Appleseed Rifle wrap-up

This entry crossposted at the Gun Nuts Radio Blog under Appleseed Rifle.

Last night’s show on Project Appleseed went very well – we had good callers and good discussion, and the chat room was pretty lively. The chat peaked at about 40 people, and we had a grand total of 143 live listeners, of whom I’m sure everyone was there to hear The Breda anyway. Thanks also to Chris Byrne for calling in, sorry that the BTR panel decided to dump your call, I lost two or three other callers as well that night. Click the flash player below to listen to the show in its entirety, or you can download the .mp3 file here.

To kind of sum up what was said on the show, no one was “down” on Appleseed per se, in fact I came away from the show with a much better opinion of the program than I had going into last night, because after listening to Breda and Chris talk about their Appleseed experience, I was able to better frame the program in my mind and understand the niche into which it falls. In fact, after last night’s show I’d be interested in attending an Appleseed just to see “what’s up”.

However, after the show, I was chatting with Breda and she directed me to the Appleseed forums, where apparently their perception of the show was about 180 degrees off of what I perceived it to be. I tried to register so I could respond to some of their claims, but my registration still hasn’t gone through, so I guess I’ll just have to address their grievances here. If you’d like to read the thread at the Appleseed forums, you can do so here.

The first few things I want to address are from Fred Himself, who I believe is the progenitor of Appleseed. He had a couple of specific beefs about the show:

Another consensus (on the show): Appleseed is not for newbies, even if it was a “basic” program. (There was definitely a hint of “false advertising” hanging in the air.)

No one said “false advertising” but you, Fred. My concern with the program is that from reading the Appleseed website, it seems that program is designed as an outreach for people new to the shooting sports, which I think is awesome. But then I talk to people who have been there, and they say that it doesn’t seem like it would be a good fit for newbies. To me, that creates a mixed message issue which should be addressed at a certain level.

Fred continues:

Summing up, III: They made the common mistake of not putting the program in context – or even understanding the context – and then taking too limited a view of the program, which was pretty obvious. Whereas most instructors think the history is more important than the marksmanship, AS was evaluated solely as a marksmanship program.

Earlier in the post he had noted that we went the duration of the show without mentioning the word “history” or the Revolutionary War one time. He’s correct, and that was an intentional move on my part. I wanted to look at Appleseed specifically for it’s value as a marksmanship program, and not as a history course; the reason being that it’s extremely difficult to put quantitative value on “connecting shooters with their heritage”. The reason for that is some people aren’t going to care about the history, some people are going to dig it, etc. The shooting on the other hand is easy to assign value to – because you can ask any attendee who has been to an Appleseed a few simple questions to assess the value of the training they received. So yes, Appleseed was assessed solely as a marksmanship program.

To the poster hawkhavn, I apologize if your point you made in the chat went unnoticed. The chat is a very freeform mode of discussion, even on quiet nights a lot goes on in there that doesn’t get address on the air.

The last thing I want to address are the criticisms by the forum member Scout, who says the following:

These people sound like yuppies just chatting, nothing about them says anything to me about them having any credentials for having a radio talk show other than they just happen to have one. And where is their work on any kind of 2A program? Geeze, I have never seen more “If it didn’t originate here, it is no good” than these guys on blogs/talks

Well Scout, I am a yuppie. And my only credentials for having a radio show are that I have the drive and initiative to start one. That’s the great thing about the modern age, because if you wanted to start a show about how much I suck, you have everything at your disposal to do so, and are more than welcome to.

After reading over the thread at the Appleseed forum, I was a little disappointed in their reaction – we treated the show fairly on its merits as a marksmanship program. Plus the emails I’m now getting after the show, I get the impression that a lot of the Appleseed guys are digging real hard into my statements to try and find the negatives in them, instead of looking for value.

My bottom line on Appleseed, after the show is that I’d still be interested in attending one. Despite some of the antics of their forum members, I do actually believe that the program has value as a marksmanship program, because that’s the only part I can judge the quantitative merits of fairly. I’ve got a pretty solid rep for fairness, and I’m not going to jeopardize that now – so I’ll make a promise to the Appleseed guys that after the IDPA State Championship, I’ll go to an Appleseed shoot. I’ve got a 10/22 and plenty of bullets for it, and I’m a pretty handy shot already, so I’ll give it a try.


