The Army's new zeroing target is finding favor at training ranges — and saving units some serious ammunition.
One of the new target's designers — Sgt. 1st Class Ash Hess, a master marksmanship trainer with the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, Georgia — said initial feedback from the field is that the number of rounds it takes to zero M4 and M16 series weapons has dropped approximately 50 percent.
The reason: The new target eliminates guesswork and the potential for arguments about how many clicks it takes to accurately move the point of impact.
"If it takes three clicks per box and you're only doing two, it's going to take you all day to get across the paper," Hess said. "And you're expending rounds each time you do it. The new targets are based on minutes of angle [MOA], and the adjustments for the most common optics are printed on the bottom of the target. Everybody using the target knows what the adjustment is supposed to be. It's an easy target to understand."
With average shooters, Hess said, it took 18 to 35 rounds to zero a weapon with the old targets. That's now down to 10 to 15 rounds.
The target can also be used as a scoring target for conducting short-range marksmanship and pistol training.
The target does away with the familiar silhouette in the center, instead using a center diamond surrounded by concentric circles. It's overlaid on a 1 MOA grid, which is designed to work with the primary sighting optics used today.
The targets are available on heavy stock Rite in the Rain waterproof paper, as well as regular Army paper stock, Hess said. Shot groups tend to show up better on the Rite in the Rain paper, likely due to its heavier weight, Hess observed. The unique waterproofing properties might also factor into cleaner impact marks.
According to Adam Rotruck, government sales representative for JL Darling LLC., owner of the Rite in the Rain brand, the new zeroing target, as well as new "Alternate Course C Qualification" and "Slow Fire Qualification" targets combined for sales of more than 100,000 in the first quarter of 2017.
"We are extremely encouraged with the growth in such a short period of time, especially since the NSNs [national stock numbers] weren't assigned until late January of 2017," Rotruck said.
Hess says he sometimes hears soldiers say the new targets are not yet posted in training doctrine, but pointed to new versions of Army Training Circular 3-22-9 that include details on the target.