Transformation from civilian to Marine: Rifle Qualification

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SAN DIEGO For Phase Two of Marine Corps boot camp at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, recruits travel to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton for Weapons and Field Training.

Photo by Cpl. Asia Sorenson. Marines participate in Table One of their annual Rifle Marksmanship Qualification at Wilcox Range, April 20, 2016. Table One teaches the fundamentals of shooting by firing upon a target at the 200, 300 and 500 yard line utilizing a variety of shooting positions.

"Every Marine is a rifleman so every recruit has to know how to handle that weapon," said Lance Cpl. Max Stonbraker, a combat marksmanship coach at Camp Pendleton.

Recruits train for marksmanship at the Edson Range. Coaches said outdoor training is essential.

"If you're sitting inside and you're shooting, you're not going to have the elements such as the wind, the rain, it's cloudy, anything," Stonbraker said. "You're not going to have that mental mentality to push yourself through it."

Recruits spend two weeks training for marksmanship. 99.5% of them reach their initial qualification the first time they shoot.

"The PMI, primary marksman instructor was amazing," said Pfc. Grayson Osteen, Platoon 1029, Bravo Company, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, who was promoted to Lance Cpl. at graduation. "He was very knowledgeable and he helped a lot so that even when people who had never touched a riffle or had never had any experience with it were able to qualify."

Rifle qualification with the M16-A4 Service Rifle is broken up into two parts.

Table one involves firing 50 rounds from 200, 300 and 500 yards.
Table two includes firing while wearing combat gear.

Recruits can qualify as marksman, sharp shooter or expert, with marksman being the lowest, expert being the highest.

For the current fiscal year (Oct. 2015 to May 2016), 76.76% of recruits who qualified did so at the expert level, 21.76% qualified as sharp shooter and 1.48% qualified as marksman.

"If you put the dedication into it, if you paid attention in the classes and if you tried, you qualified expert pretty easily," Osteen said.

Recruits spend three full weeks at Camp Pendleton.

Following completion of Phase Two, recruits are sent back to MCRD San Diego to begin Phase Three of training.

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