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Stinger Range Operations

Live firings are necessary to sharpen Stinger gunner skills and to provide opportunities for gunners to overcome any fear of firing the weapon. With the limited number of ranges and Stinger weapons available, live firings must be prepared, organized, and conducted so that maximum realistic training value is gained. This chapter discusses the operation involved in the live firing of Stinger.


The Stinger range OIC should conduct a range reconnaissance before his unit occupies the range. The range reconnaissance should provide answers to the following questions:

  • How many firing positions can be occupied simultaneously?

  • Are tracking positions available for gunners to track targets while live firings are in progress?

  • Does the range have a tower? (Is it usable?)

  • Where are landline communications hookups?

  • Are there communications from existing positions to the range tower?

  • Are safety markers visible?

  • How is access to the impact area controlled?

  • What are the guard requirements?

  • Who furnishes targets and operators, and where are the targets stored?

  • Is the area cleared of duds?

  • Who will furnish range flags and fire fighting equipment?

  • Who will furnish medical assistance?

    Related to the OIC's reconnaissance, the following areas as indicated must be located and established:

  • Concurrent training area.

  • Mess area.

  • Latrines.

  • Helipad.

  • Aid station.

  • Troop areas, billet/break.

  • Briefing area.

  • Parking area.


    Range Reconnaissance

    Conduct of Firing

    Range Operations Plan

    Firing Procedures

    Hints for the OIC


    Range requirements are contained in AR 385-62, local range regulations, medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) procedures, and unit SOPs. These references are the basis upon which plans for personnel and equipment requirements are determined. All current references should be placed in a range notebook with directions for handling emergencies. The range notebook should be continually updated regarding safety changes and any changes to established local policies. AR 385-62 should be a must in such a notebook, as well as MEDEVAC radio frequency, hospital phone numbers, and directions to the nearest aid station.


    A well-organized range provides maximum firing time. The range should be organized to best support the firing. A sample range layout appears in the illustration below. A good range SOP will save time and energy for all concerned. The SOP should include guidelines for occupying the range and should describe actions to be taken for specific tasks, such as fighting down range fires, issuing weapons, and a sound traffic pattern for entering and exiting the range, in particular the immediate firing area. TC 25-2, contains additional information on Army range requirements.


    Installations where firings take place will normally have a range control office. This office is responsible for the coordination and safe conduct of range firing for all units using range facilities. Normally, section chiefs will be required to receive a range briefing from this office prior to using a range. This office will also provide a set of local range regulations and policies and will usually require the unit to sign for range facilities upon occupation of the range.


    The post range officer controls all ranges by wire or radio communications. The communications system is used for obtaining clearance to fire, making reports, coordination, and ceasing fire. The range communications system enables the range officer to shut down the range immediately in case of emergency.

    The OIC controls firing by several means, including flag, radio, telephone, public address system, or messengers. Wire is preferred for communications with target operators and demolition personnel in the impact area. In all cases, the OIC plans for a backup communications system to prevent delays.


    The OIC designates personnel and assigns duties to assist him in preparing and running the range.

    The safety officer or NCO will--

  • Assist in fulfilling range safety responsibilities and insure all safety regulations are enforced.

  • Insure that Stinger weapons are handled correctly.

  • Enforce smoking prohibitions near the firing positions or weapon storage area.

  • Insure misfires are handled as stated in AR 385-62.

  • Insure accidents are investigated and promptly reported IAW all regulations.

  • Insure personnel are clear of the danger area, except as authorized in AR 385-62. (Stinger firing range requirement for surface danger zones for Stinger is described in (SNF) FM 44-1A.)

  • Insure all range safety requirements (for example, posting of range guards, raising range flag, establishing safety communications) have been met and are maintained.

    The NCOIC will supervise range details connected with range firing.

    The ammunition NCO will--

  • Insure that all Stinger weapons are delivered and properly stored and secured, both on the range and during transportation to and from the range.

  • Insure the range is properly policed of expended launchers and packaging materials.

    The target detail officer or senior NCO will--

  • Prepare the target launch/control area.

  • Provide for transportation of targets to and from the range.

  • Draw and turn in targets and related equipment.

  • Determine target safety requirements and, in conjunction with safety officer, insure they are met.

  • Train target detail personnel in assembly, test, and launching procedures.

  • Supervise the operations of target detail personnel.

    The firing station NCO (coach) will--

  • Act as an instructor during the firing.

  • Insure compliance with safety procedures.

    Additional range personnel include the following:

  • Firefighting detail.

  • Radiotelephone operators.

  • Briefing NCO.

  • Medical aidmen.


    The OIC should insure that he has the following on hand:

  • Targets.

  • Stinger weapons and trainers.

  • Range flag.

  • Public address system.

  • Briefing tent.

  • Blackboard, chalk, eraser.

  • Pens, pencils, grease pencils.

  • Binoculars.

  • Field telephones as required.

  • Latrine supplies.

  • Trash cans.

  • Water supply (lister bag or trailer).

  • Compass (for marking rounds out of impact area).

  • Fire-fighting equipment (shovels, fire extinguishers, rakes).

  • Vehicles for the fire-fighting detail, the

  • MEDEVAC (primary and alternate), and the safety officer.

  • Equipment needed for concurrent training (Beseler Cue/See tape cassette players and appropriate TEC lessons).

  • All required regulations, SOPs, maps, and overlays.


    A plan must be developed for opening and closing the range and conducting Stinger firings. Duties of the OIC, NCOIC, and safety officer or NCO should include the elements contained in the following illustration.


    All personnel to fire are given a detailed briefing by the OIC. The OIC discusses the purposes, objectives, standards, and firing procedures to be followed. The OIC reviews the Stinger gunnery techniques applicable to the type of firing conducted.


    Prior to live-firing exercises, gunners will track targets on both left-to-right and right-to-left crossing courses using THTs. During the firing exercises they will not fire except on orders from the NCO assigned to coach each gunner. Gunners at the tracking positions (in barricades) will track and simulate engagements on the same targets assigned to gunners at the firing positions. Coaches will make necessary corrections to gunners on both firing and tracking positions.


    On command from the OIC, the gunners proceed to the firing line, draw a Stinger weapon, and go to the designated firing point. The coach takes a position to the left of the gunner and assures that all safety measures are complied with. The coach is able to communicate with the OIC/safety officer in the tower. The coach will relay the following commands to the gunner:

  • ACTIVATE--the target is coming within range and will be in position for engagement. If all safety precautions are met, the range safety officer gives permission to proceed with firing.

  • WEAPONS FREE--the gunner is free to engage the target when ready.

  • CEASE ENGAGEMENT--do not fire.

    Crossover is announced when the target is at crossover to assist the gunner in performing the firing sequence, particularly in the case of high-speed courses (when the gunner fires after crossover).


    The OIC should have complete control over the activities taking place on the range. In addition to conducting a successful firing, he has responsibility for insuring that all safety and security procedures during the conduct of the firing exercise are enforced. Some helpful hints and key items that the OIC should address are contained in the illustration below.

    Remember to--

  • Make a good range reconnaissance.

  • Organize personnel and details in advance.

  • Observe all safety precautions.

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