Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Appleseed and gun nuts

So, I called in to Caleb and Squeakys blogtalk radio show "Gun Nuts - The Next Generation" last night, to share my experience with the appleseed program.

Now, just so people know where I'm coming from, I've had both military and civilian pistol and rifle training from several shooting classes and schools, from the beginner to the advanced level. I've been to two appleseeds, one taught by Fred himself and one where I didn't shoot (I wasn't feeling well). I shot in one and scored quite well despite injuries and an AR that became a straight pull boltie half way through (bad ammo resulted in a gummed up chamber, a weak extractor, and a gummed up gas tube).

I'm also a qualified instructor myself, and have been in the past a firearms safety, basic handgun shooting, basic firearms ownership and safety, and defensive shooting instructor. I have also developed and delivered individualized firearms instruction.

Outside of formalized firearms education, I've been a shooter for 25 years (since I was a young boy); and as part of my profession, an instructor in physical and information security for over 10 years.

I got a great deal out of my Appleseed experience, but I don't think it's for everyone; and importantly, as it is today, I don't think it's really for beginners, as some seem to promote it as.

You don't need to be an advanced shooter, in fact I think you'll get more out of it if you arent; but I think you need to have some basic shooting skills and experience before you take the appleseed program, so you can make the best use of the lessons you learn there, and so that you learn them in a way that is useful to you.

I think that from a technical standpoint the fundamental marksmanship they teach is good; and presuming the volunteer instructors are good, you should have a good and useful training experience as well as a good time. I also think the political message behind the program is fundamentally good.

Where I think they go wrong, is that they market themselves as good for absolute beginners, and then deliver training that I think is not the best for absolute beginners; as well as load that training with a lot of politics (both intentionally to some degree, and unintentionally by the atmosphere, environment, and participants).

Anyway, listen to the whole show here: