View Full Version : Say goodby to pulling butts...

07-25-03, 08:07 PM
The new Marine Corps Times has an interesting article. No more pulling butts, no more getting up early and standing around for hours at the range.

Electronic scoring and targets that pop up at the different yard lines.

Mirimar has it and is testing it....

I think we would be losing something by not pulling butts...


07-25-03, 08:22 PM
Will they be getting rid of the Known Distant course?
If they get rid of the KD course in boot camp.
What will take it's place?
Seem like they making like the "Army of One".
Marine Corps marksmanship training hasn't changed.
And it has proven worthy.
WHY fix something that isn't broken.
The Primary Marksmanship Instructor (PMI) in me.
Is crying big time.

Semper Fidelis

07-25-03, 08:46 PM
No more smuge pots, no more recruits hearing the "snap" of the bullet passing through the target. No more waving of "Magie's drawers".

I really HATE this kind of change! Let me tell you why. The biggest reason is that when you hear a story by someone new that has done something that you have done you can almost "feel" the experiance all over again and enjoy their reaction to something you've done and know about. I think it's called "relate".

Remember the mechanical pop up targets at ITR? They would start at the top of the hill and work their way down, then back up the hill in retreat. If you missed any they were still standing. We didn't need electronics to figure that one out.

07-25-03, 09:46 PM
I'm not sure where I read this, but somewhere I read that Rangers who fired on the USMC KD course went back to the Army pop-up course and their scores had improved as much as 20%.

I've had the opportunity (if you can call it that) to fire on the Army's rifle range, and it BITES. Their course is also a KD course, but the targets pop up at random. On one hand, this kind of adds to the realism of training, but on the other hand, if there happens to be a tree obstructing your view of the target, that's YOUR problem. YOUR score will be what suffers, and not the scores of those who were fortunate enough to have clear lanes.

Another drawback....the lack of the human element. This type of firing range is somewhat "high-tech" compared to the USMC course. I'm not sure how the Marine Corps will handle it if we make the switch to the Army type course, but the Army certainly does not maintain the range I fired on. What does this mean?...MECHANICAL FAILURE!!!! There were several times I and others noticed certain targets in our lanes bouncing like a basketball on crack as our rounds hit them, and they still did not go down until the control tower lowered them!!! This isn't a problem with the USMC's rifle range....any such problems are PROMPTLY corrected by line or pit NCO's getting on the case of any Marine down in the butts who just isn't moving fast enough.

07-25-03, 09:47 PM
The KD Course is still the same. The only change is the part about scoring and pulling butts.

There is a small PDA type device that shows the target and shots with automatic scoring.

Although I dont like the change myself....

A few of the plusses:
-no more waking up early
-only gone from work 1/2 the day
-you dont have to move from yard line to yardline
-no guess work on score
-instant feedback

Hm..... a few tweaks to the system and they could create a virtual coach... [Stephen Hawkins voice] shooter, move two clicks left.

Semper Fi,


07-26-03, 05:14 AM

Don't understand changing anything that has been working fine!
The time and the exercise they use won't hurt a thing!

I would also have to agree with the most that has been said so far.

07-26-03, 06:41 AM
A 1/2 day away from work? Becoming sufficient in marksmanship is our job therefore shooting is our "work". Getting up early? That one blows my mind. Moving from yard line to yardline, I got a fix for this all qualifying done from 500 meters. Sorry Top I'll have to agree with the majority on this if it ain't broke don't fix it!!

07-26-03, 06:58 AM
GSO wrote;

"I really HATE this kind of change! Let me tell you why. The biggest reason is that when you hear a story by someone new that has done something that you have done you can almost "feel" the experiance all over again and enjoy their reaction to something you've done and know about. I think it's called "relate".

My immediate gut reaction was to agree. I started to look for points to use to support and validate my concurring position.

Only two bootcamps, identical training, shared traditions and memories, etc. etc. etc.

Then I remembered something and checked it out. On this site, discussions on dress shoes going from brown to black, 45 posts and 406 views. And another discussion concerning C-Rats and MRE's, 69 posts and 753 views.

The eras overlapped, and when they didn't, one generation of Marines was still able to enter into a dialogue with another generation.

Which told me; "Don't sweat the petty shat!"

IF a change is for the better, rather than just for the sake of change, then let's get better.

And before THIS story must be explained to a computorized generation of Marines, let me repeat it.

1961, Staging Bn, Camp Pen. A quantity of us "old salts" (I was a Cpl.) were returning to Okinawa for a second tour. There was a SSgt in our platoon, and other than rank, he was a transplacement platoon member as we were.

He was a team shooter, jacket, gloves, etc. Snapping in prior to requalification was a drag, but he took it deathly serious. He was always on our ass, "quiet, no talking, no joking". "Quiet, I'm trying to concentrate."

