Marksmanship and accuracy are core concepts for our armed combatants in the field. Every year Marines usually go through a two-week-long qualification course to test their skills and to qualify on their individual weapons systems. Now, the Marine Corps has adopted a new qualification system that aims to give time back to the commanders who have to give up their marines for this yearly qualification as well as give Marines more realistic shooting environments to qualify in.
Marine Corps Adopts new Rifle Qualification Course Standards
The new Marine Corps Qualification course will be pared down from a 10-14 day course to about 3 days. In addition, marines will now be able to qualify in their full combat gear and use a variety of shooting positions and supports including barricades, rucksacks, and other types of cover available on the firing range.
“We came up with a course of fire that gives time back to commanders,” said Col. Mark Liston, commanding officer, Weapons Training Battalion at Quantico, Virginia.
According to Col. Liston, marksmanship data will also be changed as well on the new targets which feature a “Bad guy” complete with rifle, skullcap, and sunglasses as opposed to the simple bullseye target. Instead of “point zones” like on a traditional target, these new targets will be graded on “lethality zones” hit.
Anything outside of these zones one could suggest it’s not a physiological stop,”
-Chief Warrant Officer 5 John Costa, director marksmanship program management
The lethality zone consists of a coffin-shaped area in the face and a home plate-shaped area on the body of the target to indicate a lethal shot and Marines will no longer be able to get away with grazing shots on the target as hits to the shoulder, arm, cheeks or other extremities of the target won’t count as good hits. Marines will be tested at ranges from 25 to 500 yards and no longer start off at the 100-yard range. The sitting position for the shooting has also been eliminated entirely.
In addition to general marksmanship, drills will be incorporated into new course standards with all three drills beginning at the 25-yard shooting line.
- Failure to Stop. That requires the Marine to fire two shots to the chest then one to the brain box at a 25-yard distance. If the Marine doesn’t do the drill correctly, he is unqualified for that portion. They’ll do this four times.
- Box drill. Two targets. The Marine fires two chest shots in the first target, two chest shots into the second then one headshot into the second followed by a final headshot into the first. They’ll do this four times.
- Advance. Beginning at the 25-yard line the Marine is told to “advance” and walks toward the target, firing the failure to stop drill while moving. This drill must be completed twice.
These new qualification standards were tested extensively during 2020 and the Marine corps is hoping to completely switch over to the new qualification standards sometime during 2021.
All Photos Obtained from Marine Corps website.