Expert Firearms Rating Means Nothing

Quote of the Day

“Navy, earned Expert firearms rating.” And everybody who actually knows anything about shooting knows that an Expert rating means literally fuck all and nothing. As a rule of thumb if you see somebody bragging about qualifying Expert in the military on twitter, what’s about to come next is almost guaranteed to be fucking bullshit.

“I’m comfortable with handling weapons.” Totally fucking irrelevant, and also, by my standards, probably blatantly false, and assholes who talk like this, odds are his idea of a shot timer is a sun dial.

Larry Correia @monsterhunter45
Posted on X, April 25, 2024

Other than firearms instructors who teach special forces, and one Army ranger who just barely edged me out, all the military only taught people I have knowingly competed against were… less than competitive.Most were not quite at the sundial for shot timer level but their accuracy was as bad as their time and they might as well have zeroed the stage and the match.

Their constitutional law qualifications were less impressive than their shooting ability.


13 thoughts on “Expert Firearms Rating Means Nothing

  1. “Gentlemen, congratulations. You’re everything we’ve come to expect from years of government training.” – Rip Torn as “Zed”, Men in Black I

  2. A few years ago, we had a Federal Air Marshal show up to an IDPA match. He didn’t even place in the top ten.

  3. I have long thought that military officers and NCOs should have their IDPA/IPSC ratings as factors in their promotion packets. Not a military equivalent to IDPA/IPSC; they should have to compete against civilian (including former military) enthusiasts.

    That would cascade down to all the things necessary for that to happen, which would only be good for the services, and ultimately the nation at large.

    • But that would assume the military values martial ability, rather than the ability to push Didn’t Earn It and suck up to superiors. At this point in Clown World’s fall, they don’t. So….

    • Oh horse shit! Why don’t we insert their standing as Go-cart racers, and their percentage of basketball free throws, and their ranking in Call of Duty video games? After all those games have the same relationship to war and fighting capacity as shooty games, which is to say; ZERO!
      I fought for seven years as an infantryman. The units under my command had a kill ratio well over 100 to 1. Never once were we attacked by cardboard cutouts. Never once did someone call out “Shooter ready?” before combat. And never once did a stupid ass shot timer go “Ding” before the shooting started. That the Range Rambos think their dumb ass games have anything at all to do with actual combat simply exposes their own massive ignorance!
      Real combat, where real people get killed, is won by discipline, precision, and teamwork, not “making major” with a race gun.
      If you enjoy shooty games that’s fine, enjoy yourself. But do not ever think it has anything to do with killing and getting killed.

  4. I will take a slightly different view.

    I agree that when compared to a reasonably proficient competitive IDPA/USPSA/IPSC shooter , an Expert military shooter will look pretty lame. I ran three 5th Group troopers through the old IDPA classifier and the were right in the middle of marksman status. They had decent accuracy but were slow.

    Pistol shooting is so unimportant in the grand scheme of their duties only safety is ingrained. If they were forced to use a pistol, every other weapon system has failed them. They might get about two hours a month of practice time. I used to shoot a couple of hours a week and a few hundred rounds in either games or practice.

    If most Expert or DM’s class shooters had to hump a 70 pound pack 10 miles cross country then shoot a classifier I think you would see a drastic drop in scores. I think my 5th Group troopers would have shot the exact qual scores.

    Several of us shot the USN new pistol and rifle qualifier for fun. My friends shot the pistol clean, I dropped a couple of points but still shot Expert. I beat them on the rifle qualifier but again we all qualified Expert. Easy yes, but we also shoot the FBI qualifier and usually only drop a point or two. None of us shoot as an A class or Expert class in games.

    One thing I told most of the LEO’s and military folks is I get to pick my pistol or rifle and all the accessories I choose to use. They get issued what Uncle decides the need. I would never consider competing with an M9, I think they suck.

    So if you want to brag about shooting expert in the USMC yearly qualifier, go right ahead. You were better than your peers at that time.

    • Correct that the pistol is pretty insignificant in mission performance. However, it remains important in terms of personal protection which military personnel need at least as much as anyone. Therefore, pistol training has a definite place. Only a minority of the military is in the combat arms and if your personal mission is in the rear with the gear, you still need to be able to protect yourself. Remember from a few years ago when there was a wave of assassinations of recruiters. There was talk about arming them (with pistols) but I heard no talk about quality training. I assume that the drone farm at Creech AFB has got pretty strict security but imagine if commandos penetrated that and got in among the cubicle jockeys. That would cause a significant degradation of a strategic mission.

      • I agree
        When are little USNR O-4 deployed we offered her some range time and weapons familiarization above and beyond what was taught.
        She said she didn’t need it because she would be guarded on base. She felt safe working in the SCIF.

        Never realized that would be a high value target.

        When she got deployed the second time she wanted all the range time she could get.

  5. Got a buddy that was young enough to get hired in the local Fed prison after our welding job closed.

    Being from the sticks and a big dude, he was asked to be a Marshall, went to FLETC in Georgia. After the first round of pistol shooting in class, he was the “assistant” trainer basically in charge of getting everyone qualified.

    He also qualled the designated marksman/sniper shoot with a Savage .338LM he finished building the week before and sighted in at training, but I would say he’s a unicorn in Fed service nowadays, waiting on retirement.

  6. The military emphasizes rifle skills over handgun skills by a pretty wide margin.

    I’m trying to find out military vs. civilian in the President’s Hundred, no luck yet on a quick search.

    There are reasons why people say “good enough for government work” eh egg n they choose to leave imperfect work & proceed to the next step, though.

    Interestingly enough, though, that applies to corporations too…at some point the additional time to make it exactly right costs too much to be “worth it” in dollars.

  7. What, precisely, at least as firearms are concerned, is the skill set required for LE? From what I’ve witnessed, and what’s available in videos, I’d think a graded course titled “The Front Sight – What’s it Really For?” might be on the list, although I suspect it would be graded on the curve and an F would be “explained by circumstances” into a passing score.

    It would appear that whatever the problems are, and there are a lot of them, they are rooted in the ubiquitous “Control By Bureaucrats” area (not that the Uniformed Cuff ‘n’ Stuffs would be any better, but direct feedback from live events wouldn’t be so strongly corrupted by being filtered through a fine mesh blue pinstripe strainer).

    To our host’s point, I’d be a lot more impressed if the Johnny or Jollette Law who shows up sported a USPSA B medallion instead of the traditional circular crossed-pistol Expert amulet, if for no other reason than it would show some amount of thought and dedication to a significant part of the career taskings beyond guarding the local Krispy Kreme.

  8. Back in the 00’s, I took, or retook, some rifle classes at the largest gun school, and it wasn’t unusual to have a soldier taking the class on his own dime prior to heading to the sandbox. At least one was going there for visit #2. He told us that they were only issued 60 rounds/year for training! He said they got a full day on a range once they got to the M.E., and that was supposed to get them up to speed. He was not impressed, and that is why he was at the class. He REALLY needed that class! The others had been warned ahead of time that their military gun training would be inadequate overall, and it would be wise to seek private training to obtain the skills needed.
    I know there were cops in my handgun classes, so wouldn’t be surprised if there were soldiers also. I’m not sure how often this one NY state cop took classes there, but every handgun class I took, there he was!

  9. This is so obvious it should not have to be said, but: All the ammo and discipline and esprit de corps in the world matters naught, if you can’t hit anything.

    No one ever said it was combat. It’s a game, and success requires a certain type of skill. And safety is practiced.

    If you want a two-way exchange try paintball or the front lines in Ukraine, take your pick.

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