Marines were recently issued a new directive concerning what gear and weapons they can use for their annual marksmanship qualifications.
According to The Marine Corps Times, a Marine administrative message, released on March 12, 2012, noted that, “Only individual rifles, their designated optics, and pistols that are current Marine Corps programs of record are authorized for use” during qualifications. “Marines will continue the use of approved modular weapon attachments and authorized modifications. The intent is to ensure Marines train with the weapon system with which they will fight.”
The Times reported that, “Pistols authorized this year include the 9mm M9 and M9A1, and the .45-caliber M45. The Corps also authorized the use of the M16A4 rifle, M4 carbine, M4A1 Close Quarters Battle Weapon, and M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle (IAR), each of which will be used with their respective standard optics.”
There was some questions about allowing the new IAR into this year's qualifications.
“The free-floating barrel on the weapon makes it more accurate than the M16A4 and M4, but marksmanship officials observed the advantage was minimal, resulting on average in a five-point increase in a Marine’s score on the range. Additionally, only automatic riflemen assigned the M27 will use it during quals, and they'll compete for promotion against personnel in their own military occupational specialty.”
“The topic of fairness comes up every time we do something different or introduce an improvement to marksmanship,” said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Timothy Dankonich, a range officer involved in the study. “If you look at what five points on the rifle range does on a cutting score in terms of eligibility for promotion, you're better off doing one or two more pullups on your [Physical Fitness Test]. The fairness issue is essentially moot.”
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