Ready, Aim, Fire! Marines qualify at pistol range

MCLB Pistol Range / Romney Smith

The Marine Corps establishes standards ever marine must be able to perform including qualifying at the pistol range every year.

Master Sergeant Mark Carabello says marines get up to a week to requalify. "Everyone that carries this weapon is required to shoot, be familiar with it, be comfortable with it, and again this was the first opportunity for this year for these folks to be able to do that today" says Carabello.

So with their eyes focused on the target, Marines and Marine Corps police officers fired away. Gunnery Sergeant Kejuan Hull says he has one line floating through his head. "Slow steady squeeze, slow, steady, squeeze, once I apply those rules, I let that round go down range and hopefully it hits the black." Says Hull.

Major Letresa Steward says it's important to be comfortable with guns. "If your tensed up and your mind is elsewhere then you have a weapon and you become dangerous so it's very important to relax and think the fundamentals through" says Steward.

Since the fundamentals can be put to use anywhere at any time â" all marines shoot dozens of rounds a day to re-train until they qualify during their designated week. During requalification Marines have to make one of three levels: marksman, sharpshooter, or expert.

The qualification goes on the Marine's official military record.

Pistol range coaches give the Marines direction and advice throughout the week to make sure the marine is on their way to requalifying. "We have great coaches out here, a great staff out here on the pistol range so I come out here nervous but bout time qualification day gets here I'm very comfortable they do a great job" says Steward.

In the case they don't qualify there are personal and professional repercussions. "If they're not able to achieve the marksman level then they are considered unqualified and that can affect not only their professional military record, but the main thing - it really affects their pride" says Carabello.

The MCLB says they're not sure if it's the training staff, the marines themselves, or both, but every marine requalifies.