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Old October 9th, 2020, 11:56 AM #71
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Two October Private Events!

We had two private events at AAFG in Annapolis over a couple of perfect fall weather weeks.

First was a great day on the line with the Anne Arundel Fish & Game on October 4th. This was a private event for their junior rifle program kids exclusively. Time to hang up the Anschutz's for a day and learn something new!

6 students on the line, awesome weather, and parent vols as observers. COVID protocols in place and followed.

All students were engaged with the marksmanship training and the history too! We managed to get 2 AQT's in prior to days end, and 1 student made Rifleman. The rest are knocking on the door. I'm confident that they'll be back at future events to continue their journey to Rifleman. A picture album is available on the Maryland Appleseed Facebook page.

We had ANOTHER private event on October 8 (a rare weekday clinic) for the members of the Maryland National Guard! 6 shooters dedicated a Thursday to improving their marksmanship and learning about the day that kicked off the Revolutionary War.

The students showed vast improvement for a one day - we went from only one shooter demonstrating a 300yd plus effective range to 5 out of 6 doing so (including 3 400 yard shooters), with the final shooter in the 200 yard range. We also had one shooter, Chris, clear his first Red Coat target to earn a "Sons of Liberty" patch.

With the dedication of the shooters, we were able to conduct 3 AQTs at a one-day event without losing an instructional quality. From this, TWO Rifleman emerged! Andy requalified several times with a high score in the upper 220s. And Chris qualified multiple times as well in addition to clearing the afternoon Red Coat. His most impressive to me was qualifying despite several cross fired hits on his seated target! Even when removing a bunch of 5s (his buddy at least made good hits), he had still collected enough points to qualify. A Rifleman's persistence paid off!!!!

While we didn't have any other shooters qualify Rifleman, each one showed significant improvement - typically between 40 and 60 points from their first target to the last, with many scores in the 180s and 190s. As we discussed at the end, it is very rare for a shooter to qualify at their first event. We hope that the shooters will come to a future Appleseed (with a friend or two) and continue their road to Rifleman.

Pictures are available at this album on the Maryland Appleseed Facebook Page, with more to be added soon.

We did a hat exchange ceremony for Agent711 and he received three Huzzahs from our students and shoot boss. We greatly appreciate his commitment this year and that was well earned in instruction and line boss duty throughout the day. Liberty Boy did an excellent job in his RSO role as well.

Would like to thank AAFG for being just an amazing host range for us - thank you for the support of our mission. AAFG has hosted Appleseed events every month, year round, for over TEN years. That's buy in and a weekday special event is above and beyond.

Just a couple pics in case you don't go to Facebook.









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Old October 12th, 2020, 11:26 AM #72
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AAR Rimfire KD in Sudlersville, MD - October 11, 2020

Well, we ran out of perfect weather in Maryland, but we had a committed group of 6 shooters and 2 instructors also shooting for part of the event beat the "time monkey" ahead of afternoon rain at our 200 yard Rimfire Known Distance shoot. We got in 3 AQTs before 230pm and then wrapped with history and some 7th stepping before the rain really started coming down. I know it drove the students hard, but it paid off with a lot of rounds down range!

2 students earned their brand new Rimfire KD rockers. Jim W qualified twice and missed distinguished with optics by one measly hit! Sarif K, a former shoot boss, qualified on the last AQT of the day with a 46, only 2 shy of distinguished. Mark, a previous qualifier, fell a few points short each time, mainly due to malfunctions in timed stages. Jeff was in range a few times using his bolt action and pre-shoot calibrated BDC reticle to get to 200 yards but couldn't quite get there.

Sean, Doug, and Shannon each slogged through equipment and zero issues. With the amount drop that needs to be dialed in as well as the basic precision required, every student dealt with mechanical and memory issues under stress. I guarantee that everyone shooter knows more about his equipment after the experience, knows how to prepare for the next event, and is ready to come out and give it another try.

Many thanks to MDShooter for working with the host range to get this event set up on short notice, for helping me with preparation a few weeks ahead of the event, and teaching the components on rimfire bullet drop and wind. Many thanks to CatGravity and BillP_556 for doing some of the introductory briefs and working the line when not shooting. And thank you again to the Delmarva Sportsman Association in Sudlersville, for hosting the event - Huzzah!

