinder is swung outwards. The shooter then depresses the ejector rod to the rear. This forces the ejector, a carrier device seated in front of the rim of all the cartridges in the cylinder, to the rear. All the cases in the chamber are then simultaneously ejected rearward, allowing the cylinder to be reloaded. In addition to ejection of the cartridge case, we also have the matter of link ejection to contend with in a machinegun. Most link ejection is passive, meaning that the link is incidentally expelled from the feed tray as ammunition is fed into the weapon. The feed tray assembly will usually have a link ejection port or chute, or just an opening where the links fall out of the weapon onto the ground. In aircraft applications, it is essential to recover the spent links and brass by means of a catch bag or ejection chute assembly. This prevents brass and links from falling from the aircraft and entering engine intakes or damaging the tail rotor assembly of a helicopter Cocking prepares the weapon for firing by compressing a firing pin spring, resetting a hammer, or storing energy in a compressed spring and moving part that is usually held in place by a device called a sear. Cocking may be part of the cycle of functions, or it may be a manually induced process, as in the case of a single action handgun. How a weapon is cocked is what determines whether a weapon is truly a semiautomatic firearm. The definition of "semi-automatic" has two elements. The first is that it will fire only one round each time the trigger is pulled. However, any single shot weapon will also do this, and they are not semi-automatic. The second element is that the weapon automatically reloads and re-cocks itself. Therefore it must be magazine or belt fed in order to sustain automatic reloading (reloading includes both feeding and chambering). A fully automatic machinegun does not meet the requirements of the definition either, because it fires more than one round with a single trigger pull.


Although the preceding steps in the cycle of functions are common to most firearms, not all systems employ all eight steps. Some weapons do not employ a locking system, so those steps are omitted from the cycle. However, most weapons use all eight steps. Weapons that do not are the exception, not the norm. It is essential that gunsmiths and repair persons fully understand the nature of each step in a weapon, if they intend to repair that firearm. Before I leave the subject of functioning characteristics, there is one more thing I would like to address. This deals with the positioning of the bolt during the firing process. Some weapons, usually machineguns or fully automatic weapons, employ what is known as firing from the open bolt position. A weapon using this system has the bolt cocked to the rear when the operator pulls the trigger rearward. Pulling the trigger releases the bolt, which is usually held to the rear by a device called a "sear". When released, an expanding spring launches the bolt forward, allowing for feeding, chambering, locking and firing to occur as a result of that single trigger pull. Weapons that fire from the open bolt position have distinct advantages. Most of them have to do with cooling of the system. Here are some of the advantages: 1. The heated cartridge case is immediately extracted and expelled from the weapon as the bolt moves to the rear, removing the heat source. 2. The barrel is open at both ends when the bolt remains locked to the rear, allowing for faster cooling of the barrel due to air circulation. 3. The system does not place a round into the hot chamber except when actually firing. This reduces the potential for a cookoff. A cookoff is a round that spontaneously ignites due to residual heat in the chamber. Most weapons fire from the closed bolt position. In these systems, the round is already in the chamber and the system is locked and cocked when the trigger is pulled. The advantage of the closed bolt system is speed. Since the round is already positioned and the system cocked, pulling the trigger immediately fires the round. This is unlike the open bolt system, where the bolt has to travel forward after the trigger is pulled. The net result is a slight decrease in the time required from the moment of trigger pull, until discharge.


In a gunfight, speed is of the essence, since bullets travel at hundreds or even thousands of miles per hour on the way to the target. The closed bolt system fires as soon as the sear releases the hammer or firing pin. Even a fraction of a second can be critical in a gunfight. Of course, if the hammer is already cocked in a handgun, the weapon will react faster. This is because the trigger does not have to first bring the hammer back and then release it. The time value may be very small, but that does take twice as long to accomplish if the hammer needs to go rearward first. Unfortunately, in a really hot weapon, the closed bolt method places a round in that hot chamber automatically (in a semi-automatic or automatic weapon). This does increase the potential for a cookoff round. Cookoffs are unintended events, and can take you by surprise, causing injury or even death if the muzzle is not pointed in a safe direction at the moment of discharge. Cooling The act of firing a round generates heat and pressure. The temperature generated by the burning of propellant powders is in the magnitude of thousands of degrees Fahrenheit. The reaction is only momentary because the powder increments are small, and is therefore not sustained over time. Still, if we fire the weapon rapidly, heat will build up due to the thermodynamic nature of the chemical reaction that takes place within the cartridge case. How this heat is absorbed by the weapon and dissipated or removed, is a function of engineering and design. If the weapon is very lightweight, it may not have sufficient mass to withstand thermal stress efficiently. It therefore becomes imperative that we either engineer cooling features into the weapon, or refrain from firing many shots in a short period of time. In a military or law enforcement weapon, the latter option is not logical. As a result, engineers design certain surfaces for heat dissipation. Another factor to consider would be the thermal potential of the metals used. Some metals cool more rapidly than others, and may be adopted for that particular reason during the design process. One design element might be the total surface area available for cooling effect. Similar to a heat sink, the surface can be designed to efficiently displace heat. A heat sink absorbs heat away from a component and then radiates it into the air. Heat sinks commonly have many fins, maximizing contact with the cooler air and the hot surface. This increases cooling potential. On a firearm, what appears to be an unusually shaped surface with many levels or recesses might actually be a heat sink by design.


Let's look at the three basic types of cooling features commonly found on firearms: 1. Radiational cooling 2. Conduction cooling 3. Convection cooling Radiational cooling simply allows for the dissipation of heat into the surrounding cooler air. This is the least efficient means of cooling, but in some cases the only one available due to design limitations. Simply put, the gun heats up and gradually cools, as the surrounding air heats up due to radiant energy. Think of the radiator in your home that carries a warm fluid from your heating system. The radiator heats up, and as it heats up the air surrounding it, the radiator actually loses thermal energy and cools down. If we don't sustain the reaction by continually pumping hot fluid into the radiator, the room will get cold as we lose the ability to generate radiant heat energy. This cooling of the radiator due to the loss of a heat source is what happens in a firearm as well. The chamber heats up as ammunition is fired. The heat radiates into the surrounding air, cooling the gun. When we cease firing, there is no more heat source, and the gun eventually returns to normal (nonoperating) temperature. How the weapon is designed, and what metals are used, determines the cooling rate. Some weapons may cool down in a matter of minutes, others (like some machineguns) may take more than an hour to cool. Conduction cooling occurs when a heated object is in direct physical contact with a cooler object. An example is an ice cube in a glass of water. As the warmth from the water is transferred to the ice cube, melting the cube, the water is actually being cooled down. The net effect is cold water as the ice absorbs the heat from the water. Conduction cooling on a weapon usually results from high chamber operating temperatures being transferred into surrounding surfaces such as the barrel and receiver of the weapon. The transfer from the chamber to the cooler metals has the net effect of cooling the chamber. Thermal energy is then carried away by other means, such as radiant cooling, from these newly heated surfaces. Convection cooling requires the presence of a moving air current. The moving air has greater potential to carry away heat. If you run a mile and stand in still air, it takes a long time to cool down. If you stand in front of a fan, or in a breeze, you cool down faster because of the increased cooling potential.


You might be asking yourself how convection cooling works on a firearm, since there are no fans to generate air currents. Actually, the handguards of many weapons are designed to accomplish this. Many handguards have an inner heat shield, which reflects heat energy away from the handguard and back towards the barrel. The net effect is the super-heating of the air between the heat shield and barrel. The tops and bottoms of most handguard assemblies have cooling holes in them, and the heated air rises from the top holes. This creates an updraft that brings the cooler air in from the bottom. This process establishes a convection cycle as heated air is continually replaced by cooler air. You can see this occur if you have oil on the barrel of an M16 series rifle. As the barrel heats up and the cycle is established, smoke will jet up from the cooling holes as the oil cooks off on the surface of the barrel. Cooling is an important consideration in the design and use of a firearm. If you disregard the damage that heat can cause, it can be quite costly. No weapon should ever be fired to the point that heat is created faster than it can dissipate. The obvious exception to this would be in combat or some other type of firefight. During practice firing, hunting, competitive shooting or other recreational shooting, it is foolish to overheat your weapon. When the weapon becomes too hot, there can be profound metallurgical consequences. First of all, you increase the potential for a cookoff. As previously explained, a cookoff is usually an unintended firing of the weapon. This can result in damage to the weapon or injury to the operator if the breech is being opened at the moment of discharge. It can even result in an accidental shooting of another person (or you!). Second, excessive heat can cause parts to expand, changing critical tolerances. If these changes are more than operating clearances can normally withstand, the end result will be parts wear or breakage. Most weapons are designed with tolerances that allow for a degree of expansion. Exceeding this causes serious problems. Third, heating metallic parts above critical operating temperatures can anneal, or soften, them. The temper, or hardness of the metal, can be lost. All gun parts are made of metals with specific properties such as malleability, ductility, tensile strength and relative hardness. Overheating changes the characteristics of some metals and can seriously affect the way your weapon performs.


Gun barrels in particular are designed to operate within a specific range of temperatures. Additionally, each rifle barrel has a harmonic oscillating frequency, referred to by most gunsmiths as "barrel whip". As the weapon fires, the metal vibrates, just like a tuning fork. If we change the properties of a tuning fork, we change the pitch it produces. The same thing happens with a gun barrel. Change the characteristics of the barrel, and the barrel whip can change. One way to do this is by seriously overheating the barrel. Gun barrels are supposed to get warm. They are not supposed to glow a bright red! Any sniper will tell you that they record both cold bore and warm barrel data in their logbooks. Understanding operating temperatures is essential in critical shooting applications. Temperatures in excess of those normally tolerated by the metal results in damaged barrels and poor accuracy. Inaccuracy defeats the entire usefulness of the weapon. Most heat damage can be avoided. Lightweight firearms should not be fired at the full cyclic rate for a prolonged period of time. Even single shot bolt rifles can sustain some damage if the operator does not immediately extract and eject the spent shell casing. As long as that casing sits in the chamber, it's transferring heat to the chamber walls. Cool weapons, like cool heads, prevail in combat. There are other, more exotic cooling systems used on some weapons. The Browning .30 caliber machinegun series featured some weapons that used a water jacket, surrounding the barrel. The water was brought to a boil, and steam exited through a vent tube. The tube led into a condenser bucket, where the cooled steam turned back into water. The assistant gunner simply kept refilling the water jacket with the reclaimed water. Other systems, such as missile systems, used compressed gases, such as nitrogen, for cooling. There are even more bizarre cooling systems, but they do not apply to small arms. On your rifle or handgun, you are stuck with radiational, conduction and convection cooling. Speaking of cooling, always pay attention to ambient temperatures and the effects of direct sunlight. Leaving your weapon in direct sunlight obviously causes the metal to get hot. This will increase the speed at which the weapon heats up as it is fired. It also will require more cooling time if left in direct sunlight. Sunlight also affects your ammunition. Rounds should never be left in sunlight, as this causes problems with over-pressure when firing the round. Ammunition should always be kept in the shade until immediately before firing. On the firing line, cover your ammo with a towel, you hat, or keep it in the box until used.


Operating system design

There are four basic types of operating systems used in firearms: 1. Manual operation 2. Gas operation 3. Recoil operation 4. Blowback operation Be certain, there are many variations and nuances of these systems, and there are some unusual operating systems I will not cover here. As I have already stated, there are thousands of firearms, all of them different to some degree. As a practical matter, they mostly conform to the basic operating principles of the systems indicated above. Manual operation is achieved using the muscle power of the operator. All of the steps in the cycle of functions are performed manually by the operator. This includes opening the breech or cylinder and inserting a round, thereby accomplishing feeding and chambering. Closing the breech or chamber will usually lock the system. On some weapons a separate lock-piece is employed, but on many systems locking happens as the action is closed. Firing may require the manual setting of a cocking handle, hammer or similar device. In this case, energy is first stored in a compressed spring, and then released. This causes primer impact and detonation. Some systems release the hammer or firing pin immediately, as the trigger is drawn rearward. In firearms using a hammer, there will often be a half stop notch. The weapon can remain in the half-cocked position, or the fully-cocked position. This depends on how far back the hammer is pulled. The half-cocked position is an intermediate safety, used to make sure an accidentally snagged hammer does not discharge the weapon. Examples of manually operated weapons are: - Revolvers - Bolt action rifles - Shotguns Another point about manually operated weapons should be made. The shooter determines the cyclic rate of fire. How quickly and efficiently the weapon operates is the direct result of operator ability, since all steps are performed manually. The operator should therefore be trained to increase manual proficiency and speed.


Gas operation uses the gas pressure created by the burning propellant to provide the power for operating the system. There are two basic types of gas operation, direct and indirect. In direct gas operation, the gas created by the burning propellant will physically interact with the components of the action assembly within the receiver. Using the AR15 or M16 series of rifles as an example will explain this method. In this system, a quantity of pressurized gas escapes from behind the bullet as it travels past the front sight frame. Within the front sight frame is a gas port that connects a vent hole in the barrel with the gas tube. When the bullet passes the vent hole, and before it leaves the muzzle, gas pressure is vented into the gas tube. The gas travels rearward through the gas tube, and into the upper receiver. The carrier key mounted on top of the bolt ports the gas downward into the bolt carrier body, into an expansion chamber. The bolt sits inside this chamber, fully seated inside the bolt carrier when the bolt is locked into the chamber. The bolt is in reality a piston, and the bolt carrier's expansion chamber is actually a cylinder. The relationship is the same as any piston operating within a cylinder. As gas enters that chamber, the seal created by the piston rings on the base of bolt causes a separation of the bolt and carrier. However, since the bolt is already locked fully forward, the result is the rearward movement of the carrier. In this case, the gas actually travels into the upper receiver, through to the carrier key, to physically move the action assembly parts. The rearward movement of the carrier causes unlocking and subsequent steps in the cycle of functions to take place. With indirect gas operation, there is usually mechanical intervention, as in the case of the M60 machinegun. In this case, the gas enters a cylinder on the bottom of the barrel. The expanding gas pushes a free-floating piston to the rear. This piston in turn contacts an operating rod, to which the bolt is mounted. As the rod moves rearward, the bolt unlocks and moves to the rear as well. In the indirect system the gas does enter the action assembly area. The energy is transmitted rearward by the operating rod. As a result, fewer contaminants will enter the receiver, because the gas is ported out of the cylinder and does not go all the way back to the receiver. Gas systems, which rely upon the burning propellant, create significant fouling deposits. These are normally referred to as "carbon" (incorrect, as carbon is an element, not a collection of combustion byproducts). More intensive cleaning is therefore required. The proper cleaning is critical for reliable performance.


Recoil operation is based on the law of physics that states that every action has an equal, but opposite, reaction. Recoil operated systems rely upon the generation of a force sufficient to unlock and move the action assembly components to the rear. This force must also be powerful enough to extract the shell from the chamber, and fully compress the recoil spring. This force is called the recoil impulse. As we discharge a weapon, energy is expended in one direction as the bullet moves towards the target. An equal amount of energy is created which moves in the opposing direction, rearward. This energy, the recoil impulse, operates and cycles the moving parts. An interesting question arises: if the same amount of force is exerted rearward, why doesn't the gun propel itself rearward at the same rate at which the bullet travels downrange? The answer is simple. The bullet weighs only a fraction of an ounce, and is more easily influenced by the pressure of discharge. The weapon, with the body of the shooter behind it, may outweigh the bullet by a factor of several thousand times the bullet mass. We must consider the inversely proportional relationship of the mass, force and velocity produced. The greater the mass, the less effect the force will have upon it. The bullet moves downrange, and the shooter remains in position. The net effect upon the shooter is perceived as a slight impact, or recoil force, which is felt at the shoulder. The design and manufacture of a recoil-operated system is truly a feat of engineering. The correct ratio of weight versus force must be achieved, as well as accommodating proper timing through component design. The metals used in recoil operated systems must be durable and capable of withstanding punishing impacts repeatedly. Recoil systems require high chamber pressures. This is because the round must generate sufficient force to create the recoil impulse needed, and that translates into higher chamber pressures. Because the operation requires high pressure, it must also have a locking system. These are common characteristics of recoil systems: high pressures and locking systems. Recoil operation is also very dependent upon proper operating pressures. If there is a significant loss of pressure, the system can malfunction easily. For this reason, reloaded ammunition must be kept within strict parameters for powder charge weight, powder type, etc. Of course, reloaded ammunition is not an option for the military armorer.


Blowback operation is similar to recoil operation in some ways. The action assembly components are moved to the rear by the force caused as the propellant gases expand. As the propellant burns, pressure is created in the chamber. This pressure causes the bullet to dislodge from the case mouth and to then proceed downrange. An equal but opposite reaction is created as the gas pushes in both directions: front and rear. In the recoil system, the recoil impulse moves the bolt and barrel to the rear. In the blowback system, it is the direct pressure against the face of the bolt caused by the expanding gas. This should not be confused with gas operation, which traps and uses some of the escaping gases. In blowback operation, the gas simply pushes the base of the cartridge against the face of the bolt. The resulting action is the rearward movement of the bolt assembly. An easy illustration is a party balloon. When blown up, it stores potential energy as pressurized air. If you open the mouth of the balloon slightly, gas will escape. If you let go of the balloon, it will fly in the opposite direction of the escaping air pressure. Since blowback systems rely on this direct pressure against the face of the bolt, a locking system would be counter-productive. Much of the force would be lost during unlocking. Consequently, blowback systems typically do not lock. Since they have no locking system, we have to operate in the range of lower chamber pressures, to prevent damage to the weapon and operator. So, the common characteristics of blowback operated systems are lower chamber pressures and no locking system. Most blowback weapons are chambered for pistol cartridges, such as 9mm or .45 caliber. Some are a bit different, however, like the Mk19 40mm machinegun. This weapon uses the delayed blowback system. In this system, the bolt is still actually moving forward at the time of firing. The blowback force has to overcome the forward momentum of the bolt, and then move it rearward. This type of system is useful in dealing with slightly higher chamber pressures than found in most blowback weapons, and allows firing the heavy 40mm projectile. The speed of a blowback system is controlled by the mass of the operating parts, the chamber pressure, and the tension of the recoil spring. The cycle of functions is shorter, as there are no locking or unlocking steps to be performed. The shorter cycle can result in higher rates of fire, since the weapon has to perform fewer steps in the cycle of functions with each shot fired.


Ammunition and Ballistics Let's begin with the acceptance of a basic premise: the entire purpose in firing a weapon is to cause the projectile to impact on a target. All that happens in a firearm does so to support this one requirement. Ballistics is a very complex subject that many find confusing and difficult to understand. For the purposes of military small arms, it is not critical for the average marksman to have any knowledge of ballistic theory, except as pertains to bullet drop and the effects of wind. However, for those who hand-load ammunition, complete knowledge is essential. The typical military armorer will never perform this task; as mentioned earlier, it is prohibited. However, we cannot fully understand the weapon if we do not understand what it is designed to do, and how it does it. For anyone who repairs, maintains, services or modifies firearms, knowledge of ballistics is important. It enables a better understanding of the operation and performance of a given weapon. Although working with ballistics involves mathematics and firing tables, a basic knowledge is easy to achieve. Just remember the caution that a little knowledge can be dangerous. There is usually no reason to "re-invent the wheel" when it comes to ballistics. The performance data for most military and sporting rounds are available from hundreds of sources. In this chapter, I will present broad principles, and explain some of the computations that produce the numbers we find in ballistic tables. Let's begin with a definition. Ballistics is a science. It is a combination of physics and advanced mathematics. It is the examination and assessment of projectiles in flight, how they behave under motion, and what terminal effect they have upon a target. Ballistic studies are not restricted to weapons alone. Ballistics applies to other areas of science such as meteorology, astrophysics, astronomy, flight engineering, and forensic medicine. With respect to the science of ballistics and its reference to firearms, we are concerned with three principle phases of activity. These are interior, exterior and terminal ballistics. Interior ballistics deals with the behavior of the cartridge from the moment it ignites until the time the projectile exits the muzzle on the way downrange. Interior ballistics is a static science, since all of the parameters are already known, and the outcomes are easily predictable. Interior ballistics considers such factors as bullet weight, seating depth, rifling form, propellant type and quantity, bore diameter, barrel metallurgy, and other factors.


Exterior ballistics deals with the flight of the projectile, on its way to the target. It commences at the moment the projectile leaves the muzzle, and deals with its flight until impact with the target or the earth. Exterior ballistics is a dynamic science, because the conditions affecting the flight are infinitely variable. In my classes, I always explain this by stating an argument similar to the following one: If you fire a weapon on a rainy day, will the bullet hit a raindrop? If it does, which raindrop will it hit? And how will hitting that raindrop affect the flight path of the projectile from that point? What if it hits another raindrop? While this argument may seem silly, it is factual in its basis. It illustrates that there is an infinite capacity for the round to be affected on the way to the target. Exterior ballistics looks at the motion of the bullet in flight, the effects of wind, drag, gravity, temperature, humidity, altitude, angle of elevation, barometric pressure, and many other factors. Terminal ballistics examines the impact of the bullet with the target or the earth. Terminal ballistics is also a dynamic science, because there are also many variables that are unpredictable. These include target material, composition, fluid content, penetration depth, angle of entry, interior deflection, projectile design, projectile material, relative movement of the target, bone density, fat mass, target weight, etc. Again, infinitely variable. As with other areas of interest concerning firearms, there are sometimes disputes about the validity of certain claims about performance or capability. In a subject as vast as firearms technology, one would expect that. I caution you to seek the truth through enlightened study. Always checks your sources, and the references of your sources. There are a lot of sales pitches out there for one bullet that outperforms another. Manufacturers have a vested interest in making you believe their product is best. While their ballistic charts may be accurate, exercise proper judgment when assessing their claims of performance. As I have just stated, always check your sources. It is common to hear exaggerations when exchanging hunting stories. In my many years of experience I have learned that the average shooter is woefully ignorant of ballistic performance. Rather than rely on the claims of your buddies, I urge you to check valid references on the subject. As I stated earlier in this text, there is a reference publications listing at the end of this book. Please use it and increase your knowledge through continued studies.


Propellants and Projectiles Since the function of the firearm is to fire the projectile, we will begin our analysis by discussing how this takes place. We will take a short historical overview, and then talk about current technologies. Early firearms used black powder, a mixture of charcoal, sulfur, and potassium nitrate (commonly referred to as saltpeter). There is great controversy about the origins of black powder. You will undoubtedly read conflicting claims, and time has shrouded the facts. When firearms were first invented, it was rapidly discovered that round lead balls were the most preferable projectiles. Lead was readily available, being an element. Lead also has a low melting point, meaning it could easily be melted over a hot fire. Lead also has sufficient weight to inflict serious damage on a target. Black powder causes significant fouling, and so most leaden balls were cast a good deal smaller than the bore diameter of the weapon they were to be fired from. The melting of lead and casting of ball shot was the function of the armorer. The undersized dimensions of the lead ball shot made the weapons inaccurate at any range, and so the need for improvement drove technology ahead. The rifled barrel appeared, which improved the accuracy of lead shot. Initially, the same lead shot was wrapped in a cloth patch and the combination of the rifling and patch caused the bullet to spin, improving accuracy. However, the weapons of the day were difficult to load, since they were loaded at the muzzle. An improvement was the Minie' (pronounced Min-yay) system, commonly called the Minie' ball (erroneously pronounced mini-ball). This system used a hollow conical bullet that would expand inside the barrel, causing the round to spin, and was more accurate. Next came the introduction of smokeless powder, which was about to revolutionize the firearms industry. Smokeless powder is available in different types today, although the initial type was a simple single-base powder. Single-based powder is composed chiefly of Nitrocellulose (NC), with a nitrogen component of about 13%. Steeping cellulose, a naturally occurring fiber, in nitric acid, makes NC. An antiquated term often used is "gun cotton," when talking about early single based powder.


The NC is made into a gelatin by dissolving it in alcohol or ether. The paste formed is then passed through dies and extruded into shape. Finally it is chopped to the appropriate length. Ball powder was made by taking the mixture and spraying it into cold water, forming spheres. Modern processes have since replaced those manufacturing techniques. Army IMR (Improved Military Rifle) powder is composed as follows: Nitrocellulose 90.30% Dinitrotoluene 8.0% (coating added) Diphenylamine 0.7% (coating added) Potassium Sulfate 1.0% (coating added)

Double-based powders are NC mixed with nitroglycerine. Nitroglycerine accelerates the dissolving of the NC and lends additional explosive power. It also makes the compound more sensitive, increasing its detonating ability. It also has the unwanted side effects of increasing temperatures. This temperature increase results in damage to the chamber and bore of a weapon, and increases muzzle flash. Stabilizers are also added to the chemical compound during processing. The result is a gelatin-like substance that can then be easily formed into shape. Cordite was an early double based powder, which got its name from the fact that it was cut into long cords and trimmed for use in the cartridge. Army M2 double based powder is based on the following formula: Nitrocellulose Nitroglycerine Barium Nitrate Potassium Nitrate Ethyl Centralite Graphite 77.45% (13.15 nitrogen content) 19.50% 1.40% 0.75% 0.60% 0.30%

Diglycol powders replace the nitroglycerine with either one of three chemicals: Diglycol-dinitrate, Triglycol-dinitrate or Methyl trimethylol-methane trinitrate The advantage of diglycol powders is that they have lower operating temperatures, reducing muzzle flash and prolonging weapon life.


Triple-based powders are basically double based powders, but nitroguanidine is added to lower combustion temperatures. Using a lower percentage of nitroglycerine, they have high power output and fewer unwanted temperature effects. However, smoke output is increased, and the addition of the nitroguanidine requires the use of solvents, adding to drying time, and thus cost. Triple based powders are used in artillery rounds and tank rounds. The chemical constituency of Army M15 triple based powder is as follows: Nitrocellulose Nitroglycerine Nitroguanidine Ethyl Centralite Cryolite 20.00% (13.15% nitrogen content) 19.00% 54.70% 6.00% 0.30%

Triglycol powders are triple based powders, but the nitroglycerine is replaced with an ester of glycol. They are really excellent powders, but expensive. They are not popular with small arms manufacturers or users, possibly due to cost. The size and shape of grains of powder are critical, since they define the burn rate and hence the power generated. Powder grains are further defined by type as degressive, neutral or progressive. Degressive powder is usually formed into balls, sheets or strips. As they burn, the total burning surface area of the grains decreases. Neutral powder is formed as single perforated grains, or in a perforated starlike shape. The surface burning area remains relatively constant during combustion, until the grain is consumed. Progressive powder is formed in rosette shape, or has multiple perforations. As it burns, the size of the surface burning area increases. All smokeless powders fit into the category of colloidal cellulose nitrates. A colloid is a substance in which fine particles are suspended in a continuous medium. Gunpowders, as propellants, are considered to be low explosives. They produce large volumes of high temperature gases and do not rely on atmospheric oxygen to sustain the reaction. They typically involve molecular decomposition.


In a low explosive, the burn rate is usually less than 400 meters per second, or 1300 feet per second. Keep in mind that the burning propellant creates expanding gases. These gases expand because their density is less than that of the atmosphere, due to rapid temperature rise. The trapped chemical, expanding violently, creates chamber pressures that launch the round at a speed far in excess of the burn rate of the propellant itself. This explains why a propellant burning at a rate of only 1220 feet per second might create a muzzle velocity of 2600 feet per second. Low explosives change from a solid to a gaseous state slowly, in relative terms. High explosives on the other hand, change states almost instantaneously. They have burn rates as high as 8500 meters per second, or 27888 feet per second. That's fast! The difference in the explosives is felt in their effects. Low explosives have a pushing or shoving effect. High explosives produce a shattering effect. In addition, powders differ greatly for specific purposes. Pistol or shotgun powders should never be used in rifle cartridges. They have shorter peak pressure times, especially pistol powder, which must produce the desired velocity in a barrel only several inches long. Never tamper with an assembled round of ammunition. Do not remove the projectile and "super-charge" the cartridge by adding more propellant. Although you, as a military armorer, will never handle or store gunpowder in your arms room, it certainly does not hurt to know how to handle it. Never store smokeless powder in the same area as combustible or flammable materials. The storage cabinet should be self-venting to prevent explosion if a fire erupts. Do not keep any old or deteriorated powder on hand; destroy it. Store ammunition powder only in DOT approved containers. Never mix powders, and NEVER smoke in a powder storage area. Never repackage a powder in another box. The improvements in powder technology led to a parallel advance in projectile design. Lead balls and conical lead shot were replaced by jacketed bullets. A jacketed bullet has an outer surface made of a material that is more durable than the lead core. Typically, gilding metal is used in jacketed bullets. This material is composed of about 85% copper and 15% zinc. The jacket provides a bearing surface that resists the effects of friction to a greater degree than the naked lead bullet. The jacket also is soft enough to have the rifling contours easily engraved upon it, to impart spin as the bullet travels down the muzzle.


