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Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany

Readiness Enabler for Operational Forces  •
Fast reaction pistol shoot hones officers skills

By Cpl. Michael Kjaer | | June 2, 2000

Officers gathered at the MCLB Albany pistol range Friday for a period of professional military education on fast-reaction pistol shooting.
The course consisted of silhouette targets at ranges from 25 yards to seven yards. Each shooter was given 30 rounds in two magazines and had to place shots in two targets in a limited time while not hitting the silhouette target serving as an innocent bystander.
The course is different from the current pistol qualification course, but according to Master Sgt. Dennis Bayless, pistol range noncommissioned officer in charge, it is what senior Marine Corps personnel are trying to make the qualification process like.   
It is more realistic, said Bayless. In a real combat situation, you are only going to have a limited time to shoot, and youre not going to always have time to take well-aimed shots from a good shooting position.
The course of fire required the officers to shoot at the targets from the kneeling position, prone position, as well as shoot from the hip in a quick-draw style from the standing position.
According to Bayless instinctual shooting is what the fast-reaction training is for.
If you hear a shot from seven yards away youre probably not going to stop and place a well aimed shot, said Bayless. All your going to do is turn and shoot. Whether you hit him or not, the noise is going to scare him. If the first one doesnt shake him up enough or hit him, the second one will.
The reason for practicing shooting from the hip was for surprise situations where range is so close that exact aiming isnt necessary.
If you are in a hostile situation and an elevator door opens with terrorists just inside, you dont have time to aim, said Bayless. Shooting from the hip  you can fire and move backward, gaining some distance at the same time. At three to seven yards away, you dont have to have great sight alignment and sight picture to hit what youre aiming at.
According to Bayless, limited time exposure training is important because it gets the shooter accustomed to not having the time to place well-aimed shots, but at least hitting the target anyway.
It makes firing more of a reaction to a situation, said Bayless. You are firing in reaction to a threat rather than thinking about it. That may save the life of a Marine one day. We all hope we never have to use this training, but we want to know it if we do.
According to Bayless, the most important thing isnt necessarily to always place a killing shot, sometimes it is more important to shoot so that you have the chance to place that killing shot rather than receive it.