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Cpl. Joshua Hodel, Stone Bay target shed noncommissioned officer in charge, fires a Benelli M4 shotgun at a target during a 3-gun shooting competition coordinated by the Combat Marksmanship Trainer Course at Stone Bay on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., Sept. 1, 2016. The competition enabled CMT students to become familiar with how to set up and run a range and range personnel were also able to hone their marksmanship skills.

Photo by Cpl. Mark Watola

Combat Marksmanship Trainer Course holds 3-gun competition for students, range personnel

14 Sep 2016 | Cpl. Mark Watola The Official United States Marine Corps Public Website

Marines attending the Combat Marksmanship Trainer Course were tested on coordinating a 3-gun shooting competition for students and range personnel at Stone Bay on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Sept. 1.

The competition was a new facet added to the course, where in previous iterations, students would set up a range, learn how to run it and then break it down without shooting.

“This is the final graded event for the CMT Course – the planning and execution phase where our students actually go out, plan and execute a combat shooting match which incorporates the shotgun, pistol and rifle,” said GySgt. David McMahon, Stone Bay Weapons Training Battalion Marksmanship Training Unit chief instructor. “What we’re trying to do with the course is send back a Marine that understands the workings of a range that would better facilitate the mission of a unit.”

The competition consisted of several stations, the first of which required competitors to initiate immediate target engagement with the M-16A4 or M4 carbine with precision shots. Then they transitioned from the rifle to the Benelli M4 shotgun firing both buckshot and slug, culminating with a pistol course of fire featuring standard responses such as hammer pairs and failure to stops. 

“It was a new experience for me because I’ve never participated in a 3-gun shoot; it was real fun and a good learning experience,” Cpl. Joshua Hodel, Stone Bay target shed noncommissioned officer in charge. “I learned how to quickly transition between going to a rifle to a shotgun to a pistol in a safe, timely manner as well as executing the course of fire.”

Although range personnel were able to compete in the competition, the ultimate goal was to enable CMT’s to become better assets to their units by providing vital skillsets.

“The purpose of (this facet of) the course was to come out and familiarize everybody how to set up a range,” said Cpl. Cody Cosper, CMT Course student. “Everybody learned the importance of safety, how to set up a 3-gun match and the weapon systems we used.”

Combat Marksmanship Trainers are crucial to the Marine Corps because they are able to teach Marines how to better shoot, a skill every Marine is required to master as a rifleman.

“If you can task out a Marine to set up a range and he understands the planning and execution phase, he can better advise his commanders on what he needs to effectively run that range,” said McMahon. “We have Marines that work with foreign nationals and more importantly we’re sending out advisor teams to train other nationalities. Being able to plan and execute a range for those foreign nationals enhances the training values on both sides.”

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