US Army publication: TT 23-71-1, is a training text on the fast and accurate method of fire called Rifle Quick Kill, and Basic Rifle Marksmanship.

Rifle Quick Kill (Rifle Quick Kill), was taught BEFORE the soldier was introduced to aimed fire which utilizes the sights (Rifle Marksmanship). In just minutes, soldiers were taught to use Rifle Quick Kill to hit small aerial targets with BB guns.

This article, focuses on and contains information on Rifle Quick Kill, not Rifle Marksmanship.

In the Army text, words are often CAPITALIZED. Apparently that was done for emphasis. An example is my capitalization of the word "before" above. Another is the capitalization of the words "instinct shooting" immediately below. Also the text was written using "he" rather than "he/she" language.


Rifle Quick Kill was developed from the shooting method called INSTINCT SHOOTING.

It is a distinct departure from precision shooting methods. Rifle Quick Kill is doing what comes naturally. The key to it, is simplicity.


Some individuals can hit close range targets without making an apparent effort TO AIM. And, prior to 1954, there was no program to teach that ability to others.

Then, in 1954, a program which used a BB gun for a training aid, made it possible to teach anyone to hit a close range target without using the sights.

If time allows, it is best to use the sights. But, when an occasion calls for the speed of reflex reaction to survive, there is no substitute for a ready and working knowledge of Rifle Rifle Quick Kill.


Vision skills such as: depth perception, size and distance discrimination, and coordination between eyes, brain and muscles, are highly important in shooting.

In Rifle Quick Kill, a soldier must learn to focus on a given point of a target for a tenth of a second to a second in order to effectively engage a target.

It is not enough to see the bulk of the target. He must instinctively look at a specific spot within the overall area of the target, and that spot MUST capture his complete attention.

[It is similar looking at a door with a door knob. To hit the door knob or close to it, the firer must focus on it.]

That is the difference between merely seeing the target and REALLY LOOKING at it.


Determining which eye is the master or dominant eye is important for success in the use of Rifle Quick Kill. If one shoots right handed, and their left eye is dominant, then hits will tend to be to the left or he will miss left when shooting without use of the sights.

In such a case, keeping the head high and turned some to the right, can help to compensate for that.

Author's Note: This explains why if you are right eye dominant and Point Shooting with your LEFT or weak hand, your target hits will tend to be to the right, or you may miss to the right. So you may need to move your target focus point to the left to hit the target center.

To determine which eye is the dominant eye, the instructor stands in front of the soldier at a distance of 6 to 10 feet, and places his forefinger against his nose.

The soldier is told to concentrate on that point of focus with both eyes, and extend his dominant arm and form a circle with his thumb and index finger forming a circle, and look through the circle and focus on the nose of the instructor.

The soldier's eye which appears directly behind the circle is the MASTER EYE.

To find out which of your eyes is dominant:

a. Look at a door across the room or an opposite wall,

b. Focus on the door knob or a light switch,

c. Extend both hands out in front of you and overlap your thumbs and index fingers to form a rough circle about 2 inches in diameter,

d. Center the door knob or light switch in the circle, and then,

e. Keeping the object centered, bring your hands back to your face.

When your hands touch your face, your dominant eye will be looking through the circle.


Instruction in Rifle Quick Kill should be preceded by a demonstration to instill confidence in the shooter, as confidence is key to effectiveness in the "Rifle Quick Kill" method of shooting.

During the training, the instructor should encourage and congratulate as the soldier as he succeeds. NEVER be negative, and NEVER reprimand as long as he is trying.

When the soldier has put on safety glasses and is in a proper shooting position:

a. Standing with feet comfortably spread, with his weight on the balls of his feet for easy body balance and mobility, and leaning slightly forward,

b. With the rifle being supported with the "weak" hand towards the front,

c. And with the back of the weapon locked into the pocket of his shoulder, and stock welded to his jaw,

d. With head erect, and with BOTH eyes open and looking well over the weapon (2 to 3 inches), NOT down the barrel,

he should raise the muzzle up at an angle of about 75 degrees, and fire into the air.

