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Shooting for Shaw

U.S. Air Force combat arms instructors and participants look over practice targets at an inaugural M9 pistol Excellence in Competition shooting event at the Combat Arms range complex at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, Nov. 6, 2019.

U.S. Air Force combat arms instructors and participants look over practice targets at an inaugural M9 pistol Excellence in Competition shooting event at the Combat Arms range complex at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, Nov. 6, 2019. Shooters go through a practice run to see what they need to change in their shooting form before the competition starts. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Destani K. Matheny)

U.S. Air Force Airmen participate in an inaugural M9 pistol Excellence in Competition shooting event at the Combat Arms range complex at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, Nov. 7, 2019.

U.S. Air Force Airmen participate in an inaugural M9 pistol Excellence in Competition shooting event at the Combat Arms range complex at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, Nov. 7, 2019. The course was broken down into five elements: class, a practice round and three phases of firing. The top 10 percent of shooters were awarded a medal for wear on their blues issued by the Air Force Sports Branch. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Destani K. Matheny)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Brandon Murray, 20th Security Forces combat arms instructor, coaches participants from the combat arms tower in an inaugural M9 pistol Excellence in Competition shooting event at the Combat Arms range complex at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, Nov. 6, 2019.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Brandon Murray, 20th Security Forces combat arms instructor, coaches participants from the combat arms tower in an inaugural M9 pistol Excellence in Competition shooting event at the Combat Arms range complex at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, Nov. 6, 2019. All participants must follow the instructions in the tower at all times to ensure the safety of everyone involved. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Destani K. Matheny)

U.S. Air Force Airmen clean their weapons after participating in an inaugural M9 Excellence in Competition shooting event at the Combat Arms range complex at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, Nov. 4, 2019.

U.S. Air Force Airmen clean their weapons after participating in an inaugural M9 Excellence in Competition shooting event at the Combat Arms range complex at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, Nov. 4, 2019. While the participants cleaned their weapons, the instructors graded their targets. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Destani K. Matheny)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Troy Maycock, 20th Security Forces combat arms instructor, grades a target from an inaugural M9 pistol Excellence in Competition shooting event at the Combat Arms range complex at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, Nov. 4, 2019.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Troy Maycock, 20th Security Forces combat arms instructor, grades a target from an inaugural M9 pistol Excellence in Competition shooting event at the Combat Arms range complex at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, Nov. 4, 2019. After three phases of shooting, the competition participants clean their weapons while the instructors grade the targets. Afterwards, the participants analyze their own targets to ensure legitimacy. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Destani K. Matheny)

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- The 20th Security Forces Squadron Combat Arms hosted the inaugural M9 pistol Excellence in Competition shooting event at the Combat Arms training range complex at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, Nov. 4-8.

The event is a U.S. Air Force Sports Branch sanctioned event open to all Department of Defense components over the course of five days that encourages warrior ethos and contributes to Airman readiness to support wartime operations downrange.

“We wanted to increase morale and cohesion while giving an opportunity to practice with their service pistols outside of the parameters of a standard Air Force qualification course,” said Staff Sgt. Troy Maycock, 20th SFS combat arms instructor.

Members from the U.S. Army and Air Force active duty, South Carolina Air National Guard and reservists from five installations throughout Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina attended the event.

The course was broken down into five elements: classroom instruction, a practice round and three phases of firing.

In class, each participant received a 20-minute safety brief, followed by 20 minutes of mechanical review and competition requirements. The event consisted of 40 rounds of live fire from the 9mm pistol.

For the practice round, members were given a time limit of five minutes to fire 10 rounds with their choice of a one- or two-handed grip. After practice, members and instructors marked and analyzed targets to ensure legitimacy.

For phases one through three, the participants went through a progression of one handed shooting, two handed shooting and lastly a timed shooting with four seconds per round.

Once all firing was completed, individuals vacated the range complex for weapons cleaning. Upon their return, statisticians, range safety officers and shooters will jointly review targets independently for accuracy. After completion, individuals signed score sheets and departed the range complex.

“I enjoyed the competition. It was a challenge,” said Airman 1st Class Scott Slack, 3rd Intelligence Squadron analyst reporter. “I haven’t done much shooting at 25 yards before and I’m not the most familiar with the M9, but it was fun and I think I did decently well. I’ll be back for any competitions they do in the future.”

The 20th FW EIC hosted 200 shooters, the top 10 percent of which will be awarded a medal issued by the Air Force Sports Branch for wear on their blues uniform.

Airman participation in the M9 pistol EIC shooting event is one of the many ways units instill professional pride and maintain mission readiness.