2nd Amendment to the Constitution of The United States of America

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

"I ask sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few politicians."
- George Mason (father of the Bill of Rights and The Virginia Declaration of Rights)

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Warrior Song

It is dedicated to every member of the United States Armed Forces, past and present

If you like it, you can buy a copy from iTunes at 99 cents a pop - and any profits derived from such sales will go directly to the Armed Forces Relief Trust.

If you are currently on active duty with the US Armed Forces, send them an e-mail and they'll send you a free copy.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

If the SHTF....what are you taking?

A lot of web pages, blogs and forums deal with the SHTF (Sh!t hits the fan) and TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it) scenarios, I cannot really add much more on this topic than what you can find by doing some Google searches on the subject. I have never really thought of myself as a hardcore (or medium core) survival type, but I am definitely not a sheeple either. I outlined in my article on "Go Bags" and "Bug out bags" that I consider the most likely SHTF scenario for me to be some type of localized emergency that I would have to evacuate my family from central Ohio, while possibly providing armed security to my party in the process.

So with that in mind I decided to have a little experiment. I called a few of my friends and asked them to help out. What I wanted to do was give them a simple SHTF scenario and see exactly what they had available to react to it, take a photo, and post it up here. Hopefully, some of you will do the same and email me your results so I can publish them in another post.

I gave them the following scenario:

You have been following a crisis situation that affects your city of residence in the news for the past few days. You have now found out you must IMMEDIATELY evacuate your home with your family. There are reports of looters and gangs conducting criminal activity on a widespread basis and the police are reactionary, at best, to stop them. You have FIVE minutes to grab whatever weapons and accessories you may need for a few days to safeguard you and your family before you head out the door. What are they?

The conditions:

  • The items must be things that you can grab now and currently own, no "well, I plan on getting one soon" items.
  • They must be taken "as is", so if you have 20 mags for your AR but only 2 are loaded, you take 2 loaded mags and 18 empties.
  • You are limited to one long gun and one sidearm (just to keep it simple).
  • Assume you are the only one in your party armed and you cannot hand off a secondary weapon to a spouse or child (again done for simplicity's sake).
  • Again for simplicity, I am only concerned with 1st and 2nd line gear, leave the rucks packed with a months worth of MRE's out of it for now.
The Standard:

Take 5 (and only 5) minutes to grab your gear and take a picture of it.

The results.

Subject 1. Me

Well, after a bit of deliberation, I chose my AR over my AK as my rifle. This pretty much goes against every written and spoken comment I have made about this issue over the past year. It came down to familiarity and ammo. I have a Smith & Wesson M&P15 fitted with quad rails, a generic foregrip and a 4x12 scope taken from a friends stock Remington 700. In the lowest magnification the scope offers fairly quick target acquisition and helps my aging eyes pick out those fuzzy shapes I sometimes have a hard time identifying. Hidden in the pic, I have the original carry handle with rear iron site mounted on the left side of the fore grip rail as a back up sighting system. I also grabbed my CountyComm EOD bag which has an additional 9 mags for the AR (0nly 3 are currently loaded, the rest would have to be loaded from the boxed rounds in the pic). In the bag (I should have pulled it out) is a full bandoleer of 5.56 (120 rounds) on stripper clips. I also have about 240 rounds of ammo in boxes. Yeah, all of my ammo is the Brown Bear soviet type, its cheap and goes bang. To help counter the inherent mess associated with corrosive primers I also have an Otis cleaning kit, bore snake and rag in the EOD bad to perform maintanance as time allows. Also on the outside of the bag is my Blow out kit (described in an earlier post), Surefire flashlight, shemagh rag, tan aviator gloves and a "sustenance ration" consisting of a couple of cliff bars and small granola snack shrink wrapped in a seal-a-meal pouch. A bottle of water was in the pic also from the bag but fell off the table and I was too lazy at the moment to pick it up. For the pistol I chose my Glock 22 in .40 S&W. As much as I would of loved to pick my P220 in .45, I have more experience shooting the Glock (in steel plate competitions) and have more firepower available with 3 mags in it than I do in 5 mags for the P220. In addition to the 3 mags (45 rounds) carried, I have another 150 rounds of Winchester Ranger ammo (JHP) carried in the bag. I have an Streamlite M3 tactical light in the bag that fits on both the rifle and pistol (I don't know why I didn't pull all of the bag contents out, sorry!) That bag is pretty damn heavy to start. The shemagh can be used as a shoulder pad for the bag. The pistol sits in a Blackhawk Serpa holster on a generic pistol belt/1st line rig along with a aviators survival knife, Nite-Eyez flashilight/pocketknife pouch and a black utility pouch holding a field dressing, some 550 cord and a broken shell extractor for the AR.