The BB should be able to be seen. He is in reality, firing an inexpensive tracer.

Then the instructor shows the soldier the initial target (3 inch metal disc), and tells the soldier that he is going to toss the target a distance of 2-4 meters above the soldier's head and slightly in front of him.

(Because the soldier's line of vision is above the barrel, he will need to concentrate his focus at the TOP EDGE of the aerial target. Then his line of fire will be toward the center of the target, not below it.)

The instructor tells the soldier to LOOK at the TOP EDGE of the target, (NOT aim, point, track or lead it). He also tells the soldier NOT to look at the barrel. The soldier MUST learn to concentrate his focus on a given point.

The instructor then throws two or three targets into the air for the soldier to observe prior to the soldier firing his first shot.

To be able to do that and also see the soldier's positioning of his rifle, and whether the soldier is LOOKING at his target or pointing at it, and also follow the path of the BB, the instructor will need to stand right next to the solder. He should face the soldier's strong side but around to the rear about 30 degrees or so, with one foot in front of the soldiers feet, and the other foot in back of the soldier. That way, he will be close enough to both observe, and also reach in front of the soldier to throw targets into the air.

After each target is thrown and fired upon, the soldier lowers his rifle, cocks it, remounts it, and raises the muzzle up again for firing.

When the soldier is able to hit the target about 8 out of 10 times, the instructor should use the smaller target (2 1/2 inch). If he looks at its TOP EDGE, he will hit it.


If the soldier's head is to far down on the stock, he may miss the target, because he has to drop the barrel below it in order to see it.

And if the soldier has trouble hitting the smaller target, DON'T let him miss many times before going back to the larger target. Rotate back and forth until the soldier is able to hit either one with regularity.

At this stage, the instructor may allow him to hold the weapon at the "high port" position as a target is tossed into the air, and then mount the weapon while LOOKING at the target, and engage it.

The soldier may desire to fire at smaller targets; such as candy Life Savers or salt tablets, and he should be encouraged to do so, but on his own time.

When the instructor has one soldier hitting the target 8 out of 10 times, he should begin instructing the second soldier. And when the second soldier is doing as well as the first, the instructor pairs the two off as coach and pupil to work together. The coach and pupil should switch position after each magazine is fired.

After he has paired off all his soldiers, he becomes an observer and adviser.


Aerial shooting dramatizes our natural ability to shoot, builds confidence, and fires up enthusiasm. In addition, the soldier learns to hit moving targets.

However, shooting men on the ground is "the name of the game", and the next step is ground targets.

To engage ground targets, the soldier should look at the base of the ground target as opposed to the top of the aerial target.

It is a natural inclination to shoot over ground targets because of a tendency to compare the barrel with the target, and overestimate the distance to the target.

Also, if he misses low, he still might hit the target with the ricochet.

A rack of 2 inch wide by 4 inch high miniature silhouette targets should be placed on the ground at a range of 15 feet. Each target should have 1 inch colored spot painted in the lower third of the target.

Then, with the soldier in the "proper" position, the instructor tells him to "stick" or jab [or point], at his target as he brings the weapon to his shoulder and stock-welds the stock to jaw. The soldier should not "flag", "swing" or "snap" his weapon into firing position.

During the mounting and firing, the soldier's eyes (BOTH EYES OPEN) MUST be riveted to the colored spots just above the base of the targets.

To do that, he MUST drop the weapon from his line of vision so that he makes no comparison between the target and the muzzle.

And if he misses, he is to engage a different target rather than continuing to fire on the missed target. As he sees the strike, if the miss is high or low, right or left, he will be inclined to shoot right back where he shot or bracket it. Shifting targets will erase the incorrect visual picture from his mind.

In combat, the soldier would not shift targets should he miss. He would continue his effort to engage the approaching enemy.

Shifting from a missed target to another is a means of assisting him in gaining skill in the "Rifle Quick Kill" method.

He should shoulder the weapon in one smooth fluid movement, and fire as soon as it is in position.

He should not hesitate to fire. If he waits, he is apt to aim or attempt to draw a comparison between the target and the muzzle.

