becoming an RCO

Discussion in 'Shooting, Hunting and Fishing' started by Sierra_Hotel, Dec 20, 2009.

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  1. Hi all,

    I am looking for advice as to the best way of becoming a qualified RCO on military ranges, provided I meet the criteria.

    I am currently an Officer Cadet in a UAS, and would like to become an RCO so that I can try and get more shooting running within our own organisation and with the other equivalent services. I do have considerable shooting experience with both military and civilian weapons over the last five years in and out of CCF. Would I qualify to become a range officer as an OC in the UAS? (I have a form 90 and service number etc, so should hold full reservist status, but no one on sqn seems to know much about shooting)

    If anyone could point me in the right direction it would be superb!

    Many thanks, and Merry Christmas,

  2. UAS? And how old are you?
  3. Office Cadets can not hold Range Quals
  4. University Air Squadron. RAF equivalent to the OTC.

    Not entirely true. S-H may not be able to hold a military RCO ticket in the capacity of an Officer cadet, but there's nothing to stop them privately getting an NSRA RCO certificate to conduct .22 ranges or an NRA ticket for fullbore.
    They just won't be able to conduct military shooting without the Miltary approval.

    S-H, depending on how your unit is structured, and the facilities you intend to use (unit's own firearms on a military range, or buy a block-membership to a local civvy club, use their club guns on their range), you may be able to go the Civvy route.
    Even on a civvy range, you won't be able to conduct a "military shoot", but you can probably play it if a group of you want to work on your shooting outside official UAS activities and were shooting as part of a civvy club and therefore ignored the fact that you all happened to be Officer cadets because you're there as members of the civvy club.
    Although if you did negotiate a block-membership thing with a local club, they'll have their own RCOs whose supervision you can shoot under anyway.

    There is an age issue in that you would usually be expected to be 21 and have experience in fullbore shooting before taking the NRA qualification, but there have been exceptions to the age limit.
  5. What do you mean by that exactly Hemmers?
  6. I was under the impression that the civilian qualifications were inadequate (read: MoD want you to do it their way) to supervise military personnel on a military shoot.
    If a group of UAS people joined a civvie club and were shooting in the capacity of members, then NRA/NSRA qualifications were of course fine (although the club will have RCOs, so there would be no pressing need for S-H to get certified anyway). Tis nothing to do with the military. It's outside UAS activities.
    I was under the impression however that if they were on a shoot as part of their unit activities, it needed to be supervised by someone with the military certification. i.e. If they rocked up on UAS time at a local civvie range, and had a UAS training session, it would be a military activity, and would need military supervision.

    I'm happy to be proven wrong, I just remember a civvie club was looking at filling some dead time when the club was closed by inviting in local cadets.
    However, a cadet instructor piped up that in order for cadets to come down as a "cadet activity" they were going to need to get the range an MoD safety certificate for it to be used by cadets (civvie ranges now being approved by NSRA/NRA, not the MoD), and the cadet unit would have had to provide their own RCOs, or the members of the club opening up for the cadet nights would have to get MoD RCO tickets in order to supervise cadets.
    If they came to the club in a civvie capacity (and all "just happened" to be cadets) that was fine, nothing to do with cadets. But as a cadet activity, it needed MoD sanctioned RCOs.

    I was under the impression that was a general military personnel shooting thing (I'm guessing the NRA RCO ticket doesn't cover GPMG, semi-auto fullbore rifles which are Sec. 5 or mortar work. The needs of the two certifications and scope of the firearms used are quite different), but the cadets do have lots of random rules that aren't used elsewhere. Or the cadet instructor could have been talking bollox.

    As I say, happy to be proved wrong.

    If S-H is under 21 he'll struggle to get any certification anyway other than perhaps an NSRA ticket for .22 ranges.
    I know someone who got their NRA ticket just before they turned 20, but they were an Atheling. And on the GB U-25 squad. He had oodles of shooting and coaching experience going back to the age of 12 or so, and got the highest mark on the written RCO exam, beating guys who had been shooting 20 years, so they made an exception to the usual 21-year lower age limit :)
  7. I see what you mean now. I thought you meant to shoot "military disciplines or practices" as opposed to actually having military personnel.

    I have not checked up on the requirements for military training but I think you are broadly right going by a conversation I had with Martin Farnan a couple of years ago. I have been thinking of running a Civ Vs Mil competition and it will be interesting to see what the requirements for that turn out to be. It will be on an MOD range which is a start at any rate.
  8. I think civvie and military RCO quals are mutually exclusive.

    As an example, the military comps at Bisley - eg the Methuen - are run by military RCOs using military procedures. Civvie teams obey the military SOPs*.

