2019 Practical Pistol Reunion – the original IPSC targets

On Sept 21-22, 2019, many of the key figures in the early days of Practical Shooting reunited for a weekend of shooting and socializing. The event was hosted by Bill and Joyce Wilson at the Circle WC Ranch. Part one of this blog post series has more details about the event and who attended.

Several of the participants brought historical documents with them, and Ken Hackathorn gave me one of the original IPSC double sided ITEM/Option targets. The specs for this target were documented in the notes from the 1976 Columbia Conference when IPSC was founded. The minutes from the 1976 Conference can be downloaded from the KR Training website here.

IPSC OPTION TARGET

IPSC Option target from 1976
Original Option specs

25 cm is basically 10″, 30 cm is almost 12″ and 35 cm is almost 14″. Targets in current usage (for example the IDPA target, NRA D-1 and FAST target) all use an 8″ center. The NRA D-1 has 8″ and 12″ circles in a design very similar to the IPSC Option without a head box.

IPSC ITEM TARGET

The original IPSC target was double sided, with one side being printed with the “option” design, and the other side printed with the ITEM design. The ITEM design looks a lot like the standard USPSA target.

Original ITEM design 1976

Those familiar with the current USPSA target design will note that the A zones (head and body) of the 1976 target are larger than the current designs. The general trend over the last 50+ years of defensive pistol target design is to use smaller and smaller “acceptable hit” zones, modeling the size and shape of the vital organs in a human body more accurately. Many common targets in use today use a 6″ or 8″ hit zone, with using 3″ or 4″ precision zones inside the primary body zone.

2019 Practical Pistol Reunion – Los Alamitos Pistol Course

On Sept 21-22, 2019, many of the key figures in the early days of Practical Shooting reunited for a weekend of shooting and socializing. The event was hosted by Bill and Joyce Wilson at the Circle WC Ranch. Part one of this blog post series has more details about the event and who attended.

As part of the event we shot a four stage match built from courses of fire from the pre-1985 days of practical shooting. One of them was called the “Los Alamitos Pistol Course”. The match was shot from open carry, with everyone shooting 1911 pistols from holsters in common use prior to 1985.

Type: PAR time standard exercise

Targets: 3 standard IDPA silhouettes spaced 1 yard apart edge to edge

Scoring: 5 points, 4 points and 3 points. Complete misses and/or overtime shots are -5 points each

Possible score: 210 points (42 rounds)

Procedure:

Stage 1: 7 yards. Draw and fire 2 rounds on T1 (left target), repeat on T2 (center target), repeat on T3 (right target). 2.5 second time limit per string

Stage 2: 7 yards. Draw and fire 2 rounds on each target (T1-T3). 5 second time limit

Stage 3: 7 yards. Draw and fire 2 rounds on each target (T1-T3) using the strong hand ONLY. 7 second time limit

Stage 4: 10 yards. Begin with 6 rounds ONLY in the pistol. Draw and fire 2 rounds on each target (T1-T3), mandatory slide lock re-load and re-engage with 2 rounds on each target (T1-T3). 14 second time limit

Stage 5: 20 yards. Shooter starts behind a barricade, on signal draw and engage T3 – T1 with 2 rounds each from the right side of the barricade. 10 second time limit

Stage 6: 20 yards. Shooter starts behind a barricade, on signal draw and engage T1 – T3 with 2 rounds each from the left side of the barricade. 10 second time limit

This course is a good example of qualification courses common to the late 70’s and early 80’s, with shots in the 7-25 yard zone and moderately fast par times. Over time, 25 yard shooting was replaced with 3 yard drills with faster par times, to more closely model the kind of shooting that commonly occurs in actual pistol fights. This 42 round course uses most of a box of ammo and would be a good foundation for a practice session, with its distribution of draw work, one handed and barricade shooting, and incorporation of one timed reload. To make this course of fire more challenging, replace the par times with time plus scoring (IDPA style), trying to run the drills as fast you can without shooting outside the zero ring.