Photos are available on the MD Appleseed Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Project-App...4406060313831/

Our October blitz continues next weekend with a 2 day event. That will make 5 events in 3 weeks across MD and WVA!

Pictures of patch winners to follow, but a couple here:



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Old October 14th, 2020, 12:09 PM #73
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Rimfire KD patch ceremonies

Adding a couple pictures of our shooters that earned their brand new Rimfire KD rockers!



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Old October 14th, 2020, 10:08 PM #74
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Appleseed Patriot Pistol Preview

This is posted in the Handgun section of the forum, but thought it couldn't hurt here as well. I know some recent participants asked about it so finally finished a write-up I started in September.

Intro to Appleseed Patriot Pistol
As some of you know, Project Appleseed is rolling out a pistol program to complement its rifle clinics. Known as Patriot Pistol, it is meant to be a foundational course in pistol marksmanship – it has a blend of defensive and slow-fire bullseye concepts without landing on either one. Maybe the best way to think about it – you need to hit your target in either, so let’s start with that!

More broadly, we are hoping to reach more people with our message, teach a skill that is valuable to more people, and get people back that may have mastered rifle marksmanship and want to broaden their skillset.

This program has been in development for several years and is still going through a test and evaluation process. We need to build a cadre of qualified and skilled instructors, iron out any bugs in the material, and define a challenging, yet achievable, Pistol Qualification Test (PQT) for the “Pistoleer” patch (equivalent to the Rifleman qualification on the AQT).

My (Earned) Pistoleer Patch



As part of that process, three Maryland instructors joined the Appleseed crew in Virginia back in August for a Train-the-Trainer event in the Shenandoah Valley area. I won’t focus on the entire course of instruction, but only on the “shooty-bits” since this is a gun review section on a gun owners forum.

Rimfire Handguns
The instructors were “suggested” to bring rimfire pistols to the event, though centerfire was also allowed. Why? A couple reasons:
  1. They are cheaper to run and ammunition is more plentiful (at least in an Appleseed instructor’s basement)
  2. Recoil management is simpler and we have several rapid fire stages
  3. We were tightly packed on the line (we practiced distancing other times) and this was close quarters, “brass in you face from your neighbor” rapid fire shooting (finally found a reason to LOVE masks).
But this is not rimfire-only and folks have qualified with centerfire handguns, including 9mm compact carry pistols. And running rimfire, as we emphasize below, doesn't make you an automatic qualifier. Oh, and there is no .30 (or .38, .40, or .45) caliber rule.

Pre-Course Preparation and Practice
I had ordered some targets from the Appleseed Store and practiced for about a month ahead of the event. Similar to the AQT, the PQT has several stages representing different pistol skills and a similar scoring approach:
  • Stage 1: Rapid Fire and Reload (50 points)
  • Stage 2: Rapid Fire, Left and Right Target Transition, and Reload (50 points)
  • Stage 3: Slow Fire, Left Hand-only (25 points)
  • Stage 4: Slow Fire, Right Hand-only (25 points)
  • Stage 5: Slow Fire, Multiple Targets (doubled to 100 points)
The target line is 7 yards away – seemed awful close compared to a 25m Appleseed. But some of those targets, particularly the scoring areas for 5s which are important for qualifying, are pretty small. This isn't a target where hits in the black are all you need (at least until they make the black area smaller on a future iteration).

I am ok with a pistol. I have been to a couple classes but don’t compete in any events like steel challenge, USPSA, IDPA, etc. Maybe the best way to characterize my skill level is I am as good with a pistol as I was with a rifle before my first Appleseed – I could shoot accurately enough, but not necessarily fast under pressure. In other words, I lacked a well-honed set of skills that were advancing over time.

In practice ahead of the event, I had been in the 194-209 range (210 is qualifying). It was frustrating because I would have a good stage 1 (49) or 5 (45, doubled to 90) and then blow another stage. I could never quite get to 210, but I was within spitting distance if I could put it all together.

