Norfolk and Suffolk Wing Air Cadets
HOW TRUE IS YOUR AIM
Whatever level you are as a cadet, you’ll have the opportunity to try your hand at military skills and drills including shooting.
Marksmanship goes a long way back in the history of Air Cadets and is one of our most popular activities. Think you can concentrate on distant targets and fire with consistent accuracy? It’s not easy. It requires focus, concentration and a very steady hand.
We’ll teach you to handle a variety of weapons safely. Basic firing is always done lying on your stomach (the prone position) at static targets. Progress through the syllabus and you’ll experience different types of weapons, firing positions and could even take part in shooting competitions if you really prove your skills.
Ranges come in different shapes and sizes but all are in controlled conditions with full training on any weapon that you handle – safety is our top priority. To start with you’ll be firing at targets that are fairly close – around 25m away. As you advance through weapons and your skill builds, you will fire at targets 100m or more away.
The first weapon you will learn with is the Scorpion Air Rifle. This is a relatively new weapon to the Air Cadets but is far lighter and easier to use than the old No 8 bolt action rifle. It makes little noise, although ear defenders are always worn on the range, and is a great first step for your marksmanship skills.
‘Dry training’ is the first thing you’ll do – exploring the air rifle in detail, and learning the commands and safety practices used on the range. After you’ve successfully passed the Weapon Handling Test (WHT) you’ll be ready to progress.
Once you have learnt the basics on this weapon, and have reached the age of 14 you can then progress to learning how to shoot with the L98 – a more advanced weapon. You will need to undertake two days of training and complete and pass another WHT before you are qualified to fire.
Which ever weapon you are using our instructors will make sure you use it safely and confidently.
Types of shooting
After you’ve completed your initial weapon training and passed the WHT, the goal is to hit your target accurately and consistently. Sounds easy doesn’t it? Try it for yourself and you’ll understand why practice makes perfect. As a cadet shooter you’ll be typically firing in one of four types of practice:
You select a single point on the target and fire a number of rounds at it. The aim is for all rounds to form the smallest group possible. This is excellent for concentrating and perfecting your technique. There’s no limit to how long you can take when firing.
Firing at a target with marked scoring rings, your score is marked depending on how near to the centre of the target you manage to get. For this you use either a large, single target or a card with 5 or 10 separate targets marked on it. When firing at a card with multiple targets, you aim to place one or two rounds on each of them. Take as long as you need – the goal is accuracy.
Just like it sounds, speed and safety is the thing here. Get the round within the target area, but within a time limit. For instance, you may need to fire 10 rounds in 40 seconds with a No.8 rifle – not too easy when you have to reload manually after each shot.
Now it gets more challenging. For this you have to get all rounds to fall within a target area. But, the targets only appear for a short time before vanishing again. You must hit it before it disappears. By the end of the practice the target may have appeared – for perhaps 5 seconds – and disappeared up to 5 times. Just to make it even more difficult, it’ll sometimes appear at random time intervals – so you can’t anticipate it!
Do well on all of these and you may find you have a talent for marksmanship. Starting to feel competitive? Why not enter one of our shooting competitions?
If you’re good, and we mean really good, then you could qualify to shoot with the best in the country at the Bisley and Pirbright competitions. There are several events for individuals and teams. The annual highlight is the Inter-Service Cadet Rifle Meeting (ISCRM), a target shooting competition where you get to compete against members of the ACF (Army Cadet Force) and SCC (Sea Cadet Corps).
All Air Cadets have the opportunity to take part in competitive target shooting and there are a number of other local, national and international target shooting competitions held each year.
The Cadet Inter-Service Skill At Arms Meeting (CISSAM) takes place annually on the ranges at Purbright. Like the rifle meeting at Bisley, it’s a top level competition for teams and individuals.
There are further competitive events available to you, including even a postal competition arranged by the RAF (Reserve Forces) Small Arms Association (RAF(RF)SAA). This enables those who are unable to travel to still compete with others throughout the country.