WHTs between Cadet Organisations

I’m going on an ATC camp fairly soon, and to my knowledge there’s I still possibility of L98A2 shooting, however I do not have a WHT for this firearm within the ATC. Luckily I am also a cdt within my schools CCF (Army), here I do have a current WHT for the L98A2, have previously fired it live, and been on a blanks ex. Does the WHT carry over, and can I record the firing experiences in my 3822?

From memory and having been out of shooting for a while, a current ‘CCF WHT’ should be recognised by the ATC and vice-versa as we use the same documentation etc. When ADSing on CLC down at Frimley we used to recognise WHT from ACF, ATC, CCF and SCC although everone had a refresher session regardless!

It doesn’t matter what organisation the assessor comes from, as long as they have an appropriate qualification and are in date themselves, it counts. What you need is some kind of documentation to take with you to show that you have the WHT, as the ATC staff won’t have access to those records.


What you will need is either a signed statement from your SSI or Contingent Commander stating you have a valid WHT and its date, or a printout from WESTMINSTER with the WHT shown and, again, a signature.

As stated, a WHT is a WHT as long as the person conducting it was properly qualified.

Remember they only last 6 months.

Or just ask the tester from your CCF to sign it off in your 3822?

I would argue without regular testing the competence of the firer cannot be assured.

If they are good they will pass first time – how many times do Staff fail a WHT?
If they are poor, for whatever reason (be it not enough time with the weapon, poor training, duration since last exposure) then they will fail.

If Cadets are deemed “incompetent” they should have stricter supervision….oh wait, that sounds familiar.

First time firers need 1-2-1 supervision, “experienced” firers don’t need that individual touch as they can be trusted to complete the drills solo.
If there was no way to test an experience firer who for whatever had lapsed a WHT could their competency be trusted?
I know a member of Staff who is former TA, he has not touch a rifle since leaving the TAs and certainly never got involved with the ACO shooting world, could we trust him with an L98A2 today? It’s been 20 years since he picked up a weapon, yet he served 5 years in the TA so has “experience”

On the basis of once trained always competent should the same apply to flying/pilots?

Why waste time having Cadets watch the “jump john” video each time they go flying?

As a pilot my licence is held for a lifetime, but the validity only 24 months. In which time I need to complete a minimum number of hours P1 and time with an instructor.
If there was no restriction, no “retest”, this could mean having gained a PPL in my 20s, and then with pressure of raising a family let it slide for 20 years, and then pick it up in again in 40s or 50s without question or concern about my competency.

Should there be a retest requirement for driving? They have been asking for it for those over a certain age for years, but at the age of 70 you only need replace it (and continue to do so every 3 years).
There simply isn’t the infrastructure to allow for retesting all the drivers in the UK. I remember having to book 6-8 weeks in advance for my driving test, and that was just with the demand from new drivers. It would be impossible to expect a test date if everyone needed retesting even every 10 years.

You could well argue if there is no infrastructure for the DVLA to apply retesting and the ACO is volunteer based why should it expect the infrastructure to conduct WHTs?

The argument coming back will be risk and likelihood.
How many drivers in the driving population have a break in driving of 12+ months…as a %?
Compare that to the number of Cadets who have a break greater than 6 months between picking up a weapon as a %. For many it will be once a year, much like flying, completed at an annual camp

Absolutely right; but we don’t apply it to driving; as you say, no retest requirement, and no currency…

(Which we should, IMHO.)

Well to be fair, driving is a bit different. Most people will drive on a regular basis after passing their test. It is very unusual for someone to pass their test and take long breaks from driving. Some do, but most will drive several times a week or more.

Until we need to biometrically sign onto a vehicle and have have The System log our driving hours there will be no practical way to police ongoing driving experience.

absolutely agree…and only because the infrastructure is not in place to allow for it…

if it takes 6-8 weeks notice to book a practical theory test how large would the organisation need to be to have drivers renewing/revalidating a drivers licence?