Subject 2. "Woody"

An "old Army buddy" of mine, Woody has over 13 years of military experience under his belt, including training in the infantry. His gear consists of a Bushmaster AR with an EOTech sight, an AR chest rig with 8 loaded magazines (nicely equipped with mag pullers), a Para Ordnance P14 1911 .45 on a drop rig attached to the chest harness, a M-9 bayonet, and ammo. He chose the AR over his other rifles due to his current ammo supply and his familiarity with the platform. I am so jealous of his EOTech. The EOTech halo sight is state of the art and quickly helps put rounds on the mark. His choice of the P14 was due to the logic of "it's got 14 rounds of .45 and its a 1911", which I find hard to argue with at any level. The 1911 pattern is a battle proven design over and over. You can see he has a box of 5.56 M193 ball as well as some hollow points to reload the mags for the AR. Obviously Woody's military experience shows in his choice of weapons and gear.

Subject 3. "Kev"

Kev is my newest shooting bud. He's a Navy vet so rifles were something his military training did not emphasize like Woody and I. He also chose his S&W AR15 equipped with quad rails, a fore grip with a palm activated switch for the mounted flashlight, a Magpul stock, and a Vortex Strikefire red dot scope with flip up back up iron sites. Unlike Woody and I, he does not have an AK to choose from. He does own an outstanding specimen of a Russian SKS in 7.62x39 that would be an excellent back up choice if for some reason the AR was unavailable to take. Being the newest and most casual shooter of the 3 of us, he only has 2 30 round and one 1o round mag for the rifle along with about 140 rounds of ammo for it. Probably enough for a 1 or 2 day evacuation drive, but maybe not. His pistol of choice is a Beretta F92 with Inox finish in 9mm. A Very nice pistol. He has 2 mags and about 200 rounds of 9mm ammo to bring. He carries it on a drop leg rig with a retention holster that he can just add to whatever belt he is wearing at the time. He has a canvas protective mask (gas mask) bag to help carry the extra rifle mags on him and a .50 caliber ammo can to put everything else.

OK, so there you have 3 examples of what you might grab if the SHTF popped up on your doorstep today. Actually, I learned a lot about what I need to be doing as I definitely had some holes that I should fill in my contingency plan and "Go bag" contents.

If you would like to take this challenge yourself and send me a pic of your stuff to my email address I will post them in the next week or so in another post. I would really be interested in getting some feedback on this.

Send your pics to me at huey148 at gmail.com (sorry, don't want spam bots to find me!) along with maybe a brief explanation of your choices. Thanks!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ohio House Bill 315 declares Ohio's right to regulate intrastate firearm commerce

This bill, introduced into committee by Representatives Morgan and Martin, simply states that firearms manufactured and sold within Ohio to Ohio citizens are exempt from any federal regulations unless otherwise stated under the bill. This means that if the federal government passed a nationwide ban on the sale of high capacity magazines (like the California's 10 round limit) that any magazine made in Ohio and sold within its borders would be exempt. This is a big step toward incorporating the 2nd Amendment, which has traditionally been held to be a federal right, into application to the states themselves. All items manufactured to be exempt from federal regulation must be stamped "Made in Ohio" for legal identification.

While I think this is a good bill, other than Hi-Point Firearms, I cannot think of any other manufacturers that would benefit from this bill. However, as in the film Field of Dreams..

"If you pass it, they will come".

Please contact your state representatives and let them know this is one we want passed!

The bill can be found HERE.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Columbus Police now have something else to worry about other than criminals...

Police get stun-gun update

What the hell, I thought reading the headline of the article that some legislator that saw too many movies where the cop shot the criminal in the leg or arm to stop him wrote this, but it came from Taser itself for liability reasons, their own apparently. Now my local police officers have to now take the brunt of the responsibility if they taze some drug abusing felon and he has a heart attack and they hit his "no no" area - his chest! I guess nobody from Taser has ever had to engage a charging target with adrenaline running and realize center mass is the easiest, and most natural, thing to aim at and hit. Next thing you know they'll be getting a notice from Smith & Wesson to only use their issued M&P's to "wound only"

Reminds me of something I saw on YouTube "lets get tazy crazy!"

Monday, October 19, 2009

RWVA Humor

Now that I am into the RWVA (Revolutionary War Veterans Association) and Appleseed stuff this is a lot funnier that it would normally be....

What if guns were used properly in movies....hmmm...

Here is the list of alternate endings for movies if firearms had been used early and properly. I apologize if this has been posted before. Add any other movies and alternate endings if you can come up with any. - sarge712

Why You will Never See Proper Gun Usage in Hollywood

A lot of movies would be pretty short when practical, real-world gun usage came into play. Consider the lack of suspense and drama if proper gun usage was depicted in the following movies:

Cujo: "Oh no, I'm trapped in my car by a large, rabid dog. Oh, wait a minute (dig, dig, dig)… there’s my Glock!"

The Birds: "Boy, the air is so thick with birds, you don't even have to aim."

Signs: "Unarmed aliens are trying to kill us? Grab the AK's boys, we're a-going huntin'."

Se7en: "Some psycho is trying to force me to eat until I die. I think I'll shoot him instead."

Fargo: "Oh no, two men have broken into my house and are trying to kidnap me. How will I get their bloodstains out of my carpet???"

