Kevin Robinson of the Pensacola News Journal recently discovered Project Appleseed, and sounds almost giddy in his reporting.

On command, the 16 “riflemen-in-training” fell to their stomachs and fired off a volley of shots.

Most of them hit their marks in or just outside of their one square-inch targets, the equivalent of a 400 yard shot. It was impressive marksmanship for a group with about four hours of instruction.

Results come quickly at Project Appleseed events. In the two-day clinics, volunteers from the Revolutionary War Veterans Association give a crash course on the foundations of rifle marksmanship, some little-known history about the origins of the Revolutionary War and some context on the American rifleman’s role in the conflict.

Ken Tomblin — who lead instruction at an Appleseed event Saturday and Sunday at the Escambia River Gun Club in Cantonment — said the skills that participants were learning at the clinic were the same skills that everyday citizens used to win their independence in the 1700s.

“It was farmers and shopkeepers creating a free world, ” Tomblin said. “It wasn’t just white men, it was black men, women, even young kids coming together for a common cause.”

The group at the Appleseed clinic was similarly diverse, including men, women, experienced shooters, novices, members of the armed forces and even a pre-teen.

It sounds to me like Mr. Robinson was sold on the merits of the program which are many.

It never ceases to amaze me how diverse Appleseed events are that I’ve worked, especially in terms of the background of the shooters. The events I’ve worked invariably include families (usually 2-4 of them) of varying sizes and ages, a couple of “hunting buddy” groups, and law enforcement officers and members of the military. Appleseed clinics often seem to attract at least one recruit about to head off to boot camp, and there are a surprising number of heavily-experienced and highly-trained combat veterans who have come to Appleseed to add another kind of shooting to their skill sets.

There are Appleseed events in all 50 states, and if you think it sounds interesting, you can learn more about the program at the Project Appleseed web site.