CoolFire/Walther evaluation day (August 4 2018) AAR

COOLFIRE & WALTHER PRODUCT DEMO & EVALUATION

KR Training, in collaboration with Dvorak Instruments, Walther Arms, and Paulus Consulting, offered students an opportunity to evaluate the Walther PPQ M2 pistol and the CoolFire Trainer simulated recoil system.

The event held August 4th, from 9-12, was a beta test for a possible new research study, evaluating the relative benefit of the Cool Fire product vs. live fire for shooter development.

All attendees will shot a live fire pre-test, and were then divided into two groups. One group did additional training using the CoolFire product. The other did additional live fire training on the range. At the end of the training block, all attendees re-shot the live fire test. The data was recorded and scores compared to pre-test scores.

About the Coolfire product

Some video of the mixed CoolFire/live fire training part of the event.

Video from the @coolfiretrainer mini study we did on August 4.

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Karl Rehn, Dr. David Paulus, and Albert Dvorak (CoolFire inventor) at the A-Zone.

DISCOUNT CODE!

For the month of August 2018, you can save $20 off the purchase of a CoolFire Kit by using the code KR20 at checkout.

TESTING

Testing evaluated split times on two different targets (small and large bullseyes), and transitions (side by side rectangular targets). Each was printed on 11×17 paper.

The tests were all shot live fire, starting at a low ready position.

1) Small circle, 5 shots in 4 seconds.
2) Large circle, 5 shots in 4 seconds.
3) Transitions, 1 shot each L-R-L-R-L in 4 seconds
4) Transitions, 1 shot each R-L-R-L-R in 4 seconds.

Total of 20 rounds, 50 points possible on each of the 4 targets.

Targets were scored, and all tests repeated using a 3 second par time for each test.

 

Par times were set so that shooting a perfect score would be difficult for most shooters at the 4 sec par, and very difficult for most with a 3 sec par. This gave us some room for shooters to improve as a function of training (live or CoolFire) before being re-tested.

All participants used Walther PPQ M2 9mm pistols, loaned to use by Walther for this event. The guns performed well, with no problems.  Participants completed a survey form at the end of the event giving us their feedback on both products.

RESULTS

Full results will be published in a paper we’ll submit to a refereed journal.

Initial results indicated that those using the CoolFire product for the training block improved slightly more than those shooting live fire, running the same number and sequence of drills.   Our sample set was small (11 in each group) and the training block was only 1 hour — but the general trend is clearly that CoolFire practice offers at least equivalent gains to live fire.

THOUGHTS

I’ve had a unit for several months. I use it in classes all the time as a way to introduce beginners to recoil before they fire live ammo.  The laser works with all the different laser-based dry fire products on the market, for those that want that functionality.  I put the kit in my backup M&P (I have a clone of my carry gun as a backup) and the kit basically stays in that gun as a classroom and personal training tool.  Not everyone has that convenience.

Having an exact duplicate of your primary carry and/or competition gun is very useful, particularly if you shoot major matches or attend multi-day courses.  That’s much more convenient than unloading the carry gun, swapping slide and barrel, training, and reassembling & reloading the carry gun.

It simulates the full firing experience better than any other training tool, using your own gun, your trigger, your sights. You can practice reloads and draws with it. (Some holsters may not accommodate the laser that attaches to the barrel.)  C02 fill gives you roughly the same number of shots that a full magazine does, and you can get thousands of shots from a 20 oz CO2 tank.  Academy Sports will refill C02 tanks for $3.49, and they sell the tanks.

The biggest benefit of the CoolFire kit is recoil simulation.  All other dryfire options have no simulated recoil.  Reaction to recoil (pre ignition gun movement and followthrough after the shot to see the sights again) is the biggest problem for most shooters.  I’ve coached many shooters that can dry fire perfectly but will still flinch and blink shooting live ammo, or fail to followthrough.  This provides a way to get used to the gun jumping in your hand without the time and expense of driving to the range.

