Letter Re: Gaining Key Rifle Skills Via the Appleseed Program

Mr. Rawles,

I’ve been reading your blog for quite some time now and have gleaned tons of useful information to prepare my family for many different situations. I live in hurricane country, so while the likely hood of a total collapse of our economy might be small, the possibility of another Hurricane Katrina event or worse is not.

With the weather starting warm (here in the southeast anyway), I started thinking about shooting skills. I had grown up with rifles and shotguns, so in the past I have been focused more on pistol skills. This spring I took to the rifle range and was dismayed to find that my rifle skills were horrible!

With that in mind I started looking for training. Everything I found was either far away (can’t take time off work), expensive, or both. With one exception — I found the RWVA web site and the Appleseed Program. I noticed that they advertise in SurvivalBlog,. but thought that they deserve another mention in the blog.

I registered myself, and my wife — and managed to get my brother in-law to go too. At $70 (plus range fees) for each of us guys and the wife’s fee being only $10 (range fees only) I felt that anything we came away with was a plus — and boy was I pleasantly surprised!

I cannot speak enough about what a value this is for anyone needing to improve their rifle skills. For that $70 I got two solid 8 hour days of instruction. I also got some history of the Revolutionary War thrown in, which served as a pleasant and interesting way to break up the shooting day.

They covered basic safety procedures — they are big on making the event safe. All of the shooting is done at 25 yards, with target size simulating longer distances. This made it easy for me to use my .22 rather than having to bang away with my .308 for two days straight. We covered prone, sitting/kneeling, and standing (offhand) shooting positions and transitions between the positions. We also covered how to shoot by the numbers — i.e. sight picture, sight alignment, breathing, trigger squeeze, etc. And for the first time ever I was taught the proper use of a sling. Over the weekend, I shot about 400 rounds of ammo, in a much more controlled manner than I would have ever achieved at the range by myself.

At my particular event there were 11 shooters to 4 instructors, which led to a terrific ratio. The instructors were great too – everyone was very courteous, very patient, and very knowledgeable. The event is non-partisan and non-political which makes it easy for people from all vantage points to take part.

To say the training that I got was worth 10x what I paid would be fair. My wife unfortunately could only attend the first day, but the training and special attention she received was priceless – I could never have taught her the basics so well in many months the way the female instructor was able to relate the information to her in that one day.

One last point to consider is that by attending an Appleseed event and either joining the RWVA or another club you are qualified to purchase a rifle from the CMP — and that means shortly I will have my very own M1 Garand shipped directly to my doorstep.

With Regards, – Charles P.