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Rifle Qualification Course Changes

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Rifle Qualification Course Changes

A Marine aims in during the course of fire on Edson Range aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Official USMC Photo
Updated April 09, 2007

Officials with the Marine Corps Marksmanship Center of Excellence are implementing many changes to rifle qualifications throughout 2007 including major changes to the scoring system, according to Marine Administrative Message 225/07, released March 26.

The rapid fire portion of the Table 1 known-distance course of fire no longer requires Marines to conduct a magazine change after firing five rounds. Marines now fire a single magazine of 10 rounds in 60 seconds instead of two five-round magazines in 70 seconds.

"We were teaching a bad technique for exchanging magazines during rapid fire that we had to un-teach Marines during the training in Tables 2-4," Capt. Kyle Patton, the officer-in-charge of the Marksmanship Programs and Doctrine Section Marksmanship Center for Excellence, told the Marine Corps News Service. "We added the magazine exchange training to Table 2 with speed reload drills."

The hammer pair drills Marines fired during the Table 2 "field fire" portion of the qualification course have moved to Table 3. The drills require Marines to fire two rapid, successive shots to the chest.

Marines engage targets from 25 yards during Table 2, and Patton said marksmanship doctrine states hammer pairs should be used on targets 15 yards away. Table 3 supports target engagements from 5 to 25 yards.

The biggest change to qualification standards will take effect Oct. 1 when a completely revamped scoring system will be implemented, according to Patton. A Marine's Table 1 and Table 2 scores will be tallied together to determine his rifle qualification level.

Currently, the Table 2 score does not affect a Marine's qualification unless he fails the Table. Failure to receive a passing score in Table 2 automatically drops a Marine's Table 1 score to 190, giving him the lowest minimum qualification level of marksman.

Patton said the scoring system will change from a 250-point scale to a 350-point scale - 250 for Table 1 and 100 for Table 2. Field fire will no longer be a hit or miss training event. Shots placed in the designated area of the target will be worth two points. Hits on the rest of the target will be worth one point. So during drills that call for two shots to the chest, any shot within a 10-inch circle on the target's chest area will be worth two points. Shots outside the circle but still on the target will be worth one point.

A test bed of Marine Corps bases are using the scoring system during rifle qualification for data collection purposes only. The new scores for marksman, sharpshooter and expert will be determined after the data is collected and reviewed by the Marksmanship Center of Excellence.

"Greater emphasis on accurate shot placement instead of just hitting the target was needed in driving Marines toward accurate lethal, mobility kill shots," Patton said. "For each individual Marine, he or she will be driven to focus more on quick accurate shot placement of their rounds during Table 2. The days of just hitting anywhere on the target are over. We want the Marines to understand the importance of making their rounds count while placing them in the enemy's body where they'll do the most damage, ultimately killing them."

Above information courtesy of USMC

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