I occasionally do everything-but-live-fire private classes in students’ homes, either as prep time before a live fire session or for people that don’t yet own their own firearms but want to learn about them.  For this application, the CoolFire kit is very useful.  The NRA now has a no-live-fire lesson plan instructors can use for this type of training.

A few years ago when I finally made the improvement from Master to Grand Master level in USPSA, one of the key things I changed was cutting down on live fire sessions and replacing them with dry fire sessions.   I own my own private range with target stands, steel, props, etc, but it’s 60 minutes from my primary residence – and time is a cost of its own.

COST ANALYSIS

CoolFire kit (with KR20 discount) is under $400.
Tippman 20 oz tank is around $25.
One 20 oz tank fill is $3.50 (round up to $5 to include gas to drive to Academy).
A set of dryfire targets from the Ben Stoeger Pro Shop is $10.
So the minimum cost is $440. You’ll get at least 2000 shots for that investment.

9mm ammo can be found for around $0.20 a round.  So 2000 rounds of live ammo is $400.
The other $40 can easily be spent on targets, pasters, range fees and gas getting to/from the range.

What about cost for the second 2000 rounds?

Cost to do that training with CoolFire is….$5 to refill the tank.

Cost to do another 2000 rounds of live fire training is another $440.

Those serious about achieving high levels of skill, such as IDPA Master, USPSA Master or USPSA Grand Master are likely to fire far more than 2000 rounds annually, making the cost savings significantly larger.

TIME ANALYSIS

To do live fire practice you have to purchase ammo, load gear in the car, drive to the range, set up targets, shoot the drills, reload magazines, tape targets, shoot more drills, pick up brass, tear down targets, drive home and clean guns.

To do CoolFire practice, you stick some dry fire targets up someplace you have a safe direction (much lower risk of firing a live round unintentionally with the kit, since it’s mechanically impossible to fire live ammo with the kit installed), shoot the drills, refill the barrel w/ C02, shoot more drills, repeat, until your hands are tired or you are bored and want to stop.

In my case, not driving to/from my range, doing dry fire (or now CoolFire) freed up 2 hours just from the commute, plus an extra hour per session from all the other tasks.

“But I need holes in targets to know how I’m shooting!” is a common complaint.  It indicates a lack of understanding of the process involved in good shooting.  If you aren’t ‘calling’ your shots (predicting where the shots will hit based on the sight picture you saw when the front sight lifted), you’ll never get really good with a pistol.  With the recoil simulation of the CoolFire, you can develop the skill to pay attention to your sights, at the moment the sights move, without live ammo.  And if you need the additional downrange confirmation, put the (supplied) laser on the kit, and either look for the dot using a target focus (not recommended, as this creates a training scar that teaches you NOT to focus on the sights) or invest in one of the many phone apps, standalone laser targets, or LASR software, to get that confirmation.

One big reason people don’t practice more is lack of time; another is cost. The main reason people don’t dry fire is that they find it boring because of the lack of recoil and noise compared to live fire.  The CoolFire kit is one solution that addresses all those issues.

SCENARIO BASED TRAINING USE

A commonly misunderstood concept is that you have to have projectiles flying in order for live action scenario based training to be valuable.  Investing in Airsoft guns, Simunition kits and safety gear is expensive (one reason why many live fire instructors do not offer force on force training), and projectile impacts damage structures.  Wearing full face gear makes it impossible for roleplayers & students to read the non-verbal cues that come from facial expressions, and decreases the realism of the scenario simulation.  Non firing “red guns”, SIRT pistols, or other simulators can be used, but the CoolFire, used for this application, provides a very realistic simulation, with recoil, limited magazine capacity, and some noise.  If the scenarios are recorded, or simply if the exercise coordinator is paying attention, and the laser is used on the CoolFire kit, the student’s marksmanship on the “threat” roleplayer(s) can be assessed.  Even without hit assessment, the kit provides a way to run full context scenarios, with recoil and noise, in any facility, classroom or home — dramatically decreasing the investment required for instructors or serious shooters to expand their training.

