All cadets get an opportunity to try their hand at military skills and drills (rifle shooting and field craft),which is one of our most popular activities. To succeed individuals require the ability to concentrate on distant targets and to fire with consistent accuracy. It requires focus, agility and a very steady hand.
Shooting is available to all cadets. The activity is strictly controlled by qualified staff to ensure maximum safety. Before Cadets are permitted to practice any shooting they are given instruction on the rifle at the conclusion of which they must pass a Weapons Handling Test (WHT) to demonstrate they are safe and competent in handling a weapon.
Marksmanship training follows a structured programme, which helps to build self-discipline and a strong sense of responsibility. Cadets undergo a strict course of training, which includes classroom instruction and dry weapons handling prior to being permitted to participate in live firing on specialist ranges. We’ll teach you to handle a variety of weapons safely. Firing is always done lying on your stomach (the prone position) at static targets. As you progress, you’ll experience different types of weapons (normally either the Air Rifle, Number 8 Rifle & L98A2 Cadet GP Rifle) and could even take part in shooting competitions.
Training and live firing is always conducted in complete safety under the strict supervision of qualified instructors, increasingly on specialist courses over weekends. All cadet marksmanship activities are geared towards competition shooting.
Marksmanship badges comes in four grades, Squadron, Wing, Region and Corps on all the weapons fired within the Corps.
The Squadron marksman qualification is the lowest available to the cadets. To receive this badge and qualification, cadets must achieve 4 five-round groupings of 1 inch or less on a 25m range.
The Wing marksman requires the cadets to master 3 different types of shooting. These include rapid, where cadets must fire 5 rounds as quickly and as accurately as possible; snap, which involves firing only when the targets pop up; and groupings which is the same as mentioned above.
To receive this qualification, cadets must complete the same tests as those outlined for Wing marksman, but with better accuracy and in less time. For Wing marksman a score of 27/35 (0.77) or above must be achieved, and for Regional marksman a score of 6/7 (0.86) or above must be achieved.
The Corps Marksman is similar to both Wing and Regional marksman, but cadets must fire 10 rounds for each section, as opposed to 5 while remaining within the grouping size and time limits.
If you have the aptitude, you may be chosen to represent the Warwickshire and Birmingham Wing or the Central and East Region and even go on to represent the Corps at a national level. Bisley is the ‘home’ of British target shooting. Only cadets who are exceptional shots qualify to shoot in the Inter-Service Cadet Rifle Meeting (ISCRM) at Bisley where Air Cadets compete against cadets from the Combined Cadet Force, the Army Cadet Force and Sea Cadet Corps. There are also a number of other National and International shooting competitions held annually including postal shoots for cadets who are unable to travel.
Cadet 100 Badge
Cadets can be awarded with the prestigious “Cadet 100” badge: as one of the top cadets in all three Services.This is the hardest to achieve, and is awarded to Air, Sea and Army cadets. To receive this marksman you must be within the top 100 cadets in Britain!
Cadets are trained to use three main types of weapon; .177 BSA Scorpion Cadet Air Rifle, the .22 No.8 bolt action rifle and the L98. The .22 rifle can be used on 25-metre indoor or outdoor ranges.
.177 BSA Scorpion Cadet Air Rifle
The BSA .177 Scorpion Cadet is designed to be small and light. It is perfect for new cadets who often find it hard to hold and support the heavier Lee-Enfield Rifle No.8. It is almost recoil-free due to cylinder of high pressure that fires the pellets. It operates in a similar way to No.8 Rifle drills so cadets can easily progress on to this weapon and not have to adjust their position each time they need to load.
The No. 8 .22 Rifle
The No. 8 rifle is a bolt-action .22 calibre rifle. The rifle is single shot, meaning it needs to be reloaded after every shot. Typically, the rifle is used on 25 yard ranges, but it can also be used on 100m ranges after adjusting the rear-sight.
The L98 Rifle
A cadet who is 14 years or older has attained a ‘First Class Shot’ on the Mark 8 rifle they are able to undertake dry training on the L98 rifle.The L98 uses 5.56 calibre rounds and is a specially adapted non-automatic fire version of the general service issue, SA80 as used by British forces. It is used on outdoor ranges of 25 or 100 meters. Cadets can qualify for the RAF marksman badge using this weapon.
The L98 was first introduced back in 1989, and was the replacement for the SA80 rifle. The rifle fires standard 5.56mm NATO cartridges, which are loaded into the weapon using a magazine. The magazine on an L98 can hold up to 30 rounds, meaning cadets can fire numerous times without having to reload. This rifle is still manually cocked (similar to the No 8 .22 rifle), but the larger rounds make this rifle a lot noisier and more lively than the other rifle which the cadets fire.
Shooting is also an activity which can contribute towards completion of the skills section of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme.