Fifty Marines from three Camp Pendleton units got a chance to send rounds down range during the two-day basic shooting skills portion of the re-vamped marksmanship training. The new course took effect Oct. 1.

Marines from the School of Infantry and 11th Marine Regiment were at Horno Range 214 from Oct. 17-22 to undergo the new training.

“It’s more combat-oriented. It puts you in the war fighting mindset instead of (the range) in the past,” said Range 214 staff noncommissioned officer Staff Sgt. James D. Groves, from East Prairie, Mo.

In the past, the field fire portion of the range wasn’t scored. Now Marines are scored and required to pass this portion for rifle range qualification.

“If Marines don’t pass the basic combat shooting portion, they don’t qualify,” said Cpl. Ian A. Motley, block noncommissioned officer at Camp Horno’s Range.

Also, Marines are given two days for the combat shooting, opposed to the 12 hours allotted in the previous training.

Much of the instruction is focused on lessons learned from operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Marines are taught techniques such as shooting in controlled pairs, hammer pairs and reassessment drills, including shooting a rifle at multiple and moving targets from various distances while closing in on their target.

Many Marines think this new basic combat shooting skills portion is lengthy, but they say the training pays off.

“It’s worth the time at the end of the range because everyone needs (his or her) basic rifleman skills,” said Sgt. Juan L. Chantaca, a light armored vehicle crewman, who deployed to Iraq in 2003.

“It’s better than the old field fire, more realistic,” he added.

Although this new rifle range is interim, Groves said, “it’s a step in the right direction.”

Ultimately, many Marines said they’re better equipped now than before they came to the range.

“I feel like I’m a little more prepared,” said Lance Cpl. Stefan G. Davis, an SOI administration clerk from Albuquerque, N.M. “When I deploy I’ll be able to protect myself and those with me.”

“If you’ve never been to a combat zone, (basic combat shooting) is good practice to prepare for future deployment,” said Cpl. Michael A. Cardoza, an ammunition technician from Crescent City, with Battery G, 2nd Bn., 11th Marines. “Take this seriously, because you’ll never know when you’ll have to use this.”