SUMMARY

CoolFire is a great training tool, particularly for instructors and those that plan on shooting more than 2000 rounds a year working to improve their shooting skills.  And it’s a great tool for those that don’t currently shoot 2000 rounds a year who are limited by time and cost.  It’s a way to do that training for equal (or less) cost in much less time – a longterm investment that will yield more skill and cost benefits the more you use it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MAG-180 AAR (Tracy Becker guest post)

MAG-180 AFTER ACTION REVIEW

 by Tracy Becker Thronburg

The Massad Ayoob Group’s MAG-180 was held Sunday June 24 through Saturday June 30, 2018, in Ripon, Wisconsin. MAG senior staff instructor, David Maglio, hosted the event.

This was the first time the MAG-180 (formerly known as LFI-4) had been held in eleven years. The MAG-180/LFI-4 is Massad Ayoob’s most advanced class. Approximately a year and a half of planning went into making this class happen, as we trained at four different locations. The prerequisite for the MAG-180 was the MAG-40/LFI-1, MAG-80/LFI-2, and MAG-120/LFI-3.

At the MAG-40, you learn the rules of engagement as an armed citizen and how to shoot Mas’s StressFire technique. In the MAG-80, you start learning how to shoot on the move, shoot at further distances and at faster speeds, and are introduced to handgun retention and disarming techniques. In the MAG-120, we learn to train the way Mas and his cadre of instructors train. In the 180, we perfect our instructing techniques for handgun retention/disarm and Persuader (Kubotan®) while shooting challenging handgun and rifle qualifications. Upon successful completion of the MAG-180, you are certified by Massad Ayoob to teach handgun retention/disarm and Persuader (Kubotan®).

There were 24 students in class, four of whom were women. Students from as far away as Utah, Texas, and Florida made the trek to Wisconsin for the 180. We were split into two teams, and Sonja McCarthy (Gail Pepin’s daughter) and I were the team captains (go girl power!). Your days were divided into five hours on the range and five hours of handgun retention/disarm techniques and Persuader (Kubotan®) instruction.

Day one started out at a slaughterhouse in rural Wisconsin. We were instructed to bring our carry guns and carry ammo with us as we would be shooting a pig in the head for a bullet analysis. I shot my Glock 43 (with Dawson Precision sights) with Federal Hydra-Shok 147gr. (regular velocity). Mas coached us individually on where to shoot the pig in the head, and lucky girl that I am, I got to shoot my pig first. One shot and the pig was down. The head was dissected from the body, and then the head was sawed in half, so we could see first-hand what our EDC ammo was capable of doing to a living creature. Gail Pepin was there to photograph the wound cavities, and she spent the week putting together a great PowerPoint of all of the wound cavities from the heads of the pigs shot by the students.

As there were two teams for the 180, half of the day was spent qualifying at the range and half of the day was spent refining your techniques in handgun retention/disarming and Persuader (Kubotan®). David Maglio and his staff of MAG instructors ran the range, and Steve Denney, Ken Kelly, and Massad Ayoob worked with the students on the hand-to-hand combatives.

Every day at the range started with shooting a cold single-speed MAG qualification for score. On our first day at the range, we shot the MAG qualification at quadruple speed. That means you take the times for the single-speed qualification and divide them by 4. The quad speed qual was shot one student at a time, and you either made the par time or you didn’t. The beauty of Mas’s qualification is that it is rather easy to shoot at single speed, but when you start shooting his qualifications at triple and quadruple speed, the level of difficulty increases exponentially.

We shot umpteen MAG qualifications at single, double, triple, and quadruple speeds – all for score. We shot different law enforcement handgun qualifications including the Wisconsin DOJ, the New Jersey State Police qualification, the DHS/ICE qualification, and the FBI handgun qualification. What was interesting about the Wisconsin DOJ handgun qualification was that you had malfunctions that had to be cleared while on the clock (for example, setting up a double feed), clearing it, and then shooting the designated string of fire.  There were also two rifle qualifications and one shotgun (optional) qualification thrown in the mix.

(Here’s a video from a different MAG class showing the pistol qualification run at double speed.  Cut the times in half for the quad speed version and the test requires IDPA Expert/USPSA A class or higher skill level to clean.)

