U.S. ARMY MARKSMAN BADGE

Both the United States Army and the Marine Corps have Marksmanship Badges issued in three identically titled degrees, Marksman, Sharpshooter, and Expert—but that’s pretty much where the similarities between the two programs end.

Take the types of weapons for which a Marine can qualify as opposed to a Soldier. Marines can qualify for the Pistol and Rifle Marksmanship Badges (in fact, they must qualify with a Rifle), while Soldiers are able to qualify in any of 18 or 19 different types of weapons. We list the two numbers because Table 8-2 Army Regulation 600-8-22 dated June, 2015 details 18 weapons for which component (identifier) bars are issued, while The Institute of Heraldry’s entry for Qualification Badges has 19 entries (the extra bar is for Small Bore Pistol).

In addition to weapons you would naturally expect to see on a weapons range such as Pistol, Rifle, Submachine Gun, and so forth, other weapons like the Flamethrower and Bayonet for which the Army issue component bars don’t seem to lend themselves to such fine-tuned qualifications as Sharpshooter or Expert.

The Army also handles the scoring of Rifle and Pistol Marksmanship quite differently from the Marines. Firing at 40 targets at a variety of distances between 50 and 300 meters, Soldiers must hit at least 23 to earn the Marksman Badge, 30 to 35 for Sharpshooter, and 36 of 40 for the prized Expert Badge. The Marines, on the other hand, use a scoring system where shot placement determines the point value of each hit—either 4, 6, 8, or 10. And the Marines also have several other firing courses, called tables, that must be completed for Rifle qualification that are designed to evaluate weapons proficiency in combat situations.

Of the three U.S. Army Marksmanship Badges, the Marksman version is the only one that does not feature the representation of a bull's-eye in the center of a cross pattée.
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