COAST GUARD EXPERT PISTOL SHOT MEDAL / MARKSMANSHIP RIBBON

In January, 2017, the United States Coast Guard announced a major revamping of its entire system of small-arms training program, from how it trains the Firearms Instructors who teach Coast Guard personnel basic firearms skills and safety to the methodology employed in its Firearms Training and Evaluation-Pistol (FT&E-P) Course of Fire (COF). Based upon a Small Arms Strategic Needs Assessment conducted in 2014, the overhaul was announced in ALCOAST 001/017 after beta tests of the new system that Guardsmen will follow to earn both the Pistol Marksmanship Ribbon and the Coast Guard Expert Pistol Shot Medal showed it would result in higher qualification rates in less time than the old system.

One of the linchpins of the new regiment is the creation of Firearms Marksmanship Coaches to support Firearms Instructors as they learn the new four-phase FT&E-P Program. Phase I, Pre-Range Training, four hours of unit-level, hands-on training, is a semi-annual requirement that replaces the quarterly Personnel Qualification Standard (PQS) required for Coast Guard members whose duty assignment necessitates carrying a service pistol.

Phase II is also conducted semi-annually and replaces the existing Basic Pistol Marksmanship Course of Fire for personnel who conduct Law Enforcement and Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection operations. It consists of three dry-fire and sixteen live-fire drills (150 rounds in total). The current Practical Pistol Course will be replaced by Phase III of the new FT&E-P, the Qualification Course of Fire. Completion of this 50-round training evaluation indicates sufficient expertise in firearm use during Coast Guard Operations is required to earn a Pistol Marksmanship Award. It must be completed with 14 days of finishing Phase I training.  The emphasis in Phase IV is on Judgmental Use of Force, with real-life scenarios used to incorporate stressors into the decision-making process and help Guardsmen apply their new proficiencies in practical situations.

Although a new target is being introduced as part of the revised qualification system, the service pistol remains the same: the Sig Sauer P229R-DAK. Units will be allowed to qualify for the Basic Pistol Marksmanship Ribbon and the Expert Pistol Medal under the legacy system until January 1, 2018.
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