Without a scope: Rangers impress at Canadian Armed Forces Concentration

Article / October 31, 2017 / Project number: 17-0321

Note: to view additional photos, click the photo under Image Gallery.

By Steven Fouchard, Army Public Affairs

Ottawa, Ontario — Canadian Rangers who participated in the 2017 Canadian Armed Forces Small Arms Concentration (CAFSAC) stood out from the other competitors in a number of ways.

For one, their distinct red uniform tops and caps are a strong visual contrast to the various shades of camouflage or khaki worn by the other competitors. And, more to the point of CAFSAC, which is an annual gathering of top military shooters from Canada and around the world, the Rangers’ aging .303-calibre, bolt-action Lee Enfield rifles, which do not have scopes, are in strong technical contrast to the more current automatic weapons in use by other competitors.

However, the hardy and well-seasoned Lee-Enfields are in the process of being replaced by the .308 C-19. The new weapon will provide up-to-date technical precision but still offer the extreme-weather hardiness and bear-stopping power needed in remote and northern climates.

Ranger Pamela Machimity is from Mishkeegogamang Ojibway Nation. She competed along with other members of 3rd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group (3 CRPG), including her sister Ranger Amanda Machimity. She came into the competition with other challenges: 3 CRPG has had a very busy operational year, including responding to rashes of suicides in two communities in their Northern Ontario patrol area that limited their practice time.

Ranger Machimity is also left-handed, which makes operating the bolt-action weapon far more difficult. Still, as she says in the following interview, she and the other Rangers did what they do so well in the field and adapted, as always, to difficult circumstances – and they impressed the competition during the September 4 to 16 event at the Connaught Range and Primary Training Centre in Ottawa.

This is your second time at CAFSAC. What was your first year like?

The first time for me was stressful because I didn’t know what to expect. I was a spare shooter. Somebody who was shooting got injured, and I was there to fill in. Here’s the thing: when spares come in they are in for the rest of the game.

I’m a left-handed shooter so I’m slower compared to everybody else. The bolt action is for a right-hander, so I have to take the time to reach over, then readjust, then fire. My teammates have been showing me ways to go about it without the need to adjust but I have to move my head. Otherwise I’m going to smack myself in the face because the bolt’s right there.

I find the other weapons fascinating. Last year I was able to shoot a few of the British and U.S. armies’ automatics. It was awesome. And I was able to shoot one of the sniper rifles at night with night vision. It was cool.

And how are you finding this year so far?

It’s been okay. If anything, nobody’s really expecting to win. I just hope they’re having fun. We shoot sitting prone, kneeling, standing. One thing I find amusing is that a lot of the other shooters – the British Army, Dutch Army – they always ask how the Canadian Rangers are able to shoot without a scope. Based on what I’ve seen, they do seem pretty impressed.

Are your scores important to you or is learning your priority?

For me right now it’s just the practice. I would rather be here for the experience. If you keep looking at your scores, it becomes very distracting. It’s haunting you as you’re shooting and you keep thinking about that number. I find that to be very distracting. Mostly I try not to look at all because I don’t want that number to constantly pop into my head if it’s too low. Or, if it’s high, I become too confident. It really effects your aim. That’s how I see it anyway.

What do you like most about being a Ranger?

The best part would just be the experience – being able to actually go out and see more. Learning other Native cultures, the way they see things and compare it to how my culture sees things.

It’s just interesting to meet new people and to learn new ways to hunt and survive out there. This past summer, we did something called ‘tarpology’ – how to survive with just a tarp and some rope. I love learning new ways to survive. There’s a lot I love about the Rangers.

To comment on this article, visit the Canadian Army's Facebook Notes

Date modified: