US Marines Will Soon Need To Know How To Shoot A Moving Target, Because That Wasn't A Thing Before

Marines Will Soon Need to Know How to Shoot a Moving Target, Because That Wasn't a Thing Before

If you're shooting at someone, it is highly likely that they will try to avoid getting hit. Ergo, for people who sometimes shoot at other people as part of their job -- like the US Marines, for instance -- one might expect a certain level of training involving moving targets. Not so fast! According to a report in the Marine Corps Times, the US military's Semper Fidelis contingent is finally adding moving targets to its list of marksmanship qualifications. Soon, in addition to stationary targets, Marines will also need to know how to successfully gun down a mobile object.

The precise training method is still in development -- the request was reportedly made to the Weapons Training Battalion in October, and made public in February -- but apparently Marines have been talking about their lack of success with moving targets "for years".

The actual practical implementation of a training method, however, is a tad more complicated. There are a few shooting ranges right now that serve as testing sites for moving targets, but they're expensive because of the targets themselves: ROBOTS!

"Robots are great, but is that what we need?" said Colonel Tim Parker, the commander of the Weapons Training Battalion. "I love robots, I really do, but it's going to have to be something we can buy for the entire Marine Corps." Do you really love them, Tim, or are you just protecting yourself against the inevitable robot uprising?

Those robots were recently shipped off to Camp Pendleton where they're being used as test subjects. The video footage is pretty much exactly what you'd expect: a bunch of weird, unsteady looking robots rolling around in the dirt while dudes in military gear try to knock them on their cold, metal asses.

Somewhere, Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking are pissed.

[Marine Corps Times]

Top gif: YouTube



    this is mostly due to the change in warfare. previously firefights have been at ranged of 100-300m and mostly stationary, where now its sub 100m and with much more movement due to most fire fights happening in built up areas instead of open areas

      Exactly. Urban combat will be how... well is how a lot of engagements play out these days.

    I'm not entirely sure that the writer knows of what she speaks. In fact, I know she doesn't. I can assure her, no one, worldwide, feels that Marine Corps Marksmanship is lacking, or that it doesn't hold up under fire, in combat. We already train with moving targets, and have for years (just not with robots). We just don't qualify with it. We qualify on what's called a "Known Distance" (KD) range. That means known target sizes, and known distance of how far those targets are (200, 300, and 500 yards). No scope, using iron sights. We also train on unknown distance ranges, where we have to adjust our weapon without knowing the distance, as well as moving targets, multiple targets, and night firing. That's everyone. Infantry does even more training. Skills can always be improved, and that is what's happening in this situation. It doesn't mean the skills don't exist. They are just learned differently, and a more efficient method has been identified. I would have to recommend that Sophie get a bit more of an education on a topic, BEFORE she attempts to snidely comment on said topic (Especially when she's completely clueless about the situation). Otherwise she'll continue to look incredibly ignorant, and uninformed, WHILE acting arrogant, and unprofessional, as well. It's not a good combination. It's best not to mock professionals who are eminently more qualified for their job, than she is, for hers. Or theirs. Unless she can show us how it's done?

    I had to do moving target qualification shoots for the Australian Army back in 2002.

    Welcome to 14 years ago US Marines.

      The Marines are known to have the poorest funding of all US branches.

      Saidan,United States Marines are inculcated with the concept that all Marines are marksmen.
      "Every Marine a rifleman" has been a guiding principle. In WWI, Marines began scoring hits on german soldiers at 800 yards and above, an unheard of range for the continental armies.
      All US Marines spend a week at the rifle range annually qualifying. The qualification course includes standing offhand slow fire at 200 yes at a 12" bullseye. 300 yards sitting slow fire
      and 300 yards prone rapid fire and 600 yards prone slow fire at a silhouette size target.
      This course of fire is challenging and unique among the worlds armed forces because of its
      enduring and culture permeating effect.
      United States Marines are among the worlds greatest marksmen, and when you take the culture and emphasis on being able to hit your target at moderate to long range, the effect is
      stupendous. Moving target training is an add on to that already highly successful program.
      And excuse me but I have not heard similar things about the Australian army. Sorry 'bout that.

        The "Every [soldier/marine/whatever] is a rifleman" is a staple of most western armies and is not something that was invented by the US Marines. Every solider in the Aust. Army must pass the same Basic Fitness Assessment (BFA) and the same qualifying shoots whether they be a cook, clerk or infantry solider. The Aust. Army BFA is pretty similar in standard to the US Marines PFT. I don't know how our CFA stacks up against the Marine CFT as I have been out for some time and I know the Army's CFA has changed recently.

        "The US Marines are among (sic) the worlds (sic) greatest marksmen".... *Sigh* I'm sure your training is great, but this sentiment (while awesome esprit de corps, which is great don't get me wrong) that you're somehow unique in all your splendour and awesomeness is a defining feature of you Americans, and I don't think you realise how much the rest of the world thinks you're twits.

