This past weekend was an event I had been planning for my unit for some time. In all, about 20 folks showed up on an open offer to have a fun day at the range. I supplied the ammunition and three of the four rifles. After safety brief and safe handling demonstration, everyone set out to blast away and get comfortable. After a bit of time, I shared the story of Daniel Morgan’s riflemen, and brought out the stack of Appleseed ‘Red Coat’ targets. One by one, people took their turn trying to put shots on target and hit the ‘shingle’ at the end. Only two of the 20 hit the shingle, both with iron sights.
In all, we burned quite a bit of ammo and there were a lot of smiles. For several individuals (particularly the girlfriends/wives of active duty members), this was their first exposure to shooting. Every one of them had a positive experience, and was itching to try again with a different rifle. Surprisingly, the Musket (which I had set up with iron sights and a fixed MOE rifle stock) proved to be a crowd favorite due to its low recoil and extraordinarily smooth shot cycle.
While I did provide some basic instruction on positional shooting, there simply was too few rifles and too many people to get serious about it. That’s a lesson learned, if you’re going to have a crowd, then just let them have fun. Save the “serious” instruction and practice for later.
In all, I call the day a success. That is at least 10 more people who have been shown that shooting is a fun and safe activity when conducted within the bounds of safety rules. Furthermore, every shooter present expressed frustration with the bullet button, and commented how stupid it is that California law mandates it.