Having a jacket also prevents the lead from making contact with the bore, lessening the amount of lead fouling in the barrel. Early weapons that used the lead bullet exclusively, in combination with black powder, caused fouling which could actually prevent the weapon from being loaded and fired. Today, it is a common practice for manufacturers to use soft steel casing around the core of the bullet, and to coat this casing with a thin veneer of copper. The technology of today also makes the use of special alloys and plastic coating a reality. The use of these materials minimizes friction loading while providing the strength needed for high-velocity projectiles. Projectiles must have proper balance in order to spin reliably and maintain their stability during flight. Early projectiles suffered from a lack of concentricity due to the limits of the machinery of the day. Correspondingly, many projectiles during the civil war era were highly erratic in terms of their flight characteristics. Today, the sophistication of the computer-assisted design and manufacturing process makes sure that even inexpensive ammunition is reliable and accurate. Military organizations are restricted to the use of fully jacketed rounds as a result of several international treaties. Most commonly referenced are the Hague Declaration of 1899, the Declaration of St. Petersburg of 1868, and the Geneva Conventions. The focus of these international documents centers on the idea of killing or wounding humanely, (whatever that means), and prevents the use of certain types of ammunition by military forces. However, you should be aware that not all military forces in the world observe the requirements of these conventions. The forces you might encounter may belong to rogue nations that have no regard for international laws. Remember that insurgents or guerrilla fighters will use whatever means they have to defeat you. There are many types of projectiles currently in use by hunters, competitive shooters, law enforcement personnel and civilians. Projectiles are designed to accomplish a certain task. This may be something as simple as putting a clean hole in a piece of paper, or ensuring a "lights out" penetration of the Medulla Oblongata by a single sniper shot from a great distance. (The medulla oblongata is the nerve tissue at the base of the brain that controls respiration, circulation, and other vital body functions. Hit it, and the subject is instantly incapacitated).


The following are some of the more common types of projectiles currently being manufactured and used: Fully jacketed. This projectile is entirely encased in a metal jacket for the reasons previously described; flight stability, uniform penetration, lower friction loss, and conformance to the laws of war. The jacket provides a tough outer shell to prevent lead atomization due to heat and high pressure during launch. The core may be a simple lead core, or a compound core made of an inner core of lead to provide sufficient mass, with a steel inner nose to increase penetration. Semi jacketed. This round has a jacket that covers the base and sidewalls of the projectile. The jacket proceeds forward to the beginning of the ogive, or the point at which the taper of the nose begins. The jacket ends at this point, leaving the softer lead core exposed at the tip. The lead easily flattens inside the body, increasing cross-sectional area and enlarging the permanent wound channel. Hollow point. A jacketed round with a recess in the nose. This recess results in greater injury through more controlled expansion than that found in the semijacketed round. Due to the nose design, it will displace more fluid, creating a larger temporary cavity in the target. This can result in more capillary bleeding, a higher chance of inducing shock trauma, and an increased probability of tissue necrosis. The expansion of the projectile also results in less penetration depth, which is highly desirable in a law enforcement or personal defense weapon. The typical human body only averages between 8 and 9.5 inches total depth from the sternum to the posterior aspect of the spinal column. Projectiles that overpenetrate simply waste energy, do not transfer enough lethal force in some cases, and present danger to others in the backstop area behind the intended target. There are variations of the hollow point that feature serrations or notches on the mouth of the projectile. These cartridges may expand like the petals of a flower for even greater cross-sectional area, or segment into individual secondary projectiles within the body. Since I am dealing with the subject, I will take the opportunity to discuss the mechanisms of injury involved in gunshot wounds. The human body is mostly fluid. All structures of the body contain fluid, including bone structures. Different organs and structures will vary in their reaction to a bullet, due to the density of the tissue and engorgement of blood. Soft tissues will react differently than muscles, cartilage or bone.


When a bullet enters a human body at high velocity, the damage done depends to a great extent on the location of the entry point, and the tissue or organs that are struck by the bullet. For this reason alone, marksmanship is important. It should be obvious that shooting someone in the toe will have a different effect than shooting that person in the eye. The bullet can only be most efficient when it strikes something vital. As the bullet enters, it attempts to compress the fluid contained within the tissue. This is because the bullet desires to occupy the same area as the tissue, at the same time, and the tissue contains fluid. Fluids, however, can not be compressed; they can only be displaced. This is the principle upon which the science of hydraulics is based. The bullet, moving at incredibly high speed, displaces fluid as it enters the body. This fluid is not so easily driven from the tissue that holds it, so the tissue is compressed and displaced, creating a cavity. This cavity has several elements. One is the permanent wound channel. This is simply the tissue through which the bullet passes, which is destroyed by the bullet. The result is tissue necrosis, or tissue death. If this permanent wound channel involves a vital organ, the organ can be destroyed or cease to function. The result will usually be death. The temporary cavity caused by the entry and passage of the bullet is created by the displacement of blood or other fluids. The temporary cavity in and of itself can sometimes have little or no consequences. When a surgeon operates on a patient, he creates a temporary cavity by retracting tissue, yet this in itself may have no lasting effect. However, the mechanism by which the temporary cavity is created, traumatic penetration of a high-velocity projectile, can result in ancillary bleeding through damaged capillaries, resulting in significant blood loss. Again, the placement of the shot means everything in terms of the ability of any given bullet to neutralize a human target. As a bullet enters the body, the shape and weight of the projectile will greatly influence its' path and internal trajectory. A lighter, high-velocity bullet will more easily deflect from bone or dense tissue, possibly changing course inside the body. Many bullets are heavier at the tail than at the nose. This increases aerodynamic performance, but also results in the bullet turning within the body. This is because the bullet does not react within the body as it does in the air.


The reasons for this are the initial shock caused by impact with the body, and the fact that the bullet is now traveling within a fluid medium. It no longer has the same velocity, its spin characteristics are changing, and it has been subjected to the forces of impact with the body, which cause deviation to the flight path. The heavier base of the bullet will cause the bullet to turn 180 degrees forward, presenting the heavier base end first as it travels through tissue. This has the effect of "cleaving," or increasing the size of the permanent wound channel as the longitudinal aspect of the bullet, from base to tip, is presented to the tissue through which it passes. Once the base is leading the bullet through the body (again, depending on the type of projectile being used), the base may expand, increasing cross-sectional area. This again has the effect of widening the wound channel and displacing a greater fluid volume. Most bullets will have this tendency to tumble within the body. This should not be confused with tumbling through the air, which I will cover later. Again, this type of tumbling within the body is caused by the heavier mass of the projectile base overtaking the light nose. The end result is a 180-degree turn, unless striking bone or hard tissue causes a compound deflection. Also, if bone is struck, the bone fragments themselves may become secondary projectiles as they are driven through surrounding tissue by the force of impact. It is also common for clothing articles, buttons, or other gear to be driven into the body by an external impact just immediately prior to the bullet entering the body. These items may simply present themselves as debris that must be debrided from the wound channel, or may become secondary projectiles. In addition to tissue destruction, traumatic shock, and blood loss, there is always the danger of serious infection. Many persons have survived the initial wound and later died of resulting infections. Consider also that a limb or appendage may have to be amputated as well, and you get a composite view of what happens to a gunshot victim. Predicting how an individual human body will react to the impact of a bullet is virtually impossible. Shooting two different people with bullets from the same weapon, in the same manner, will yield different results (in medical terms). The individuals may react differently, but the trauma inflicted is still significant. All this is well and good, as projectiles, especially hollow-points, are designed to do exactly what I have just described. There are other projectiles for special uses that I will now describe:


Wadcutters are projectiles having either a flat nose or a nose with a slight rise in the center, above a flat plane. Wadcutters are used primarily for target shooting and competition. They create a hole in a paper target with a perfectly smooth, circular edge, making scoring disputes very rare. They also make an excellent personal defense round, as they are very deadly and have fewer tendencies to ricochet around your bedroom. Tracers produce a trail of flame and/or smoke to mark the path of the bullet through the air. The flame is produced by barium nitrate and magnesium mixed with chemicals to produce specific colors. Tracers are available in different degrees of brightness for special purposes. They can be used for signaling, ground illumination, distress markers, and observation of bullet impact or for incendiary effect. Some tracers include an igniter, a paper or chemically impregnated disk, and a subigniter in addition to the tracer element. This allows the tracer to move downrange some distance from the muzzle before igniting. The purpose for this is the masking of the location of the weapon, and to prevent blinding the gunners at night. Incendiary bullets will spontaneously ignite when the projectile case is ruptured as it hits a target. The projectile contains a chemical that will ignite when exposed to air, such as phosphorus. The idea is to set the target on fire. Therefore incendiary bullets are only effective on targets that are themselves combustible. There have also been explosive-incendiary bullets invented by DeWilde and Pomeroy. Dewilde's bullet used layers of explosive and incendiary chemicals, making it effective against a wider range of targets. Pomeroy's bullet was hollow and contained nitroglycerine held in a semi-suspended state, since it was absorbed by a piece of fibrous paper inside the bullet. In solid or semi-solid form, nitroglycerine is relatively stable. In liquid form it is highly dangerous. As the Pomeroy bullet proceeded towards the target, the rotation caused by the rifling in the barrel would extract the nitroglycerine by centrifugal action. The liquid would pool on the inside of the bullet, and on impact would explode like a mini-grenade. Extremely effective, easy to manufacture, but unfortunately you will not find any of them in current use. Armor Piercing ammunition contains a projectile that has a hardened steel or steel alloy core. This core is usually surrounded by a lead casing and covered with a gliding metal jacket. This is done to ensure uniformity of size and shape between AP rounds and ordinary ball rounds. This is necessary so that the weapons that fire different types of ammunition, like machineguns, feed reliably.


The part of the projectile that penetrates the armor needs to be a different shape, to maximize the penetrating abilities of the inner core. The projectile shape overall has to be aerodynamically efficient. If we used the shape of the inner core, the bullet would not fly to the target as well as it could, so we wrap it in the outer lead casing for that purpose. Armor piercing ammunition can be used against buildings, vehicles, lightarmored vehicles, bunkers and other "bullet resisting" targets. I do not know about you, but I consider myself to be a bullet resisting target....I do not desire to get shot! Armor piercing ammunition is restricted in some areas by local and state laws. As much as I support the right of the individual citizen to keep and bear arms, I can think of no legitimate reason for any private citizen to own or possess AP type ammunition at any time, for any reason, period! There are bullets available that will defeat and penetrate personal body armor. Some will even penetrate armor rated for threat level IIIA. These bullets are not armor piercing rounds. Armor piercing ammunition defeats plate armor, not synthetic-fiber body armor. As you can see, there are different rounds for different purposes. There are other types of ammunition not listed here. I have only provided basic information on the more common types. Sometimes the choice of the right ammunition can make the job a lot easier and safer. A few more facts about projectile and cartridge combinations should be made at this point. It is difficult to make general recommendations about which bullet should be used for which purpose. But one suggestion seems to be offered by nearly all knowledgeable persons. If you are going to carry a handgun for selfdefense, you should probably carry hollow point rounds. The expansion and lessened ricochet potential make them excellent candidates for close-quarter combat, as happens in a home defense situation. They also feed more reliably than some wadcutters. Handguns can be divided into classifications based on how reliably they feed a range of ammunition types. First class pistols can handle any ammunition, including high-powered +P ammunition reliably. Second class pistols may not feed all hollow point ammunition with the reliability needed for combat. Third class pistols should only be loaded with ball rounds to prevent feeding jams. How do you know what classification a pistol falls into? Basically, you get what you pay for. If a handgun is cheap, there usually is a good reason.


Cartridge cases Early cartridge cases were nothing more than a paper sack or capsule, filled with a lead ball and black powder. It was not a cartridge in the sense that we know one today, but merely a means of keeping all the ingredients for shooting handy. Cartridge cases evolved slowly, at the rate that the technology of the period permitted. Most cartridge cases of the Civil War era were crude and nonuniform. Their improvement was limited by the abilities of the machine-tool industry. Compounding the problems in development was the fact that many calibers had not been standardized. There were dozens of new weapons developed during this period in history, each with its own design characteristics. It was not until the development of a good brass cartridge case, that the benefits of smokeless powders could be fully realized. Cartridge cases changed greatly after the civil war, resulting ultimately in the extruded brass cases we are familiar with in the present time. The cartridge case provides three main functions, all equally important: 1. A cartridge case holds all the components of the round together. These include the primer, propellant and projectile. 2. The cartridge case expands during firing to create a gas seal. 3. The cartridge case acts as a heat sink, absorbing most of the heat from the burning of the propellant. When extracted and ejected from the gun quickly, most of the heat source is removed. There are many types of cartridge cases, some for general use and some for special purposes. Some of the more common ones are the rimmed straightwall, rimless straightwall, rimless bottleneck, rimmed bottleneck, rebated, and belted. The condition of a cartridge case is obviously important. If the case is damaged it might not feed properly. Cases can become pitted, and since some cases are made of steel alloys or other ferrous metals, some can actually rust. Most cartridge cases can be reloaded, which can save the shooter money, but only if a sufficient volume of rounds are used to make the equipment investment pay for itself. The following illustrations shown common cartridge case types:


The above diagram shows a typical centerfire, bottleneck cartridge case. This is the type of case most commonly used in military firearms. Using this example I will explain another commonly heard firearms term:


Headspace is a measurement of length. Specifically, it refers to the distance from the base of the cartridge, in contact with the face of the locked bolt, to the commencement of the shoulder angle of the chamber. Looking at the illustration, headspace would be the distance from the very bottom of the cartridge, to the point where the sidewalls end and the shoulder begins to taper. There is great controversy among some of the nation's best known and wellrespected gunsmiths, as to exactly the point where shoulder contact becomes a critical element. However, the above definition is generally accepted by those in the firearms field. Keep in mind that the chamber of the weapon has a corresponding shoulder, in which the chamber also narrows. The shoulder of the case seats against the shoulder of the chamber, defining the total area or length required. Headspace is important for several reasons. If headspace is inadequate, that means there is not enough room for the round to seat fully, and the bolt will not lock into position. This can happen if the case length is oversized. It can happen with reloaded ammunition that has not been properly sized or trimmed. If the headspace is excessive, the opposite is true. The case is not long enough to occupy the total chamber length. This creates problems because the cartridge now has room to over-expand during firing, possibly causing a rupture of the case. In some cases, the firing pin might not protrude far enough to strike the primer, as the case may now be too far forward. Timing should be discussed at this point, since the term commonly is associated with the word "headspace". Timing is defined as follows: Timing: The proper sequencing of the steps in the cycle of functions: Usually a sub-function of mechanical design, requiring no intervention by the operator. When the term timing is used, most soldiers think of the M2 Browning .50 caliber machinegun. This is because that weapon features adjustable timing. All weapons, however, require timing. As the definition implies, the timing of a weapon provides for the steps in the cycle of functions to occur in proper order. When a step does not occur as expected, a stoppage takes place, and the weapon ceases to function. Timing is usually a product of design, which causes the parts to move in a sequence that permits the cycle to perpetuate itself. This requires no control or input from the operator of the weapon, it happens automatically.


Priming Most cartridge cases use one of two types of ignition sources, either center fire or rim fire priming. Center fire priming is accomplished using a primer that is inserted into a cylindrical recess in the center of the cartridge base. Not to confuse the issue, but the base of the cartridge can also be called the head when we are referring to the base in its entirety, including the extractor groove and primer pocket. Center fire priming technology is based upon two different primer designs, the Boxer and Berdan primers. A British Colonel, Edward M. Boxer, designed the Boxer primer. His primer features an anvil set inside the primer shell, against which the priming compound is crushed when the firing pin strikes the base of the primer. Inside the base of the cartridge is a vent hole or flash hole through which the ignition flame passes to ignite the main charge of powder. Each time a piece of Boxerstyle brass is reloaded, the new primer containing a new anvil and priming charge, is placed in the primer pocket above the hole. This is an easy style of cartridge to reload, because to dislodge the primer you need only push a rod or wire through the vent hole from inside the case. The Berdan primer, invented by US Army Colonel Hiram Berdan in the 1860's, does not contain an anvil like the Boxer style does. Instead it is simply a soft brass alloy cup containing the priming chemicals. The case of the cartridge has a raised metallic "pip" in the center, upon which the priming compound is crushed. It features several flash holes around the periphery of the primer pocket, leading into the main charge area. The Berdan primer is easier to manufacture since it has no internal anvil like the Boxer does. It is more difficult to remove, and if the pip in the center of the pocket wears down, which it eventually can, the brass cannot be reloaded. The compounds used in primers are usually not disclosed by the manufacturers to the public, and are considered to be trade secrets. Older primers used corrosive salts and chemicals that could rust or otherwise damage a weapon's finish, but most current primers are non-corrosive. An emerging technology on the horizon is that of caseless ammunition, in which the entire cartridge case is made from a combustible plastic compound, like a plastic explosive. With this ammunition, there is no brass residue, no reloading, and no need for extraction or ejection, since the case is expended when the round is fired.


How long it will take for this technology to be adopted is unknown. It not only involves the development of the science involved, but will also require the complete replacement of the entire current technology. Considering that this would require the replacement of many millions of weapons in the United States alone, it will be some time before this technology is practical to use. Currently, the US Military forces are using less-than-lethal ammunition. This ammunition is used in training, to keep costs down and reduce the amount of real estate needed for firing exercises. A common type of less-than-lethal ammunition is blank ammunition. Blanks contain no projectile and usually have a crimped or rosette mouth case. However, some blanks have an "over shot wad", keeping the powder in the case and keeping it dry. The M60 machinegun blank ammunition is an example of such a round. SRTA or short range training ammunition is another type of less-than-lethal ammunition. These rounds typically have plastic projectiles containing a dye or powder. They easily fragment on contact, marking a target as having been hit. One should not be fooled by the term less-than-lethal. Although these rounds are designed to generally not inflict lethal wounds, they can still kill! Blank rounds at close ranges can generate tremendous muzzle-blast energy. If fired against a human body they will cause severe injury and even death under certain circumstances. Also, blank firing adapters may launch off the end of a weapon if not properly secured. Therefore, never fire a blank round at a representative enemy closer than twenty feet away. SRTA rounds can impact with soft tissue and cause serious trauma or even death. They should be used with ballistic face shields and body armor to protect the "target", usually a person playing the role of aggressor. Without protection from the projectile, a hit in the eye, ear, throat, in the mouth or groin area can have extremely serious medical consequences, possibly death. The basic rule of thumb is; firearms are not toys. Anything fired in a weapon, even the so-called "safe" ammunition is not really safe. In order for it to work, it still needs to generate enough temperature and pressure to cause the weapon to cycle properly. And, when using blank ammunition, make sure you use the correct blank firing device. There are different blank firing adapters for the various configurations of the M-16 series of rifles. They are not interchangeable amongst themselves, or with the BFA for the M-249 machinegun. Failing to use the right equipment could cause your weapon to fire as a single shot firearm, or to launch the BFA off the end of the barrel. Either situation is unacceptable. Refer to the equipment information in the back of the operator's manual (-10 TM) for the right gear.


Ballistic Terminology To understand what happens to a bullet during launch all the way through to the time it comes to rest on the ground or in the target, we need to examine some ballistic concepts and terms. Grain is a term frequently heard when describing bullets or powder. The term grain refers to a unit of measure, specifically a unit of weight. The grain is based on an old system of measurement in which the heart kernel of a single grain of wheat was used as the standard. Using this standard, there are 7000 grains in one avoirdupois pound. What exactly is an avoirdupois pound? It is a system of measure based on sixteen ounces, 7000 grains or 453.59 grams per pound. Consequently, an ounce contains 437.5 grains, or a single grain weighs .002285714285714 ounces. I know that's an intolerably long number, but I like to be precise! As you can see, a grain is a very small unit of weight. Caliber is a term used to describe the diameter of a bullet or the bore of a weapon. It is always expressed as a decimal based fraction measured to the nearest thousandth of an inch. Using this method, we can see that a .50 caliber bullet is actually one half inch in diameter, or .50 inches. In this case, it should be expressed properly as .500 inches, but everyone finds it easier to say fifty caliber as opposed to five hundred caliber. Further examples: .357 caliber = 357/1000ths of an inch .22 caliber .45 caliber = 220/1000ths of an inch = 450/1000ths of an inch

Rifling refers to the spiral grooves engraved along the inner length of the bore of a firearm. These grooves force the bullet to spin as it travels down the barrel, because the fit is so tight between the bore surface and the sides of the projectile. A reverse image is engraved upon the surface of the bullet. These marks, called striations, are unique from weapon to weapon, and indeed are used during forensic examinations to determine whether a particular gun fired a certain bullet.


Inside the barrel, the higher areas between the engraved grooves are called lands. The lands dig into the side of the bullet as it passes down the barrel, clutching the bullet and causing bullet rotation or spin. This spin is needed to give the bullet aerodynamic and gyrostatic stability as it flies through the air, which makes for a predictable trajectory to the target. Rotational speed or spin rate is another crucial element. It is the number of times the projectile will spin per second (also expressed in turns per minute). It not only determines the length of time during which a bullet will retain its aerodynamic performance, but also has a pronounced effect upon the penetrating abilities of the projectile when it strikes the target. Ballistic coefficiency describes the ability of a projectile to overcome drag resistance. It is expressed as a decimal based fraction with a value between zero and one. A zero represents no ability to fly, and a one indicates the ability to indefinitely sustain flight under hypothetical circumstances. There are different ways of calculating ballistic coefficiency. One method states that if a bullet has half the ability of the "standard" bullet, it will have a coefficient of .500, or one half the value of the number "one." Most manufacturers will publish the ballistic coefficiency for their projectiles in the literature accompanying a box of ammunition. Other sources are commonly found in firearms trade publications and gun magazines sold to the public. The ballistic coefficiency of a projectile must be known if you wish to calculate the drift of a projectile subject to a crosswind. Use it also to predict the reduction in velocity on the way to the target caused by air resistance. Precession is a natural phenomenon that affects all bullets as they leave the muzzle crown of a firearm. The air has a moisture content and density, and in attempting to punch through this resistance, a shock wave travels through a bullet as it exits the muzzle. This shock wave causes the bullet to wobble slightly, as a spinning top does when it hits the ground. In a few milliseconds, the spin of the projectile takes over and it finds its rotational balance point. From that point on, it flies smoothly, until the spin begins to decay, at which time the bullet will tumble wildly. Precession is the tendency of an object, in rotation, to deviate from its longitudinal axis, or simply put, to wobble. This effect, at extremely close ranges, can make predicting the precise point of impact of the projectile tip very difficult. Precession in an extremely light projectile can contribute to the tumbling effect inside the body.


Sectional density is an expression regarding the relationship of the weight of the bullet to its diameter. It is given as a decimal fractional value, and represents the ability of the bullet to sustain momentum during flight. The higher the sectional density, the greater distance the bullet will travel while overcoming the effects of aerodynamic drag. However, a bullet with higher sectional density might possibly not achieve the same muzzle velocity as a lighter bullet. The heavier the bullet is, the more power is required to get it to the same velocity as the lighter bullet. This requires higher chamber pressure, and might exceed the rated pressure for the weapon. This has the effect of limiting the maximum velocity possible when reloading. Minute of angle (or minute of arc), is a term describing an amount of deflection from a given straight line heading. The 360 degrees of a circle are further divided into 60 minutes of arc, each composed of 60 seconds of arc. The actual value of a minute of angle is 1.0472 inches at 100 yards. For practical purposes it is adequate to round off this figure and say that 1 MOA equals 1 inch at 100 yards, 2 inches at 200 yards, etc. To calculate the needed MOA scope adjustment to compensate for bullet drop with any rifle, simply determine the number of inches below the point of aim, where the bullet impacts the target. Then divide this number of inches, by the hundreds of yards to the target. For example, if the bullet strikes the target 12 inches below the point of aim, and the distance to the target is 200 yards, simply divide 12 by 2.00. Remember, divide by the hundreds of yards! Since the distance is 200 yards, we simply move the decimal point two places to the left. If the distance were 228 yards, we would divide by 2.28. In our example of 12 divided by 2.00, we come up with a need to adjust the scope a total of 6.0 minutes of angle. The scope will usually have an adjustment wheel or index that is graduated in clicks. These clicks may represent anywhere from 1/8 MOA to a full minute of angle, so check the scope data manual. Reversing this math formula proves the answer to be correct. If a minute of angle at 200 yards equals two inches, and we are 12 inches below the point of aim, the answer must be 6, since 6x2=12. Muzzle velocity is the actual speed at which a projectile travels as it leaves the muzzle of a weapon. It is usually expressed in feet per second or fps. Sometimes it will be given in a metric value expressed as meters per second or mps. Muzzle velocity is controlled by the type of propellant burned, the burn rate, the length of the barrel, the weight of the projectile, projectile design, and type and twist of the rifling in the bore.


Muzzle energy is a value that explains the amount of physical work force that can be expended by the movement of the projectile, at the muzzle. It is a product of a calculation that multiplies the weight of the bullet in grains, by the square of the projectile's velocity. This product is then divided by a constant that allows for corrections in the speed to weight relationship, and the effects of gravity. Muzzle energy is expressed in foot pounds of energy. A foot pound of energy is that energy required to lift a one pound object one foot. Two foot pounds of energy will lift a two pound object one foot, or a one pound object two feet, etc. Muzzle energy is only of value when factored into other calculations that determine the true potential of the bullet to affect the target. It is also used to make relative comparisons of the efficiency of one bullet versus another. An example would be the M193 ball round fired from the M16A1 rifle, versus the M23 incendiary round fired by the M2 .50 caliber machinegun. In this example, the M16A1 bullet delivers 1290 foot pounds of energy at the muzzle, while the M2 incendiary round provides a whopping 21588 foot pounds. The difference in purely analytical terms expresses the ability of the amount of force exerted to move an object. The M16A1 bullet has the potential to lift a 1290-pound object one foot, while the M2 bullet can do the same for an object weighing 21588 pounds. This is a considerable difference in power performance. This is, of course, theoretical. It disallows for factors resulting from the impact, but is nonetheless valid from a mathematical point of view. How this translates into comparative efficiency of the two rounds is easier to understand. At 1900 yards downrange, the M2 bullet has more impact energy remaining than the M16A1 bullet can deliver at the muzzle. At 1900 yards downrange, the M16A1 bullet, with its poorer ballistic coefficiency, would have barely any terminal effect upon the target. Stopping power is a term used to describe the relative destructive abilities of a projectile. A formula devised by Colonel Julian S. Hatcher in 1934 is still used today by many people as a model for determining ballistic performance in a human target. Colonel Hatcher's formula considers the bullet weight, speed, kinetic energy, dimensions, stability and shape. The formula is expressed as: RSP=E x A x K In this formula, RSP equals relative stopping power. E equals the bullet energy, A equals the diameter of the bullet, and K equals the shape factor. The shape factor can be eliminated from the equation for any two bullets having identical shapes, thereby simplifying the mathematics.


The shape factors are assigned as given here: Ball rounds: 0.9 Flat-nosed: 1.1 Wadcutter: 1.25 Hollow-point: 1.25 The end product is a number, usually containing a residual decimal value, such as 43.22 or 55.14. By itself, this number is meaningless. When compared to the end value for another bullet, the higher number value equals higher relative stopping power. Therefore, a bullet with a value of 40.00 has 20% less power than a bullet with a value of 50.00. Prior to leaving this chapter, I feel it is appropriate to mention a few facts relating to the improvements in ballistic science. I could not possibly go into any depth here, but as stated in earlier chapters, I will recommend a good library. When speaking of the development of small arms and ammunition, many names come immediately to mind. The most renowned would be John Moses Browning, certainly the most prolific firearms inventor in history. He is the developer of the following weapons; Browning High Power pistol M1911 Government Model Pistol Browning A5 Autoloading Shotgun Browning .30 Caliber water-cooled machineguns Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) M2 .50 Caliber Machinegun Winchester Model 94 Rifle ... more weapons than I could name. Samuel Colt earned a place in history for his contribution to the science, as did Garand, Smith & Wesson, Gatling, Rubin, Ruger, Boxer, Berdan, Chinn and many others. The development of the theories that led to the discoveries go back much farther than most people realize. The father of modern ballistic theory would have to be Benjamin Robins, an English mathematician and physicist. It is true that the earliest known written work dealing with the science of ballistic trajectories was Nuova Scienzia by the Italian scientist Niccolo Fontana. His work was published in 1537, and dealt with the optimum elevation to achieve maximum range with an artillery projectile. The body of knowledge advanced by Robins was more concisely applied to the workings of man-portable firearms. As such it represents a greater contribution.