        Americans never say "Well, our training is world class and we produce professional soldiers capable of rising to any challenge set" or something like that. Oh no. It's "We're unique in our own specialness and no-one else is as good as us or does things that we do because we're downright amazeballs. Everyone else can suck it". Even to your allies, you sound likes tools.

        As for your 600 yards static range shooting, I have to ask... why!? With an SS109 (or similar) 5.56mm cartridge engaged in a predominantly mounted urban CQB war, why on Earth are you training at that range? With regards to the ranges and targets you're hitting, it's all pretty standard. The Brits, Aussies, NZers (and I'm sure the Canadians are similar) all do pretty much the same thing. I know I had to pass a similar shoot every 6 months. Never did off handed rifle shooting though (pistol yes, rifle no) - maybe this was because I wasn't in the infantry, no idea.

        Your story about your WWI Marines shooting at 800 yards being "amazeballs in front of the entire world" ... I just shake my head. Your Marines served in the trenches of France at the end of WWI. Served with distinction, I might add (as did most of the allied troops). But I seriously doubt those brave young men had many opportunities to engage targets at 800 yards in trenches less than 100 metres (that's roughly 100 yards) apart.

        You sound like a recruit that's had his head pumped full of how awesome he and his Corps is. Take a chill pill.

    Haha. Self proclaimed greatest army in the world... can't shoot at moving targets? Brilliant.

    I for one welcome our....bah....that's been done to death.....
    Seriously though - it would probably be a good thing if humans started spending more time shooting at robots...this way when the inevitable robot uprising begins, they will already have had some practice and be comfortable with the idea!

    Marines already do shoot at moving targets as part of their annual training requirements. Granted it is only a portion of the entire course of fire (10%). The request submitted is to change up the course of fire and incorporate a more modern version of warfare.

    You guys crack me up. This reporter did a crappy job of research before posting this BS. US Marines have always conducted marksmanship with moving targets. Combat Marines especially. however it is not part of the qualification process for marksmanship scorring. And yes the US Marines are self proclaimed "greatest" Brendo, although they are most defintely not US ARMY. Didn't we save Australia from Japanese incursion during WWII? Remember a place called Guadacanal? Remember the island hopping campaign of WWII?

    Marine Corps rifle qualification has always been about classical marksmanship training, shooting at targets from 200, 300, and 500 yards out. This was the foundation of every Marine is who is a rifleman first.

    Shooting at pop-up targets and moving targets was something that was done in infantry training and other periodic training.

    These robots are something new and what else is new is adding moving targets to basic marksmanship qualification.

    As long as the Marine Corps maintains the teaching of classical marksmanship skills before moving on to other more complex shooting skills, then everything will be fine.

    The article is misleading in that it gives the impression that Marines have never bothered to teach moving target skills and that is not true. It is the adding of moving targets to the qualification process that will change.

    The Marine Corps has always trained for moving targets. We just didn't have funding to use robots. It's a part of table 2 qualification. Anyone with a computer who knows how to type can find this on google: Reference 4-3 Range requirements section (6) Table 2 (b.) Try doing some research maybe?

    Also, while that footage may be Camp Pendleton, the gentleman doing the shooting are wearing Army ACU's, they are not Marines.

    Being an 8 year Matine vet and marksmanship coach, I can personally vouche for the average Marine rifleman's ability to hit moving targets, and do so with consistency. That being said, moving targets is not currently a part of the marksmanship qualification score that Marines are required to train for and receive annually. Moving targets are still a big part of training though. They do moving target training during table 2, which coincides with the annual range qualification. The problem with the moving targets, and probably why they haven't been used for scoring until now, is that they are manned by Marines behind a berm. They walk back and forth hoisting a target on a pole , over and over again. The lack of consistency in target speed, height , etc makes it hard to quantify a clear cut base accuracy for scoring. Robots eliminate those variables.

      Oh man, I remember manning the 'butts' targets on the old CLAS ranges, with manually operated targets. They got phased out over 10 years ago though and replaced with MTRs (Marksmanship Training Range) which go out to 300 metres (328 yards). The MTRs were computer controlled targets at 100, 200 and 300 metres that pop up and down, face left/right and translate (move) left to right. The scoring is done from a little computer / box thing (you've no doubt got something similar) next to the shooter for the safety supervisor to monitor the fall of shot. The computers will also give you the scope bold adjustments for your sighting shots too. Nifty little things they were. No manual patch out either - which besides picking up spent brass, is the worst part about shooting imho.

      The only disadvantage the MTRs had was (other than computer glitches) that they had a fairly large minimum safety distance, so as the OIC of the range, or as a safety supervisor (which is the same as your marksmanship coach) you really had to be careful when you did walking shoots off the mound.

      There are other ranges that go out further than 300 metres, though they're not part of the annual qualifying shoots.

    Just thought I would mention that these robots were developed here in Australia and are a great success story for technology exports. Initial design and development was done at Sydney Uni and now Marathon manufacture and refine there products in Sydney.

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