Recon Marines Hone Marksmanship Skills

Recon Marines Hone Marksmanship Skills

U.S. Marines with Bravo Company, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, fire while moving toward their target during the marksmanship phase a close-quarter tactics course aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., Sept. 11, 2014. This training allows Marines to sharpen their skills engaging targets with their pistols and rifles in close quarters. Photo by LCpl David Silvano.

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (Sep. 11, 2014) – Marines with Bravo Company, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, participated in a close-quarters tactics course aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Sept. 11, 2014. The training is conducted to prepare the company for its role when composited with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit in October.

During this portion of the seven-week training evolution, the Marines learned and practiced the fundamentals of combat with the M4 Carbine rifle and the M45A1 Close Quarters Battle Pistol in a close-quarters urban environment.

"The Marines need the ability to shoot precisely," said Pedro Ruiz, a tactical instructor with the close-quarters tactics course. "We're trying to get them to the point where they can hit only enemy targets in a close-quarters situation, even under stress."

Ruiz and his team of instructors train Marines in combat tactics, mainly focusing on units like Bravo Company, so they can be ready to fulfill their roles while deployed with a MEU.

"Most of their missions during this time are going to be based on land-raids and maritime interdictions," said Ruiz. "They'll do [visit, board, search and seizure], and with this training they'll be able to control or take over any situation where they're needed."

The pressure instructors like Ruiz put on the Marines is vital to add to the authenticity of the exercise. The Marines are expected to be able to shoot precisely and rapidly under any condition.

"Things become much more difficult under stress," said Sgt Robert Hunt, from Enterprise, Utah, and an assistant team leader with Bravo Company, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion. "When the instructors put stress on you, the manipulation of your hands for things like speed reloads and malfunctions becomes much harder."

Through continuous practice, running drills and putting thousands of rounds down range every day, the Marines are able to increase their speed, accuracy and confidence in both their fellow Marines' and their own abilities.

"I'm doing a lot better than I was when we started this course," said Hunt. "This training has really helped me develop my skills as a marksman and the skills of the unit overall."

After finishing the marksmanship phase of the training evolution, the Marines will move on to the tactics phase and conclude with a test that combines what they learned throughout the course.

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