The Calgary Highlanders complete first range of training year

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Article / December 10, 2015

By Major Andrew Beauchamp

With the end of summer the leaves change colour, the days become shorter, a chill creeps into the air and a new training year begins.  As with every new training year all members of The Calgary Highlanders are called on to requalify on a number of basic soldier skills including the C7 personal weapons tests (PWTs).  Over the weekend of September 25-27, 2015 The Calgary Highlanders deployed 57 soldiers to CFB Wainwright to conduct C7 PWTs 1 and 3.  Below is one soldier’s account of the PWT 3:

"We had just finished zeroing our C7s and completed some shooting from a range of 300 meters.   The range flags were catching the gentle breeze as we walked towards the 400 meter point.  This was an opportunity to quietly reflect on the marksmanship principals and on the test ahead.  At the 400 meter point the Range Safety Officer (RSO) quickly reviewed the test. The orders started coming quickly after the brief and I clamoured to find my first magazine.  The RSO behind me shouting the orders ‘with a 14 round magazine, LOAD!’, ‘READY – 300 meters!’, ‘WATCH AND MOVE’. 

At this point I shifted my focus down range, waiting, watching for the targets to appear.  After what feels like an eternity I see the dark image of the figure 11 target emerge.  The test is underway. 

I clamber to my feet and run 100 meters to our first firing point. As I complete the run the sergeant behind me reminds our relay to shoot ‘2 ROUNDS AT EACH TARGET’.  I get into the prone position, align my rifle with the target and deliberately fire my rounds; as the last round is released the targets go down. 

Placing my weapon on safe I wait for the targets to materialize again.  Suddenly there they are and I find myself running to the next firing point.  As I’m completing the 100 meter run it dawns on me I need to adjust my site as the sergeant behind me yells ‘KNEELING POSITION.’  I take a second to adjust my sights before controlling my breath and squeezing off my rounds.  This time it seems like the targets have barely fallen when they pop back up.  Running to the 100 meter firing point I realize I my magazine is empty.  I reach for my last magazine as running up the mound at the 100 meter point.  Quickly I change my  magazines before getting into the prone position and firing off my rounds.  It’s a little more difficult to calm my breathing after this run and ultimately I didn’t fire one round before the targets fell; hopefully I don’t need that point to pass the test. 

Now we’re ordered ‘UP!’ and we start walking forward, scanning for the targets.  As we hit the 75 meter point the targets pop; I am and fire two rounds and the center of the targets chest before the targets fall.  We continue advancing towards the 50 meter point.  This time you hear the butts non-commissioned officer (NCO) yelling ‘TARGETS UP’ before you see the target appear; I aim and fire again. 

Finally we advance to the 25 meter point.  As the targets appear the sergeant reminds us to fire ‘BURSTS!’.  Quickly I adopt the standing position and, looking over my sight, switch to automatic before pulling to trigger to the familiar ‘burappp’ of C7 automatic fire.  With the test complete we file back towards the administration, anxiously awaiting our scores.”

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