Friday the 13th or Halloween: "If I can't actually kill Jasonl, he's going to look pretty darned funny walking around after I blow his head off with a 12 gauge."

Any Zombie Movie: "Well, we're trapped in a house surrounded by flesh eating zombies. Good thing we've got a couple of belt-fed weapons around, isn't it?"

Silence of the Lambs: "Clarice, the man you are looking for is dead. He was shot by his last intended victim. Do you have any fava beans? Thhhpthhpthp"

The Fugitive: "Good thing my wife was able to shoot her one-armed attacker. He was trying to murder her and frame me for it."

Frankenstein: “Dang Hans! The top his head came off just like a lid when you put that bullet between his eyes!”

The Village: “ Hold the round a bit low boys ‘cause its head ain’t in the right place. We’ll show it the color red!”

As you can see, the average Hollywood movie would last less than ten minutes, including seven minutes worth of credits. Showing responsible, real world gun use would not only hurt the anti-gun cause, it would remove the contrived suspense that Hollywood thrives on. Thousands of hypocritical, highly-paid actors, writers and directors would soon be out of business. Depicting the kind of armed self-defense (and the equally taboo self-reliance) would be suicide for a profession that makes a living depicting stupid people doing stupid things.

Hugh Heffner helps wounded warriors!

Say what you will about the man's tastes in "art" but at least Hugh knows a good cause when he sees one. The Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) provides services and support to service members injured and maimed between the time they are still active members and the transition out of the military. They provide everything from advanced occupational therapy, financial aid for struggling members with service related injuries, retreats for the families of injured service members to morale and welfare activities and everything in between. For most severely wounded vets, the time after their injury may be the most scary and traumatizing period of their service. Many go from being in a environment where they are surrounded by many close and trusted friends to being a number on a chart in a hospital somewhere dealing with their injury surrounded by strangers. The WWP seeks to help the member during this time with services that the military may not be able to provide due to financial, manpower and other restrictions. We have a lot of injured vets out there now that would have died in previous conflicts that were saved by modern medical services. Many of their needs are new and unmet, its the WWP goal to ensure that we don't leave a man behind in this battle to care for our own brothers and sisters.

I will give the military this, they are doing a much better job now that in the past in getting service members connected with their families after their injuries. It is not uncommon for the government to fly family members to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (LRMC) in Germany (where troops are flown after treatment in theater) to be with their wounded loved one. They then are provided opportunities to be with their injured service member throughout their convalescence, if practical. If nothing else, to allow a family to be with a dying service member during their last moments is worth the price of the transportation alone.

Back on the subject of the title of this post, Hugh is not only donating the proceeds of the event to the WWP (tickets can go for as high as $15,000) but also inviting 40 injured troops to attend as his guests. That is great, especially if you consider that some of these guys may have self esteem issues after being injured and possibly being disfigured or missing body parts. To be surrounded by beautiful women and treated like rock starts has got to be a great feeling for those guys. I hope that a few females vets are invited too and get to mix it up a bit as well. Just being in the limelight is great therapy for these troops!

I am not trying to make a moral judgment on Hugh or his history, I'll leave it up to each of you to decide that on your own. I just thing any act designed to benefit our troops is worthy of at least some acknowledgment, if not some thanks and praise.

Here's the story from Fox News (you know that non-news news station.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Steel plate match today at the Pickaway County Sportsmen's Club

Great day to go shooting, a little cold and muddy out, but its fall in Ohio so its not like a surprise or anything. It had been a few months since I had gone down there with my friend Eric and his son Chris to shoot so I was afraid I would be a bit rusty. I didn't do too bad. I even hauled Kevin from SuperFrikinAwsome Stuff out with me and he had a blast! He used a Beretta F92 9mm and found out the hard way that the safety on it was detrimental to his times. He fought a good fight and overcame for the most part and I think we have him hooked.

Cold Autumn morning in Ohio, temp in the upper 30's

No I'm not surrendering, you start each run with your hands at least shoulder height.

Kevin having a ball, can't you just see it on his face!

The crew (left to right) Chris, Eric and Kevin.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Damn, thanks George, now I'm a sexist...

...not that Kevin will mind...

OK,a hot girl..given, great concealment! I normally try and keep this type of vid off of here (although I have done one before)as I try and appeal to all of my audience but this is a really good example of how well the a pistol can be hidden on you when worn correctly and in the proper manner.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Don't leave a gun around LaToya Jackson...

..or any Jackson for that matter, this should go without saying..11 rounds don't even hit the paper..

FTC to fine bloggers that endorse products if they fail to diclose their relationship with the manufacturer

Thanks to New Jovian Thunderbolt for the heads up on this one. The FTC is out to fine bloggers for endorsing products that they are paid for. I hope Nutnfancy over at YouTube gets wind of this.

Here is the article.

And here's a little something for any of you FTC folks out there that may be lurking...


Ever wonder what it took to make your AR?

Now thanks to Curtis over Captain of a Crew of One, you don't have to wonder any more!

too cool not to post

Grabbed it from The Firearm Blog. Just watch it.......good music too.

