TacCon 2019 part 1

The 2019 Rangemaster Tactical Conference was held at the Nolatac Training Facility in New Orleans, March 15-17. I’ve been a part of this conference every year since the early 2000’s, presenting training at 17 of the past 21 events. This is part one of a series of posts summarizing the sessions I attended and observed, and my experiences shooting the match.

History of the National Tactical Invitational

Each year after the conference is over, the Rangemaster staff survey the attendees to get recommendations for trainers and sessions they would like to see in the next year’s event. “History of the NTI” was one of my recommendations. The National Tactical Invitational (NTI) was not a widely publicized event, but the influence it had on those that attended, and the innovative ideas that were tested and developed there, are an important part of the story of evolution of defensive handgun training. Many elements of the Rangemaster Tactical Conference were inspired by the NTI, and most that were part of the NTI consider the Rangemaster event to be carrying on the NTI’s legacy.

The session was presented by Skip Gochenour, who was the event organizer for most of its 20 year history.

During the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, IPSC/USPSA competition was in peak “equipment race”. The single stack .45 ACP 1911’s and leather holsters used at the start of the 1980s were replaced by higher capacity .38 super pistols, with compensators and red dot sights, drawn from plastic competition holsters unsuitable for practical concealed carry use. Many that had shot IPSC matches for their value as defensive pistol training drifted away from the sport. Also during the 1980s, many defensive pistol schools were established. Some schools had close ties to the Gunsite/Cooper/IPSC community, others did not and taught curriculum that was rooted in pre-Gunsite law enforcement training, or techniques that the instructors had developed themselves.

In 1991, the first NTI was held. One of its goals was to run scenarios to test the training (and trainers) of the defensive pistol academies. The event was truly an “invitational”: those that wanted to attend had to submit a resume listing their credentials and training history. As a result, the event was not widely advertised beyond the alumni contact lists of the schools and trainers that were invited by the event organizers.

The event was not a competition in the traditional sense. It was presented as a training exercise, where each practitioner’s skills were evaluated both with a score and by team members who looked at more difficult to quantify elements such as tactics and awareness and communication. Score cards were detailed, and most scores were not posted. In some years a top 5 list was identified, but the intent was not to create another shooting sport.

The match was a “shoot what you carry” event. Each person was inspected before each stage to ensure that they had the same gear they had declared on their card.

The live fire stages were different from IPSC/USPSA events. 3D reactive targets were used. The event was run as a “hot” range (all guns were always loaded), and some stages required engaging targets that appeared behind the shooter as they moved through a building set into a 360 degree berm. Stage descriptions were not posted in advance, shooters were not allowed to see the stages before shooting them.

The NTI team developed several variations on reactive 3D targets that could be engaged from any angle.

In 1998 several articles were written about that year’s event – by Lyn Bates for Women and Guns magazine, and John Farnam for his alumni newsletter.

The most unique element of the NTI was called the “Village”. The NTI team were pioneers in incorporating force on force scenarios into the event. This evolved into a 60-90 minute session each practitioner would spend in the Village, interacting with roleplayers performing mundane daily tasks. Many of these assignments resulted in no drama, no drawing of guns, no criminal attacks…just like real life. The way to win in the Village was to use awareness, movement, tactics and communication to avoid any use of force situations…just like real life. If a use of force incident occurred, the Sheriff (Vicki Farnam) was called, and the event treated like a real incident would be.

Participants were evaluated using a complex form.

Tom wrote about his experiences in the 2009 NTI in Concealed Carry magazine.

The key to the success of the NTI was a team of up to 50 people who met multiple days a week, and one Saturday each month, as a study group. This group invested the time and effort to develop innovative targets, build complex stages, become skilled role players and evaluators.

The last NTI was in 2011 – the 20th year. Running a event of that scale for 20 years was a significant accomplishment, particularly given the complexity of the live fire stages and the Village. Skip’s closing slide summarized what 20 years of the NTI taught the team. (VCA = Violent Criminal Actor, MFG = Master Firing Grip)

When the Rangemaster conference began, the live fire stages were modeled on the NTI format: surprise/secret stages using 3D reactive targets that had to fall to score. I enjoyed that format, as it provided a test unavailable at any other event. When the event was run at facilities with indoor ranges, it was possible to restrict access to the range area and prevent attendees from seeing the stages in advance. Over the past decade, the match format has changed to be a more traditional test of marksmanship – still challenging, but in a different way. In the early years of the Rangemaster Conference, I ran force on force scenarios involving multiple participants. In recent years Craig Douglas has carried on that tradition – from the Village to my scenarios to his Experiential Learning Lab sessions. The force on force/live action scenario component is one way the Rangemaster Conference carries on the work began with the NTI.

