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071-004-0006 (SL1) - Engage Targets with an M9 Pistol

Standards: Applied the correct M9 target engagement techniques, and engaged hostile targets.

Conditions: Given an M9 pistol and one or more magazines loaded with 9mm ammunition.

Standards: Applied the correct M9 target engagement techniques, and engaged hostile targets.

Performance Steps

1.   Identify the target(s). The most likely target you will engage is an enemy soldier on foot.

2.   Apply the fundamentals of quick fire.

Note. To fire quickly without using the pistol sights, use the pistol as an extension of your arm.

a. To use the pistol grip, hold the pistol in your nonfiring hand. Form a "V" with the thumb and forefinger of your firing hand.

b. Place the pistol in the "V," with the sights in line with your firing arm.

c. Hold your upper arm close to your body, and your forearm at about a 45-degree angle.

d. Wrap your lower three fingers around the grip, putting equal pressure to the rear with all three fingers (figure 071-004-0006-1).

e. Place your thumb alongside the pistol without applying any pressure.

f.  Place your trigger finger on the trigger so it can be pulled to the rear.

g. Tightly grip the pistol until your hand begins to tremble. Relax until the trembling stops. At this point, you have applied the necessary pressure for a solid grip.

Figure 071-004-0006-1. Pistol ready position, one-hand grip


Note. If you relax any of your three fingers on the grip, you must reapply the entire grip.

3.   Choose one of the following supported or unsupported grips:

a. Supported grip. The only supported grip is the one-hand grip (figure 071-004-0006-2). Begin by gripping the weapon as previously described (step 2). Allow the thumb of your firing hand to rest without pressure beside your weapon. Place your trigger finger, between the tip and the second joint, on the trigger, so you can squeeze the trigger to the rear. Your trigger finger must work independently of your other fingers.

Figure 071-004-0006-2. One-hand grip

b. Unsupported grips. You may use any of three nonfiring hand grips to support your firing hand (figure 071-004-0006-3, figure 071-004-0006-4, and figure 071-004-0006-5).

(1)  Fist grip (figure 071-004-0006-3). Begin by gripping the weapon as previously described (step 2). Firmly close the fingers of your nonfiring hand over the fingers of your firing hand. Make sure the index finger of your nonfiring hand is between the middle finger of your firing hand and the guard. Place your nonfiring thumb beside your firing thumb.

Figure 071-004-0006-3. Fist grip


Note. The M9 pistol has a recurved trigger guard, which allows you to place the index finger of your nonfiring hand on the front of the trigger guard if you wish.

(2)  Palm-supported grip (figure 071-004-0006-4). Begin by gripping the weapon as previously described (step 2). Place your nonfiring hand under your firing hand. Wrap your nonfiring fingers around the back of your firing hand. Place your nonfiring thumb over the middle finger of your firing hand.

Figure 071-004-0006-4. Palm-supported grip

(3)  Weaver grip (figure 071-004-0006-5). Apply this grip the same as the fist grip, but wrap your nonfiring thumb over your firing thumb.

Figure 071-004-0006-5. Weaver grip


4.   Select the most stable firing position with the best cover. Consider the following positions:

a. Prone (figure 071-004-0006-6). To assume the prone position-

(1)  Lie flat on the ground, facing the target.

(2)  Extend your arms to the front, with your firing arm locked.

(3)  Wrap your nonfiring hand around either the wrist or the fingers of your firing hand.

(4)  Face forward. Keep your head down between your arms and behind the weapon.

Figure 071-004-0006-6. Prone position

b. Standing-with-support (figure 071-004-0006-7). To assume this position--

(1)  Use available cover for support. For example, stand behind a tree or wall.

(2)  Stand behind a barricade, with your firing side in line with the edge of the barricade.

(3)  Place the palm of your nonfiring hand at eye level on the edge of the barricade, and extend your thumb past the edge of the barricade.

(4)  Lock the elbow of your firing arm. Rest your forearm on the extended thumb of your nonfiring hand.

(5)  Move the foot on your nonfiring side forward until your toe touches the bottom of the barricade.

Figure 071-004-0006-7. Standing-with-support position


c. Kneeling (figure 071-004-0006-8). To assume this position-

(1)  Use available cover, such as a low wall, rocks, or a vehicle that you can fire over, for support.

(2)  Place your firing knee on the ground. Put your left knee down to fire left-handed, or your right knee down to fire right-handed.

(3)  Bend your other knee. Place the foot on your nonfiring side flat on the ground, pointing toward the target. Extend your arms over available cover and use it for support.

(4)  Lock the wrist and elbow of your firing arm.

(5)  Wrap your nonfiring hand around your firing fist or wrist to support your firing arm.

Figure 071-004-0006-8. Kneeling position


Note. This position could silhouette you, making you a better target. When possible, fire around the sides of walls, rocks, or vehicles instead of over them.

d. Standing-without-support (figure 071-004-0006-9). To assume this position-

(1)  Face the target.

(2)  Place your feet a comfortable distance apart.

(3)  Wrap your nonfiring hand around the fist or wrist of your firing hand. Lock the wrist and elbow of your firing arm toward the target.

(4)  Keep your body straight.

Figure 071-004-0006-9. Standing-without-support position


e. Crouching (figure 071-004-0006-10). This position is the same as the standing-without-support position, except you must bend your knees slightly. Balance by leaning forward at the waist.

Figure 071-004-0006-10. Crouching position


5.   Apply the fundamentals of marksmanship.

a. Pistol grip. To obtain a proper pistol grip-

(1)  Place the pistol in the "V" formed by the thumb and forefinger of your firing hand. Line the sights up with your firing arm. Wrap your lower three fingers around the pistol. Grip with your middle finger under the trigger guard. Exert equal pressure on all three lower fingers to the rear, back through the wrist and forearm (figure 071-004-0006-1).

(2)  Rest your thumb on top of your middle finger when gripping the pistol. Do not exert any downward pressure.

(3)  Grip the pistol firmly, but not so firmly that your hand trembles.

b. Sight alignment. To sight properly-

(1)  Align the front sight blade in the rear sight notch so an equal amount of light shows on either side of the front sight. Ensure the top of the front and rear sights are even.

(2)  Relax as much as possible.

(3)  Maintain the correct sight alignment, and focus on the front sight.

(4)  Squeeze the trigger with a steadily increasing pressure straight to the rear, taking care not to disturb the sight alignment until after the hammer falls.

Note. When there is more than one target, choose the target that is the greatest danger. This is often the closest target.

Evaluation Preparation: 

Setup: Evaluate this task during daylight on a 9-mm combat pistol qualification course. Provide the soldier with 8 magazines and 52 rounds of live ammunition.

Brief Soldier: Tell the soldier to use his own pistol. Tell the soldier he must hit 25 of the 30 targets using correct engagement techniques.

Performance Measures



1.   Assumed the firing positions:



a. Assumed the prone position.



b. Assumed the standing-with-support position.



c. Assumed the standing-without-support position.



d. Assumed the kneeling position.



e. Assumed the crouching position.



2.   Applied the fundamentals of marksmanship.



3.   Engaged the targets:



a. From the prone position.



b. From the standing-with-support position.



c. From the standing-without-support position.



d. From the kneeling position.



e. From the crouching position.



Evaluation Guidance:  Score the soldier GO if all performance measures are passed. Score the soldier NO GO if any performance measure is failed. If the soldier scores NO GO, show him what was done wrong and how to do it correctly.







FM 23-35



TM 9-1005-317-10