Shooting is taught as a key skill area within the Corps. Every Air Cadet has the opportunity to develop their shooting skills and apply the principles of marksmanship on several different weapon systems.

Before any Cadet live firers they undergo strict lessons and practise sessions held by a number of qualified RAF Weapons Instructors, safety being paramount at all times. Prior to becoming qualified to shoot a weapon a cadet must undergo a Weapons Handling Test (WHT). This is a 6 monthly qualification which they must keep current in order to continue to shoot. Qualified staff are always on hand to train and re-qualify cadets throughout their ATC career.

The first rifle a cadet live firers is the Number 8 rifle. This rifle is the weapon the Corps uses to train the cadets on and is basic but none the less effective. Once competent and safe the cadets have an opportunity to competition shoot and according to the grade attained receive a variety of awards.

The next rifle available to cadets is the L98A2. This rifle is based on the current service rifle the L85A2 from the SA80 family of rifles. This rifle is semi automatic and firers a larger 5.56mm cartridge. With this weapon cadets are taught advanced shooting techniques and can achieve the highest grades of Air Cadet marksmanship award including:


The Squadron marksman qualification is the lowest available to the cadets. To receive this badge and qualification, cadets must achieve 4 five-round groupings of 1 inch or less on a 25m range.


The Wing marksman requires the cadets to master 3 different types of shooting. These include rapid, where cadets must fire 5 rounds as quickly and as accurately as possible; snap, which involves firing only when the targets pop up; and groupings which is the same as mentioned above.


To receive this qualification, cadets must complete the same tests as those outlined for Wing marksman, but with better accuracy and in less time. For Wing marksman a score of 27/35 (0.77) or above must be achieved, and for Regional marksman a score of 6/7 (0.86) or above must be achieved.


Corps marksman is similar to both Wing and Regional marksman, but cadets must fire 10 rounds for each section, as opposed to 5 while remaining within the grouping size and time limits.

Cadet 100 and Cadet 50

This is the hardest to achieve, and is awarded to the best 100 cadets at the annual Bisley Cadet shoot. Awarded to Air, Sea and Army cadets. To receive this marksman you must be within the top 100 cadets in Britain!

Other weapons systems are available to cadets once they have received the appropriate training and have passed their WHT on that weapon. These other weapons include, Air Rifle, L86A2, L81 and L85A2.

At Havant Squadron we have trained staff on the Squadron to take cadets from the most basic rifle lesson all the way to competitive shooting. All within the safe training system that the RAF provides. Shooting with Havant Squadron usually takes place locally at the Havant Army Cadet Range or at Tipnor range in Portsmouth. For larger calibre weapons the Squadron travels to Ash ranges in North Hampshire.

Shooting is a core activity with the Air Cadets and one of the most enjoyable activities we do.

Image: The L98A2 rifle
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