Saturday, June 7, 2014

Project Appleseed - What a Waste!

Project Appleseed is an activity created by the "Revolutionary War Veterans Association" to "teaching every American our shared heritage and history as well as traditional rifle marksmanship skills."   If you pass their shooting test, you're a "Rifleman" and get a patch. If you don't pass, and un-shockingly most people don't pass, they sneeringly call you "Cook".  You don't get a patch for that.

They go on to say "We teach the traditional American marksmanship skills." This is not true. What they teach you is:
  • Basic Gun Safety - Cooper's Four Rules
  • How to win at the Camp Perry National Matches in 1968 - Iron sights, GI sling choking your left arm, and breathing between shots, NO BIPODS, NO SHOOTING RESTS, not even laying your gun across your range bag. 
I have never seen, heard of, or read about any combat situation where you were given five minutes to lay down and get your body angled *just so*, get your sling tightened *just so*, take a couple dry fires, then load 5 rounds and spend 3 minutes shooting them at a target that is a simulated 450 yards away. At the clinic you spend all day trying to hit a 1 inch square target at 25 yards, but only 5 rounds at time.  Basically they want you to shoot an old-fashioned way, the hardest way possible, as if you were a trained soldier, at STUPID distances. And then if you can't do it, they call you a "Cook".

The Minutemen were not drilling for long-distance sniping for points. They were drilling, what was at the time, the latest military techniques. These Appleseed clinics should be more about hitting center-mass at (simulated) 100 to 200 yards maximum. They should be more about popping from behind cover and getting two quick accurate shots off, and retreating. They should be drills about the absolute basics of modern combat; cover versus concealment; fire and movement; etc...  Not 450 yard glory shots. I guess what they really want is a Nation of Carlos Hathcocks.

Additionally, these clinics are about 8-10 hours long, which is about 5-7 hours too long. In order to be a "Rifleman" and not a "Cook" you spend 8-9 hours in the sun, wind, rain, snow, whatever and THEN they want you to make that 450 yard shot.

The clinic I attended had about 15 people. Even if you wanted to learn these super long-range skills, you should be able to get through this class in about 3 hours total. The hard data in a classroom in about an hour, and then spend a couple hours on a range where everybody would be able to get in about 50-100 rounds of practice to dial in the skills while being coached, and then shoot the qualifier. You're done before the sun even gets hot.

As it was, we arrived at 8:30 and had a safety meeting. Then shot a string of 13 rounds. Then they would cover a SMALL portion of long-range shooting shoot 5 rounds.  Then another TINY portion of instruction and then 5 rounds, etc. This cycle repeated several times. What should have been covered in a classroom (and REINFORCED on the line while actually shooting) was doled out in driblets in 95 degree heat with 80% humidity (no shade) while standing on white gravel.  In Texas. In June. Did I mention no fucking shade?  I'm surprised my rifle didn't cook off rounds.

At 1PM I asked if we were almost done, and was told we would stop for lunch, then there were two more sections, and THEN we would be shooting our qualifications. I left. I guess the lunch break is when they give their version of the Revolutionary War. I'm glad I missed having to bite my tongue for 60 minutes. 

Everything they covered (as far as I saw) is available in the Boy Scout manual for the Marksman merit badge, or was when I got mine in the Early Stoned Age. Spend your treasure on practice ammo and range time. Appleseed is a waste of time and money.

Michael "Cook" Hyde

PS: I'm so pissed off I may go get a chef's hat tattoo as a reminder. But I'm exhausted and cranky.

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