The creation of the Precision Weapons Section, or RTE (Rifle Team Equipment) shop as it was known until 1999 when the name officially changed to PWS, at MCB Quantico dates back to December of 1966. At this time, 2 RTE shops were in existence, one in Albany and the other in Barstow. The CO of WTBn and the CO of the Ordnance School began to develop plans to install the RTE shop in space made available at the Ordnance School on mainside Quantico. In early 1967, the Commandant approved a program of On the Job Training (OJT) instruction to qualify Marines as Precision Weapons Repairmen (MOS 2112). The mission of WTBn was expanded on 17 March 1967 to include providing RTE for the Marine Corps. This encompassed such duties as building and repairing precision weapons; storage, control and issue of RTE items; and evaluation, testing and development of weapons and ammunition systems. In January of 1968 the OIC of Marksmanship Training Unit, Quantico was given control of the RTE program and on 26 June 1968, the RTE shop opened.
To simplify matters, in August of 1972 the RTE shop moved its location from building 7 on mainside to WTBn in order to consolidate with the Marine Corps Shooting Teams, where they would stay until February 2005 when they moved into a brand new facility designed and built specifically for their unique mission. In 1972 RTE began full scale production of the M40A1 Sniper Rifle, National Match M14 rifle, and National Match M1911 pistol. Since then the responsibility of PWS has expanded to also include the building and maintenance of the M40A5 Sniper Rifle, M39 Enhanced Marksman Rifle, MEU (SOC) .45 Caliber Pistol, National Match M16 Rifle, and National Match M9 Pistol. PWS also has the Depot Maintenance contract for the M82A3 Special Application Scoped Rifle, not to mention the constant ongoing research and development projects such as the M16 Squad Advance Marksman Rifle (SAM-R) and the AR-10 Rifle.
PWS continues to perform the mission for which it was founded, ever changing and updating to keep pace with advancing technology. Providing technical support and guidance relevant to research and development, testing, and evaluation of individual small arms and ammunition. Building and modification of individual small arms in support of the Marine Corps competition in arms program (CIAP). Most importantly, providing the operating forces with a variety of precision weapons systems to enhance the warfighting capability and lethality of the Marine Corps, the individual Marine, and every unit in between.
Precision Weapons Section is the only place where armorers, ammunition technicians and machinists receive such highly specialized training and develop these extraordinary skills, and it is all of these highly trained Marines and civilians who make PWS a completely unique facility, unmatched in the entire Department Of Defense.