Whatever level you are as a cadet, you'll have the opportunity to try your hand at military skills and drills including shooting.

Marksmanship goes a long way back in the history of Air Cadets and is one of our most popular activities. Think you can concentrate on distant targets and fire with consistent accuracy? It's not easy. It requires focus, concentration and a very steady hand.

We’ll teach you to handle a variety of weapons safely. Basic firing is always done lying on your stomach (the prone position) at static targets. Progress through the syllabus and you'll experience different types of weapons, firing positions and could even take part in shooting competitions if you really prove your skills.

Ranges come in different shapes and sizes but all are in controlled conditions with full training on any weapon that you handle - safety is our top priority. To start with you'll be firing at targets that are fairly close - around 25m away. As you advance through weapons and your skill builds, you will fire at targets 100m or more away.

The Weapons


First up is the L81-A2 rifle which is the weapon you'll most likely begin with. It's a great all-rounder and makes little noise, although ear defenders are always worn on the range, and is a great first step for your marksmanship skills.

'Dry training' is the first thing you'll do - exploring the L81-A2 in detail and learning the commands and safety practices used on the range. After you've successfully passed the Weapon Handling Test (WHT) you'll be ready to progress.


The next step up from the No.8 Rifle is the L98A2, this has been modified from the Enfield L85A2 which is currently in active service across British forces. Different to the No.8 the L98A2 does not require each round to be fed into the chamber manually. It is re-cocked by gas from the previous round fired. Rounds are contained in a magazine fitted to the rifle. It uses high-velocity rounds which make a louder noise when fired. You have to go through initial weapon training on this weapon and pass your WHTs, the same as with the No.8. As you progress through the syllabus and gain skill and confidence, you will have the opportunity to fire in the fire trench (standing in a pit with your elbows to the ground), kneeling and sitting positions.

Whichever weapon you are trained on our instructors will ensure you feel safe and confident handling it.

Types of shooting

Grouping - You select a single point on the target and fire a number of rounds at it. The aim is for all rounds to form the smallest group possible. This is excellent for concentrating and perfecting your technique. There's no limit to how long you can take when firing.

Deliberate Fire - Firing at a target with marked scoring rings, your score is marked depending on how near to the centre of the target you manage to get. For this you use either a large, single target or a card with 5 or 10 separate targets marked on it. When firing at a card with multiple targets, you aim to place one or two rounds on each of them. Take as long as you need - the goal is accuracy.

Rapid Fire - Just like it sounds, speed and safety is the thing here. Get the rounds within the target area, but within a time limit. For instance, you may need to fire 10 rounds in 40 seconds with a No.8 rifle – not too easy when you have to reload manually after each shot.

Snap - For this, you have to get all rounds to fall within a target area. But, the targets only appear for a short time before vanishing again. You must hit it before it disappears. By the end of the practice the target may have appeared - for perhaps 5 seconds - and disappeared up to 5 times. Just to make it even more difficult, it'll sometimes appear at random time intervals - so you can't anticipate it!