Combat shooting fundamentals vs Traditional marksmanship fundamentals

For those that intend on training in the discipline of combat shooting one must have a good understanding of the differences between the fundamentals of both combat shooting and traditional marskmanship otherwise known as competition shooting.

First we will discuss the traditional marksmanship fundamentals which can also be known as the Principles of Marksmanship.

In the British, Australian and New Zealand militaries the Principles of Marksmanship are as follows:

1. The position and hold must be firm enough to support the weapon
2. The weapon must point naturally at the target without any undue physical effort
3. Alignment and sight picture must be correct
4. The shot must be released and followed through without any undue physical effort

This version is much more succinct compared to the others stated below but written doctrine and military instructors will explain the “how to” of each point in greated detail to give a better understanding of what needs to be done for each of the points.


The US Army has it’s own version of this which they normally refer to as the Fundamentals of Marksmanship. While still having four points they have titles that are clearer and more concise but then expounds on them much more verbosely. They are as follows:

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