2019 Practical Pistol Reunion – Advanced Military Combat Course

On Sept 21-22, 2019, many of the key figures in the early days of Practical Shooting reunited for a weekend of shooting and socializing. The event was hosted by Bill and Joyce Wilson at the Circle WC Ranch. Part one of this blog post series has more details about the event and who attended.

As part of the event we shot a four stage match built from courses of fire from the pre-1985 days of practical shooting. One of them was called the “Advanced Military Combat Course”. The match was shot from open carry, with everyone shooting 1911 pistols from holsters in common use prior to 1985.

Type: PAR time standard exercise

Targets: 3 standard IDPA silhouettes spaced 3 yards apart edge to edge

Scoring: 5 points, 4 points and 3 points. Complete misses and/or overtime shots are -5 points each

Possible score: 250 points (50 rounds)

Procedure:

Stage 1: 25 yards. Draw and fire 5 rounds at T1 (left target) from any position, 30 second time limit

Stage 2: 25 yards. Draw and fire 5 rounds at T1 (left target) from any position, 10 second time limit

Stage 3: 15 yards. Draw and fire 2 rounds on T2 (center target) offhand, repeat 4 times for a total of 10 shots, 3 second time limit per string

Stage 4: 10 yards. Begin with 5 rounds total in the pistol. Draw and fire 5 rounds on T3 (right target), mandatory slide lock re-load and fire 5 more shots on T3, 14 second time limit

Score and paste targets

Stage 5: 10 yards. Start in front of T2 (center target) facing 90 degrees right or left, on signal turn, draw and engage T1, T2 and T3 with 2 rounds each. Repeat for a total of 12 rounds. 5 second time limit per string

Stage 6: 7 yards. Start in front of T2 (center target), draw and fire 2 rounds at T2, repeat 3 times for a total of 8 rounds. 2.5 second time limit per string

Calculating Drill Difficulty

Given the high level of skill among those that attended, this course, like the other 3 events, became a contest of who could drop the least points. This stage included 25 yard strings that had generous time limits, as well as some medium speed par time strings. Because of the 25 yard targets, more shooters dropped points on this course than the others.

KR Training September 2019 Newsletter

Welcome to the KR Training September 2019 newsletter!

Most of our October classes filled up quickly, so I would encourage you to sign up now for any training currently scheduled. Check the schedule page on the KR Training website for the full list of upcoming classes, and click the “Register” link at the top of the page to sign up.

After a month full of travel, our October schedule focuses primarily on curriculum that is part of our 40-hour Defensive Pistol Skills program, followed by some NRA instructor training taught by myself, Tiffany Johnson and Aqil Qadir of Citizens’ Safety Academy. The last weekend of the month I’m on the road again to Watkinsville, GA, to teach Advanced Handgun and Tactical Scenarios.

MEDICAL TRAINING WITH LONE STAR MEDICS

It’s not too early to register for December 7 medical training with Caleb Causey of Lone Star Medics. His Dynamic First Aid class should be on your list of “must-take” classes as a foundational medical skills class. You’ll learn field medicine skills in a day of scenario-based training. Pair it with Caleb’s Low-Light Medical class that evening, and you’ll have a solid grasp of what’s required to address medical emergencies in situations you may face in everyday life. This day of training is sure to sell out, so register now for one class or both. If you’ve taken the classes in the past but need a refresher (you do), sign up to maintain your skills and stay up-to-date on technique and gear best practices.

BLOG-O-RAMA

Here’s a list of links to articles we’ve shared since our last newsletter. See links as we post them by following KR Training on Facebook or Twitter.

If you aren’t already a subscriber, to receive this newsletter each month, subscribe here or follow this blog (right) for more frequent posts and information. You can also follow and interact with us on Twitter or Instagram. Remember that I’m available for private lessons on weekdays until the end of October. Send me an email to schedule your training session.

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

2019 Practical Pistol Reunion – Los Alamitos Pistol Course

On Sept 21-22, 2019, many of the key figures in the early days of Practical Shooting reunited for a weekend of shooting and socializing. The event was hosted by Bill and Joyce Wilson at the Circle WC Ranch. Part one of this blog post series has more details about the event and who attended.