WHTs in the ACO however the infrastructure is much more readily available. on a typical “Range day” there will be 2x RCOs or 2x WIs (one of which may double hat). it would be unusual to have a Range day without the ability to conduct WHTs as well…

If you are having to wait until a range day, then infrastructure isn’t there. The explosion of staff and cadet requiring to do WHTs on range days are a symptom of the lessening attractiveness of staff becoming qualified for shooting. This last point is the one that needs to be addressed to get around the problem, but the powers that be are not willing or able to deal with this to provide something that is deemed as more accessible.

You don’t want to wait until range day to do the WHTs though. That just wastes time that could be spent firing. If you turn up with 20 cadets to get through a shoot and none have a WHT, that is a lot of wasted time!

i see the points raised…but if not range days then when?

if on Squadron that would require each Squadron to have at least one member of staff qualified

and there would be no point in doing so if there was no weapons on site, and we all know of examples, if not our own Squadrons where weapons cannot be held…and certainly not L98A2s…

the only access to L98A2s is via an RAF Armoury which if going to the effort to get them out of an armoury is to also use them for shooting!

(there is of course the L103s, but they seem to have vanished in our Wing, no word of these being used in place of live weapons - some of these were on Squadrons, but to get to is as much effort to do so on a Squadron night as it would be for a range day in terms of distance travelled, time and effort required (ok so only an 1hrs turn around rather than a full day) and the coordination with other Squadron Staff to be free on the right evening, which may not be yours or their parade night…)

My detachment hasn’t had weapons in over 15 years. I get L103s brought in to conduct training or WHTs. If it is an issue to get it done on a parade night, how about organising a training day at the weekend to get as many through as possible?

something we we do in our Wing
11x weekends a year
for the whole Wing - and in such a scale why not fire as well. so we do!

21 training days offered each year, 20 of those have training, WHTs and LFMT occuring concurrently

[quote=“steve679, post:13, topic:3098, full:true”]
i see the points raised…but if not range days then when?

if on Squadron that would require each Squadron to have at least one member of staff qualified[/quote]
This is where the problem needs to addressed higher up the food chain and what we need are DPs and people with weapon specific tickets like what we used to have and people who are ‘qualified’ to just do the test, I don’t know let’s call it qualified to conduct WHTs and then allow RCOs to instruct and test, which again is what used to happen. With an RCO you have someone who is keen on the activity, yet can only do one thing, run a range; yet within that one thing is having to ensure those shooting are doing so safely, so they need to be conversant with the WI and subsequent testing. Make it so RCOs can train and test and shooting would become something that more cadets do, from our Wing the vast majority of cadets that shoot on a regular basis, are those from squadrons with qualified staff. Others do, like ours, but it’s not that regular as we are having to fit in with others or getting up and daft o’clock to attend a range day and even then it’s not assured the cadets do any meaningful shooting due to the numbers attending.

The current demarcated structure of shooting with instructors who only instruct and test, RCOs who only do ranges is a nonsense that exists in a real job scenario, but in a voluntary capacity like our set up, is not practical nor encourages delivery.

Do you have an RCO on Unit?
if not by your own argument (allow RCOs to conduct tests) you are still no better off.

The [off topic] issue being discussed is a lack of qualified staff
And if that is not the issue it is availability to weapons.

I am on a unit with two other weapons qualified Staff. two of us are RCOs, yet all three WIs/SAAIs.
We have air rifles and No8s with an air rifle range on site.
Training/testing Cadets is not an issue for us

To fire No8 we have to go off site
To get to a L103 or L98A2 we have to go off site

it is far easier to go to the range for No8 and L98A2 use.
1 - we don’t have enough No8s to warrant the effort of IWT so easier to pull together with other units and combine weapons.
One in every X number of units with weapons have a range so why not meet at the range equipped Squadron for consolidation shooting at the end of the day(?)
2 - it is just as easy for us to go to our parent station for L98A2s as it is L103s from our “local” unit. (in truth the distance is negligible yet the use of 4x L103*s versus 30+x L98A2s from the parent station makes the decision easier)

As mentioned in our Wing we have 11x “shooting weekends” (one a month) which offers the expected four streams of training

of the staff who attend who are WI/SAAI qualified and/or RCOs we have ~13 who could be considered “regular” attendees (by that I mean attend more than one weekend a year)
9 of these are both RCOs and WIs/SAAI, two are only SAAI and two only RCOs and so by default 85% of the team, are able to conduct tests

in our Wing, at the monthly shooting events at least, we do not have trouble finding persons to conduct tests.
I appreciate that this isn’t true for Squadrons. Indeed of those 13 Staff, only 8 Squadrons are represented, ~25% of the Wing.
but for the remaining 60-70% of the Wing without qualified Staff** they get to utilise these Wing monthly weekends to get their Cadets involved.

