Marksmanship for the Squad Designated Marksman

In this video, You Are There™ as SSG John Arcularius of the US Army Reserve Shooting Team delivers a class on Marksmanship for the Squad Designated Marksman for designated marksmen of the 2/504 Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division.

As it is classroom, mostly podium, instruction, it may be a bit slow for some of you. Pay attention, though! Even though Arcularius spends most of his time on the boring old fundamentals of marksmanship, centuries (literally!) of experience has taught the Army as an institution that the boring old fundamentals are still the best way of putting warheads on foreheads — when the “warheads” at issue are M118ER 158-grain M118LR 175-grain (thanks, Dan in the comments) slugs.

The M14 in general is not a sniper-accuracy weapon, although the M21s once built by the National Match armorers, and any gun built by one of the dwindling set of smiths initiated in the dark art of M1 and M14 National Match accuracy tuning, can be. But these rifles the SDMs have are M14EBR-RI models, which stands for M14 Enhanced Battle Rifle – Rock Island. As the name suggests, they’re built at the Rock Island Arsenal from stored M14 generic rack grade rifles. While they’re thoroughly inspected and adjusted, they’re not match guns by any means. The M14 is removed from storage, cleaned and inspected, repaired if necessary, then mated with a SAGE Industries chassis, a scope mount and an optic. Then they’re repacked with magazines and accessories and either delivered to Army units or stored against future requisitions.

The M14EBR-RI and its Squad Designated Marksman operator are meant to fill the tactical gap between the other components of the squad’s firepower and the true precision sniping systems and tactics, which are wonderful but unavailable to the rifle squad.

7 thoughts on “Marksmanship for the Squad Designated Marksman

  1. RobRoySimmons

    Very good video, thanks, but is an M-14 rifle called a gun in the Army?

    1. Hognose Post author

      We don’t have the aversion to the common English language word that the Marines still do. I understand that the distinction was once just as important in the Army but not so much now.

  2. Bill K

    I am curious, noting that the instructor talked about the mistake of focusing back and forth from target to front sight and back to target when making the shot, resulting in vertical spread from movement. At about 24:27 he says, “That target’s just going to be blurry. Now does that work with the optic? Not completely, but yes.”

    This may be an ignoramus question, but aren’t military scopes made with optics that put the focus of the reticle at infinity so that the rifleman does not need to change visual accommodation back and forth between reticle & target?

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