As part of the event we shot a four stage match built from courses of fire from the pre-1985 days of practical shooting. One of them was called the “Los Alamitos Pistol Course”. The match was shot from open carry, with everyone shooting 1911 pistols from holsters in common use prior to 1985.

Type: PAR time standard exercise

Targets: 3 standard IDPA silhouettes spaced 1 yard apart edge to edge

Scoring: 5 points, 4 points and 3 points. Complete misses and/or overtime shots are -5 points each

Possible score: 210 points (42 rounds)

Procedure:

Stage 1: 7 yards. Draw and fire 2 rounds on T1 (left target), repeat on T2 (center target), repeat on T3 (right target). 2.5 second time limit per string

Stage 2: 7 yards. Draw and fire 2 rounds on each target (T1-T3). 5 second time limit

Stage 3: 7 yards. Draw and fire 2 rounds on each target (T1-T3) using the strong hand ONLY. 7 second time limit

Stage 4: 10 yards. Begin with 6 rounds ONLY in the pistol. Draw and fire 2 rounds on each target (T1-T3), mandatory slide lock re-load and re-engage with 2 rounds on each target (T1-T3). 14 second time limit

Stage 5: 20 yards. Shooter starts behind a barricade, on signal draw and engage T3 – T1 with 2 rounds each from the right side of the barricade. 10 second time limit

Stage 6: 20 yards. Shooter starts behind a barricade, on signal draw and engage T1 – T3 with 2 rounds each from the left side of the barricade. 10 second time limit

Calculating Drill Difficulty

Given the high level of skill among those that attended, this course, like the other 3 events, became a contest of who could drop the least points. The par times for each stage were roughly 2x the time a current-era GM level shooter using competition equipment could complete the string.

2019 Practical Pistol Reunion – The Speed Course

On Sept 21-22, 2019, many of the key figures in the early days of Practical Shooting reunited for a weekend of shooting and socializing. The event was hosted by Bill and Joyce Wilson at the Circle WC Ranch. Part one of this blog post series has more details about the event and who attended.

As part of the event we shot a four stage match built from courses of fire from the pre-1985 days of practical shooting. One of them was called the “Speed Course”. The match was shot from open carry, with everyone shooting 1911 pistols from holsters in common use prior to 1985.

Type: PAR time standard exercise

Targets: 3 standard IDPA silhouettes spaced 1 yard apart edge to edge. T1 at 5 yards, T2 at 7 yards and T3 at 10 yards

From left to right: T1 (5 yards), T3 (10 yards), T2 (7 yards)

Scoring: 5 points, 4 points and 3 points. Complete misses and/or overtime shots are -5 points each

Possible score: 120 points (24 rounds)

Procedure:

Stage 1: Draw and fire 1 round to the head on T1 (left target), 1 round to the head on T2 (right target) and 1 round to the head on T3 (center target). Repeat for a total of 6 rounds. 4 second time limit per string. Paste any hits below the head box.

Stage 2: Draw and fire 2 rounds on T1 (left target), 2 rounds on T2 (right target) and 2 rounds on T3 (center target). 4 second time limit

Stage 3: Begin with a total of 6 rounds in the pistol. Draw and fire 2 rounds on T1 (left target), 2 rounds on T2 (right target) and 2 rounds on T3 (center target), emergency reload from slide-lock, re-engage T1, T2 and T3 with 2 rounds each for a total of 12 rounds. 10 second time limit

Calculating Drill Difficulty

Using the data from our book Strategies and Standards for Defensive Handgun Training, I calculated the skill level necessary to shoot a perfect score on the Speed Course.

Stage 1: Draw and fire 1 shot to the head, 5 yards = 1.00 sec. Fire one round each at T2 and T3. The goal was to hit the 4″ circle in the head, which was the same difficulty as hitting the 8″ circle in the body at twice the distance. So an estimate for each transition is 0.50 second. That means a 100% GM time for this stage would be 2.00 sec, and the 4.00 sec par time is roughly 50% of that.