John Murphy FPF Training Vehicle Environment Skills class AAR

KR Training hosted John Murphy of FPF Training in October 2018. John taught their Two Person Tactics course and their Vehicle Environment Skills course.

John teaching the two person tactics course.

The Vehicle Environment Skills course illustrates manners and methods by which we can be deselected, deter or, if necessary, prevail in a criminal encounter in and around our cars. Students will engage in both “dry” and “live” fire exercises and engage in scenario based work around their own vehicles. For this session KR Training obtained a junked vehicle that could be shot from, at and through, to be used for the live fire part of the course.

Classroom lecture from the Vehicle class
Vehicle anatomy
Red gun work around vehicles
Live fire warm up on the FPF target
Getting ready to shoot through the car windshield
View this post on Instagram

Video from John Murphy vehicle class Feb 2019

A post shared by KR Training (@krtraining) on

Civilian Carry Radio podcast

I was the guest on Civilian Carry Radio last night (March 20, 2019) with guest hosts Lee Weems and Ashton Ray. We discussed the material in the new Strategies and Standards for Defensive Handgun Training book, the red dot study, the recent TacCon 2019 event, and much more. Thanks to CCR for having me on! I’ve been invited to be a guest host for next week’s show.

The episode is available for download here:

iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/civilian-carry-radio/id1210878001?mt=2

iHeartRadio – https://www.iheart.com/podcast/civilian-carry-radio-28995297/

Spotify – https://open.spotify.com/show/55VySRGWnPEzNI8rmYORVm

Google Play Music – https://play.google.com/music/listen#/ps/Ijjc7cqvv7lo2zk4pccj4davpxi

Stitcher – https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/gun-guy-radio/civilian-carry-radio

TuneIN – https://tunein.com/radio/Civilian-Carry-Radio-p1103239/

PodBean – https://www.podbean.com/podcast-detail/perpm-512c5/Civilian-Carry-Radio-Podcast

On Speaker – https://www.spreaker.com/show/civilian-carry-radio

Player FM – https://player.fm/series/civilian-carry-radio

Strategies and Standards for Defensive Handgun Training book

The new book from KR Training instructors Karl Rehn and John Daub is now available in e-book and print format.

Strategies and Standards for Defensive Handgun Training” is available from Amazon, on Kindle and in paperback. Signed print copies are also available from KR Training.

Click here to Preview and Purchase at Amazon.

“Strategies and Standards for Defensive Handgun Training” contains expanded and updated material from essays, blog posts, and presentations Karl and John have produced over the past 5 years. This publication organizes the older material, combines it with new content, and presents it as a comprehensive guide to developing strategies and standards for instructors and all individuals interested in handgun training.

Section 1, Beyond the One Percent, expands Karl’s analysis and thoughts on the challenge of motivating more than 1% of carry permit holders to train beyond their state’s minimum requirements.

Section 2, Minimum Competency for Defensive Pistol, shares John’s updated analysis and thoughts on what minimum standards should be. What skills are essential? What level of performance is a realistic acceptable minimum? Why testing and measurement of skills matters.

Section 3, Drills, includes guidance in how to calculate the relative difficulty level of any handgun drill, comparisons and analysis of many well known standard courses of fire, discussion of the development of the Three Seconds or Less test and KRT-2 target, and a recommended list of 10 drills as a progression of performance level and skill development any shooter or trainer could use to define standards for every level of handgun proficiency.

About the Authors: Karl Rehn is the lead instructor & owner of KR Training. His credentials include more than 2500 hours of coursework from more than 60 different trainers over the past 30 years. His certifications include USPSA Grand Master, IDPA Master, NRA Training Counselor, Texas LTC and School Safety instructor, Massad Ayoob Group Deadly Force Instructor and Rangemaster Advanced Instructor.

John Daub is senior assistant instructor for KR Training. His credentials include more than 700 hours of training in firearms, empty hand martial arts and combatives, medical, tactics and other self-defense topics. He is certified as an instructor by NRA, Rangemaster, Massad Ayoob, Cornered Cat, and KR Training.

Click here to Preview and Purchase “Strategies and Standards for Defensive Handgun Training”at Amazon.

Defensive Pistol Skills 3 pictures

Some pictures from the February 2019 session of Defensive Pistol Skills 3‘s section on shooting from sitting and crouched positions, and individual pics of the coin earners getting their coins. We have another session of the DPS-3 course scheduled for April 20, 2019.

