I just returned to my command after graduating BRC and they immediately put me on the range. One of the most retarded things they are teaching that I have noticed is a rule that you have to hold the rifle in your forward hand in the pocket between your thumb and hand with the back of your hand perpendicular to the rifle facing forwards. (hold your supporting hand up like you’re about to backhand someone, then curl in your fingers and raise your thumb. Your rifle has to sit in that pocket). It’s completely unnatural and since the wrist has to be erect instead of relaxed, it is VERY unstable compared to the old way, and it puts pressure on some painful spots after you’ve been firing for a while. Prone positions can use the old way, but that position is stable in the first place. It just seems to be following the Marine-Corps-wide trends of someone in-charge’s bullshit idea being made mandatory because they said so…


Way to sound off! Sounds like they are experimenting with the position and hopefully, it is based on solid and proven data to support (no pun intended) the new position. Keep us posted on how other Marines feel about this change. -David, Author

I have read a lot of articles by some great Marines concerned with the “realistic” training needed to prepare our junior Marines for combat. I agree that Marines need training on limited exposure and unknown distance firing.

However I disagree with the basic premise that we need to de-emphasize the KD course. One primary factor that sets our Marines apart from their peers in the other services is the high degree of competence in basic marksmanship they

display both on the range and in combat. That is directly attributable to the way we train Marines from Boot Camp through their entire time in the service.

Good marksmanship requires a solid grasp of the fundamentals and the “muscle memory” that comes from constant repetition and the constant return to the basics.

The Infantry Marines I trained while on active duty, who were solid performers on the “K” ranges, L-5 and other unknown distance ranges we set up at Lejeune, as well as Range 400 and the other ranges they fire at CAX, or Vieques, or wherever – always improved their performance after a return to the “KD” (or B-Mod ) range during annual qualification. Without that return to the basics and emphasis on the fundamentals of marksmanship, Marines lose the very edge that makes us so deadly on the battlefield. Having seen the poor performance of soldiers whose training only emphasized shooting “Crazy Ivans” – I will stick with KD training any day.

During the Battle of An Nasiriya, I watched an infantry Marine lean out from behind a wall (he was in the sitting position) – and drop an Iraqi soldier who was shooting at him – with one shot at a range of about 175 meters. The Iraqi was running and the Marine was under fire from multiple directions. Yet his training, and the confidence he had – derived by his solid training in the fundamentals of marksmanship – took out his enemy quickly and efficiently.

One of the blessings we received – in my opinion – was the poor marksmanship training of our enemies. I saw other shots taken on enemy combatants at a variety of ranges, and each time it was the Marine who looked like he was using the compressed fundamentals derived from KD training who was more accurate. (Including one Lance Corporal who was using the rags flying from buildings to adjust his windage…)

During the battle, I was able to observe Marines in combat whose training ranged from Infantry and Armor to any one of the Support MOS’ you can name, engaging the enemy with M-16’s and M-9’s, and I am here to tell you they did not succeed merely because they had training in limited exposure, unknown range targets. In fact, aside from the infantry Marines, few had had anything other than annual range training and MCT. Despite that, these Marines confidently engaged the enemy in MOUT and won the battle. (I had Mechanics, Comm., Motor T., Admin and Supply Marines fighting in the streets of Nasiriya, as well as regular Infantry and Tankers.) While it was not the superior marksmanship of the Marines alone that won that battle, those skills provided a critical benefit to the overall success of the mission. In fact, the skills learned on the KD course aided Marines who were not only engaging enemy combatants, but having to avoid shooting civilians thrust into the streets by loyalists to Sadam’s regime.

I challenge you to design a course of fire that can train a person in how to accurately shoot a combatant while simultaneously avoiding endangering nearby non-combatants – without having spent a considerable amount of time teaching the person how to shoot the weapon on a KD style range. Furthermore, while I concede that most engagements occur at ranges of less than 200 meters, anyone who needs to shoot accurately past 300 meters needs to have KD training.

During the last sixteen years I have served as both an officer and enlisted Marine, trained with the active and reserve components, and held both combat arms and support MOSs. I have seen how the Army and Navy conduct marksmanship training and compared notes with SWAT, FBI and ATF officers on their training programs. During that time I have never seen anything that would convince me that the Marine Corps needs to depart from the KD course of fire and the marksmanship training I received at MCRD.

Fundamentally I agree with you that Marines will benefit from firing their personal weapons under a variety of conditions that cannot be found on the KD course, but disagree completely that we need to de-emphasize or reduce the amount of time Marines spend on KD courses. If you want to add to the system, great! But don’t take away the one thing that has ensured we live up to our reputation of “Every Marine is a Rifleman”.

Scott Dyer

Capt USMC(R)


Excellent comments! I agree that finding the balance between known distance shooting and field firing IS the key to a successful marksmanship program. Thanks for taking the time to reply with considerable attention to the entire issue. -David, Author

Hello sir,

I am former range coach from MAGTFTC 29 Palms, and I would like to say that I agree that a new course of fire is required. I do believe that Marines need to learn how to fire in more stressful situations, and learn how to react quicker. However, I still do believe Marines shoot a slower course of fire to first learn the basic fundamentals of marksmanship. The slow fire teaches the Marines to get accustomed to the M16A2 service rifle and how it operates. The proposed KD course should be used as the field fire exercise upon completion of the original KD course. The only problem that I would foresee is a budget and time issue. I am confident that the Marine Corps would find a way to resolve that issue.