On the other hand, he should not hurry his shot. Haste makes for erratic shooting.

As in aerial shooting, the instructor should be positive and encouraging so that the soldier's confidence and enthusiasm stay at a high pitch. STRESS SMOOTHNESS AND RHYTHM.


To bridge the gap between firing an air rifle and firing service weapons, the soldier should engage an E - type silhouette target with the air rifle for about 5 minutes prior to firing the service weapon. A 2-3 inch circle should be marked in the center of the lower third of the silhouette. It is the "looking" point for the soldier.

Up until now, the soldier has confined his firing to an air rifle. He has learned to LOOK at the target and NOT his weapon. That in a phrase, is Rifle Quick Kill.

The effective Rifle Quick Kill shooter does not consciously align his barrel when acquiring a target, but it will be in his peripheral vision. The relationship is similar to that of a driver of a car who while looking ahead maintains his position on the road via the hood of the car appearing in his peripheral vision.

Also, with the air rifle, there were no sights protruding above the air rifle barrel to distract his eyes.

However, the prominent sights of the M14 may distract his eyes away from the target, and also block the top of the barrel from his peripheral vision. As a result, he may not be able to visually relate to the weapon as well as before. And maintaining that relationship is key for firing effectively.

To assist in the transition, the sights should be taped, and a piece of tubing or dowel added between the sights and also secured with tape. Its placement should insure that the top will be visually apparent to give the illusion of the straight line plane of the barrel of the air rifle.


The soldier engages the E-type silhouette at a range of 15 meters. After firing 5 rounds, he and the instructor should examine the target. The soldier may be grouping well; but, if his strikes are to either side of the target, they will be off the target at an extended range. If he is vertically centered, he should be able to extend his effective range without difficulty.

If the strikes are to the right or left side of the target, the instructor should take into consideration the soldier's MASTER EYE and the position of his head against the stock. Following any needed correction, the soldier should shoot another 5 rounds at 15 meters.


After firing at 15 meters, the firing line is moved back to 30 meters, and the soldier fires 10 rounds. He and the instructor then examine the target.

Finally, the soldier moves back to 50 meters which is the ultimate extent of range in Rifle Quick Kill training during the Basic Rifle Marksmanship Program. The soldier fires 10 rounds.

After successful firing, the piece of tubing or dowel is discarded, and he is taken back through the 3 ranges just fired, and engages the target with the same number of rounds. That will insure that he recognizes the training rib is no longer necessary. Both front and rear sights continue to be taped throughout the exercise.


The soldier is now ready for Night Firing. And the procedure is identical to that conducted during the day. Also, the sights should continue to be taped.

Night firing should be conducted only to the limit of visibility as one can not hit a target he cannot see, except by luck.


Some soldiers may feel that they can effectively engage any target -- regardless of range -- without using the sights. To dispel such notions a brief demonstration should be presented by an instructor or member of the Rifle Quick Kill demonstration team, using his sights, and engaging an E-type silhouette from the prone position and at a range of 200 - 300 meters.

The purpose is to establish that during the Rifle Quick Kill instruction, the soldiers were taught a fast, effective, unaimed method of fire necessary to engage fleeting or surprise close range targets.

They now will be learning the sighting method, which as shown by the demonstrator's tight group at an extended range, is quite different from, but compatible with the Rifle Quick Kill Method.

SOME Q'S & A's

- Why keep both eyes open?

Because your focus is sharper, your depth perception is more acute and your alignment is truer. When you close one eye, you reduce your visual efficiency by 50%.

- Why do you tell me to look at the top of an aerial target?

For two reasons. First, your eyes are higher than the barrel. If your eyes are riveted on the top of the target, your line of fire will be toward the center of the target and not below it.

Second, you need to learn how to focus on a point. If you look at the whole but small target, you will shoot all around it, but if you concentrate on the TOP EDGE your shot will be on target.

Eventually, as you become more proficient, you will be able to look at any spot on the target and hit it. (This is why experienced "Rifle Quick Kill" shooters are able to shoot the paper center out of a washer).

