MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- The annual rifle qualification for Marines will be a little different here Nov. 1 due to changes to make the qualification more up to date with today’s war fighting.
The rifle qualification is going to be split into two tables. The first table will be the entry-level course of fire, and the field fire has been replaced with a new course of fire designed shooting at close distances.
The known distance course is changing to the entry level course of firing that Marines shoot while they are in recruit training, which has a maximum score of 250 points, according to Chief Warrant Officer-3 David Dutton, the Range Company commander. Points are awarded depending on where the round hits. A maximum of five points is awarded for hitting in the black.
“One of the things that I believe is that table one will reinstall the fact that the known distance course is the foundation,” Dutton said.
Marines will qualify on the known distance course on the Wednesday of the firing week, according to Dutton. The next two days are for the table two training.
The second part of training, which was field fire, the first day of table two consists of class and then a practice run through the course of fire, according to Dutton. Marines fire from the 50-yard line and must get 50 percent of their shots in the black to qualify. The course of fire can also be done at the 25-yard line but 75 percent of the Marine’s shots must be in the black.
The teaches the Marines some entry level close range firing that can be used in combat, according to Dutton. The new field firing also incorporates trigger pairs and control pairs. Control pairs are when a Marine takes two shots in quick succession but aims between each shot. A trigger pair is when a Marine aims in on the target and quickly pulls the trigger twice without re-aiming.
“This is a good drill for the entry level Marines,” said Sgt. Peter T. Magee, a combat instructor with Marine Combat Training Battalion, School of Infantry (East). “It gets Marines in the mind set to engage multiple targets and presenting and engaging right off the bat.”
The table two course of firing is on a pass fail basis if a Marine fails to pass the course of firing he must re-qualify and his score will be 190 no matter what the Marine shot during the known distance course of fire, according to Dutton. If a Marine doesn’t qualify during the re-qualification his score is run as unqualified and he must re-shoot the entire range.
There are also other changes to the range, according to Dutton. A Marine will be firing with the weapon he is issued. If a Marine is issued a M4 carbine he will fire it for both of the courses of fire. Marines are also allowed to us a three-point sling for their weapons if they desire. One thing that hasn’t changed is Marines will not be able to use optics for the range. The shooting positions are also relaxed.
The new course of fire is starting at other Marine Corp Bases Oct. 1, but for Marine Corps Base and other parent commands they are combining their efforts to use October to train old and new coaches on the new courses. They hope to have 1,300 trained coaches by the beginning of November, according to Dutton.