View Full Version : Qualifying expert even though you've never shot a rifle before?

08-28-05, 11:04 PM
Unfortunately I didn't have the opportunity to grow up around firearms being able to go shooting/hunting and things like that when I was younger, so I don't have any of the fundamentals down and have no experience at all.

I've shot a pistol about 3 or 4 years ago, but that's pretty much the extent of my entire experience with firearms.

My recruiter told me that the best shooters in boot camp are the ones who come in "raw" with no prior experience in shooting, so they don't have any bad habits and the Marine Corps can train them their way.

The Marine Corps has the finest weapons instruction in the world, so I know i'll be fine, but I just wanted to get input from some of the Marines on here.

I'm sure i'll be able to qualify as a marksman or sharpshooter without too much trouble, but my goal is to qualify as an expert.

Is it common for recruits in boot camp to qualify as experts on the rifle range if they have never shot a rifle before going to boot camp?

Also, one more question: What happens if you qualify as an expert and then down the road when you qualify again, you have a bad day and miss expert by a few points and qualify as a sharpshooter, are you still permitted to wear the expert rifle badge?

Thanks :)

08-29-05, 12:13 AM
You will be fine, just do what they tell you, and don't freak out. But if you think it will be easy to shoot marksman or shapshooter, go ask someone who unq'd how easy it is. You need a 25 to qualify, and only 15 more to be an expert. So, if you can qualify, you should be able to shoot expert. Hell, the way they have the range set up now, you can shoot expert at the 200 yd line. Assuming you shoot all 2's in the slow fire and a possible in the rapid. That's 40 points right there. But the thing about the best shooters being people who have never fired before, it has some truth to it, in that it is easier to teach them to fire the way the Corps wants them to fire. But those people also seem to be much more nervous in handling the weapons which costs them time in the rapid fire. They tend to be the ones that SPAZ when their magazine won't insert just right, or they can't get a round to feed into the chamber, etc. While some old country boy who's been hunting since he was 6, will just pull it out and slam it back in until it works, then keep shootin. They are much more relaxed with the weapons handling part. Now this is just in my observation during 2 years as a PMI on Edson Range. But quite honestly, I believe anyone can shoot expert if you apply what they teach you. That is harder than it sounds. It all comes down to discipline. After you sit out there in the blazing sun aiming in on a white barrel all week and then you go to the actual range and have to pull targets all morning and then go out to shoot, THEN having the discipline, even though your tired and hungry, to apply the fundamentals of marksmanship, and not to spaz out because you're running out of time, or you make a bad shot, or whatever. That is why the Corps is not filled with expert shooters. Because it is NOT easy (at first) The more times you go to the range, the easier it will get. I shot sharpshooter in boot camp, then Expert, then sharpshooter, then marksman. At that point I was very embarrassed, and volunteered to go back to the range the first detail in October, shot expert, and kept it ever since. Left the Corps after 12 years as a 9th award Expert. As for your final question, no, you don't get to just wear the highest award achieved. You wear what you qualified during the current year. If you were a 5the award expert last year, but shot marksman this year, that is what you wear until you go back to the range and qual higher. That is your motivation. Shoot well so you don't have to listen to people's s**t all year. Just relax, and don't worry so much about it. Consistency is the key to shooting well. Good luck!

08-29-05, 01:08 AM
John you are indeed fortunate to have had a response to your thread from a PMI that stands for Preliminary Marksmanship Instructor. Read it and heed it as it is exactly how it really is. Thanks iowasurfer2 for helping this pup with his question Im sure it has done him much good. And you did a much better job than I did in answering it.

Semper Fi

08-29-05, 01:49 AM
Thank you very much for the lengthy and very detailed reply iowasurfer, I greatly appreciate it. I just printed out your reply and put it into the Welcome Aboard packet that my recruiter gave me so I can refer back to it :).

08-29-05, 02:08 AM
Body alignment I think is the key. That week of dry snapping and positioning is crucial. Closing your eyes and then opening them still on target. If you can master that, then an Expert qualification is not that difficult.

No matter how hot and sh*tty it is, pay attention in grass week. There are so many variables that will stray your bullet of off true. Snapping in properly takes care of 100 factors.

Never be in a hurry. Even the rapid fire sequence has an eternity if you relax and take steady aim.

Above all, love what you are doing. That should not be too hard. Being out there with your fellow Marines, the heat and the smell will stay with you a lifetime.

Gunny McMillan
08-30-05, 09:43 AM
I kind of had the best of both worlds...I've been hunting/shooting since I was about 6 or 7...but my old man was a PMI at one point too, so he taught me to shoot the same way you get taught at boot. I went in with a good knowledge of shooting the "Marine Corps Way" and shot Expert in boot.