By Army Sgt. 1st Class Robert Jordan, North Carolina National Guard Public Affairs RALEIGH, N.C. – Air Force Lt. Col. Raynor Garey, a North Carolina National Guard communications officer, placed the rifle stock to his shoulder, breathed out and pulled the trigger. Keeping his kneeling shooting position, he took careful aim and fired again as the laser scored another hit.
No, the Air Guard has not developed a laser rifle, at least not yet, but they have taken advantage of an effective and economical shooting simulator called “Beamhit.”
“It’s a cheap, no hazard trainer and you can’t run out of bullets,” said Army Sgt. Marc Spain, a small arms repairer and North Carolina National Guard Shooting Team member.
Spain led a primary marksmanship class for soldiers and airmen drilling at the NCNG Joint Force Headquarters here, April 6 to 7.
Soldiers and Airmen used their normal weapons, the M-16 Rifle and M-9 Pistol for the training. Instead of ammo, they used small lasers attached to the barrel of the unloaded weapon. With each pull of the trigger a laser fires a small beam of light 25-meters away at a silhouette target simulating a man-sized target at 100-meters distance.
A computer screen showed the location of each hit on the target. Trainers corrected the shooters’ form after checking the scores.
“It helps with breath control, trigger pull, everything,” said Spain.
The trainer is portable and can be set up nearly anywhere, even in the atrium of the state’s headquarters during a drill weekend.
The asset’s portability and ease of setup make this tool a cost effective means of training for events like individual weapons qualification, an annual requirement for all soldiers. The Soldiers and Airmen will use the techniques practiced on the trainer and apply them to their ‘real world’ marksmanship qualification.
Garey thanked Spain for the training put the rifle back on the ground as soldiers just out of a briefing got ready to shoot.
“There is always time to train,” said Spain.
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