Cadets at all levels of the Air Training Corps have the opportunity to participate in the sport of rifle shooting. Since the ATC was originally a recruiting organisation for the Royal Air Force, it made good sense for marksmanship to be on the training syllabus. Shooting remains one of the most popular cadet activities.

A range is a location designed so that people can take part in shooting under controlled conditions and ranges come in many shapes and sizes. Initially, shooting takes place with the target 25m from the firer, either on a 25m indoor range or a 25m barrack (outdoor) range. As the firer advances through the weapons they will start to shoot at ranges of 100m or more.

Safety is paramount with all ATC activities and shooting is certainly no exception. Training is an integral part of the system and each cadet is fully trained in whichever rifle they will be using. Supervising staff are similarly trained to deal with any eventualities and to ensure that the range is run safely and efficiently. All rifles are fired from the prone position (the firer is lying on their stomach) at static, targets.

No.8 rifle

This word war II, bolt action rifle is the rifle you will begin with. It’s been modified with a shorter barrel than it used to have, and can fire a .22 rifle round. You will first have to undergo ‘dry training’ on the rifle to help you gain the knowledge to pass your weapons handling test (WHT) To fire on any range, you must have a valid WHT. This it to ensure you are comfortable with the rifle and you know what you’re doing. A weapons handling test is only valid for 6 months after passing your test. After that you must re-take your WHT to ensure you haven’t forgotten anything.


The most recent rifle introduced in to the air training corps is the L98A2. If you’re over 14 years old then you get to this semi automatic rifle. It has been modified from the L85A2 which is in active service and no longer need re-cocking after every round fired as the rifle does it for you automatically.



The L81A2 is a rifle that looks very similar to the Lee Enfield No.8 rifle. The L81A2 has advanced accuracy and higher calibre ammunition. Although weighing slightly more than the No.8 this rifle if perfect for more accurate target shooting.

Marksmanship badges

Squadron marksman Wing marksman
Region marksman Corps marksman