USMC RIFLE SHARPSHOOTER BADGE

In October, 2005, the Marine Corps significantly revised its Rifle qualification program, placing a greater emphasis on combat marksmanship and replacing its longtime bifurcated scoring system, which evaluated officers and entry-level Marines on a different basis than Marines seeking their annual mandatory Rifle qualification. Further changes came in 2007 with the issuance of Marine Corps Order 3574.2K, “Marine Corps Combat Marksmanship Programs.”

The biggest change introduced in 2005 was how the Table 2 firing course, the field-fire portion of the qualification designed to test combat-oriented rifle skills, affected a Marine’s final rating. Graded on a pass/fail system, a pass had no impact on the Table 1 score, which had been modified to award varying amounts of points based on shot placement and now had a maximum score of 250 (190 was the minimum to qualify at the lowest level of Marksman). Failing the field-fire test, however, meant taking the test again and, if passed, a mandatory reduction of the Table 1 score to 190.  

The 2007 issuance changed the scoring system yet again by employing an aggregate system, with scores from both Table 1 and 2 combined to determine the final rating. Under the new methodology, Marines were still required to score a minimum of 190 of the Table 1 course of fire, called the KD range because targets are placed at known distances from the shooters. In fact, they had to earn that score to even proceed to Table 2, where they had to chalk up a score of 60 out of 100 possible points to earn the Marksman rating.

In 2016, the six tables that comprised the four components of the Marksmanship Program—Fundamental Rifle Marksmanship and Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced Combat Marksmanship—were reorganized, but the scoring system remained unchanged.

The Sharpshooter qualification requires a score of between 280 and 304, which means a Marine scoring the minimum of 190 on the Table 1 course would need to score extremely high on the Table course (at least 90 out of 100) to earn this coveted badge.
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