No 8 Rifle Safety Case


My shooting man has said nothing about new rifles.
Unless there is some serious digit extraction we’ll end up with a hiatus in shooting while staff get qualified to instruct on, test and conduct ranges and then cadets trained and tested.
We need a two year overlap of the new and old to ensure that everyone has had a chance to do all the admin.

Why fold the rearsight? What has that got to do with anything?

As for WHTs we didn’t need them (or more than an hour to instruct the N°8 and 303) when I was a cadet and later old style RCO and I can see no rational reason as to why we need them now and then 6 monthly re-tests. Obviously there are people in the corps with more time on their hands than they know what to do with. I’ve had cadets not pass a WHT for things completely unrelated to their safety with the weapon. They may have been unlucky and got someone who needs more roughage in their diet.


No idea, perhaps it maybe a cast back from the .303??
The No8 was originally a training weapon for troops before moving onto a .303 SMLE ifI recall correctly so perhaps it was a .303 drill…




When you were a cadet… We had an airforce with real bombers!!!
Sorry but wake up and give yourself a good shake things have moved on! When I was a cadet our NCOs had full moustaches now your lucky if they have bum fluff!!!
We also have an abundance of cadets suffering some sort of education issues joining.
Ignoring the party line of safe system and all that jazz…

I have seen a cadet pass their WHT on a Number 8 and a few weeks later forget everything that they were taught when live firing. So yes 6 monthly WHTs are a pain in the ■■■■ but are needed when you look at the cadets we are getting


It serves to help protect the rearsight, just as laying the rifle on the left and nor the right ride serves to protect the bolt.

The new sight won’t be folding so that can’t be part of the drill. I wonder if we will have a bipod (a la L81)


Cadets are no different then and now.

What has changed is
1 a paranoia in society that we can’t be trusted to do anything unless we’ve been checked and rechecked for no other reason than someone needing to keep a job which has no real point, except in their own mind.
2 a mindset that kids today aren’t able to do things like what I was

WRT kids forgetting what they’ve been taught, is that possible because they get taught things that aren’t actually relevant to the act of shooting and they lose the will to live? I recently watched a misfire drill and nearly fell asleep as the instructor went over and over it and the rest of what I observed was no better. In my day it was stick your hand up and the RCO would stop the firing, deal with the problem and crack on. Maybe if the instructing was more focussed on actually shooting kids would engage and remember.

Why is it a few weeks between testing and firing (especially as it suggests it was the cadets initial shooting detail), maybe a bit more joined up process in that pass the test and shoot within a week, things might not go as you suggest, also it says cadet, singular. Was it one cadet or all of the cadets? If it’s one cadet maybe they are like cadets I had as mates and have instructed over the years who need more than one session for it to stick. If it’s all the cadets then the instruction need to be questioned.


Last summer I invited local ATC cadets onto our CCF range to fire our No. 8s. This was a great event in many ways, though sadly not yet repeated; the local sqn has an ex-Regt FS who ran the range with skill and good humour. The range staff were mostly ATC, plus me.

But I was amazed, compared to how I would run a range for the CCF, by the level of interference from range staff with cadets. Essentially, no cadet was ever trusted to complete any drill without very close ‘supervision’ which amounted to coaching them through every drill. This despite the fact that every cadet had passed the WHT.

While there was some excellent marksmanship coaching going on, better than we could have managed ourselves, cadets were essentially not given responsibility for their own safety, but babied through the shoot. This is certainly not how I would usually run a shoot.

So I would agree entirely with GHE - I don’t think cadets have changed, we just don’t trust them.


Sorry the cadets have changed, and that is due to various reasons primarily the parents who wrap them up in cotton wool as soon as they can, they are now so used to having everything done for them it’s shocking. A quick test if you don’t believe me find out if any of them can make tea and coffee…
Very few can and will “mum says I might burn myself” is a good example.

and you are fully correct in the supervision far too many have no real understanding of what supervision means. as new staff are coming through the culture of wrapping them up too and is becoming more to the fore someone complained about me recently as on a recent hike I didn’t walk with the cadets, no I was on top of the hill they were walking around the base of watching them and then I jumped into the car headed to another way point and then had lunch with them and then the same again. Was I with them no but was I supervising and ensuring their safety yes…


The cadets may have changed, but not as much as the system has become paranoid. We now need authorisations to act as a safety supervisor when demonstrated competence (under the eye of the RCO) used to be sufficient and that auth needs to be renewed annually. RCOs are no longer trusted to know what they are doing (with an aide memoire at hand if it is needed) but need to write details of how to run the practice onto a document and refer to that on the range. The volume of administrative processes and restrictions is not always entirely reasonable when compared to equivalent civilian processes that apply to identical weapon systems.