Well, this isn't very good..

I hate to pass judgement without seeing all of the data collected and not just what was presented, but this report/article appearing in the Dispatch this morning does paint a rather dour picture on the state of the gun show. It would appear that gun shows are a haven for criminals and are seething with illegal activity. They aren't. I have been to some and the vast majority of people there are honest, law abiding citizens like most of us. Yes, there will always be a few that try and go around the system, but they are the exception rather than the rule.

I would really have no problem personally with having to go through a NCIS check at a gun show, as a buyer or private seller, since I have nothing to hide. If they make the price reasonable, say $15 a transaction, that could be worked into the negotiated price between the buyer and seller. I agree with Jim Irvine's assessment from Buckeye Firearms Association - we need to make sure we are enforcing our current laws first. These "investigators" have at least one person on camera here selling to them after they announce that they probably wouldn't pass a background check. What happened to the seller? Did they get reported or simply used as a statistic and thrown back on the pile to do the same thing again. I know for a fact that at the last one I attended at the Veteran's Memorial in Columbus, Ohio that there were uniformed Columbus PD officers there that this activity could of been reported to.

After selling a couple of my own firearms in private transactions I will now only sell to currently licensed CCW holders of this state, period. As long as they buyer has that card and an Ohio drivers license, I know that they are an Ohio resident and that they have passed a background check - one more stringent than the NCIS check ran at a gun store. If a person is brought before a judge for any crime that would disqualify them from having a CCW, the card is one of the first things taken after a conviction.

Gun owners of America, let's keep our own business clean before the government steps in and does it for us.

NYC mayor's crusade finds lax gun shows in Ohio
His investigators say guns sold illegally in Columbus

Thursday, October 8, 2009 3:14 AM

Dealers at a gun show in Columbus this summer sold firearms to undercover investigators who were posing as buyers who couldn't pass background checks, according to an investigation of seven U.S. gun shows by New York City leaders.

The report said the July 11-12 gun show at Westland Mall was typical of the seven: private gun sellers didn't halt sales even when prospective buyers said they'd fail a background check, and a licensed dealer let someone else take a background exam for the intended gun owner.

Private sellers aren't required to administer background checks, but they are forbidden by federal law from selling firearms to people they suspect would fail. Background checks are required of licensed dealers. Gun shows typically contain a mix of both types of sellers.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an advocate of stricter gun regulation, hired private investigators to attempt to make purchases at gun shows in Ohio, Tennessee and Nevada.

In addition to the Westland Mall show, Bloomberg's undercover team went to Ohio gun shows in Niles, Sharonville and Trotwood.

Bloomberg thinks people who never could legally purchase guns from stores are walking out of gun shows with weapons often used in crimes. He said he plans to use the results of his study to persuade lawmakers to pass tougher regulations on purchases made at gun shows.

"The gun-show loophole is a deadly serious problem -- and this undercover operation exposes just how pervasive and serious it is," Bloomberg said in a statement.

The National Rifle Association accused Bloomberg of media grandstanding and said there already are laws intended to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, including those who would go to gun shows.

"Anyone who knowingly violates the law will not get an ounce of sympathy from the NRA," spokeswoman Rachel Parsons told The Dispatch. "They should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

At Westland Mall, undercover investigators attempted to buy guns from private sellers -- defined as people who sell guns occasionally and don't have to perform background checks -- six times. The investigators told the sellers that they "probably" couldn't pass a background check. In five of the six cases, the vendor sold the gun anyway, risking a federal charge, according to the New York report.

In the seven gun shows visited by undercover investigators, people were able to buy firearms in 19 of 30 attempts after admitting their backgrounds would preclude a legal sale, the report said.

Investigators also attempted to make a "straw" purchase from a licensed firearms dealer at the same mall show. In that case, a male "customer" discusses and tests the gun with the dealer and then has a female companion take the background check in his place. The dealer allowed the "straw" purchase to happen, the report said.

In 16 of 17 attempted "straw" sales at all seven shows, gun dealers allowed the proxy to take the background check.

The Westland Mall gun show was sponsored by C&E Gun Shows, a Virginia-based company that frequently organizes gun shows in Ohio, including one planned for this weekend in Wilmington and another Westland Mall show at month's end.

C&E Gun Shows did not return calls from The Dispatch. Westland Mall management could not be reached.

State lawmakers have not addressed the issue of easier gun purchases at shows. Attorney General Richard Cordray's office noted that federal, not state, law speaks to the issue.

"Obviously (the report) points out a situation that is problematic," said Rep. Ted Celeste, D-Grandview Heights, whose district includes Westland. "The whole issue of having the background checks is to avoid having the guns get in the wrong hands. The gun-show loophole is real, as this points out."

Gun-rights supporters say there is no need for more laws.

"No one condones gun sellers breaking the law," said Jim Irvine, chairman of the Buckeye Firearms Association. "But the argument that there is a loophole is not correct. If current laws were enforced, there wouldn't be a problem."

