While this is a positive move forwards in many ways. I do share Leather worker’s lack of enthusiasm. But entirely disagree with his reasoning.
For me, the problem with our organisation is that we try to do way too much and end up doing nothing particularly well. Having spent 3 years of my staff career staffing the JL course I know the amount of time and effort it takes from cadets and staff to use weapons effectively and I just cannot see the average wing exercise getting the benefit from using blank.
First, is the training, pretty much a whole JL day was set aside every year to standardise weapon handling, when theoretically every cadet was fully trained before the course as the qual was a pre-req.
Second, it takes them time and practice to use them properly and not ingrain bad habits.
But my main big bear is the cleaning.
Because once you fire blank you then have to dedicate HOURS to cleaning the damn things. It takes the JLs two-three hours on the first weekend they use blanks that time reduces as the course progresses but it takes training, practice and a lot of inspection time to do and supervise it well and I would rather spend that time actually doing something interesting if I don’t have 9 weekends worth of dedicated experienced cadet time to do it in.
If you factor in all that into a single weekend, essentially the first B&P weekend you run would consist of weapon handling training all day Saturday, maybe the opportunity to fire a magazine on the Sunday morning, weapon cleaning all Sunday afternoon. Then go home. In which case I’d rather be canoeing.
Being honest, I’d rather just have permission to take water guns out, less cleaning, more fun.