EX KING’S RIFLE II – September 22-24, 2023

On 22-24 September 2023, The King’s Own Calgary Regiment conducted exercise King’s Rifle II to
fulfill Individual Battle Task Standard (IBTS) training. The exercise had two main objectives; to qualify
troops on their Personal Weapons Training Level 3 (PWT 3) with the C7A2 assault rifle and to complete Chemical,
Biological, Radiological, Nuclear (CBRN) protective training. The qualification of soldiers through IBTS
is essential to maintaining a professional standard amongst the armed forces, minimizing skill fade, and
ensuring soldiers are in a high state of readiness for any missions that may arise. 
Unlike conventional stationery shooting at a fixed distance, PWT 3 is a comprehensive demonstration of
weapons handling, marksman principles, and movement and fire. The qualification commences with a
rundown from 400m and firing from the prone position. As soldiers progressively move forward to
different points of fire, they also adopt different improvised firing positions and practice shooting in 5
second exposures. The shoot culminates with a walkdown towards the target from the 25m mark and
firing fully automatic bursts. 
PWT 3 stands apart from PWT 1 and 2 by offering a much more realistic simulation of combat situations
and helping soldiers build confidence in their ability to manage a firefight. Luckily for the troops, the next
day they were able to further develop their combat skills and weapons handling when the regiment
conducted live fire team shoots. Soldiers ran in pairs, ducking behind barricades, and providing mutual
cover fire while leapfrogging positions down the range. 
While some troops honed their weapons skills, others were preparing to enter the gas hut for
CBRN training. The process is meticulous. First, troops don a thick and scruffy protective uniform, colloquially called the “bunny suit”. Then, they put on rubber gloves and boots, gas mask, and load up on
decontamination packets that share the same consistency as a stick of butter. Inside the gas hut, pellets of
CS gas are released to simulate a realistic training environment. The troops must complete a series of
rounds in the gas hut; each one is meant to test a different skill set necessary to surviving in a CBRN
environment, as well as to instill confidence in the soldier’s protective equipment. 
The final round is always the most memorable. For this round, soldiers enter the gas hut without the
comfort of their gas mask and must react to the debilitating effects of the gas. Almost everyone sheds a
few tears. The experience is always unpleasant, but it serves the critical function of ensuring troops can
react to a CBRN threat and still effectively perform their drills. For the troops, this means
the best way to truly simulate a CBRN threat is for them to feel and react to the shock and incapacitation
a CBRN attack can produce. At least once the final round is over, soldiers can peel off their bunny suits,
wash the butter-like decontaminant off their skin, and let the fresh air ease the acrid burn of the CS gas.

✍️ Cpl Bergeron