The pistols I practiced with were:
  • A Nelson Custom 1911 Conversion on a Sig 1911 frame: I got the Nelson Custom a few years ago and never really felt a lot of love for it. When I wanted to shoot a 1911, I wanted to shoot 45ACP. But, once I figured out the spring tuning and what ammo it liked (high velocity makes it happy), I found it to be very accurate, have a nice trigger, easy to load magazines, a red fiber-optic front sight that was easy to pick-up, and very reliable. Definitely a few quirks I learned about when practicing (the guide rod could come unscrewed and you would lose accuracy – who knew?), but that is part of knowing your pistol.
  • CZ 75 Kadet: I have owned this for many years and it was my primary rimfire pistol for almost all of that time. I even sent away to Tornado Technologies to have the barrel threaded. In contrast with the 1911 conversion, the Kadet lives on one of my CZ 75s nearly all the time. The pistol is highly accurate (more so than the Nelson for me) and as long as it is relatively clean and assembled right (make sure your firing pin is in the right orientation!), very reliable. It does hit a stopping point when dirty, particularly when running suppressed. Negatives are really only that the narrow slide insert is even harder to grip than a normal CZ 75, the magazines are more painful to load, and the sights are a bit harder to pick up than the fiber optic Nelson.

My Rimfire Patriot Pistols and PQT Stages 1-2



Honestly, it was hard to rate one pistol over the other in my hands. My scores were almost exactly the same, though each pistol excelled in different stages. Six of one, half dozen of the other, I chose the Nelson Custom but brought the CZ as a back-up.

The Event
Saturday was focused on instructor development and we started shooting drills Sunday morning to go through each of the skillsets required for the PQT.

We had a large variety of rimfire pistols on the line, particularly as some folks tried different pistols over the course of the event, in addition to the Nelson Custom and Kadet Conversions:
  • Beretta Conversion
  • Browning Buckmark
  • Walther P22
  • S&W M&P 22 Full Size and Compact
  • Ruger Mk III or IV
  • Maybe 1 or 2 others I am not remembering – a few people rotated through different pistols during the event. At least one person used a 9mm M&P toward the end
Nearly all were using iron sights but there were 2 red dots on the line, which are increasingly popular on pistols. More on that later.

I am not going to review all of the pistols but I will provide some lessons learned:
  • I qualified on the first PQT with the Nelson Custom. I had a good Stage 1 and a stellar (for me) Stage 5 which made up for some bad shooting in other Stages. I eeked out a 210 – but it gets the same Pistoleer patch a higher score gets. And then went back to my ways of having good and garbage stages and was back just below 210.
  • The Beretta Conversion was used by a fellow Maryland Appleseed instructor. It was VERY accurate but only had one mag that would function reliably. The other two just wouldn’t work, even after cleaning. Since most of his practice had been dry fire, the shooter didn’t know about the magazine issues till the event when he started running the pistol hard. And reloads were required.
  • He switched over to my CZ Kadet and then scored a 228 and a 229 back-to-back to more than qualify. That guys knows what he is about! He said the pistol ran fine, no malfunctions once he figured out how to run it, and was very accurate. I must have run the wrong gun…
  • Some of the 22 versions of full-size pistols were giving people fits – they were reliable but not particularly accurate. It was hard to tell if it was fundamentals, the pistols being intended as reliable “plinkers” rather than precise pistols, ammunition choices, or something else entirely. No aspersions cast on the pistols or makers – just something to test in practice.
  • The dots really helped some folks. Rather than focusing on the front site and blurring the target and rear sight, with a dot you focus on the target and let your mind keep the dot centered. And with 22s, particularly those with fixed rails where the dot doesn’t move with the slide, reacquiring after so little recoil is very easy in the rapid stages. After not qualifying at a past event, one guy had a very nice Ruger rig with red dot, Tandemkross halo ring, and a few other mods. He also scored in the high 220s. His biggest issue was the safety – where most rimfire pistols don’t allow you to engage the safety when the slide is locked back (and we require it on if it can be on when the pistol is benched), the Ruger does. He sometimes forgot to click it off right away – easily fixed through training and didn’t prevent him from qualifying, but frustrating during a rapid fire stage.
  • Another woman ran a dot on her Buckmark. She didn’t qualify, but her groups were good and the pistol ran great. Other instructors said they were ordering a Buckmark to replace their guns based on how hers ran.
Post-Shoot Next Steps
I was very intrigued by the red dots – I had tried a couple out on centerfire pistols but had not found them to be better – just different. But, as stated above, on a 22LR with a fixed rail, maybe it would change my mind.

