Soldiers experiment with new sight system for M3 Carl Gustaf

A small mushroom cloud forms from a tank after being hit by an M3 Carl Gustaf projectile Sept. 14 at Patton Range.

A small mushroom cloud forms from a tank after being hit by an M3 Carl Gustaf projectile Sept. 14 at Patton Range.

By Gerald Williams, Bayonet & Saber /

Soldiers with 1st Battalion, 29th Infantry Regiment, in conjunction with the 75th Ranger Regiment and the Maneuver Center of Excellence Maneuver Battle Lab, experimented with a new sight system for the M3 Carl Gustaf recoilless rifle at Patton Range Sept. 14.

The M3 Carl Gustaf recoilless rifle, with the Aimpoint Fire Control System 12 sight, can fire high energy ammunition with increased accuracy.

The M3 Carl Gustaf recoilless rifle, with the Aimpoint Fire Control System 12 sight, can fire high energy ammunition with increased accuracy.

“This Aimpoint Fire Control System 12 has a ballistic computer built into it,” said Rich Thompson, project officer for the Maneuver Battle Lab. “This means that it includes a laser range finder compiled in a small container. For example, as a gunner, if I laser a target, the Aimpoint will tell me how far away it is. If I plug in the information for the type of round I’m using, the weapon makes the adjustment for you to automatically get a hit.

“This is useful for when I’m switching targets with differences in size and range. The computer will automatically do the calculations for the gunner so that he won’t have to estimate the size and distance of the target himself.”

Capt. David L. Sammy, commander of A Company, 1st Battalion, 29th Infantry Regiment, spoke highly of the Aimpoint FCS 12.

“We’re out here to get evidence to back up what it says it will do for our Soldiers. It is doing what we thought it would do. It definitely performs better than the old sight we use … The 75th Ranger Regiment generally uses the Gustaf system for light infantry, anti-tank warfare.”

The M3 Carl Gustaf system has been in the U.S. Special Operations command inventory since 1991.

“It will surprise you every time,” said Sammy. “Any time you’re close to when these things fire off, it hits you every single time. Generally, you should only fire about six rounds before you pass it to someone else. It’s a lethal weapon.”

Sammy explained that after the test, Soldiers would give feedback, positive and negative, to the MBL program manager, who will take that information and send it to the MBL analysis team to produce a report, which goes up to the chief of the MBL. Depending on the feedback, the report would be passed up to MCoE Commanding General Maj. Gen. Eric Wesley, who if he believes it to be a necessity, will pass it up the line until it reaches big Army who would send it back down for units to possibly buy in the future.

“This experiment is outside of the Warfighter Conference that’s going on currently,” said Sammy. “However, they are trying to go ahead and get some positive feedback on the Aimpoint so that it can give generals at the conference a heads up.”

“The Line of Effort 1 (Future Maneuver) includes emerging technology,” said Sammy, referencing the MCoE Campaign Plan 2022. “As the enemy evolves, we have to evolve. We need to move with the technology. The enemy uses cell phones to communicate and set off improvised explosive devices. How can we use technology to counter that? Being able to target things more quickly and efficiently with the Aimpoint is one way for our Soldiers to be more lethal.”


For more photos, visit fortbenningphotos.com.

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