News: Riflemen to pistoleers, Marines train precision
Story by Lance Cpl. Kenneth Trotter
IWAKUNI, Japan - The Indoor Small Arms Range held a Combat Marksmanship Training Course here Sept. 5-16.
The CMT Course is more than just a regular pistol qualification course.
It is designed to teach and instruct Marines the proper use and mechanics of pistol marksmanship. The course also prepares them to coach other Marines in the art of shooting, increasing combat effectiveness and readiness.
“The biggest thing is to have hands-on training with the pistol during qualification to know the general use of nomenclature of the pistol so they can be proficient for combat,” said Sgt. Jamie A. Valentine, an ISAR combat marksmanship trainer.
The course not only serves to increase the combat efficiency of Marines, but also ensures Marines have the most
qualified personnel to train them.
“Every Marine needs to be trained on these weapon systems,” said
Sgt. Matthew J. McMahon, ISAR operations chief. “These classes are necessary to have quality instructors on how to teach other Marines how to shoot and to qualify on an annual basis in those weapon systems.”
The week prior, the Marines performed familiarization exercises with the M16A4 and M4A1 service rifles on table three alpha and table three bravo.
Table three alpha is a daylight shoot involving movement and facing drills, which emphasize targeting center body mass shots and the small target “t-box” headshot. Table three bravo consists of the same movements and facing drills but is conducted at night with night vision goggles.
Marines must qualify on both tables before advancing to pistol qualification.
In the past, Marines qualified with rifles on table three after qualifying with the pistol.
The process was reversed to allow for better time management.
McMahon said the Marines were not qualifying with the rifles, but the hands-on time offered helped them with understanding the fundamentals of coaching.
The M9 pistol is used primarily in close quarter situations such as urban settings and room-to-room clearing.
As such, Marines qualify with the pistol at a range of 25, 15 and seven yards.
A challenge the Marines may find difficult while qualifying is inaccuracy when firing a pistol.
“I think people get too wrapped around (the thought) of when they misfire a shot,” said McMahon. “They don’t brush it off and continue to push on.”
Familiarity can be just as big of a hindrance as inaccuracy.
Pistol qualifying removes them from that comfort zone, forcing them to adapt and expand their understanding of various firearms.
“This is my first time ever shooting a pistol,” said Lance Cpl. Donyale M. Young, a Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 12 avionics technician. “The worst part was stabilization. I’m not used to not having that support but I overcame it.”
Confidence plays a large part with overcoming the impediments of those who concentrate too closely on shot placement.
“The pistol, more so than the rifle, is all about being confident and aggressive while shooting it,” said McMahon. “The more confident and aggressive you are, the better you will shoot.”
The CMT course is offered once a year to interested Marines.