FORT McCOY, Wis. –
Army Reserve Soldiers from the 339th Military Police Company, based in Davenport, Iowa, built their skills on the range here during Law Enforcement Weapons Training and Qualification, or LEWTAQ, on Oct. 16.
What makes this training unique is that the targets have a silhouette of the head and upper body and are stationary rather than typical pop-ups, the tables are timed in seconds and Soldiers fire both the M4 and M9, explained Sgt. First Class Doug Madesian, Office in Charge and Range Safety Officer for the training. An audible bell tells the Soldiers when to begin firing, while a second one tells them to stop. Any rounds fired after the second audible don’t count.
Madesian explained that the tables include a mandatory head shot. “With pop-up targets, you can’t tell if you’re shooting the head,” he said. These targets “easily help you identify a body or head shot.”
One of the tables is a failure drill, which is “two shots to the chest and one to the head in five seconds,” Madesian said. Another requires Soldiers to transition from a rifle to a pistol to replicate an active shooter situation.
Still another table requires Soldiers to “reload in the middle of actively engaging a subject,” Madesian said.
Madesian, a Department of Army Police Officer, thinks “Soldiers (who are not MPs) would enjoy firing this qualification than the typical rifle qualification because of the movement, such as running with the rifle, and transitions.”
The Soldiers are going through a crawl-walk-run progression. The crawl phase occurred at the unit during battle assembly a month ago, where Madesian explained the training, the tables and number of rounds for each during a presentation. On the range, the Soldiers initially had a walk through, then tried their hand to test their proficiency. For the 9mm, Soldiers have 50 rounds and must achieve at least 35 hits to qualify. For the M4, Soldiers have 40 rounds and must get at least 28 hits to qualify, Mandesian said.
While the Soldiers were on the range, Madesian shouted out tips: “Cock the hammer as you pull the pistol out of the holster.” And, “remember, you may want to aim up a bit.”
One of the Soldiers on the firing line was Spc. Dylan Drury. He likes LEWTAQ because “it’s different from what you normally do when you qualify” with the individual weapon. The training “better prepares us for different scenarios properly and safely and helps us be proficient.”
For Drury, the most challenging aspect of the training was the “controlled pairs to the body or head, which can be difficult.”
Drury participated in LEWTAQ about three years ago. The training appears to have stuck with him, as he qualified expert, hitting 48 out of 50.