U.S. ARMY EXPERT SHOOTING BADGE

When reading about the scoring benchmarks used to determine the U.S. Army’s Marksman, Sharpshooter, and Expert Badges, you invariably see the respective 23-29, 30-35, and 36-40 point delineations. But these are the scores for Pistols and Rifles being shot at targets—and those three badges are awarded for qualifying in a host of other weapons where successfully hitting a target isn't as well-defined as it is with sidearms. For example, what does a Soldier need to do to earn an Expert rating in Grenades?

The Hand Grenade Qualification evaluates Soldiers on their performance at seven stations, all but one of which involve their performance in engaging the enemy or a position with the weapon from various distances and in various stances. They include:

  1. Engage Enemy from Fighting Position at 35 Meters (Standing)
  2. Engage Bunker (Prone)
  3. Engage Enemy Mortar Position at 25 Meters (Kneeling)
  4. Engage Enemy Behind Cover at 20 Meters (Prone)
  5. Engage Trench at 25 Meters (Standing)
  6. Engage Wheeled Vehicle at 25 Meters (Kneeling)
  7. Identify Hand Grenades and Pyrotechnic Signals
Soldiers receive a “Go” or “No Go” rating on between five and seven aspects (performance measures) of their performance at each station. At Station 2, Engage Bunker (Prone), Soldiers must approach from the blind side; check for bunker opening; detonate the grenade in the bunker; roll away from the bunker; use the proper grip when throwing the grenade; employ the “cook-off” technique (a combat-only tactic of counting off a second or two seconds after releasing the trigger lever before throwing); and perform all the previous actions in under 15 seconds

An Expert rating in Grenades requires the Soldier to pass all seven Stations—and failing any of the performance measures means failing the Station. Six Stations yields a Sharpshooter rating, five equals Marksman, and anything below that is unqualified.

Soldiers qualifying for Grenades are given one tiny bit of slack at the seventh and final Station: They are given a “GO” if they can explain a type of grenade and what it does even if they don’t remember the weapon’s formal designation.
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