Gov. Ted Strickland, who is strongly backed by the NRA, is not calling for a new law.

"The governor believes this is an enforcement issue," Strickland spokeswoman Amanda Wurst said. "The laws on the books should be more tightly enforced."

Dispatch reporter Mark Niquette contributed to this story.

Monday, October 5, 2009

New Series Lock 'N Load coming to Showtime on 10/21

Looks like there is a new series coming to Showtime this month on the 21st called Lock 'N Load that is a reality based show on the experiences of a gun store salesman in Colorado. This angle has been done before by Morgan Spurlock on his 30 Days series when he had a anti-gun activist work in a gun shop, but this seems to be an honest to goodness gun advocate working it. It will be interesting to see how the Hollywood spin on this from the network comes off of it. I am sure that they will show gun buyers as a bunch of yahoos and cowboys, hell just look at some of the trailer. Anyway, this might me enough for me to get Showtime back for a while to watch it.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Appleseed Project Boot Camp review

This past weekend I participated in my first Appleseed boot camp clinic and shoot up in Gibsonberg, Ohio at the Sandusky County Sportsman's Club.

Right about now a lot of you are asking "What the hell is an Appleseed boot camp?"

A few months ago I would of asked the same thing myself. I found the Appleseed Project quite be accident one night while looking up accessories for my Ruger 10/22 rifle that I purchased to try and still get out and shoot while not breaking the bank on ammo. I found a company call Tech-Sights that produces a GI pattern aperture sighting system (like the type used on US service rifles) for the 10/22. Seemed like a good idea as the simple blade sight on the stock Ruger didn't appeal to me. Anyway, went looking for reviews of this sight on the web to make sure it was worth the money (it is) and ended up finding all this talk of these sights being used for these Appleseed shoots and in the making of a "Liberty Training Rifle". Intrigued I searched for the Appleseed Project and all was revealed due to the magic of the web.

In a nutshell, The Appleseed Project is comprised of a group of individuals dedicated to the idea that every American should know about our past history as a nation of rifleman, train in this art and pass it on to future generations. It is run by the Revolutionary War Veterans Association. Of course none of them are actual veterans of THAT war, but they carry on the skills and traditions of the rifleman that enabled a rag tag bunch of colonists to do pretty damn well against the British army. Despite what the internet may tell you, they are not a training program for anti-government militias. Even though they teach the marksmanship and history of our Revolutionary War ancestors, they are about discreet range marksmanship. The things you learn here, while a GREAT building block for other skills, will not enable you to engage in modern combat. Far from sniping at columns of men in red coats walking in order and standing tall, modern combatants need to adhere to the 4 basic tenants of survival: Shoot (which they teach), Move, Communicate and Sustain (which they do not). So all this hot air about anti-government militias can be tossed aside on that account. While there teachings do have a distinctively libertarian and don't-tread-on-me approach, it is up to each attendee to do what they want with the info.

Their clinics consist of a two day clinic, called a "boot camp" in Appleseed lingo, in which you get an oral history of the American rifleman along with hands on training with your rifle designed to enable you to hit targets at "the rifleman's quarter mile" (500 yards). You will learn all of the basics of shooting (the 6 fundementals) as well as different shooting positions and techniques. You will attempt to qualify on their own version of a US Army Alternate "C" course of fire at scaled targets at 25 meters. If you are skilled enough to qualify as a "Rifleman" by obtaining a score of 210 out of a possible 250 points you receive the coveted rifleman's badge as well as the opportunity to return as an instructor later if you qualify.

The Alternate Qualification Target (shown at left) consists of 4 stages shot at targets of decreasing scaled size on the target paper, they are (in order)
  • 10 rounds standing

  • 10 rounds transitioning from a standing to sitting position, including a mag change

  • 10 rounds transitioning from a standing to a prone position, including a mag change
  • 10 rounds prone.
Trust me, those lower 2 rows of silhouettes look TINY from 25 meters!

This is not as easy as the Alt "C" qualifications that I have fired in the Army. In the Army all you have to do is get the round in the black. With the Appleseed AQT, shot placement counts and is scored.

Why Me?

OK, so why would a guy who retired just 19 months ago from 21+ years of military service think he needed to go learn to shoot military rifles with these guys. Well, lets take a look at the following vid:

So as you can see, even the humble shoe shine guy, who specializes in one thing and one thing only can still provide a lesson to somebody who has been doing it "right" for his entire life. I'll be the first to admit it, the Army does not do a great job at teaching marksmanship. When you need to develope a training program and standard that will be applied to tens of thousands of new troops each year and hundreds of thousands of others already in, a few short cuts and allowances have to be made. The Army will teach you how to properly aim and shoot a M16/M4 series weapon to their standard, which is 23 hits on 40 man sized tagets at ranges from 50 to 300 meters. That's about a 58% hit percentage. You would never pass a course in school with that but its fine for defending your life in the Army. Luckily for us, most soldiers exceed this standard by far, but some still struggle even after years of service to achieve a "go" on this important task. My experience has found that there are just those troops that see the rifle as a necessary evil to their "job" in the military and do the bare minimum to get by with it just to stay in. Others, especially those troops who prior civilian lives involved hunting or other shooting related activities, saw the rifle as a tool or extension of themselves and did a much better job at preparing and performing at qualification. Of course there are the one-offs and naturals such as a 18 year female troop from the suburbs who shoots a 40 the first time. But overall in over 20 years that was my experience and impression.