The work of Benjamin Robins expanded upon developments in mathematics and the physical sciences made by discoverers such as Galileo, Isaac Newton and others. These developments, while important in understanding the nature of the physical relationships between motion, mass, resistance and velocity, were still relatively useless. There was still no practical way to measure the velocity of a projectile in flight. Robins invented a device called the ballistic pendulum in the year 1740. Just like an ordinary pendulum, it swung in an arc below a pivot point. When struck with a bullet, the pendulum would react by moving in the direction of travel, being deflected by that bullet. The size of the arc would be measured. Using the other known data, such as bullet mass, the velocity could be calculated. With the speed of the bullet known, other calculations could now be made that were not previously possible. Robins' discovery opened an entire new world of scientific knowledge about ballistic flight. His contribution did not end with the invention of his pendulum. He was the first to prescribe that bullets should be loaded from the breech end, and not the muzzle. He based his recommendation on his observation that a large amount of pressure was lost as gas escaped past the round projectile. Remember that this is happening in 1740, 100 years before practical rifled barrels began to appear. He advised eliminating round shot and replacing it with an elongated projectile fired from a barrel with spiral grooves cut into it to give spin. This is the rifling we are familiar with today. The work of Robins appears in his writing titled New Principles of Gunnery. Robins was definitely ahead of his time. Some of his concepts would not be employed until some 100 years after his death. At the beginning of this chapter I cautioned you that ballistics is a complex and difficult subject. While it is easy to achieve a working knowledge, in-depth understanding can only come from many years of careful research and study. In my years of association with firearms I have always attempted to improve my knowledge, even though it sometimes appeared to not relate directly to my employment. However, my self-improvement has led to career advancement, and I strongly recommend that you study and learn. Please remember my admonition to not re-invent the wheel. Most of the information you could ever possibly require has already been developed and printed in one form or another. Your activities should center more upon research as a form of educational resource, rather than consuming time by trying to develop theories that have already been proven.


Chapter 2 Examination

1. What are the eight steps in the cycle of functions? a. __________________ b. __________________ c. __________________ d. __________________ e. __________________ f. __________________ g. __________________ h. __________________ 2. What are the three basic types of cooling methods employed by firearms? a. __________________ b. __________________ c. __________________ 3. What are the four basic types of firearm operating systems? a. __________________ b. __________________ c. __________________ d. __________________ 4. What are the ingredients of black powder? a. __________________ b. __________________ c. __________________ 5. What is a double-based powder? ANSWER: _______________________________ 6. What are the two common types of center-fire primers? a. __________________ b. __________________


7. How many grains are there in an ounce? ANSWER: _______________________________ 8. What is the value of a minute of angle at 100 yards? ANSWER: _______________________________ 9. How is muzzle energy expressed? ANSWER: _______________________________ 10. Who invented the M2 .50 caliber machinegun? ANSWER: _______________________________

Answers to this and all examinations can be found at the back of this book.


Chapter 3. Firearms Safety and Marksmanship

This subject is understandably important. Firearms are lethal by design. A lack of the basic safety rules concerning firearms can be deadly to those who handle them. This applies whether you are a manufacturer, armorer, gunsmith, police officer, hunter, soldier, target shooter or competitor. One would assume that merely being a firearms professional automatically qualifies a person as competent in the safe handling of firearms. This is a false assumption that should not be tolerated. All persons handling firearms require proper instruction in the handling of those weapons. A firearms instructor should be formally trained, certified as to his or her professional competency, and qualified with the firearms taught. Most states have a qualification process for civilian law enforcement personnel who provide firearms training. These certifications are required whether the individual trains at the range during live fire, or teaches marksmanship or maintenance techniques in the classroom. The reasons for this are easy to understand. There is always the issue of public liability, because personnel armed in the performance of their duty are responsible for their actions with their assigned firearm. As employers, law enforcement agencies do not want their personnel injured in the line of duty, as this causes the temporary (or permanent) loss of a highly trained individual. And, as compassionate human beings, we do not want to see our fellow professionals and their families affected by an avoidable tragedy. In the military, however, standards are not so rigidly enforced. Some branches of the armed forces, such as the United States Air Force, have trained and qualified personnel serving as full time instructors. The dedicated position allows them to concentrate on their duties, develop professionally, and provide competent instruction in the use of weapons and deadly force. The United States Army has no such equivalent position. The closest would be the Drill Instructor serving at a TRADOC installation, teaching basic military marksmanship courses. However, once the soldier graduates from basic training and the MOS producing school, there usually are no personnel dedicated solely to the task of live fire training at the unit level. The problem presents itself after a soldier has completed training upon initial entry to active duty, and is then subsequently assigned to a troop unit or other organization. At this point the soldier usually only qualifies annually with the assigned weapon.


Each army division has a G3 Training section that is responsible for oversight of military training. These personnel schedule trainees, coordinate the use of resources, approve the contents of Program of Instruction materials, and provide other critical functions such as planning the master training calendar. The G3 personnel are not present to supervise the training of soldiers on the firing line. There is very little present in the way of a quality control mechanism to ensure that unit NCO's are teaching properly. Very few NCO's who are tasked with teaching pre-marksmanship courses have actually attended a formal course that would qualify them for teaching these subjects. Very often the NCO is tasked to provide training by the "hip pocket" method, whereby someone hands him a manual just before the class takes place, and tells him to "teach" the subject. During recurring qualification training, the soldier is supposed to receive a block of pre-marksmanship instruction prior to live fire. The individual PMI requirements are explained clearly in the Field Manual (FM) for each respective weapon. In my classes I usually find many students who are or have been assigned to crew served weapons by the "hey you" method. These soldiers sometimes received NO crew-served weapon instruction during BMT or AIT. Therefore, the quality of the PMI at the unit determines the safety margin during the training exercise. During PMI, it is not adequate to merely recite the range safety rules and tell the soldier to put his hearing protection in place. The soldier may be totally unfamiliar with the operating system of the weapon due to the lack of prior training. Please do not misunderstand my intentions in presenting this information in this manner to you. I do not intend to discredit or defame the persons assigned to the training task. My only intent is to illustrate the nature of the core problem that results in tragic injuries and deaths during live fire training, and only a fool would deny that these accidents take place. By presenting this issue, I hope to impress upon you why accidents take place, and why they can be avoided. If the training with instruments of lethal force is not conducted to the highest standard attainable, the consequences can be totally intolerable. When dealing with deadly force, complacency itself is a significant contributor. For this reason alone you should never ignore the safety factor, and the safety factor to a large degree is controlled by the quality of the training provided to soldiers.


I will not bore you with a litany of tragedy that details the unfortunate outcomes of individual events. I will state with certainty, however, that when you become complacent about safety, you become a target for disaster. I commend those military leaders who rigidly enforce safety concepts in training. I also know for a fact that there are many times when safety is not a high enough priority. This is not a statement of opinion, but a matter of historical detail that can be found in the records of the US Army Safety Center. As an institution, the US Army has a great safety record and safety program. One would be a fool however, to deny that people make errors in judgment.

Safety Awareness Concept The concept behind safety awareness is simple: almost all accidents are avoidable. Even in cases where some condition may be unseen by the operator of a piece of equipment, it could have been foreseen by the manufacturer, designer, shipper, sales person, trainer or supervisor. The safety awareness concept requires that you be pro-active in nature. You can not simply respond to an accident and then say, "Well, we should have done this...". You must actively look for indicators of pending problems, and solve those problems before they result in injury or death. Not all tragedy associated with firearms results from poor operator training. It can be a consequence of many other factors. Sometimes a weapon is simply not well made, as in the case of the typical "Saturday Night Special." This term refers to a firearm so cheaply made that a criminal can afford to use it and throw it away. Throwing it away is probably in his best interest, because these weapons frequently fail disastrously. There are more firearms on the market like this than you might think. Most of the makers of rifles, shotguns and pistols are reputable manufacturers with years of experience, good reputation, and technologically advanced production facilities. However, many are made cheaply overseas, and imported under popular brand names. These weapons can range from just being unreliable, to being potentially fatal to operate. In your arms room you may encounter a variety of personally owned weapons, or POW's. Possibly you may receive offers, as armorers usually do, to either buy one of these weapons, or repair and maintain it as a "side project." You should be aware that federal and local laws regulate who may repair, service or modify a firearm.


In your duty position as the armorer, you are specifically exempted from the laws that regulate these activities, as long as they pertain to the performance of your official duties. Being the armorer does not entitle you to violate the law by setting up an unlicensed gunsmith shop in your arms room. Doing so is a misappropriation of government funds and a UCMJ violation. Anyway, you should never attempt to repair, service or modify a firearm with which you are unfamiliar. This brings me to another reason why "accidents" take place: poor or improper maintenance. Some states like New York only require an individual to obtain a permit to operate as a gunsmith. There are no professional credential requirements, no formal training, and no supervision by the state agencies that issue the permit. The rule of thumb is expressed in the Latin term Caveat Emptor or "Let the Buyer Beware." As a result, it is sometimes impossible to determine the actual competency of a gunsmith until he has done his worst to your weapon. Assuming that you were confident in his work, and the weapon fails with tragic results, who is really to blame? Is it you, the unwary customer? Maybe you could have taken it to someone else for servicing and repair. Possibly you should have inquired further before making your final decision. How could you be expected to know it would fail, since the gunsmith has a license issued by the state? Is it the gunsmith, whose lack of attention to detail might have missed significant indicators of pending failure? If he received training somewhere along the way, was it a failure of his tutor? Why should he be liable if the state issued him a license and he has business insurance? Or it is the state, which failed to oversee the industry adequately? Should they not only have a licensing procedure, but an inspection process as well? Why not establish professional credentials and curriculum standards for the persons they license to do business within the state? The whole purpose of this discussion is to make a point: Safety is everyone's business. If an accident occurs, all parties have a certain degree of ownership for the responsibility. In a commercial or civil environment like the above example, all levels of decision makers are responsible for the consequences. In a military environment this is no less true. All parties concerned; the commander, safety officer, range officer-in-charge, armorer, first line supervisor and trainee are equally responsible for the safe conduct of training with live firearms.


This is the essence of the safety awareness concept; accidents are preventable, everyone owns responsibility for the incident, and only a pro-active approach can minimize the potential for disaster. Therefore, the issue of the quality of training is important. Quality training that meets the defined standards of the equipment technical manual and field manual can mitigate or minimize the potential to a very large degree. Using the converse argument easily proves this: if we fail to train people properly with lethal instruments, accidents will occur, even though they are largely preventable. In all my classes I stress two things over and over: safety and combat readiness. Anyone who has attended one of my classes will tell you that I am nearly fanatical on the subject of safety. The reason is simple. I have been involved in several accidents, and learned from them. Fortunately, those accidents caused no injury, just property damage. My experiences have made me a believer in the value of safety and safety training. I am a member of a small volunteer fire department in a rural area of New York State. As a member of the department I am also the training and safety officer. It is completely unthinkable in the fire-fighting profession to send untrained and unqualified personnel into the path of danger. Training must be conducted by officers of the department or State-certified instructors who are themselves qualified to conduct the training. The reason for this standard is obvious. Fire is dangerous, and the fire-ground is a deadly environment in which we operate. The same degree of danger is always present when we train with firearms. Safety training can mitigate the possibility of danger to the trainees, but the weapons themselves are never any less dangerous to work with. Therefore, safety training is imperative. Safety is more than a concept or training standard. It is also an attitude that will affect the way in which you perform your daily work. If you are not mindful of the safety requirements of your job, things will go wrong. As an armorer, you are the person most directly responsible for the condition of the weapons in your arms room. Usually the repair is beyond the capability of the operator, and is performed by the armorer. Even if it is above the level of the armorer's capability, the armorer is still the individual responsible for ensuring that the weapon is repaired at the higher level shop. When an accident occurs, the armorer's ownership of the problem is immediately recognized. A pro-active attitude in your approach to your duties will minimize your exposure


Safety Rules With an understanding of the basic concept of safety awareness behind us, let's take a look at the basic rules for firearms safety. What I present here is a summation of the time-honored offerings of; The National Rifle Association, the various doctrines of the military branches of the armed forces, and the teachings of renowned firearms professionals whose names are immediately recognizable by any reader of shooting magazines. These concepts are universally accepted. The document I use to teach safety is called the Ten Commandments of Firearms Safety. I will present each rule, followed by an expanded explanation of its logic or application to military operations. 1. Treat every gun as if it is loaded Even when you know a weapon is clear and safe, you should still treat it with the same respect you would accord a loaded firearm. This contributes to good safety habits, which may actually save a life by preventing accidental discharge of a weapon. In treating a weapon as if loaded, you must always control the direction of the muzzle. When handling a firearm, be mindful of the surrounding area. If inside a building, which direction is the safest one in which to point the muzzle? The finger should never be on the trigger of a firearm except when it is loaded and being fired, period! Poor trigger control contributes to many of the accidental shootings that take place in this country every year. If you use dummy ammunition to test the functioning of a firearm, respect it and treat the weapon as if loaded with the real thing. Never mix dummy rounds and live ammunition in the same area. About ten years ago I had an accidental firing of a weapon in my work area, because I was testing the weapon and actually had a live round in a chamber. That was a stupid, preventable error! I am not above admitting my mistake. I certainly learned from it, and as embarrassing as it is to sometimes admit it, I use it as an example in my classroom lectures. Hey, if it can happen to me, it can happen to you! The bottom line is, even though I made a critical error, my awareness of muzzle direction prevented a tragedy and only resulted in a shattered window and damage to a vehicle parked outside. What prevented injury was the fact that I treated the weapon as though it were loaded, and controlled the muzzle


Armorers are required to have dummy rounds to function test the weapons in the arms vault in accordance with technical manual requirements. In all cases, dummy ammunition should be clearly distinguishable from live ammunition. The cases should be crimped, painted black, or have holes drilled through the sidewalls. They should also have no primer and no flash hole. Use only the dummy rounds that are authorized by the weapon manual. Your local Ammunition Supply Point should supply dummy ammunition. Check with your unit S4. 2. Be sure of your target All too often, soldiers fall on the battlefield as a result of fratricide. Police officers train using firearms simulators to teach judgment shooting. As a firearms instructor, I often use a simulator to train engagement techniques. Training with a simulator is only one method of ensuring that you only engage the proper target at the proper time. There are many things to consider when engaged in actual combat situations. On the range the option is simple. All you have to do is engage the silhouette target. This is great for teaching basic marksmanship, or when fighting a paper army, but ineffective in teaching real engagement techniques. In combat, you need two things to make you effective in engaging targets while avoiding friendly elements. The first of these is situational awareness. You must be fully conscious of the position of all personnel in your immediate area, both friend and enemy. You must not only be aware of their presence, but of their movement and intended course of action. Situational awareness also includes understanding your role in relation to others in the force structure that is engaging the enemy. Are you engaging the proper targets in the assigned sector of fire? Can you engage targets of opportunity? Is your fire supporting and complementing that of others in your force? There are five basic steps in engaging targets: 1. Target detection: what's out there? 2. Target identification: is it friend or foe? 3. Target assessment: what is its relative threat and priority? 4. Target acquisition: are my sights properly placed for action? 5. Target destruction: engage and neutralize The steps are a logic path. At each step along the path you apply a conscious decision concerning engagement before proceeding to the next step.


The other element is positional awareness. Are you properly in position to engage the target effectively while minimizing collateral damage? Are there friendly or non-combatant personnel in the field of fire? When it is imperative to engage, can you avoid friendly casualties? Positional awareness also defines your ability to react to events, your ability to move, to take cover and concealment. Especially in urban tactical environments, positional and situational awareness largely define the logic behind the shootdon't shoot decision. The same dedication to shooting logic should be made when hunting game, while at the range, while defending your home, or while plinking at cans in the yard. A firearm should never be discharged unless and until the logic can be determined. Shots in the dark are responsible for killing family members as well as intruders. Always be sure of your target! 3. Be sure the bore is not obstructed This seems like a simple enough concept. If there is a foreign object in the bore, it can cause catastrophic failure of the barrel. I think we can all agree on that one. Do you realize, however, how little it takes to occlude the bore of a weapon? In my classes I show students photographs of an M16A2 barrel that suffered such a failure. It was placed in a milling machine and cut into a cross-section so the inside can be clearly seen. The photos plainly depict what caused the failure of this weapon. What did it take to do this damage and endanger the life of the operator? A few grains of sand, shown graphically in cross-section, lodged in front of the projectile. With a high-powered rifle or handgun, it is essential that you take the time to inspect the bore prior to firing. Do this every time. Remember always that there are two separate steps involved: making the weapon clear and safe. "Clear" means there is no ammunition in the chamber or feedway. The term "safe" not only means that the safety is engaged and the weapon is ready for transport or holstering, it also means that the weapon is safe to fire. If you did not check the bore, the weapon is not truly safe to fire. How can a bore become occluded? Simply put: inattention to detail. The M16 series of rifles does not tolerate having water in the bore during firing. Yet if you carry the weapon with the muzzle elevated or at sling arms in a driving rainstorm, you almost guarantee that the situation exists. Putting a muzzle cap over the opening solves that problem nicely.


It is extremely easy when maneuvering to allow a muzzle to make contact with the ground. It is almost impossible to avoid in some low crawl situations, as when crossing swamp or desert. If you do not have a muzzle cap on the end of the barrel, you must be eternally mindful of the position of the muzzle. After crossing this type of terrain, it is smart to examine the bore. If practical, do so prior to firing the weapon. Make sure the chamber is empty first! When moving through shrubbery or low vegetation, plant stems, leaves or seeds can enter the muzzle. Check to make sure your muzzle is clear when leaving those areas. Now let's discuss the unthinkable! Never chamber and fire a live round in a weapon with a blank firing adapter mounted to the muzzle! It's hard to acknowledge that some people can actually do this, but anyone can make a mistake, and it does happen. Finally, we must never ignore problems associated with bad ammunition. It will sometimes happen that a projectile will lodge in the bore due to failure of the propellant or other factors. This is called a "squib round." If your weapon recoils noticeably lighter and has a muffled report, cease-fire! Your bore might be obstructed by a projectile. This usually happens only with reloaded ammunition. In all cases, inspecting the bore prevents tragedy.

4. Never point at anything you do not want to shoot This one should be considered a "no brainer." I am sorry to say this, but this is the one rule most commonly broken. It seems to make such perfect sense, that I fail to see why so many people violate it. Simply put, anything the muzzle of a weapon is pointed at is a target. Whether you intend to shoot it or not, it is in the direct line of fire. An unintended target will suffer the same consequences when struck by a bullet. Always remember that your weapon has no mind, and therefore no concept of loyalty or guilt. It will kill you, your child, or your friend as easily as an enemy. Each day in the United States, people tragically are killed unintentionally by the negligent use of firearms. To a great extent, most of those tragedies are avoidable. Always remember that stupidly is lethal when dealing with lethal power.


I am not going to engage in a political argument for or against firearms. I will pass on to you the comments of a good friend and fellow firearms instructor, Jeff Hunt of Hancock, New York (a member of the 174th Security Police Squadron, New York Air National Guard, and a New York State Corrections Officer). In his firearms classes, he frequently makes the following statement: "I can take this firearm, load it, and place it on this table. If it were possible, I could come back a year later and this weapon would still be sitting here loaded. This weapon will never fire until a human being picks it up and pulls the trigger. It's not the weapon that's unsafe. It's the person behind the gun" His statement is undeniably true. So then, what makes firearms so dangerous? It's not the gun, it's the person behind the trigger. Negligent behavior with a firearm is not only inadvisable, it's usually against the law. I can not tell you how many times people "horseplay" with a firearm, and end up shooting someone. I can tell you that horseplay is not tolerated in my classroom or in my presence. Your attitude around your company area or in your arms room should be exactly the same. There is no room for negligent behavior with a firearm, even when you are absolutely certain that the weapon is clear and safe. Remember that if you develop poor safety habits with a firearm, the end result can be devastating. The only time an unloaded weapon should be pointed at another person is during tactical training in personal defensive maneuvers. It should only be done when all parties involved have personally determined the weapons to be clear and safe. You should also be aware that the target of your "horseplay" might not appreciate your actions. You may find yourself being the target of that person's anger. Also, the shock of unexpectedly facing the bore of a firearm can have profound medical consequences for some people. I have often said that you should not do anything unless you can withstand the consequences of your actions. I would not want to live with the knowledge that I killed someone by accident. 5. Never leave a loaded gun unattended This rule should be easy to understand. If a person picks up a firearm, not knowing it is loaded, there can be terrible results. This is especially true if the person is unfamiliar with the weapon, or with weapons in general. All soldiers are responsible for the physical security of the firearms assigned to them. There is no excuse, ever, for leaving a loaded weapon unattended. Keep in mind that the term unattended infers that you have not left it in the personal custody of another person, who assumes responsibility.


This does not happen so much in a military environment, because the training is geared to prevent this from occurring. Where it happens frequently is in the home. Unfortunately the persons who find loaded firearms are usually children. When there are children in your home, you really need to examine the logic for having a firearm loaded. If the loaded firearm is usually kept on hand for self defense, I would like to pass some sobering facts on to you: 1. A self-defense firearm is useful only when you have immediate, unhampered access to it in an emergency. 2. The use of a firearm in self defense is often precluded by the fact that if an intruder is armed, he usually already has his weapon deployed, and there is no way you can "out draw" him. 3. Many persons who keep firearms in the home are not trained in their proper use, and a shooting situation is the wrong event to learn from. 4. The entire home becomes a free-fire zone during an indoor firefight. The bullets will penetrate walls, furniture and other objects, killing people you cannot see. 5. Drawing a firearm during a break-in escalates the potential for violence. The criminal now has little option but to engage you with countering lethal force. 6. Your actions in using a firearm against an intruder in your home must be legally justifiable or you may be criminally prosecuted. Of course, loaded firearms should never be found in an arms room. Take a wild guess about that one. In my years of experience, do you think I have ever found loaded firearms in an arms room? The answer, sadly, is yes. Following proper clearing procedures when departing the range or training area should prevent that from happening. Again, proper procedures are not always followed. Keep eternally in mind the fact that you are dealing with lethal force whenever you are handling a firearm. Store them clear and safe at all times. 6. Avoid alcohol before and during shooting I know you will find this hard to believe, I certainly did, but in my office at Fort Drum I have a document advertising a shooting match where alcohol was served. What makes this all the more impossible to believe is that this event took place at a US Military Reservation!


I can think of NO valid reason why alcohol would be anywhere near a shooting event. I happened to be at this military installation the day after the event, and was so astounded by the posters and flyers for it, that I took one. Could you imagine what would have happened if one of the contestants or spectators had been shot, and alcohol was a factor? What makes this so incredulous is the fact that military discipline is usually so rigid that such events are almost impossible. You might attempt to rationalize by figuring that at least the contestants probably did not consume alcohol. Sorry, it still fails the "smell" test. Alcohol and firearms are non-compatible. In the civilian community, alcohol use is not uncommon during shooting events. Plenty of "good ol' boys" plink at backyard targets while enjoying a six-pack. Ask any doctor who has worked a residency in an emergency room, if he or she has ever seen an alcohol related shooting. You would be surprised how common it is. Prior to engaging in any training with firearms, all personnel should be questioned about prior alcohol use. Under no circumstances should any person who consumed alcohol within 8 hours prior to training, be permitted to check a weapon out of the arms room. You should also consider the effects of a hangover, or sleep deprivation that may result from binge drinking. The physical effects of an earlier state of intoxication can affect reaction times and judgment ability. If you know an individual to be in such a state, do not allow that person to be armed, no matter how unpleasant the consequences. Keep in mind what could happen! In addition to alcohol, drugs pose problems as well. This applies to prescription drugs as well as recreational use of controlled substances. Persons taking any type of antihistamine that may cause drowsiness should not be armed. The same is true of persons taking psychoactive substances like mood elevators, anti-depressants, barbiturates or amphetamines. There are also drugs that can complicate injury in the event of accidental injury at the range. Among these are aspirin or prescription anti-coagulants that can contribute to uncontrollable bleeding. If an individual is taking a prescription drug that presents a problem, simply reschedule the training when the person is medically cleared. If you are thinking right now that this is not your job, refer to my earlier statements about the safety concept. Safety is everyone's job! Alcohol and drugs on the range are an invitation for disaster.


7. Never climb a tree or cross a fence with a loaded firearm In a military environment, it is sometimes necessary to violate this rule. This should only be done, however, when operating in close proximity to an enemy force or when combat is imminent. It should be remembered that you can carry a magazine in a rifle, with the bolt forward on an empty chamber, and the weapon can be truly safe to handle while climbing. This should only be done in a military environment. It should never be done while hunting or stalking game. There are techniques for moving weapons partially loaded to increase the margin of safety while maneuvering. Read and understand the field manuals for the various weapons in your arms room. 8. Never shoot at a hard flat surface or water. Be sure of your backstop. Ricochet rounds frequently kill. There is no reliable method to predict the behavior of a deflected or ricochet round. The danger is amplified in areas where compound deflection can take place. Examples are quarries, junkyards, building sites, and rock formations. Depending on the angle of incidence, a bullet may not fragment, and may retain much of its velocity and force even though the direction may change. It is possible to have a compound ricochet deflect more than 90 degrees and still have sufficient lethal force to wound or kill. When in the woods, be mindful of the ricochet potential of trees. Some tree bark can absorb great amounts of water, which can change the way a bullet will react when it strikes the tree. Heavier projectiles such as shotgun slugs tend to retain much of their mass while ricocheting off wet trees. The deadly potential of these rounds should never be overlooked. When firing any firearm, be aware of the area behind your target. You must know the maximum range of the weapon and projectile combination you are using. Some types of projectiles tend to over-penetrate the target. High-powered rifle bullets usually perform in this manner. This alludes to the matter of situational awareness I discussed earlier. You must always know what is downrange behind your target. If you do not, then you are not justified in discharging your weapon.


Generally speaking, an 80 degree fan of fire should be considered. This means that an area 40 degrees to the left and right of your point of aim must be clear of downrange hazards; like people! In addition to human targets, be aware of certain dangerous targets, like fuel cells, aircraft or ammunition points behind your target. 9. Carry your weapon empty, action open Again, this is countermanded by the requirements of military training or operations as needed. It does raise an important issue regarding the transportation and handling of firearms. In all my classes, I always make the following point: "Never, ever, trust your life to the safety of any firearm" This is a valid statement. Firearms safeties are mechanical devices, subject to the same failures as other mechanical devices. All metallic components in a firearm are subject to wear resulting from heat, stress and friction. The components of a firearms safety are no different from any other parts in terms of their ability to wear. This is the reason why we always perform a function check of our firearm after reassembling it, or before using it. You should develop the good habit of checking your safety each time you draw your weapon from the arms room, and every time you issue one to a soldier. The reason we suggest always carrying the weapon empty is simple. As I frequently state: "No one was ever shot with an unloaded firearm" You would be astounded to know how many people claim the firearm that accidentally discharged was unloaded. Ladies and gentlemen, that is simply not possible given our understanding of the laws of physics. Bullet wounds only come from bullets. An empty chamber equals no bullet wounds. Let common sense prevail! Just check your local newspaper for time to time and you will see what I mean. Accidental shootings are common during hunting forays and while carrying weapons to and from civilian shooting ranges. It shouldn't happen, but it does.


