I was interested to read about the new standards being applied by the US Marine Corps to rifle qualification. The Corps has always had the motto “Every Marine a rifleman”, and it’s good to see they still take that seriously. Their new standards offer a useful yardstick to evaluate our own weapons skills, and perhaps improve our training accordingly (if we’re young and supple enough to do so, of course! I’m old and creaky now. I daresay my days for such athleticism are long past.)
As a combat veteran from a different service (and nation, and continent) I’m particularly interested to see the emphasis on scoring. Instead of a numeric point system, the Corps is going to score hits as “destroy, neutralize, suppress or miss. Only destroys count.” Furthermore, Marines will shoot the course wearing “full battle rattle” – all their standard combat gear – just as they would in a war zone. This will make it more difficult to achieve high scores, and it’s entirely right that it should.
I’ve written before about the training I received in the Rhodesian “jungle walk” combat shooting system, pioneered by the Rhodesian Light Infantry. It built on the range-oriented basic training I received in the South African Defense Force. It was, of course, oriented towards the closer-range, faster-reaction-time bush warfare combat environment of southern Africa. It wouldn’t work so well over longer ranges in more open terrain, where more deliberate aim is required. Nevertheless, it saved my butt on a few occasions. It sounds as if the Marines are going to emphasize similarly combat-oriented techniques, eliminating those suitable only to the “one-way range” of a training environment, and concentrating on what’s needed to survive the “two-way range” of real warfare. One can only approve.