New Marine Rifle training


October 20, 2005, 07:35 PM,15240,78716,00.html?

Marines Begin New Rifle Course
Marine Corps News | Kaitlyn M. Scarboro | October 14, 2005
MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO, Calif. - Marines re-qualifying with the M-16 A2 service rifle now encounter a new course which started Oct. 1.

The changes made to the course are intended to provide Marines with more combat marksmanship training to better prepare them for the wars of today and tomorrow.

The most noticeable change to the course is the scoring system, according to Maj. Robert B. Richardson, company commander, Weapons and Field Training Battalion, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif.

"The first thing they are going to notice is the 250-point (known distance) scoring system," he said.

Initial marksmanship qualification during boot camp is scored with maximum points of 250 using numbered rings to determine each shots individual score.

Marines in the fleet, after boot camp, were scored with a maximum score of 65 points on a hit or miss basis.

The new scoring system for fleet Marines will go back to initial qualification rules with a score between 190 and 209 getting marksman qualification; 210 to 219 for sharpshooter and 220 or more for expert.

The old system required a total of 25 hits out of 65 rounds, a 38 percent proficiency level. The new course requires 60 hits out of 80 rounds fired, a 75 percent proficiency level.

In addition to the new scoring system, Marines must now qualify on a modified combat-oriented course.

"Field firing has gone away and a new beast called Table 2 has taken its place," said Richardson.

Taking the last two days of the week-long qualification course, Table 2 includes three hours of classroom training and hours of practical application drills.

The table also includes different weapons carry techniques.

"(Marines) are not qualified when they complete the (known distance) course. They have to successfully complete the Table 2 to be qualified with the rifle," said Richardson.

The new course includes many new changes to rifle manual and positions. Newly incorporated is the speed kneeling position - dropping to both knees and quickly firing.

"You just collapse to your knees and shoot," said Richardson.

Taking into consideration combat environments, Marines are also being given many more options during their qualification rounds. Controlled carry of the M-16 A2 service rifle with a 3-point sling or a loop sling is now allowed. Marines are no longer required to carry weapons at port arms when exiting the firing line.

Simulated close combat drills with controlled pairs and hammered pairs - when two shot are fired without regaining sight picture - and reassessment drills are enhanced components in the course of fire.

Other changes to the course include clearing procedures for rounds lodged in the rifle and reloading procedures, including speed reloads and tactical reloads.

The new course also includes a Table 3, which is unit-required training in live-fire combat situations including unknown distance and night fire training.

Table 4 is a more advanced table with Marines shooting more than 500 rounds and requires more classroom training. Table 4 is an exclusive requirement for Marine infantrymen.

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October 20, 2005, 07:43 PM
Could be a good thing.....I was always of the old "you fight the way you train" school,so the training should be one where physical motions and stances in response to a perceived (or known ) threat bypass "concious thought" and get stored in muscle memory.Good gear and realistic training makes for a very good combination.Alas;my own branch (the Army,back in the day) was not always as consistant as the Corps(too much"not your job specialization"crept in after the early 80's).But even THEY are realizing the utility of "everyman(or woman) a rifleman"ethic.More triggertime for al is a good thing.

October 20, 2005, 08:34 PM
I seem to recall a German Army critique of American infantry in WWII. One included the American practice of dropping down to 1 knee and staying still. The Germans were better able to hit the stationary target as a result.

October 20, 2005, 09:18 PM
This sounds like a reaction to the current DOD plan of fighting a large war "on the cheap." We don't want to expand our force strength while committing to fighting a long term engagement. Therefore we'll use non infantry troops for infantry functions. Maybe we better train them better and they'll stop gatting killed so much.

October 20, 2005, 09:44 PM
Improving rifle training is never a bad thing. The Army is working on changing theirs as well. Firing from the foxhole position has been eliminated, although the exact mix of what to replace it with was still up in the air-most likely a mix of prone supported and unsupported, and kneeling supported and unsupported, all done in IBA.

Other random notes: current Battle Drill 1 (React to Contact) says take cover and return fire. FM 7-8 doesn't specify, but this usually means from the prone, although whatever position is most effective from the cover you're behind works.

October 20, 2005, 11:09 PM
MikeIsaj: For the Marines, every man is a rifleman. They generally expect everyone to fight like they are front-line infantry.

October 21, 2005, 02:12 AM
Learn to shoot with your flak and kevlar on. It's a hell of a difference when you learn to shoot in just your utilities, and then you have to shoot with a flak in the way and your kevlar slipping down over your eyes...

October 21, 2005, 02:46 AM
Hmmm. I wonder if that's for all of the Corps or just Hollywood Marines.