10. Store guns and ammo separately, and beyond the reach of children No rocket science here, either! Most agencies have regulations or internal SOP's that require the separate storage of ammunition and firearms. It is a good practice to maintain in the home as well. Separate storage decreases the danger of accidental shooting. If an intruder grabs your gun to shoot you and it's unloaded, you'll be happy. Trust me on that one! The tragedy of children being shot with loaded firearms stored in homes is outrageous. Negligent parents should be, but often are not, prosecuted. Please remember, and apply, all the safety rules presented here. Doing so may literally save your life or the life of a friend or loved one. Do not forget that your own personal negligence may result in criminal prosecution as well. I am pleased to see that in New York State, where I reside, a more prudent attitude towards gun safety is being adopted. In the past, there was never a requirement for a handgun safety course prior to licensing a person to carry a concealed firearm. The licensing officers of the various counties, usually a County Court Judge, are imposing the requirement as a local option as of the date of this manual. I am proud that I have been selected as an instructor in Jefferson County, having met the criteria for the definition of a duly authorized firearms instructor as codified in the New York State Penal Law. Many handgun enthusiasts I know balked at the idea of imposing another socalled "restriction" on getting a firearms permit in New York State. Personally, I see that it benefits them rather than hinders them. In the past, the anti-gun crowd could always point to the lack of safety training. Their claim was that unqualified persons would carry guns in public. Since the course is now becoming mandatory, they can no longer make that claim. Persons applying for the license demonstrate their knowledge of weapons safety and their ability to handle the weapon even before the license is issued. The end result is the disarming of another argument by the anti-handgun forces. The issue of handgun control is a political powder keg. I certainly favor any approach that increases public safety while not infringing upon Constitutionally guaranteed rights. I urge you, if you are a gun owner, to join a local shooting club where good safety habits are taught and weapons are respected for what they are. If you have children, make sure they are taught as well.


Marksmanship I can hear my critics already: "What is a section on marksmanship doing in a maintenance handbook"? People who ask that question are displaying their own ignorance about firearms maintenance. Since the entire objective of the weapon is to cause the projectile to impact on a certain point, maintenance has everything to do with marksmanship. If the weapon is not accurate, the chance of placing that shot on target diminishes. There are many things the armorer can do to improve the accuracy of a weapon. I am not talking about anything exotic such as free-floating a barrel or bedding a receiver. I am referring to common everyday maladies that can be cured with a screwdriver or other simple tools. However, before we can talk about improving accuracy, we must make sure the concepts of marksmanship are fully understood. You might be asking yourself the eternal question "Why"? The answer is again simple. One of your tasks in making a firearm repair is to properly isolate and diagnose the fault. Without an understanding of proper form and technique, you may overlook the fact that the shooter just does not know what he is doing. There is no value in perpetually adjusting sights for someone who does not know what a good sight picture is. You may also have to test fire a weapon on the range to determine its accuracy for training and qualification. I have had to do this many times. It usually takes place when a shooter can not hit the zero target. At this time you test fire the weapon to determine if the weapon, and not the shooter, is causing the problem. If your marksmanship skills are not what they should be, you may not hit the target either! This is the reason why armorers must fire and be familiar with all the weapons in their respective arms rooms. How are you going to make that diagnosis if you do not know how the weapon normally reacts and performs? Failure of the armorer to understand how the weapon functions, results in weapons often being sent to direct support units for no valid reason. Very often, a weapon is sent in for repair, while it is the shooter who is the problem. A well trained, competent armorer on the range can eliminate that mistake, saving money and resources. A well-trained and seasoned armorer can spot trouble and prevent failures. He or she can contribute to the training effort, and conserve resources by eliminating unnecessary maintenance actions. Understanding marksmanship principles is critical to the armorer's overall understanding of the weapon as a system.


Human Physiology and Anatomy Welcome to "Anatomy 101." No, this is not medical school, but an understanding of the real principles of marksmanship begins with a look at the human body. This is practical, because what we are talking about is ergonomics, or the study of the interface between human and mechanical elements. The first element I wish to discuss is psychological stress. Most of the physical processes are influenced by the state of mind of the person firing a weapon. There are many factors that influence the stress level of a shooter at a firing range. We are not psychologists, and our aim is not to resolve issues dealing with internal conflict. However, it is important that the shooter be put at ease about the firing mission. This is true regardless of whether we are dealing with a trainee at the firing range, or a sniper engaging an enemy target. Trainees at the range are frequently emotionally "on edge." Many are concerned about qualifying with their service firearm. For some, it is required that they maintain qualification because of their duty position. Others are just concerned about having to come out to the range to re-qualify. For some persons, firearms training is not a pleasant experience. They do not like lying in the mud, or freezing in cold weather. Some people are upset by the noise, and pressure exerted by their superiors. For many, it serves as a reminder of basic training. What the shooters need to understand is that they must be aware of their own psychological state. They must not "compete" with themselves. The range firing experience should be handled like any other learning experience: calmly. External stress factors can contribute to poor performance at the range. Among these are excessive alcohol consumption, workplace stress, lack of sleep, anger, resentment and drug use. Have you ever considered that the so-called "benefit" of a hot cup of coffee at the range may actually harm performance? It is well accepted that caffeine is a powerful stimulant. It is probably the last thing we should be giving to some soldiers prior to firing a weapon. There are many physiological effects related to caffeine. None of them contribute to proper use of a firearm. Some persons will claim that they perform better after their morning cup of coffee. This implies a psychological state of being; the physical effects of caffeine consumption are well known and accepted. It is possible that the calm one finds in their morning dose of caffeine can offset the negative aspects of the physical reaction to the stimulant. If that works for them, that's fine.


Stress and attitude are directly related. A proper attitude about the purpose of the training can reduce the stress associated with it. You should emphasize the need to relax when coaching a shooter with erratic performance. Very often this single step resolves many performance problems. Autonomic nervous functions are those tasks performed by the body, that require no application of conscious thought. Among these are pulse and pulse rate, breathing, and stimulus response. While we do not have to think about these functions for them to take place, what we think can severely affect them. For instance, a person with a pessimistic attitude about cardiac health and a fear of death, can experience accelerated pulse and other symptoms associated with cardiac ailments. We can influence the functions of the autonomic nervous system to some extent. However, we must breathe and have a pulse in order to live. The presence of these functions greatly influences the firing of a weapon. As the body inhales air, the chest expands. As a result, the body in the prone position moves as the shoulders are raised to accommodate the increased volume of the lungs. This directly affects the point of aim of the weapon, as the rifle is in balance on a fulcrum, the hand. As the shoulder rises, so does the buttstock. In a corresponding fashion, the muzzle goes down. As the heart beats, blood is pumped through the arterial and venal network to and from organs and tissue. Each beat of the heart causes a slight movement of the body, and hence the weapon. Good marksmen observe this through their rifle scope when concentrating on a target. The reticle will move slightly with each pulse. Many refer to this as "scope jump." It is important that the shooter understands the inability to control autonomic function. When one becomes overly conscious of the pulse, and attempts to control it, the result is usually an increase in pulse rate. The shooter must make a conscious effort to relax, and often can use meditation techniques to obviate the negative effects of autonomic functions. Conversely, anxiety is the enemy of proper marksmanship. Fatigue is a common influence contributing to poor performance at the range. In some cases it is unavoidable, and in others it is desirable, especially when we want to determine the ability to perform under stress.


During qualification firing, the shooter must be well rested. This means adequate sleep and a proper psychological state. It is nearly impossible to obtain proper rest if one consumes massive amounts of alcohol the night before firing. If the performance of a shooter at the range is sporadic and below standards, ask about how well rested he or she might be. Doing so may tell you not to waste your time looking for mechanical factors associated with the firearm. Proper conditioning can reduce fatigue. When in good physical condition, the effects of sleep deprivation will be mitigated to a certain degree. Always remember that marksmanship is a combination of mental and physical effort. Therefore the physical conditioning of the shooter will always affect the ability to deal with fatigue as an element in marksmanship training. Breath control is one factor that can greatly improve shooting performance. If you think about it as you read this handbook, you are breathing. Be conscious of your breathing pattern. You breathe in, there is a slight pause, and then you exhale. Again, there is a slight pause before you inhale. At rest, the healthy person may breathe anywhere from 12 to 18 times per minute. As an experienced range instructor, I can immediately tell a lot about the shooter's health and psychological state by watching the rise and fall of the rib cage. Being aware of the respiration cycle while in a firing position is a simple thing to do. All the shooter needs to do is think about it. Applying a conscious effort to relax and breathe normally can greatly contribute to proper performance. In order to achieve maximum results, control of your actions in firing the weapon must be timed to the respiratory cycle. The best method is to time the shot so that the hammer falls in one of the lulls between exhalation and inhalation. At this point the rib cage is not expanded. The idea is to be uniform from shot to shot. This is what accuracy is all about. If we shoot with the rib cage expanded to different degrees of inflation, the height of the shoulder will be different. So will our sight picture. Correspondingly, the position of the barrel and muzzle in relation to the body changes. This does not contribute to good shooting. Some people prefer to take a breath and cut it off at some point, and then shoot. This is fine as long as you are relaxed and can always have the shoulder height at exactly the same point. Using the fully expanded or deflated lungs allows you to immediately achieve the same shoulder height with each shot. It is one of the simplest ways to improve your score. If you are on the firing line trying to determine why the trainee is missing the target or doing poorly, watch the expansion and fall of the rib cage.


Visual control technique is often an overlooked factor. There are six elements to proper visual control we must consider. They are: the eyes, rear sight, front sight, line of sight, target, and eye relief. Eye relief is the distance from the lens of the eye to the rear sight. In order to be accurate with a firearm, eye relief must be consistent. Making sure that the face is placed on the buttstock at precisely the same location, every time does it. With the M16 series rifle as an example, the best way to achieve this is to place the tip of the nose against the charging handle. Many people will be fearful of placing their nose against the rifle, assuming they can be injured. In that case, a finger or two can be placed against the charging handle and used to gauge the eye relief. Place the nose against the closest finger. Remove the fingers and the eye is in exactly the same place every time. Very often a problem with obtaining a good sight picture will be related to eye relief distance, but the soldier does not know that. You can solve that problem also, while observing the trainee in action. Many shooters, myself included, can achieve deadly accuracy with a rifle out to 800 meters using nothing more than open, iron sights. While a rifle telescope does extend the range of accuracy, there is no reason why the average marksman can not qualify if the proper sight picture is achieved and maintained. In a proper sight picture, the front sight is placed squarely on the desired point of impact, and centered in the rear sight. Some weapons, by design, require a center hold, meaning we aim for the center of mass of the target. Others require a six o'clock hold, in which the point of the front sight is placed at the lowest point in the center of the target. It is important to know the design characteristics of the weapon, since using the wrong hold position can cause you to expend many useless hours wondering why you cannot hit the target! Some handguns employ a six o'clock hold. This is because handgun firefights take place at very short distances. Many people have a tendency to shoot high on the target, and a subsequent shot will often go high as well. A lower point of aim will increase the chances of a hit in a vital area. To obtain a good sight picture, we must not only line up the various elements, but properly concentrate on them. The human eye will normally tend to center the rear sight, especially if it is a peep-type sight (a circular element). The important thing it to put the front sight squarely in the center of the circle or notch of the rear sight.


In a proper sight picture, the rear sight and the target should appear fuzzy. The front sight should be in perfect focus. Doing so, emphasizing the front sight, enables better control of the sight picture. Do not attempt to fight the wandering of the muzzle. This happens normally and can not be controlled to a great extent. Concentrating on the front sight will keep the image centered as much as possible and result in better performance. Beware of holding the visual sight picture for too long. This results what is commonly called retinal burn-in, causing a distorted image. If you stare at a light bulb and then close your eyes, you can experience the effect. Persons who wear bifocal glasses often have trouble at the range. This is because the bifocal lens provides the shooter with two images, near and far. It is almost impossible for the shooter wearing bifocals to see the target while looking through the near vision part of the lens. For this reason, it may be necessary for the shooter to go without glasses, or to obtain prescription glasses specifically for shooting. If investing in prescription shooting glasses, one should make sure they are impact resistant, and affix to the head with a headband. This will prevent problems assuming positions, as regular glass frames tend to move while shooting or assuming a new position. The sighting length, the distance from rear sight to front sight, varies from weapon to weapon. An M24 (or Remington 700 PSS) sniper rifle has a different sighting length than an M16A2. Therefore, the net effect is different for the same shooter who fires both weapons. The sighting length determines the accuracy of the weapon to a great degree. This is because the further apart the two sight elements are, the more precisely they define the sighting line to the target. A pistol, obviously, has a very short sighting length. This is the reason why their accuracy is usually 50 to 75 yards. This has nothing to do with the performance of the bullet or barrel. It results from the shorter sighting length causing a corresponding lessening of visual accuracy. Visual accuracy is also affected by external factors such as temperature or mirage. The density of the atmosphere and it's related moisture content affects our ability to see clearly at longer distances. At short-range targets, the effect is negligible. If the shooter cannot hit the 50 meter target, do not accept any kind of explanation that starts with the words, "well, the temperature..." Also consider the benefit of firing from a shaded position. If you have the option, fire from a position that keeps you out of direct sunlight. This will reduce sweating and squinting, the two enemies of good visual technique. A good pair of sunglasses also can be beneficial on bright days.


Physical strength should be considered as a factor in determining shooting ability. Often, the shooting positions are uncomfortable and must be held for a long time. This is an important factor to consider in training. In a combat situation, the soldier may have no option but to remain in position, possibly for hours. On the range, holding a position while the rest of the line is placed in a check fire status can be very tiring. The shooter should be instructed to modify his or her position while standing by for orders, still keeping the weapon pointed at the target and remaining prepared to fire. The large muscles of the body require oxygen to perform work. This demand for oxygen creates an increased demand for arterial blood flow. The net result is an increase in pulse and respiration rates. As previously stated, this is not conducive to good shooting results. The shooter should therefore be instructed that the skeletal structure must be used to support the weight of the weapon and holding of the shooting position. It should be noted that bone on bone contact, such as between the kneecap and elbow in the low kneeling position, should be avoided. This contact promotes too much pivoting effect and creates instability in the position. Whenever possible, the shooter should assume the most comfortable position the circumstances will allow. This aids in proper circulation, reduces skeletal and muscular stress, and delays the onset of positional fatigue. Even the strongest person tires eventually. A position should take advantage of soft ground, thick vegetation, or other materials that will cushion the physical contact. Again, physical strength relates directly to physical conditioning. We demand soldiers be physically fit because of the rigorous activity military service demands of them. Do not overlook the fact that poor performance on the range may be due to lack of strength caused by poor conditioning or fatigue. These factors also must be considered to a much greater extent in combat, where the soldier must also carry the basic load of equipment as well as needed ammunition for crew served weapons or other items. As a physical activity, shooting requires adequate physical strength. Noise must also be considered during firing exercises. Of course, hearing protection must be worn at all times on the firing line and within a reasonable distance (50 meters) of firing positions. Firearms operate at high sound levels measured in decibels.


The noise radiates outward from the muzzle of a weapon as a standing wave. Rapid movement of air molecules causes the noise. The greater the pressure of discharge, the louder the noise level. When the wave reaches the components of the ear, tremendous damage can take place. Noise levels above 120 decibels can have long term or permanent effects on human hearing. Tinnitus, or a ringing in the ears, may result from unprotected exposure to high noise levels. A single exposure to high decibel noise such as from a .357 magnum revolver or a .50 caliber machinegun can do permanent damage resulting in hearing loss, threshold shift, or tinnitus. Besides the physical effects of high noise, there are also the psychological effects to consider. The noise can hurt us, and your subconscious mind knows this. This is why so many people react to gunfire by flinching. The problem is that people who flinch usually also anticipate the discharge of the weapon. This disturbs the lay of the weapon and ruins the placement of the shot on the target. The reaction to the noise is normal, but the anticipation and fear can be eliminated with proper instruction and good, double layered hearing protection. To achieve this, wear hearing inserts inside shooting headphones. If you can help the shooter overcome the fear and anticipation of the noise, you can help in achieving a more relaxed state. Observe the people on the firing line. You might see them move in a slightly exaggerated manner as they fire the weapon. To check for this, instructors use the ball and dummy training method. In this method, live and dummy rounds are placed in a weapon's magazine. When the firing pin falls on a dummy round, the instructor watches to see if the shooter will flinch. If the shooter flinches, the fall of the hammer is being anticipated, and the lay of the weapon is being disturbed prior to discharge. Anticipation of recoil, and the attendant noise, is probably the most common element contributing to poor shooting. Again, if you look for these factors on the range, you can save hours trying to find a mythical problem with the weapon. The annual gaging process, PMCS, and recurring inspections make it unlikely that an inaccurate weapon will ever be on a firing line. Before you go looking for phantom problems, look at the weakest element. In all but a few cases, the problem will be the performance of the shooter, and not the weapon. Civilian firearms may not be cared for as well, so the weapon may be at fault more often.


Trigger control is another essential element of proper marksmanship. Without proper manipulation and control of the trigger, all of the other efforts may be wasted. This is because the trigger finger is the one part of the human body that moves during the firing process. If accomplished improperly, it can disturb the position of the weapon and cause the shot to miss the target. The trigger finger should be firmly placed on the center of the tang of the trigger. The trigger should be in the center of the pad between the tip of the finger and the first joint. The trigger should not be centered in the crease of the joint, as closing the finger will pull the trigger, and hence the weapon, towards the shooter's hand. Upon settling on the trigger, the shooter needs to remove the slack in the trigger. This is often referred to as trigger creep. The trigger should be pulled back slightly until a greater degree of resistance is felt. At this time the trigger is set for firing. Some weapons employ what is known as a set trigger. On these weapons, the trigger is staged first, sometimes with a second trigger. Staging the trigger puts it in proper position for firing. This usually reduces the amount of pull needed to discharge the weapon. To guarantee proper trigger control, a proper grip is essential. Once the grip is established, it should not be broken or changed. A proper grip is one that adequately controls the firearm and allows for movement of the trigger finger without using other parts of the hand or wrist. It should be comfortable and feel natural. It must not be a "power" grip, as the hand and fingers will get numb as the circulation is impaired. A good rule of thumb is to check your palm after you relax your grip. If you can see the imprint of the stock checkering embedded on your skin, your grip is probably too tight. As expressed in the chapter on safety, the finger should never be on the trigger except when actually discharging the weapon. Natural point of aim describes the position of the body relative to the target and weapon. If the body is not properly positioned, it can have negative effects on the shot group. In the prone position, the shooter should take position and aim at the target. The shooter should then close his or her eyes and relax for a moment. When the eyes are reopened, the weapon should still be on target. If not, the body, and not the weapon, should move until the position is corrected. This process should be repeated until the image remains the same when opening the eyes. Also, when the position is proper, the shooter should "settle in" by slightly wiggling. Care should be taken to not realign the skeleton.


If this procedure is not followed, then the recoil force will move the skeleton and cause the point of aim to change slightly. This results in the second and other subsequent shots to not be exactly on target with relation to the natural point of aim of the body. This requires more effort then to hold the sight picture, creating a demand for more oxygen, raising the pulse, causing fatigue, etc. Ballistics Factors and Marksmanship In addition to all the human anatomical and psychological factors, we must also consider the ballistic performance of the weapon. In other words, the accuracy of the firearm and ammunition must be analyzed. As stated earlier, the weapon in a military environment is regularly inspected and gaged, and is not commonly the cause of poor range performance. This should not be interpreted to mean that it is never the weapon. Such thinking would be lunacy, especially when we're talking about grandpa's old Damascus-twist shotgun. Personally owned weapons are most likely to have mechanical and accuracy problems. This is particularly true if they have been owned by more than one person, as you can never be sure how many rounds have been fired or how well it was maintained. After making your best determination that the poor performance on the range is not the fault of the trainee, we must evaluate other factors to find the cause. I am continually amazed at the number of leaders who can not understand why their soldiers do poorly at the range. The answers are usually simple ones. The first external factor to consider is environmental. Did that light bulb over your head just go on? I hope so. A windy day can defeat even the greatest group of marksmen at the range. One thing to remember about wind is that it is not constant. When we compensate, or dope, for wind, we often forget that fact. It is not trivial, either. On the way to the target the wind might change course several times by five degrees or more. The bullet will hit areas of passive, or calm air, and then enter a wind on a different azimuth. The longer the shot, the greater the effects of wind on any given bullet. For general military marksmanship, there is little or no instruction for wind calculation and offset. This is a mistake, because the soldier in battle does not have an unlimited ammunition supply.


Another factor to consider is the slope of the terrain. On most ranges the ground is level, but when firing up or downhill, the weapon will tend to shoot high and the shooter should hold lower on the target. This will offset the difference. Information on this phenomenon can be found in any good shooting textbook or magazine. The rate of bullet drop also is not constant. It changes over time as the forward speed of the bullet diminishes. At about 2/3 of the bullet's maximum range, the effect of gravity becomes more powerful than the effect of drag in changing the course of the bullet. In most military training, we never fire out to those distances. Keep in mind, the maximum range of the M855 ball round fired from the M16A2 rifle is 3600 meters. You will never fire an M16A2 at a target 2400 meters away. It just is not possible to do so. Within the practical limits of military marksmanship, bullet drop does not have that drastic an effect. It should however, be a consideration. Bullet drop at 600 meters is significant. Zero describes the proper placement of the sights, so that the line of sight intersects the line of flight for a given distance. All weapon barrels point upwards in relation to the line of sight. The projectile begins flight below the line of sight, crosses over it, and falls down below it at a certain distance downrange. Weapons are manufactured this way to compensate for the effects of gravity at shorter ranges. Pitching the barrel upwards provides a greater working distance without having to adjust the sights. But this can only be realized when the sights have been properly adjusted, or zeroed. Some military firearms are designed to have a zero distance of 25 meters. At this distance the bullet roughly intersects the line of sight as it passes through the target. The bullet will normally drop to cross the line of sight again at 250 meters. This is to accommodate something called battlesight zero distance. Battlesight zero distance is that distance at which the enemy can be reliably hit between throat and belt buckle, with no range estimation, or sight adjustment. If we aim to the center of mass, the heart, we will always hit a vital area within battlesight zero distance. This is because the maximum ordinate, the highest point of the trajectory over the line of sight, is usually between only 3 and 8 inches. At 8 inches over the line of sight, if we aim for the heart, we will hit the trachea at short range. This is still a fatal wound, and accomplishes the task of killing the enemy. At distances slightly beyond 250 meters, we will hit the abdomen, probably severing an artery or the spinal column, producing the same effect. At any distance within battlesight zero range, fatal wounds are easily inflicted.


Adjust sight range is that range at which the enemy can be hit between throat and belt buckle, given no more than a 50 yard error in range estimation, or sight adjustment. When we adjust sights, we are raising the trajectory of the bullet, and thereby extending the range of accuracy of the firearm beyond the zero distance. Ammunition is seldom a problem with military weapons, since reloaded ammunition is never used. If a remarkable change in accuracy occurs with a civilian weapon, and all other factors are the same, suspect the reloaded ammunition. Even with the right workup of powder and shot, the powder may be old or other factors may prevent proper performance. Learn and understand the factors affecting marksmanship. A proper working knowledge of the weapon is essential to diagnosing faults and making repairs. Just remember that the failure does not need to be mechanical, it could be human. Heed my admonition to become personally proficient with the weapons you are going to inspect and repair. Make arrangements to forecast additional ammunition and get on the firing line. No one but you can make this happen!


Chapter 3 Examination 1. What are the three elements of the Safety Awareness Concept? a. __________________ b. __________________ c. __________________ 2. What are the five basic steps in engaging targets? a. __________________ b. __________________ c. __________________ d. __________________ e. __________________ 3. The term "safe" has two meanings. What are they? a. __________________ b. __________________

4. A person suffering from a hangover as a result of binge drinking will suffer physical effects. What will be influenced by these physical effects? a. __________________ b. __________________ 5. Can you reliably predict the direction of travel of a ricochet round? ANSWER: ___________________ 6. What are "autonomic nervous functions"? ANSWER: ________________________________________________ 7. Complete the following sentence: In order to achieve maximum results, control of your actions in firing the weapon must be _________________________


8. What are the six elements of proper visual control? a. __________________ b. __________________ c. __________________ d. __________________ e. __________________ f. __________________ 9. What is the definition of "six o'clock hold"? ANSWER: __________________________________________ 10. What is the definition of "maximum ordinate"? ANSWER: __________________________________________

Answers to this and all examinations can be found at the back of this book.


Chapter 4. Armorer Tools and Maintenance Tips

This chapter deals with the tools used, and the care and maintenance of firearms. For Army personnel, tool information can be found in detail within TM9243. I will cover general concepts and points of reference. Readers are urged to obtain a copy of the technical manual for detailed study. Sadly, many people attempting to repair firearms do as much damage as good. It is easy to mar the finish of a surface by slipping with a screwdriver, or using the wrong type of pliers. Many people do damage with the ubiquitous hammer, or as I refer to it, the universal adjusting tool. I am hesitant to make this statement, but feel compelled to: some armorers ruin parts by using poor maintenance techniques, usually resulting from improper tools or the wrong use of those tools. In addition to damaging weapons, it often occurs that armorers injure themselves by improperly using a tool. There are definitive guidelines for the safe and proper use of hand and power tools. The following are the safety rules for tools found in the front of TM9-243: 1. Support your local safety program and take an active part in safety meetings. 2. Inspect tools and equipment for safe conditions before starting work. 3. Advise your supervisor promptly of any unsafe conditions or practices. 4. Learn the safe way to do your job before you start. 5. Think safety and act safety at all times. 6. Obey safety rules and regulations-they are for your protection. 7. Wear proper clothing and protective equipment. 8. Conduct yourself properly at all times-horseplay is prohibited. 9. Operate only the equipment you are authorized to use. 10. Report any injury immediately to your supervisor.


These are all commonsense rules we can live with. If followed properly, they can save grief and pain. Tool habits are also important. A clean work area with all tools properly organized contributes to increased productivity, safety, and supply discipline. The following tool habits are listed in the TM: 1. Keep each tool in its proper storage place. 2. Keep your tools in good condition. 3. Keep your tool set complete. 4. Use each tool only on the job for which it was designed. 5. Keep your tools within easy reach and where they can't fall on the floor or on machinery. 6. Never use damaged tools. Safety equipment should always be worn when using tools. These include: 1. Safety shoes. Non-skid, non-slip, flexible soles, steel toes. 2. Eye protection. Use when working with any tool. 3. Helmets. When at the range, or working near overhead hazards. 4. Gloves. Use to protect hands from cold, heat, chemicals, sharp edges. 5. Safety straps or belts. Use with elevated or suspended items. 6. Hearing protection. Use in all noise hazard areas.

Not mentioned in the TM is the clothing worn. Military armorers have no choice, the duty uniform is what it is. When working with power tools, make sure the sleeves and trouser legs will not become entangled. Civilian clothing should be fire resistant. Polyester or synthetic fabrics should be avoided because of flame hazards. When they burn, they also melt into the skin, worsening the injury. Special clothing, like shop aprons or face shields should always be worn when working with welding processes or acidic chemicals. Personnel removing misfired HE rounds from the Mk19 machinegun (the armorer's job), should wear protective ballistic body armor.


Calipers Calipers are used for taking precise measurements of distance, thickness and length. There are many types for specific purposes as illustrated in TM9-243. Calipers should always be stored in the special case in which they are shipped. They are usually TMDE items (Test, Measurement and Diagnostic Equipment), and require periodic calibration. The various types of calipers are: 1. Simple calipers. They are hinged and use a scissor action. They have no scale and are used for simple measurements of distance. They have no locking mechanism. 2. Spring-joint calipers. Similar to simple calipers, but with a spring joint and adjustment nut for precision measuring. 3. Hermaphrodite calipers. One straight leg and one curved leg. The straight leg terminates in a sharp point. The sharp point may be easily removed on some models and types. 4. Slide calipers. Used for measuring inside and outside dimensions. They feature a scale graduated in inches, fractions or millimeters. 5. Vernier calipers. Feature two locking screws for precise positioning of the movable jaw. Once locked, fine adjustments are made using the adjustment control. 6. Trammels. Measures distances outside the range of calipers. They feature a rod and beam on which trammels are clamped. The trammels hold chucks which measure distance from point to point. Can be used as a divider by changing the points. Vernier calipers are precision tools that must be understood in order to be used. They are commonly used in small arms shops to verify the pull length of a pullover gage. This gage is a special tool used to measure the inside diameter of a weapon tube such as that found on a mortar or howitzer. By the way, I am often challenged on the use of the terms gage and gauge. The dictionary says that the term gage is a variation of the term gauge, of unknown origin. As used, the term gage is usually understood to be a special tool for measuring the gauge or dimension of an item. This is true even though one of the definitions of the term gauge means the same thing, a special tool.


