This year at Camp Perry, I attended Small Arms Firing School (SAFS). I’ve been working on off hand but I have been in desperate need of some more coaching so this was a perfect opportunity for me.
It’s a three day event. Well, sort of, the first day is just registration. There is only one registration day for SAFS and there are no same day registrations. Since there were almost 500 folks in SAFS the welcome center was busy when I rolled in around 10, after a leisurely breakfast, so get there early.
It took me around 2 hours to get all the way processed and buy some t-shirts at the CMP store.
Day two starts at the theater at 7. It was an unusually crisp morning for High Power week at Camp Perry.
After some review of the features of the M16, line and pit commands the USAMU went over some basics of marksmanship. I took several pages of notes it was good stuff.
At this point the class broke into 2 groups “beginner” and “advanced” the advanced group stayed in the theater for more classroom instruction i left with the beginner class. We gathered our stuff and took the long walk down Viale to the 200 yard assembly line. There was time to gather my gear from my truck which I had parked near Rodriguez, however there were some folks that had trouble getting to the line in time after retrieving their gear from the barracks. I would recommend either covering and parking your stuff outside the theater or, keeping it in your vehicle between the theater and Viale.
Once on the line, we were broken up into firing points and every 2 firing points had a coach. We then spent a couple hours dry firing, working on our positions and generally getting advice from our coach. I got a lot of value out of this, and I made some changes to my off hand position so I feel a bit more stable.
Some time around noon the rest of the group joined us and we went into live fire practice. Just like a “regular” match we broke up into 4 relays two of us went to the pits 2 stayed to shoot and score. I went to the pits first.
We each shot 10 rounds slow prone, 10 rapid sitting, 10 off hand. No sighters but no scores were recorded. I took this chance to try “center mass” hold which USAMU seemed to be pushing hard. My coach however preferred 6:00 hold. I decided to stick with 6:00 at least for the rest of the season.
We wrapped up around 4:30 which gave me time to spend some money on the row, again.
Day three is the “M16 EIC” match which is a proper CMP EIC match with a slightly different course of fire, 5 sighters and 10 shots slow prone, 10 rapid prone, 10 rapid sitting, 10 off hand. all fired at 200 yards. Everyone must use the issued CMP Rock River match rifle and the issued web sling, Shooters can use their other shooting gear, coats, gloves, mags, and lucky shooting hats.
I must have learned something, as I beat my best pretty significantly. While I didn’t make points, a couple of guys from my club did on their first trip to Perry, which was very cool.
It was a great experience, and I learned a lot. I have been trying to remind myself to “focus on the front sight control the trigger and breath” with every shot. While pretty basic it helps. Anyone looking to improve their marksmanship regardless of skill or experience level would benefit from SAFS, I highly recommend it, I intend to keep coming back until I can make points.