The Army's new Marksmanship Master Trainer Course goes service-wide this spring with three pilot classes. It is the only course in the Army Training Requirements and Resources System (ATRRS) that teaches trainers how to teach marksmanship.
On average, a student in the MMTC will shoot more than 3,000 rounds of 5.56 ammunition and about 750 rounds of 9 mm ammunition.
Graduates must qualify at 70 percent in all shooting events and demonstrate written and oral proficiency at 80 percent in all their exams. They are then expected to become master trainers who can not only train their soldiers but assist their units in planning and executing marksmanship training. Soldiers who successfully complete the course also will earn an Additional Skill Identifier, which is still in the works at the Maneuver Center of Excellence.
Here's a closer look at the five-week course.
The first event is a shoot-in exercise. Soldiers must zero their rifles and successfully qualify on the weapon by hitting 23 out of 40 targets in order to stay in the course.
Students receive instructions on basics such as safety, weapon function, ballistics, maintenance, zeroing, and wind and weather. They conduct dry fire exercises and work with the M9 pistol. They also receive coaching on how to manage basic rifle marksmanship training, which focuses on training for ranges of 50 to 300 meters.
Throughout the week, students also will receiving coaching from the instructors on topics such as malfunctions and maintaining a data book.
Students conduct known distance qualification (which is shooting from 100, 200 and 300 meters in the kneeling and prone positions) and automated record fire (which is the standard Army qualification). They work with optics, including optics mounting, night optical devices and the AN/PEQ-15 Advanced Target Pointer/Illuminator Aiming Light.
Coaching topics during the second week include firing positions, safety on a night range, night firing and buddy firing. Students also start coaching each other as part of peer coaching element of the course.
The week ends with a written exam.
Students learn mid-range marksmanship, or MRM, this week. MRM focuses on engagements between 300 and 600 meters. They will shoot longer distances and learn range estimation and shooting with the ACOG, or Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight. They also will receive advanced classes on wind and weather and learn how to shoot limited exposure and moving targets.
Students receive further weapons handling training, including engagement criteria, shooting stance, grip, recoil management, reloads and range equipment. They are graded on what they learn throughout the week.
Students learn short-range marksmanship, or SRM, which covers engagements with little or no warning. These engagements typically occur in close terrain and are 50 meters or closer.
They conduct more training on the pistol and start working on transitioning from the rifle to the pistol.
In addition to weapons transition, students will practice target transition. This means that instead of shooting at the target in front of them, they will now have to manage different targets and conduct multiple target engagements.
During the last week of training, students will shoot one more known distance qualification with iron sights or close-quarters sights. This is to ensure there is no degradation in their skills and what they learned earlier in the course.
They also will focus on master trainer skills and learn how to plan and resource training for their unit. This includes learning about the Standards in Training Commissions, or STRAC, which deals with quantities and types of munitions needed for soldiers, crews and units need to attain and sustain weapon proficiency. STRAC also helps major commands and units develop weapons training strategies and requirements.
Soldiers also learn training doctrine and integrated weapons training strategy.
The week culminates with a mock board, where students are expected to present their training plans.
At the same time, they will conduct weapons and range maintenance, equipment turn-in, after-action reviews and individual counseling.
Michelle Tan is the editor of Army Times and Air Force Times. She has covered the military for Military Times since 2005, and has embedded with U.S. troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Haiti, Gabon and the Horn of Africa.