All of Mas’s handgun retention and disarming techniques are designed to pass the Bambi versus Godzilla test, meaning a little, petite lady could use these techniques on Mongo and be successful. The techniques are all leveraged based. Since you don’t get to pick who the bad guy/gal is going to be in real life, Mas has you grapple with everyone on your team. I came back to Texas bruised up and sore (I have the photos to prove it). Steve Denney is as patient as they come when it comes to instructing the handgun retention and disarm techniques, and I wish he and I lived closer so I could practice this with him.

Ken Kelly was our main instructor for the Persuader (Kubotan®) training. Sometime between when I took the MAG-120 in December of 2017 and the MAG-180 in June of 2018, Ken had an idea to make “training” Kubotans. These proved to be great training tools, as they allowed us to work through our number 2 wrist locks/thumb locks/snaps/jabs without having the living daylights beat out of us since we still had to finish qualifying on the range.

One of the criteria to pass the MAG-180 was that you had to teach a handgun retention/disarming technique. The students got to pick the technique they wanted to teach, and you were paired up with another person who had also signed up to teach that technique. The technique I chose was the elbow roll-off. The other student who had chosen the elbow roll-off technique to teach was approximately a foot taller than I with at least a foot more of arm length than I. Mas has pictures of me executing this technique on my partner and taking him down. The techniques work when executed correctly.

On Friday evening, we instructed a group of civilians from the local area in Persuader techniques, and I got to meet two of my Facebook friends (shout out to Alex Kogan and Joshua Glazov).

Our high overall shooter (top gun) was a gentleman who had come up from Naples, Florida. I was the high overall woman shooter.

I learned a lot in this class and made many new friends. I only wish Mas had a fifth level class, so I could have a reason to go train with him some more.

Rangemaster NorthWest Regional Tactical Conference 2018 – Day 3 AAR

The Rangemaster Northwest Regional Tactical Conference was put on by Tom Givens and the Rangemaster crew, in collaboration with Marty Hayes and the Firearms Academy of Seattle, July 27-29, 2018.  I’ve been a part of the Rangemaster conferences since the early 2000’s, and Tom invited me to present both the 4 hour classroom and 4 hour live fire portions of my Historical Handgun course at the NW Tac Con.

This is the third in a series of 3 after-action reports covering the things I saw and did at the conference. Day 1 AAR is here. Day 2 AAR is here.

DAY 3 MORNING

I attended the 4 hour lecture part of John Murphy’s “CCW Skills Beyond the Gun” session.  KR Training will be hosting John for two 1-day courses in February 2019.  John is a very entertaining, engaging presenter and his class was full of excellent content.

DAY 3 AFTERNOON

I was in the top 16 shootoff, doing well in the first few bouts, but finally getting bumped out (ending up 4th overall) by Chris Harold (3rd), Will Parker (2nd) and Gabe White (1st). John Holschen’s wife Martha won the ladies shootoff (and the ladies’ match). Three of the top 4 shooters in the shootoff (me, Chris and Gabe) were in my Historical Handgun live fire class on Day 2.

It was held on one of the FAS bays that had a Bianchi plate rack and a variety of steel – most of which was used for the shootoff.

One of my shootoff runs from NW TacCon

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The remainder of the final afternoon was spent in a medical class with Dr. Sherman House.  I had taken a 2 day medical class from Sherman and Paul Gomez many years ago, and it was great to get more training from Dr. House at the conference.   This class included discussion of how to use available items (neck tie and a pen, for example) to render aid when purpose-built medical supplies were not available (tourniquet, pressure dressing).

SUMMARY

About 1/3 the size of the main Tactical Conference held earlier this year, (limited due to capacity of the FAS facility and a smaller number of trainers presenting) the NW Regional event ran very smoothly, with perfect weather and great support from host Marty Hayes and his entire Firearms Academy of Seattle team.  Everyone I talked to was excited and interested in the rumor that there might be another NW Regional event in 2020.   I took several additional days before and after the conference to enjoy the Pacific Northwest area and escape the Texas summer heat.