Stage 2: Draw and fire 2 in the body on each target. Again this drill’s par of 4 seconds is roughly 50% of a modern GM standard (using open carry match gear).

Stage 3: This drill (2-2-2, slide lock reload, 2-2-2) is essentially an El Presidente drill without the turn. The old 100% standard for El Presidente in USPSA was 60 points in 6 seconds, but the 100% standard was recently increased. The 10 second par is roughly 50% of GM standard.

Given the high level of skill among those that attended, this course, like the other 3 events, became a contest of who could drop the least points.

2019 Practical Pistol Reunion

On Sept 21-22, 2019, many of the key figures in the early days of Practical Shooting reunited for a weekend of shooting and socializing. The event was hosted by Bill and Joyce Wilson at the Circle WC Ranch.

Almost everyone there had started competing in Practical Shooting matches prior to 1985, and most were at the Columbia Conference in 1976 when the International Practical Shooting Confederation began.

Attendees included:

I was invited because of my work archiving and documenting the history of handgun training, and the attendees graciously tolerated all my questions throughout the weekend as I took pictures of all the photos and documents and vintage gear they had brought. The event included a 200 round match consisting of pre 1985 “classic” stages, a tour of the Circle WC ranch and facilities (including Bill’s gun room), lunch & dinner each day, and lots of time to visit.

The event was documented by Michael Bane and his crew from Shooting Gallery (for a future episode of that show), the Wilson Combat youTube channel photo/video team (for online content for Wilson Combat social media), Massad & Gail Ayoob (for a print article), and me (for my upcoming book and this blog).

Over the next week or two I will share more about the event as I sift through notes & photos and follow up with some of the attendees to make sure I got all the details right.

Force on Force at Firearms Academy of Seattle

I just finished up 3 days of force on force training at the Firearms Academy of Seattle. FAS has had its own permanent training facility since the mid 1990’s, offering classes to students in the Portland/Seattle area. I trained with Marty in the late 1990s and he, Gila and I share many mutual friends and colleagues in the training community. Marty visited KR Training to co-teach the MAG Deadly Force instructor course back in January 2018 with Massad Ayoob. During that trip Marty and I scheduled my visit to FAS in September 2019, to teach a one day force on force instructor class to his staff, and run a 2 day block of force on force training open to all students.

There are very few trainers offering force on force course as open enrollment classes, and even fewer offering scenario-based (as opposed to “sparring”) force on force courses. This is because many instructors are skilled shooters and may even be skilled live fire stage designers for IDPA and USPSA matches, but have no background or training in all of the additional skills designing and running live action scenario based training requires. My one day FOF instructor class focuses on teaching those skills. FAS has been running force on force scenarios as part of their courses for many years, so a majority of the students attending my instructor class already had instruction from Marty and prior experience. That made it possible for me to go into more depth and detail in the instructor training I provided to them, and allowed me to have them run scenarios and act as roleplayers in the student scenarios on the first day of the weekend course.

The other key element preventing many instructors from running scenario based force on force training is lack of facilities. FAS has multiple shoot houses, including some that can be used during daytime as “dark houses” with limited light, with working doors, props, furniture and other features that add realism. FAS’ facilities are nicer than what I have at home at the A-Zone, so it was a real treat to be able to take advantage of them.

When most people think of force on force training they assume that will include use of Airsoft, Simunition, UTM or other projectile-firing training weapons. Exchange of projectiles adds an element of realism unavailable in live fire training, but wearing the full face masks required to safely run that training eliminates another element of live action training that can be very useful: the ability to read facial expressions, observe where others are looking and incorporate some pre-fight and post-fight cues that would occur in real incidents. Because of this, I include some scenario work using red guns, SIRT pistols, CoolFire trainers, Laser Lyte guns and other non-projectile-firing weapon simulators. CoolFire trainers, in particular, work extremely well for this type of training because they provide a cycling slide, some noise and recoil, and can produce a laser “flash” where the round would have impacted that can be seen by the scenario coordinator and others in the scenario. This allowed us to work around actual student vehicles and in facilities (like the FAS classroom building) in which projectile-based training could not be conducted.

