Community

The gun world is substantial.  It stretches across every country in some way, shape, or form, and encompasses millions of gun owners.  Within that there are multiple communities, and even smaller communities within them made up of individuals.

Oftentimes we go out into the gun world alone, sometimes bumping into those smaller communities of like-minded individuals.  With any luck, we stick to those communities and become better because of it.

Sometimes the communities will band together during events.  People and groups with different backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences come together to share with one another and build something… more.

That’s what Rx Range Day does.

The Day

Rx Range Day is a one day event that is hosted by Achilles Heel Tactical.  It takes place once a quarter, with the goal of having it in a new location within the US each time.  The day is a long one, and lasts from sun-up to sundown.  Attendees are able to mingle about freely, check out sponsor booths, participate in mini contests set up by the sponsors, and see what everyone has to offer.  It’s been awesome seeing folks from Safariland, Wilder Tactical, Vortex Optics, Leupold, Monsoon Tactical, Howitzer Clothing, and many others showing massive support for the event and community.  And then it rolls right into the attendees breaking off into groups to train with instructors that best fit their wants and needs for the remainder of the day and evening.

Steel City Ammo has been fortunate enough to help support AHT with RxRD for the past few events and been able to be at two of them.  The experience has been… significant.

RxRD isn’t a sales or trade show though. We don’t go to RxRD with the express purpose of making sales and seeing how much profit we can me.  Actually, we don’t go into it expecting to make a profit, since that’s not the point of the event.  We, and the sponsors who support the show, see it as a chance to build a bigger community, to share knowledge, and make everyone better as shooters and individuals at the end of the day.

That’s the mission.  To strengthen the community.

The instructors are the main effort behind that mission.  They’re the ones that directly impact the perception of the gun world with their knowledge, expertise, and philosophies.  They help shape the way the world operates, whether it’s through generalized best practices, techniques, safety, doctrine, or mindset.

The instructors carry out the mission.

Everyone else is in support of the main effort.  We provide the ammunition and accessories that help the instructors and attendees with accomplishing that mission.  As do many of the other sponsors, whether it’s physical goods, services, or a mix of both.

And we take pride in being able to support that.

So what was it like to actually be at the event?  It was… awesome.

Rick’s intro brief

The day starts with a safety brief and a quick word from Rick, the lead instructor and founder of Achilles Heel Tactical.  Afterwards everyone is cut loose to mingle freely, going from bay to bay, booth to booth, talking to the sponsors, instructors, and other attendees.  Each bay had a mini event within it, with a contest and prize.  We shared a booth with Bullcreek Strategic and helped them with the contest in our bay.  They set up the course of fire, and we helped provide the prize to the best shooter (instructors excluded).

The awesome thing about the sponsor portion of the day is that everyone gets a chance to jump in and have fun.   It’s the perfect chance to hop in with the attendees and shoot with them. Or offer them a chance to try out something that you brought, and vice versa.  Or sit back and watch, see what everyone else does and how they do it, or just relax and enjoy being around others who are like minded.  I personally got to join in with the contests, just for fun.  I’ll outright admit that I was nowhere near the top like some of the other attendees, but I don’t think I was terrible once the coffee kicked in and the rust was shaken off.  It was also great getting input from the instructors on what I could improve on, which has already made a difference.

Derek from Bullcreek Strategic demonstrating a drill

There’s a short break where everyone got together again to cheer on the winners, everyone refilled their mags, topped off on snacks and drinks, and then went off to their training groups under their respective instructors.  The training portion of the day is entirely for the attendees.  I’ve had the good fortune of being invited to join in with the training during the last RxRD, which is something that I never would have imagined happening.  I wouldn’t consider that the norm, and was shocked and honored to be invited. The knowledge gained from even a portion of the training was significant, and it’s adjusted how I do things during practice and professionally.

Classes last all day and into the evening.  It’s a lot of information to take in, and it wasn’t uncommon to see students pulling out notepads to write down quick notes to circle back to later when there’s a lull or to remember for when they went back home.  Others had their phones out to record discussions and demonstrations, sometimes asking for an instructor to cover a point a little more for clarification or a different angle.

Class introductions

It wasn’t just academic discussions though.  I have yet to see a single instructor at any event that AHT hosts that doesn’t demonstrate the skills, mechanics, and drills that they’re teaching.  Every one of them showed a degree of competency that would be expected from a consummate professional.  And it shows with their philosophies, mindsets, and manners as well.  Highly professional, still down to earth, giving different angles and perspectives to the lessons, and highly attentive.  I watched instructors let students experiment, try the lessons, find their failure points, and then step in to offer input and fine tune what they did. A casual tap on the shoulder after a drill, a few questions, a few recommendations, a thumbs up, and then back at it with knowledge exchanged.  And it was amazing to see ego completely set aside and growth occurring so quickly.

AHT instructors competing against each other at the end of training

The day ended with everyone giving after actions points during a debrief for the entire group.  Some had more to say than others, but everyone was given the opportunity to speak their minds.  Things that they found the most helpful, things that may or may not apply to them, what went well, what could have been done better, etc.  And the instructors took notes and listened.  High level folks, who would be able to run circles around most folks, listened, took notes, and were thankful for the input.

And at the end, we took one last group photo together, shook hands, made sure we had exchanged contact info, and started to part ways.  Those who could stayed behind to make sure teardown was complete and everything was cleaned up.  I would say the façade faded, except there was none.  Everyone was exactly how they were throughout the day all the way to the end.  Good people, helping one another out.

What a Day

It was one hell of a day.

For us, it was a solid 20 hours of being on the go from start to finish.  As exhausted as we were at the end, we were still thankful to be part of it.  We got to be part of something that strengthened our community.  We got to help folks with having one of the best days that they’ve ever had.  We got to be there for the  laughs, goofs, and badass moments.

And we look forward to the next one.

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