Skill At Arms training on ranges

I’m currently facing a disagreement over whether it’s permitted to run weapons training on a range.

For example, if some cadets were firing the L98 on a large outdoor range, would it be permitted for others to train on the L86 in a nearby troop shelter?

I can’t see the problem unless it’s prohibited in the range standing orders, but some people think that it’s not allowed (although they can’t give a reason why).

Any input appreciated, many thanks.

As long as concurrent activities are clearly defined & briefed, with the appropriately qualified instructors, conducting the activity, then I do not see why not. Even if the range is not certified for the live firing for the weapon being trained on (unlikely for cadet categories of weapons), that should not block such training.

Typically at a 25m barrack range, our Wg will be running live firing & WHTs/weapon training as permitted by staff qualifications & cadet requirements. This has included LSW training whilst LFMT on L98A2.

For those that think differently, ask them to quote a “legal” reason - I don’t think that they will find one!

And let it be chapter and verse, not just ‘I fink its rong’, or twisting words from the PAMs.

Been there, done it too.

Done many a time.

You just need clearly defined areas, well briefed and NSP’s of both weapons and personal equipment when cadets move between areas. (You don’t want Drill and live rounds getting mixed after all :ohmy: )

Common sense is whats needed.

It is also an incentive for some cadets to be there training near the range. If they see or in this case hear the other cadets firing, they will want to pass their training and get on with the firing themselves.

Indeed - am I right in thinking that drill rounds are prohibited from ranges?

That’s the only issue I can think of.

Drill rounds - see PAM21C, 0470.

They can be taken onto range for some purposes, that would meet the training requirements. However, I wouldn’t define troop shelter as “on range” with regard to firing activities, albeit it might be situated within the range area as such. Either way, as previously mentioned, use a clearly defined & separate area with appropriate safety controls.

If it is not prohibited by either Pam 21-C or range standing orders, it is perfectly fine. Common sense and all that!

As has previously been said, in general, it is perfectly acceptable to conduct dry training “behind the range” whilst live firing is taking place. However, it may well be prudent to clear it with Range Control (if applicable) first.

However, on shared or adjacent ranges, you need to be careful. E.G. a couple of years ago, there was a shoot taking place on Century Range at Bisley. Civilian shooting was taking place on adjacent points. Concurrent activity included dry training and WHTs on various wpn types. This was done behind the firing points and the “safe direction” was declared to be at 90 degrees to line of fire on the ranges.

The civilian clubs on the adjacent ranges, subsequently complained to the NRA that uniformed personnel were pointing their wpns and operating the actions etc in an unsafe manner. I hasten to add, this was not Air Cadets and nothing the unit did, was wrong. However, when there are other range users, it may be unadvisable to conduct this sort of activity when the other range users do not understand or be aware, of what is going on!

That said… perhaps it would have been sensible to pick a “safe direction” which wasnt in the general direction of shooting club civvies on adjacent ranges…

The Bisley example…

As an NRA RCO assessor - & SA(LR)07 - mixing “military” shooting & civilian shooting…

To quote from the NRA Bisley Range Regulations:

[quote]6 Safety Regulations

a. Unless prior permission has been obtained from NRA, no firearm may be loaded or fired before the siren has indicated the commencement of a shooting period, nor shall a firearm be loaded or fired until the RCO has given the order to load and to fire. Equipment and firearms may not be placed on the firing point except under the direction of the RCO and where it is safe in all respects to fire.

b. Aiming or “snapping” an unloaded firearm is NOT allowed in any public place except as part of a properly organised course of instruction, or when in the firing position on a firing point with the permission of the RCO, and then only if it would, in all respects, e safe to fire a live round.

c. No firearm is to be loaded until the shooter is in the firing position on a recognised firing point. Except when otherwise prescribed in the conditions of a discipline or competition, a loaded firearm must at all times point towards the butts. When loading, unloading or checking a rifle, the barrel must at all times be pointed in a safe direction. At no time may any part of the body be placed in front of the muzzle of a loaded firearm. [/quote]

For me, if on or very near a live firing point at Bisley, within the constraints of the Range Regulations, then the only safe direction to point a rifle, or ease springs, etc, is towards the butts, from a vacant firing point area. If you are completely away from the range, say 200m behind the firing point, carrying out training, then designate a safe area. On Bisley ranges, other (civilian) firers won’t know that dry training is in progress, so undoubtedly would have concerns. If in doubt, liaise with them to make sure that they understand what is going on.

To which they may rightly reply “You want to do what!”

Para 6b (quoted above) is quite clear, this is not a " properly organised course of instruction" but is training on the fly. If you wanted to do something like this you would have to clear it with the range operator; in this case the NRA; and it would then be their responsibility to inform other range users.


Note: Standard procedures have been thoroughly thought out and tested. To depart from them under any circumstances requires extremely good reason; one that will stand up in the cold light of day after the event. To depart from them as a matter of convenience is to court disaster and history is littered with examples of this.

As I mentioned earlier, if it was a pre-briefed & planned concurrent activity, in accordance with range orders, all is good. No-one is suggesting that SOPs should be ignored.

As Bisley, courtesy & flexibility towards others is often productive. For example, due to the “reverse echelon” butts/target allocation, you might be running a range with newcomers (or trainee RCOs) fairly close to other firers at that distance. It’s essential to advise the adjacent firers that you have people under supervision so if you practice or demonstrate aspects of range control (by “managed” incidents), they don’t have to react. It’s not ideal, but with sharing the (Bisley) range space, sometimes it is necessary.