My Marine can’t put the bolt in his weapon | Blood Stripes

My Marine can’t put the bolt in his weapon

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One of my Marines has difficulty assembling his rifle. He cannot figure out how to put the bolt and charging handle back into the rifle. What should I do to re-train this Marine?

Marines have always been taught ‘brilliance in the basics’. Unfortunately, there has been quite a bit of media material released depicting our military doing, downright, stupid things. The most painful to watch, by far, are those videos depicting Marines failing at the basics. All Marines need remediation at some point in time. The question is, how does a Marine leader conduct remedial training properly without pushing the limits of hazing?

Typically remedial training pertains to weapons or physical training (MARINE CORPS ORDER 6100.13 W/CH 1; ch4 remedial conditioning program). For instance, remediation must occur when a Marine lacks confidence in their weapons handling skills, or if they cannot maintain a proper shooting position. If a Marine cannot shoot a minimum of marksman on the rifle/ pistol range, he or she will be marked ‘unqualified’ as a shooter. There are prescribed methods for this type of remedial training.

Bolt backward

Hey brother, the bolts upside down!                                                                                                                         source: Liveleak

In this scenario a fleet Marine does not know how to re-assemble their issued rifle.

If an FMF Marine is not able to re-assemble their rifle and continually struggles with the basics of weapons maintenance, the leader in charge of the Marine has a few options for remedial training. Here is one suggestion from a former squad leader.

Have them work the armory window during weapons turn in. Each rifle that comes in the window needs to be inspected anyway. Have the Marine conduct a “bolt and bore” inspection on every rifle prior to returning a weapon to the rack. As each Marine passes their rifle into the armory, the Marine breaks the weapon down ‘shotgun style’, removing the bolt and charging handle. The Marine then inspects the bore for obstructions and the overall cleanliness of the bolt and rifle. Afterward, the Marine returns the charging handle and bolt to their correct positions within the rifle and re-assembles the weapon, then performs a functions check.

By the end of the training evolution, the Marine will have had ample amounts of practice handling issued weapons; and every rifle will be cleared and inspected.

**Added bonus; the armory personnel will be happy to have another Marine working the window!

posted on July 1, 2015 under Q&A
Michael J. Penney
Michael J. Penney is a former infantryman and Marine Corps Combat Arms instructor. During his eight year career in the Marines, he served with distinction on the battlefields of Ramadi Iraq 2005-2006/ 2007 and Kajaki/Sangin Afghanistan (2011). Learn more about Michael at

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