There are three basic types of micrometers; inside, outside and depth. All three types are capable of measurements to the nearest 1/1000th of an inch. Most micrometers measure distances up to one inch. Some are available with the ability to measure up to 24 inches. In addition to the three basic types of micrometers, there are different measuring scales used. These three are; standard, vernier and metric. Again, refer to the TM for details. Other types of measuring tools are rules, tapes, levels, bobs, adjustable parallels, v-blocks, angle plates, magnetic base indicator holders, registering speed indicators, surface plates and dial calipers. Hammers Probably the most dangerous thing in the arms room is the hammer in the armorer's tool kit. Improperly used, in the hands of the wrong individual, it can do thousands of dollars in damage in a very short time. The judicious use of a hammer requires no tremendous skill or training. It is a matter of common sense. One rule to remember is: "When reassembling a firearm, if you have to use a hammer, and you did not need the hammer to disassemble the weapon, stop. You are probably doing something seriously wrong." There are several different hammers in the armorer's tool kit. They are the machinist's peen hammer, soft-faced hammer, and dead blow hammer. The machinist's peen hammer has a flat head on one side used for striking punches and chisels. The other end of the head is called the peen and is used for forming soft metals, peening rivet heads and striking metal in tight workspaces. Soft-faced hammers can deliver heavy blows. They are used on highly polished or soft surfaces to prevent damage caused by a hard hammer face. There is a type of soft-faced hammer that uses removable inserts. These inserts are available in different degrees of hardness. This makes the hammer more useful as it can perform more tasks. Two inserts are mounted, one on each side of the head. Inserts are made in diameters between one inch and three inches. Dead blow hammers are filled with shot, encased in rubber and molded as a single piece. They have a wrap around grip featuring a knurled surface to prevent slippage. They also have a flared base on the handle to prevent the hammer from leaving the hand accidentally.


They are available in four types: standard, slimline, sledge and ball peen. They have great striking power and protect the finish of surfaces due to their rubber coating. The one-piece construction eliminates broken faces and handles. Before using any hammer, always check the condition of the head to make sure it is securely mounted to the handle. Some hammers feature a wedge that is inserted into the wood of the handle. This wedge can loosen and fall off the hammer, making serious injury possible. Check the striking surface to make sure it is not chipped or damaged in any way. A damaged surface can cause the hammer to deflect unexpectedly causing injury or damage to the work. Pliers Pliers should only be used when gripping or cutting is to be performed. In the case of bolts with parallel head surfaces, or nuts with the same features, a wrench should always be used when possible. When used on nuts and bolts, pliers tend to round off the corners after a period of time. This will result in a wrench being unable to properly fit, making the wrench and the nut or bolt useless. Pliers also compress surfaces as they grip. If you are working with a soft material, you can permanently damage the material. Pliers, since they are gripping devices, have serrated or knurled surfaces on the inside of their jaws. These surfaces can easily cause damage to components and material surfaces, so they should be avoided in many cases. However, when brute locking or gripping force is required, they are the tools of choice. Pliers are available in different types as follows: 1. Slip joint pliers. Have serrated jaws with a gripping section, a cutting edge and a pivot. The pivot allows the pliers to open for larger objects. 2. Diagonal cutting pliers. Commonly called "dikes," they pivot and are used to cut light materials like wire. They should never be used to grip. 3. Lineman pliers. Have side-cutting edges, a serrated gripping section, a wire cropper, parallel handles and a fixed pivot. Lineman pliers used for electrical work must have insulated handles. 4. Parallel jaw pliers. Usually included in the armorer's tool kit, these may feature a pair of side cutting jaws. The movement of the jaws is parallel at all times. They are used for gripping flat surfaces.


5. Flat-nose pliers. Also sometimes called "duckbill" pliers, they have flat serrated jaws, a fixed pivot and curved handles. They are used for gripping and bending flat materials like sheet metals. 6. Round-nose pliers are used to make bends in soft wire. They have smooth round jaws, a fixed pivot and curved handles. 7. Straight-lip flat-jaw tongs are used to hold bearings in place. They have straight jaws and long straight handles. 8. End cutting pliers are sometimes called nippers. They are used to cut wire or nails flush with the working surface. 9. Wire stripping pliers are multi-purpose pliers used to strip insulation from various gauges of wire. When used, only the insulation is cut, not the wire core. 10. Wire twisting pliers are indispensable parts of the armorer tool kit. They feature locking handles for permanently gripping wire between the the jaws. An inner arm, featuring spiral grooves, twists the wire when pulled to the rear. The jaws feature cutting edges for terminating the wire. Wrenches Available in many styles, wrenches are used to loosen or tighten nuts, bolts, studs and pipes. The correct wrench must be selected for the type of work to be done. Most wrenches are made of forged alloys for strength. Quality wrenches should outlive the mechanic if used and cared for properly. Wrench styles are: 1. Open end wrenches, featuring open jaws, usually offset from the shank by 15 degrees. The wrench length is determined by the jaw opening. 2. Box end wrenches surround the nut, bolt head or stud on all sides. Therefore, they cannot be used on shafts if the ends of the shafts are not accessible. They are available with 6 point and 12 point openings. Box wrenches are available as offset, half moon, split-box, ratchet, and structural tapered handle.


3. Combination wrenches are composed of box ends and open ends. They are used for convenience, or when a job requires both types of wrench. 4. Socket wrenches are fixed to a ratchet handle, speed handle, t-bar handle, hinged handle or screwdriver handle. They fit over the heads of bolts or on top of nuts. They are usually available in 6 point or 12 point configuration. 5. Hex key wrenches also called Allen wrenches, have hexagonal sides at the handle and head. They typically can be used from either end to fit the work performed. 6. Adjustable wrenches adapt to different size items and feature a dial which adjusts the size of the opening. Used when the correct size wrench or socket is not available or suited. 7. Torque wrenches are used to tighten nuts and bolts to specific or defined tightness. The tightness is measured in degrees of resistance expressed in inch pounds or foot pounds. The Newton is also used as a metric equivalent. 8. Spanner wrenches use hooks or pins to grip an object to apply rotational force. The various types are adjustable hook, fixed hook, hose coupling pin, adjustable pin face, and fixed pin face. 9. Strap wrenches wrap around an item and tighten against it as force is applied. They use progressive force to overcome resistance. The strap may be made of cloth, synthetic fiber, or chain. 10. Vise grips are actually a type of pliers, but are considered wrenches because they lock onto an item and function as an adjustable wrench.

Files and stones The mainstay of an armorer's or gunsmith's craft, files and stones can also do great damage if used improperly. In my classes I teach a truism I learned many years ago: "When working with a file, you can take metal away, but you can't put it back."


I prefer that my students use a file sparingly. My preference when working with a file is to make only several passes, and then check the work. Repeat this, and you'll never remove too much metal. Care must be taken when working with a file on a weapon. All surfaces of weapons are precisely the way they should be. Many surfaces are camming surfaces, and any change in dimension can cause misalignment and faulty operation. It is important to remember that you should never change the radius of a curve with a file. The file should be used to smooth down or remove excess metal caused by damage to the original surface. The file should not lower or alter the dimensions of the surface in any way. There are two basic types of files, American pattern and Swiss pattern. American pattern files are usually used for fast removal of material where precision is not important. Swiss files are made to more exact tolerances. They are finishing tools used on delicate work and usually feature finished handles with rounded ends and knurled surfaces. Files are formed in the shape of the surface upon which they are to be used. The different styles are: 1. Mill files, tapered to the end-point in width and thickness. They are used to sharpen mill or circular saws, or in draw-filing or finishing metals. 2. Pillar face files are similar to hand files, but much narrower. They are double-cut with one uncut face. They are used in slots and keyways. 3. Round files taper slightly towards the point. They are used for filing circular openings and concave surfaces. 4. Square files taper slightly towards the point on all four sides and are double cut. They are used for filing rectangular slots and keyways. 5. Taper files, or triangular files, are tapered towards the point on all three sides. They are used for filing saws having 60-degree teeth. 6. Three-square files are tapered towards the point. They are used for filing internal angles, and for cleaning out square corners. 7. Warding files are tapered to a narrow point for narrow space filing. They are used for lock repair and filing ward notches in keys. 8. Curved tooth files, also known as mill tooth files, are used in soft metals such as aluminum.


Swiss pattern files are usually purchased in sets of twelve. The types included are marking (half round), square, slitting, knife, joint (round edge), crossing (oval), barrette, flat, equaling, half-round, three-square, and round. All files must be cared for. The filing surfaces must be protected from damage. They should be stored in boxes or pouches to prevent banging into other tools in the tool box. The teeth of files will clog up with material. When this happens, the file can scratch or damage the surface of the work. To clean a file, you use a file scorer and a file brush. The files must be cleaned often or they will not perform properly. Many people mistakenly discard a file thinking it is worn out, when it is really just clogged with metal. One way to prevent damaging the surface of a piece of material with a file, is to fill the teeth of the file with chalk before use. Always be conscious of what you are doing with a file. A wandering file can do a lot of damage. Stones are used to polish metal once it has been filed. Doing so smoothes out the metal and prevents a foothold for oxidation to form. A recently filed surface that has not been stoned will increase friction and promote damage. Stones are available in different shapes and grit sizes. The finer grits are used for fine polishing or buffing. After stoning it is usually necessary to polish a surface further with garnet paper or jeweler's rouge and a buffing wheel. Stones and files should not be oiled as it impairs their effectiveness. The exception to this is oilstone, usually only used for sharpening metals such as knife and razor edges. All tools should be inventoried and inspected monthly to make sure the required work can be done properly when needed. It is the responsibility of the armorer to conduct this inventory. Although better tools may be highly preferred, taking care of the ones you have is critical. If you do not, they will not give the performance you expect of them. Special Tools and Gages There are many special tools, gages, test fixtures, jigs and devices used in the inspection, testing and maintenance of firearms. Many people, military included, give no thought to the consequences of repeatedly firing a weapon. Shooters just assume that the weapon is made of durable metals and will last a lifetime. This is a mistake in judgment.


The fact is that as mechanical devices, failure is inevitable. Maybe not in your lifetime, but that weapon you leave to your son or granddaughter will not last forever. A weapon will have its service life shortened if not properly cared for, if used to extreme excess, or if fired with the wrong ammunition loads. One of the worst offenders in reducing the service life of a weapon is dirt. You would be surprised to learn generated by this one factor. Many firearms. Many do not know how to periodically. And the owner should Browning High Power pistol. how much of a gunsmith's business is people just do not, or will not, clean their take the action assembly apart to clean it not disassemble some weapons, like the

The so-called "carbon" left as a dirt residue in some guns does not present the big problem you would assume it should. It is a normal byproduct of the combustion process, and always present to some degree. As a dry powder-like substance, as long as it is not mixed with lubricants or other fluids, or not trapped between working surfaces, it will just wipe off or blow away. A small amount of this "carbon" on working surfaces during normal operation is to be expected. There is no compelling need to immediately disassemble and clean your weapon at the first signs of it. However, I am not declaring that it is permissible to have a dirty firearm. What I am declaring is that there is no need for the classic "white glove" inspection. The weapon should always be maintained in overall clean condition. This is sometimes made difficult by products like CLP, which raise dirt from the pores of the metal surfaces. A reasonably good job will suffice. However, prior to being inspected with any precision tools or instruments, it is important that the weapon be thoroughly cleaned. Buildup of contaminants on surfaces may prevent accurate readings during inspection. Surface dirt that covers a component may prevent an inspector or gunsmith from seeing small fatigue cracks or other deformities on the surface. Many weapons, most notably automatics such as auto-rifles and machineguns, also leave small brass particles in the receiver. The weapon must be cleaned well enough that no residue is found in the receiver or barrel. Once cleaned for inspection, the gages and special tools will reveal the status of the weapon. They will detect if the bore is straight, how much trigger pull is required, and whether the headspace is correct. Every firearm, military or civilian, should have a thorough annual checkout by a trained, competent professional.


Even if you do not fire the weapon all year, damage may still be present. Metal will degrade due to oxidizing processes, and captive springs held under tension in the weapon all year would go soft and become unsuitable for firing. An annual inspection prevents pending problems from becoming serious. Small arms repairers and civilian gunsmiths who determine the serviceability of a firearm commonly use the following special tools and gages: Pullover gages, as mentioned earlier, measure the inside diameter of a bore. They are used only on large caliber weapons such as mortars, recoilless rifles, howitzers, and cannons. They have a sliding inner scale that is fully extended when placed in the bore. The gage is attached to two long rods, and inserted at a diagonal pitch. At the desired distance down the bore, one rod is held rigid, and the other one is "pulled over." This causes the gage to flip over inside the bore. The sliding scale will then compress to the true inner diameter. The gage is removed and the scale is read, and then verified with a vernier caliper. Borescope gages are optical devices that are placed down the bore of a weapon. They feature the ability to illuminate the interior of the bore, and can magnify the image of the inner surface. They are available from small, fiber-optic devices that fit down the barrel of a rifle, to monstrous setups that require several people to operate. The larger devices are used in howitzers, cannons, and inside jet aircraft engines. Some borescopes have a flexible head assembly, and some have telescoping sections featuring numerous lenses. Headspace gages are available in two basic types, adjustable and standard length. The adjustable headspace gage features a small inset screw assembly with a numerical index. The screw is turned in or out to determine the actual or working headspace. The standard length gage is a "no go" gage. Slightly larger than the maximum allowable headspace, the bolt should not lock up with the gage inserted. If it does, it indicates that the gage is too far forward. This means the shoulder is worn and the headspace is excessive. Timing gages are typically used only for automatic weapons that feature adjustable timing. The gage determines whether or not the firing pin will release with the bolt a certain distance from the locked position. If the firing pin releases with the bolt too far to the rear, the timing is early, and the weapon could fire out of battery, or unlocked. If the pin does not release with the bolt fully forward, the timing is late, and the weapon will not fire. Muzzle erosion gages measure the degree of wear at the muzzle of a firearm. Sometimes the muzzle will wear for different reasons, and will result in a clearly defined loss of accuracy. The gage is typically a "no go" gage. If it does not fit, the muzzle is not worn.


Radius gages measure the degree of radius of a curved surface. They are extremely useful in finding problems related to the timing of the steps in the cycle of functions. Barrel straightness gages are designed for a particular caliber. The tolerance for a straightness gage is extremely important. Some can read warpage in the bore to less than .0015 inches. The bore must be extremely clean, as the slightest dirt or residue can prevent the gage from passing through. Firing pin protrusion gages determine the minimum and maximum amount of the striking point of the firing pin, which protrudes from the firing pin hole in the bolt or slide. Firing pin hole gages are used to determine if the hole through which the firing pin protrudes meets a defined standard. If the firing pin hole is too large, or eccentric, the firing pin might not strike the primer properly. Hole diameter gages measure the openings for pins, plungers and detents when the diameter of these openings is critical. They are usually of the "no go" type. If the gage fits the hole, the hole is enlarged or non-standard. Chamber reflection tools are used to illuminate the inner surfaces of the chamber for inspection. The usually feature a highly polished reflective surface, and seat with the mirror portion in the smaller area of the shoulder. Air gages precisely measure the diameter of the lands and grooves within the bore. The air gage is a mechanical device operated by air pressure. It can measure distance to the nearest 1/10,000th of an inch (.0001 inches). Trigger weights are used to determine the minimum and maximum weight values required for trigger release. They are hung from the trigger on a rod, and usually are in weight values of ounces and pounds. Pull scales are devices that measure resistance to pull. They can also be used to determine trigger pull, or to determine deflection when pulled against an object such as a machinegun receiver. In this case, the amount of pull required translates directly into a measurement of the tensile strength of the metal frame. Special tools and gages require constant care. They should never be kept in a toolbox. They should be stored in the protective cases in which they are issued. Most of them will require periodic calibration, which will guarantee that they are within required specifications for wear or other factors.


In addition to the tools previously listed, there are special tools that are manufactured locally for certain weapons. Check Appendix E in the back of your small arms TM's for specifics. Some of these tools make the job easier, and some are required for PMCS. Of course, if the tools are required, and you don't have them, you have one of two problems. Either you can't perform the maintenance procedure for which the special tool is needed, or you are doing it with more difficulty than needed. When I inspect arms rooms, I also look for the special tools, to see if they are on hand and being used. That tells me a lot about the knowledge of the armorer and the attention to detail during the maintenance process. You should inventory and inspect your tools frequently. A monthly inventory will turn up any tools that are missing, broken, damaged or that need replacement. If you purchase your own tools, remember to buy quality hardware! You only get what you pay for! The investment in quality will last a long time, and the cost of a single gun damaged by a bad tool will make the price differential worthwhile. Never lend a tool out without getting a hand receipt for it. Even your closest friends may simply forget to return a tool to you, and that tool may be an accountable item. Why pay for another person's foolish mistake? Even if you do not use your tools, you should still inventory them. It is possible something could have been stolen, and you need to be on the lookout for the eternal enemy of metal: rust! If your arms room or work area is not climatecontrolled, your tools could be deteriorating without your knowledge or awareness. Army and other DOD personnel can inventory their toolbox using a document numbered "SC 5180-95-CL-A07-HR". This is the hand receipt form from the Supply Catalog for the toolbox, which in military jargon is known as "Tool Kit, Small Arms Repairman". Keep blank copies of this inventory document on hand, and keeping up with your toolbox will be much easier. In addition to the tools in your toolbox, consider the items you will use in your arms room which are perishable. Batteries for flashlights, some cleaning materials, adhesives, paint, and solid film lubricant have a lifespan. Check the expiration date or shelf life dates of these products to make sure the required items are not only on hand, but also in usable condition. The simplest way to accomplish this is to roll the inspection of those items into your monthly inspection of your tools and other equipment items. A proper itemized inventory of your work-related equipment is essential to good arms room management.


Maintenance tips You might assume that this section would be extremely detailed and full of juicy information on all those weapons in your arms room. Sorry to say, that's not true. I stated in the foreword to this document that the particulars on the individual weapons would be found in the related technical manuals, and I meant it. Do not ever assume that you know all there is to know about a firearm. In my many years of experience I have seen so many changes and revisions to technical manuals, I could never remember them all. In every case, when working with a firearm, have the manual opened to the appropriate page for the procedure. And, make sure you inventory your publications so you know the manual is current and complete. You have already learned how to obtain and inventory your manuals. You know how to post changes and revisions to the contents of those publications. I explained the importance of a good filing system and how to plan and schedule your workload. Previous chapters have also covered the essentials of firearms operation, ammunition and ballistics, safety, marksmanship, and other subjects. Here, in the last section of this chapter, I will sum up everything by leaving you with a few pieces of valuable information and insight. To begin with, this handbook does not end here. Following this chapter is the Armorer's Glossary, painstakingly compiled and typed by myself. The sources are many, including USAF lesson material, myriad firearms textbooks and years of experience. Use it, and benefit from the knowledge it contains. I also want to pass a warning on to you. Even as of the date of this handbook's first publication, the Army is considering drastic changes to the status of Unitlevel PLL and other maintenance policies. Do not use this document as a static, stand-alone source of information. Use it only as a resource to point you in the right direction, and then check the real source document, the technical manual I will pass some wisdom on to you. The United States Army has some of the finest combat weapons in the world. Each weapon has undergone years of development, acceptance testing, and is subject to continual revision and reengineering as a result of the EIR and suggestion programs. Many soldiers and other professionals who attend my classes come to school with opinions of certain weapons. That's fine, we all have our own opinions. You have read several of mine in this document. But many times those opinions are founded on half-truths and hearsay. I would like to set the record straight on certain weapons right now.


The M16 rifle has undergone remarkable transformations in its history. If you have heard stories about how some of them failed to perform in VietNam, those stories are true. I should know, I was there as a rifleman. You should also know that the mistakes of the past belong in the past. The current M16A2 and M4 carbines are second to none in quality and capability. I am still a holder of a military identification card, and just as much subject to mobilization as any other military member. I have an M16A2 assigned to me, and I take care of it. It will be reliable enough to save my life if the need ever arises, and I have total faith in it. I continually hear comparative judgments made by soldiers who say the .308 round outclasses the .223 on the battlefield. This is an absolutely false claim. A comparative judgment is just what it sounds like: apples and oranges. If you want the facts, attend one of my courses. Every weapon and projectile combination, every one, has a purpose and design to achieve that purpose. This includes everything down to a .177 caliber BB pistol. Never assume that bigger is better. If you are ever shot with a "little" bullet in the wrong place, you'll find out what I mean. What can you as the armorer to improve accuracy with the M16A2 rifle? For starters, do not allow personnel in your unit to loosen the buttstock. The face of the shooter rests on the buttstock. The sights are mounted on the upper receiver. If the buttstock moves in relation to the lower receiver, it will be too loose to maintain a proper sight picture. Each recoil of the weapon will cause the sight picture to change slightly. That's all it takes to keep some soldiers from qualifying with their rifle. If the buttstock screw becomes loose, it must be replaced. It is a one-time use item, and cannot be tightened once the initial torque has been broken. It may seem tight, but as soon as the weapon fires, the recoil loosens the screw again. The operator is not authorized to remove the screw. You can stop this practice at the unit level, today. Very often a front sight post will be bent on an M16 series rifle. If the post is bent, then every time the post is turned while adjusting sights, the point of impact changes. A soldier could spend days at the range and never zero and qualify with a badly bent front sight. The sight posts bend because soldiers use nails or other items to adjust the front sight. And the sights are hardly ever lubricated. Make sure the operator lubricates the front sight when doing his PMCS. You can also make the adjustment of the front sight easier by using the front sight removal tool found in Appendix E of the M16 series rifle TM.


These tools are easy to obtain. Simply fill out a work order request and submit it to your servicing Direct Support organization. Provide a photocopy of the shop drawing for the item. When you go to the range, take the tool with you. It will make dealing with a troublesome sight post much easier, while preventing more damage to the sight elements. Make sure the buffer in the weapon is serviceable. It contains several small steel cylindrical weights. They must move freely and independently of each other in order to function properly. If you shake the buffer and feel a single solid mass of weight moving inside, they are probably rusted together and the buffer should be replaced. An ineffective buffer will not dampen the effects of the recoil of the weapon as much as it is designed to. The net effect is a greater recoil force perceived at the shoulder of the shooter. This can cause the soldier to disturb his or her position, and lessen accuracy. Be careful about overheating M16 barrels. This is true of any rifle barrel. High heat can cause the barrel to warp, causing a loss of muzzle velocity and long range accuracy. Make sure the soldiers properly zero their weapons at the range. I have seen many soldiers cheat by adjusting the rear sight for elevation on the zero target. This is probably because you failed to check their front sight, and it's bent or frozen in place. The only one being cheated here is the shooter. At longer ranges the zero setting will not be valid, and the targets will be missed. You can improve accuracy and effectiveness by making sure they comply with the FM standards for field zero of their weapons. Many people believe that the M193 (55-grain) projectile and the M855 (62grain) projectile are the same. This is terribly wrong. To begin with, I just gave you the comparative weights of the two projectiles. In addition to the differences in weight, there are other differences that make these rounds incompatible for the wrong weapon. The M193 ball round was designed to fit the M16A1 rifle. The rifling in that barrel is a right hand twist, with six lands and grooves, with one complete turn every 12 inches. The M855 ball round was designed for the M16A2 rifle. The rifling in that barrel is also right hand twist, 6 lands and grooves. The pitch, however, is one turn in 7 inches.


The velocity of the two rounds is different, the weight is different, and the rotational speed is different. Check the TM, and you will see that the performance in terms of relative distances is different. Beware of the bolt cam pin. If you fail to reinstall it, the consequences will be very unpleasant. The bolt is designed to allow the cam pin to install from one direction only. This prevents the bolt from being improperly installed. If the bolt could be installed improperly, the ejector and extractor would be out of alignment by 180 degrees. This would mean that the ejection pattern would put the expended cartridge case inside the weapon instead of ejecting it out to the right side. The result would be that the second round could not chamber, and the weapon would cease to function. In combat, this could prove deadly. Remember always that any two metallic components in direct contact, that are subject to heat, stress or friction, will wear. After a period of time, the diameter of the bolt cam pin will wear down. The inner surface of the cam pin recess in the bolt can also wear. If the wear becomes excessive, the bolt cam pin can actually be put in the bolt from the wrong direction. I have seen this happen to several rifles during my career. When conducting PMCS inspections, always attempt to put the pin in the wrong way. This will verify the diameter of the pin is still within standards. The M16A2 rifle and M4 carbine are feared by our enemies, with good reason. I have seen first hand the awesome trauma inflicted by this class of weapon. Trust in your weapon is a force multiplier. Use the force. The M60 machinegun is perhaps the world's finest all-purpose machinegun. I know many people think they are old and unreliable. This again is absolutely wrong. In the hands of a competent, trained individual, and with proper care, the M60 is lethal, reliable and dominates the firefight. Unfortunately, it is slowly being done away with. As with any weapon, the care of the M60 determines how well it will perform. I am absolutely positive about this statement: If an M60 fails, it's probably the fault of the operator or armorer. Remember that you, the armorer, are supposed to be looking for those worn parts! Don't ever blame the failure of an M60 on worn parts. Blame the failure on yourself, because that is exactly where the blame lies. Read the section on Combat Operations Support in Chapter One for clarification.


The M60 should never go anywhere without both barrels, period. If the soldier is going to clean it, he needs to clean both barrels. If he is going to the range, he needs both barrels. If the weapon is being turned in for maintenance, both barrels go with the gun. Always, without fail! When you do your unit level PMCS, make sure you inspect both barrels. Anyone who attends my classes will tell you that I do not permit the use of the term "spare barrel" in my classroom. It is not a spare. A spare is something extra, like a spare fuse or spare tire. These barrels must be changed on a regular basis as explained in the operator TM, or damage will result. Have you inspected the range scale on the rear sight of the M60 lately? If the numerals and range lines are worn off, how can anyone use it to properly sight the weapon? Check to make sure the top is not broken under the rivet. Check those traversing and elevating mechanisms! They are the most neglected items in the arms room. They must work when needed, and that will only happen if they are maintained properly. Make sure they zero correctly. Also remember that the operator manual prohibits taking the gas system apart for cleaning unless it fails to move freely. Do not allow soldiers to take them apart just to shine the piston. Make sure you show the first line leaders in your unit the page in the TM that states this. There is a lot of negative maintenance being done on M60's, and that contributes to problems as well. There is also the common mistake operators make of reinstalling the piston backwards. Doing so will cause the weapon to probably fire a single shot and then quit firing. At 23 pounds it is a highly uncomfortable and impractical sniper rifle! Another error is the improper installation of the cover hinge pin and latch. The hinge pin always goes in from the right side, and the latch from the left. Doing it the wrong way can damage parts on the weapon. More importantly, it can make the thing nearly impossible to remove in a hurry. This is important in combat, and is made worse by fear, sweaty palms, and oily fingers. In all, I have identified about two dozen parts that can be installed backwards, upside down, or improperly on the M60. There are six in the trigger housing alone. Keep an eye on those "60 gunners" in your unit. They can be dangerous to themselves. The M240B is replacing the M60 in many units. Unfortunately, the M60 was a victim of poor unit maintenance, and I dread the same fate for the M240B.


The M9 9mm pistol is not a bad weapon. I have one assigned to me also, and fire it regularly. Is it the same quality of weapon as the SIG P229 or the Glock 19? No, but neither is it in that price range. Those comparisons are not valid. Keep in mind that this weapon is classified as a personal defense weapon and is issued to officers, pilots and certain other personnel. It's only function is to fire when pulled from the holster. This weapon plays a limited role and will seldom see use in real combat. The Army is not in the habit of sending companies of officers to assault an objective with 9mm pistols in their hands. It is needed as a last-ditch means of getting the enemy before he gets you. For law enforcement personnel, it is an entirely different matter. All military police personnel carry the Beretta M9, except for CID agents and MP Investigators, who get the SIG Sauer M11 Compact 9mm Pistol. For those of you who serve as armorers in a law enforcement unit; be vigilant! The inspection standards for the M9 during annual safety & serviceability checks are, in my educated opinion, pretty ineffective. The standard seems to be, "When it breaks, turn it in for repair." Hopefully this will change. Any person who carries a pistol to protect life, property or resources, myself included, will tell you that a reactionary maintenance policy like that can get people killed. I consider having to draw my pistol to shoot someone in the performance of my military duty to be the most unlikely event possible. I would sooner expect to wake up and find out that the sun was gone forever. Does this mean I am comfortable with a maintenance policy that reacts to a failure, and does nothing to prevent that failure? Obviously not. Remember that PMCS stands for Preventive Maintenance Checks and Services. Just because there are no gages or special means of inspecting the M9, that does not mean you cannot inspect it. You can do better than that. You must carefully look for indicators of wear on mating and camming surfaces. Use the material you have learned in training. If you have taken an armorer course (hopefully mine!), you know how to conduct a proper inspection of a firearm. Now that you know the annual inspection is not very effective, it becomes imperative that you conduct more aggressive inspections quarterly. Make sure your M9 pistols have had the slide modifications applied to them. For specifics, check the technical manual.