Rangemaster NorthWest Regional Tactical Conference 2018 – Day 2 AAR

The Rangemaster Northwest Regional Tactical Conference was put on by Tom Givens and the Rangemaster crew, in collaboration with Marty Hayes and the Firearms Academy of Seattle, July 27-29, 2018.  I’ve been a part of the Rangemaster conferences since the early 2000’s, and Tom invited me to present both the 4 hour classroom and 4 hour live fire portions of my Historical Handgun course at the NW Tac Con.

This is the second in a series of 3 after-action reports covering the things I saw and did at the conference. Day 1 AAR is here.

DAY 2 MORNING

My shoot time for the competition part of the event was 8 a.m. on day 2.  I’m not a morning person, but I did manage to shoot the 40 round course of fire with no penalties or “points down” with a respectable total time – good enough to make the top 16 shootoff the next day.

I audited a part of a pistol class Tom Givens was teaching, waiting for the 10 am session to begin.

The second half of the morning (10-12) was spent taking a low light shooting class from John Holschen.  I took a lot of classes from InSights Training in the 1990’s when my day job took me to the Seattle area on a regular basis, and hosted John many times at KR Training in the late 90’s and early 2000’s.  The Firearms Academy of Seattle facility has a terrific “dark house” that allows low light training to be conducted in daylight hours, with controlled lighting.

Short video from John Holschen’s low light class at NW Tac Con.

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DAY 2 AFTERNOON

The afternoon of Day 2 was the 4 hour live fire session of Historical Handgun.   Ed Vinyard assisted me with running this training.

Videos from my Historical Handgun range block at NW TacCon

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The live fire session was run on a narrow, but long range that gave us the 60 yard distance required for some of the older qualification courses, and barrels we could use as barricades needed for some of the drills. As a result, attendance was limited to a small number of diehard attendees who had brought multiple guns and lots of ammo to run the 400 rounds of drills in the class.


DAY 2 EVENING

Day 2 ended with the traditional TacCon “Trainer’s Meeting” – an event where the presenters and staff have a roundtable discussion about a topic related to trainers and training.  This year’s topic was instructor credentials and national organizations.

After teaching half of each of the first 2 days, I was ready for Day 3, when I could just be a student for most of the day, except for the top 16 shootoff coming up day 3 afternoon.

 

KR Training July 2018 newsletter

Welcome to the KR Training July 2018 newsletter!

Check the schedule page on the KR Training website for the full list of upcoming classes.

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 or Twitter for more frequent posts and information.

AUGUST 4th COOLFIRE & WALTHER DEMO & EVALUATION

CoolFire TrainerKR Training, in collaboration with Dvorak Instruments, Walther Arms, and Paulus Consulting, will be offering students an opportunity to evaluate the Walther PPQ M2 pistol and the CoolFire Trainer simulated recoil system.

The event, to be held August 4th from 9-12 at the A-Zone Range, will be a beta test for a possible new research study, evaluating the relative benefit of the CoolFire product vs. live fire for shooter development. All guns and ammo will be provided. Event is open to up to 24 participants. Event cost is $20. Pre-registration and payment in full in advance is required.

AUGUST-SEPTEMBER EVENTS

Basic & LTC Courses

Competition

Defensive Skills Program

Advanced Classes & Guest Instructors

*Refresher slots half price on all classes. Must pay in advance, in full to receive discounted prices for combo registrations.

“SHOOTING GALLERY” EPISODE TAPING

In September, Karl will make a trip to Denver, CO to tape an episode of the Outdoor Channel’s Shooting Gallery TV show. That episode will focus on the Historical Handgun course.

KR TRAINING SHOOTING TEAM NEWS

KR Training shooting team captain Roy Stedman was 2nd overall in Classic, first Senior, 3rd in the shootoffs and part of the Team USA Classic division win at the 2018 Pan American IPSC Championship held in Jamaica.

As a result of classifier scores submitted from the summer A-Zone matches, Karl Rehn promoted to Grand Master in the Pistol Caliber Carbine Division of USPSA, giving him Grand Master ratings in 5 of USPSA’s 8 divisions.