Prequal day was pay-back time. 300 yd line, rapid fire. The butts disked the scores. For him, all deuces, no group, all over the target. We rolled on the floor laughing as he called the line NCO who called down to the butt NCO. 87 recorded hits on his target.

A count of the hits on our targets were ten each. (It's amazing that a pencil hole is the same size as a bullet hole.)

He was allowed to prequal again in the afternoon string, and was a changed man when he rejoined the platoon.

I don't know how I could explain it to a Marine who qualified on a computer.

07-26-03, 08:33 AM
I certainly hope that this doesn't happen....Marine marksmanship on the KD course is legendary....at least in our own minds! Also, with these pop up targets, are these the ones like in the army? Again, I certainly hope not. There is a fundamental difference between the army and Marine Corps training when it comes to marksmanship....The army focuses on quantity of fire....The Marines focus on quality of fire.....'Nuff said....

07-26-03, 12:25 PM
A platoon of us office types went down to Camp Pendleton to qualify. In the butts we were placed next to some combat engineers. We always heard they were a bunch of super human weirdos. It turned out they weren't that super human at all. The comraderie and morale of getting to know more about your fellow Marines was a great benefit. It was a chance to work together as a team.

On the firing line it is more of a solitary thing. When I'm shooting or even when hunting these days there is only the shot. No heat, no sweat, no mosquitos, no problems at work, just the shot.

Then in going down to the butts in the afternoon you have a chance to brag or rag on your buddies.

07-26-03, 01:30 PM
2 more cents worth...

Pulling butts was kinda like Mess Duty. A necessary part of the overall TEAM CONCEPT.

You really don't appreciate the 'Mess Man' MOS until AFTER you spent 2 weeks in the pot shack, or Galley, or where ever. You gain a sense of the BIGGER picture. There's more to life than your Squad, Section, Wing.... whatever. IT'S A TEAM.

Pulling butts was a neck rentching time. But somebody earlier mentioned "the crack of the round" over head. I never thought of THAT sound being a combat lesson, SOMEONE IS SHOOTING MY WAY. It was just the sound to pull the target by.

Tradition often gives way to technology because of 2 factors, money, and human error. Cheaper doesn't always mean better. And human error has an advantage, as a learning tool. We become better people, MARINES, as we make mistakes and learn lessons.

Leave the butts, put Mess duty BACK into the routine, and I don't want no FUKNIN TAPEDECK playing taps at my funeral.

The difference in ordinary and extra-ordinary, is that little EXTRA. That little EXTRA is what makes Marines.... MARINES. Leave it.


Sgt Sostand
07-26-03, 02:15 PM
Change dont know if it will help i think it will make them Cry Babies like the Army

07-26-03, 07:18 PM
I loved that massive knot in my neck after pulling butts. Sgt Sostand allthis will do is add to the Cry Baby syndrome and the stress cards.Yellowwing, us Combat Engineers are far from super human but weird we do live up to that title

07-26-03, 07:27 PM
The Corps has used the same course of fire for years, though I know they modified it since I last fired. Its great to talk with an old Marine and discuss the Corps, a WWII marine and a marine today can discuss the range or any recruit training topic with perfect understanding.
Aside from the excellent marksmanship training we have recieved for nearly a century, range time (to include the pits) is a team and esprit building tool that will be hard to replace.

07-28-03, 10:11 PM
The KD range is a charater bulder, a confedence builder, and a team builder. If it isn't broken.....you know the rest.

08-20-03, 11:16 PM
As a current and active Marksmanship instructor for Recruit Training, let me just say first of all, every Marine is a rifleman. We all know this of course, but what does it have to do with the range? Simple, in a combat enviroment you hear rounds passing you a lot. We all remember when we went to boot camp and the Pitt NCO said "Rounds coming down range!" And everybody flinched when the first round passed overhead...they continued to flinch over and over until they got used to the sound a round makes when it passes. I think that is an important phsycological building block for every Marine. I don't really have anything against the new course, but like leroy8541 the motivated sniper said, marksmanship is our job. Who gives a monkeys butt if you miss time at the office to work on the skill that gave birth to the Marines. You all know as well as I do, the first Marines ever empoyed in any type of combat were as "Sharpshooters" for the Navy. I didn't get to go to Iraq and fight alongside my brothers, but I've talked to all the Marines from My old unit. 3/1 and all of them tell me that the Marines out there, ecspecially the "boots" didn't flinch at all when a round passed by and made that all knowing "crack" because they knew that the round you can hear isn't the one that's going to hurt you. The fact is, a lot of those "boots" were fresh out of boot camp and SOI. The thought of a round passing by like that made a lot of the Marines out there laugh, only because they knew they could shoot better. I think we should stick with the system we have. It's effective in more than just one way.
Semper Fi

08-23-03, 06:51 PM
The range is at MCAS Miramar and according to the article will be the only one. I went to the range just this week (AUG 18-22) and was pullin butts all morning. I love it. Even though I'm not a morning person and tend to have trouble getting up at 0500 for PT at 0600 (gives me a half hour to hit snooze) I still enjoy doing it.