Be mindful of the "LA grab," a technique whereby an assailant can dismantle your pistol as you aim it at him, while it is still in your hand. A weak point of the design, but easy to compensate for in a tactical sense. In an emergency, if you lose the trigger bar spring for an M9, you can turn the weapon upside down and it will fire after you shake it. No, this has nothing to do with the "Gangstas" of Hollywood rap-video fame. The M249 machinegun is adequate for the task it performs. It was designed to provide automatic firepower to the fire team and infantry squad, resulting from the change to the three round burst employed on the M16A2 rifle. The overall emphasis is on ammunition conservation and fire discipline, two very worthy things to consider; no bullets equals no victory. The M249 is generally a reliable weapon, but like any weapon, has limitations. I hope you do not misunderstand my intention here. I do not want you to aim an M249 at me and fire. I will certainly be killed. The point I would like to make is that it is a different weapon than the M60, and should not be compared to it. Several things should be understood about the M249. First, the cocking handle should always be drawn to the rear with the palm facing upwards. This not only prevents the soldier from receiving a hand injury on the ejection port cover, it also ensures that the cocking handle will not override the bolt. Second, I have not yet had a single student who was aware of the requirement to check the top of the bolt slide for bulges. This is accomplished with a straightedge, and the procedure is defined in the PMCS table of the organizational maintenance manual. This tells me many armorers do not follow the PMCS table. Also, the pivot pin and trigger mechanism flanges on the underside of the receiver must be checked for parallelism. The standard is also found in the organizational maintenance section of the -20 series TM. Check the yoke and pivot of the bipod assembly, as well as the locking recesses in the tops of the legs. Wear is very common in these areas. If the legs frequently fall out of the underside of the handguard assembly, then the spring below the pivot is probably worn, and should be checked. The Mk19 40mm machinegun. I can not sing the praise of this weapon any louder, or my voice will leave me forever. Simply put, when this weapon shows up on the battlefield, the fight is over in a matter of minutes, if not seconds.


There is no place you can hide from this weapon, nothing you can hide behind, and you cannot outrun it. At 325 to 375 grenades per minute, the toughest enemy will cry "uncle." You should be aware that this weapon and CLP are not compatible. Make sure you have plenty of LSAT on hand to lubricate it. Never put your hand inside a Mk19 with the bolt to the rear, unless you want to be nicknamed "Lefty." It will easily crush your entire hand if the bolt goes forward. Oh, I almost forgot...never twist the belt on a runaway gun with a Mk19. There's just something funny about those high-explosive grenade rounds; they don't like going through the feed throat mechanism sideways! Make sure that you read and understand the Mk19 operator and unit maintenance technical manuals. All training should conform to the standards as given in the Mk19 field manual. The ­23 TM lists three entire pages of safety warnings. If you do not understand this weapon, you have no business firing it, period! The M203 grenade launcher is a fine weapon as long as it is properly mounted to the M16A2 rifle! And, that's your job! Decent range, devastating terminal effect; what more could a soldier ask for? The newer barrels seem to be made of a thicker material. The old ones would dent if the rifle fell over while propped against a tree. Make sure you remount the sling onto the correct swivel! Having the rifle sling hanging in front of the barrel during firing is very unpleasant. (Make sure your Last Will and Testament is completed if you want to overlook the sling mount!) Check the TM and make sure you have no old-style firing pins in your M203's. Also check the operating depth of the breech insert, which provides the pathway for the firing pin. It must be flush with the surface of the recoil plate, or to a maximum depth of .007 inches below flush. The weapon mount must be safety wired in place. An improperly mounted weapon will be inaccurate, and damages the barrel nut on the M16A2 rifle. Make sure when you remount the weapon that you have taken all the end-play, or slack, out of the mount before tightening it. There is a modified version of the M203 currently being fielded for mounting on the M4 carbines. This weapon is designated as the M203A1, and is functionally identical to the M203. The only real difference is in the mounting hardware.


The M2 Browning .50 caliber machinegun. This weapon has the distinction of being in continuous service longer than any other weapon in the current US Army inventory of fielded small arms. Invented by John Moses Browning, it took over 20 years to perfect. It was offered to the War Department in 1920, but only adopted in 1934. Millions of them have been produced. Many of the M2's currently in use date back to World War Two, but are in as good condition as the day they were purchased. This is a low maintenance weapon made of quality materials. They are built to withstand the test of time by Saco Defense, Saco, Maine. Always remember these things about the M2: Headspace and timing must be checked when setting the weapon up for firing. This is accomplished with a set of headspace and timing gages which should always be kept with the weapon. This weapon fires from the closed bolt position and immediately places a round in the hot chamber when the trigger lever is released. Since the weapon generates significant heat, a cookoff is always likely. Read and understand the safety warnings in the technical manual and field manual. When properly set up and operated by a well-trained crew, the M2 is a fearsome weapon. It has tremendous range and terminal effect. It will easily engage and defeat vehicles, aircraft, buildings, bunkers and light armored vehicles with its wide range of available ammunition. Respect it and it will last indefinitely. In the event that your assistant gunner is killed while emplacing the weapon, it is possible for an individual soldier to install the barrel alone. To install the barrel, one soldier normally pulls the cocking handle to the rear until the barrel lock mechanism is visible in the clearance hole beneath the trunnion area on the right side of the weapon. It usually requires two persons because the barrel weighs 26 pounds and is very long. One person can not hold back the charging handle and manipulate the barrel to install it. However, you can take the medium sized coil of a .50 caliber link, and place it between the barrel extension and trunnion after pulling back the handle. This will hold the barrel extension to the rear, allowing the soldier to move forward to install the barrel. Knowledgeable M2 gunners always carry a spare used link, for this purpose, on their ID tag chain. If needed, they can place that link in position immediately.


Chapter 4 Examination 1. Which Army publication provides guidance on the use and care of hand tools? ANSWER: _________________________ 2. What are the six types of calipers? a. __________________ b. __________________ c. __________________ d. __________________ e. __________________ f. __________________ 3. What are the three basic types of micrometers? a. __________________ b. __________________ c. __________________ 4. What are the three types of hammers that may be found in the armorer's tool kit? a. __________________ b. __________________ c. __________________ 5. When should pliers be used? ANSWER: __________________________________________ 6. What are "nippers' used for? ANSWER: __________________________________________ 7. What are the various types of spanner wrenches? a. __________________ b. __________________ c. __________________ d. __________________ e. __________________


8. What should you never change when working with a file? ANSWER: __________________________________________ 9. What are the two basic types of files called? a. __________________ b. __________________ 10. What does a pullover gage measure? ANSWER: __________________________________________

Answers to this and all examinations can be found at the back of this book.


Well, that's it. I hope this handbook is useful, and I again ask you to advise me of any inclusions or changes required. My address and information appear in the front of the book. Following this page is an Armorer's Glossary explaining commonly used terms in detail. In addition, there is a copy of my Unit Arms Room Inspection Checklist. Use this checklist to self inspect your arms room operations. It will cover specific maintenance items for the following weapons: M60 Machinegun M16 Series Rifles/M4 Carbines M249 Machinegun Mk19 Machinegun M2 Machinegun M9 Pistol M203 Grenade Launcher M224 & M252 Mortars M24 Sniper Weapon System There are additional sections to check your administrative functions and the small arms toolkit. Finally, there is a publications checklist. I will leave you with a warning I gave in the front of this handbook: DO NOT USE THIS HANDBOOK AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR TRAINING! If you think you can get by cheaply by not investing the time in training an armorer, the consequences may be more than you are prepared to deal with. For those commanders and leaders who may read this, I hope you have a greater appreciation of the importance of this duty position. If you have no local training resource to conduct armorer or firearms training, do not hesitate to contact me. I am always willing to travel, local schedule permitting, to other installations and locations to conduct training. The only cost involved is the TDY travel expense. Good luck, and good shooting!


Armorer's Glossary

Marksmanship Term



Accuracy is the ability of a firearm and its ammunition to fire bullets into small groups at various ranges. For sporting purposes, a rifle is considered accurate if it will shoot into a circle, the diameter of which does not exceed 3 minutes of angle at 100 yards. To modify, rework, and refine a weapon in order to improve the characteristics of the designed function and accuracy capabilities. The part to which the barrel is attached. In a rifle it is often called the receiver. Shotgun or doublebarreled sections house all the mechanism or working parts. The term may be further modified as side-action, breech-action, belt-action, snapsection, etc. It is also used to indicate the different forms of charging the weapon such as bolt-action, lever-action, pump-action, etc. An auxiliary chamber to fire smaller cartridges in a barrel of like caliber, but having a larger chamber. Adapters are made to conform to the outer walls of the chamber and reamed to fit the auxiliary cartridge. Air Force Qualification Course: Course of fire fired by Air Force personnel with a weapon, to determine their individual proficiency under the provisions of Air Force Instructions (formerly called Air Force Regulations). The sum total of the scores from two or more matches. This may be an aggregate of match stages, team matches, individual matches or both, provided the tournament program clearly states the matches which will compromise the aggregate. To point or direct a weapon that propels a projectile towards an object or spot with intent to hit it. A mechanical device operated by air pressure used to precisely measure inside and outside dimensions, usually in 1/10,000th of an inch. Normally used to measure the diameter of lands and grooves of a barrel.







Air Gauge


Air Gun Air Resistance Alibi

A weapon which uses air to propel the projectile. See Ballistic Coefficient. A slang term used in competition to define an allowable refire. See Sight Alignment. A metal composed of two (2) or more metals and/or other ingredients mixed together while molten. An extra member of a competitive team, whose utilization is prescribed by match conditions. Type of munition normally containing an explosive element and designed to inflict damage upon structures, personnel, materiel, or military objectives. Ammunition includes shells, grenades, pyrotechnics, bombs, and mines, together with projectiles such as bullets, shot and their necessary primers, fuzes, propellants and detonators. See Small Arms. The angle of departure is actually the angle of elevation for the given range. Also describes the degree of deviation from a plotted course or trajectory. To render soft, as in the case of metals by heating to a low red heat, and allowing to cool. To subject a metal to electrolytic action as the anode of a cell in order to coat it with a protective film or color. German manufacturer that produces standard and free rifles. Also a common name for a type of stock. A component part of primer construction against which an explosive primer mixture is smashed in order to initiate combustion. See Boxer Primer and Berdan Primer. Referring to the mainspring housing of the .45 caliber automatic pistol, a housing with the rear portion curved where it contacts the palm of the hand. A place where firearms and instruments of war are deposited. Police armories are usually vaults with alarms and access controls. Military armories are usually a large building containing an arms vault, drill hall and offices. Also, a manufactory (usually one belonging to the government) of arms, such as rifles, pistols, machineguns and bayonets.

Alignment Alloy



Angle of Departure





Arched Housing




A projectile designed for use against armored aircraft and vehicles. Normally has a hardened steel alloy core. A term used to describe hand, shoulder, and light automatic weapons. An establishment, not usually public, for the storage, repair, manufacture or issue of arms and military equipment whether for land or naval service. A competition term describing any supporting surface not specifically authorized for a shooting position. The act of building a weapon to a complete unit, from parts already manufactured. Also, a collection of parts so assembled as to form a portion of, or complete weapon. The area to the rear of the firing line where competitors assemble prior to their relay being called to the ready line and the firing line. Arms in which the force of the explosion of each shot is used to unlock the mechanism, extract and eject the empty shell, and to reload by stripping and feeding another cartridge from the magazine and into the chamber. The trigger must be pressed for each successive shot. Arms in which the force of the explosion of the first shot is used to continue the operation of unlocking, extraction, ejection, reloading, locking and firing continuously, as long as the ammunition lasts in the magazine, belt or strip, and the pressure on the trigger is continued. This name is commonly applied (in error) to autoloading, repeating firearms, especially pistols. Same as Adapter. The overall performance rating of an individual in his ability to score with a particular type of weapon, determined after firing a definite number of rounds or matches. This number is usually figured on a percentile basis and is used in establishing a classification. Prize given to winning shooters or teams. An NRA term meaning a centerfire rifle of any caliber or weight, not equipped with a Schuetzen-type butt plate or palm rest, nor with a trigger capable of set trigger functioning. An NRA term meaning a sight without restrictions as to material or construction.



Artificial Support


Assembly Line



Auxiliary Chamber Average

Award Any Rifle

Any Sight



A front or rear sight, using a hole for viewing to obtain sight picture and alignment. Also the adjustable or changeable disks that are components of the front or rear sight to obtain different diameter holes for viewing. Extreme forward point of projectile. A straight line, real or imaginary, that passes through a body and about which the body may, or actually does, revolve. A blank target placed to the rear of the scoring targets, to assist in identifying the number of rounds fired, and crossfires, in precision shooting. A mound of earth, a hill, or any other barrier, which will safely deflect, stop or absorb bullets. An integral part of shotshell construction, which separates the brass head from the powder charge. Its function is to seal the chamber, prevent sticking of fired shells, protect the shooter from blowback, and aid in obtaining uniform pressures and velocities. Structures of wood or other materials, used on the firing range, to deflect and/or absorb stray or ricochet bullets. Small arms cartridges with a general purpose, solid core bullet intended for use against personnel and material targets not otherwise requiring armor piercing or other special ammunition. The science that deals with the motion, behavior, appearance, or modification of missiles, propellants, rifling, wind, gravity, temperature or any other modifying substance, condition, or force. The art of designing missiles or projectiles so as to give them efficient motion and flight behavior with the limitations set up by their purpose. See also Interior Ballistics, Exterior Ballistics, and Terminal Ballistics. A numerical value, designated as a decimal fractional equivalent between the numbers zero and one, which indicates the effect which air resistance will have upon the flight of a missile or projectile. The larger the ballistic coefficient, the more closely will the trajectory correspond to the ideal flight which would be obtained if the missile could be projected in a vacuum. One of the factors used in a formula to determine a ballistic coefficient.

Apex Axis

Backing Targets


Base Wad


Ball Ammunition


Ballistic Coefficient

Ballistic Form Factor


Ball Powder

A propellant composed of small dense spheres of nitrocellulose coated with a layer of nitro-glycerine and a detergent. A ring, usually of metal, encircling the barrel, used for attaching forearms or other parts or accessories. A belt-like cloth, or other material, with compartments designed for carrying ammunition, worn suspended over one shoulder, across the chest, or under the arm. That part of a gun or firearm through which the projectile is fired and which gives direction to the projectile. A steel rod or tube that has been bored and rifled for a given caliber, but unchambered and unthreaded. Movement of the barrel during the process of firing. These movements are transmitted to the barrel by the forces of the propelling gas and the kinetic energy developed by the projectile. Description of a weapon locked in firing position. A primer housing used in shotshell reloading. A predetermined sight setting that, carried on a weapon, will enable the firer to engage targets effectively at battle ranges when conditions do not permit exact setting of sights. A small knob of metal on a firearm near the muzzle, used for a front sight in aiming. The forearm portion of a rifle or shotgun whose dimensions are wider than normal. The precision fitting by hand of a rifle barrel, receiver and guard, to its stock, to increase and maintain its accuracy. Short for ammunition belt, usually linked. A cartridge design of the rimless type, employing a step-cut or shoulder approximately one-eighth inch in front of the extractor groove. This shoulder gives the appearance of a metallic "belt" around the case. The belted case, therefore, enters a counterbored chamber and the "belt" around the head of the case strikes the shoulder or forward face of the counterbore, thus seating solidly into the chamber. The belted case gives all the desirable features of the rimmed case, plus those of the rimless type.

Band, Barrel

Bandoleer (or Bandolier)


Barrel Blank

Barrel Whip

Battery Battery Cup Battle Sights


Beaver Tail


Belt Belted Cartridge


Bench Rest Bench Rest Shooting

A rigid bench for rest shooting of firearms. (a) Shooting from a bench rest. (b) A type of sport or competition shooting, where an attempt is made to fire a number of shots into the smallest possible group; the ultimate aim being to have all shots of one group in one bullet hole. There are practically no restrictions as to weapon size, caliber, design, shape or weight. The goals of organized bench rest shooters are development and encouragement of extreme accuracy in rifles, ammunition, equipment and shooting methods. The drop below the line of sight at the comb and heel of a buttstock. A center fire primer, popular in Europe and Asia, whose anvil is constructed out of part of the cartridge case. Not interchangeable with the Boxer Primer. An event combining cross-country ski racing and shooting. A slang term used to define the weapons used in NRA or National High Power Rifle Matches. Sighting with both eyes open. A two-legged stand or mount for a scope or weapon. A mixture of finely divided charcoal, potassium nitrate and sulfur, used as a propellant or explosive. To apply any black substance to sights to glare. The common method is to use a carbide lamp allowing flame to deposit carbon on the sights.


Berdan Primer


Big Bore

Binocular Vision Bipod Black Powder

Blacken Sights eliminate

Blade Sight

A metal blade, attached to the upper side of the barrel near the muzzle. A cartridge having, in place of a projectile, a paper cup or wadding in the mouth of the case. (a) Escape, to the rear and under pressure, of gases formed during the firing of the gun. Blowback may be caused by a defective breech mechanism, a ruptured cartridge case or a faulty primer. (b) Type of weapon operation in which the force of the expanding gases acting to the rear against the face of the bolt furnishes all the energy required to initiate the complete cycle of operation of the gun. A weapon which employs this method of operation is characterized by the absence of any breech lock or bolt lock mechanism.

Blank Cartridge



Blown Primer

A primer that has ruptured or unseated itself in the base of the cartridge. May be due to excessive pressure, defective primer, improper firing pin length, or the brass case being improperly annealed (soft brass). An oxidizing process which is used to color metal in various shades of blue and tends to prevent rust. The tapered rear end of a bullet designed to increase ballistic efficiency at long range, by reducing base drag. The appearance of an upward, boiling-like motion of mirage, when not affected by wind shift. A sliding mechanism that closes the breech in some types of small arms. It usually contains the extractor and firing pin, and supports the base of the cartridge. A firearm whose locking and unlocking action is controlled by the manual operation of the bolt. That portion of the bolt that engages and supports the head (or base) of the cartridge. That portion of the bolt grasped for manual operation. The forward section of a two-piece bolt. The steel machining at the rear of the bolt that serves to unite all the components of the bolt assembly. The position the firer assumes that allows him to use his bones to support the weight of the weapon and use his muscles principally to hold bones in their supporting position. This means that he can keep his muscles relaxed and avoid the tremors that develop from strain and tension. (a) The interior of the barrel through which the charge or bullet passes. (b) The diameter measured from land to land. A device containing mirrors to inspect the bore. A device used to examine the interior surfaces of the bore of a weapon. Usually a collection of lenses within a tube, with a reflecting mirror and light, capable of enlarging the view of the area being inspected. May also be a fiber-optic device, or a mount for a small remote camera which projects the image on a screen for the purpose of examining the interior of the barrel.





Bolt Action

Bolt Face

Bolt Handle Bolt Head Bolt Sleeve

Bone Support


Bore Reflector Borescope



An instrument inserted in the bore of a weapon to determine the bore axis and its alignment with the sights of the weapon. A cartridge case whose neck diameter is smaller than its base. A method of determining bullet velocity by using a type of chronograph. A center fire primer favored in the United States. It is a completely self-contained unit whose anvil is a small metal cone inside the primer cup. Empty brass cartridge case. To exercise proper control of the breath during the aiming and firing process, in such a manner as to minimize disturbance of sight alignment and sight picture. The rear end of the barrel into which the cartridge is inserted. Any steel device used to seal the breech of a rifle at the instant of firing. (a) An oxidation produced and retained on the surface of gun barrels by means of acid, to stop further oxidation or rust. (b) Any weapon designed or manufactured by John M. Browning or the Browning Arms Company, such as the Browning Automatic Rifle. Metal arch connecting both sides of a receiver. An extra heavy barreled sporting or target rifle. The extra weight of the barrel reduces vibration, insuring greater accuracy. The projectile fired from a small gun. Rearmost end of the bullet. The vertical drop of a bullet due to gravity. Gauges normally used to measure the diameter and concentricity of a bullet. Shape of bullet from nose to base. The energy required to pull a bullet from its case. (The bullet pull is used as a measure of the uniformity and efficiency of the crimp holding the bullet in its case)


Boulenge Test

Boxer Primer

Brass Breath Control


Breech Block


Bridge Bull Gun

Bullet Bullet Base Bullet Drop Bullet Gauge

Bullet Profile Bullet Pull


Bullet Puller Bullet Trace

Device used to remove a bullet from the cartridge case. The visible path of a bullet passing through the atmosphere which can best be seen through properly adjusted optical aids. (a) The center of a target; also a shot which hits it; hence any successful hit. (b) The blackened area of a target. (c) A trade name for a commercially produced pistol powder. A plate of metal, plastic or horn placed on the butt to protect the buttstock against damage. The portion of a stock from the action rearward. A rotating piece, eccentrically pivoted; placed in different parts of weapon actions to give short locking motions. Locking or moving with a cam. An engagement surface, usually a diagonal recess, used in conjunction with a cam or roller assembly. In firearms, it is often cut into the surface of a bolt, and used to cause rotation of the bolt for locking or unlocking. A groove in a bullet for containing a lubricant or into which the cartridge case is crimped; a groove in a cartridge case, providing a purchase for the extractor. To revolve to the right or left on the axis of the bore while aiming; as, to cant a rifle. The diameter of a projectile, as of a bullet or shell; the diameter of the bore of a gun barrel. In rifled arms, the caliber is measured from the surface of one land to the land directly opposite. In the US and Great Britain, the calibers of small arms and their ammunition are usually expressed in hundredths or thousands of an inch; when so expressed, the designation usually represents a close approximation rather than an exact measurement. In continental Europe, calibers are normally expressed in millimeters. The ability of a shooter to determine the approximate location of his hit on the target through noting the position of the sights at the instant of firing. A chemical whose reaction when mixed with water, produces an acetylene gas.


Butt Plate

Buttstock Cam

Cam Effect Camming Slot







Carbide Lamp

A miner's-type lamp whose flame is used to put carbon deposits on sighting equipment to reduce glare. A light weight shoulder arm or rifle having a short barrel, originally used by cavalry. That part of a weapon which lifts a round from the magazine and lines it up with the chamber. Usually found in pump and automatic shotguns and some types of rifles. A complete round of ammunition, containing bullet, powder, case and primer. Usually a brass or steel case used to house bullet, powder and primer. Resizing the cartridge case to a specified size and shape by the use of a resizing die. An instrument used to measure the case length against a standard. The process of hardening the surface of metal while leaving the core soft. A method of shortening a cartridge case to a specific length. A bullet formed by pouring molten alloy into a die and letting it harden. Forming objects by pouring molten metal or other liquids into a mold. The distance a stock is offset at the heel to the right, from a straight line with the axis of the bore. It is called cast-on when to the left. For the right-handed person, it is to the right on all rifles and shotguns. The command given to cause all firing to stop immediately. The form of cartridge case in which the primer is placed directly in the center of the base. When a competitor feels that a shot fired by himself or another competitor has been improperly evaluated or scored, he may challenge the scoring. Such challenge must be made immediately upon the posting of the score.


Carrier Block


Cartridge Case

Case Forming

Case Gauge

Case Hardening

Case Trimming

Cast Bullet



Cease Fire

Center Fire




(a) The compartment at the rear of a gun barrel that holds a charge or cartridge; one of the compartments in the cylinder of a revolver. (b) To insert a round of ammunition in the chamber of a firearm or gun. Pressure created by the rapid burning of a propellant within the chamber of a weapon, during firing. (a)A given quantity of explosive, either by itself, or used as the propellant for a bomb, bullet or shell. (b) In small arms, a cartridge or round of ammo. (c) To fill a bomb, mine shell or cartridge with a charge or propellant or explosive filler. (d) To charge a gun; to operate the bolt so as to chamber a round of ammunition. A unit attached to a weapon to chamber the first round. A unit used to rapidly feed rounds into a magazine. Diamond-shaped patterns incised in metal and wood for ornamentation; for matting the surface; and, when used on a stock, to improve the grip. A projection on a part of the butt stock to afford a rest for the cheek at the time of firing a rifle. Will have full charge of the range and pits and will conduct matches on the schedule approved by the executive officer of the range or club. He is responsible for range safety and enforcing all rules. A shotgun bore slightly constricted at the muzzle. An electrical device used to measure the velocity of a projectile, using time lapse principles. The average scores of an individual, with a particular weapon, in match conditions, that are used to permit competition between individuals that have similar or equal abilities; attempting to eliminate unfair advantage of one person over another, by predicted performance. In NRA matches, some classifications used are: MASTER, EXPERT, SHARPSHOOTER, MARKSMAN. A saucer-shaped disc used as a target in skeet and trap shooting. When all shots have gone into the highest numerical scoring ring or rings. A rod with various attachments used in cleaning the bore of a weapon.

Chamber Pressure


Charger Charger Clip Checker

Cheek Piece

Chief Range Officer

Choke Bore Chronograph


Clay Targets (Clays)

Clean Target

Cleaning Rod



(a) Term used to express the fact that the range is clear for firing or proceeding downrange. (b) Term used to describe the act of removing all ammunition sources from the weapon to make it safe. (c) Act of checking the weapon ensure all ammunition has been removed. Term used to describe the mechanical adjustment of the rear sight, affecting the strike of the bullet. On many sights the action will make a clicking sound. (a) A metal device for holding ammunition ready for insertion into certain types of firearms or magazines. (b) A popular, but erroneous, term used to describe a box-type magazine. A pair of guide grooves milled into the forward end of a rifle receiver bridge so as to hold a clip in position for loading. A group of three or more bullet holes that touch each other. Term used in scoring targets on which five or more shots are fired so closely as to make it impossible to distinguish the individual bullet holes. Shooting trainer, instructor, or director, sometimes a professional. Magnesium fluoride coating on an optical surface to increase light transmission and improve contrast. To draw back the hammer, bolt, plunger or firing pin of a firearm to make ready for firing. The projecting end of the striker, extending back and free of the bolt in a bolt-action weapon. The accidental and spontaneous discharge of, or explosion in, a gun or firearm, caused by an overheated chamber or barrel igniting a fuse, primer, propellant, or bursting. A round left in a hot chamber, but which has not reached a temperature to initiate firing. Ballistics of this round are not usually the same as a normally fired round. The ridge which forms the upper edge of a buttstock. Orders given on a range for the conducting of all firing, scoring and target operation. A device used on a barrel of a weapon to reduce recoil and muzzle rise.



Clip Shot

Clover Leaf Group


Coated Lens


Cocking Piece Cook-Off

Cooked Round

Comb Commands




A constituent part of the whole, especially one having no function apart from the whole, such as cartridge components (primer, powder, projectile). The angle cut in the breech end of a barrel to allow the bolt to be breeched tighter and therefore, keep as much of the brass case in the chamber as possible. An early double-based smokeless powder, formed by absorbing nitroglycerine in guncotton, adding a small percentage of vaseline, and extruding the mixture through a die into long strings or cords. The internal part of a bullet, that which is covered by the jacket. A deflecting force exerted by the rotation of the earth upon any object in motion, as an airplane, bullet, air particle or automobile, diverting the object to the right of the velocity in the northern hemisphere, and to the left in the southern. The awareness of trigger movement during application of pressure. To mechanically fold inward the mouth of a cartridge case about the base of the bullet, sealing it in place. Two or more intersecting lines of fire. In competition, when a shooter fires on a target other than his own. Type of reticle used in telescopic sights. The cut made at the muzzle end of a barrel, to eliminate burrs and control the path of escaping gases. The rate at which a succession of movements repeats itself. Applied to the rate of fire of an automatic weapon, the maximum rate of fire for a given weapon. The part of a multifiring firearm holding a number of cartridges and presenting the loads successively for firing, by revolution about an axis. A shotgun barrel without constriction or "choke". A highly ornamental combination of metals, used in making shotguns in the 19th century. The guns were produced by twisting together dissimilar metal strips and welding them. Any area forward of a firing line as defined by range regulations or rules.