Karl Rehn placed 4th overall in the main match and shootoff at the Rangemaster NW Regional Tactical Conference.

NOTES FROM KR: RECENT BLOG POSTS

Don’t miss future blog posts! Visit our blog site to sign up, and they’ll come straight to your email.

BLOG-O-RAMA

2018 SCHEDULE

The KR Training schedule shows most of the classes we plan to offer through late October 2018 and even a few already scheduled for 2019. Registration is open for everything listed.

KR Training Defensive Pistol Skills Program Challenge CoinThank 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

Rangemaster NorthWest Regional Tactical Conference 2018 – Day 1 AAR

The Rangemaster Northwest Regional Tactical Conference was put on by Tom Givens and the Rangemaster crew, in collaboration with Marty Hayes and the Firearms Academy of Seattle, July 27-29, 2018.  I’ve been a part of the Rangemaster conferences since the early 2000’s, and Tom invited me to present both the 4 hour classroom and 4 hour live fire portions of my Historical Handgun course at the NW Tac Con.

This is the first in a series of 3 after-action reports covering the things I saw and did at the conference.

DAY 1 MORNING

Friday morning was spent teaching the 4 hour lecture portion of the Historical Handgun class.

This version of the course included a lot of video, including excerpts from these historical films.

 DAY 1 AFTERNOON

On the afternoon of day 1 I took a 4 hour handgun skills course from Gabe White.  The class was very good, including some unique drills that incorporated several ideas that had been presented in previous TacCon sessions by other trainers: using an ammo tray to simulate a cell phone or other item held in the hands prior to drawing, and using a whistle blown after the ‘gun’ command was given to indicate that the situation had changed (threat no longer immediate) and the draw and fire response should end at the ready position without shots fired.

Video from the Gabe White class at NW Tac Con 2018.

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DAY 1 EVENING

Day 1 wrapped up with an early birthday party for Tom Givens hosted by Marty and Gila Hayes at their newly completed house on the FAS property.  Tom’s birthday was coming up shortly after TacCon, and Lynn (and others) decided it would be fun to celebrate his birthday with all the trainers and staff that were involved with putting on the event.

Days 2 and 3 will be covered in later posts.

 

Beyond the Basics: Pistol 7/22/2018 AAR

In early July I offered a summer session of the Beyond the Basics: Pistol class that sold out so quickly that I added a second session, scheduled for Sunday July 22.    11 students undeterred by heat advisories and predictions of triple digit temperatures attended the course.

BEYOND THE BASICS:  PISTOL

The Beyond the Basics: Pistol course was the original KR Training class: the first class I advertised and taught back in 1991.  The objective of the course was to tune up and improve handgun skills of shooters already capable of shooting 90% or better on the Texas License to Carry qualification of fire.

A lot of curriculum was (and still is) tied closely to the contents of Brian Enos’ excellent Practical Shooting Beyond Fundamentals book.  In that book he breaks handgun shooting down into 5 types, based on the target size and distance.  The vast majority of handgun shooters fire every shot as a Type 3 (traditional sight picture with moderate speed trigger manipulation) – which produces decent results on targets 0-10 yards (most of the time) but begins to fall apart at longer distances.  Most defensive pistol classes spend a majority of time on improving speed at the most common defensive distances (3-5 yards), which is roughly what Brian calls Type 2 shooting – using a rough sight picture with visual focus on the target.  Often this is taught simply by requiring the students to shoot faster, which usually produces the desired result as they have to accept less precise sight pictures to make the par times for drills.

The skill that usually falls through the cracks is development of the ability to shoot slower than Type 3: to spend a little more time getting sight alignment more precise, and most importantly manipulate the trigger with more care when a precision shot, for example a head shot at 10 yards, is the goal.

SMOOTH, SLOW and FAST

The phrase “slow is smooth, smooth is fast” is frequently quoted in online discussions about improving handgun skill.  It’s wrong.  Bad technique executed slowly may not be smooth and it may not produce good results.  On a close target, bad technique executed quickly may produce acceptable results. And those expecting to become faster through deliberate, slow, smooth practice may never get faster.