PSA was having a sale on Holosun 407A3 so I decided to try one out. Only problem was, I didn’t have a way to mount it to the Nelson Custom or CZ Kadet.

The only pistol I had with a rail was my oldest pistol, a S&W 22S that I had not fired in years – in fact, the slide had been locked closed and it turned out the firing pin was broken due to excessive dry fire by stupid younger self. I ordered some spare parts, watched some YouTube videos on disassembly (which didn’t exist back in the day), and got it running again.

My Rimfire Patriot Pistols and PQT Stages 3-5



I took it out for a practice session with 3 timed PQTs and the dot did not disappoint. My scores jumped to a low of 223 and a high of 228. While I still struggled for consistency in different stages, my Stage 5 scores were 96, 96, and 96.

In fact, my final PQT of the day I only dropped 9 points total across Stages 1, 2, and 5. Unfortunately I dropped a whopping 27 on Stages 3 and 4 for my lowest ever score in those stages. Guess I need to work on my one-hand shooting more.

I did find it harder to find the dot at times when presenting from low ready. But once I found it, it was much easier to maintain a consistent sight picture compared to iron sights. So I have been doing a lot of practice on consistent presentation in my basement.

It isn’t cheating to use a red dot because it is not against the rules, but it feels a little like cheating. I have to say that the S&W 22S was much better than I remembered – super accurate, reliable, and easy to run, apart from its weird mid-grip magazine release.

I have since ordered a rail for my Nelson and a milled Glock slide – both are taking a long time to delivery but I look forward to training more with red dots in the future.

Wrap-up
I am happy I earned my Pistoleer patch and have found the whole Patriot Pistol program to be a fun diversion from my rifle-centric Appleseed clinics to-date. It is a critical and practical skill for home defense. Our hope is that it brings more people to the program. I look forward to trying it with more pistols in the future. The program, course of instruction, and even the targets continue to get some minor tweaks. But we hope to launch if we can get support to do so.

We now have a cadre of Maryland and Northern Virginia instructors and shoot bosses but need to find ranges that will support us for 7 yard shoots. We are willing to move the firing line down range (like we do on the long distance shoots) but in general pistol ranges have been busy. If you know of ranges that will or you are willing to help us get the program going at a range you belong to, please let me know.

MD and VA Patriot Pistol Instructors and Pistoleers



A final observation: the PQT is very much like the AQT – very hard for a beginner, moderately hard for an intermediately skilled person (including people who compete in different pistol disciplines), and challenging for a skilled shooter.

But practice (live and dry fire) of good fundamentals and mastery of certain segments (even if others are lagging a bit) can get you over the hump. I would not expect to qualify the first time out - but you can if you work hard ahead of the event.
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Old October 19th, 2020, 03:22 PM #75
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AAR - Annapolis - October 17-18 2020

We wrapped up our October blitz (correction - we have an event with spots open on October 31) this past weekend with the BEST fall weather we could have hoped for. Maryland Shoot Boss "Why Won" (pictured) was back on the line and did a great job in our mission to save our Nation.

Excellent group of students - a few small groups of families and friends as well as a a few folks that finally got an event after several COVID-related cancellations. And a good mix of ages as well, ranging from 12-58.

But age proved no determinate of skill as one of our youth shooters was (overheard quote) "working that bolt action like Lee Harvey Oswald" and not only cleared his final red coat (after coming oh so close on Saturday afternoon) but also made Rifleman!

Our oldest shooter, who certainly knew what he was about, achieved the same feat of cleaning the final red coat and achieving Rifleman (a couple times actually with good scores in the 220s).

Finally, one of our returning shooters from this past winter put together all of the steps and earned his Rifleman patch with a 210!