Due to the infrastructure requirements surrounding shooting it is difficult to conduct for everyone “locally”.
Certainly in my own experience I am currently on a Squadron with Staff, weapons and air rifle range. Prior to this unit i was the only qualified Staff with no weapons or range (operating out of a school) and prior to that on a unit using a “Spooner Hut” as the only qualified Staff with no weapons or range.

But this is true for other ACO activities.
Flying - not every Squadron has a PPL holder, even less have ready access to aircraft so we turn to the RAF and AEFs.
Camps - few Squadrons have sufficient Staff (let alone interested and available Staff) to run a “camp” format, be it the tradition “annual camp”, or more specific aerospace or D&C examples, and so combine as a Wing to coordinate.
Radio courses - few Squadrons have a dedicated Radio Officer, and even less have a competent Radio “instructor” to teach the courses.
First Aid - a better situation than Radio and shooting in terms of qualified Staff, but how many Squadrons have Staff qualified to teach/instruct? how many have access to an “annie” to conduct Heartstart for instance without going to the Wing store or local units?

Unfortunately the manner in which shooting (both training and LFMT) is conducted in terms of qualifications, range requirements, storage of hardware and the like, it is difficult to achieve this and remain “self-sufficient” for even 50% of Squadrons.
as such combining efforts and joint coordination is the only option for the significant majority

seeing a change to allow RCOs to conduct WHTs is false hope of an improvement. The weapons still need to be available, and for most of us that will be off Squadron.
If weapons are held at a neighbouring/“local” unit they are likely to have qualified staff and in my experience the strong majority of RCOs are also WIs/SAAIs anyway

The OP question is about testing, but access to training and testing is not sufficient, what is the point in training and testing if it is not going to be used?
yes we need more DPs in the parishes and we need more Staff to be qualified
remember however than not all can hold DPs, some can’t even hold Air rifles on squadron not “owning” their own building
but lets assume DPs and Staff were available, this only solves the issue of IWT and WHT, and creates a larger issue of a lack of LFMT

(out of interest of the 8 Squadrons represented by the 13 Staff indicated previously:
4 can be self sufficient with the No8
3 can be self sufficient with the air rifle
2 hold L103s
so even within the “keen” shooters the numbers are not impressive and why combined efforts are employed)

*and remember these were issued as L103s for dry training yet issued without the ancillaries required for dry training; drill rounds and maintenance kits
**Some squadrons are self sufficient and thus do not require Wing assistance to attend so inaccurate to indicate 75% are without to capability

If you weren’t issued cleaning kits, how do you ensure that they are correctly maintained?

Availability of weapons has been a problem for the last few years as Wing seem to centralise weapons and then the ever extending N°8 as the powers that exist can’t come up with an alternative and this has been going for more years than I care to remember.

We do have an RCO and he has found it bewildering that he is ultimately responsible for safety and knowing that cadets are being safe, yet cannot train or test cadets.

The problem with any joint activity is having all staff available at the same time. People may commit but then real life gets in the way. We’ve arranged a couple of WI and WHT sessions only for the squadron with the qualified staff, those having something ‘real’ to do as opposed to ATC things. Annoying but that’s just the way it is (cue for a song).

That would require us to throw away the progress that has been made in trying to ensure some level of competent, standardised training on the weapon systems and fall back on the assumption what whoever trained or tested the RCO wasn’t a buffoon. RCO and WO/SAAI are distinct skill sets. That said, SAAI has gone way too far, beyond what I would consider as reasonable.

You are missing the real incongruity though: WI© and SAAI© does not permit an individual to act as a safety supervisor for the weapon. They can train somebody from scratch, test their competence on the weapon and ultimately authorise a person to live-fire a weapon, yet they are not considered competent to supervise that same person during live firing!

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