In basic training you will become very familiar with the M-16 rifle, unless you’re in the Navy. Recruits in the Navy don’t fire a rifle at basic training; they fire an M-9 pistol. You will learn how to assemble and disassemble the rifle in a matter of seconds. You will also become extremely familiar with cleaning the rifle. Don’t worry if you have never shot a weapon before, the Drill Sergeants will take you through the entire process.
Recruits love to go to the firing range, because often the Drill Sergeants are nicer to you. Not because they are starting to like you, but because they are surrounded by dozens of untrained recruits holding powerful rifles.
On a typical day on the firing range, you will go to the Armory and sign out your rifle. You will be assigned one rifle, treat it like your baby, give it a name and handle it with care. Every rifle is numbered, be sure to remember that number and never forget it.
After you have possession of your rifle, you will march or ride to the firing range where you will wait several hours for about 10 minutes worth of time on the range. Take this time to observe others firing their weapons and learn the ebb and flow of how a rifle range works.
When it’s your turn to fire, you will first zero your weapon. This means, you will customize the weapon to your body and find its true center mass. Once it’s zeroed, the weapon will be customized perfectly for you. You will then fire from what’s called the prone supported and prone unsupported positions at targets of varying distance. The fun part for recruits is based on how many targets you hit, you can win awards that you can display on your uniform.
After you fire your weapon, you will sign your rifle back into the Armory and continue with the days activities.
A couple important tips to remember at the firing range are:
- Never ever leave your rifle unattended.
- Always be conscious of what’s called muzzle control. Always point your weapon in the direction of the range (called down range) and never point your rifle at someone else, or anything you don’t intend to shoot, for that matter.
- Never call the rifle a gun, your Drill Sergeants will definitely show you how much they don’t like that.