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A U.S. Marine with the Marine Corps Shooting Team fires at a target while in the prone position Sept. 14, 2016, at Altcar Training Camp, Merseyside, England. The Marines are competing in the Royal Marines Operational Shooting Competition, from September 6-22, 2016. The U.S. Marines are competing against the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps and the Royal Marines. The U.S. Marine is with Weapons Training Battalion, Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia.

Photo by Cpl. Robert Williams

Royal Marines Operational Shooting Competition begins

20 Sep 2016 | Cpl. Robert Williams Defense Media Activity

The Royal Marines Operational Shooting Competition commenced with its first set of official matches Sept. 14, 2016 at Altcar Training Camp, Merseyside, England.

The competition consists of six different matches using various pistols and rifles. The competitors represent teams from the U.S. Marine Corps, Royal Marines and Royal Netherland Marine Corps.

The teams were allotted time to practice each match in the days leading up to the event., This was the only time they can see their performance without it affecting the teams’ scores. 

During the official matches, the competitors score each other. The rules for scoring change for each match. When the competitors finish adding up the scores, the corresponding shooter looks over the score to ensure it’s correct before turning it in to range personnel. 

The U.S. Marine Corps Shooting Team took a small lead after the first day of official matches. 

The team’s familiarity to the match stipulations have significantly helped their outcome during the first day of matches, according to Capt. John Sheehan, a competitor with the Marine Corps Shooting Team. 

“For these events there’s a physical course of fire and a fundamentals-of-marksmanship aspect. The marksmanship skill and the application of that skill is really well established with the Marines,” said Sheehan, a West Middlesex, Pennsylvania native. “For us on the shooting team, it’s really about knowing the course of fire. That’s where most of our time has gone, reviewing the matches days and the night before. That way when we come out here they know exactly what to expect.”

They also plan on extending their lead via the pistol matches, according to Sheehan. 

“We on the shooting team are extremely fortunate to get far greater exposure and time to work with the pistol to develop that skill set, because it’s such a unique weapon system,” said Sheehan. “Most (Marines) on a day to day would not get work with it otherwise. So we come here quite a bit more advanced than your average Marine and far ahead our counterparts.”

The event is beneficial to the working relationship between the competing teams and their countries as the competitors share knowledge and moments together that establishes rapport, according to Sheehan. 

“There really is a camaraderie that’s being built between the British and Dutch Marines, even though it’s only a two-week event,” said Sheehan. “It’s a lot of good fun in the competition and a fantastic opportunity to come out and test yourself.”


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