All Air Cadets will get the opportunity to have a go at shooting. You might think shooting would be easy after playing on the Xbox. However, good marksmanship requires focus, agility and a very steady hand.

Before you can go shooting you will need to learn how to handle weapons safely. For each weapon there is a series of drills that need to be learnt and you will be assessed on these in a Weapons Handling Test (WHT).

Shooting in Air Cadets is always done from the prone position (lying on your stomach) at static targets. You will fire on both indoor and outdoor ranges at distances from 25 – 100 metres.

Small Bore Shooting

The Lee Enfield No8 Rifle is a bolt action rifle. Rounds are fed in by hand. These rifles started out as the Lee Enfield .303 rifle, which was used in World War II. Unless you use air rifles, this will be the first rifle that you shoot on as a cadet.

You will begin with dry training learning how to handle the rifle and all its different parts. You will then learn the commands and safety practices used on the rifle range. Once you have passed the Weapons Handling Test (WHT) you will be ready to go on the range and fire.

Types of Shooting

On the range you will be taken through the different types of firing and coached by experienced staff. Shooting is not easy and it will take time and practice to become a good marksman.

Type of Shooting Description
Grouping Select a single point on the target and fire a number of rounds at it. The aim is for all rounds to form the smallest group possible
Deliberate Fire Firing at a target with marked scoring rings, your score is marked depending on how near to the centre of the target you manage to get. Take as long as you need – the goal is accuracy
Rapid Fire Get the round within the target area, but within a time limit. For instance, you may need to fire 10 rounds in 40 seconds with a No.8 rifle – not too easy when you have to reload manually after each shot
Snap Fire For this you have to get all rounds to fall within a target area. But, the targets only appear for a short time before vanishing again. You must hit it before it disappears. By the end of the practice the target may have appeared – for perhaps 5 seconds – and disappeared up to 5 times.
Full Bore Shooting

If you are over 14 and have become proficient in the use of the No8 Rifle you can move to the next stage in shooting using the L98A2 Cadet GP rifle. This rifle is modified for cadet use from the Enfield L85A2 used by the UK Armed Forces.

This rifle has a 30 round magazine and it is re-cocked by gas from the previous fired round. You will need to go through new training and again pass a WHT before firing the rifle. As it uses high velocity rounds this rifle has a bit more of a robust kick than the No8 Rifle.

Shooting Competitions

As with many activities in the Air Cadets there is a chance to compete with other cadets. This can be done at many levels with the top competitions against the Army and Sea Cadets at Purbright and Bisley.

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