MCRD Parris Island

Week 6 of boot camp at Parris Island, often referred to as “Grass Week,” is a critical phase in recruit training that focuses on marksmanship fundamentals. During this week, recruits spend extensive time in the prone position on the grass of the rifle range, learning and practicing the principles of marksmanship. The name “Grass Week” comes from the environment in which the recruits spend most of their time during this phase—lying in the grass, aiming downrange.

Bulls-eyes & Basics

During Grass Week, the serene yet demanding environment of the range becomes the classroom, where recruits are taught not just to shoot, but to do so with the precision and discipline that define a Marine. The essence of this week is captured in the meticulous instruction and relentless practice of marksmanship fundamentals, aiming to engrain these skills so deeply that they become second nature. 

From the deliberate alignment of sight to the controlled squeeze of the trigger, every aspect of this training is geared toward one goal: ensuring that every Marine is capable of delivering accurate fire when it matters most.

During this time, they’ll focus on:

Marksmanship Instruction: Recruits receive detailed classroom instruction and practical training on the fundamentals of rifle marksmanship. This includes lessons on sight picture, sight alignment, breathing control, trigger squeeze, and shooting positions. The goal is to teach recruits how to accurately and effectively fire their service rifle.

Positional Shooting Practice: A significant portion of Grass Week is dedicated to practicing shooting positions, including the prone, kneeling, and standing positions. Recruits spend hours perfecting these positions to ensure stability and accuracy when firing.

Dry Fire Exercises: Before live fire exercises, recruits practice dry firing—pulling the trigger of an unloaded weapon. This helps in mastering the mechanics of shooting without the distraction of recoil and noise.

Sling Use: Recruits learn how to properly use a sling to stabilize the rifle while shooting, which is crucial for achieving accuracy, especially in the standing and kneeling positions.

Breathing and Trigger Control: Instructors emphasize the importance of proper breathing techniques and smooth trigger control in achieving accuracy. Recruits practice these skills extensively during Grass Week.

Snapping In

“Snapping in” is a critical component of Grass Week and the overall marksmanship training in Marine Corps boot camp. It refers to the practice sessions where recruits work on perfecting their shooting techniques without live ammunition. This includes adopting the correct shooting positions, aiming, breath control, and trigger squeeze. The term “snapping in” essentially means practicing the fundamentals of marksmanship in a dry fire scenario, focusing on muscle memory and the precision of movements required for accurate shooting.

Hike Time

With the sun rising early and motivation burning bright, Marine Corps recruits embark on a 10-kilometer hike, a test of body and spirit. Laden with packs and fueled by determination, they traverse the challenging terrain, each step echoing the unwavering commitment to their newfound purpose. Sweat beads on their brows, but their eyes remain focused, a testament to the grit forged in the crucible of boot camp. This journey isn’t just about distance; it’s a crucible of discipline, pushing them to their limits and revealing the inner strength needed to conquer future challenges. 

With each kilometer conquered, they inch closer to earning the coveted title of United States Marine, a badge of honor earned through hardship and unwavering resolve.

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Joseph Jacob)

Thanks for reading along this week, and we’ll see you next week for Firing Week. 

Semper Fidelis,
Sgt. Maj. Paul Davis
USMC, Retired