Marksmenship Training Aids: Show Them the Way

It can often be difficult for firearm instructors to find the right tools and resources that adequately convey the concepts of shooting fundamentals to students. There are any number of gimmicks that can prove either stellar successes, or abysmal flops. Enter the Marksmanship Training Aids by that have made it easy for both instructor and student to visualize the same sight picture, and improve the lessons learned.

Made from a transparent sheet of ABS plastic, the Marksmanship Training Aids (MTAs) come in a variety of sizes. The largest (8.5” x 11”) best used for large class demonstration can be clearly seen form a distance, while the wallet-sized (2.25” x 3.75”) is best utilized for one-on-one instruction. The ABS material makes the aids water and stain resistant, and are flexible enough to fit inside a range bag without being overly rigid.

At a basic and intermediate level, the MTAs come in a variety of pistol and rifle configurations and sight colors. This allows the broadest number of students, regardless of personal firearm selection, language, or experience to associate what is conveyed in instruction (both audibly and visually) to their own sight picture. This speeds learning and limits excessive lectures.

More advanced MTAs incorporate a Red Dot Sight picture, or more common scope reticles for long-distance shooting education.

The Marksmanship Training Aids are available in White, Red, or Black sight configuration and come in either 8.5” x 11” (Legal), 4” x 6” (Notecard), or 2.25” x 3.75” (Wallet) sizes.

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • CostGood (4/5): Price per Marksmanship Training Aid varies based on complexity and overall size, with the more simplified wallet versions costing $4.50 each—to the largest 8.5” x 11” pistol aids (which comprise two pages for both sight posts) at $20.99. Thus, for its varied size and the durability of the ABS material, the MTAs make for a very good and affordable product. In comparison, other similar training aids vary in creativity and cost (such as homemade wooden/PVC sight alignment trainers), visual graphic illustrations, or tried-and-true dime/washer drills. But in all these alternatives the training aids are fixed and static, and require associated lecture to explain concepts. The MTAs by allow both the trainer and trainee to visualize the same training concepts, in the same sight picture. This alone can eliminate confusion and speed success.
  • Comfort Good (4/5): For its various sizes, the MTAs were still semi-flexible and pliable enough so as to not be bulky in a range bag. They were also lightweight enough so as to not be burdensome when carried. Thus, when using them, the clear background and stark sight picture silhouettes, allowed the trainer to easily demonstrate proper sight picture and convey various concepts as related to fundamental techniques effectively and clearly.
  • Durability – Average (3/5): The principle material to the MTAs was a transparent ABS plastic, into which is printed the sight picture silhouettes. The use of this material meant that the MTAs were water and stain resistant; however, as a softer polymer it was not completely scratchproof. When in contact to hard-edge metal, such as wire cleaning brushes or firearms, the ABS material became superficially marred. Thus, the best means of protection for the MTAs and preserve its durability was to either slide them into the portion of range bags intended for targets/documents and apart from the main compartment with ammo, firearms, and cleaning supplies—or to retain them in a separate folder or binder. The smaller MTAs were easier to store in this regard as they could easily be kept in a side pocket of the range bag or in the individual’s clothing pocket and produced quickly.
  • Functionality Excellent (5/5): Functionally, while the MTAs were all simplistic in design, it was what they helped convey that was far more beneficial—a shared understanding of principles and concepts between instructor and student. In almost all methods of training aids (classroom lecture, drawing illustrations, homemade sight blocks, etc.); instructors are often left demonstrating concepts that then conveyed to the student in the hopes that they understand and internalize the message. Instructors have no awareness if what lesson was being communicated, was done so correctly until shots went downrange and the results are seen on paper. Then the instructor is left to try and get “inside” the student’s head to help either correct or guide the student to attain success. In contrast, the MTAs (printed on large and clear ABS material) allowed the instructor to manipulate various representations of iron sight pictures, holographic red dot images, or multi-power scope reticles to easily help convey the concepts and lessons. Literally using the MTAs was so easy that even a young, aspiring 5yr old novice shooter was able to understand what the sight picture needed to look like to get rounds on paper. The ability to draw upon a variety of different reticle and sight configurations meant that the instructor was able to easily customize the training aid to fit some of the most common firearms and optics on the market.
  • Weight Excellent (5/5): From the largest 8.5” x 11” (2 ounces), the 4” x 6” (0.4 ounces), or the 2.25” x 3.75” (0.025 ounces), all the MTAs were amazingly light and not cumbersome in any degree. Weighing less than a notepad, these training aids easily could fit in a variety of locations without being noticeable until needed. In contrast, other training aids noted above (white boards, homemade wooden boxes, endless field manuals) obviously all weight more than these simple ABS sheets. Again, this showed the benefit to these training aids in that they can be stored in any location without much bulk or weight added to the training kit.

Overall Rating – Good (21/25)

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I am reviewing this product as a courtesy to the manufacturer and via STL Shooting Enthusiasts, so that I can evaluate it and provide my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give positive reviews. All views are my own, and based off my personal experience with the product.

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