I would like to see more investment in ranges and training before we start worrying about a new rifle (if only because we would then have clearer requirements as to our needs).
What I meant when I said we needed more investment in ranges and [shooting] training breaks down as follows:
1. UK ranges are still either in meters or yards, which is why firing at 600 yards with a sight system configured for meters (e.g. SUSAT) your rounds fly over the top of the target. This kind of lack of investment produces doubts in soldiers as to their ability and the weapon's ability.
2. Gallery ranges are good for application of fire, a necessary and pre-requisite for accurate shooting but training should use both "gallery" and "live-fire" ranges, its no good having gallery ranges in Colchester if the nearest live-fire ranges are 200miles away. Range complexes should be co-located.
3. IBSR ranges are not used properly or enough. IBSR should be set up at every gallery range and all 'shoots' should use the facilities.
4. Night shooting is practised rarely but happens far more commonly,
5a. The APWT needs re-working to make it more reflective of actual shooting, e.g. more snap engagements of close targets and less of 300m long shots. The emphasis needs changing.
5b. TA Bounty should not depend on APWT passes, this promotes units falsifying reports for key personel and this leads to the same thing happening on BFT's etc.
6. Units should ensure that the marksman badge is properly distributed as a motivator.
7. Remedial training for poor shots should be mandatory.
8. Shooting instruction should cover more theory (fall of the round of distance, angles of shot, effects of heat and cold, wind effects etc) so that soldiers can employ the aiming-off practise more.
9. The shooting pam (20?) needs re-writing to more accurately reflect the needs of infantry vs, say the RLC. The minimum laid down allows teeth units that should practice shooting more not to.
10. Shoots in the the handbook need to loosen up on the positions, "the left knee here, the right arm supported etc" is fine for competitions, but don't reflect the battlefield (unless the enemy is attacking Middlewick).
11. All units should ensure that have WTWO's at least.
12. CO's should be made accountable for their units shooting standards to encourage the use of the ranges and the training.
13. More live-firing and gallery ranges need to be built and designed to incorporate platoons support weapons so soldiers can fire 5.56 with 50cal and 7.62 at the same time. Too many live-firing ranges are ammunition specific.
14. Range wardens? I can't think of a problem with them but I mention it here in case you can!
15. Officers and Seniors need to shoot more, too often they're running ranges or using the range time to write reports. By example means on the range as well Sir!
16. More live firing ranges need to be constructed to reflect the battlefields of today. This includes sand
17. Simulators need major investment to the SATS to make them 'real', it will allow them to be expanded and create more of an environment. Last time I used SATS it was full of blokes in russian winter gear running around a wood.
18. Patrol lanes are excellent for individual marksmanship and REEF - the number of these should be expanded and could be created almost on anywhere.
19. Most ranges, by default are rural, more urban live fire ranges need to be created.
Just some initial thoughts, anyone else?