Having had several days to digest the class and what was learned, I keep coming back to a good question in comments: Why exactly would an ordinary slob like myself spend a significant amount of time, money, ammo, sweat and pain to learn a fighting discipline that he is highly unlikely to use? I always have my pistol on me, so logically I should be concentrating on that and my meager ground fighting skills. I’m also more likely to grab a shotgun than my AR if trouble comes knocking at home. I don’t foresee myself ever being employed in a position to require rifle skills. And if a person finds himself in a life threatening situation and has the time to equip himself with a carbine and has the elbow room to fully use it, maybe retreat would be the better option.
Still, I think my time and money was spent wisely. If the conditions at hand favor the use of a rifle, then nothing else will do. No other arm legally available to the American citizen offers the power, capacity, range and sheer kick-assability that the military style autoloading carbine does. Sam Colt may have made individual men equal to other individual men, but Gene Stoner, John Garand, Mike Kalashnikov and Dieudonne Saive made a man equal to a whole gang of men.
The portability of pistols and short range shock power of shotguns makes them most useful for defense. The large capacity and power of the rifle make it also suited for defense, but its reach makes it mandatory for offense. Either a pistol or rifle will fend off evil when it comes to visit you, but if you need to go to evil and flush it out to defeat it, then you need a rifle. American law only recognizes reactive self defense as a justification for the use of lethal force, going and seeking out a fight is not legally protected in any way.
But I think it’s a capability that the American citizen should have.
Citizenship goes beyond voting and jury duty and paying taxes. For all of their cornball rhetoric, one thing the Appleseed people get right is recognizing the Western free citizen militia tradition that runs from ancient Greek hoplites to Frankish shock infantry to Colonial Minutemen. While I in no way want to suggest that I am at all equal in contribution to the citizens who wear a uniform to go into harm’s way, I do think of this class and the skills it has given me as my own small commitment to the idea of the well regulated but poorly organized militia.
My pistols and shotguns are for the defense of family and home. My rifle is for my country.