Dismounted Close Combat Trainer - honing shooting skills indoors with individual coaching for Somerset's cadets

“My rifle isn’t zeroed!”

“Where did my shots go?”

“I’m a brilliant shot but why aren’t they even on the target?”

Familiar moans?

Of course they are. Cadets so often turn up to a cold, wet windy range to fire the L98A2 Cadet GP Rifle 5.56mm to find that all the skills that they thought they had - or were supposed to have had - have evaporated and they are left feeling decidedly underwhelmed by the whole experience.

However, by training first in the Dismounted Close Combat Trainer (DCCT) - in effect a type of super shoot-'em-up game - cadets suddenly find that there is no escape from poor technique. All their problems associated with uneven breathing, snatching the trigger, poor positioning, inability to exert constant pressure into the shoulder and lack of follow through are all immediately apparent and open to critical appraisal.

All this valuable training can be safely conducted indoors long before they have to fire expensive live rounds on a range where the pressures on them are so much greater. On a DCCT range cadets cannot hide from the all-seeing eye of the computer and this allows them to constantly monitor and improve their shooting techniques under the eyes of experienced instructors, so that when they finally get onto a live firing range they are immediately able to attain good groupings and gain the full value of a day spent firing live ammunition.

On a monitor everyone can immediately see where they are going wrong, and more importantly where they are improving, as a session continues.

The first prerequisite is to ensure that every cadet gets all their rounds grouped closely together - a good, tight grouping. It doesn’t matter where on the target area that grouping is, just as long as all the rounds fall into one small area. When that can be achieved the sights can then be adjusted in order to move that tight group onto the centre of the target. On a DCCT this is achieved by electronic zeroing, rather than by adjusting the sights, but the principle is exactly the same.

Many cadets struggle initially to find a comfortable position where the rifle points naturally at the target and discover how much their grouping can be affected by constant minute changes of position. Coordinating a cadet’s breathing patterns when squeezing the trigger also shows up poor control and this can also be dealt with easily, leading to more confident cadets who ultimately became better shots once all the multitude of variables are ironed out.

Because everyone had much more time and personal tuition, allied to finding out exactly where their shots go when they fail to follow the techniques, this means that after an intensive session everyone will have really improved. When cadets venture onto the range they will be far more confident and know exactly how to ensure that their limited number of live rounds form a tight group before instructors zero the rifles to suit individuals.