Navy Weapons Qualification Course

Annual pistol qualification
U.S. Navy Lt. Ivan Saldarriga, with 2nd Dental Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, fires an M9 pistol during an annual pistol qualification on Camp Lejeune, N.C., Nov. 2, 2018. (Cpl. Tyler W. Stewart/U.S. Marine Corps)

Discharging a full automatic weapon on a ship is definitely not a good idea. Therefore, during Navy basic training, you won't get to fire the M16 rifle. Instead, you qualify with the M9 pistol and the Mossberg 500 shotgun.

The Navy is unique in that before you get to handle an actual weapon, you get a chance to fire the weapon on a computerized simulator. In fact, by the time you actually pick up a real weapon, you'll almost be an expert.

Before you even proceed to the firing range, you'll complete several hours of weapons training in the classroom. These briefings include range safety, drawing and holstering your pistol and shotgun, and clearing barrel procedures (loading and unloading the weapon) as well as marksmanship fundamentals, weapons characteristics, the names of parts, and the operation of and assembly/disassembly of your pistol and shotgun.

You also will complete at least three hours of dry firing, where you practice safely firing the weapon without any ammunition.

M9 Qualification Course

The standard Navy M9 pistol qualification course has three phases, consisting of a total of 48 live rounds:

  • From the 3-yard line: You fire a total of 12 rounds from the 3-yard line. With your strongest hand supported, you fire two rounds with a time limit of four seconds. You then holster your weapon and repeat the first firing sequence. You then repeat this process, except this time, you reload the additional six rounds and switch to your weak hand.
  • From the 7-yard line: During this section, you fire a total of 12 rounds from the 7-yard line. The first three times, you fire the weapon two rounds, strong hand supported. Then you have 10 seconds to fire two more rounds, reload, switch hands and fire two more rounds. After holstering your weapon, you have eight seconds to draw and fire your last two rounds.
  • From the 15-yard line: In this part, you fire a total of 24 rounds from the 15-yard line. Again, using your strong hand, you fire two rounds in four seconds, repeat and then fire four rounds before holstering your weapon. You then move to the kneeling position, where you fire four rounds, reload 12 rounds and then fire another four rounds before holstering your pistol. Finally, you have eight seconds to draw and fire your remaining eight rounds.

In order to graduate from Navy recruit training, you must achieve a minimum score of 180 points. Each area of the human-shaped target is worth a certain number of points. Vital areas (such as chest and head) are worth more than areas such as legs and wrist.

Shotgun Range Qualification

The Navy shotgun qualification course consists of four firing stations. Station 1 is 25 yards standing behind a tall barricade. Station 2 is 20 yards in a kneeling position with a low barricade. At station 3, you stand from 15 yards with no barricade. Station 4 is the standing position with no barricade at 10 yards.

  • Station 1: At station 1, you shoot five rounds from a standing position behind a tall barricade. You then load four rounds before proceeding to station 2.
  • Station 2: From the kneeling, aimed fire position behind a low barricade, you fire four rounds, reload an additional four rounds and proceed to station 3.
  • Station 3: Here, you fire four rounds from the shoulder position with no barricade and reload three rounds before proceeding to the last station.
  • Station 4: No barricade is at station 4, where you fire with the shotgun supported on your hip. You fire a total of three shots, reloading once, and then clear your weapon. (Make sure that your weapon is unloaded and safe.)

Each shotgun shell consists of nine pellets. In order to qualify, at least 30 of your shotgun pellets must hit each target. Out of a possible score of 162 points,you must score a minimum of 90 points to qualify.

Navy Marksmanship Awards

There are no awards for shotgun qualification, although you must successfully qualify to graduate from Navy recruit training. The Navy Pistol Marksmanship Ribbon, Navy Sharpshooter Award and Navy Expert Pistol Medal may be earned on the Navy Handgun Qualification Course. In order to earn a marksmanship award, you must obtain 180 to 203 points. To qualify as a sharpshooter, you must score between 204 and 227. The highest award, the Expert medal, is awarded to those who score 228 or higher.

From Basic Training for Dummies, copyright © 2011 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey. Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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