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At Rodriguez Range, South Korea, on Wednesday, 2nd Infantry Division soldiers fire M240 rifles 400 meters downrange using a recently developed machine-gun optic designed to improve accuracy. Trainers from Fort Benning, Ga., are showing soldiers from all over the 2ID to use the optic with several weapons. The soldiers will then train others in their units.

At Rodriguez Range, South Korea, on Wednesday, 2nd Infantry Division soldiers fire M240 rifles 400 meters downrange using a recently developed machine-gun optic designed to improve accuracy. Trainers from Fort Benning, Ga., are showing soldiers from all over the 2ID to use the optic with several weapons. The soldiers will then train others in their units. (Erik Slavin / S&S)

At Rodriguez Range, South Korea, on Wednesday, 2nd Infantry Division soldiers fire M240 rifles 400 meters downrange using a recently developed machine-gun optic designed to improve accuracy. Trainers from Fort Benning, Ga., are showing soldiers from all over the 2ID to use the optic with several weapons. The soldiers will then train others in their units.

At Rodriguez Range, South Korea, on Wednesday, 2nd Infantry Division soldiers fire M240 rifles 400 meters downrange using a recently developed machine-gun optic designed to improve accuracy. Trainers from Fort Benning, Ga., are showing soldiers from all over the 2ID to use the optic with several weapons. The soldiers will then train others in their units. (Erik Slavin / S&S)

Pfc. Juan Delarosa, Spc. Kenneth Lites and other soldiers of the 2nd Infantry Division’s 302nd Brigade Support Battalion wait their turns to fire M240 rifles using a recently developedmachine-gun optic designed to improve accuracy.

Pfc. Juan Delarosa, Spc. Kenneth Lites and other soldiers of the 2nd Infantry Division’s 302nd Brigade Support Battalion wait their turns to fire M240 rifles using a recently developedmachine-gun optic designed to improve accuracy. (Erik Slavin / S&S)

RODRIGUEZ RANGE, South Korea — Plenty of soldiers have fired the M240 or M249 rifles.

But few have fired with the benefit of recently made M145 machine-gun optics like the ones used by 2nd Infantry Division soldiers at small arms weapons expert training at Rodriguez Range this week.

The trainers from Fort Benning, Ga., are conducting mostly night training but even Wednesday’s day fire was in low light, thanks to the nonstop rain.

The optic has been in use for more than a year but has not been issued to all units. On Rodriguez Range this week, however, it got the stamp of approval from some soldiers experienced with the M240 and M249 rifles.

“You do better with it than with the iron sights,” said Sgt. Joseph Moore of the 302nd Brigade Support Battalion.

ELCAN, the optic’s manufacturer and a subsidiary of Raytheon, rates the optic’s use for distances from 300 meters to 1,200 meters. A single knob corrects for wind and zeroing corrections with each tick. The M145 also provides up to 3.4x magnification.

Soldiers taking the class also were to train on the Army’s bread-and-butter rifles, the M16 and the M4.

Participants came from units throughout 2ID. When they return to their units, they will be tasked with teaching their fellow soldiers what they’ve learned.

The class also includes a range of specialties, since many noninfantry soldiers have faced enemy fire in current battle theaters.

“This prepares me and everyone in my unit for when we get to go to Iraq,” said Spc. Juan Castro, a mechanic with the 302nd Brigade Support Battalion.

Before coming to the range for the first time Wednesday, the soldiers received classroom instruction and completed a written exam that questioned them on weapons and correct procedure.

“We usually teach NCOs, and there are quite a few junior enlisted here,” said instructor Sgt. Nicholas Sisk. “Considering that, they’ve done fairly well.”

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