Marty took a lot of pictures and will be writing up the weekend as an article for the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network e-journal, and at least one student in the class is writing an AAR for pistol-forum (link to be added after his review is posted). All the pictures posted below were taken by Marty, who assisted at various times in the course as we discussed the scenario outcomes and the likelihood the “good guy(s)” that took action would face charges, trial, lawsuit or jail.

Vehicle scenario using the CoolFire Trainers
Confronting an (armed) burglar stealing a big yellow flat screen TV
Armed intruder at the bedroom door
The clerk working the cash register in a convenience store scenario

Here’s a clip of a convenience store scenario I ran at the Rangemaster Tactical Conference back in 2005.

FOF scenario from 2005 Polite Society/Rangemaster Tactical Conference

I’ll be running two more weekends of force on force classes, one at home Oct 5-6 (we still have room in the Oct 6 course), and a one day class paired with a one day handgun course in Watkinsville, GA October 26-27 hosted by Lee Weems of First Person Safety. In 2020 we already have some force on force training planned for March, including co-instructor John Murphy.

Information about all those courses (and to contact me to do similar training in your area in 2020) can be found at the KR Training website.

KR Training August 2019 Newsletter

Welcome to the KR Training August 2019 newsletter!

It’s training season. Sign up now for any classes on the schedule by clicking the “Register” link at the top of the page. Check the schedule page on the KR Training website for the full list of upcoming classes.

SEPTEMBER CLASSES

September is shaping up to be a busy month. KR Training Assistant Instructor Tracy Thronbug is leading a MAG-20 Range September 7-8. Massad Ayoob will teach MAG-20 Classroom September 14-15. Both have sold out but we are running a wait list.

I’ll be heading to the Public Safety Training Center in Clackamas, OR, to teach Correcting Common Shooting Errors September 10, then I’m off to the Firearms Academy of Seattle to teach a two-day Tactical Scenarios class September 14-15. September 17, I’m back in Clackamas to teach Advanced Training 6, then finally back to the A-Zone Range where John Daub and I will finish out a full month of training classes while we prepare for a busy October. I travel to Georgia in late October to teach live fire and force on force courses for Lee Weems’ First Person Safety academy.

OCTOBER ADVANCED TRAINING WEEKEND

Twice a year we run a special combination of classes in our Defensive Pistol Skills program: three classes back to back on Saturday, and more recently we’ve added two classes on Sunday, to make a full weekend of training October 5-6. All three of the Saturday classes are required to earn the challenge coin. Those three are Defensive Pistol Skills 2 (live fire), Advanced Training 2 Scenarios (force-on-force), and Low-Light Shooting 1 (live fire and force-on-force).

Returning to train with us this fall will be the guys from Immersive Training Solutions, who will bring their video simulator. Students in each course will get one run in the simulator, so those staying for all three Saturday classes you’ll get three simulator runs mixed in with the other activities. The complete training program for Saturday covers a wide range of skills, taught by multiple trainers in small-group sessions.

The Sunday class, AT-5 Tactics Laboratory, is similar to the ECQC course taught by Craig Douglas, with Dave Reichek leading the instruction. Dave has worked as a Shivworks role player for multiple sessions led by Craig at Rangemaster Tactical Conferences, and both Karl and Dave have taken the ECQC course multiple times. Our AT-5 course is a lower intensity introduction to the ECQC style of training. (We highly recommend Shivworks’ ECQC course and our course is NOT a substitute for the full class taught by Craig and his team.)

Finishing out the weekend is Low Light Shooting 2, providing students opportunity for more shoot house (indoor red gun and outdoor live fire) work and more challenging drills shot in low light.

Registration is open now for all classes on our schedule, including:

PRIVATE TRAINING AVAILABLE

I am available for private lessons on weekdays until Nov 1. Contact me to schedule.

