Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Weapons Qualification Badge
A Weapons Qualification Badge is a military badge of the United States Army and United States Marine Corps which is presented to service members upon successful completion of a weapons qualification course.
Weapons Qualification Badges are issued in three levels, being that of Expert, Sharpshooter, and Marksman. The Marine Corps presently provides weapons qualification badges for the pistol and rifle only, while the Army issues the same badges for a variety of weapons.
Army weapons qualification badges display various qualified weapons by bars which are hung below the badge itself. The current authorized weapons bars are as follows:
- Auto Rifle
- Field Artillery
- Tank Weapons
- Submachine Gun
- Recoilless Rifle
- Rocket Launcher
- Small Bore Rifle
- Small Bore Pistol
The Army also awards a Distinguished Shot Badge for those who obtain expert weapons scores at shooting competitions.
Marine Corps weapons qualification badges are suspended beneath a bar reading the type of weapon and qualification received. The badge is also different in appearance, depending on which weapon qualification has been obtained.
For a weapon qualification badge to be obtained, a service member must obtain an above average score (usually out of 300 points) and will receive a qualification level depending on the score obtained. Once a qualification has been obtained, and the weapons qualification badge issued, the badge may be worn for the remainder of a military career.
The U.S. Army considers weapon qualification badges to be optional and will allow a service member to operate any weapon after receiving a “familiarization qualification” meaning that the weapon is generally understood but an above average qualifications score was not obtained. The Marine Corps, however, will not allow a service member to exit initial basic training (or Officer Candidate School) until a qualification above Marksman has been obtained.
The Army and Marine Corps are the only services which issue weapons qualification badges. The Marksmanship Ribbon and Marksmanship Medal are issued by the remainder of the United States military branches to denote weapons qualifications.
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