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CQB Carbine Qual: MEU(SOC) M4A1 Rifle Qualification

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The MEU(SOC) M4A1 Rifle Qualification is (was?) the course of fire shot buy Force Recon Marines in the “CQB Package.” Heavy on multiple targets, shooting on the move, and close range, it was designed for precision shooting in dynamic environment. I shot this qualification many times as a Marine…but I haven’t really touched it since. Let’s take a look! 

MEU(SOC) M4A1 Rifle Qualification

This course of fire is pretty unusual compared to most civilian rifle quals. First, the time standards are fairly tight on some stages. Featuring one timed, 25-yard sprint, it requires at least a modicum of physical fitness, something I’d like to see in more shooting drills. There are multiple stages that require shooting on the move (SOTM). Half the course of fire is shot on two targets. Being shot entirely inside of 50 yards, this qual was designed with close quarters battle in mind.

In the early-2000s, all Marines in the Force Recon “Direct Action Platoon” were required to pass this qual. A failing score meant you didn’t go “hot in the house,” which means you couldn’t participate in CQB training. This created a strong incentive to pass.

The targets are technically Marine Corps “Echo” silhouettes, but IDPA silhouettes are a reasonable approximation. Scoring zones are an 8″ circle scratched on them with a nail (so as not to be visible to the shooter, and a 3×5 head box, also scratched on. Shots inside these zones are worth 2 points. Shots on the silhouette are worth 1 point, while shots off the paper are worth zero. All stages in the first half of the qual are fired on a single target, while all stages in the second half are fired on two targets.

Course Of Fire, Part I

I retrieved this COF from the late Pat Rogers’ version, found HERE (opens to .pdf, includes rifle and pistol qualifications). Becasue there are two distinct “parts,” to this COF, it is broken into two parts. All stages in the first half of the qualification are fired on one target. Part I:

  • Stage 1: 50 yards, 2 body standing, 2 body kneeling, 2 body prone, 10 seconds
  • Stage 2: 50 yards, sprint to 25 yard line, 2 body standing, 2 body kneeling, 11 seconds
  • Stage 3: 25 yards, 1 head shot
  • Stage 4: 25-15 yards, shooting on the move (SOTM), 2 body, 5 seconds
  • Stage 5: 15 yards, 2 body standing, 1.5 seconds
  • Stage 6: 15 to 10 yards, SOTM, 2 body, 1 head (failure drill), 4 seconds
  • Stage 7: 10-5 yards, SOTM, 2 body, 1 head (failure drill), 3.5 seconds
  • Stage 8: 7-3 yards, SOTM, 2 body, 1 head (failure drill), 3 seconds

At this point go down and score the targets. There should be 24 rounds on each target, including 4 head shots and 20 body shots. Additionally, there should be two rounds remaining in the rifle (one in the chamber, one in the magazine).

Course of Fire, Part II

Reset and move back to the 50 yard line. Ensure each shooter has two targets. All stages are fired on two targets, and the round count/scoring zone is the same for each.

  • Stage 9: 50 yards, 2 body standing, drop to kneeling and emergency reload, 2 body on second target, 11 seconds
  • Stage 10: 25-15 yards, SOTM, 2 on each body, 6 seconds
  • Stage 11: 15 yards, 2 shots on each body, 3.5 seconds
  • Stage 12: 15-10 yards, SOTM, 2 shots on each body, 4 seconds
  • Stage 13: 10 yards, 2 body shots on each target, 3 seconds
  • Stage 14: 7-3 yards, SOTM, 2 body shots on each, 1 head shot on each (box drill), 5 seconds

Score targets. Each should have a 12 shots to the body and 1 shot to the head.

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