One of the things that the course taught that I was looking forward to was learning on how to use a sling. In the Army for the most part a sling was something used to carry your rifle around. In the days post 9/11 more "tactical" use of the sling has been prevailant, but it is still basically a rope to sling the rifle around with to most troops. I knew, mostly from watching former Marines (want to piss a Marine off, call him an "ex-Marine") use them, from watching others that the sling had a hidden value that I never tapped into. The instructors showed me how to use the sling properly and to great advantage. The 500 meter shot I made (more on that later) was using a rifle with no other supporting equipment than a GI sling and my body.
Do you know what this is? Come to an Appleseed event and you sure will!

The Staff

The staff at this event were very friendly and knowledgeable. They are all volunteers and former students of the course themselves. They receive no payment for their services nor travel reimbursement and in many cases buy training materials and aids at their own expense. Many at this event were from out of state, as far away as Illinois! (we even had one student from there also and another from Wisconsin!) Appleseed advertises that their instructors are required to undergo a more lengthy training period in terms of hours under supervision than either the NRA or CMP programs. They do not point this out to belittle the other programs, just as a point of note.Other than one instructor named "Panama" wearing a BDU top I couldn't tell if any of the other cadre were prior military. Really didn't matter. They were all very knowledgable and up to the task of instructing. They all go by their nicknames on the Appleseed forums so in addition to "Panama" there were other names such as "Slim", "Gopher Boy", "Fuzzy Math", "Dinky Dao", "Poster Boy", "Butt Stock" and others. While some of their methods may have run a bit contrary to my previous instructions they got the point across and were more than willing to work with you one-on-one to get you up to speed. The cadre here in Ohio wear either a Orange or Red cap with RWVA on it, depending on their level of experience, the red being the higher of the two designations. Online I have seen other Appleseeds run in other locations that the instructors apparently wear no such distinguishing garb. I, for one, liked it. It made them easily recognizable as both an instructor and range safety during the event. This is kind of important I think when you are talking about a group of individuals that come together to shoot without knowing each others tendencies or having any other type of connection initially. I cannot over emphasize their willingness to help you and assist in any way possible with the exclusion of actually shooting for you. Their methods and instruction are sound. While I may of been used to the way things ran on a military range, I quickly adapted to some of their methods after I assessed that there were NO major safety issues with their range methods.

"Dinky Dau" (red hat" instructing one of the students. Yes, she is a woman, gentlemen please check your egos upon registration.

"Poster Boy" Mike, a resident of nearby Bowling Green, where I once lived. By far my favorite instructor of the weekend. Want another reason to check your ego, the young (I do mean young!) lady in the orange cap in the background is only 13! She obviously can out shoot me because part of wearing that cap is scoring a 210 on their AQT qualifications, which I did not.

Another example of one-on-one instruction, in this case 2-on-1. Erica came here with her husband and brother (who drove from Wisconsin and brought rifles and ammo to give to them, talk about brotherly love!) and had never shot a rifle before. She started with an AR! While she, like me, did not qualify for the rifleman badge, she did get better and will be back!

The 500 meter Shot
The purpose of Appleseed is to teach shooters how to engage targets at "the rifleman's quarter mile" which is 500 yards. We were lucky enough at this location to actually get to do that on their range. I shot using another shooters Springfield Armory M1A (semi-auto M14) and was able to get consistent hits after adjusting the sights. The proof is in the pudding as they say!
This is the M1A I got to shoot, it is a beautiful weapon to look at and shoot, gotta get one!

The only video I actually had time to shoot during the weekend.

The Location
Appleseed locations are basically wherever they can secure a suitable range. In this case it was the Sandusky County Sportsmens Club in Gibsonberg, Ohio. Great place. Although I did not actually go in, they have an actual clubhouse at the front and several different ranges, including the 25 meter one we used (actually the back end of a Cowboy Action range complete with a Western style town range!) and the 500 meter range we shot at. For the most part we had the range to ourselves the entire weekend. It had camping on site that some people utilized (I stayed at a friends place 1/2 a hour away). Overall it was a nice club. The other big sites in Ohio are Miamisburg and Athens. Be sure to contact the state POC for your area before you attend at a new location to be sure of what they have available.

The Cost
The cost is a very reasonable $70 for a two day clinic, or $35 to come one day to shoot. The two day price includes an Appleseed T-shirt. Now that I have been through one full one, I may go back for a 2nd two day clinic again but then will probably just shoot single days. If you are a female, male under 20 with your parent or a actively serving member of the military the cost is FREE. Whether you pay $70 or zip, local range fees may apply. The SCSC levied a $15 range fee on top of the event cost, payable in cash upon registration.
What Worked for Me nad What to expect/bring type stuff
There are plenty of links and info out there about what to bring and expect. I will post them at the end of the article. Here are a few things that worked for me or recommendations that I will be using myself next time I go.

