Magazine article Army

LIGHTS! ACTION! FIRE! Movies Improve Military Police Markmanship

Magazine article Army

LIGHTS! ACTION! FIRE! Movies Improve Military Police Markmanship

Article excerpt

In an Army dependent housing area on a dark night a shadowy figure gingerly lowers himself from a window sill onto the ground. As he steals across the lawn toward the street he is suddenly illuminated by a flashlight beam. A voice calls to him to halt. He spins around, yells, "I give up!" then whips out a pistol and blazes away. The gunman darts across the yard, leaps a hedge, and zigzags across the street toward a parked car. A military policeman levels his pistol at the fleeing figure and fires. At the crack of the shot the fugitive stops in his tracks. The encounter is over.

We haven't seen the real thing, but the next thing to it. We're witnessing a firing exercise on the recently developed indoor movie pistol range.

This cinema range, produced in Europe for use by our MPs, improves the marksmanship of pistol firers by simulating "tight spots." This range also tests a soldier's ability to judge when not to fire, for he is penalized for shooting in crowded streets, or at friendly persons or vehicles.

A firing exercise runs like this:

The soldier takes position with a target pistol (a .22 mounted on standard Army caliber .45 frame). On order, the projectionist starts the moving picture, with or without sound, of a fleeing gunman, an attacking thug, a getaway car, or the like. The firer picks his target, and at what he deems the proper moment blasts away. The bullet punctures the screen, and the image at which he fired freezes in place.

A ray of light from the target box passing through the hole in the screen shows whether he scored a hit or missed. The projectionist, by a remote-control switch, causes a roll of paper behind the screen to move up and seal the bullet hole. Movie and firing are then resumed.

When sound is used, the firer hears the crack of returned fire, yells of "Don't shoot!" and other distracting noises such as might be heard in an actual encounter. …

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