The other shooters showed real progress with many topping out in the 180s and just a few cleaner stages away from earning that Rifleman. I know it can be frustrating, but stick with it!

All of the students were very engaged, asked a lot of great questions, and it looks like we will have some new volunteers and instructors in the program. Volunteers are the lifeblood of the Project and we can always use more help bailing the ship!

Thanks again to AAFG for being so supportive of the program - this month's 3 shoots have been above and beyond!

Our final two Annapolis shoots for the year are sold out but there are spots available at our upcoming shoot at Sanners in Lexington Park, MD and AGC in Marriottsville, MD. Please fill those lines! We know ammo is harder to find and more expensive, but what's the point of stockpiling if you aren't building or maintaining proficiency?

Pictures, as always, are available on the Maryland Appleseed Facebook page.

But since pictures are fun, let's see those patch earners!







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Last edited by KYFHO; October 22nd, 2020 at 05:10 PM.
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Old November 9th, 2020, 11:58 AM #76
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Five shooters came out for marksmanship and history a couple weekends ago at Sanners Lake in Lexington Park, MD.

Day 1 featured calm winds, crisp air, and abundant sunshine - a perfect fall day! A mixed crowd of mostly inexperienced shooters, our cadre soaked up the instruction, the lively history, and applied the concepts in their technique.

Day 2 featured torrential rain, wind, and ponding on the field, but all shooters persevered and continued undeterred through the day with high enthusiasm. All shooters showed outstanding improvement over the two days and several were getting very close to the threshold.

One, of the four shooters grasped the moniker "Rifleman" on Day 1, and later during Day 2's inclement weather, the same individual earned "Distinguished."

Despite the poor weather on Day 2, a good time was had by all.

Thanks to our Sanners Lake Sportsman Club for hosting, and to shoot boss Doug and dSB John for instructing!

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Old November 13th, 2020, 11:55 AM #77
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2021 Shoots on Calendar!

We have started adding a Appleseed Clinics to our 2021 calendar - Marriottsville and Annapolis events are up for registration. And we already have our first sold out shoot!!!!

Maryland Appleseed Clinics 2021

We are adding a new type of event this year: a half day "Introduction to Appleseed" clinic. We understand that not everyone has a whole day or weekend to spend on the range, or may want to get a "taste" of our marksmanship and history instruction before jumping in with both feet. We want to broaden our appeal and get more folks out! Perfect for youth shooters and their parents as well that may have other weekend commitments.

The half-day clinic focuses on the prone position and will include all of our standard safety features and nearly all of our core instruction. We will have one session in the morning and one on the afternoon of the same day. You cannot earn Rifleman at those events, but we will have plenty of other clinics for that - in fact, we will have one-day Appleseed clinics the day after the set of half-days.

6 half-day clinics are scheduled right now for AAFG in Annapolis, so they will be rimfire only.

More to be posted later!
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Old November 16th, 2020, 12:53 PM #78
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Annapolis, MD AAR - November 14-15, 2020

We had 8 shooters dedicate their weekend to liberty and marksmanship at our penultimate clinic at AAFG in Annapolis, MD.

While the weather was relatively mild for this time of year, warming up to the mid-50s and sunny on Saturday, it was a VERY blustery and cloudy Sunday. But everyone had layered up appropriately and the wind didn't slow down them down at all.

Tim D kicked us off on Saturday by clearing his Red Coat with a tech sights 10/22 - way to go Tim! With 3 shingles achieved by the students without any instruction, we knew we had a skilled class on our hands. On Saturday we focused on the core instruction, squares targets to zero rifles, the first strike of history, and practice of all of our shooting positions. While no one cleared the Red Coat, 4 shingles were hit.

