By Ms. Ashley Force (USAMMDA public affairs)March 11, 2019
United States military personnel who are not deployed, could be at any moment. This fact is the reason why readiness among our men and women in uniform is so important. Readiness was the driving factor behind the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity offering a shooting training to their military officers. The weapons orientation and qualification was held at Heritage Training and Shooting Center in Frederick, Maryland.
"This training is great preparation should the military officers ever be called to a unit where they had an assigned weapon and need to meet military enforced qualifications," said Kenner Samuels, USAMMDA operations specialist. "It allows them to get familiar with the 9mm qualification requirement."
The training began in the classroom. The USAMMDA military personnel learned gun basics, such as proper grip, stance, and breathing control. Then they went to a state-of-the-art simulation lab where they worked out their kinks. Participants used real firearms to shoot at a 3D target screen. They shot with lasers and recoil kits rather than live ammunition during this stage.
It was during the next stage where things started booming. Protected with headphones for hearing and eye shields, participants lined up in the indoor range to shoot live fire. Heritage Training and Shooting Center features personal ballistic shooting booths. They have full walls, so the individual in the booth cannot see other people shooting, allowing them to focus solely on their course of fire.
The participants practiced shooting using a Glock 17, the most commonly bought pistol in America and the largest duty-carried firearm in the country. This weapon was specifically chosen for this training because this is a typical weapon of assignment for senior officers. As ammunition, they used 9mm bullets, which is the industry standard.
The group's training facilitator said the biggest takeaway from the day was to know how important practice is -- especially practicing something that could potentially save your life.
"A lot of military personnel don't get to choose when they practice, but they can come to a facility like this and practice with no pressure, when they see fit. We set them up with excellent training because we have all different types of military style firearms that they can use," said Brandon Dunn, personal defense trainer at Heritage Training and Shooting Center.
In the crowd of participants was USAMMDA commander, Col. Ryan Bailey. As a military officer, he said shooting a weapon is a skill that all military officers should be familiar with, even though they don't typically get to fire weapons at USAMMDA.
"I think everybody had a good time getting familiarized with shooting; it's not something we get to do every day," he said. "It's exciting to get out and practice. If asked to deploy, then we will be better prepared on how to handle a weapon."
Samuels said that this type of hands-on weapons training was a success, and with Soldier readiness in mind, it will be offered again in the future.