Soldiers in annual weapons exercise

Territorial soldiers from Otago and Southland try out Mars-L assault rifles at an annual training...
Territorial soldiers from Otago and Southland try out Mars-L assault rifles at an annual training weekend in West Melton. Photo: John Cosgrove
Honing their skills on several different types of weapon — including new Mars-L assault rifles — at an annual training exercise weekend was a great opportunity for the region’s territorial army before a live field exercise, the company commander says.

B Company 2/4 Battalion Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment, comprised of soldiers from Otago and Southland, participates in  an annual weapons qualification (AWQ) at a military rifle range.

This year the  rifle-range exercise was based at the New Zealand Army’s West Melton  range, near Christchurch, over the  weekend. Captain Duncan McEwan said the purpose of the weekend was to develop "shooting skills and test shooting capability".

"People can see where they are at," he said.

"There’s always a little bit of friendly competition to see who’s the top shot."

The 47 B Company soldiers at the AWQ came from all  walks of life,

and ranged from farmers and students to tradesmen and business leaders.

"It’s really neat."

A large part of shooting was preparation, and being familiar with different weapons, as well as marksmanship.

The soldiers tested  their skills on four  types of weapon, including pistols and light machine guns, at different distances. The weekend was a prerequisite for B Company’s live field exercise in Central Otago next month, Capt McEwan said.

"It gives them the competence and confidence with a new weapons system," he said.

"It’s been an excellent weekend, we’ve got a lot done and we’re very happy with the outcome."

The exercise was  for B Company soldiers, but  a few from other companies also joined in.

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