Virginia National Guard Marksmanship Training Unit

The unoffical page of the Virginia National Guard Marksmanship Training Unit. Va. National Guard Marksmanship Training Unit
SFC Jerome Reynolds (State Marksmanship Coordinator)
e-mail: [email protected]

SFC Roger Fracker (Assistant State Marksmanship Coordinator)
Phone: (434) 292-2139
e-mail: [email protected]

SFC Sammy Jones (Assistant State Marksmanship Coordinator)
Phone: (434) 292-2162
e-mail: [email protected]

Operating as usual


More than one from team Virginia earned something new this year. I'm still waiting for some to send in their photos.

Photos from Virginia National Guard Marksmanship Training Unit's post 08/24/2021

Here's the details of Virginia's successes at the MAC II regional combat matches I'd promised earlier.

TSGT Kevin Frank took first place in the pistol EIC match. He and SSG Tim Trexler both earned leg points in pistol moving them closer to earning the Distinguished Pistol Badge.

SFC Tony Hancock took first place in rifle Reflexive Fire with TSGT Frank finishing in third place.

SFC Joel Kliesen finished first in pistol Anti Body Armor match.

Our only top three finish in a team match was Virginia's Charlie team taking second place in Reflexive Fire. Charlie team included SFC Hancock and TSGT Frank and TSGT Justin Viars and MSGT Cody McLuckie.

While not finishing in the top three, SSG Trexler did finish high enough to earn leg points toward his rifle badge.

In the overall standings TSGT Frank finished second and SSG Trexler came in third.


It's been way too long since we've updated the page but sometimes life intrudes on our best intentions.

We just finished the MAC II regional matches with some degree of success. I'll be posting details as we comb through the results but we had at least 3 first place finished and we took second and third place in individual competition. Details to follow.


How do we zero?

Unfortunately, this question is getting asked more often than before. It means that units (Leaders) never knew how to zero.

(I guess those "quick PMIs" 🤬 weren't doing their jobs.)

Thankfully, the issue is slowly getting fixed.

Recently, we received the following: “Hey I have a zeroing question. Does the Army say POA=POI for 300m with a 25m zero just cause it's close enough and gets soldiers on paper?” The attached ballistic chart was sent with the question.

So, let’s start at the top.

The Army doesn’t say Point of Aim = Point of Impact at 25m. (REF: TC 3-20.40, TC 3-22.9)

The Army (and ballistic reality) says that the POI should be 1.5 MOA below POA at 25m to approximate a 300m zero. This is called a "ballistic offset."

All these years of faking the funk with a 25m Alt-C qualification perpetuates a short-cutting of the zero process and units (Leaders) took an easy-wrong cheat and made their POA=POI (i.e., the strike of the round on the target is in the same spot as the point of aim) at 25m to “enhance” success when shooting at a piece of paper at 25m.

By applying this cheat, these Army weapons were NEVER actually zeroed for POA=POI at 300m.

Without the ballistic offset, Soldiers were actually zeroed for some farther distance, with an exaggeratedly high max ordinate of about 9” above Line of Sight (LOS) around 200m. This simply made worse the Army's high miss-rates for those mid-range targets when firing on the pop-up range.

Corrective Action: Study the reference material! Apply the correct ballistic offset, bring down the max ord and apply a truer sight setting for a 300m zero to make your hits.

Next, the Army doesn’t apply a 25m zero. The Marine Corps doesn’t apply 36y zero. I’ll even go ahead and say that other folks don’t actually apply a 50m zero. They are actually pursuing a 300m zero or a 200m zero (even though a 50m POA=POI rarely produces a 200m zero, it is an approximation).

Everything done at these closer distances (scaled distances) is merely a stepping stone to an actual zero at the true distances of 300m or 200m.

This stage of the zero process is just a rest stop. (i.e., firing at a scaled distance) We are applying a 300m zero at 25m, when we apply the proper 1.5 MOA ballistic offset.

Each Soldier then confirms the scaled zero, by firing at an actual 300m target (NON-OPTIONAL.) Leaders MUST NOT skip "confirmation at distance" in Table IV.

Let’s all of us stop saying that we use a 25m zero. This is wrong. Very wrong. Kill that phrase. Throw it in a dumpster. Set it on fire.