    *(I take part in the Methuen mostly for the joy of strolling around Century with a slung Enfield with closed bolt. Ooooh, the horror on the faces of the TR crowd - I think they sometimes forget where Bisley heritage really lies.....)
  9. I'm shoulder to shoulder with you on that! :)

    I think you're right on using Mil procedures. I shall have to find a Military RCO who has some civvy experience too. The civvies will be in knots otherwise, things are done so differently. I've run civvy shoots where competitors have balked at the prospect of moving from one fire position to another with a round chambered and the safety applied. I couldn't help but remark that they didn't appear to have much faith in their own weapons handling.
  10. Ok interest piqued, how do I go about converting my 1-3 to a civvy qual,if at all possible?
  11. You need to be an NRA member as far as I know. You'll probably just get it issued. Maybe a one or two day course. Phone the NRA at Bisley and ask for Training department. Used to be Phyliss Farnan.
  12. ancienturion

    ancienturion LE Book Reviewer

    The contact is Maureen Peach and you do not have to be a NRA member but there is a differential on cost between members and non members.
  13. It's a fair comment, but it's all about risk management. Most target shooters don't need to move with loaded firearms, so they don't (unless they're doing Service rifle, Practical Shooting or whatnot). If you're not required to move during the course, then why leave your gun loaded when you've finished?
    Service rifle shooters will move with a round loaded as dictated by the course, but I doubt they'll leave the rifle loaded at the back of the point when they're done, or drive home with it loaded.
    I believe there was a case a few years ago of a cadet coming off Century at the Ashburton. Somehow their coach allowed them to come off the range with the bolt closed, and as it transpired, a round loaded.

    Rifle was put into a slip, dropped on the floor, and the rifle fired. Landed near the L&M as I heard it. Was bloody lucky noone was hurt with the number of people that are usually milling round at the Ashburton.

    Also bear in mind, the rules match the firearms. The safety catches on civilian target rifles are primitive (mainly because the rules have developed such that noone uses them - they just remove the bolt or stick a breech flag in - far better visual cue to everyone around you and the RCO that the firearm is clear, than looking to ascertain the position of a small tab!). These primitive safeties typically only lock the trigger - not like the more modern systems on combat guns that physically lock the firing pin. As a result, jolts can still bounce the sears and slam-fires are entirely possible even with the safety on - as happened at the Ashburton.
  14. I don't mean to pick a fight but......

    Have you ever had a good look at SA80? A very primitive trigger bar safety compared with the the firing pin lock and trigger disconnecter on a Lee Enfield - a design that is now over 120 years old. The Mauser action which many target rifles are or were built on has a similar degree of safety, bolt lock, firing pin lock, trigger disconnect.

    I agree about going off the range with a loaded rifle but I was talking about moving from standing to kneeling to prone and so on.
  15. True enough about the SA80, although I wasn't aware of the LE and Mauser's heritage on that front. You learn something new everyday! But of course the rules are pitched exactly because of those ambiguities. Given that some rifles have effective safeties, and some have primitive safeties, it's unsurprising that the lowest common denominator is played to. If you don't need to move with it loaded, then you don't. I've seen an Anschutz without a safety catch at all! It doesn't need one. You get down, shoot, and get up when you finish. It's also a single-shot rifle, so it's not a matter of clearing the gun so much as a matter of not reloading it. Many target rifles are fitted with very basic safeties on the basis that the rules mean they are never used, so there is little point in the manufacturers investing time and effort in fitting complex pin- and bolt-lock mechanisms.

    We agree that getting too worked up about moving around with the safety on betrays a lack of confidence in one's ability to hande a firearm safely. Hunters do it all the time - on rough ground as well, not a manicured range. As do soldiers, and Police (ok, we'll forget that last one - they don't have the greatest track record).
    However, beyond Service Rifle and Practical Shooting, I can't think of a target discipline where you actually move from position to position in the course of a shoot or shoot on the move. It's unsurprising therefore that people get hung up about it when they come to one of those disciplines from another, because in pretty much every other discipline it's appropriate to clear the gun when you break position - because you've finished shooting!

    Gallery Rifle is IMO a prime example of people getting a bit too paranoid.
    It's appropriate not to just stick the safety on between distances/positions because you usually need to reload anyway, so you wait to do that till after the targets are scored and patched and the range cleared. Most courses require more shots than a single mag can hold, so it's little effort to drop the mag out and rack the slide for the RO to inspect the clear chamber as you can't load a mag containing several distance's worth of ammo anyway.

    However, the to-ing and fro-ing to case the guns between distances is (IMO) ridiculous. I've watched people walking back to the point from whatever distance to case the gun, then walking back forwards to patch the target, before walking back to the point to uncase the gun and walking forward to the next distance! All seems a bit OTT. Not sure what's wrong with leaving them on the ground under the watchful eye of the RO.
    A bullet will punch it's way through an average case or slip anyway. Not really any safer than leaving the rifles on the point uncased and untouched - contrary to popular belief it won't go off on it's own, and every other short-range discipline manages it!