Army's New Weapons Qualification Standards
by U.S. Army Spc. Harrison Moore
August 16, 2020
The new Individual Weapons Qualification (IWQ) for Soldiers is
expected to begin October 1, 2020, or fiscal year 2021.
light of that, many Kentucky National Guard Soldiers were sent to a
“Train the Trainer” courses in order to instruct and prepare their
units for the new requirements.
Sgt. Joseph McClanahan with the 20th Military Intelligence, winner of the Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year in 2019 participates in a weapons qualification table during the Best Warrior Competition at Wendall H. Ford Regional Training Center
in Kentucky on October 23, 2019. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Crane)
Among those Soldiers was Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Gimple with the
438th Military Police Company.
During a deployment in 2008, Gimple was influenced by a great
mentor who was a weapons craft instructor.
emphasized how important it is to effectively operate and handle
your weapon in that type of environment,” said Gimple. “He would say
the grass was greener on the other side once you really understand
how to use your equipment with confidence.”
That is precisely
the goal with the new Individual Weapons Qualification (IWQ) for
Soldiers which is expected to begin October 1, 2020.
has served over 15 years and is currently a platoon sergeant with
the 438th in Murray, KY and he strives to educate his troops on the
new requirements and changes they should expect.
will be a lot faster paced and will require Soldiers to be even more
confident and comfortable with their weapons,” said Gimple.
The old qualification, “The Legacy Qual” as it’s called, in total
took about 20 minutes from start to finish. The new test will only
allow for just under four minutes.
Due to the increased speed
of the new weapons qualification, physical fitness will play a
larger role in how Soldiers can best prepare themselves.
“Soldiers must be even more physically fit, tactically competent,
and situationally aware to successfully qualify,” said Staff Sgt.
Zachary Kasey, a physical fitness instructor with the 238th
Kasey attended the four-day “Train the Trainer”
course which instructed NCO’s on how to prepare Soldier’s in their
units for the upcoming changes.”
“The emphasis with the new
Army Combat Fitness Test and IWQ is similar in that they strive to
make Soldiers more combat ready,” said Kasey.
Part of the
change is that Soldiers will now be required to hit at least one
300-meter target to earn the title of expert. This effectively
raises the standards of marksmanship which is a core skill for all
“It’s imperative for units to train Soldiers
during drill on warrior tasks and battle drills to give them the
hands-on training they need,” said Gimple. “I think the real benefit
will come about a year or so into it when Soldiers have had time to
train and build confidence in their tactics.”
physical fitness where some Soldiers lack in an area like running or
lifting, when it comes to marksmanship some struggle in areas like
improper trigger squeeze or a faulty sight picture.
Soldier has at least one weakness and they need to work on
sharpening their dull axe to make them better fighters. You can’t
just only rely on your sharp axes,” said Kasey. “The idea is to make
our troops more well-rounded.”
Soldiers will now have up to
four targets at once pop-up whereas the old qualification at most
had two. This instills the need to react much faster and make
accurate decisions on the fly.
There will no longer be
communication from the upper towers to Soldiers mandating when they
can change magazines of firing positions. Rather, they will be
responsible for maneuvering positions and acquiring targets on their
own at a much faster rate.
Adjusting to shooting behind a
barrier will also provide a learning curve. The barrier has notches
like stairsteps that Soldiers will use to support their weapon.
“The biggest challenge will be accepting the change, but it
creates the reps and sets we need among the force to maintain
lethality,” said Kasey.
Soldiers need to prepare for the
upcoming changes by continuing to train for the ACFT. They also need
to execute weapons functions checks and become comfortable with
handling their weapons.
“Overall, the new standards for IWQ
will strengthen our force and help us to always be ready and always
be there,” said Kasey.
“Soldiers should be proactive during
drill and seek the expertise of those trained to teach the new
qualification standards,” said Gimple. “I am proud to have the
opportunity to teach the next generation how to operate their weapon
and defend this country.”
Our Valiant Troops |
Citizens Like Us
U.S. Army Gifts |
National Guard |