Let’s get back to that 9” over LOS max ord.

When the proper ballistic offset is applied, that max ord is brought down about 3” at around 200m. I’ll accept that it doesn’t sound like a lot. But, when we consider that those targets are already under-exposed, we are making a bad situation worse by improperly zeroing.

Under-exposed targets? Yes. All targets on all of the Army ARF/MRF ("pop-up") ranges are under-exposed. For now. (There’s a new fix. It’s in the system. Ranges must upgrade their targets.)

According to TC 25-8, at least 90% of the target must be exposed to the firer’s position. The E-type silhouette is 40” tall. 36” must be exposed to the firer when in position. YET, according to a 2017 Maneuver Center of Excellence study, 60% of all targets on all of the Army’s ARFs/MRFs present 70% OR LESS of the actual target size.

Add to that the warping and bending that takes place when the targets are baking in the sun.

So now, a 40” tall target is only exposing about 28”, top to bottom. The “head” area of the target accounts for 10” off the top. The biggest piece of meat on the target, and the biggest area that affords highest chance of being hit…the torso… is NOW just 18” tall by 19” wide. That’s basically 1.5' square.

So, when a Soldier aims at the center of that torso at 200m, that max ordinate and subtle 5mph wind sails that round over the shoulder of the target and the Soldier misses. That’s IF the Soldier's shot process and functional elements of Stability, Aim, Control and Movement are all 100% spot on.

[ETA: Your Soldiers need to understand offset aiming for those mid-range targets to further increase their likelihood of making good hits at the mid-ranges. Essentially, the ONLY target that is POA at Center of Visible Mass (CoVM) is the distant 300m target. All other targets should have a shifted POA to maximize hit probability. Strictly speaking, these distances should be engage-able with a "common engagement," where there's no need for a shifted POA, but the totality of target presentation percentage and in the interest of increasing hits, the mid-range targets benefit from a shifted aim, which makes them "complex engagements" to a small degree. A "complex engagement" is one the requires a shifted hold, typically to compensate for distance, wind, target exposure, and movement.]

You need that lowered max ord. You need that 1.5 MOA ballistic offset.

THIS is why getting everything right, stacking the deck, and removing every tolerance for failure in this cascade is critical.

That 1.5 MOA ballistic offset is clearly important. It also gives you a proper starting point for a 300m zero.

Final note: During zeroing in Table IV, Soldiers shouldn’t be applying sight adjustments until they have fired two 5-rd shot groups to the Threshold Standard of 6 MOA (6 of those little squares on the A8 zero target) at 25m. Only then should they apply sight adjustments.

Why is the 6 MOA group the minimum performance standard? Because that’s the loosest performance that will ensure hits at 300m.

That is the performance check and “gate” that ensures Soldiers can make their hits during the qualification. It’s the diagnostic test of Soldier skill to qualify. Bad grouping = bad qualification. Bad leaders = don't validate Soldier performance. Unvalidated Soldiers = ..."meh, who cares." Soldier groups need to be evaluated by the trainer to ensure standards are met, and the Soldier is ready to qualify.

Soldiers are only allowed to attempt qualification TWICE in any 45-day period. No endless recycling to get a passing score. Train them right, the first time, and be done with it.
Leaders can have their Soldiers attempt Table V, practice as many times as the time and ammunition will allow. If a Soldier is scoring 26 hits or higher on Table V, they're well prepared to qualify the first attempt on Table VI.

If you need clarification on areas that aren’t clear in TC 3-20.40, send them our way, and we’ll post answers.

- SGT Ian Tashima, Asst State Marksmanship Coordinator.

P.S. I wouldn’t rely on that M855A1 BC listed on the ballistic chart, either.


The covid-19 crisis has forced us to cancel the 2020 TAG combined arms match. We were running some contingency plans that would have allowed us to postpone it till later this year but in the end the decision was made to cancel it this year.

Please help spread the word.


