I completed my fourth Minuteman Rifle Course with John Murphy this past weekend, and I can report that the experience remains top-notch. The location is new, but there were no other material changes, except of course a slight price hike.
I used the Smith &Wesson M&P-15T with the Aimpoint H-1 Micro, and a variety of ammo– IDF surplus, some green-tip, some old Federal XM193 and some Mexican Aguila that I just bought, all fed from some basic C-Products magazines. No big problems. That Aimpoint is a damn good piece of gear. One of the other students used an FN SCAR (which seemed to malfunction a lot), but otherwise all of the others used various ARs; one, the husband of a couple whom I had met a previous Murphy-fest, used a 6.8mm AR. He shot very well, by the way, and so did she.
John elected to move the rifle classes to a new range just across the line in West Virginia (the pistol courses still go near Culpeper), which is a bit larger and offers some more possibilities, as well as some spectacular mountain scenery. The base range is 100 yards, but clever use of terrain expands it to near 300. We shot mostly at 50, but reached out to 150 to shoot some steel targets at the end of the second day. Steel is always fun to shoot– instant feedback, and a satisfying way to end a course.
The course followed the tried and true Murphy formula: we began Day One with the safety lecture, then some discussion of what the zero is, illustrated nicely by this video. Next was zeroing (to include the get-stuck-in-your-head “If You’re Happy With Your Zero, Clap Your Hands” song), and then we progressed to shooting strings from the 50 and 25 at six-inch bulls-eyes to practice the basic positions.
Day Two saw zero confirmation, more drills with magazine changes, lateral movement, turning and shooting, shooting while advancing, and finally a little test, a sort of a qualification. Total round count was about 550-600– enough to test your gear and force you to work at ammo management, without breaking the bank. Another enduring feature was the running John Murphy sound and light show, that volatile mix of gross insult, teaching points, sarcasm and solid instruction that keeps us coming back. The course wouldn’t be the same without it.
If I could, I’d take a Murphy course once every thee or four months, alternating handgun and rifle. Until I can, I’ll be happy to do it once or twice a year. I reiterate– FPF Training is Gunsite-quality instruction at a fraction of the price. For those in Northern Virginia, it’s an unbeatable deal. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED; take advantage of it!