A new four-phase marksmanship test featuring more realistic scenarios will soon roll out for the Army, Army National Guard and Army Reserve.
The old Cold War-era test will be phased out after The Infantry Center at Fort Benning, Georgia, publishes a new marksmanship manual, TC 3-20.40 “Training and Qualification, Individual Weapons.”
Before the new marksmanship course becomes standard, many ranges will need upgrades.
The new test will introduce a multitarget scenario, where several targets pop up at the same time. Some ranges will need to update their target filter software to allow for this change. The old test only featured single-target popups.
Additionally, many ranges have improper target exposure. Marksmanship course standards set target exposure at 90%, while studies at different ranges found current targets range from 50% to 70% exposure.
The exposure problem puts shooters at a disadvantage. A standard target sized at 40 inches by 20 inches would have 36 inches of exposure if properly mounted. A target in the current exposure range would only show 28 inches.
Once the manual is published and distributed, leaders have one year to provide feedback before the new test becomes the standard. A formal implementation date has not been announced.
"It's still 40 targets; it's still 40 bullets," an official said. "It's the same targets that people have been shooting at for years."
But the new course adds the standing position to engage targets on two occasions during the course in addition to the kneeling and prone positions.
It also requires soldiers to change magazines on their own and seek cover on their own while they engage multiple targets at the same time, the official said. The current course consists mainly of one-at-a-time target exposures.