The United States Marine Corps Table 1 Qualification Course is derived from the 50 round National Match Course and is a test of fundamental marksmanship, base skills which apply to any situation and regardless of sights used. Anything less than 250 points indicates fundamentals can be improved. Even a perfect 250 can be improved upon as the USMC qual targets are large.
Details are in MARINE CORPS ORDER 3574.2K
Page 66 (B-1)
The Hawaii Marines wisely chose to eliminate variables not congruent with this test. This is a smart move. Table 1 is not a simulation, a dick-measuring contest, or any other stupid thing wannabes (or Marines not good enough to make it to the Pacific Division Matches or elsewhere) pretend it is. It is a test of fundamentals with feedback. Any score less than 250 can be improved. Despite the chest thumping, very few Marines shoot this well.
The Puuloa Range at Marine Corps Base Hawaii was notorious for its unpleasant, uneven surface, lack of grass and blood-red dirt that threw shots and stained Marines’ uniforms. Marines who trained there were at a “clear disadvantage,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jordan Kramp, the range officer in charge.
“The condition of firing lines prohibited their ability to acquire foundational shooting positions,” Kramp said. “Hardened, overly matted-down surfaces prevented Marines from acquiring proper positions for firing, [resulting in] both firing and support elbows sliding out during specific stages of fire.”
At first glance, the extra comfort may seem at odds with the service’s steady march toward growing the amount of combat marksmanship training Marines receive. Officials want troops to train as they fight — and on the battlefield, it’s likely Marines will be forced to shoot from uncomfortable or awkward positions while on the move.
In fact, proficiency in combat marksmanship must be built upon several fundamentals, including sight alignment, sight picture and trigger control. Those skills can be hard to master when the shooter is distracted because he or she is uncomfortable.
“A Marine who has a solid foundation of the fundamentals first will better be able to apply those skills in adverse conditions,” said 1st Lt. Matt Rojo, a spokesman for Weapons Training Battalion in Quantico, Virginia, where the service’s foremost weapons experts continually study the science of marksmanship.
Kramp, for one, sees a potential benefit in rolling out the mats across the entire Marine Corps, saying that doing so could help “standardize training across the entire marksmanship spectrum, to include more comparable data collection and comparison amongst range sites that conduct like training.”
Rojo said there are no plans to do so, as each facility has a unique environment. “The solution, he said, “may not be the same on every range.”
Indeed, some ranges have comfortable level grass, or a consistent artificial surface like concrete. And as Kramp notes, these mats are not the only means to help improve scores. Commands see gains when they allow for a solid “grass week,” a little extra time for Marines to get reacquainted with ranges before they shoot for score. He also advocates for unit’s to take advantage of indoor simulators, which the service is overhauling to enhance realism and integration between multiple shooters. On-site combat marksmanship coaches and trainers also are beneficial, he said.