Duck hunt and the quest for expert

Most people are familiar with Duck Hunt. The ever-popular old school Nintendo game where you had the dog and the ducks and you tried to bag your limit for dinner that night. Growing up I never thought I’d see the day where duck hunt would come to the big screen, but today was that day.

First off, we drove out of Fort Dix in the cold, drizzling rain, through several back roads and onto the Army ranges. I couldn’t believe how many firing ranges they have. We then entered Camp Victory. Camp Victory looks like a forward operating base from Iraq or Afghanistan that had just been airlifted and dropped in Jersey county. I couldn’t believe how well they’ve replicated it. Later on in our training we will actually spend three days out there living in tents.

Well, we finally got to a small building where this Duck Hunt style simulator was. I have to say I was pretty impressed. They had M16s, M4s, M9s and M249s all lined up on the floor next to sandbags. Against the wall was a large projection screen with a simulated range displayed on it. Basically, it’s exactly like a shooting range, without the actual ammo. The excitement quickly died however once I was in place and ready to shoot. You initially zero in your weapon — meaning you shoot at a target on the screen and then the computer calibrates the weapon to how you shoot. Then you have 40 targets to shoot at in various positions. Well, I zeroed in perfectly. My shots were on top of each other, until I got to the pop up targets. I maybe hit 4 out of the 40. When I questioned the accuracy the one Soldier told me the computer was malfunctioning and it ends up throwing off the settings on the M16. Awesome. Multi-million dollar technology and it malfunctions. I’m not sure how this piece of equipment really helps train the military. The weapons don’t backfire and you don’t even load ammo in the magazines. Anyway, I’m confident in my shooting skills, I qualified expert on M4, M16 and M9 at my base less than a month ago.

Moving on, after our virtual shooting fiasco, we headed over to Range 6. Here we would get to shoot 45 rounds at various pop up targets. This is where the fun really began. Your first 10 shots are practice and then you shoot targets while practicing combat reloading (combat reloading means discharging an empty magazine and loading a new magazine while keeping your weapon trained on your target). Halfway through the shooting, a bullet got stuck in the chamber and I had to clear my weapon — this slight pause caused me to miss two targets. My final score, 33 out of 35 targets killed. This included shooting five rounds with a gas mask on. Not to shabby. Let’s leave the video games to the kids and stick with the real shooting ranges. Hoah.

Tomorrow, we are going back to the ranges to zero in our M16s or M4s (I have an M4). There are 59 of us in the combat skills training class so it will probably take all day. Even if we finished early, we still have to wait around until dusk to complete low visibility shooting. We apparantly should know how to shoot at dusk. A simple pair of sunglasses could simulate that pretty well it would seem.

Anyway, my cold seems to be getting better — no swine flu for me.


2 Responses to “Duck hunt and the quest for expert”

  1. Jen weaver Says:

    Justin, your are so amazing!!! My guy’s great at everything!! Did I mention he is also romantic! Talk about an expert shot, he hit this girl right through the heart!! I love you!!

  2. Hi, good post. I have been thinking about this issue,so thanks for writing. I’ll definitely be subscribing to your blog. Keep up great writing

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