I am a qualified RCO. I have been for many years and I am both current on the rifle and skills-checked every 4 years. However I cannot be trusted to run an ad-hoc range with qualified cadets and no transport requirements but need to have wordy documents prepared and the range practice needs to be authorised by someone who isn’t involved in running the range. This is an example of how things have become restricted over the last couple of decades and is illustrative of the sorts of restrictive practices now applied within the shooting world. As usual we are being hobbled because of the acts of fools in the past.


The kids haven’t changed, they still love getting dirty and doing all the things (and maybe more) than we did as kids. The fact that FMS is so popular is testament to this as it’s probably the first chance many have had to do this sort of the thing. They fall over and get up again and no one gets sued. I’ve had 2 cadets break arms, one break a leg and one end up in hospital after a head injury playing sport and the parent’s view, that’s life, not gimme the money.

It’s not parents but society as a whole and the ATC (like nearly every facet of life) in a fit of sphincter covering pique in case someone sues them engendered a mindset of you can’t do this/that the other 20 years ago and it has got worse and worse and worse and will only carry on down that route. The fact that organisations, media and governments over-reacted to things, that parents were made fearful that there was a “perve behind every tree” looking to abduct their children and this is why now the park near to our house and the one I played on as a kid has no where the number of unaccompanied children on them they did.


We’ve been down this old road many times before and I simply can not equate the training and testing of cadets to ensure competence and safety before letting them fire live weapons with “bum-covering, cotton-wool-wrapping, namby-pambyness” as GHE seems to suggest.

When you were a cadet you may well have just been allowed to crack on with it with little or no training, but in that case perhaps it’s just as well that the the ATC has changed since then.

Training, particularly for the No8 is not difficult. The WHT is easy (with the exception of the badly worded questions) and, properly trained, a cadet should then have a good knowledge of the not only what the drills are but why they are that way.


I think wdimagineer2b you need to read my post. I don’t have a problem with the WHT or training; but once cadets have reached the required standard of training we should trust them to get on with it.

In the same way, I had a useful chat this week with some of my superiors about RCOs. We make sure that RCOs are trained, qualified and regularly checked for competency. So why does someone insist on ‘approving’ their RAMs? Don’t we believe the qualification is adequate? If not, it needs to be changed…


RCO now could just be a 1 day briefing on how to follow a RAM. A separate RAM/EAM-writing course could be done by planning officers to enable the RCOs to run their ranges.


So when did you finish your time as a cadet?
I was a cadet and after when many of our great and good were cadets and I like them and many thousands of cadets over the decades (prior to c.2008) had proportionate instruction on weapons, tested and that was it, then we just got on with it. Were we all gung ho and dangerous and just got lucky not to have any serious accidents? Just how much training do you need? Getting a cadet up to the standard to go onto a range for a N°8 (or L98) should not take more than a couple of hours for a group of cadets.
In the old days as an RCO you trained the cadets and took the ranges, not the specific job/role training system we have now. Which has seriously hampered shooting in the Corps over recent years.

Could you tell me exactly when did the cadets (and staff) become so inherently unsafe wrt shooting that it was decided that we needed to have all this extra testing etc? Does it actually enhance the experience of the activity above what it was previously?
I cannot think of an accident or incident involving Air Cadets using rifles in the last 40 years. I personally taught/trained and passed OK to fire several hundred cadets, none of whom were involved in incidents. I am pretty certain that even before the frenzy instilled by electronic media that if there was something happened that was that disasterous/dangerous that cadets were no longer to be trusted (and this is a loss of trust) without repeated testing, it would have got to us pdq. The same applies to staff involved in shooting.
I am sure that people will come up with individual tales of wow and disgust to justify the current position, which begs the question if what happened was so dangerous, why wasn’t it reported and if it was why was there no national message with an immediate stop to all activities while it was investigated, which seems to be the default position.
So a comment such “it’s just as well that the the ATC has changed since then” is a naïve and hardly a proportional response. It is worth remembering that not all change is necessary or required. Most changes come about; due to fads, need to generate / maintain incomes and or to invent jobs/keep people in jobs that would otherwise come under extreme scrutiny.