The course is intended as final class in our Defensive Pistol Skills Program sequence. To pass the course requires shooting 90% or better on our Three Seconds or Less shooting test.

Showing the signs students see while scanning, to identify another target to shoot
Shooting through mid-height port from a crouch
More work from the mid-height port
Drawing and shooting while seated.
Seated to standing draw.
Drawing from a seated position, shooting through mid-height port
Shooting from seated through mid port

KR Training February 2019 Newsletter

Welcome to the KR Training February 2019 newsletter!

Many March classes are already sold out. We’ve added more classes to our April schedule. Don’t miss the opportunity to sign up now for any classes on the schedule. Check the schedule page on the KR Training website for the full list of upcoming classes.

February was even busier than January. We had classes every weekend including a visit from John Murphy of FPF Training (Virginia) and an M&P gunsmith class taught by Hank Fleming. I have lots of pics and video from those courses but have been busy working multiple big projects related to events in the next few months. I’m teaching at the Rangemaster Tactical Conference in March, and multiple KR Training team members are teaching at the A Girl and A Gun National Conference in April. We’ll have more about those events and more information about the projects in development in next month’s newsletter.

11 New Coin Holders

During the February 9th Defensive Pistol Skills 3 and Personal Tactics Skills classes, 11 students completed requirements for the Defensive Pistol Skills program challenge coin. Several more students will be earning coins during March classes. Congratulations to everyone!


Beyond the Basics / Long Gun Skill Builder – March 23

Space is still available in March 23rd Handgunning Beyond the Basics (BTB) and Long Gun Skill Builder classes. BTB is NOT a ‘basics’ class. It is a mandatory course in the Defensive Pistol Skills program, teaching how to increase speed and accuracy. The material in BTB is NOT covered anywhere else in our program. It’s suitable for graduates of Basic Pistol 2 and up, and particularly useful to those trying to push their skills past the DPS-3 level and/or those shooting matches and wanting to improve their scores.

Long Gun Skill Builder is 2 hours of drills with your rifle or pistol caliber carbine. It’s scheduled back to back with BTB so you can get 2 hours of long gun training in along with the 4-hour pistol class. Sign up for both classes March 23rd, pay in full in advance and save $20 ($140 for combo).

Basic Pistol 1 & 2 Ladies – March 30

On March 30 Tracy Thronburg and Becky Dolgener will teach small group ladies-only sessions of Basic Pistol 1 and Basic Pistol 2. This is the same material taught in our regular classes, just taught by ladies to ladies. This is a special event so I encourage everyone to share this opportunity with ladies that would prefer a ladies-only course. We have scheduled both classes back to back on the same day and we encourage students to attend both.

April classes added

April 6 (Saturday) – Defensive Pistol Skills 2
April 14 (Sunday) – Dynamic First Aid
April 20 (Saturday) – Defensive Pistol Skills 3
April 26 (Friday) – Defensive Shotgun w/ Tom Givens (loaner shotguns available)
April 27 & 28 (Sat/Sun) – Intensive Pistol Skills w/ Tom Givens (his level 2 pistol class)

More info available on the KR Training website.

If you’ve taken DPS-2 or higher classes, Tom Givens’ Intensive Pistol Skills will push you to the next level. It’s not a repeat of DPS-level material. It may be several years before we host this particular course in his program again. If you haven’t trained with Tom but you’ve heard us talk about him, this is an excellent opportunity to train with him.


You can also follow KR Training on Facebook or Twitter to see our favorite blog content from other authors as we post it. Due to a very heavy schedule this month, Blog-O-Rama is on hiatus. Want to see articles we’ve shared? Follow KR Training on Facebook where we post the links when they are fresh and current.

We look forward to training you!
Karl, Penny and the KR Training team

If you aren’t already a subscriber to receive this newsletter each month, you can subscribe here or follow this blog. You can also , Twitter, Instagram, or subscribe to this blog for more frequent posts and information.

Glock 48 – initial impressions

After several weeks of waiting for my preferred distributor to get Glock 48’s in stock, I started calling all the major distributors until I found one that had some G48’s available. Ordered two. One to leave in factory original condition, and one to modify as a possible new carry gun.

Historically I have favored the S&W M&P guns over the Glocks. The standard Glock frame is just a little too big for my hands. I have a gen 3 G19 that a gunsmith did a grip reduction on, and while it’s seen a lot of use as a class loaner, it never was as comfortable to me as the regular M&P frame with small grip insert, or the M&P Shield.

