The US Marine Corps has decided to train as it fights. At weapon qualifications, Marines will be allowed to use the weapons and approved optics they carry into battle.
“The intent is to ensure Marines train with the weapon system with which they will fight, ” wrote Lt. Gen. Richard Mills in an administrative message.
Not being a Marine, I didn’t realize this, but it seems that firearms qualification scores are part of how promotions are calculated. Therefore, in an effort to ensure “fairness” in the promotional process, it appears the Marines have not allowed their personnel to qualify with what they carry. For example, the free-floated barrel on the Infantry Automatic Rifle (IAR) could provide an accuracy advantage to the shooter as compared to a Marine shooting a standard M16 or M4, and therefore could have been removed from qualifications to promote fairness.
While I can appreciate the need for a level field when it comes to promotions, wasting valuable training time by forcing troops to shoot weapon systems unlike the ones that they actually use on missions seems to be a really bad idea. As a law enforcement trainer, I can attest to the fact that people fall to the level of their training when the poo hits the air mover.
It seems to me that range time really should be spent with an emphasis on keeping Marines alive by training them to the best of their ability with the equipment they will have. I guess I hate funerals more than I like overly-complicated, bureaucratic promotional processes. Maybe I just don’t think it is “fair” to send men into battle with substandard training.
But, I’m not a Marine. Your mileage, and opinions, may vary.