Posted on Jul 8, 2015
SGT Ben Keen
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Overheard an interesting discussion in the lunch area at work yesterday. At another table, a guy was talking about weapons and whatnot. Let me start by saying a lot of what he was saying was just untrue craziness but whatever that isn't the point. He did make one comment that got me thinking. According to him, females make better marksman than guys because of what he classified as "built in gun rests" and a wider base.

During my eight and half years of service I been to plenty of ranges and seen plenty of great marksmen both male and female. So I'm not saying that one gender has the advantage over the other. Yet it did get me thinking. Is there any advantage that one gender has over the other? Personally, I would say no, it comes down to your ability to follow the fundamentals. So now I figured it would be a fun discussion to have here on RallyPoint. So, to the RP Community, do you feel that gender plays a role in marksmanship?
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SFC Recruiter
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Based on my personal experience, I can't really say one gender or another has the advantage. I do however believe that those that have never fired a weapon have a better advantage over those that have simply for the fact that they haven't developed bad habits and they are more likely to follow the fundamentals easier. Again, this is just based off of my personal experience.
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SGT Graduate Student
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Presisely what I am saying, SFC (Join to see). "I am a wise man for I know nothing" - Socrates. SGT Ben Keen here is a confirmation.
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SPC George Adkins
SPC George Adkins
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Do you ever have any trainees with real marksmanship training prior to coming in? If so, how do they do? My children began shooting at very early ages (6 & 5) on the AR/M16 platforms. While I'm not sure if either will ever serve in uniform, I am curious to learn how they may measure up.
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SFC Recruiter
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I think it all depends on the individual. Although it is common to see many with some prior experience, it really depends on if the individual is willing to be receptive to the instruction given to them on Basic Rifle Marksmanship and their willingness to initiate the fundamentals given to them. Some may do very well where others may do poorly.
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CPL(P) Intelligence Analyst
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Depends on the DS as well. We had one who thought that shooting cock-legged was wrong, among other things (yes, he was infantry).

The USAMU rifle TC didn't agree with him, but I was just a private and was smart enough to know I didn't know that.
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LTC Sustainment Chief Oc/T
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There is some argument that the way females eyes work makes them better marksmen, although I haven't seen any research to back it up. The argument about "built in stock rest" is a complete fallacy as every bit of experience I have had with teaching females to shoot points to the exact opposite. As for the wider base, I think stance has more to do with it than width of hips, but once again I have no research to back it up.

My wife makes an argument that the good females marksmen are such because of self selection. Basically because there are so few professional female marksmen, the ones that exist strive to be the best overall, not just the best females, and therefore comparatively are excellent.
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SGT Ben Keen
SGT Ben Keen
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Great input LTC (Join to see).
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Sgt Aaron Kennedy, MS
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Let's try rephrasing the question to:

"Are there physiological advantages that apply to marksmanship, that one gender possesses over the other, and if so, what are they?"
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s1 [login to see] -y#page-2

"The current study aimed to compare shooting performance between male and female athletes during the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Rifle Championship from the 2007 to 2013 seasons. This sport is distinct from most competitive sports as it requires little physical exertion, so physiological/ biomechanical differences between the genders that generally bring about superior performance by males relative to females may have only minimal effect on shooting performance. NCAA competitions, unlike Olympic shooting events today, allow male and female shooters to compete against each other. Using archival data covering a period of 7 years from both the team and individual tournaments, 555 scores of the best 149 shooters among mostly U.S. collegiate athletes (the best of whom went on to compete in the Olympics) were analyzed using a generalized estimating equation (GEE) model. We found no differences in performance between the genders both during team and individual competitions. The results suggest that Olympic shooting is exercising a “separate and (un)equal” policy which should be reconsidered."
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SGT Ben Keen
SGT Ben Keen
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Sgt Aaron Kennedy, MS - I can appreciate the physiological aspect behind. I think we can all agree that when it comes to marksmanship, a lot if is mental. Let's just think back to being a the range. If you have a bad night, it will sometimes reflect the next on the range. I believe this idea echos in a lot of aspects of life. Yet, it's interesting to see the thoughts and ideas people have already been throwing around here. With a lot of the changes happening across the DoD, I think it is rather awesome that we have been looking at the overall picture rather than focusing on just the physical differences between the genders as the guy in my opening statement did yesterday.
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Sgt Aaron Kennedy, MS
Sgt Aaron Kennedy, MS
>1 y
SGT Ben Keen I ignored the mental aspect because I don't think "mental" will affect the distribution curve of overall performance. However, Physiology "might."

In general, women are smaller, and shaped differently, however our weaponry is NOT adjusted to their dimensions. Add in differences to cardio-respiratory, and it's plausible that one gender might have an advantage when using a specific platform.

That's why I grabbed an actual Study. Their findings were "Null" when it came to marksmanship performance at the collegiate level, whereas most other sports have distinct physiological advantages (running, golf, basketball, etc).
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