John - it is discouraging but that is the trend all over. In High School (yes, High School, not college) R.O.T.C., each cadet was assigned an appropriate weapon to his rank, and we trained with them and used them “on parade.” In the case of most, it was the M1 Garand. Officers had M1 Carbines, with the three or four highest “staff officers” having M1911A1 .45 Pistols. Of course, they were, for normal classroom and non-parade activities, kept in the arms room. Even the drill team used unaltered M1s, even though to the chagrin of our PSM&T, we played with putting pennies in the butt trap and loosening the buttplate screws, so they made a better sound when a dozen rifle butts were brought to ground simultaneously. It was to their chagrin, because right away, we had a couple of cracked stocks and were ordered to stop doing that.
These weapons all had their firing pins, and in the Armory for instruction, we had several BARs, one M3A1 SMG (kept in a safe), one M1919A4 Browning MG and one 60 mm Morter. As I recall, there was also a Bazooka in the safe, but for some reason, I don’t recall every having any classes on it.
Later, after our class was long gone, they took the firing pins out of all the weapons that could come under the control of a Cadet, and later on they stopped issuing any weapons - they were only used by the Adult instructors at the front of the classrooms. The drill team began using toy rifles of the bolt action persuasion. I don’t know what they do now. Many school districts have abolished ROTC. Just as well I suppose, as most of the kids today would not be eligible for various services due to tatoos, body piercings, overweight, or unable to pass the written entry and physical agility tests.
To my knowledge there was no live ammunition of any caliber, other than .22 locked up in the school range, for the rifle team, on the school grounds. The .22 Issue ammunition was MONARCH brand, and so poor that those of us that could bought our own. I could not afford to buy it for practice, but I managed to buy a box here and there just to use in matches. I was using the Monarch until I had a “squeeze off” AD in a match (the bullet actually hit the target paper) due to an oversized rim. When I shot the bolt handle of my 52 Winchester, it went off. The other team’s instructor wanted me DQ from the match and my score disallowed until our own instructor investigated on the spot and when he removed the fired case, showed that it had no firing pin impression. It saved the day for me. After that, our Sergeant bought the team and device that checked rim thickness and every round used in a match was gauged for oversize rims before the match began. None were found in any brand except the issue MONARCH, with which they proved to be NOT uncommon.
Our ammo quality may be better these days, but it is sad how times have changed.