I found myself carrying the M&P Shield a lot more often than the full size M&P over the past several months. I had spent quite a bit of time working with the Shield in the past, adding a Silencerco threaded barrel and a Taylor Freelance Glock sight block w/ Dawson Precision front sight, to extend the sight radius to roughly 4″. I also put a Crimson Trace laser on it.

Shield w/ silencerco barrel and Taylor Freelance sight block

And I experimented with different magazine base pads and insert kits, finding several solutions to make the Shield into a practical 9+1 carry gun, documented in this older blog post. Most recently, I put the flat faced Apex trigger in the Shield, which improved the trigger feel quite a bit.

I started running a wide variety of drills with the modded Shield, not comparing it against “small gun” standards but against what I could do with the full size M&P. One drill I used a lot was the “modified Cooper Cup” as documented by Ed Head in a 2018 Shooting Illustrated article. This drill was also a “historical” drill going back to the Cooper era at Gunsite. It included multiple reloads and 25 yard shooting. Despite putting in a lot of work, I kept coming back to two key limitations:

  1. It’s hard to do reloads quickly when you can’t get all 4 fingers of your shooting hand on the grip frame of the pistol.
  2. The Shield, with its 3″ barrel, just would not group better than 5″ at 25 yards from benchrest with any ammo I put in it. By comparison, the full size 1.0 M&P was consistent 2-3″ groups at 25 yards with the same ammo from the bench.

Enter the Glock 48

I’m a fanatic about gun fit because I’ve seen how much it matters to ease of operation, the way the gun “points”, and shooting with speed and accuracy generally. Rubbing the middle section of the trigger finger against the frame, (a.k.a. frame-dragging), can contribute to shots going left for right handed shooters. This article by Tom Givens explains the issue in detail. The problem, for people with shorter fingers, is that there are very few single stack options that aren’t either $1000+ 1911’s or guns with chopped frames and 3″ barrels. I learned recently that Springfield dropped the 4″ XD-S from their product line. The problem is that untrained/undertrained gun buyers are overly obsessed with finding the smallest carry gun possible, with no regard to how some of those compromises affect performance.

In reality, a gun with a chopped frame, that comes with a magazine with a pinky ledge, ends up being the same length as a gun with a 4-finger frame and a flush mag is. The difference is ease of handling when it’s time to reload the gun under any time pressure. So despite the fact that barrel length, for a gun carried IWB, really doesn’t affect concealability, but does affect shot to shot recovery time, bullet velocity and accuracy, buyers (and the dealers that have to choose which models to carry), don’t seem to want a single stack striker fired carry gun with a frame long enough to grip with all your fingers, with a 4″ barrel. So in a world full of duty sized high capacity guns, and chopped frame 3″ barrel micro guns, the 4″ single stack has not been available — even though many industry types have been saying that “single stack Glock 19 is the most requested variant that Glock hasn’t made yet”.

When the 43X and 48 were announced, many bloggers and commenters revealed their own ignorance of the value of longer frames and longer barrels, as they questioned the reasoning behind the introduction of both models. It’s the perspective you get when you (a) don’t train a lot of people with smaller hands (b) don’t understand gun fit and therefore don’t even notice the number of people that would benefit from a single stack frame, and (c) don’t include timed reloads, or reloads at all, in any shooting done to write a gun review.

The G48 seems to be a great fit for my hand. I can get on the trigger with no frame-dragging. I can run the mag release without shifting the gun in my grip. No extended mag release needed. If I want to, I can close the slide from slide lock by pushing down on the slide lock lever, making my slide lock reloads a little quicker than the power stroke technique. It feels slimmer than the Shield, even flatter feeling than a single stack 1911.

Configuring my Glock 48

It’s a given that the Glock factory sights have to be replaced. I was curious about the new F8 sights introduced by XS. I have not been a fan of their Big Dot product, but the F8s specifically included design features I think are useful: good light on both sides of the front sight, sharp ledge to facilitate one handed gun manipulation, high contrast/color on the front sight, black solid rear…with the added bonus of vertical tritium dots (not horizontal 3-dots). I got a set of the F8s and put them on my new G48.

Rough idea of what the F8 sight picture looks like.

Apex announced that their flat faced gen 3 Glock trigger was compatible with the G48. Liking the Apex trigger on my Shield, I went ahead and put that part in my Glock 48. (Note – to remove the Glock 48 trigger face from the trigger bar requires damaging the factory trigger face itself, since the pin is a one-way pin and the only way to get it out is to punch through the housing.)

