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A study of factors in marksmanship Sampson, Hubert

Abstract

This study is an attempt to describe as accurately as possible what occurs in terms of patterns of respiration, stock pressure, and aiming time when a group of poor marksmen and a group of good marksmen fire a Service rifle with a No. 1 tube from a prone position on an indoor miniature range. In addition, some data on the possible influence of the firer's position, vision and shooting experience are also discussed. The basic argument of the research runs as follows. If the principal factors under consideration here are important in marksmanship, then it should be possible to demonstrate their importance by one or all of the following procedures: (a) By comparing good marksmen with poor marksmen in terms of the factors studied, (b) By comparing the patterns of breathing, stock pressure and aiming time which obtain for the dead-on-the-bull and in-the-bullseye shots fired by the Good Marksman Group with: shots falling in the same areas fired by the Poor Marksman Group; and shots which fall outside the bull in various designated areas of the target fired by both the Good Marksman Group and the Poor Marksman Group. (c) By comparing one with the other, the patterns of breathing, stock pressure and aiming time which obtain for shots fired by the Good Marksman Group and the Poor Marksman Group falling in areas other than the bullseye. All the subjects used in the study were volunteers from two groups of university students. Group I consisted of 44 members of the C.O.T.C., U.N.T.D. and R.G.A.F. Flight at the University of British Columbia. Group II consisted of 64 university students not belonging to the above mentioned groups. Complete and detailed analyses were made of 19 subjects in Group I and 21 subjects in Group II. The manner in which these subjects were chosen for detailed study is discussed in the text of the report. The main equipment used in this study consisted of: (a) A Lee Enfield rifle with a No. 1 tube, so equipped as to permit the measurement of stock pressure and aiming time. (b) A "General Radio" recording camera which permitted a continuous record of the changes in respiratory, pressure and aiming time patterns as the subject fired. (c) A pneumograph and a sphygmomanometer to measure the respiratory changes. Some of the principal results of this study may be summarized as follows: 1. The respiratory trends associated with the bullseye shots fired by the Good Marksmen Group are distinct from any other group, especially with regard to the "follow through" after firing, 2. Those shots falling high on the target fired by either group appear to be associated with a characteristic respiratory trend, especially immediately after the firepoint. 3. The low shots in the major target areas by the Poor Marksmen resemble each other in respiratory trends, 4. Exhaling before firing; breathing immediately after firing; and the shortest aiming time of all shots, seem to be the characteristic trends associated with off-target shots. 5. The low shots fired by the Good Marksmen are associated with breathing after the firepoint and an aiming time which is longer than the bullseye shots for the same group. 6. The "vice-like" grip recommended by the training manuals is not observed when firing a Service rifle with a .22 bore. 7. Neither shots fired by the Good Marksmen, nor shots fired by the Poor Marksmen, whether they be good or poor, can be accounted for in terms of either the amount of pressure exerted at the firepoint or to any changes in the amount of pressure exerted immediately before or after firing. 8. Whether a shot falls in the bullseye, off the target, or in any of the other specified areas of the target, would not appear to be significantly dependent upon whether or not stock pressure is associated with it. 9. There is some indication that for most individuals, the recommended firing position is the most stable one and as such, is an aid in good shooting. The concluding sections of the report are concerned with a summary description of the trends associated with shots falling in the bullseye area and shots falling off the target in terms of all the factors studied. In this section there is also included a discussion of the values and limitations of the miniature range as a technique for training marksmen. In this connection, it is noted that this study is in agreement with an earlier study carried out by the Army Operational Research Group. A discussion of the possible values and some limitations of the study together with suggestions for further research, complete the report.

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