As I pointed out unless there are caveats put in place to get around the problem of being trained/tested, I can see another period where shooting is off the menu, as I doubt staff will get the required training on the new weapons for some time.


I wasn’t actually referring to your post, I was addressing GHE’s worn-out rant about the good old days when nobody bothered with training or testing.

In answer to your question GHE I finished as a cadet 15 or 16 years ago.

Try looking at it the other way. Why do you consider weapon training and testing to be such a huge problem as to be worthy of complaint every time the topic is mentioned?

Really? I can think of a recent incident and the email got to us PDQ.

Training on the No 8 rifle is easy and with a good WI or SAAI will take no more than a few hours.
At the end of which the cadet is thoroughly familiar with the rifle, understands the drills well, and actually has a good idea of what they need to be doing when they’re on the range.

Unless you’ve got one of those poor instructors who only teach how to pass the WHT then do not forget that a good portion of Skill at Arms training is teaching the cadet how to shoot. By learning the marksmanship principals and how to apply them - through correct position, hold, breathing control, sight picture, &c they actually stand a good chance of developing through practical experience and coaching into a good shot.

If you just stick a cadet on the range without prior training how can you expect them to achieve anything of value? It’s little different to taking them to a fun-fair shooting arcade. Sure they might have fun for the 15 minutes they’re on the range but would it not be far better to actually train and develop them?
We are a training organisation after all.

Being satisfied simply that your cadets “didn’t have any serious accidents” seems like a bit of a cop-out to me.
A day without incidents does not necessarily equate to a day well spent.


There is a huge difference between teaching the WHT aspects of a “simple” single shot rifle, & the marksmanship principles.

A loooong time ago, I wa taught both by a cadet FS. I got my ATC marksman on my first No 8 shoot so he obviously did something right.

At the outset, cadets are very apprehensive of the WHT element & can sometimes fail due to nerves - when they have previously actioned all the safety elements/answered the questions in practice.

The current WHT system does not allow initial one to one supervision on a trail basis. Do they like shooting? Yes, then start the formal trg & subsequent WHT.

For a single shot bolt action rifle (even the L81), this should be a suitable route.

RAMs - the RAO should produce a “standard” RAM for each range; the RCO should only have to add the relevant information for the document for the shoot in question (names/range qualifications, etc, practices to be fired). The current situation is getting to be put to sleep by RAM briefing & verbatim reading of range orders to the detriment of actuallly looking to see what fires are doing in the range.


although I agree it is more this should happen but where in the book (lessons 1-4) does it tell the cadets how to shoot?
there is no mention of the MM principles and only a minor indication of the trigger operation (ie it is a two stage trigger)

the No8 lessons miss the vital stage of weapons training…how to shoot.
the lessons show the drills, NSPs, cleaning and maintenance, shooting drills, misfire drills but at no point in those four lessons does the book mention the 4 principles of MM…


I will include details of the prone position and sight pictures while teaching but I intentionally avoid going into detail about the principles of marksmanship during IWT to avoid information overload.

My initial focus is on training the cadets how to operate the weapon safely so that they can confidently attempt the WHT. I endeavour to consolidate that with live firing as part of the same session wherever possible. Once those hurdles are out of the way I will introduce new firers to the marksmanship principles and improve their shooting, ideally using coaches.


It almost needs to be (in the ideal world) a concurrent activity while waiting for a WHT and/or range time once passed.

of course you then need to find a SAAI who is not testing and free to run through the lesson who can accept Cadets dropping in and out as they WHT or have the capacity to do so prior to a range…which takes out a CFAV who could be a coach of Safety Sup for those on the range…


No 8 rifle replacement named.