FORT PICKETT, Va. --
Marines and sailors with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit's command element participated in combat pistol marksmanship training and a pistol qualification course Sept. 13, 2012.
The training focused on the fundamentals of pistol marksmanship including manipulating an M9 while wearing a full combat load and how to stay effective during combat in worst-case scenarios by using a pistol.
The day started with classes on the principles of using the weapon including how to properly draw their pistol from its holster and engage a target and different ways to reload their pistol only using one hand. It was often stressed to the shooters to focus on technique and precision rather than speed.
“In situations where you don’t have both hands available because you are dragging your injured friend out of a combat zone, it’s not practical to just use one arm to fire your rifle, whereas with a pistol, you definitely can,” said Sgt. James G. Kratky, St. Paul, Minn., native, 26th MEU chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense specialist, and a combat marksmanship trainer. “As Marines we are always trying to maintain ourselves and stay in the fight. You may have to use your pistol in order to fight your way to find more rounds or even pick up an enemy rifle.”
A pistol is mainly fielded as a defensive weapon, according to Kratky. He went on to give examples of when a pistol would be a beneficial weapon system to have experience with.
“This is an important skill set because you never know when you are going to need it,” said Kratky. “You never know when a round is going to impact your primary weapon leaving it unserviceable or when you are going to run out of rounds because you have been pinned down for so long.”
After utilizing the skills learned during live-fire training, the Marines finished their day at the range by firing a pistol pre-qualification and qualification course.
This training is part of the 26th MEU’s pre-deployment training program. The 26th MEU is slated to deploy in 2013.