US Army's Proposed Rifle Qualification Course of Fire and Standard Changes

Matthew Moss
by Matthew Moss
U.S. Army soldiers hone their long-distance marksmanship skills as they train at Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia. (J. Bazemore/AP)

Soldier Systems Daily recently shared a video purporting to outline the US Army’s new rifle qualification. The video posted by Circle Dog Production shows the 40-round course of fire that soldiers may soon have to shoot to qualify.

Circle Dog Production, however, point out both in the video and in the video’s description that the video is not endorsed by the DoD or the Army. And that it is “simply an attempt to clarify some of the changes coming to Army Marksmanship training and standards.”

The upcoming changes were first mentioned during the Maneuver Warfighter Conference, held back in January 2018 at Fort Benning. The changes include the introduction of a barricade from which troops will fire behind and the four phases of fire, with 10 seconds between each one, will now be shot in various firing positions. Soldiers will begin with 40 rounds and four magazines, 10 rounds in each mag.

The first 10-round phase will be fired from the unsupported prone position at ranges from 50 to 250 metres – up to four targets presenting at once. The second will be prone supported firing at from 150 to 300 metres, the third will be from the kneeling position with targets appearing at ranges from 50 to 250 metres while the final phase will be fired while standing (supported by the barricade) with targets at 40 to 200 metres.

Between each phase a small amount of time is given to reload and change firing position. Soldiers will be expected to be spotting and engaging targets at varied ranges.

The video’s description also makes reference to a Primary and article posted back in January – itself a repost of an explanation written up on the 82nd Airborne Division Master Gunner Facebook page. This article includes some tables which explain the various phases of the qualification shoot.

Troops will now qualify:

Expert 36-40 hits
Sharpshooter 32-35 hits
Marksman 28-31 hits
Qualified 23-27 hits

This marks an increase from 23 to 28 for qualifying as Marksman. The video suggests the new qualification might be adopted as soon as Summer 2018. These changes represent a major change for the US Army and a positive move towards better applied marksmanship.

Sources: 1 2

Matthew Moss
Matthew Moss

Managing Editor: & Overt Matt is a British historian specialising in small arms development and military history. He has written several books and for a variety of publications in both the US and UK. Matt is also runs The Armourer's Bench, a video series on historically significant small arms. Here on TFB he covers product and current military small arms news. Reach Matt at:

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2 of 141 comments
  • Mazkact Mazkact on May 25, 2018

    The Offhand unsupported portion of training and qualifications should be preserved as it separates the Rifleman from the shooters.

  • Kerry Tatlow Kerry Tatlow on May 29, 2018

    What are the dimensions of the targets?