Glock 48 w/ Apex trigger

Shooting the Glock 48

I figured out that the Glock 48 would fit in a Comp-Tac CTAC IWB holster made for a G19, if I removed the rubber washers that prevented the holster shell from closing flat. And I found that the G48 mags fit just fine in mag carriers made for full size M&P mags, if the screws holding the shells closed were tightened down a little extra to compress the rubber washers. So by raiding my boxes of class loaner gear, and robbing the other 2 mags from Glock 48 #2’s box, I had a full carry and practice rig: holster, mag pouches, and 4 mags.

I shot a few rounds as a quick check at 15 yards to make sure I had gotten the rear sight left-right position correct, went back into the shop, made a small adjustment, checked it again, said “good enough to try” and started running drills.

The first drill I ran was the 2019 FBI qualification course of fire, as shared recently by Tom Givens to Rangemaster alumni. Tom taught at the FBI academy last year. He’s been using the FBI qual course in his classes for quite some time, and his opinions on what could be changed to improve the qual were shared with FBI staff.


QIT silhouette, scored 2 points per hit

3 yards Draw and fire 3 rds strong hand only, switch hands and fire 3 rds support hand only, all in 6 seconds

5 yards Draw and fire 3 rds in 3 seconds
From the Ready, fire 3 rds in 2 seconds
From the Ready, fire 6 rds in 4 seconds

7 yards Draw and fire 5 rds in 5 seconds
From the Ready, fire 4 rounds, conduct an empty gun reload, and fire 4 more rds, all in 8 seconds
From the Ready, fire 5 rounds in 4 seconds

15 yards Draw and fire 3 rds in 6 seconds
From the Ready, fire 3 rds in 5 seconds

25 yards Draw and fire 4 rds from Standing, drop to a Kneeling Position and fire 4 more rds from Kneeling, all in 20 seconds.

50 rounds total 100 points possible 90 or above for instructors

Awhile back I made myself a stencil that had the QIT bottle as a cutout, so I could convert USPSA/IDPA targets to practice QIT’s easily. The 1980’s version of the target included a lower area of the bottle (marked “OLD” in the pic). The current target does not include that lower section as an acceptable hit area.

Glock 48 on the 2019 FBI qual course

Prior to running the live fire test I had done maybe 20 dry fire shots with the G48. I did not expect to clean the course, with almost all the shots staying the inner small box.

Cooper Cup

Next up, Ed Head’s modified Cooper Cup drill. It included more reloads than the FBI qual did, and the scoring area of the Gunsite target is smaller. I had not been able to shoot a perfect score on the drill with my Shield, even after all the mods and multiple attempts. First run with the G48 was 220/225, with one round dropped low at 25 yards. I made the mistake of checking my target at 15 yards before I moved back to 25 to finish, and what was on my mind was “all you need is 4 good shots and you can clean the course finally!”. Thinking about outcomes instead of the process never helps and the proof is there with that one bad shot. However — I was very pleased with the results.

Zeroing and Group Size

Now with 100 rounds or so through the gun, time to really check out how the F8 sights worked for 25 yard shooting, and what kind of mechanical accuracy I could get out of the gun. My first attempt, using Blazer 124 gr JRN ammo, was decent, but I knew I did not shoot as well as I could. I had some Freedom Munitions 124 gr JRN reman ammo on hand, and shot a test group with it, to get a measure on what I thought would be the “low end” of potential accuracy. I ended up with a 6 shot group that was under 3″ at 25 yards, with the center of the group 1.5″ above the spot on the target where the tip of the front sight had been. While that’s not a statistically valid number of trials, it was a good result that indicates even though the F8 sights were originally made using G43 (shorter barrel) geometry, they are good to go. 1-2″ high at 25 yards usually equates to “right on” at 10 yards, which is certainly what I had observed in the drills. And the 3″ group size surpassed any group I’ve shot with the Shield – not just my gun with the aftermarket barrel, but several other samples of that gun I’ve shot benchrest groups with over the past few years.

More to Come

My plan is to run the G48 as much as I can between now and the Rangemaster Tactical Conference coming up in mid-March, including running the F8 sights in low light during the low light class I’m teaching March 2. Unless I break the gun or encounter some other problem with it, I will likely be using that gun in the match and as my daily carry gun at the Conference.

KR Training January 2019 Newsletter

Welcome to the KR Training January 2019 newsletter! 

February classes are filling up quickly, and we’ve just added many classes to our March-June schedule! Don’t miss the opportunity to sign up now for any classes on the schedule. Check the schedule page on the KR Training website for the full list of upcoming classes.

January has been a very busy month, with the 2 day Preparedness weekend, basic classes and a License to Carry course, and 2 days of training with Hock Hochheim.