2020 Rangemaster Tactical Conference – Time to get registered!

Coming up March 27-29, 2020, is the 22nd annual Rangemaster Tactical Conference. The event usually sells out months in advance. It is not too early to get serious about registering, and shame on you if you don’t attend when this event is happening in Texas! Tac-Con was the original training conference and is still the best with an outstanding lineup of instructors.

In three days of training, dozens of well-known trainers will conduct two-hour and four-hour blocks of instruction in handgun, shotgun, empty-hand skills, emergency medical and trauma care, legal issues, defensive tactics, and much more. There are classroom and live-fire sessions, and hands-on topics. Trainers include Tom Givens, Lynn Givens, Massad Ayoob, John Farnam, Craig “Southnarc” Douglas, Chris Cerino, Gabe White, Cecil Burch, Tatiana Whitlock, Karl Rehn, Wayne Dobbs, Darryl Bolke, John Hearne, William Aprill, Caleb Causey, and many more. Attendees may participate in as many training blocks as time allows over three full days of training. There is also a defensive pistol match. Your conference registration fee covers attendance at any training block and entry in the pistol match. This is the 22nd year for this event, and we’re excited to come to the Dallas area for the first time. We’ll be using the excellent facilities of the Dallas Pistol Club, in Carrollton, Texas. Tac-Con fills several months in advance every year, so please don’t delay. Detailed information, equipment lists, lodging info, etc. will be sent to registered attendees by email.

BLOG-O-RAMA

Here’s a list of links to articles we’ve shared so far in August. See links as we post them by following KR Training on Facebook or Twitter.

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

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

Jeff Cooper’s First Article

Here is a scanned copy of Jeff Cooper’s first published article, from the Marine Corps Gazette, in Sept 1946. Titled “What Good Is A Pistol?”, it discusses pistol training and caliber selection.

Highlights: Cooper comments that the semiauto pistol be redesigned to have more slant and a slight curve — essentially describing the difference between the 1911’s grip and the Glock frame’s design.

More pistol design concepts from Cooper’s article: Ease of field stripping (finally achieved with the Glock and other striker fired designs in the 1980’s and beyond), a capacity of 12 or more rounds, a crisp single action trigger, and a magazine with stronger feed lips. Cooper also advocates for the shoulder holster – an idea that fell out of favor after he started the Leatherslap matches and hip holsters proved to be the fastest way to get to a quick first shot.

Cooper defines some shooting proficiency standards:

  1. From cocked and locked, holstered, draw and fire one center mass hit at 25 feet (8.3 yards) in 0.6 to 0.8 seconds. (This likely assumes a military holster, open carry, and shooting from some kind of hip or point shoulder position as was commonly taught in 1946.)
  2. Draw, fire and hit 3 targets twice each (2-2-2) in 4 seconds. Today this drill often called the “Blake drill“. In Cooper’s article the target distance is 15 yards. (This would be likely be done shooting one handed, aimed fire, if commonly used techniques of the era were employed.)
  3. Draw and hit 4 targets, spread at varying distances from 5-20 yards, in 4 seconds. (Cooper doesn’t specify but my assumption is he means one shot each target, and this would be one handed as well.)
  4. FBI Practical Pistol Course, 48 shots out of 60 to pass.

These drills could be combined in this way to make a 100 round practice session, using the B21 or B21M target (commonly used in that era).

  1. Draw and fire one shot, 8 yards, one handed, from hip or point shoulder position, 0.8 seconds. Six runs, total of 6 rounds. Score is number of hits in “bottle” part of target.
  2. Three targets, side targets spread apart so they are at “10 and 2”, 15 yards. Draw and fire two on each, one handed, 4.0 second par time. Three runs, for total of 18 rounds. Score is number of hits in bottle on each target.
  3. Four targets, one each at 5, 10, 15 and 20 yards. Draw and fire one on each, one handed, 4.0 second par time. Three runs, total of 18 rounds. Score is number of hits in bottle on each target.
  4. FBI 1945 PPC course.

This article is a great example of Cooper’s vision, as many of the ideas and recommendations in this article eventually found their way into hardware and changes in shooting qualification courses decades later.