  1. These people sound like yuppies just chatting, nothing about them says anything to me about them having any credentials for having a radio talk show other than they just happen to have one. And where is their work on any kind of 2A program?

    I often say that about active competition shooters who are known on the WWW for their coverage of SHOT and the NRA Convention and have a pro-2A podcast to their name.

    Or at least I would, if I was an idjit.

  2. No no, all that tactical run and gun stuff isn’t really competing because it’s not “marksmanship”. I’m just hosing bullets at a big target close up, that doesn’t count!

  3. I don’t know how many times I said “the basic marksmanship stuff is good”, that the training is good etc… Just that you need to have some experience and context; not be an advanced shooter, just have SOME shooting context; in order to get the most out of it.

    Some people just can’t take anything less than 100% agreement and praise.

  4. *sigh*

    I’m just a lowly Instructor In Training, so I can’t say too much… but I/we would love to have you at an Appleseed.

    I’ll be the first to admit that the Appleseed Way is not the Only Way, but it is One Way.

    $70? For two days of targets and instruction, including time on ranges usually going to 300-400m and beyond? I don’t think this is unreasonable at all – one of the callers mentioned going to Camp Perry for a half day of instruction and range time, but I didn’t catch the price tag on it. *shrug* It’s your money, use it when you want it. (Isn’t that someone’s ad jingle?)

    Some minor corrections: single-point slings aren’t the only sling method taught. Some people (myself included) use single-point because it doesn’t affect the butt and cant of the rifle as much. I use a hasty-hasty on my hunting rifles, because it IS hasty, and makes the off-hand shots at game a heck of a lot easier.

    I’m sorry to hear someone had a run-in with the Black helo crowd – I’ve not met or dealt with any of them at the shoots I’ve been to. In fact, we make a point of NOT pushing politics or agendas – we shoot and teach marksmanship and history, and figure most people will make their own educated decisions after that. Camo? MOLLE/LBEs? Yeah, sometimes. I can’t argue with BDUs as shooting attire – they’re comfortable, non-restrictive, and durable. LBEs are convenient, and it’s what some folks use as range gear. No harm, no foul.

    Run’n’gun is good stuff too – but it’s an entirely different ball of wax from what we’re working on with Appleseed. Run’n’gun is generally close-range, reflex shooting (just ask that poor no-shoot right inside the door at my last IDPA…). Appleseed is choosing to look at long-range marksmanship using the rifles that most people have available. Dad’s old .30-06 hunting rifle, or grand-dad’s .30-30. Yes, the AR platform is the most popular rifle in the US; but at the same time, if you go to any small-town hardware store (that still stocks ammo), you’re going to be able to find a few boxes of .22, .30-30, .270, .30-06, and maybe a few of the magnums… yes, probably some .223/5.56 also, but that’s not where they do their volume… 🙂 Some guy needs an all-purpose hunting rifle, he’s probably not looking at a high-dollar EBR, he’s looking for a bolt-action medium-bore non-magnum, probably with a mid-range scope on it.

    Newbie vs. experienced shooter … that’s a tough call. AS isn’t perfect for a new shooter, but if it gets someone to the range and shooting, and pro-2A, isn’t that “good enough”? AS will never turn a new shooter away, and I think that’s the confusion. If someone walks on to the shoot in New Bremen in two weeks and says, “look, I’ve never shot a gun before, but I’d like to learn and this looks like fun,” I will hand them my own rifle and shooting mat and a box of ammo and get them shooting.

    Steel v. paper: both are useful. Ringing steel means you are making hits, and that’s good. Paper lets you see exactly where your shot is, and that lets you work on your group and technique. A good instructor can look at your group/pattern on paper and tell you what you’re doing wrong – much like Mr. Jarrett and his lasers!

    Steel is a great instant feedback, especially at the longer ranges. We did a mini-Appleseed last weekend here in NY, and I was making solid hits on a 6 (8?) inch popper at 210 lasered yards – using a .22LR and doping my hold over. Rewarding? You bet.

    Anyways, I’m rambling. We do hope to see ya sometime. Take care!

  5. Hm. So they respond to perceived intolerance by responding with their own blatant intolerance. That does not necessarily say anything about their teaching style or efficacy, but it certainly does say something about the type of people who frequent these events, or volunteer at them…

  6. zercool, the Appleseed program needs to hold guys like you up as an extremely positive example of explaining the program to guys like me.

    Thanks for the reply!