Active Shooter Course Jan 26-27

Still to come in January is another session of the state-certified Active Shooter/School Safety class. Students can attend for 1/2 day, 1 day or the full 2 day course to get the state certification. Teachers attend for half price, school administrators, principals and school board members attend FREE.

On Sunday, Immersive Training Solutions will bring their video simulator out and all students in the course will get to run an active shooter scenario.


Basic Pistol 2 & Defensive Pistol 1 Feb 2

On February 2, John Daub will teach Basic Pistol 2 and Defensive Pistol Skills 1 while I’m off working the Scholastic Action Shooting regional match in College Station.

Defensive Pistol Skills 3 & Personal Tactics Skills – Feb 9

On Saturday, Feb 9, I’m teaching Defensive Pistol Skills 3, and Personal Tactics Skills (2 slots left in each course as of 1/23/2019). These two courses are part of our Defensive Pistol Skills coin program, and most of the students attending one or both courses will be completing the program and earning their coins that day.

M&P Gunsmithing Class with Hank Fleming Feb 10

Hank Fleming, who is an S&W armorer and full time gunsmith, will teach a special class on maintaining and upgrading M&P pistols on Sunday Feb 10 from 10-5. It will cover all the M&P variants (full size, compact, Shield, 1.0, 2.0, etc.). Class will be hands-on, with each student disassembling his/her gun, inspecting each part, learning what each part does, installing any aftermarket parts or new sights (BYO parts!), putting the guns back together and test-firing them on the range.

If there is enough interest we’ll offer this again, and/or do AR-15, 1911 and/or Glock classes later this year.


John Murphy of FPF Training hosted me back in October, for my Advanced and Historical Handgun courses, and he’s visiting KR Training in February. He’ll be offering two unique classes: Two Person Team Tactics on Saturday, and Vehicle Environment Skills on Sunday.

You don’t need a partner to sign up for the team tactics course. Students will work with many different partners during the course. The vehicle class will include live fire drills in and around a junked vehicle that we’ll be able to shoot into and out of.

John’s an excellent national level trainer. Here’s a sample of teaching style. It’s part 1 of a series of youTube videos he did about concealed carry.


On Saturday, February 23 I’ll be offering the one day version of my Historical Handgun class. 1/2 day lecture only and 1/2 day range only slots are also available. That course was featured in the current issue of American Handgunner, and will be featured on the January 30th episode of Shooting Gallery on the Outdoor Channel. Historical Handgun is a fun class where you can shoot up to 4 different handgun types, using vintage techniques on classic courses of fire, and learn all about the important people, incidents, books, and other inflection points in the history of handgunning.

March and Beyond

We have so much going on there’s not room to include it all.

March 2 is our biannual triple-class day: Defensive Pistol Skills 2, AT-2 Scenarios and Low Light Shooting 1. Get 4 hours of live fire, 4 hours of scenarios and 3 hours of low light shooting all in one session. March’s session will include Immersive Training Solutions bringing their video simulator out for both the AT-2 and Low Light Shooting classes.

March also brings more sessions of Basic Pistol 2, Defensive Pistol Skills 1, Handgun Beyond Basics, and Long Gun Skill Builder.

Tracy Thronburg and Becky Dolgener will offer Ladies-only sessions of Basic Pistol 1 and Basic Pistol 2 on March 30th.

I’m teaching at the Rangemaster Tactical Conference in March, and multiple KR Training team members are teaching at the A Girl and a Gun national conference in April. Tom Givens is coming to teach a 1 day shotgun class, 2 days of pistol training, and a 2 day instructor conference in late April/early May.

And looking ahead to June, something big. We are partnering with Lone Star Medics to do a Medicine-X Alumni Event. 1.5 days of scenarios and training integrating firearms, tactics and medical skills, taught by 4 trainers: Karl Rehn (KR Training), Caleb Causey (Lone Star Medics), Dr. Sherman House and Eli Miller. We are also hosting a free DHS course taught by TEEX on the Thursday and Friday prior to the Medicine X event. The TEEX course teaches search and rescue skills for community volunteers.

The Med-X Alumni event is open to anyone that has any prior medical training, from any school.

Registration in the TEEX course and the Medicine-X Alumni Event are now open.


We have partnered with Point Blank CHL to offer a “blended” solution to Texas License to Carry training. That means students will take the 4 hour classroom training from Point Blank using their online course. Students registering with KR Training for the online course will get a one-time use discount code for the online class.  

Then, the range part of the LTC training can be completed by attending any of the handgun classes we offer, and shooting the LTC qualification test either during or after the class.