Seriously, I first learned on the old 250 point system that is now the new 250 point system, but that was using the M-14 that one could hit targets with at 500 hundred yards all day and not skip a beat. Nothing ever truly prepares a man for combat, but hitting what you're shooting at is a fine start. And if anything is worth shooting, it is of course worth shooting at again. Then another just for good luck.

October 21, 2005, 09:17 AM
For the Marines, every man is a rifleman. Basic rifleman is more accurate. Every Marine is proficient in the use of the service rifle. Every Marine qualifies every year on the KD course.
They generally expect everyone to fight like they are front-line infantry.Not true. Being a basic rifleman is differient than being a basic infantryman. Infantry is a specialty, like every other specialty. I was a Staff Sergeant and a communicator. I was no more qualified to lead an infantry unit than an infantryman was qualified to repair a radio. My job was to support that infantryman in any way I could.

October 21, 2005, 11:04 AM
I completed Infantry BCT and AIT with the Army this summer at Fort Benning. The basic rifle qual was still 40 rounds on pop-up targets from 50 to 300 meters, using prone supported, prone unsupported, and standing. We had k-pots and IBA with plates, as we did with all of our live-firing.

This was after many hours of range time grouping and determining zero for our weapons. After qualification, we moved on to advanced rifle marksmanship which included reflexive fire, night fire, and the moving targets range.

There was a lot of talk about changing the system, especially with regards to the amount of reflexive fire and MOUT training the Infantry receives. I'm glad the Marine Corps is doing so and I think the Army should follow them.

October 21, 2005, 11:11 AM
you have to love the Marines.
If they get good at something they just make it harder.
The bar always moves.


October 21, 2005, 08:04 PM
Sounds like a good training plan for anyone wearing a uniform, regardless of service, branch, or specialty.

Should be taught at the high school level, males and females, but I do not see that ever happening...

At least the average Marine will get some decent training.

Vern Humphrey
October 21, 2005, 08:23 PM
current Battle Drill 1 (React to Contact) says take cover and return fire.

Have they finally figured it out?

When I was the drills officer at the Army Training Board, they had "react to near ambush" "react to far ambush" and "react to contact." I mentioned to Kenny Leur (then Commandant of the Infantry School) he needed to add three men to the squad -- an interview man to talk things over with the enemy leader to see if it was a planned ambush or just ordinary contact. Then he needed a tape man to determine if it was a near or a far ambush. And finally he needed a referee to call the close ones. (Did I mention Kenny didn't have a sense of humor?)

My own approach was, if you're still alive, it probably wasn't an ambush. The drill I proposed was:

1. Take cover.
2. Locate the enemy
3. Return fire.
4. Locate the men on your right and left.
5. Relay orders and information.

October 21, 2005, 08:26 PM
What's with that "numbered rings" stuff? I thought everyone was shooting silhouettes after psychologists proved that firing at a human-shaped target in practice led to a greater willingness to shoot at a human-shaped target in combat. I've never shot a bullseye in the Army and I never expect to be attacked by one, either.

October 21, 2005, 10:23 PM
My marksmanship drill- if the first 5 megaton nuke fails to neutralize the enemy, use a 20 megaton nuke . If this fails, use diplomacy. If this fails, send in the Marines...

October 21, 2005, 11:11 PM
What's with that "numbered rings" stuff? I thought everyone was shooting silhouettes after psychologists proved that firing at a human-shaped target in practice led to a greater willingness to shoot at a human-shaped target in combat.

When I was in the Corps we used numbered rings inside the silhouettes in bootcamp.

I am also of the opinion that it is far easier to qualify and qual high with the 250 point system than the 65 point system. If you hit paper, you still get a score, but with the 65 point system it is hit or miss, no score for misses.

The new system sounds good in theory, but in practice, I imagine it will be more time at the range getting yelled at by some grunt/fap who is upset that he has to 'splain this one more time to the airwinger or motor T guy on the line. More time that could be better used fixing jets, etc. Not that it matters as commands will waive the annual requirements at the drop of a hat. I saw plenty of Marines who went five years without once going to the range in the fleet.

But it sounds like a good idea.

Wess Rodgers
October 21, 2005, 11:58 PM
In the fall of 2004, I was corresponding with a Marine Gunner in Fallujah. Marine Gunners are warrant officers who are responsible for the tactical/practical performance of Marines. There are only 40-odd Gunners in the Corps, so they are a pretty elite bunch.

My friend and a few other gunners were working on a proposal to lay before the Gunner’s Symposium in the spring, and needed a technical writer to help them polish it. I just happen to be a technical writer by profession, and was thereby most deeply honored to have a part in the proposal. The heart of the package was to combine the Range Officer and Marine Gunner MOS’. I don’t know if the final package included that, or not, but here is the rationale.