Sunday kicked off early with some dry fire training with the laser rifle on a squares target. A few folks had expressed that some of the concepts like NPOA were just not sinking in on the line. So we took each shooter through establishing a strong prone position, letting them see the effects of breathing, and doing several tests of their steady hold factors and NPOA:
  • A "recoil" test with an instructor pushing straight back to see where the sights landed afterwards
  • A downward pressure test, to see if their elbow was far enough under the rifle or would lean diagonally
  • Carding the sights - while this is sometimes done on the line with live ammo, we decided to do it with the laser. We let them establish their NPOA, carded the sights with a coveted Rifleman patch, had them go through thie breathing cycle, and checked where the laser landed. Most didn't realize they were involuntarily muscling the rifle till the laser was an inch to the left or right. We then had them adjust body position and do the exercise again. It finally "clicked" for a lot of folks at that moment.
  • Around the squares test - we had them move from the center square to the upper left and right squares using proper NPOA adjustments.
  • One shooter was also struggling with seated and we used the laser rifle for her to see which positions offered the most stability. Cross legged and elbows on the ground won't work for most, but she had the flexibility to pull it off!

These are all things that can be practiced at home. And from the improvement we saw from Saturday to Sunday, I believe all the shooters (and instructors) so how beneficial dry fire practice can be!

After this, we got into the first Red Coat target - 5 shingles hit but several near misses so no one cleared the target. We confirmed zero with 2 more squares and jumped into AQTs.

Armen M (215) qualified on the first AQT. Armen has come close at several Appleseeds but finally broke through to Rifleman - Huzzah! He backed that up with the same exact score later, showing he knows what he is about. Armen's wife Margaret was a first time Appleseeder but hung in the entire weekend and showed real improvement. Her last AQT was her best and we would love to have her back to continue her improvement!

Crystal J (217) also qualified on the first AQT. This was Crystal's first Appleseed but certainly not her first time behind a rifle and her perfectionism showed through. Once she got the rifle properly fitted, she was turning out tiny groups. Crystal's husband, Charles, had been to an Appleseed before but had missed Rifleman by just a couple points. He came back on a mission - but sometimes the pressure to qualify is more a hindrance than a benefit. But on the last AQT he put all 4 stages together and broke through with an excellent 221. While Crystal qualified first, Charles took home the high score for the family. Charles then cleared the final Red Coat as well, working it bottom to top with confidence - its funny how once you break "the Rifleman barrier" it ceases to exist.

Tim D had the high score of the weekend with a 237 using a very nice scoped 10/22 - that one miss on Seated was all that was between him and his first distinguished patch. Next time Tim! But he did clear the final Red Coat as well.

Rex S was running his tech sights 10/22 like a champ all weekend but came up just short on all of his AQTs, scoring consistently in the 190s. Rex talked about bringing out a scoped T-bolt rifle next time - he has what it takes.

Brian M also improved quite a bit with his scoped Marlin 60. His group sizes steadily improved and he was consistently hitting the shingle. He understands it is all about consistency and wants to come back out again.

Ryan J, a previous Rifleman, was trying out a new CMMG conversion AR15 ahead of a 100 yard Rimfire KD in Virginia a few weeks from now. While he didn't qualify this time out, he learned a lot about his rifle and scope combo and is excited to try again at longer distances.

Our final Sunday Red Coat showed what real improvement our shooters had made - we had 4 400 yard qualifiers, 6 hits on the shingle, 2 clears, and everyone qualified to at least 100 yards. I haven't seen this many shingles taken out in one weekend. Daniel Morgan must be smiling upon this class!

I can't thank my fellow volunteer instructors enough for making this a great event. Agent711 has been one of our most active instructors in what has been a difficult year - he handled the three strikes and a good portion of the instruction for the weekend. We really appreciate his hard work. This was FunctionCheck's first shoot as an IIT but you couldn't tell from the way he coached students, demoed positions on Saturday, and confidently ran the line on Sunday. Welcome to the crew!

As we wrapped up, it was clear that this class really got the message of liberty and marksmanship. Every single person asked about future events and several asked about volunteering as instructors. I know I probably say in each of these AARs that this was one of my favorite classes - but honestly, this class really warmed my soul. I drove home with a sense of fulfillment, but also of renewed purpose - these are the Americans we talk about in the three strikes, Americans who are engaged, enthusiastic, and retain a sense of duty and honor. So thank you to everyone who came out - you made your semi-old Shoot Boss proud!

Pictures are available on the Maryland Appleseed Facebook Page

While we have been almost completely sold-out through the end of 2020, we have plenty of spots open in 2021

Hope to see you on the line!

Congrats to our new Rifleman:







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