You’re in the Army now: it’s range week!

Recruit Andrew Vaughan.

Recruit Andrew Vaughan.

My name is Andrew Vaughan, I am 25 years old and this is my story so far. I have just finished my ninth week of Phase 1 training at ATR Winchester where I hope to go on to join the Royal Artillery.


Week 9


Today marked the start of range week. We collected our rifles and got on to the coach to Longmoor Ranges.

I passed the 100m and 200m by the skin of my teeth

Here we went through all the firing positions at 100m, then the same at 200m with the inclusion of standing supported where we practised firing whilst leaning against a post. Finally was 300m where we fired in just the prone position.

It's range week.

It’s range week.

I passed the 100m and 200m by the skin of my teeth – achieving a score of 48 with 48 being the minimum pass mark. I failed 300m the first time but managed 16 out of 20 on my reshoot which I was happy with.


Today we practised snap shooting, firing at the target which would only remain visible for a limited amount of time.

"200m is still hard work yet somehow I'm ok with 300m"

“200m is still hard work yet somehow I’m ok with 300m”

I spent the first part of the day as butts party where we held the targets up above the parapet and brought them down when prompted. We could feel when the shots hit due to the vibration which made scoring easier.

Afterwards it was my turn and 100m is now pretty comfortable for me. 200m is still hard work yet somehow I’m ok with 300m. Thankfully I passed all 3 first time.

Back at camp our diaries were checked. Unfortunately mine was 1 day behind and I was given show parade among many other offenders. Despite being a slight hindrance, it keeps me on top of my kit (and diary!) so I can’t complain too much.

My first Annual Combat Marksmanship Test


This morning we went to a different range – this one using electronic sensors to aid in our shooting. This would be the range we would take our Annual Combat Marksmanship Test (ACMT) on.

100m I found ok apart from having to fire one shot standing up then immediately firing 4 more whilst kneeling. 200m was a lot more challenging and found kneeling supported harder than unsupported! 300m I excelled at, missing only one shot.

I failed 100m so I had to retake but thankfully passed the retake. We made our way to another range, had a brief and fired 15 rounds at 25m in the dark. I hit 10 which I was slightly disappointed with but still higher than a lot of others. Finally made our way back to camp and hit the sack.


Today we went to the same range to take on our first Annual Combat Marksmanship Test (ACMT). Lots of guys here are after marksman (hitting at least 39 out of 48) but I’ll be happy just to pass.

Our Troop Commander let us fire 10 rounds at each position with 5 being a grouping and 5 hitting the target and helping us adjust our point of aim which helped out a lot.

My turn came on the ACMT with a good portion of the Troop having passed with marksman no less. I nailed the 50m and the 100m without many dramas. Then my luck ran out during the 200m with the target going down and refusing to come back up. This rendered my 200m shoot void and I had to change lanes for the 300m shoot which I nailed.

As my lane was faulty I was allowed another first attempt at 200m and was told I could drop 5 shots and still achieve marksman. The pressure of this combined with frustration from having to reshoot however toppled me and I completely flopped. I calmed down and thankfully on the next go nailed it. Although I passed, I’m gutted about the target malfunction and would love to know how I would have done had it not occurred.

The rest of the evening was spent doing admin for the Troop Sergeant’s inspection tomorrow.

Me on the ranges.

Me on the ranges.


We collected our rifles from the armoury and proceeded to spend the majority of the day giving them a thorough clean after a weeks worth of firing. The amount of carbon build up is mad!

After dinner we took it in turns as sections to sit our MATT 9 C-IED test. I’d revised prior to this and managed to pass first time. There were some silly marks dropped though which I’ve noted for next time.

We then packed for tomorrow’s assault course and for the upcoming week in Wales which we’re all buzzing for. Today we also gained a new recruit into our section and Troop, and spent time inducting him into our group.


This morning we donned our webbing and headed to Worthy Down to tackle the 12 foot wall on the assault course. We were taught different methods of traversing the wall and took it in turns doing so as a section, adjusting the order we went over in to effectively get the last man over in good time.

Then we took the course on a couple of times which was exhausting. The Commanding Officer’s competition is going to be brutal!

We changed into civilian clothing and signed out for the day. I went to Southampton again and did some more shopping before eventually coming back and finishing some admin.


Today, I decided not to go out of camp and instead packed for next week’s Soldier Development Wing before going to the welfare to relax a bit. Great week ahead which will test our courage but also give us some much needed downtime!


Visit Recruit Vaughan’s page and read about his journey

Find out about joining the Army

Find out about ATR Winchester