Nearly all marksmanship skill and knowledge was created via organized, competitive shooting. The US Army’s first marksmanship manual was developed and written by competitive shooters, people who learned their skills in competition shooting. Army Regulation 350-66 states that all organized, formal shooting events are classified as training and is an ideal vehicle for developing skilled and knowledgeable small arms instructors.
In 2004, the Army Marksmanship Unit revitalized The The All Army Small Arms Championships and have held it every year since. The event consists of matches with the M16/M4 series and M9/M11 pistol fired in a series of individual and team events. Matches consisted of precision and timed fire on known distance ranges on scored silhouette targets from 75 to 500 yards for rifle and 10 to 35 yards for pistol, along with Combined Arms matches utilizing both weapons in Close Quarters Battle rifle and pistol scenarios scored by elapsed time.
Army Reserve Careers Division Soldiers excelled in many of the matches conducted at the All Army Small Arms Championships. Notable individual performances included SFC John Buol winning second place in Pistol, second place in Combined Arms and a second place overall finish. SFC Leslie Lewis finished thirteenth place overall and SFC Charles Parker finished in the top bracket of the Excellence in Competition event, earning a full ten point leg towards his Distinguished Pistol Badge.
As a team, ARCD Soldiers took second place in Pistol, third place in the Combined Arms CQB events and fifth place overall.
Shooting events like All Army offer a great opportunity to take the training advantages that formalized shooting competition offers. All the courses shot offer near perfect feedback and allow the Soldier-shooter to see the exact placement of every shot fired. Courses on a KD range mark the location of groups and individually fired rounds, hit or miss, and the opportunity to record the results for later study. Zero settings and marksmanship error is readily observable and more easily diagnosed. Contrast this to the current Army norm of shooting on RETS “pop up” targets where this lack of critical feedback is simply not available and hinders the Soldier from improving skills. Merely participating in events such as All Army offers superior training compared to the norm of current Army qualification ranges.
The USAR Marksmanship Program is organizing events like this to be held regionally to encourage greater participation. Combining training, qualification and Excellence in Competition into one event eases the small arms training burden on units while offering a better state of readiness throughout the Reserves.