  7. At the Appleseed I attended last year we HAD some brand new shooters, that were there both days, even though we got a sprinkle of rain both mornings…

    Those of us without slings (including me) weren’t denigrated, or told we were inadequately prepared, we just weren’t able to practice the with slings. We were still shown how, and told about how useful they are in stabilizing the rifle…

    The mostly concentrated on the principles of marksmanship, breathing and trigger control, focus on the front sight, shooting positions, etc.

    I greatly enjoyed the one I attended.

  8. Caleb, I’m flattered… Not sure what else I can say. Keep up the good work here, please. 🙂

  9. No, Caleb, you never uttered the words ‘false advertising’, but it *was* an obvious undercurrent. Perhaps you addressed that during the first three minutes, which I missed. If so, then I apologize, but the rest of the show had several mentions of Appleseed’s inappropriateness for newbie shooters and mentions of the claim otherwise on the AS webpage.

    Take the criticism for what it’s worth, and move on. You’re relatively new at this webcast stuff, and learning how to get out of the way and let your guests do the speaking will only make you better. I’m not suggesting that you leave your opinions at the door, just that you need to realize how much a host can direct and shape a broadcast, that’s all.

    I did appreciate your reference to my comment regarding sling use on rifles other than AR/AK platforms.

    I kept out of this argument, other than to address your opinion about sling use and training. I expended several thousand words over the Vanderboegh kerfluffle, and this was frankly not really the same thing. Differences in training is less important than when to shoot/not shoot.

    I *will* say, by way of direct criticism, that youse guys need to give a bit of thought about what you blog/webcast about. I am pretty sure, in retrospect, that the LTE that Mike V wrote would not have been noticed by the Bradys had we not made it such an issue amongst ourselves.

    That having been said, I enjoyed the show, as I do every time I listen in. Keep up the good work.

  10. We do give a lot of thought to this stuff, actually – hence why we covered Appleseed. Marksmanship programs are pretty much “direct interest” items for our target demographic. Sure, we probably blew the Vanderbough thing out of proportion, but talking about Appleseed isn’t doing anything other than talking about a training program.

    I guess I could try doing a show about Gabe Suarez or Iggy P. sometime.

  11. On the show Chris Byrne painted the AppleSeed folks as anti-UN and a bit, well, battschitt…
    On the forum there seemed to be some disconnect with what Fred had actually written about it in his “rifleman’s guide”, which is part of the Appleseed “kit”.

    In the spirit of full discolsure – I’ve not shot Appleseed, as I used to shoot 3-position air rifle and didn’t want to part with my $$$, but have read the methodology that you can purchase through M-14 stocks. I’m not necessarily saying I disagree with Fred’s statements or question his patriotism, but it’s a sure bet that you’ll bump up against the 3%-ers.

    Anyway, here are some quotes from Fred’s Guide To Becoming a Rifleman:

    Target Detection Your job as rifleman involves target detection, range estimation, and firing an accurate shot – in that order of difficulty. Hypothesize an attempted UN “move in”:(Page 9, first Column, 5th paragraph)

    Assure our friends are a UN convoy on route to wherever [what do you care where? When you see your natural enemy, it doesn’t matter what he’s doing or where he’s going – you stop him and do your best to take him out!] (Page 17, third Column, 1st paragraph – UN-edited. the Bracket quotes are in the original…)

    Never forget the world-wide consensus of world leaders that small arms should be banned world wide. Think a liberal US president will fight hard on the world stage for your 2nd amendment? I don’t think so. And I don’t think he will look on the UN as an enemy – nope, UN forces will look through his eyes – more like friends, you bet.
    (Page 17, third Col. 7th paragraph)

    There are many more pages dedicated to ideas regarding ambushing an convoy, taking/defense of property, etc…

  12. I should say Less, I don’t think all, or even a majority of the folks associated with Appleseed are batshit insane anti-government conspiracy whackjobs; but there were certainly a fair number of them at the two events I attended.

    I’ll leave Freds views to his own words.

    Also, that’s not to say I don’t share SOME of that sentiment myself… but do we really want that as the first experience a new shooter has with organized shooting and firearms training?

  13. Chris, agreed… Just pointing it out since the Appleseed forum seems to have collective amnesia regarding what Fred, right or wrong, decided to write.

    About beginners – I agree. Let ’em shoot, and let ’em just get their sea legs…

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