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DIY: The 18B Handbook

Everyone has had to evolve in today's military. Today, regular Army troops are assigned to MiTT and PiTT teams as well as various cultural engagement units that interface, train, and conduct operations with Iraqi and Afghani military units. I put together my own 18B (Special Forces Weapons Sergeant) handbook as something I can toss in my ruck sack and carry with me on the move. It's not a weapons identification book or anything like that but a series of reference information that we may be prone to forget if left to memory alone. Given the missions assigned to both SOF and conventional forces these days, I think that this type of information may be helpful for junior leaders on both sides of the fence.

The first section is made up of sniper data: wind charts, ballistic tables, conversion tables, formulas, mil-dot master, and whatever else I could pack in there. The majority of this information came from the 5th SFG SOTIC sniper log book and John Plaster's Ultimate Sniper. Also included is a copy of the standardized long gun cleaning system that myself and my team's senior 18C developed as our team's SOP.

The next section covers ammunition. I found an old Army manual that gives translations for the Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Russian, and other markings that you may find on crates of ammunition overseas. There is also information on how to identify various ammo types by the color bands painted on the tip of the bullet. I went ahead and photocopied some pages out of the DODIC book which may be needed when ordering a resupply down the line.

There is a section on marksmanship which is mostly information on how to zero all of the various optics that we have these days. It's something every soldier should have committed to memory, but who knows, you might want to refresh your memory if you can't remember how many clicks equals one square on a 25m zero target for the LA-5 laser.

The section on mortar systems covers firing procedures, has firing tables for soviet mortars, and I also crammed a bunch of whiz wheels in the book just in case. A small Forward Observer section is useful for including Call for Fire procedures.

The final section is general information on whatever was left out before. Duties and responsibilities for this MOS, head space and timing for the .50 cal, range procedures, building range cards, functions check on a Mk19, the difference between oblique and enfilade fire, all the odds and ends you might want to be able to reference while out in the hinterlands of...wherever.

I hope this idea of a user-specific field manual proves useful for both SF-types and regular joes. What would you leave out of your book? What would you add?

(PS: No jokes about my scrawled hand writing on the cover, I've told you in the past that I was a knuckle dragger!)

Kit Up! contributor Jack Murphy is a former Ranger, Special Forces Soldier and is the author of the new military thriller PROMIS: Rhodesia.

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