Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Appleseed Project

Several years ago my Dad was reading about Project Appleseed. He told me they are a group that does marksmanship training around the US. You just take a .22 and they teach you how to shoot it better. After months of discussing this I got the two of us tickets for a class on Father’s Day weekend in 2010. Like many others (I assume) I thought I was already a good shooter and this would be just a recap of things I already learned. NOT TRUE! I was amazed what I learned. After picking up what I could we agreed that we would do it again someday. I believe the best score I shot all weekend was a 180.
About a year later we got signed up for another Appleseed. Dad had been practicing off and on since the year before, easy when the range is your back yard. I was a little less optimistic that I could score the 210+ also know as a Rifleman score. After the first day I was starting to remember things and was working on getting my scores up but it really seemed like I wasn’t doing it right. My scores were worse than a year before. Finally on the start of the second day Dad scored a 221 and got his Rifleman patch. Now the pressure was on. I wasn’t about to leave without mine too.
Again on the second day I struggled. I was completely at a loss for what my problem was. First AQT (Army Qualification Test) I scored a miserable 100. I started thinking trigger control watch the front sight, breathe, etc...But I was only able to raise it to a 130. By this time I had 2 instructors watching me trying to figure out what was going on, they couldn’t see anything obvious, only a few minor adjustments. We break for lunch, by this time I am ready to call it a day and come back next time. But I stick it out and give it one more go. The first AQT of the afternoon I am setting up, and finally I realize that all this time when I thought I was getting my NPOA (natural point of aim) I was just getting close and then using muscles to adjust the sights on target. I caught this by noticing that after a shot that I muscled from left to right the shot would inevitably go back to the left. After a little bit of adjustment I noticed if I got my NPOA, meaning I could just lay there with sights on the target and even with a stiff breeze not move off the target, surprise shots went where I wanted them to. I figured this out towards the beginning of the AQT. After this massive revelation I shot a 206 (just short). The next round was all mine! 211, with a nice 49/50 on the 400yd targets.
I now have to decide if I want to be an instructor in training....hmmm, it is a big commitment.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


This spring I have started yet another new hobby, I am shooting IDPA (International Defensive Pistol Association) shoots. Premise is very simple, stages are setup that mimic a real world like scenario (except people aren’t shooting back). Stages are timed, and scored by accuracy. Time deductions for each hit out side of a vital zone, plus procedural errors for not engaging targets in the proper order, failure to neutralize a target or striking a friendly target.
I have been shooting for fun for several years now. Initially I owned a Glock 34 which is a 5.3” competition style 9x19. After never shooting it in a competition I traded it in for a Beretta 92FS also in 9x19. Finally this year I got a little more involved in shooting sports and have started shooting with 2 different clubs. Linn County IDPA which is an official IDPA club and Wolf Creek IDPA which is a non affiliated club, but they follow the same laws and rules. Both groups have a pretty good following with some outstanding shooters. I have learned quite a bit with the two shoots (1 each) I have been involved with.
In just two shoots I have improved. Finishing 12th of 19 in my first match wasn’t disappointing. I did finish 5 in points deducted (shots out side of the vitals). This was one big bright point, I was one of the more accurate shooters, I just needed to speed up. Speed on some of the tactics used will come with time. One week later I shot with the Linn County group and did much better; finishing 9th of 30 shooters and 4th of 17 in the Stock Service Pistol (SSP) class. I dropped a bit in accuracy but was able to make up time. I figure as I continue to shoot both should improve.
On a side note I did shoot a side mach with the first IDPA event and won. Precision rifle with shots out to 900 yards, timed and scored for accuracy. I was able to strike the 600yd target. I used a 7.62x51 (.308 caliber) FN Herstal FNAR rifle. I could have shot better if I would had a scope zeroed at something more than 100yds. Bullet drop was ~300inches at 1000yds so I had to hold over quite a bit and was well off the mil-dots on the 800 yard and further targets.

I will post more on my competition results. Next match is in Traer with Wolf Creek group 4/9/2011. One stage with 18 steel targets!