The Changing Face of Qualification

see page 34 (PDF page 36))

Click to access INFMAG_Spring20.pdf

Overall, this article is a glimpse at what right should look like.

“Specifically, the class in question averaged a score of 15 hits on RM 7 during the cycle [current rifle qualification per TC 3-20.40], while the class prior, shooting the legacy table [the old three table qualification modified in 2007 and originally implemented in 1980], had averaged a score of 23. Was this class just filled with inferior marksmen across the board? Were our drill sergeants somehow missing the mark with their instruction to this class? Or was the new qualification that much more difficult than the legacy course of fire?”

“In watching trainees execute RM 7, one major problem became clear. Marksmanship, in its purest form, the ability to hit a target, was not lacking. The trainees were actually hitting targets at a high rate… when they actually managed to fire at the target at all. Unfortunately, they were missing the chance to fire at a significant portion of target exposures because their ability to manipulate their individual weapons had not sufficiently developed to that point. Though Soldiers still face
40 possible engagements on the new qualification table, their ability to achieve a high score is negated drastically if they are unable to reload, correct a malfunction, and/or change positions quickly enough to fire at their next target exposure. Coupling the weapon-handling requirements of the new qualification table with a group of relatively inexperienced shooters still learning the fundamentals of marksmanship created a situation that looked, at best, challenging to correct.

It’s worth pointing out that the authors of this article thought an average qualification score of 23 – a hit rate of 57.5% – on the old course somehow indicates that “[m]marksmanship… was not lacking”. The 2017 study published by the 82nd Airborne demonstrated that Table III of the old qualification was the easiest portion and raised the overall average compared to the first two tables, which means the pre-2007 two table Trainfire qualification introduced in the early 1980s was slightly more difficult.

The end solution was Drills (practicing the gun handling at speed necessary to shoot the course) along with having Soldiers arrange their gear based on function and measured performance, not some faux uniform standard. In other words, basic skills that every practical shooting competitor has been well acquainted with since at least the 1960s. Now that we finally have a qualification that takes these things into account, Soldiers might finally begin to learn them.

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