The 2020 TAG Combined Arms Match is coming up 15-17 May. SSG Hancock is on orders with the Marksmanship Program to help prepare for the event. Please pass this along to any Virginia National Guard soldiers and airmen who might be interested. 12/23/2019

Physical Training For Competitive Shooters Equals Better Performance

Want better results on the range? Push harder in PT. Want better scores? You have to make sure your overall health and fitness is a top priority, because it will be reflected in your shooting performance 11/19/2019

The Changing Face of Rifle Qualification Rifle qualification has long served as a gauge of unit proficiency and training. It facilitates risk mitigation and serves as a gate from individual training to more advanced unit training. For years, the Army has used a three position static record fire rifle qualification. This course allowed a mo... 10/25/2019

How the Army is building an unparalleled rifle and SAW replacement for soldiers

This may be the direction we go and it may not. Here are the timeline and details for soldiers' new weapons. 10/23/2019

Army's New Service Pistol Getting Rave Reviews at the Range Since its adoption in 2017, the MHS, made by Sig Sauer, has begun to replace the Army's Cold War-era M9 9mm pistol. 09/09/2019

A French Soldier's View of US Soldiers in Afghanistan

Train to exceed expectations. By Wes O'Donnell, Army & Air Force Veteran, Speaker, TV Host What follows is an account from a French ISAF soldier that was stationed with American Warfighters in Afghanistan sometime in the past 6 years. This was copied and translated from an editorial French newspaper. A NOS FRERES D’ARMES A... 09/04/2019

SIG SAUER Selected by U.S. Army for Next Generation Weapons with New Ammunition Technology, Lightweight Machine Gun, Rifle, and Suppressors | Sig Sauer Sig Sauer SIG SAUER Selected by U.S. Army for Next Generation Weapons with New Ammunition Technology, Lightweight Machine Gun, Rifle, and Suppressors. World renowned and the choice for many of the premier global military, law enforcement and commercial users. 08/26/2019

The Army is making marksmanship training harder to prepare soldiers for the two-way firing range

The video in this link provides a very good overview of the gates a soldier must clear before they can shoot a qualification course of fire under the new weapons qualification. "It's exactly what we would do in a combat environment, and I think it's just going to build a much better shooter"


The regional matches are done but there were computer issues with the scoring so I don't have all the details for a comprehensive rundown. Rather than have to make corrections I'll just say that we've had a pretty good year at the MAC II. Keep checking back and I'll have all the details and some photos in a day or two.


Day two of the MAC II match. Too soon to say but I'm pretty sure Team Virginia has the top rifle shooter and the top pistol shooter. Since those two are on different teams I have no idea what the team.scores will turn up. There is still one more team match to shoot tomorrow. 08/24/2019

Army overhauls small arms training with tougher standards, combat-like rigor

Another take on the new qualification course of fire. The U.S. Army has drawn up a sweeping overhaul of how it will train Soldiers in using small arms -- rifles, pistols and automatic rifles -- a revamp that adds tougher standards and combat-like rigor to training and testing marksmanship.


Day one of the MAC II regionals is done. I've only looked at some of the results but I do know that SPC Zach Wilson has taken first place in the EIC Rifle Match. 08/17/2019

The Army Updates Individual Weapons Qualification: TC 3-20.40 - G*T Daily (Guns Ammo Tactical)

Here's a good basic write-up on the new qualification process. If you are unaware of the mountain of procedure the US Military has to go through for… well… anything, I wish to direct your attention to TC 3-20.40. The 826 page document is all about the new and improved individual weapons qualifications for the U.S. Army. Yes, nearly 1,000 pages to summarize ...


We shoot much better too. 07/09/2019

US Army Seeks Direct View Optics for M4 Carbines - Soldier Systems Daily

When initially adopted the ACOG was state of the art and gave the service member a huge step up in lethality. It's still a good optic but it is far from the state of the art gear it once was. Technology has moved on and it looks like we may be following. The US Army has issued a Prototype Project Opportunity Notice (PPON) for a Direct View Optic. This is a Mid-Tier Acquisition effort to quickly identify, test and procure a 1-6x variable power optic for use with the M4A1 Carbine. 07/03/2019

Shooting is 90% Mental How to become a better shooter by avoiding distraction and living in the moment

Our Story

Va. National Guard Marksmanship Training Unit
SFC Joel Kliesen, State Marksmanship Coordinator

SSG Tony Hancock, Assistant State Marksmanship Coordinator

SGT Alexandra Wilson, Assistant State Marksmanship Coordinator
[email protected]



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