by John Buol, Army Reserve Marksman, 11 Jan 22
“The United States Army Sniper Course just reported that they have a high failure rate due to Soldiers not being able to pass the Army’s zero procedure of 6 MOA (4 centimeters or 1.57-inches at 25 Meters) to standard. This is a disheartening but honest reflection of current Soldier ability with small arms. Nobody can address a problem they refuse to acknowledge. Kudos to the United States Army Sniper Course for doing the right thing and being public about it.
From the United States Army Sniper Course:
Before you stand the bags of 15 students who failed grouping. The one event at the USASC that delivers the largest number of failures is 25-meter grouping. This event consists of firing an M4 Carbine with iron sights at 25 meters. We shoot the Army’s standard M4 zero target and we require that the impacts are within 4 centimeters (6 MOA, which is the minimum Army standard all Soldiers are supposed to be able to pass, including new recruits during Initial Entry Training).
Do not take this as the USASC poking fun, but rather as a teaching point. Units spend a lot of money and resources to send soldiers to this course. We want to graduate 100% of our students as we believe and know that snipers are force multipliers. Please take the time to ensure you or your soldiers can meet a course prerequisite.
The 39 students who did successfully complete grouping have our fullest attention. We can also include doctrinal updates, curriculum updates and re-writes, force modernization, equipment procurement for tomorrow’s sniper, equipment testing, international sniper competition, and general soldier tasks. The soldiers used their Assault packs instead of a sandbag which is why there are notable statements highlighted in TC 3-22.9.
We presented a fact that the biggest discriminator at the USASC is 25-meter grouping. For those who don’t know, soldiers will shoot, retrain if needed, then shoot again. We do not run a selection course as we firmly believe that units have already selected the soldiers attending the course. We provide a service for the Army as snipers can help shape the battlefield. The army is vastly understrength with qualified snipers and we are far from “badge protecting.”
At one point we identified that the force was struggling so bad with the M4, that we provided an M4 PMI, took students through the EST2000, then performed attempt 1, retrain, attempt 2. The number of drops was still 25-30%, meaning no change.
The USASC does not need to disclose any of this information but for the betterment of the Soldier attending. We will share data points where difficulties commonly occur.”
Army’s 2009 assessment of sniper-qualified soldiers. Roughly 1-in-4 line snipers is school-trained and qualified — while E7s are at 600% strength. The schoolhouse cannot train enough to fill the ranks, and soldiers will ETS, promote, or retire out of their skill field and billets: