Development of a Fundamental and Operational Marksmanship Score based on Expert and Novice Marksmanship Data
Authors: Stephanie Brown, K. Blake Mitchell
Abstract: Marksmanship is a primary contributor to the military’s quantification of Soldier lethality. Traditionally, Soldiers are graded using a standard marksmanship qualification task, assessing hit location and target distance. Additional components (e.g., weapon handling, timing) are not incorporated. This research developed a comprehensive marksmanship scoring method, focused on fundamental and operational marksmanship skills. A scoring index facilitates the understanding of the entire operational marksmanship process, from target detection to acquisition/engagement. Analysis of this tradespace helps improve training and can be utilized as a metric of performance for equipment evaluations. This novel scoring method includes all aspects of the marksmanship process divided into three components, including lethality (e.g., accuracy, precision, decision making), mobility (e.g., target acquisition time), and weapons handling (e.g., stability, trigger control). Utilizing marksmanship data from 16 Soldier volunteers (8 experts and 8 novices) on a static and dynamic shooting scenario, outcomes were normalized to distribute the variables’ two anchor scores. Weights were assigned to each metric that contributed to the combined scores. Weightings were determined utilizing a Student’s t-test pairwise comparison of means of the expert and novice scores for each metric. Components with highly statistically significant differences (p < .01) between the expert and novice were weighted more importantly and those with less difference (p < .05) were weighted less importantly. Weighted indices were applied to a marksmanship dataset of normally distributed skill level Infantry Soldiers (N = 46). This verification ensured that weightings created a normal distribution across the group, while assessing fundamentals and operational marksmanship skills. These new performance indices provide a single overarching score, representative of various aspects of marksmanship beyond simple shot coordinates, resulting in a performance metric that is easier for the end-user to comprehend. Future application of this scoring method are valuable for both training and acquisition test and evaluation performance assessments.
Keywords: Military, Marksmanship, Performance Measures, Training
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