RAF Group Operational Shooting Competition 2016
The RAF Coningsby Combat Shooting Team made up of all ranks and trades, took a full team of 9 personnel from the station to take part in the Group Operational Shooting Competition (GpOSC), which is held over a week every April at the RAF Small Arms Association (RAFSAA) in Bisley and uses the range complex at Pirbright barracks.
Shooting service weapons is a bit like swimming in that it is fun, physically demanding, you stand a good chance of getting wet and it’s too late to start learning if you really need to use it.
GpOSC is one of two qualifying competitions from which firers will be selected for RAFOSC and the Central Small Arms Meeting including the inter-services and international matches held in June. Competitors come from all the units within 1, 2, 22 and 38 Groups except for the RAF Regt field Squadrons which compete at Regt OSC. The matches are all taken from the Operational Shooting Policy assessments which are designed to mimic, albeit tamely, combat conditions. The weapons we use are the service rifle L85 and the Glock service pistol L131 and all firers wear helmet, body armour and webbing weighted to 7.5Kg. The pistol matches are at ranges from 10m to 25m and the rifle matches from 25m to 500m.
The week started off with zeroing, and finding points of aim at the various ranges followed by Annual Combat Marksmanship Test (ACMT) for the rifle and pistol which is a precondition of shooting the matches. The first match was the Defence assessment which begins with a leisurely 25 seconds to run 100m, throw yourself on the floor, make ready, fire and hit a face sized target 100m away. My how I laughed when I hit that first target then missed the next two because I was out of breath and had set up my position poorly. Despite my mess ups, including falling in a fire trench, the team performed very well throughout the rest of the matches which included urban contact, pistol close quarters and short range rural contact. My personal favourite is the urban contact (FIBUA) where you start firing at 100m with the rifle and advance through 75m, 50m and 25m firing as you go with magazine changes when required then switching to pistol and continuing to fire down to 10m.
There are prize categories for individual, team, airwoman, under 25 and Tyro which is never having placed in the RAFOSC finals. The good part being that being in one category doesn’t exclude you from all the others so if you can shoot, you’re female, under 25, not shot in the RAF final and you’re in a team with two other good shots, you’ll be staggering home with all the trophies.
As it was our trophy haul was:
RAF Coningsby – 1st 1 Gp Rifle Team, 2nd Air Cmd FIBUA Team, 2nd 1 Gp Pistol Team.1
SAC Jason Airey GEF – 2nd Air Cmd Pistol Under 25
Sgt Andy Botley XI(F) Sqn – 1st 1 Gp Pistol Tyro, 1st Air Cmd Pistol Tyro, 1st Air Cmd FIBUA Tyro.
Cpl Chas Coates – 1st Air Cmd Rifle, 1st 1 Gp Rifle, 1st Air Cmd FIBUA, 2nd 1 Gp Pistol.
Sgt Jack Houghton – 1st Air Cmd Rifle TYRO, 1st 1 Gp Rifle TYRO, 2nd 1 Gp Rifle.
For more information on the station shooting team contact Sgt Bollado on ext 7275 or Cpl Coates on ext 6477.