Appleseed

Posted: March 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

Much to the cat’s outrage, I spent last weekend at my first Appleseed event. Here are my thoughts:

I expected to learn basic marksmanship, and I was not disappointed — I went from scoring around 50 out of 250 on their standard test (and that, after a bit of instruction) to around 150. Before this class, I’d never shot at anything at 25 yards with any hope of hitting it, and hadn’t fired at anything further away than that at all. Now I feel like I at least understand the concept, even if I don’t execute it very well.

Additionally, I seem to have gained a greater amount of intimacy with the RAR. The class is fairly fast-paced and the tests themselves have time constraints, so I found myself handling my rifle with much greater authority than I usually do. I start from the perspective of being a fairly methodical person — possibly to a fault, in that I have to fight a tendency to think first and think second, and act maybe perhaps later. With firearms this tendency is somewhat exacerbated, at least when left to my own devices — I tend to be very slow in what I do. However, I’m more comfortable doing that on a controlled range where there are other people keeping an eye on the safety aspects, and I’m kind of forced out of my comfort zone in this matter by the pace of the course.

Do is how you live” — Grandmaster Larry Hampton

That bit, actually, is something that I see as a way I can grow as a person through studying this sort of marksmanship. Being confident in what I do, and maintaining sufficient precision while remaining in motion, is a weakness of mine in more than just firearms. So, as far as the goal of the course in showing people a thing that they didn’t think they could do — I feel as if I’ve got that as well.

On a slightly less esoteric level, I’ve had the notion knocking around in my head that I might get a M1 Garand. The Civilian Marksmanship Program is a delightfully archaic organization that sells military surplus rifles to civilians for the purpose of… well, civilian marksmanship. The Garand is the most recent rifle they sell — the ones after that are select fire, and many bloodsucking insects et cetera. It’s an interesting piece of history, but I had some doubts about how much use I could get out of it as a firearm mostly because of its weight (the magazine capacity, sadly, does not seem to be that much of an issue). I’d handled a M1A at a gun store some months back, this being somewhat similar in size, and found it unspeakably heavy — but I’ve done about eight months of weight training since then, so I thought there might be some difference. One of the people there had a M1 Garand, and I asked if I could handle it to see if the weight was manageable — they said that I could not only handle it, I could shoot it. I fired eight rounds…

… the paperwork was in the mail the next day. The CMP is apparently utterly backed up, partly because of people wanting to get in on the deal before they run out (estimated 2-3 years until this happens) and probably also partly because of the current crisis (which might, I think, have an impact on how long before they run out). So I expect to receive an acknowledgement of my order in something like three weeks, and maybe my rifle a month after that. It should be fun.

So, all in all I was quite impressed with the Appleseed program — I’ve actually signed up for another session later this month. I ended up having a number of experiences that I haven’t had before — firing the Garand, firing an AR-15 (I was intrigued, but a bit less instantly enamored — the thing makes a sound like an old Hide-A-Bed), shooting on a range controlled by range commands, actually making holes where I intend to make holes (more or less), et cetera. And I found a new restaurant, which is always a bonus.

Still not sure where I’m going to go with the shooting thing — tomorrow evening the pistol contingent is going to make its case, as I’m taking an introductory course over at Blucore — but at least I’m having a fun time bouncing around.

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