Some of our staff trainers will continue to offer the full in-person LTC course, and both the full and range-only LTC training will be available from Karl as private weekday training by appointment


You can also follow KR Training on Facebook or Twitter to see our favorite blog content from other authors as we post it. Here’s a list of what we’ve shared recently:


Here’s a list of what’s new on the KR Training blog:


Registration is open for all classes on the KR Training schedule. Weekday private lessons are still available on a limited basis.

Thank you for sending your friends and family to train with us. Your referrals keep our classes full and help us continue to offer in-demand classes that specifically address the needs of responsible armed citizens. Remember, now you can train with even more purpose through the KR Training Defensive Pistol Skills Program. Start working to earn your coin now.

We look forward to training you!
Karl, Penny and the KR Training team

If you aren’t already a subscriber to receive this newsletter each month, you can subscribe here or follow this blog. You can also follow KR Training on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or subscribe to this blog for more frequent posts and information.

Hock Hockheim January 2019 class AAR

On January 19 and 20, 2019, KR Training hosted Hock Hockheim, a Texas-based trainer that has taught all over the world over the past several decades.

Hock’s best known within the martial arts training community. He’s written many books and produced many videos, not just instructional materials, but also personal memoirs of his time as a military policeman and time spent as a detective in Texas, and a few books of fiction set at the turn of the 19th century.

He’s also one of the trainers that started offering truly integrated courses back in the 1990’s. He calls his program Hand, Stick, Knife, Gun. What he brought to KR Training was a 14 hour overview of that curriculum in a seminar format.

Day one included his version of the “mindset” lecture common in many defensive and use of force classes. His program uses the phrase “Force Necessary” as the guiding principle. The goal is to make students proficient in all the options so they can apply them appropriately, whether the situation is restraining an angry friend or relative or defending against an armed attacker intent on killing you.

Learning the arm bar

We spent some time learning arm bars in response to a variety of attacks, with discussion about what you can do after you get the arm bar. Day one also included a lot of knife and counter-knife material.

I was too busy training most of day 1 to take many pictures. That’s an indicator the class was fast paced and kept the students involved all the time.

Day two added in the stick and the gun, but mostly focused on adding gun skills, since the majority of students attending were more likely to have a gun or a small knife with them than a stick.

Discussing knife characteristics

Hock uses rubber band guns for a lot of the gun work. That may seem like a silly idea, but the ones he had allowed the user to fire 2-3 shots from a retention or body index (no sights) position. They can be used in any building without concern about damage to walls, furniture or people, and provide a little more realism than a non-firing ‘red gun’ or even a laser gun like the SIRT, since projectiles were actually flying. For the sort of close range work we were doing in class, they worked very well.

Ground skills were also integrated, as just about any drill could go to the ground. We got out my blue mats and put them to good use.

Sprinkled throughout the course were stories and anecdotes that tied back to the material we were learning. Hock’s a very entertaining speaker and writer. At the end of class I purchased several of his books, some to read for fun, one (Fighting Words) to read and review as part of my Historical Handgun program.

Like many courses we offer, there’s a one day and two day option. We had more people attending on Saturday (when I wasn’t taking pictures) than on Sunday.

The content of the course fit very well with the material we teach and what is taught by other trainers that I host and Hock’s material, because it can be done indoors, is “weather proof”. Look for another visit from Hock to KR Training in January 2020.

2018 Year in Review

Here’s a quick summary of 2018, which was an amazing year in many ways.

Great People

Before I get into the numbers I want to say “thank you” to everyone I interacted with: my KR Training assistants, course and conference hosts, students in classes, blog readers, podcasters and broadcasters, bandmates, venue owners that booked me to perform, audiences, and of course, friends, family and (most importantly!) my wife Penny who has been incredibly supportive of all the different projects and activities I dived into in the last 12 months. The people are what made it all so much fun.

KR Training

2018 was a huge year for KR Training. Between group classes and private lessons taught at the A-Zone, classes on the road and running training at national conferences, I taught more than 1000 people, spending more than 140 days on a podium or on a shooting range. I presented at 3 national conferences (Rangemaster conferences in March (Arkansas) and July (Oregon), and the A Girl and a Gun conference in April), and taught road classes as far away as Virginia and as close as San Antonio, Conroe and Beaumont. Subscribers and page views of this blog increased, despite my sporadic pace in writing articles for it. This year’s improvements the A-Zone facility included purchase of many more mobile walls and props for the shoothouse bay and additional carpeting for the main bay firing line area. During the summer, I also ran 8 USPSA matches under the banner of the Chicken Ranch USPSA club, and officially took over full ownership of that club’s identity as the club founders chose to discontinue running matches at the La Grange location. I also hosted a special event sponsored by CoolFire and Walther where participants got to evaluate and handle Walther pistols and CoolFire kits.