As far as I am concerned, the Ruger 10/22 or similar .22 LR firearm is ideal for this. Ammo is cheap, recoil is ideal for both novices and more experienced shooter, and at 25 meters the ballistic difference between it and other rounds is a non-issue. My rifle ($189 stock) was modified using a synthetic stock that included sling swivels from Butler Creek ($50), a set of Tech-SIGHTS to give it military style peep sights ($55) and a modified bolt release mechanism to allow me to pull right back on the charging handle and release it (free, instructions on the web). Add a GI Sling ($12) and 3 additional 10 round mags ($13 each) and it was ready to go with a couple of bricks of ammo. If you've been keeping track the total cost was about $345 for a dedicated "Liberty Training Rifle" as it is often called. If you own an AR style rifle you can buy a .22 LR adapter and extra mags for under $200. At the time I started down this path I had yet to own an AR, otherwise I may have gone that route.

Any rifle will do as long as you can work it and know its operation inside and out. Coming back on Sunday during the first drill I was embarrassed because I could not cock my rifle. While everyone else was getting ready to shoot I was stripping it on the spot only to find out I installed the ejector incorrectly the night before, DOH! There were quite a few 10/22's there, as well as AR's, a few AK's, a FAL, a couple of bolt action rifles and even a Daewoo!

Be sure to bring maintenance supplies for it, break free and a bore snake and rag as a bare essentials minimum!

GI sling
Just buy one, you'll be glad you spent the $12 at the Appleseed Store. After getting used to using it you'll be hard pressed to figure out how you went so long without it. Walking around with a green strap of cotton dangling down you arm all day is cool.

Shooting Mat or Pad
Something I wish I had brought. Being "Army tough" I thought I could just make due with laying on the ground, not so. There were so many shell casings on the ground by the end of each day I was covered in welts from laying on them. The Appleseed website recommends bringing a carpet, all I brought was a cheap plastic painters groundcloth (which actually worked well as a shelter for my gear during the brief rainstorm we had). I borrowed an instructors Midway USA shooting mat (which just happend to be on sale for $24.99 now!) and it made a world of difference while I had it. Ordered one as soon as I got home.

A folding bag chair
A good idea, even if I did not use mine much. We had a pretty good range and did not have to wait to get onto the line. At other locations you may have to take turns firing, a chair would be great to have then. As it was, it was a convenient place to lay items while in the ready area.

My plastic box
JACKPOT!! I finally had an idea I don't think anyone has documented about these shoots. I bought a rather generic, tan plastic storage box and used it to keep all of my stuff in. Not only did it provide a convenient way to transport stuff to and from the truck, it also provided a small table to reload mags on and also kept anything inside dry during the rain. I am bringing one of those cheap luggage carts next time to wheel in around instead of carrying it to make it even more of a winning idea.

A cooler and drinks/food
I failed here, I brought a cooler with drinks but no food. I thought I had read that they would have a lunch to buy but never saw it. Had to go into town to get Subway on Saturday, not convenient. Didn't eat on Sunday. Bring some simple sandwiches or snacks, granola bars, fruit or whatever else you might want to much on. You have ample time to eat while on the line so you can snack throughout the day.

A tent or awning

A couple of folks brought those portable shelter awnings with them to set up under. We had fairly cool and cloudy weather both days, but had the sun beat down they would of been great to be under. Just PLEASE don't be like the folks on the far end of the line and bring Wolverine style gear around me!

Uof M...PLEASE!!!

I intitally thought about wearing some BDU/ACE or other "tacticool" type clothing to this but then thought about how militant it would seem and wore jeans. They worked but over the course of the weekend they got dirtier and dirtier and retained sweat and grime. I may wear BDU type pants next time as they are lighter and breath better as well as allow a better range of motion for sitting and kneeling positions.As far as your top goes, I used a plain t-shirt and elbow pads. A cheap shooting jacket or BDU style top with reinforced elbows would not be out of place here either.

Its hard to tell from the photo, but my pants are filthy and feel gross by this point.

I think I got this right, I came in expecting nothing from myself and trying to take everything as it was and not let my prior military background get in the way. I knew what they were teaching was different from what I had gotten from Uncle Sam and I was right. I also was ready for the uescapable "wanna be" types in a crowd like this and just enjoyed myself with those people with whom I could connect with there.

Physical Readiness
Massive FAIL here for me! I was not in shape for this. I am over weight and do not have the same muscle strength, flexibility or stamina I had while I was younger. Not only was breathing control harder, I was really sore in my legs and back both days from some of the repetitive up and down scenarios and well as supporting myself in the sling for so many hours. I am going to start exercising and stretching before I go back so it is not as burdensome next time.