Thank you for your time,

Ryan Hand


It is great to hear from a range coach! I agree the existing range should be maintained for beginning shooters, but we should jump to a range of greater difficulty after mastery of the existing KD course has occurred. Perhaps the Corps will review the range again after things cool down. Thanks for the feedback! -David, Author

Are you familiar with the ‘Unknown Distance’ ranges we have on a few bases? They have cover such as rooftops, windows, doorframes. There are pop ups, movers and multiples. This is supposed to replace ‘field fire’ at qual. I think this should be used for qual. I would use both though. There are 50 rounds worth 65 points on the current range. Issue another 25 rounds worth one point each for the UKD range. The scores could be adjusted to reflect the change.

Marksman would go from 25 to about 55

Sharpshooter would go from 35 to about 65

Expert would go from 40 to about 75

Just looking at accuracy percentages, you can see that the scores I suggest for the KD/UKD combined qual are higher than the current system. The reason is because the KD prepares you for the UKD. By the time you do the UKD, you SHOULD be a good shot.

Just my thoughts.

Semper Fi

Richard Ward

I was reading your comments about the pros and cons of pistol lanyards. If I may, I would like to add one situation where the lanyard might be a liability. Although it does help to retain the pistol if dropped, the lanyard can also get caught on the holster itself as well as other equipment while trying to draw quickly. This has happened to me during speed drills.


Good Point! I have run into the same problems, especially if you have on a full set of gear.

Thanks for the feedback! -David, Author

I was reading your gripes about the holster (or as you call it, the green thing), and I must admit I had some of the same problems with it that you have. I really hate that flap . So I did some research and frequent the U.S. Calvary website often, this is the place where you need to go. They have an attachment for the standard issue holster, the green thing, that allows you to remove the flap and put on a thumb break to the already existing holster. No more flap.

Bronson Ignacio


I will take a look at the U.S. Calvary site and see if I can find the solution to which you refer.

Thanks for the information! -David, Author,

All Concerned,

I do believe “Congratulations” are in order to the author! I believe the correct title would be “Gunnery Sergeant David Savage”. One of the most over-due, well deserved promotions I ever been aware of. Congrat’s Gunny! It’s been my honor to serve with you.

Semper Fidelis,

First Sergeant John D. “Mac” McDonald


It was honor serving with you as well. If you are ever in the KC area, give us a holler and let us know so we can get together for a few, even if you are just passing through.-David, Author,


Since there is no test data results on the M1014 Benelli shotgun ,I would like to know what consist of the durability and reliability tests, called the MilSpec-3443, tests a shotgun must go through. I get bits and pieces of this test, and would really like the correct information on this topic. Thank you. Frankie.


Below are the comments the JCS sent back to me in reference to my inquiry. I reviewed the documents at these locations, but was not able to find what we were looking for. I will keep looking though. -David, Author,

The Office of Law Enforcement Standards provides a listing of all

standards relating to law enforcement equipment. You can access the site at the following link: The following site might also be helpful:

MilSpec Reform, Final Report:

Department of Defense

Weapons Systems Handbook

I hope this information is helpful. If you need additional assistance,

please feel free to contact us again.


Jennifer Drake

Information Analyst


SSgt Savage,

Just a comment, remember in boot camp (I went to San Diego in 1985), we were firing the US 5.56 round which was a muzzle velocity of 3100 to 3200 fps, the NATO bullet with the penetrator and increased weight knocks it down to the 2800 fps. So, some of your readers, especially the NatGuard people, may still see the old US round during qual. I know that when I was with the 31st Red Arrow, did 4 years as a doggy too, that we had old rounds in our armory that were the old low weight US rounds which gave faster muzzle velocity.

Jim LeClair


Good Point! It is true that the rounds have changed over the years and that the newer rounds have a lower muzzle velocity, due to the higher weight of the projectile. I am not sure if this is the case, but the Marine Corps could offset that by increasing the amount of grains of powder used in the casing. Thanks for the comment! -David, Author,

Hey SSgt. Savage,

The new boots that came with the digital cammies are not cold weather friendly boots. I only had 1 pair of socks on and I was in some muddy and snow type conditions, I personally felt the boots didn’t cut it. From now on I’ll be wearing my combat boots in cold weather conditions. I am however looking forward to wearing these in warmer weather conditions and am thankful they are not black in color (absorbing heat).

Lcpl Gracey USMCR Echo Company 2/24 Infantry Unit

LCpl Gracy,

The Marine Corps Combat Boots that were issued are the Hot Weather (HW boots). The Marine Corps has new style Temperate weather boots (TW Boots) but has not issued them to all Marines. As is typical, the Marine Corps wil lissue them based on the needs of the units. SOme units will get hem right away due to their Geographical focus with training while others, such as our unit will see them either later on, or as needed for training that we conduct . -David, Author,


This is a very nice site. You’ve done your research and put together some valid opinions and responses to the direction of the Corps and its weapons. In regard to the 19lbs of the OICW, I think of the long haul of the Marine. In a reinforce rifle platoon, we have to spread load the ammo of the M249’s and M240G’s and on top of that the each Marine will pack two (2) 60mm mortar rounds in their pack. Yes, the M16/203 with all the extra trimming weighs approximately the same but there’s only nine (9) per platoon. In addition, the night vision for the grenadier is normally augmented by the tracers fired from the squad leader’s or other M16’s. I agree with you, the manufacture should be able to shave of a pound or two without jeopardizing the integrity of the weapon.

MSgt Arthur Green

MSgt, Glad you like the site, and agree with the weight issues with this weapon. Now if we can only get them to shave a few pounds off of it.. -David, Author,