Range Officers were (are?) in charge of all marksmanship training. They write the curriculum, establish performance criteria, design the ranges – everything. However, the Gunners are responsible to see that the Marines perform well in combat, ie, that our guys go home alive and the other guys don’t. They found themselves having to retrain their troops, and in many cases, breaking the habits of boot camp, KD training was a major task. There was nothing in the paper that might have shown disrespect to the traditional Range Officers, nor the value of basic KD training. The point was that, according to the Commandant, everything the Corps does must be based on improving the “warfighting ability” of the Corps. In other words, our guys come home alive, etc…

The fellow who said it was an economy move was right. Training the men twice is a waste of time and ammunition. Having to have two sets of ranges is wasteful. Taking men out of combat to retrain them is wasteful. Most of all, though, we must jealously guard against wasting the lives of our Marines. There have been many occasions in OIF where the bad guys lived long enough to get off lucky shots. The Gunners felt that a more practical type of training would eliminate a lot of that.

The distinction between rifleman and infantryman is also entirely valid. My friend told me that if a Marine of any grade qualified expert so many times in a row (I think it was 3) he never had to qualify with the rifle, again. Most Marines never fired more than the 100 or so rounds necessary for an annual requalification, and that was done in the most sanitary, non-combat-related manner imaginable. In a situation like Iraq, where every Marine had damned well BETTER be a rifleman, such qualification is a deadly farce.

In a sentence, the proposal was intended to change the thrust of Marine small arms training from winning matches to winning gunfights.

I am thrilled beyond measure to have been able to give a little bit back to the organization that did so much to make a man of me back in ‘ 67.

Semper Fidelis,
Wess Rodgers
2/5, LZ Baldy, RVN, 70/71

October 22, 2005, 03:07 AM
(Did I mention Kenny didn't have a sense of humor?)

My platoon in basic sat through the class on react to near ambush. It was just a slightly modified react to contact drill except with mandatory frags going out and a specified order of flanking. When we set out to practice, our drill sergeant told us to forget it. He said the best way to survive a near ambush is to "turn and burn," or immediately face your attackers and charge them. In practice, he was right. In a near ambush, you don't have time to get on line and flank, never mind throw some frags. If you're still alive after the first three seconds the safest route is right through the enemy.

While he also wasn't a big fan of the doctrinal form of breaking contact, he did believe it had it's place. He thought we might prefer the Australian or "banana" peel, which I was quite pleased to relay I'd learned already thanks to the Mass State Guard. He said, "Good for you private, do some freaking pushups."

But I digress.

November 12, 2009, 10:11 AM
I know its bumping an old thread, but my question is pertinent to this topic.

I can't find the point breakdown anywhere on the internet of the Marine Rifle Qualification course between '97 and '05, when it was worth 65 points.

I know the old 250 point course breakdown. That is what I shot in Boot-Camp, but afterwards, in the fleet, the course was 65 points. I need to know the value of each shot at the various yardage lines.

November 13, 2009, 02:28 AM
I realize this is a stale thread, too. It was pointed out to me by a good friend tonight.

I guess I got out before anything changed. Apparently in the decade I was spending my time getting heavily involved in the study of dynamic pistol shooting, the Corps must have drifted away from KD on the rifle range?

And now they're drifting back, kinda sorta?


MikeIsaj: For the Marines, every man is a rifleman. They generally expect everyone to fight like they are front-line infantry.

As cool as that may sound, its just not true. All Marines are basic riflemen. The theory being that a Marine could be pulled up from a support function and have some basic riflery skills to be used when necessary. But Infantryman are Infantryman. The rest of the Corps doctrine is built directly around getting the 0311 into the fight, and supporting him while he's there.

And I have to say I'm among those dissappointed that the Corps deviated from the KD course. Training is training, the qual isn't and never was intended to be. The basics of marksmanship are a necessary building block to building a professional, competent rifleman. The KD course was meant to teach and then test the basics.

I'm not a believer is designing a test designed to evaluate tactics, escpecially ones tied to promotions. That's what training is for. And while there are good answers and poor answers, there is rarely THE answer. Unfortunately that's what tests teach. And they can be used as bludgeons on unit leaders.

Anyway. Rant off.

November 13, 2009, 06:54 AM
"Qualification isn't training" is a lesson my agency hasn't learned yet.

The answer to my question I need more courses for, but one guy told me he remembered that the 200 yard slow fire (3 positions, 5 rounds each) was worth a total of 30 points, and the rest of the hits from there on out were worth 1 point each.

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