That isn't the only change. Starting Oct 1, there will be no more field fire, no night fire, and no unknown distance fire either. The new schedule will be:

Monday: Grass day (snap in classes, field snap in at the barrels)
Tuesday: Day 1 KD course of fire
Wednesday: Day 2 KD course of fire (begin early qualification)
Thursday: Day 3 KD course of fire (continue early qualification)
Friday: Day 4 KD course of fire (qualification)

It wasn't broke before. The first year will cause some breaks. How many want to go a year with a screwed up range score?

08-23-03, 08:28 PM
I still don't know why the range was changed the last time. The one in Recruit Training worked well for many, many Marines. But, the change was made... and in the long run, I think it made us better. This may well be the same type of thing.
Someone mentioned this would mean only missing half a day of work. That could be the case I guess. But, what I would like to see is twice as much shooting being done by the Marines. We all know that not all Marines go to the field with their rifle, not all Marines shoot on a regular basis, etc. If they were able to shoot 100 rounds a day vs. fifty, I would think this could be of great benifit to those Marines, and in turn the Marine Corps as a whole.

Clark Shumway
08-24-03, 10:31 AM
The Army has them and they suck. If you find ones that works 100% you good training but then the pop-ups are so shot up did you hit or not? But I haven't seen that in the Army yet. The Corps does it right the first time. leave marksmanship alone and stay away from them damn pop-up targets that never work. The Army spends one day on marksmanship for the whole year. I remember when in the Corps we spent 2 weeks and it paid off. The Army couldn't hit the broad side of a barn if they where standing inside of it.

08-25-03, 11:01 AM
I fired at one of the Army ranges. Had pop-ups out to about 300meters and as close as 50m. They would alternate distance with the pop ups and sometimes would simulate them advancing on your position.

They had the range high score posted of 243 and the range NCO said average was about 210. We had 10-12 Marines that shot 243+ and very few that were under 230.

I thought the course was "fun", but laughable as a PM course.

08-25-03, 11:57 AM
A bit from Colonel Hackworth's March of the Porcelain Soldiers (http://www.hackworth.com/article04032002c.html) "To pass basic rifle management, you have to hit 23 targets with 40 shots. The trick is to hold your fire when the targets farthest down range come up and only shoot at the closest ones...Out there, the 300-meter target comes up, you can hear the crickets singing in the woods it's so quiet. The 50-meter target comes up and its WHAAAAAAAAMMMMMM. "

The Army of One would have got their clocks cleaned at Belleau Wood!

08-25-03, 07:46 PM
Don't go the way of the Army! The average soldier can not shoot, the good soldiers think they can, but are not as good as the average Marine.
I did a lot of coaching in the Corps and left the Corps with a 240, I'm Bn. Marksmanship NCO for an N.G. unit. The Oregon N.G. team won both the High Power Service Rifle and Long Range Service Rifle matches at Twenty Nine palms in '02 (some army guys can shoot).
The Army and N.G. have abilities the nation needs, however they are not marksmen.
(I do have loyalties to my present organization)

I've seen a lot of army shooters in action---Don't follow their example!, the Marine Corps is better than that.
Why are we fooling around with a system that is not broken?

Time and expense on the range is not as critical a problem as the bean counters want to think it is. I remember doing a lot of busy work in the Corps. 200 or 300 rounds really isn't so much money to invest in a Marine.

When you see army style pop-ups in the Marine Corps then you may as well join the Air Force, it's easier and pride is no longer an issue.

08-26-03, 01:51 AM
"To pass basic rifle management"
Now there's a truly bureaucratic expression. :D

10-19-03, 03:09 PM
who says we wouldnt be getting up early? If they changed the rifle qual so it only took 5 minutes, i have a feeling my Sgt would still be pulling me out of the rack at 0300

10-19-03, 07:33 PM
I believe pulling butts should stay the way it always has ,How could you get that extra brotherly help that you would only get from another marine help that you get from pulling butts that extra help on points the one that broke the white but was very close to the black hte music in the pit . No better place for the marine corp hymn then down in the pit pulling butts.

10-19-03, 10:19 PM
When all the expensive equipment is broken due to "accidents" and "mishaps"
(someone dropping it) enough times to where it's cost more to repair than maintain.

They'll go back to what works.

10-20-03, 07:03 AM
The KD course is what makes Marines the best shooters, as a group, of service anywhere. That's where you learn the fundamentals. A shooter with good, solid fundamentals can easily whip the unknown distance course because . . . he knows how to shoot.
And won't you miss that old NCO in the butts at PI. I still remember the one we had in '56: "Alllllllllright you people, lick 'em and stick 'em just like they do in California."