Shooting and Marksmanship
Cadets across the country have the opportunity to participate in the sport of rifle shooting. When the ATC was originally formed, it was a recruiting organisation for the Royal Air Force, as such it made good sense for marksmanship to be on the training syllabus. While this is no longer the case, shooting remains one of the most popular cadet activities.
Safety is paramount with all ATC activities and shooting is certainly no exception. Training is an integral part of the system and each cadet is fully trained in whichever rifle they will be using. Supervising staff are similarly trained to deal with any eventualities and to ensure that the range is run safely and efficiently. All rifles are fired from the prone position (the firer is lying on their stomach) at static targets.
A “range” is a location designed so that people can take part in shooting under controlled conditions and ranges come in many shapes and sizes. Initially, shooting takes place with the target 25m from the firer, either on a 25m indoor range or a 25m barrack (outdoor) range. As the firer advances through the weapons they will start to shoot at ranges of 100m or more.
Cadets are able to take part in Shooting activities as soon as they join the organisation. Cadets are initially trained on either Air Rifles, or the No. 8 Enfield Rifle. The cadets will undergo a period of training on the specific rifle after which they will be assessed to ensure they are competent and safe to fire the rifle. Once cadets are trained in the safe handling of the rifle they can then be taught marksmanship principles, to improve their performance and confidence.
Once a cadet reaches the age of 14 they are eligible to train on the L98 rifle. Before a cadet can begin training, they will need to have shown competence in the No. 8 rifle. The L98 differs from previous rifles in that the ammunition is held within a magazine. However the rifle still requires manual cocking.
If a cadet shows particular competency on the L98 and is a good marksman, they maybe considered for training on the L81 rifle. This is a highly accurate rifle and is only used in marksman competitions.
Marksmanship Qualifications and Competitions
There are several competitions run through out the year in which cadets can compete against other teams. These cover all the rifles a can may be trained on and are run throughout the year.
As well as regular competitions cadets can gain marksmanship awards for each rifle. The cadet is assessed under various conditions to determine how accurate they are and how well they can apply the marksmanship principles taught to them. There are 4 different levels of award, starting at Squadron Marksman and building up though Wing, Region to Corps. Marksman standard.
Cadets who participate in the inter Corps shooting competition are also eligible to obtain a Cadet 100 award, signifying they are one of the 100 best shots or the Cadet 50 award, signifying they are one of the 50 best shots.