One thing I had not counted on was my eyesight. Sure I knew it was getting worse (hell, I even had to change to shooting rifle lefty during my last mobilization due to my eye dominance shifting) but not that bad. With iron sights the smallest of the targets just looked like fuzzy smudges in the distance. I asked about using a scope as I saw some others use and was told after 40 there were no shame points assigned for using one. Off to the gun shop...

Well, that's about it for now. I will definitely be posting about this more in the future. In the meantime feel free to ask my any questions concerning my experience and take a look at the links below for more information. I hope to see some of you at a future shoot!

Penn & Teller on the 2nd Amendment

I posted this in its entirety before, but this is an abridged version. Short and too the point. I am sure Penn and I disagree on many points, but he is dead on as far as this goes....sorry for the language at the end..

I want one!!

Thanks to The Firearm Blog for this one!

Almost had to use these today

Had an encounter with a member of the urban underground today. I got off my usual interstate route to work due to traffic today and went to work via an alternate route that took me partially through a portion of what is know as "the campus area" in Columbus. It was not actually part of THE Ohio State University but it was adjacent to it and is largely inhabited by students and student oriented businesses. Anyway, being a cold and rainy day I stopped by a gas station to get a cup of their burnt, strong but hot coffee. After killing off the taste with ample sweetener and creamer, I headed back to my truck which was parked around the corner.

On my way out tot he truck, I was approached by a individual who asked me for some money. I politely answered no and continued to my vehicle. The individual in question then proceeded to follow me to my vehicle to the end of the parking area and continued to pry me for money. I again told him I did not have any (and I wasn't lying, I actually had no cash, I paid for the coffee from quarters and dimes in my ash tray). Next thing I knew he was beside my truck with me as I was trying to get into the door. For whatever reason my spidey sense tingled a bit. Here I was with this guy out of view of most onlookers - if there were actually any - due to the size of my truck and I was channeled in between my truck and another vehicle beside me. To my rear I had an avenue of escape as to the best of my knowledge there was nothing behind me. For some reason I chose otherwise, against what I would normally preach. I dropped my coffee (damn) quickly retrieved my chem spray from my pocket (for some reason I did not carry today, I had a pistol in the truck, but it was locked in the lock box)and brought it up in front of me to where it was not directly pointed at his face, but about halfway up his body. I could have brought it up and sprayed in less than a second. I told him something to the effect "look, I've tried to be polite until now, I don't have any money, go away!" in a very firm but controlled tone of voice. For me that's saying a lot since I am one of those types that the fight-or-flight response seems to kick into high gear quickly. He quickly and turned an ran around the corner back in front of the store. I don't know if he thought I had a gun pointed at him or not, but I definitely had an effect on him. It probably didn't hurt that I am 6 foot and over 240 pounds. When I puff my chest out it can be daunting to some people I am sure.

Realizing that the best course of action now would be to retire from the field of battle I quickly jumped into the truck and got out of there. The first thing I thought was "gee, I wonder if he went to get a friend". After getting out of there I re-evaluated the situation in my head.

  • For some reason I got into a "safe zone" mentally that day, maybe the familiarity of the drive, the weather making me concentrate into getting back into the warm truck or whatever. For some reason I did not anticipate the threat until it was already on me. I further made an error by stopping in a section of town I was not totally familiar with. Sure, I used to frequent the area YEARS ago, but places change and so do the people in them.
  • Not carrying in this case was probably a good thing, as I think the odds of this guy actually wanting to mug or rob me were pretty slim looking back. He was probably just cold or hungry and wanted something to eat or to buy some booze or whatever else he may of been addicted to. Either way, producing a gun may not of been the best course of action and actually elevated the confrontation. At lease if I did have to of had sprayed him in 15 - 20 minutes he would of been more or less fine. If I shot a bum, well, what would of happened then?
  • One thing I thought about was that I have often thought, and possibly even commented on this blog about, the fallacy of drawing a weapon as a deterrent, the "warning shot" defense so to speak. If I drew that canister it should only of been to use it. Not only did I escalate the confrontation but I also tipped my hat to my possible future actions. What if he had been armed? He could of taken this threat and responded by drawing a knife or firearm and then what do I have to counter with?
  • I should of just walked to the back of my truck and left the area. The vehicle was secured, he wasn't going to get in. I did not have to escalate the situation by taking a stand. Maybe somewhere in my mind I thought that he might have a friend back behind the truck waiting for me. I don't know. I never did check and didn't turn around when he started running to see if anyone else was back there.

Despite all of these doubtful thoughts I thought about the rest of the way in, I do not regret taking a stand for myself. I refuse to let myself be ruled by fear of the harsher aspects of living in proximity to one of the largest cities in Ohio. Sure, if I got a "do over" in this situation I might choose to act differently. But in the end both I and the other party got out of it unharmed and to what I would feel would be a legally justified application of force by myself since I did feel physically threatened at the time by an unwelcome advancing party.

Do you think I acted properly? I am not above receiving criticism if it is constructive so let it fly. James R., if you read this I would be especially interested in your comments.