Historical Handgun Project

Work continues on the Historical Handgun project, with the highlight being the invitation to be on an episode of the Outdoor Channel’s Shooting Gallery show. I traveled to Colorado in September 2018 for the session, and the episode is scheduled to air January 28th. I read dozens of books, wrote reviews of some of them for this blog, have a dozen reviews in the queue to be written, presented the material at conferences, and taught the range portion of the course a few times. During my Virginia training trip, I spent a day at the NRA Museum doing research on books and guns, and later in 2018 I was able to correspond with several experts on the FBI shooting program, the history of fast draw competitions, and holster evolution. (Some of that content is also in the queue for future blog posts.)

Personal Firearms Training & Matches

I used to track my practice sessions and training goals in more detail than I do now. The main goal I’ve been working on for the past 5 years (or 30, depending on how you count), is to earn Grand Master rankings in USPSA. It took about 25 years to get the first one (in Production division), and since then I’ve chosen one division per spring-summer cycle to dig into, specifically focusing my practice on USPSA classifier stages. This is doing what those that are serious competitors call becoming a “paper” GM, in that I’ve basically retired from shooting major matches and just shoot club matches a few months each year. I do it because it gives me a short term goal and the excuse to get proficient with a variety of handguns. In the past few years I took on Carry Optics (slide mounted red dot), Limited and Limited 10 divisions (iron sights, single action style semiauto). This year’s project was supposed to be Single Stack division, going back to where I started running a steel framed single stack 1911 in .45 ACP. Despite my efforts I was not able to hit the scores I needed using a .45 ACP pistol shooting Major, or a 9mm 1911 shooting minor. But JP-sponsored Pistol Caliber Carbine (PCC) Grand Master Cory K, who won most of the matches we ran at the A-Zone this summer, kept handing me his PCC gun and saying “just the shoot the classifier stage with this….” and I ended up finishing up the summer earning a Grand Master rating in Pistol Caliber Carbine.

The other big accomplishment of my shooting year was a 4th place finish at the Northwest Rangemaster Tactical Conference, keeping my streak of strong finishes in the shooting match part of those events going for another year.

I also found time to attend about 130 hours of classes in 2018, including sessions at the Paul Martin Preparedness Conference, two Rangemaster Conferences, A Girl and a Gun conference, and sitting in on some classes I hosted. The biggest chunk of training, though, was completing the NRA’s Practical Pistol Coach certification course (24 hours), the Massad Ayoob Group’s Deadly Force Instructor course (50 hours), and the Texas Bar Association’s continuing education class (12 hours).


The other half of my bifurcated career is performing music: as a solo act, in duos and trios, and with multiple bands. In 2018 I played 142 gigs, mostly as a solo act on Tuesdays at Luigi’s and Fridays at Paolo’s, with a 4 night-a-week, 7 week run in November and December with Doc Tictok and the Mistletoe Medicine Show at Santa’s Wonderland, where we played multiple 5 hour shows to thousands of people during an amazing Christmas week.

I also performed with Midnight Express, Johnny D and the Genotones, the Brazos Valley All Star Band, Terry and the T-Birds and The Klone of Rock and Roll (Elvis tribute show), and was featured on a segment on local TV news in Bryan. I found time to record tracks for a new demo EP and the Doc Tictok band recorded our final week of shows to multitrack audio with multiple video cameras – so I have lots of material to edit down and release in 2019.


After Penny’s father passed away, her mother decided to move away from her home located adjacent to the A-Zone. We purchased “the Manheim house” (as we call it) in 2018 –  expanding the KR Training footprint a bit in Lee County.  I can now add “property manager” to my list of part-time jobs, as I handle maintenance and upkeep on our house in Bryan as well as everything in Manheim.

I got serious about weight loss in August, and stayed on a calorie limited keto diet until the last 2 weeks of December, dropping 30 pounds, getting down to 175 (before gaining a few pounds back with holiday eating). Still, between weight loss efforts in 2017 and 2018 I’m down a total of 50 pounds from where I was in 2016, back down to where I was in my early 30’s.

Penny and I took her mother for a week’s vacation in Washington DC in April, to see the cherry blossoms and museums. Penny and I made a quick vacation trip to central Colorado for our 20th wedding anniversary and my birthday, and I joined her in Vancouver for a few days’ vacation after she attended a scientific conference.


2018 was a memorable year, full of great experiences. In another post I’ll get into what’s already planned for 2019.