Coriolis Force



Cross Fire

Cross Hair Crown

Cyclic Rate


Cylinder Bore Damascus

Danger Zone


Dead Rod Decapping Degressive Powder

A malfunctioning operating rod on an M1 rifle. Process of removing a primer from a cartridge case. A propellant whose surface area and rate of evolution of gas decreases as the powder burns. A point reached in a pressure curve where additional pressures will no longer produce additional velocity of the projectile. An establishment for storing supplies or records, for maintaining equipment, or for assembling and processing personnel. A compound or element which is added to an explosive to reduce its burning rate, such as graphite which is used to coat smokeless powders. A combustion process which produces a vigorous evolution of smoke and flame, and which moves through a material at speeds faster than the speed of sound (1100 feet per second). Such a reaction is sudden and instantaneous, resulting in an explosion. A tool used to cut, stamp, or form metal by pressure. A compound used as a stabilizer in the of smokeless powders.





Die Diphenylamine manufacture


An implement used by target pit personnel to signal the value of each shot to the firing line. The scattering of shots or pellets fired on a target. Two bullet holes that appear as one. A firing cycle whereby the hammer is cocked for firing by the rearward movement of the trigger. A propellant containing nitrocellulose and nitroglycerine. A rifle having two barrels. A malfunction in a semiautomatic weapon resulting in the firing of a second round automatically. A lateral divergence of a projectile from the projected line of its heading. Usually resulting from the effects of wind, but sometimes specifically due to reactions set up by the projectile rotation.

Dispersion Double Double Action

Double Base Powder

Double Barreled Double Firing




(a) The vertical drop of a projectile. (b) Distance measured from the line of sight to the top of the heel and comb of a gun stock. A person practicing the fundamentals of marksmanship with a weapon, without the use of live ammunition. Also, the firing or "snap firing" of any weapon with an empty chamber. A bomb, shell, or cartridge that has failed to function. A non-functioning cartridge, bomb or shell, used for training, maintenance testing or display. A device used to protect the ears from the sound of weapons firing. (a) The range up to which a weapon operates with the desired effect. Limitations placed on this range are the terminal effect of a projectile, and the limits of human vision. (b) The distance at which the average man can place hits on a target within the kill zone. The process where a case or cartridge is being thrown from the weapon by the ejector. A part in a firearm for throwing out shells or cartridges.

Dry Fire

Dud Dummy

Ear Plug

Effective Range



Elbow Pad

A cushion for the elbow usually attached to the sleeve of a shooting jacket or coat. A device used either in skeet or trap shooting to throw the clay target into the air. The raised sighting plane placed on top of the barrels of a shotgun or rifle. (a) Height or altitude. (b) The angle of elevation. (c) The setting on the vertical adjustment of a rear sight to allow sufficient trajectory to strike a selected target. The capacity for doing work and overcoming resistance. A series of small circles polished in metal which overlap to form a pleasing and finishing effect, primarily used to hold small amounts of oil as a lubricant and rust inhibitor. Usually found on rifle bolts and inside fine watches. A lens in an optical instrument for making the image appear erect instead of inverted.

Electric Trap

Elevated Rib


Energy Engine Turn

Erector Lens



Wearing away of a weapon bore due to combined effects of gas washing, scoring and mechanical abrasion. Due to the high temperatures, velocity and chemical action, the bore diameter becomes enlarged. The highest level of qualification attainable in military qualification courses of fire. A bar of steel or extension of the front sight to increase the sight radius. The process of removing a live or spent cartridge case or shell from the chamber of a weapon. A part in the gun for removing shells or cartridges from the chamber. A term coined by Purdey, an eminent British gunmaker, to denote a rifle of greater velocity than normal. It was a black powder term. The term NITRO EXPRESS, as now used, distinguishes a rifle of extreme power and velocity. Distance from the aiming eye to the rear sight. Practice firing with a weapon. In rifle team shooting, a coaching command which causes the shooter to aim his group right or left. Such as the command, "favor right". A favor does not exceed more than one minute of angle. Corrections greater than this are made by sight movement. The process of driving live cartridges from the magazine or belt into the path of the bolt or slide, prior to chambering. A slanted metal surface at the rear of a barrel which guides cartridges into the chamber during feeding. A unit of measure used to indicate velocity of a bullet. A measure of the diameter of the field of vision which the observer can see at one time while looking through the telescope. To disassemble the major components of a firearm for cleaning, maintenance or inspection. To shape a cartridge case by firing it in a larger chamber. The exploding gases expand the case and cause it to conform to the diameter and shape of the chamber.


Extended Front Sight



Express rifle

Eye Relief Familiarization firing Favor


Feed ramp

Feet per second Field of view

Field strip

Fire form


Firing line Firing pin

A line at which marksmen are stationed for firing. A rod or plunger that strikes and detonates a primer to fire the main explosive or propelling charge. A firing station on a firing line. A hole in the head of a cartridge case through which the primer flash ignites the propellant. A type of base used on a bullet. A spasmodic physical reaction, usually caused by anticipation of recoil, that causes inaccuracy in shooting. The base or bottom of a magazine or receiver. A substance or mixture used to facilitate the amalgamation of metals or minerals when melting them; glass, borax, etc., are fluxes. A cartridge in which the base of the case is folded to form the primer pocket. That part of a magazine on which the cartridges rest for feeding. A spring that transmits energy for function to the follower. When all the elements of firing a shot are maintained until the shot strikes the target, such as position, sighting, breathing, squeezing, etc. The portion of the stock lying under the barrel in front of the action, also called the fore-end. The accumulation of a deposit within the bore of a firearm caused by solid products remaining after a cartridge has been fired. Shots fired for the purpose of warming the bore so that following rounds will be better stabilized. A brittle plastic or non-metallic bullet for firing practice, which upon striking a target breaks into a powder or small fragments without penetrating. A type of barrel rifling where lands have either been completely eliminated, or reduced in front of the chamber. The purpose is to reduce chamber pressure.

Firing point Flash hole

Flat base Flinch

Floor plate Flux



Follower spring

Follow through



Fouling shots

Frangible bullet

Free bore


Foot pound

A measurement of the expenditure of energy. A foot pound is that unit of effort which will lift a one pound object one foot. Two foot pounds will either lift a two pound object one foot, or a one pound object two feet, and so on. Usually used to express the energy of a bullet exiting a muzzle. A completely jacketed bullet, such as military ammo. An explosive compound extremely sensitive to shock, spark or friction, used to set off other explosives. Operate, used in conjunction with the cycle of operation in a weapon. An instrument or tool used for measuring a dimension against and established standard, such as a headspace gage, erosion gage, thickness gage, etc. A system of rifling in which the pitch of the lands and grooves increases from breech to muzzle in order to gradually accelerate a bullet to maximum rotational velocity as it leaves the muzzle. A device (usually shaped like a cup) fitted over the base of a bullet designed to prevent the hot gases from fusing or melting the base of the bullet and to act as a gas seal. An automatic or semi-automatic weapon that utilizes part of the expanding propellant gases in the barrel to unlock the bolt and actuate the loading mechanism. In the direct method, the gases themselves cause the rearward motion of the action assembly components through direct pressure against these parts. In the indirect method, a piston forces an operating rod to the rear, causing the action assembly components to move. In gas-operated systems, a small hole drilled into the barrel through which some of the expanding gases escape to furnish power for the auto-loading cycle. A measurement, standard measure, or scale of measurement. Also, the size of the bore of a firearm, especially a shotgun, as determined by the number per pound of spherical projectiles fitting the bore. Soft metal used to jacket a small arms bullet. This metal can be readily engraved by the lands as the bullet moves down the bore. Typically 85% copper and 15% zinc.

Full metal case Fulminate of Mercury



Gain twist

Gas check bullet


Gas port


Gilding metal


Glass bedding

An epoxy resin (glass) used to ensure better fit between the rifle barrel and action to the wood of the stock. Also used to strengthen the recoil mortise in the stock. A unit of weight based on the approximate weight of a single heart-grain contained within a kernel of wheat. There are 7000 grains in one pound, or 437.5 grains per ounce. Bullet weights and powder measures are typically expressed in grains. A soft form of carbon used as a lubricant and as a glaze for grains of propellant to prevent the buildup of static electricity and the danger of premature explosion. Also used as a flash inhibitor. The rate of acceleration of a body falling to the earth. The spiral grooves cut into the bore of certain types of firearms, to impart spin to the projectile for the purpose of aerodynamic stabilization. Short for bullet group, a series of three or more holes made in a target by a series of successive shots. A mechanism consisting essentially of a barrel, receiver and breech mechanism, using controlled explosives to shoot projectiles or signal flares. A high explosive formed by the action of sulphuric acid and nitric acid upon cellulose. Its shattering effect is too high to be used as a propellant, but when used with nitroglycerine and suitable amounts of solvents, it forms the main ingredients of many modern propellants. A person who manufactures, modifies or repairs guns. In firearms, imparting the needed spin to a projectile around its longitudinal axis, usually by rifling, to enable a projectile to present its point in the direction of motion. The mechanism that strikes the firing pin or percussion cap in a firearm. A gun whose hammers are concealed within. A gun whose hammers are on the outside of the action. The operating lever which turns the cylinder when the hammer is pulled back on the receiver. A wood or metal cover which encloses the upper half of a rifle barrel and protects the firers' hands from heat.



Gravity factor Groove

Group Gun


Gunsmith Gyrostatic stability


Hammerless Hammer gun Hand (pistol)



Hand loading

Manufacture of ammunition by an individual using hand tools. Also used to describe the act of re-loading a previously fired cartridge case. A brief delay of a round of ammunition in firing, after being struck or subjected to other igniting action. A term used to describe government issue fully-jacketed ball ammunition; usually refers to .45 caliber ammo. Portion of a cartridge case, which includes the extractor groove or rim, primer pocket and primer. The head of the case is actually at the bottom of the round. In centerfire systems, the distance between the base of the cartridge, in contact with the face of the locked bolt, to the commencement of the shoulder angle of the chamber. In rimfire systems, the distance between the base of the rim, in contact with the bolt, to the point of the chamber where the opposing side of the rim makes contact. In rimless, straight walled handgun cartridges, the distance from the base of the cartridge in contact with the recoil plate or slide face, to the mouth of the cartridge case where it contacts the shoulder of the chamber inside the barrel. Markings on the head of a cartridge case that usually indicate the source and date of manufacture. Addition of weight to a slide to reduce recoil. (a) The upper rear corner of a buttstock, or the top of a buttplate. (b) An action (heeling), caused by the firer tightening the large muscle in the heel of the hand to keep from jerking the trigger. A strike or impact on a target by a bullet. (a) To hold fire, to refrain from shooting. (b) A sight picture obtained by the shooter and described as a hold, i.e., 6 o'clock hold or center hold. A projectile with a cavity within its point. May or may not have controlled expansion features. A projecting circular covering placed around the front sight to prevent damage. A fixed front sight sometimes confused with a globe sight which has interchangeable front sights. Butt extension of a rifle which fits under the armpit of a shooter. Sometimes inverted to fit over the shoulder of a shooter in the prone position.


Hard ball



Head stamp

Heavy slide Heel

Hit Hold

Hollow point

Hooded sight




A covering or frame used to protect integral parts of a firearm, i.e., mainspring housing, trigger housing, etc. The action a person performs when a stoppage has occurred in a weapon, to put the weapon back into operation with little or no loss of time. The striking of a projectile on a target or surface. Area in which projectiles are expected to strike. Type of choke on a shotgun which controls the shot pattern. Built into a barrel containing a minimum degree of choke. A sensitive explosive that detonates to initiate the action in an explosive train or device. A bullet that is lubricated before loading, containing lubricant grooves not visible in the finished cartridge. Unimproved metallic sights. The metallic covering of a bullet. To stick or become inoperative because of improper loading, ejection or the like. The effort by the firer to fire a weapon at the precise moment the sights align with the target, usually causing a bad hit on the target. A process whereby certain parts of a weapon are polished in a circular pattern, to give luster. Part of a sling used to prevent the sling from coming loose. May be leather rings or metallic hooks. A form of sighting and aiming usually employed when a weapon has non-adjustable sights, or when the firer does not have time to make sight adjustments. Tumbling of a bullet in flight caused by failure of the bullet to receive sufficient spin from the rifling. Used to describe the recoil of a firearm at the moment of firing. That energy exerted by a moving body by virtue of its motion. More technically, the capacity of a moving body for performing work, owing to its own motion; being quantitatively one-half the mass times the velocity squared.

Immediate action

Impact Impact area Improved cylinder


Inside lubricated

Iron sights Jacket Jam




Kentucky windage



Kinetic energy


Kneeling position

A position that is assumed by the shooter where the weight of the body is supported on one knee and the opposite foot. No other part of the body touches the ground. Purpose of this type of firing is to give the shooter the opportunity to apply all the principles of marksmanship. He learns to zero his weapon for all usable ranges and to make practical application of sight adjustments. To checker or roughen a surface to afford better grip. The gluing of thin strips of wood together into order to produce a stock that will resist warpage and give added strength, usually used on target and bench rest stocks. One of the raised portions in the bore of a rifled gun. A plug, usually made of lead, iron or copper, when charged with abrasive, is used for fine grinding or polishing. The action of aiming ahead of a moving target, so as to hit the target. Excessive lead deposit in the grooves of a barrel. The marks left on the target by the bullet as it passes through the target. Rear sight for small arms, hinged so it can be raised for aiming or lowered to keep from being broken when not in use. The distance from the center of the trigger to the center of the butt. Standard length of pull for rifles is usually 13.5 inches. The moving handle which locks or unlocks the action in guns or double rifles. A rifle whose action is operated by a lever under the stock. Usually serves as a trigger guard as well as an actuating device. The extended bore axis of a gun. The straight line between an observer's eye and a target along which sight is taken. (a) To place ammunition is a gun. (b) A particular combination of components that comprise a loaded cartridge.

Known distance firing

Knurl Laminated stock

Land Lap


Leaded barrel Leaded edge

Leaf sight

Length of pull


Lever action

Line of bore Line of sight



Loading block

Device designed to limit a specified number of rounds, i.e., the plug in a shotgun is a loading block. The swing away portion of a revolver which permits the loading and unloading of the cylinder. Normally found on a single action revolver. Extension on a locking mechanism that locks the breech, fitting into the corresponding locking recesses. A substance used to reduce friction, i.e., oil, etc. Grooves on a bullet that are filled with lubricant. A device used to support a weapon in place to check functioning, accuracy and ammunition. (a) A structure or compartment for storing ammunition or explosives. (b) That part of a gun or firearm that ammunition ready for feeding and chambering.

Loading gate

Locking lugs

Lubricate Lubrication groove Machine rest

Magazine holds


A process used for detecting invisible minute cracks and flaws in ferrous metals, using powdered metal. Used for the same purpose as magnaflux, but a slightly different process using a blacklight and special dye. A term used to denote a weapon of more than normal power. That part of a weapon which furnishes energy to the hammer or striker. The improper operation of any part of a weapon. Skill in shooting small arms. A shooting competition for the award of prizes. Special weapons, ammunition or equipment used for competitive match purposes. The greatest distance the average shooter may inflict casualties or damage. Highest point of trajectory above the line of sight. The greatest distance to which a weapon can shoot. Training conducted for purpose of teaching disassembly and assembly of weapons, care, cleaning, and function. A primer containing fulminate of mercury.




Malfunction Marksmanship Match Match grade

Maximum effective range

Maximum ordinate Maximum range Mechanical training

Mercuric primer


Metallic sights Micro sights

Any sight not containing optical lenses. A rear sight adjustable for windage and elevation, used on handguns. Normally refers to a rear sight which has 1/4 or less minute of angle graduations. The point halfway between the firing line and target. A unit of angular measurement used in gunnery. A true mil is the angle determined by an arc, the length of which is 1/1000th of the radius; the mil is considered to be 1/6400th of the circumference (instead of 1/6283, as there are 6283 true mils in a circle). The movement of a 1000 foot radius, by 1 mil, will move the strike of a bullet 1 foot on the circumference. The sixtieth part of one degree which amounts to about 1.0472 inches at 100 yards of distance. An optical phenomenon produced by a stratum of hot air of varying density across which the observer sees reflections. Usually seen as heat waves. A momentary or permanent failure of a round of ammunition to fire after igniting action is taken. Failure to hit a target. Viewing with only one eye while shooting. A form of butt stock in which the comb is carried back horizontally almost to the butt, when it descends to the heel portion. Device used for the placement of sights on

Micrometer sights

Mid-range Mil

Minute of angle



Miss Monocular vision Monte Carlo

Mounts weapons. Mouth

(a) The opening at the end of a muzzle. (b) The opening at the end of a cartridge case. Expansion of a projectile. The end of the barrel of a gun from which the bullet emerges. Sudden air pressure exerted at the muzzle of a gun by the rush of hot gases and air upon firing. A device attached to the muzzle of a gun barrel which uses escaping gases to reduce the effective recoil force of the barrel assembly on the carriage or frame. It also reduces muzzle blast and muzzle flash.

Mushroom Muzzle

Muzzle blast

Muzzle brake


Muzzle flash

That portion of visible light emitted by the combustion of the propellant, and which emerges from the muzzle with the projectile. The speed of a bullet, relative to the gun, as it emerges from the muzzle. Usually expressed in feet per second. The correct position of the body in relationship to the target. That portion of a cartridge used to contain the rear of a bullet. A tool used to slightly enlarge the neck of a cartridge case that has been fired. The inside diameter of a cartridge neck. An operation used in reloading to shorten a cartridge case to a specified length. A propellant, usually a single perforated cylindrical grain whose burning area remains constant. Nitric acid mixed with cellulose (usually in the form of cotton or wood fiber), forming what is called guncotton, used in smokeless powder. Nitric acid mixed with glycerine, used in double based powders. As a liquid, it is highly explosive and unstable. A term applied to primers containing no potassium sulfate. (a) That portion of a revolver hammer that strikes the primer. (b) That area of a bullet from the widest part to the point. The lens at the front of the telescope which forms the "primary image" of the object viewed. The sealing of a chamber in a gun to prevent the escape of gas in a particular direction. The eyepiece of an optical instrument. The curved or tapered front of a projectile. A rear gunsight having an open notch. A measurement made from the line of sight to the line of trajectory of the bullet at any point.

Muzzle velocity

Natural point of aim


Neck reamer

Neck size Neck trim

Neutral powder





Objective lens


Ocular lens Ogive Open sight Ordinate



Military weapons, ammunition, explosives, combat vehicles, and battle material collectively, together with the needed maintenance tools and equipment. A small hole in a weapon, i.e., the gas port. Lubrication of a bullet's exterior. Usually referred to as a cartridge case with a greater powder capacity than is considered adequate for the size of the bore. A gun or rifle in which the barrels are placed on top of one another. An extension or attachment below the rifle forearm which aids the normal handgrip. The term used to describe a barrel partially rifled at the muzzle. An apparent movement or displacement of objects in the field of view of a telescope, with respect to the reticle. In a telescope sight, parallax occurs only when in the optical system of the scope, the primary image of the object falls behind or in front of the reticle, and when the eye moves off the optical axis of the scope. An earthen mound protecting ranges. To impart a dull, relatively rough finish to a firearm by use of powdered iron and phosphoric acid. Small gummed pieces of paper used to patch bullet holes on a target. (a) A checkering pattern on a stock or grip, including the border and all master lines. (b) The shot pattern on a target, such as caused by shotgun pellets. To draw, bend, or flatten by hammering with a peen. A rear gunsight having a small hole in which the front sight is centered in aiming. (a) One of a group of projectiles in shotgun shells. (b) A projectile fired from a gun that does not use gunpowder as a propellant force.

Orifice Outside lubricated Overbore

Over and Under

Palm rest



Parapet Parkerize



Peening Peep sight




(a) Any firearm, usually short barreled, designed to be held and fired in one hand. (b) A firearm in which the chamber is an integral part of the barrel, especially a self loading pistol, as distinguished from a revolver. (c) A machine-pistol. Usually a short barreled weapon firing pistol ammunition, and which fires automatically. A gunstock, the grip of which turns down. The angle which the butt of a firearm takes in relation to the line of sight. (a) Any cylindrical part that operates with a plunging action, such as a piston. (b) The firing pins which are struck by the hammers in shotguns and double rifles, called strikers in bolt action rifles. (a) A firing point or stand. (b) Nose of a bullet. A vertical front sight. It may be metallic, open or or may be incorporated in several manners and shapes, within optical telescopes.

Pistol grip Pitch


Point Post hooded,


A prescribed method of holding a weapon, such as the "prone" position. A corrosive salt found in black powder compositions. Commonly called "saltpeter". A slang term for gunpowder; any substance that can be used as a propellant in a cartridge. Various mechanical means by which weight or volume of powder may be measured. A device used to measure powder by weight. A period of instruction in which the fundamentals of marksmanship are taught, applied and developed by students prior to actual firing. Match grade weapons further modified to specifications and designated by the stamped letters P.G. Force exerted against an opposing body. (a) The arc of the projectile in the La Boulenge Chronograph test to determine velocity. (b) The graphic curve of pressures in pounds per square inch resulting from various powder burning rates. The greatest amount of pounds per square inch (PSI) of pressure created within the chamber.

Potassium nitrate


Powder measure

Powder scale Premarksmanship training

Premium grade

Pressure Pressure curve

Pressure peak



A sensitive explosive device that responds to friction, percussion, electric impulse or some other disturbance to set off a propellant or an explosive; an initiator. A small cup holding a primer mixture and other components, used in small arms cartridges and certain other ammunition. A recess formed in the head of a cartridge case to hold the primer. A residue of potassium chlorate which is deposited in the bore through the use of corrosive primers. The backward movement of a primer cup in a cartridge or shell case upon explosion of the propellant, as occurs when the base of the cup is not properly supported by the bolt face or breech block. Normally called the flash hole. Located in the head of the cartridge case between the primer seat and the propellant in the case, to allow the primer flame to ignite the powder. A characteristic of most rifle powders whose burning increases as the volume increases, to maintain an increase in pressure on the base of the projectile. An object projected by an exterior force, continuing in motion by virtue of its own inertia. A standard set by gun manufacturers to insure a weapon will withstand a safe pressure for its given caliber. A stamp used by gun manufacturers to identify all weapons having met the proof standard. Proof marks are usually found on the underside of the barrel or receiver or both, depending upon the manufacturer. A weapon which has successfully withstood the proof test load without showing signs of metal fatigue. Proof test loads are usually 20,000 PSI above standard loads. An explosive powder charge for propelling a bullet, that creates pressure as a result of its combustion process, driving a projectile toward the muzzle of a weapon. A variety of pyroxylin, used in making smokeless powders and gelatin dynamites.

Primer cup

Primer pocket

Primer salt

Primer setback

Primer vent

Progressive burning



Proof mark

Proof test





In the military, the minimum marksmanship score needed to attain a certain classification of shooting skill, for training or identification purposes. A device inside a receiver used to guide the bolt or moving parts in a specified path, usually in pairs on opposing sides of the receiver. Also, the mounting points for some sights or palm rests. An inclined plane designed to give proper elevation to a front or rear sight. Also a deflecting surface used to position a bullet for chambering in an automatic weapon, such as a machine gun.




(a) A prescribed area where weapons firing is conducted. (b) The distance to a target from a firing point. The individual in charge of firing on any given range. In a semiautomatic weapon, the continued manipulation of the trigger assembly so as to fire a rapid succession of shots. Commands used to ascertain if personnel are prepared to commence firing on a range. The area just to the rear of the firing line, where shooters may wait their turn to fire. A tool used to enlarge a hole such as the primer pocket of a cartridge. The frame of a firearm, to which all other components are attached. A connector used to span the recess of a receiver to increase its strength, usually found on weapons which used a stamped, as opposed to a forged or milled, receiver. Rear sight mounted directly on a receiver. The backward movement of a gun or part thereof on firing, caused by backward pressure of the recoil impulse; a result of the equal but opposite reaction to the energy moving the bullet forward in the bore. The force in foot pounds exerted rearwards by a firearm when fired.

Range officer Rapid fire

Ready commands

Ready line



Receiver bridge

Receiver sight Recoil

Recoil energy


Recoil lug

A metal surface, normally located in the forward part of the action which transmits the recoil of the barrel and receiver group to the stock. A cushion attached to the butt of a shotgun or rifle to absorb recoil and protect the body of the shooter. (a) To insert ammunition into an already-fired gun for the purpose of continuation of fire. (b) To refill cartridge cases with primer, powder and projectiles, for the purpose of re-using the case. Tools used in reloading ammunition, such as and recapping dies, seating and crimping dies, etc.

Recoil pad


Reloading dies resizing

Reloading tool Resizing

A machine or device used in the loading of ammunition. A process whereby a cartridge case is swaged to a desired size or shape. A support for a gun while firing, to insure accuracy. A system of lines, wires or the like, in the body of an optical telescope or other device, used for defining the line of sight with greater accuracy. A handgun having a rotating cylinder carrying several rounds of ammunition, each round being in a chamber that comes into line with the barrel before firing. A piece of metal attached to the uppermost part of the slide or barrel. Used to raise the sighting plane, improve the appearance of the weapon, and reduce barrel vibration. To skip, bounce, or fly off at an angle after striking an object or surface. A firearm with a rifled bore, designed to be fired from the shoulder. A projectile used in shotgun ammunition with spiraled grooves, the theory being that the air forces through the grooves, while the projectile is in flight, tending to spin the slug to affect stability. (a) The action of cutting spiral grooves longitudinally into the bore of a gun barrel. (b) The spiral grooves cut in the bore of barrels. The outer or extreme circumference on the head of a cartridge used for head spacing in some cases, and also for extraction.

Rest Reticle





Rifled slug





A cartridge in which the priming mixture is placed in the fold of the head of the shell. The rim is crushed by the firing pin or striker to initiate the charge. A cartridge case design in which the case bears no rim about the head. The extractor in this case will fit into an extractor groove, also called a cannelure. A cartridge whose rim extends beyond the cartridge case to control headspace and facilitate extraction. A cartridge case that is deformed with partial or complete circumferential separation around the body. A mechanical device on a weapon to keep it from firing accidentally. The 35 degree area to the left and right of the line of fire (totaling 70 degrees), within that area considered the danger zone. A round of ammo which has been placed in the chamber of a hot weapon and heated, or a round that has been heated by the sun. A slang term for shotgun. Type of hook used in positional shooting. The tip of a forearm when it is made in pointed or in ornamental form. The name is derived from the German term for a bird's beak. Short for telescope. That portion of a telescope that attaches the telescopes to another object, normally the scope base. The total value of all the required shots fired in a match or qualification course. That part of the lockwork of a firearm that engages the hammer or striker to hold it in a cocked position. A portion of the sear that engages the notch of the of the hammer or striker, holding it to the rear. (a) A small split in the cartridge brass case which occurs when the brass is old and the grain relaxed. (b) Small cracks that appear in gunstocks due to moisture content changes and/or age.


Rimmed cartridge

Ruptured cartridge


Safety fan

Scaled round

Scatter gun Schuetzen Schnabel

Scope Scope mounts



Sear nose

Season cracking


Sectional density Semiautomatic

The weight of a bullet in grains, divided by its diameter. Of a firearm or gun; using part of the force of an exploding cartridge to extract the empty case and chamber the next round, but requiring a separate pull on the trigger to fire each round. A cartridge case design in which the case head bears both a rim and a hollow groove for the extractor. A device for lightening the trigger pull at will in order to remove the disturbing effect of a heavy pull during target shooting. Usually two triggers are used; the front trigger sets the sear, while a light touch on the rear trigger will discharge the round. A classification used in qualification firing. A slang term for cartridge case A tool used in rifle cartridge reloading for the purpose of facilitating ease of maintaining the cartridge case within the loading press. That part of the action assembly in a shotgun that holds a shotgun cartridge in proper position for feeding, chambering, or removal. A thin piece of material placed between surfaces to obtain proper adjustments. (a) Terminology for a fired round. (b) A component used in the manufacture of shotgun shells. A smoothbore gun used for firing a charge of small shot at short range. Cartridge typically used with shotguns, containing numerous pellets or projectiles. (a) In shotgun shooting, the elongation of the shot pattern. (b) In match or qualification firing, the firing of a series of shots as the result of a single command. Usually refers to the standard M1911A1 .45 caliber pistol trigger, or the standard length commercial trigger. Similar to flinch. A reaction of the shoulder toward the butt when anticipating recoil. A weapon with two barrels placed next to each other. Hammer offset to the side of the breech.