- Why (if the soldier is right-handed) must I extend my left hand so far down the barrel toward the muzzle?

Because it is you leading hand and it takes the weapon to the target, just as when you point at an object you extend your pointing arm in order to reduce the margin of error.

- Why do I miss so consistently below aerial targets?

Because you are getting your head down too far on the barrel and having to drop the weapon out of the way so that you can see the target, or you are looking at the whole target instead of the TOP EDGE.

- Why do you say I can't shoot over the target?

You can, but only by pointing the weapon over the top of the target or looking too far over the top of the target. If you look at the TOP EDGE. There is no way to shoot over it because to do so, you would have to blot out the target with your barrel.

- Why do you say that small targets are no more difficult to hit than large ones?

The apparent difficulty in hitting small targets is primary psychological. If you concentrate on the TOP EDGE (whatever its size), you will hit it.

- Why is it important for me to always lean into the weapon whether target is aerial type or ground type?

It might not make too much difference with an air rifle except that your balance is better. If you try shooting a service weapon off-balance and leaning backward, you may be knocked down.

- Why is it important for me to be able to see the BB?

To help to identify and explain errors.

- Why don't I lead, track or aim?

Simplicity is the key to "Rifle Quick Kill" fire. It is spontaneous and reactive. It is not thought out, calculated or calibrated such as with artillery fire.

In "Rifle Quick Kill" your eyes work as built-in firing solution computers. That is why Rifle Quick Kill is so fast and targets can be effectively engaged so quickly.

- Why do you tell me to slow down?

Because haste makes waste. If you jump at your target, you get off a jerky inaccurate shot. To be an effective and skillful "Rifle Quick Kill" shooter, you must develop a smooth flowing rhythm in mounting the weapon and getting off a shot.

- Why must I look at the BOTTOM of a ground target, if I look at the TOP of an aerial one?

There are two reasons for this. First, it is a natural inclination to shoot over ground targets because of a tendency to overestimate distances and an urge to draw a comparison between the gun barrel and the target.

By looking at the lower portion of the target and dropping the weapon down out of the line of sight, you are able to hit the target near the center of mass.

Second, if you do miss, you still may engage the target with the ricochet. If you fire over the target's head, you will not only miss, you also will have no visible means of correction. You won't be able to tell by how much you went over.

- Why do you insist that, if I miss a ground target, I do not shoot at it again, but go to another target?

If you miss a ground target and see the strike of the bullet, you are inclined to do one of two things, either start to bracket the target, or shoot right back where you saw the erring bullet strike because your eyes are attracted to that point. You need to wipe that visual picture out of you mind. And you do this by going to another target. Then you can return to the missed target.

- I find I can now effectively engage aerial targets and ground targets with the sightless air rifle with no trouble, but I am shooting at a range of 15 feet. How can I transfer this new found knowledge and ability to a service weapon with the protruding sights and when my range is many meters, not a matter of a few feet.

First, you won't be shooting your service weapon at aerial targets. You were taught to do that to dramatically illustrate how much better you can shoot that than you thought you could. In addition, you learned how to hit moving targets.

With ground targets, you fire on them exactly as you have done with the air rifle. You simply look over the sights (NOT AROUND THEM).

You fasten your eyes on the intended point of impact (the orange spot which has been painted in the lower center of the silhouette), bring your weapon to your shoulder, and LOOKING over the sights, pull the trigger.

You will hit; and, with practice, you will be deadly at ranges up to 100 meters and more. At distant ranges, and when you have plenty of time, use your sights.

"Rifle Quick Kill" is just as the name implies. When an enemy target appears at a near range and you survival depends on speed and reaction combined with accuracy, "Rifle Quick Kill" is the answer.

Some Remedies For Aerial Target Errors:

Look at, don't point at targets.

Slow down and develop rhythm.

Concentrate on the TOP EDGE of the target.

Check the position of the weapon against shoulder and the jaw against the stock.

Check for dominant eye.

Head position - might be looking down side of barrel in stead of over it.

There is no way to miss above an aerial target if you are "looking" at it, because to shoot over it, you would have to block out the target with the barrel.

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