FM 3-22.9 Rifle Marksmanship M16-/M4 - Series Weapons Aug'08, provides the following detailed narrative for training the key principles for engaging moving targets. In combat situations, enemy Soldiers do not stand still; they rush from one covered or concealed position to another. While making the rush, enemy Soldiers present rapidly moving targets. Moving targets are open to aimed fire at two points in the rush: as the target begins to gain speed (at the beginning) and as it slows down to a new position.
Modifications for Moving Target Engagements - Soldiers in combat do not know if their next target will be stationary or moving; they must fire immediately at whatever target presents itself. Trainers should consider the following when conducting moving target engagement instruction:
• More dispersion and erratic shots are expected when Soldiers are trained to hit moving targets.
• Considering the environment and the variables of the weapon and ammunition, well-trained Soldiers should be able to hit 300-meter stationary silhouette targets.
• When the target is moving laterally, well-trained Soldiers may only hit 150-meter targets 7 out of 10 times. This is considered an acceptable performance.
Modifications to the Fundamentals for Engaging Stationary Targets:
• Steady position.
• Breath control.
• Trigger squeeze.
1. Steady Position - When firing at moving targets, firers should assume the standard supported firing position, but be flexible so that they can track any target in the sector. When a target is moving directly at the firer, directly away from the firer, or at a slight angle, the Soldier engages the target without changing his firing position. Consider the following aspects of firing at moving targets:
• When targets are moving laterally, only minor changes are needed to allow effective target engagement.
• Most moving targets are missed in the horizontal plane (firing in front of or behind the target) and not in the vertical plane (firing too low or too high).
• Body Part Modifications for a steady position when firing at moving targets.
- Nonfiring Hand - Grip the weapon more tightly with the nonfiring hand, and apply more pressure to the rear. This helps to maintain positive control of the weapon and steady it for rapid trigger action.
- Nonfiring-Side Elbow - Lift the nonfiring-side elbow from the support position only to maintain a smooth track.
- Firing Hand - Apply more rearward pressure to the pistol grip to steady the weapon during trigger squeeze.
- Firing-Side Elbow - Lift the firing-side elbow from support only to help maintain a smooth track. NOTE: The weapon pocket in the shoulder and the stock weld are the same as for stationary targets.
2. Aiming - When aiming at moving targets, Soldiers must apply precise lead rules, and in turn, Soldiers must accurately estimate speed, angle, and range to the target to apply precise lead rules. Then, he must apply the single-lead rule in order to place effective fire on combat targets. The procedures used to engage moving targets vary as the angle and speed of the target vary. For example, when a target is moving directly at the firer, stationary target procedures apply. However, for a close, fast-moving target at a 90-degree angle, the weapon and firer's entire upper body must be free from support so the target can be tracked.
a. Lead Requirements Aiming directly at a 300-meter target moving 8 miles per hour at a 90-degree angle would result in missing it; this type of target covers 4 ½ feet while the bullet is traveling toward him. To hit the target, the Soldier must apply target lead (Figure 7-18) and understand how target lead and bullet speed relate to the range, angle, and speed of the target. To hit the target depicted, the Soldier must aim and fire at position D when the target is at position A.
b. Single-Lead Rule - The single-lead rule says: To hit a target moving laterally, place the trailing edge of the front sightpost at the target's center (Figure 7-19). This rule also provides that the lead increases as the range to the target increases (Figure 7-20). NOTE: At 100 meters, the rule begins to break down for targets moving at slight and large angles.
EXAMPLE: "As Figure 7-20 depicts, the front sightpost covers about 1.6 inches at 15 meters and about 16 inches at 150 meters. Since the center of the front sightpost is the actual point of aim, placing the trailing edge of the front sightpost at the target's center provides a .8-inch lead on a 15-meter target and an 8-inch lead on a target at 150 meters. This provides a dead-center hit on a 15-meter target moving at 7 miles per hour at a 25-degree angle because the target moves .8 inches between the time that the weapon is fired and the time that the bullet arrives at the target. A 150-meter target moving at 7 miles per hour at a 25-degree angle moves 8 inches between the time
the weapon is fired and the bullet arrives."
• Soldiers should understand and apply the single-lead rule in the absence of more information.
• Soldiers should engage moving targets coming toward them or on a slight angle (0 to 15 degrees) as stationary targets.
• Information should be presented and practice allowed on applying additional lead to targets for Soldiers who demonstrate this aptitude.
e. Target Angle - The single-lead rule does not apply to targets moving at small and large angles (Table 7-15). A walking enemy Soldier at 250 meters is hit dead center when he is moving at 40 degrees. Hits can be obtained if he is moving on any angle between 15 and 75 degrees. When he is running, a center hit is obtained when the target is on an angle of 18 degrees; misses occur when he exceeds an angle of 30 to 35 degrees. The information provided in Figure 7-21 and Table 7-15 is designed to enhance instructor understanding so proper concepts are presented during instruction. For example, a target at 100 meters moving at 6 miles per hour receives a center hit when moving at 29 degrees. When moving at an angle less than 29 degrees, the bullet strikes somewhat in front of the target's center. When moving at an angle of more than 29 degrees, the bullet strikes somewhat behind the target's center.
g. Trapping - Trapping involves setting up a point of aim forward of the target and along the target path. The trigger is squeezed as the target comes into the sights. This technique works on targets with slow lateral movement. It does not require tracking skills, but the firer must know precisely when the weapon is going to fire. NOTE: Soldiers who can squeeze the trigger without reacting to the weapon firing may fire better using this technique.
3. Breath Control - This fundamental is unchanged.
4. Trigger Squeeze - To use proper trigger squeeze--
• Apply rearward pressure on the handguard and pistol grip to hold the weapon steady while applying pressure to the trigger.
• Squeeze the trigger quickly (almost a controlled jerk).
• Apply heavy pressure on the trigger (at least half of the pressure it takes to make the weapon fire) before squeezing.