Set trigger

Sharpshooter Shell Shell holder

Shell latch





Shot string

Short trigger

Shoulder hunch

Side by side Side lock


Side mount

A metal fixture with rings used to secure a telescope sight to the side of a receiver. A device through which a target is viewed to align the target with the path of the projectile. When the front and rear sights are brought into proper alignment with the line of sight to the target. The target as viewed by the shooter, with the sights superimposed over the point of intended impact. The distance from the front to rear sight. Shots fired on a target used to adjust sights. A device fixed to a muzzle, to baffle propelling gases, thereby silencing sound waves. (a) A firearm whose hammer must be cocked by hand before firing. (b) Type of fire, made possible by cocking the hammer, with a double-action firearm. A type of smokeless powder, made of nitrocellulose primarily. A weapon that is capable of loading with one round, a non-repeating firearm. Sitting with the weight of the body supported by the buttocks and feet or ankles, with no other portion of the body touching the ground. To shape cast a bullet to the desired diameter, or to turn or shape a cartridge case to specific dimensions. A shot gun sport in which shooters engage flying clay targets. An elongated bullet hole of any length caused by the bullet entering the target while the target is turning into or out of view. A leather or web strap used to carry or support a rifle. A type of known distance firing in which one shot per minute is authorized. A name usually applied to the "hand" of the butt stock. Commonly called the pistol grip. A nitrocellulose base powder, sometimes compounded with nitroglycerine.


Sight alignment

Sight picture

Sight radius Sighting shot Silencer

Single action

Single base powder

Single shot

Sitting position



Skid shot

Sling Slow fire

Small of stock

Smokeless powder


Smooth bore Soft point bullets

A firearm with no rifling. A type of bullet with a non-fouling jacket, filled with a lead or lead alloy core, closed at the base and with the lead exposed at the nose. (a) A liquid capable of dissolving powder residue. (b) A solution of ether and alcohol to cool burning of smokeless powder, and to mix down the ingredients during the manufacturing process. A trigger and hammer designed for extra fast hammer fall. The revolution of a bullet around its own axis, caused by the rifling. A pointed bullet shape. A telescope used by a shooter to observe bullet hits. A term used to define the rearward motion of the trigger finger on a trigger, until a weapon fires. A round of ammunition with little or no powder. To tighten or secure a screw or pin in place using a sharp punch and hammer. To roughen a stock to improve grip. The wooden or plastic part of a firearm, to which the action and barrel are mounted, and made of a standard measurement to fit the average person; either for hand firing or for mounting to the shoulder. The act of fitting the cheeks or face to the side of the stock so that during recoil, the face will remain in place, retaining a proper sight picture to follow through. An interruption of the cycle of operation. A malfunction of the weapon resulting in the jamming of a cartridge case in the action of a weapon, and pointing upward. Refers to the parallel impressions left on the exterior of a projectile as a result of passing through the rifling of a firearm. A firing pin or projection on a hammer which strikes a primer to cause firing.


Speed lock


Spitzer Spotting scope Squeeze

Squib round Stake

Stippling Stock

Stock weld

Stoppage Stove pipe




Sustained fire

A rate of fire in which fire is sustained over a specific period of time. Usually the sustained rate of a military firearm is the number of times per minute that the average marksman can successfully engage a mansized target at battlesight distance. A method of shaping metal through pressure. (a) The piece in a shotgun lock connecting the tumbler and mainspring. (b) In a revolver, the piece connecting the spring and the hammer. (c) The oblong loop used to mount the sling strap to the weapon, which pivots. A metal strip attached to the receiver and projecting towards the butt to assist in securing the barrel to the stock. The object at which a shooter aims. A frame into which a target is mounted. Any sight which magnifies an image. The constant velocity of a falling body attained when the resistance of air or other ambient fluid has become equal to the force of gravity acting on the body. A chemical agent used in hardening bullet metals. A tapered portion of a barrel extending from the end of the chamber to the beginning of the rifling. A slightly elongated bullet hole in a target caused by a bullet that has tipped over in flight and was not rotating truly on its longitudinal axis. The lowest portion of the butt of a rifle or shotgun. A projectile that has a chemical composition, usually barium nitrate and strontium salts, which produces a visible trail of flame and smoke to mark the trajectory to the target, and used to adjust fire. The curve on a vertical plane traced by a bullet, to the target, with respect to the line of sight to the target. A shotgun sport in which clay targets are thrown at a fixed height within an angle of 130 degrees. A sighting and aiming exercise. A mechanism which, when pulled, as with the finger, releases another mechanism, as in a firearm.

Swage Swivel


Target Target frame Telescopic sights Terminal velocity

Tersulphide of antimony Throat

Tip shot

Toe Tracer



Triangulation Trigger


Trigger control of the

The ability to pull the trigger without movement weapon.

Trigger creep

An undesired movement of the trigger before the sear disconnects. That part of a weapon which prevents accidental pull of the trigger by partially encircling it. (a) The amount of weight or tension needed to actuate a trigger. (b) Length of trigger travel during actuation. Prevents excess trigger movement rearward. Used to determine the amount of pressure required to actuate a trigger. Type of sight enclosed in a tube for protection of the sight elements. The hammer in a so-called hammerless gun. The distance in inches which a bullet travels within the barrel before completing one full revolution. A term that applies to a front sight of a pistol that has a portion cut forward to reduce glare. To remove a magazine and/or ammunition. To put the safety in a firing position. Not having requisite qualifications; failing to achieve a qualifying score in a match or course of fire. Speed, or rate of motion, in a given direction and in a given frame of reference. A strip of metal running the full length of a shotgun barrel with rectangular holes evenly spaced to help eliminate heat waves from the line of sight, producing a flat sighting plane. The highest point of a trajectory above the weapon. A wake or disturbance in the atmosphere caused by the rapid passage of a projectile through the air.. A material used in shotgun shells to retain powder charge and control gases. A bullet that cuts cleanly through a target upon impact, usually having a reduced propellant load.

Trigger guard

Trigger pull

Trigger stop Trigger weight

Tube sight

Tumbler Twist


Unload Unlock Unqualified


Ventilated rib

Vertex Vortex


Wad cutter


Wet fire Wild cat

Slang term used to describe firing live ammunition. An individually developed cartridge not manufactured commercially. Moving the windage adjustment of a weapon to compensate for wide shots caused either by wind or misalignment of the sights. Calculating the velocity and direction of the wind by visual means. A range flag used to show wind direction and velocity. (a) A device used to calculate and record the force of wind data. (b) A graduated scale on a rear sight used to correct deviation of a bullet due to wind effects. The number of x's or center shots fired. An inner circle placed inside the 10-ring of a target for purposes of ranking scores without numerical changes of the total score. Of a projectile, to turn about the vertical axis. To adjust the sights of a firearm by calibrating the results of firing.


Wind doping

Wind flag Wind gauge

X-count X-ring

Yaw Zero


Unit Arms Room Operations Checklist

1. Arms Room Administration: a. Are required -10 and -20 series technical manuals for each type of weapon on hand? (DA Pam 25-30, MTOE/TOE/TDA) b. Are all changes to technical manuals and other publications present and properly posted? (DA Pam 310-13) c. Is PS Magazine being distributed to the Arms Room? (TB 43-PS Series) d. Is the ACALA Equipment Improvement Report Digest being distributed to the arms room? (TB 43-0001-62 Series) e. Is an adequate stockage of required maintenance forms on hand to support maintenance operations? (DA Pam 738-750) GO NO GO N/A
















f. Have the Unit Armorer and assistant(s) attended the division Unit Armorer Course? ____ g. Is a DD Form 314 properly established for all equipment requiring periodic organizational services? (DA Pam 738-750, paragraph 3-3)






h. Are required services being properly scheduled on DD Form 314 in accordance with technical manual criteria? (DA Pam 738-750, paragraph 3-3) ____ i. Are scheduled services performed within 10% time variance? (DA Pam 738-750, paragraph 3-3 b(1)(h)1) ____ j. Is a signaling system used to show the current month's maintenance requirements? (DA Pam 738-750, paragraph 3-3d) ____ k. Does the unit armorer perform all scheduled maintenance on unassigned equipment? (Equipment TM) ____ l. Are personnel utilizing DA Form 2404 when performing all scheduled services? (DA Pam 738-750, paragraph 3-4 b) m. Is DA Form 2404 being completed and turned in whenever deficiencies or shortcomings are noted? (DA Pam 738-750, paragraph 3-4 d(1)) n. Is the DA Form 2404 used for scheduled services kept on file until the next service is performed? (DA Pam 738-750, paragraph 3-4 d(2))



















GO o. Are faults on equipment requiring support maintenance being promptly transferred to a DA Form 2407 and submitted to the appropriate DSU for repair? (DA Pam 738-750, para 3-4 d(1)(b)) ____ p. Is the DA Form 2407 being utilized to request annual safety and serviceability inspection and annual gaging from support maintenance? (DA Pam 738-750, paragraph 3-6 b(1)(a))







q. Is documentation on hand to support compliance with annual inspection and gaging requirements? (Equipment TM) ____ r. Is the organizational copy of the DA Form 2407 showing repairs to unit weapons retained for 180 days? (DA Pam 738750, paragraph 3-6 e(4)(a)) s. Is a DA Form 2408-4 maintained for each item listed in DA Pam 738-750, Appendix E as required? (DA Pam 738-750, paragraph 5-3 f) (i.e., 60 & 81mm Mortars)









t. Are all entries on DA Form 2408-4 correct and legible? Are all cumulative totals correct? (DA Pam 738-750, paragraph 5-3 j) ____ u. Are the first and last entries of the DA Form 2408-4 signed only by the unit commander? (DA Pam 738-750, paragraphs 5-3 m(1) & 5-3 m(2)) v. Are DA Forms 2408-4 promptly submitted to Watervliet Arsenal each April 10th and October 10th? (DA Pam 738-750, para 5-3 k(1)) w. Does the arms room filing system comply with the MARKS requirements of DA Pam 25-400-2? x. Are the following publications on hand in the arms room?: Maintenance Management Update? Physical Security Update? DA Pam 25-400-2, The Modern Army Recordkeeping System (MARKS)? DA Pam 310-13, Military Publications, Posting and Filing of Publications? ____ ____












____ ____

____ ____








GO 2. M60 Machineguns a. Are all M60 machineguns clean and free of rust? ____




b. Are both barrels for each weapon properly tagged (ID Tag, laced at both ends, painted flat black, with stamped numbers)? ____ c. Is the auxiliary equipment present for all M60 machineguns (barrel bag, pintle, T&E mechanism, glove, combination tool)? d. Are all M60 machineguns properly assembled? e. Are gas cylinders and vent plugs safety wired? f. Are bipod legs in good condition and functioning properly? g. Does the T&E mechanism zero and operate properly? h. Does documentation in the arms room correspondence files indicate barrel/bolt headspace checks in the last 12 months? i. Are the machineguns free of light-reflecting surfaces? j. Is the phosphate finish on each M60 in good condition and touched up with solid film lubricant IAW TM requirements? k. Are rear sights unbroken and completely readable? l. Are the cocking handle guide rails free of distortions, burrs, nicks or other deformities? m. Are the proper types and quantities of cleaning tools and supplies on hand for each M60? n. Are the rubber coatings on the handguard, cover, trigger housing and buttstock torn, cut or loose? o. Are bolt camming surfaces chipped or worn excessively? p. Are the drive spring and spring guide properly matched and serviceable? q. Is the hydraulic buffer assembly leaking or completely dry? r. Are the handguard baffles or latch assembly broken? s. Do wear characteristics indicate that barrels are being routinely changed IAW TM requirements?



____ ____ ____ ____ ____

____ ____ ____ ____ ____

____ ____ ____ ____ ____

____ ____

____ ____

____ ____

____ ____

____ ____

____ ____







____ ____

____ ____

____ ____

____ ____ ____

____ ____ ____

____ ____ ____




t. Are tripod assemblies adjusted properly and in good working condition?





GO 3. M16 Series Rifles/M4 Carbines a. Are all rifles clean and free of rust? b. Are the proper types and quantities of cleaning tools and supplies on hand for each rifle? c. Are all rifles properly assembled? d. Are the rifles free of light-reflecting surfaces? e. Is the phosphate finish on each rifle in good condition and touched up with solid film lubricant IAW TM requirements? f. Are compensators tight and properly aligned at top dead center (TDC)? g. Do all rifles function properly in all modes? h. Are pistol grips and buttstocks tightly mounted? i. Are handguard heatshields in place and unbent? j. Do rear sight assemblies operate properly throughout the full range of motion in elevation and traverse? k. Is the forward assist feed pawl present and functioning? l. Are the bolt carrier gas keys properly aligned, tightened, and free of cuts or tears at the leading edge? m. Are the barrel assemblies properly tightened to the upper receiver assemblies? n. Are bolt rings in good condition and properly installed? o. Are bolt locking lugs free of chips or excessive wear? p. Are magazine catches adjusted for proper tension and operating depth? q. Are sling swivels of the proper type and correctly mounted? 4. M249 Machineguns a. Are all M249 machineguns clean and free of rust? b. Are all M249 barrels identified by serial number to the machinegun receiver? ____ ____




____ ____ ____

____ ____ ____

____ ____ ____




____ ____ ____ ____

____ ____ ____ ____

____ ____ ____ ____

____ ____

____ ____

____ ____




____ ____ ____

____ ____ ____

____ ____ ____

____ ____

____ ____

____ ____




____ ____ ____

____ ____ ____

c. Are the weapons of current configuration (all MWOs applied)? ____ d. Are all components present and properly functioning? ____


GO e. Are bipod legs in good condition and functioning properly? f. Are the proper types and quantities of cleaning tools and supplies on hand for each M249? g. Are the cocking handle stop pins secure? h. Are cocking handle front tabs excessively worn? i. Are cocking handles bent or distorted? ____ ____

NO GO N/A ____ ____

____ ____ ____ ____

____ ____ ____ ____

____ ____ ____

j. Does the unit armorer make front sight adjustments at the firing range during zero phase? k. Are all receiver welds free of cracks or pits? l. Are compensators tight and properly aligned at top dead center (TDC)?

____ ____

____ ____

____ ____




m. Is the phosphate finish on each M249 in good condition and touched up with solid film lubricant IAW TM requirements? ____ n. Does the T&E mechanism zero and operate properly if used? ____ 5. Mk19 40mm Machinegun a. Are all Mk19 machineguns clean and free of rust? b. Are all Mk19 machineguns properly assembled? c. Is required safety wiring present and properly installed? ____ ____ ____

____ ____

____ ____

____ ____ ____

____ ____ ____

d. Are dummy rounds, M922, DODIC B472 available for function checking of Mk19's IAW PMCS tables? ____ e. Is the vertical cam assembly free of pits, nicks and burrs? f. Are charging lugs burred or damaged? ____ ____

____ ____ ____

____ ____ ____

g. Are only the authorized lubricants used by the Mk19 operator? (LSA, LSA-T, GMD, LAW) ____ 6. M2 .50 Caliber Machinegun a. Are all M2 machineguns clean and free of rust? b. Is the auxiliary equipment present for each M2? (Barrels, headspace & timing gages, mounts, pintle and T&E) c. Are all M2 machineguns properly assembled? d. Are cotter pins and safety wire present where needed? ____





____ ____ ____

____ ____ ____

____ ____ ____


GO e. Are rear sight components functioning properly? f. Are the proper types and quantities of cleaning tools and supplies on hand for each M2? g. Are the feeding system components properly configured? h. Is the backplate lock latch of the proper type? i. Are the barrel locking notches worn? j. Does the T&E mechanism zero and operate properly? k. Are the tripod leg extension lock assemblies operational? l. Are all receiver rivets tight and secure? m. Is the retracting slide handle assembly spring present and in good condition? n. Is the flat spring for the trigger lever adjustment stop nut present and in good condition? ____

NO GO N/A ____ ____

____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____

____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____

____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____







7. Pistol, M9 a. Are the pistols clean and free of rust? b. Are the pistols properly assembled? c. Are the pistols free of light-reflecting surfaces? d. Are lock washers present beneath handgrip screws? e. Do the pistols function properly? f. Are recoil springs serviceable (TM9-1005-317-23&P, PMCS table, item 2, page 2-6)? 8. Grenade Launcher, 40mm, M203 a. Are the grenade launchers clean and free of rust? b. Are all grenade launchers properly assembled? c. Are all grenade launchers securely mounted to M16 series rifles, and absent of any excessive lateral or end play? d. Are M203 barrel extensions loose? e. Are M203 barrel grips secure and unbroken? ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____




____ ____ ____

____ ____ ____

____ ____ ____


GO f. Are M203 mounts properly safety wired? g. Are barrel assemblies free of dents or burrs? h. Do all M203 grenade launchers function properly? i. Are all breech inserts at flush or a maximum of .007 inches below flush with respect to the face of the recoil plate? ____ ____ ____

NO GO N/A ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____




9. Mortar, 60mm, M224 and Mortar, 81mm, M252 a. Are all mortars clean and free of rust? b. Is all auxiliary equipment present and in good condition? c. Have tubes been borescoped and inspected IAW with TM? e. Are bipod assemblies functional and in good condition? f. Are all radioactive items and cases properly labeled? g. Are baseplate assemblies functional and in good condition? h. Does the M224 mortar function properly in each mode? 10. Sniper System, M24 a. Have the snipers attended required schools? (Only school trained snipers may perform unit level maintenance on the M24 system) ____ b. Are all components of the weapon system present in the shipping case? c. Is the nylon carrying bag in good condition? ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____



____ ____

____ ____

____ ____

d. Is the weapon visually clean and free of rust? (Only the sniper may disassemble the weapon) ____ e. Are deficiencies above the operator level being corrected by the manufacturer? (No DS/GS level maintenance authorized) ____ f. Are optics free of scratches, distortion and inner moisture? 11. Small Arms Toolkit a. Are tool inventories conducted on a recurring basis? ____ ____



____ ____

____ ____

____ ____

____ ____

b. Is a copy of SC 5180-95-CL-A07-HR kept in the arms room? ____


GO c. Is the toolbox in good repair and have a functioning lock? d. Are broken, worn or unserviceable tools turned in for replacement as needed? ____

NO GO N/A ____ ____


____ ____ ____

____ ____ ____

e. Is the file cleaning brush used to keep files in working order? ____ f. Are special tools as required by TM's on hand? ____


Arms Room Publications Reference

The following listing provides the designations for the manuals and publications most commonly used in the unit arms room by unit maintenance personnel. Operator manuals and DS/GS manuals are not included in this listing. Field manuals are listed to provide the armorer with an operational overview of the equipment. The user is cautioned that some of the publications referenced may have been superseded, revoked or rescinded since the date this manual was printed. The user must verify that the following publications are current. EQUIPMENT 60mm Mortar, M224 60mm Mortar, M224 81mm Mortar, M252 81mm Mortar, M252 81mm Mortar, M29A1 81mm Mortar, M29A1 Abbreviations, Codes & Acronyms ACALA EIR Digest Ammunition, General Basic Cold Weather Manual Bayonet, M7/M8/M9 Blank Firing Attachment, M19 Blank Firing Attachment, M21 Browning Machinegun, M2, .50 Caliber HB Dictionary of US Army Terms Evaluation of Cannon Tubes Grenade Launcher, 40mm, M203 Grenade Launcher, 40mm, M203 M16A1/A2 Rifle Marksmanship M2 Practice Bolt PUBLICATIONS FM 23-90 TM9-1010-223-20&P FM 23-90 TM9-1015-249-20&P FM 23-90 TM9-1015-200-20&P AR 310-50 TB43-0001-62 Series TM9-1300-200 FM 31-70 TM9-1005-237-23&P TM9-1005-314-12&P TM9-1005-316-12&P FM 23-65 AR 310-25 TM9-1000-202-14 FM 23-31 TM9-1010-221-23&P FM 23-9 TM9-6920-746-12&P


Machinegun, .50 Caliber, M2 Machinegun, .50 Caliber, M2 Machinegun, .50 Caliber, M85 Machinegun, 40mm, Mk19 Machinegun, 40mm, Mk19 Machinegun, 5.56mm, M249 Machinegun, 5.56mm, M249 Machinegun, 7.62mm, M240 Machinegun, 7.62mm, M240 Machinegun, 7.62mm, M60 Machinegun, 7.62mm, M60 Machinegun, 7.62mm, M60 Modern Army Record Keeping System Physical Security of Arms, Ammunition & Explosives Pistol and Revolver Training Pistol, 9mm, M9 Pistol, Compact, 9mm, M11 Posting and Filing of Publications Preparing and Managing Correspondence Procedures for Destruction of Equipment Recoil Amplifier, M3 Rifle, 5.56mm, M16A1 Rifle, 5.56mm, M16A2 Rocket Launcher, M190 Shotgun, 12 Gauge, M1200 Small Arms Ammunition (NATO) Small Arms Ammunition to 30mm

TM9-1005-213-23 TM9-1005-213-23P TM9-1005-231-24&P FM 23-27 TM9-1010-230-23&P FM 23-14 TM9-1005-201-23&P TM9-1005-313-23 TM9-1005-313-23P FM 23-67 TM9-1005-224-24 TM9-1005-224-24P AR 25-400-2 AR 190-11 FM 23-35 TM9-1005-317-23&P TM9-1005-325-23&P DA Pam 310-13 AR 340-15 TM750-244-7 TM9-1005-203-12&P TM9-1005-249-23&P TM9-1005-319-23&P TM9-1340-203-20 TM9-1005-303-14 TB34-9-74 TB9-1305-201-34


Sniper Training Submachinegun, .45 Caliber, M3/M3A1 Submachinegun, 5.56mm, M231 Tool Kit, Small Arms Repairman Unit Maintenance Operations Use and Care of Hand Tools Various Machinegun Mounts

FM 23-10 TM9-1005-229-12 TM9-1005-309-23&P SC 5180-95-CL-A07-HR FM 43-5 TM9-243 TM9-1005-245-14


Recommended Reading List The following publications are recommended for both the casual and serious student of firearms technology. Many of these publications are still in print and can be purchased at local gun shows or ordered through bookstores. (You will find that most national chain bookstores are politically oriented towards the liberal "arts" crowd, and will have few, if any, serious books on guns). Your local public library can always obtain books, even rare ones, through a process called inter-library loan. If your local library does not have one of these books on the shelf, pester the librarian to order it for you through I-LL. Archer, Denis, H. R., ed. "Jane's Infantry Weapons", Jane's Publishers, 1976 Lugs, Jaroslav, "Firearms Past and Present: a Complete Review of Firearms Systems and Their Histories", 2 volumes, Grenville Press, 1975 Wilson, R. K. (with Hogg, Ian), "Textbook of Automatic Pistols", Stackpole Books, 1975 Sharpe,Philip B, "The Rifle in America", Funk and Wagnall's, 1947 Chinn, George M, "The Machine Gun", 4 volumes, US Govt Printing Office, 1951-1954 Olson, Ludwig, "Mauser Bolt Rifles", Brownell & Son, 1977 Nelson, Thomas B, "The World's Submachine Guns (Machine Pistols)", Volume 1, International Small Arms Publishers, 1963 "Textbook of Small Arms, 1929", author unknown, Holland Press, 1961 Wahl, Paul, "Carbine Handbook", ARCO, 1964 Hatcher, Julian S, "The Book of The Garand", Infantry Journal Press, 1948 Matunas, Edawrd, "American Ammunition and Ballistics", Winchester Press, 1979 Greener, W. W., "The Gun and Its Development", Bonanza Books, 1910 Lowry, E. D., "Interior Ballistics", Doubleday & Co., 1968


End of Course Examination 1. Does MARKS apply to classified as well as unclassified materials? ANSWER: ________________________ 2. What publication prescribes the method of posting changes to manuals? ANSWER: ________________________ 3. What maintenance level is represented by the code letter "F". ANSWER: ________________________ 4. What is the Federal Supply Class for pyrotechnics? ANSWER: ________________________ 5. If a technical manual includes a parts listing, how is that shown in the TM number? ANSWER: ________________________ 6. Why should technical manuals be maintained in sturdy, waterproof binders? ANSWER: ________________________ 7. What is an SSSC? ANSWER: ________________________ 8. What does the acronym "ULLS" stand for? ANSWER: ________________________ 9. Which items in your arms room require the use of a DD Form 314? ANSWER: ________________________ 10. What is an ECOD? ANSWER: ________________________


11. What are the principal means of destroying weapons per TM 750-244-7? a. b. c. d. __________________ __________________ __________________ __________________

12. What is a cookoff? ANSWER: ________________________ 13. What is "gilding metal"? ANSWER: ________________________ 14. For what purposes are wadcutter rounds primarily used? ANSWER: ________________________ 15. Who invented the Berdan primer? ANSWER: ________________________ 16. What is the shape factor value for a hollow point round? ANSWER: ________________________ 17. What two things do you need to make you effective in engaging targets while avoiding friendly casualties? a. ____________________ b. ____________________ 18. Are the ballistics for the M193 and M855 (5.56mm) rounds identical? ANSWER: ________________________ 19. What occurs if the gas piston is installed backwards in an M60 machinegun? ANSWER: ________________________ 20. In what year was the Browning M2 machinegun adopted? ANSWER: ________________________


Examination Answer Keys

Chapter 1 Examination Answer Key: 1. files management publications management supply management maintenance management physical security 2. Prescribed Load List 3. As required by the PMCS listing in the appropriate technical manual 4. fair wear and tear acceptable training damage battle damage negligence willful misconduct 5. know the paths to the defensive fighting positions know the personnel in the positions, and make sure they know you share your knowledge of the weapon with the operator anticipate failure, prepare for failure, and deal with failure 6. C, O, F, H, and D 7. AR 25-400-2 8. AR 190-11 9. as directed by the unit commander as dictated by climate conditions prior to engaging in offensive operations during recovery from offensive operations immediately following defensive operations 10. source, maintenance and recoverability code


Chapter 2 Examination Answer Key: 1. feeding chambering locking firing unlocking extracting ejecting cocking 2. radiational conduction convection 3. manual gas recoil blowback 4. charcoal sulfur potassium nitrate (saltpeter) 5. A powder using nitrocellulose and nitroglycerine as its primary elements 6. Boxer Berdan 7. 437.5 8. 1.0472 inches 9. In foot-pounds of energy 10. John Moses Browning


Chapter 3 Examination Answer Key: 1. almost all accidents are avoidable everyone involved owns some responsibility you must be proactive in your approach to safety 2. target detection target identification target assessment target acquisition target destruction 3. safe to carry safe to fire 4. judgment reaction time 5. no 6. The tasks performed by the body that require no application of conscious thought 7. Timed to the respiratory cycle 8. the eyes rear sight front sight line of sight target eye relief 9. The point of the front sight is placed at the lowest point in the center of the target 10. The highest point of the trajectory over the line of sight


Chapter 4 Examination Answer Key: 1. TM 9-243 2. simple spring joint hermaphrodite slide vernier trammels 3. inside outside depth 4. machinist's peen hammer soft-faced hammer 5. When gripping or cutting is to be performed 6. To cut wires or nails flush with the working surface 7. adjustable hook fixed hook hose coupling pin adjustable pin face fixed pin face 8. The radius of a curve 9. american pattern swiss pattern 10. The inside diameter of a bore


End of Course Examination Answer Key: 1. yes 2. DA Pamphlet 310-13 3. direct support 4. 1370 5. By the inclusion of the letter "P" 6. Because you will take them to the field 7. Self-Service Supply Center 8. Unit Level Logistics System 9. Any item that has periodic maintenance requirements, established by its respective organizational maintenance manual 10. Estimated Cost of Damage 11. burning mechanical means explosives or gunfire scattering and burial of parts 12. a round that spontaneously ignites due to residual heat in the chamber 13. a metal used in bullet jackets, composed of 85% copper and 15% zinc 14. Target shooting and competition 15. Colonel Hiram Berdan 16. 1.25 17. situational awareness positional awareness 18. no


19. The weapon may fire only a single shot 20. 1934




218 pages

Report File (DMCA)

Our content is added by our users. We aim to remove reported files within 1 working day. Please use this link to notify us:

Report this file as copyright or inappropriate


You might also be interested in

Microsoft Word - 5300DEPARTMENT ARMORY and FIREARMS.doc