August 31, 2011
By Marco Vorobiev
Visiting an Appleseed Project event brought back memories of his own early shooting training in the Soviet Union.
Marco Vorobiev was a member of the elite Soviet Spetsnaz in Afghanistan in the 1980s. He's a U.S. citizen now and conducts training courses that draw on his special forces training. He'll have a new installment every Wednesday.
After taking a look at the past, no one can argue the fact that Soviets placed emphasis on teaching their youth proper rifle techniques early.
It was not that much different in the States. In fact, brought on by the frontier exploration the firearms and ability to use them was a large part of the American everyday life. The late 19th and early 20th centuries reflect a high of popularity for civilian marksmanship.
Exhibitions and traveling shows boosted this popularity and produced many legendary marksmen like Doc Bogardus and Annie Oakley. The individual skill with a rifle was always praised in the USA. So much so, that high schools had a varsity shooting teams. Yes, shooting sport was a part of high school athletics that included girls.
One thing was common among Russian and American shooters back then; they all shot with iron sights and relied on solid shooting basics. Positioning, sight picture, target acquisition, breathingâ€”all those important basic skills that when mastered could make anyone a marksman.
Unfortunately, we as human beings are inherently lazy. To look for a shortcut to achieve our goals is our nature. So many firearms enthusiasts often forget those basic skills, relying rather on modern technological developments. It is impossible now to picture a black gun without some sort of aiming implement. No new rifle purchase is complete without a new red dot or scope.
However, it has been proven over and over again that no implement, regardless the cost, will make anyone a better shooter without basic foundation. So, why not remove the new scope, grab 100 rounds of bulk ammo and head out to the range to revive and to re-hone forgotten shooting basics? I guarantee that after only two or three of these trips, anyone will be a better shot, hitting targets at distance consistently.
And if you were never taught the basics, get on the web, find an Appleseed Project event in your area (www.appleseedinfo.org) and give them a shot. You'll walk away from it not only a better shot, but a better citizen.
Vorobiev will be writing more about the Appleseed Project in an upcoming issue of SGN.
Central High School's (Washington, D.C.) Girl's Shooting Team, 1922: Their rifles
appear to be the Winder Musket version of the Winchester Model 1885.
World War II highlighted the importance of civilian marksmanship training, and
groups like the American Legion and VFW were active in offering smallbore shooting.
Students get instructed on body positioning at an Appleseed Project event in
Dundee, Mich. Vorobiev found the emphasis on marksmanship fundamentals valuable.
An SKS-armed student gets personalized instruction from an Appleseed Project
volunteer. As firing as at 1000 inches, centerfire or rimfire rifles are OK.