Friday, July 9, 2010

Mil Qual

I've talked about the military's rifle qualification before, but what about pistol qualification?

The quality of my qualification in the Navy was a joke. It was just a plinking session with the pistol prepped and ready on a bench on the fantail of a supply ship. I don't really think I earned that ribbon... I have corrected that since, with my current skill. I don't think I'd have earned Sharpshooter or Expert level, necessarily, yet.

In my original qualification, the targets were on the fantail and we were back 10 yards or so. The deck was pitching, as we were underway and doing 20 knots, and the targets were bouncing on their bungies and we were firing 1911's made back before the war. WWII. They just fed me already prepped magazines and we blasted away until the ammo ran out. I hit a few times. There were dozens of holes in each target. The splashes behind the ship were stupendous and it was a beautiful day in the western Mediterranean. I have no idea what my score was. I teacupped the grip and no one taught me otherwise. All I was taught is how to release the slide and start shooting after inserting a fresh mag. I never learned how to field strip or even load a magazine. There was no briefing.

Nowadays in the Navy, with the 9mm Berretta, it appears to be 36 shots at a silhohuette target at various specified ranges (3, 7, and 15 yards) at a not TOO fast pace. There is a notebook paper sized section nearest the center of the silhohuette worth 5 points per hit. So a maximum score is 180. A score of 135 is enough to get the ribbon.

Then there is a more advanced set of training with 48 shots with a max score of 240... Add a 25 yard target to that. A score of 204 gets you a metal 'S' for Sharpshooter to add to your ribbon. A score of 228 out of 240 gets you an 'E' for Expert.

I have no idea what the standards were back in 1990.

But what I described to you was the Naval Academy's stuff. It looks different from this stuff here with the Combat Pistol Qualification Course. Well, duh, that's the Army. But it's 30 rounds at various ranges with a score of 300 max. 160 is qualification, and 260 is expert. Various random ranged pop-up targets, the farthest is 31 meters, and are exposed only for so long a period of time (2 seconds each at the fastest set. 5 sets.)

And the other branches have other standards, naturally.

Could I get Expert today using Navy rules but my 1911? I dunno. Sure, I'll get all 5's on the 3 yard range. But half the shots at 15 and 25 yards have to hit the notebook paper, and other half have to hit the section outside that. But 6 of the 25's are with the pistol on an improvised rest. On a good day I might squeak by with an Expert qualification.

[Something I didn't know... The Coast Guard uses the same sorta SIG as I have. P229 with DAK.]


Boat Guy said...

I shot that Army combat pistol course at Ft Benning; it's a reasonable exercise. Qualed regularly using the other Army courses of fire as well including the 300-possible one you note.
Not sure about YOUR Fleet experience but mine was different since I controlled much of it. I served as Gun Boss/NWSO on my first ship. With some creative accounting I was able to expend two years worth of "Non-Combat Expenditure Allowance" in one year. Every member of our guard force shot 400 rounds of .45. They LEARNED that pistol (and the other weapons as well).
The basic qual for "watchstanders"(if I remember correctly) was some number of hits anywhere on a silhouette from 15 yards. I did on one occasion have one E-8 who shot 40 rds of .45 and 5 rounds of 00 buck at the target and we counted THREE holes (he was NOT one of the 400-round group). Needless to say he was never issued a weapon.
The qual for Navy marksmanship awards in those days (early 80's)was more in the style of NRA bullseye matches and was shot from 25 and 50 yards, slow, timed and rapid. Shooting "Expert" on that course took some measure of skill.
I used to trade spent brass with the local Sheriff's Dept for range time, something that I expect would get an officer sent to jail today,

MJM said...

My service was with the 101st, just post Vietnam. As a lifetime shooter, I was appalled at how little shooting we did. I shot lots more as a kid.
We did, however, haul our issue weapon through lots of mud, hour after hour, all over the back side of the post, on lots of nights.
But, the range? Maybe twice a year.
I qualified with the .45--one afternoon and that was the only time I ever shot it.
Now, the M-60 range--that was pretty cool....
I hope the Army is much more serious about combat marksmanship now.

Old NFO said...

I shot back in the 70's it was 25 and 50 yards, max 240 expert was 228. In those days you had to shoot expert 3 years to get the E for your ribbon. It was rapid at 25 and slow at 50, and we shot it with 'regular' .45s then if you were close to expert, you got to reshoot with NM .45s :-)