Military Wiki
Marksmanship Ribbon
U.S. Marksmanship Ribbons
Awarded by
United States Navy
United States Air Force
United States Coast Guard
Type Ribbon
Eligibility All ranks
Status Current

A Marksmanship Ribbon is an award of the United States Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard that is issued to service members who pass a weapons qualification course and achieve an above-average score.


Navy Pistol Marksmanship Ribbon.svg
Navy Rifle Marksmanship Ribbon.svg

The U.S. Navy has issued two marksmanship ribbons: the Navy Pistol Marksmanship Ribbon and Navy Rifle Marksmanship Ribbon, since 1920. The pistol ribbon is currently awarded for qualification on the Beretta 9mm pistol, while the rifle ribbon is currently awarded for qualification on the M14 and M16 assault rifle variants.[1]

The Navy issues the marksmanship ribbon in three levels — that of Marksman, Sharpshooter, and Expert. The basic ribbon is awarded for the Marksman level while the specific Marksmanship Device is awarded for qualification as a Sharpshooter or Expert. Those receiving an Expert qualification receive the Marksmanship Medal, in addition to the Marksmanship Ribbon.[1]

Between 1942 and 1960, the Navy also issued ribbons known as the Distinguished Marksmanship Ribbons.[2] These awards were declared obsolete by 1965.

Air Force

USAF Marksmanship ribbon.svg

The United States Air Force awards a single ribbon, known as the Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, for an expert qualification on either the M-16 rifle, M-4 carbine or the individuals AFSC's (duty) designated handgun weapon. The ribbon is issued in only one degree; however, a bronze service star may be worn on the ribbon for those who have qualified expert on both the service rifle and handgun.[3] The ribbon was authorized by the Secretary of the Air Force on Aug. 28, 1962 and was awarded to all Air Force service members who qualified after Jan. 1, 1963. Prior to the conception of a ribbon, Air Force members were awarded with the United States Air Force Small Arms Marksmanship Certificate of Achievement (AF Form 1193 Jan 1961).

Coast Guard

Coast Guard Pistol Marksmanship Ribbon.svg
Coast Guard Rifle Marksmanship Ribbon.svg

The Coast Guard Marksmanship Ribbon are issued under the same criteria as the U.S. Navy, but Coast Guardsmen use a .40 cal SIG-Sauer P229R DAK pistol instead of the Navy's M9 pistol. The Coast Guard issues two ribbons, known as the Coast Guard Pistol Marksmanship Ribbon and the Coast Guard Rifle Marksmanship Ribbon. The Marksmanship Device is awarded for qualification at the higher levels of sharpshooter and expert. Like the Navy, for those who receive an expert qualification, the Marksmanship Medal is awarded instead of the Marksmanship Ribbon.[4]

Additional information

The U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps provide Weapons Qualification Badges instead of a Marksmanship Ribbon. For the services that award the Marksmanship Ribbon, re-qualification is not necessary once a service member has obtained the award and the Marksmanship Ribbon may be worn throughout an individual's entire career. In the Navy and Coast Guard, the Marksmanship Ribbon may be upgraded to include the Marksmanship Device if a higher qualification is achieved after the initial award of the ribbon.

Additionally, every branch of service awards unique marksmanship competition badges that are authorized for wear on the military's service dress uniforms.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 OPNAVINST 3591.1F, Small Arms Training and Qualification, Department of the Navy, dated 12 August 2009, last accessed 18 February 2013
  2. A Short History of the Distinguished Shooter Program, by Hap Rocketto, dated 28 September 2010, last accessed 18 February 2013
  3. Air Force Personal Center Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon
  4. United States Coast Guard (May 2008). "COMDTINST M1650.25D Medals and Awards Manual". Department of Homeland Security. Retrieved 19 January 2013. 

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