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 (Job) designated handgun weapon. The ribbon is issued in only one degree; however, a bronze service star may be worn on the decoration for those in certain career fields like security forces and civil engineering who have qualified expert on both the service rifle and handgun.
Qualification as expert with the pistol (M-9/M-11) requires 41 hits out of 45 rounds on target, with at least 25 hits within a 10-inch circle on the torso of the target and six hits within a six-inch circle on the head of the target.
Qualification as expert with the rifle (M-16/M-4) for the Air Force Qualification Course (AFQC) is most common for Air Force members and requires 35 to 40 hits out of 40 rounds (if qualifying without a gas mask), or 43 to 50 hits out of 50 rounds on various sized silhouettes, simulating targets at different ranges. The target itself is 25 meters away, with silhouettes simulating targets at 50 meters, 100 meters, 150 meters, 200 meters, 250 meters and 300 meters. 10 shots are fired each from the standing-barricaded, kneeling-barricaded, prone-supported (with and without gas mask) and the prone-unsupported position.
Qualification as expert with the rifle (M-16/M-4) for the Tactical Rifle Qualification Course (TRQC), as taken directly from AFMAN 36-2227V1 is as follows: PHASE V — Day Rapid Fire Evaluation: 18 of 30 hits required. 25 of 30 for expert, iron sights only, except DM. Designated Marksman qualification requirements are as follows: 50-meter target three of three hits, 100-meter target three of three hits, 150-meter target six of six hits, 200-meter targets must have five of six hits, 250-meter targets must have five of six hits and 300-meter targets must have five of six hits. Show score as number of hits and "Q, Qual or Qualified" for qualified, "UQ, Unqual or Unqualified" for unqualified and "E, Exp or Expert" for expert.