It’s like driving.  To learn to drive well at 70 mph, start by learning to drive at slower speeds until your technique is good. Then to learn to handle the car at faster speeds requires actually going faster. Similarly, to learn how to handle the car in rough terrain requires different techniques and slower speeds.

The process to improve is:

1) Understand that targets at different distances and of different sizes require varying degrees of sight alignment and trigger manipulation.   Breaking the concept down into different ‘gears’, with specific par time/accuracy goals related to target size/distance seems to help.

2) Practice each type of shooting to meet the speed and accuracy goals.

3) Be able to quickly shift between shooting types, adjusting speed and accuracy as needed to get the required hits.

The majority of the students registered for the course had taken one or more classes from me in the past, and I took advantage of that situation to modify the course curriculum to (a) present some of the concepts in the course differently than I have in the past and (b) split the lecture into two parts, one at the start of class and one mid-class, both to get us all out of the heat and back in the A/C for a break, and to improve the presentation of topics.

What changed?

In the old format, I went through all the fundamentals of marksmanship (gun fit, grip, stance, sight alignment, sight picture, trigger control, follow through) in depth in a single lecture, followed by drills on the range. This time I broke the class into two parts: one focused on isolating each type of shooting as a separate skill, and one where the skills were combined.

The first part of class incorporated segments of  the “Super Test” drill, that’s shot on an NRA B-8, with varying time limits for 5, 10 and 15 yards.  This particular drill is excellent for defining the relative speeds associated with different target sizes and distances.   In the past I had my own drills for this concept, but using the more-widely used Super Test worked very well.

The second part of the class focused on a drill Ben Stoeger calls “Distance Changeup”, where multiple targets at varying ranges have to be engaged, adjusting speed and accuracy as needed.

My class version of it used two targets, as I called a variety of options for each repetition of the drill (using the head and body of each target to give 4 different target sizes/distances).

SUMMARY

A lot of the older lecture material in the course on fundamentals has trickled down into my Basic Pistol 1, Handgun Coaching, and Basic Pistol 2 classes, making it possible to trim some of that content from Beyond the Basics, using that time for more work on higher level concepts.   Students attending future sessions of this course will get the updated version of the curriculum, as it seemed to work well in the new format.

S&W SD9VE – early impressions

I recently purchased an S&W SD9VE to test and evaluate.  I’ve gotten questions from students about this gun model, and other shooters and trainers have mentioned it as a decent option for defensive handgun buyers on a limited budget.

Some early observations:

1) It fits in my daily carry holster (Raven “Morrigan“) made for an S&W M&P.  I read online that it wouldn’t fit M&P holsters, but the Morrigan has enough flexibility in its design that I’ve been able to use it for my M&P 1.0, a Glock 19, and an M&P Shield without problems.

2) The trigger pull is long and heavy.  Not as long as heavy as a double action revolver, but longer and heavier than the factory trigger on the Glock and M&P models.  My trigger pull gauge only goes up to 8 pounds, and the SD9VE trigger was heavier than that.  Apex makes two parts to upgrade the SD9VE, a spring kit and a flat trigger. I ordered both from Brownells and will write about the install and testing of those parts in the coming weeks.

3) Heavy triggers are harder to shoot.  I lubricated the gun, dry fired for about 10 minutes and then headed outside to run the 3 Seconds or Less test with the gun.  I ran the test from open carry.

I didn’t check the zero of the pistol with the test ammo (124 gr Armscorp JRN) before I ran the test.

I did black out the rear dots on the sights because I strongly dislike “3 dot” sights.

With most guns I can shoot a perfect score (20 hits in the grey part of the target) on the test, using the 3 second par time. Not so with the SD9VE.  From 7 yards, the “2 head shots starting from ready” went wrong. I finished that string in 1.98 seconds (of the available 3 seconds), dropping one shot completely out of the head, low left almost into the body, with the other shot low left into the ‘jaw’ area of the head.

On the one handed strings from 7 yards, I dropped 3 of the 4 rounds below the KRT-2 target, for a score of 16/20 with 3 in the head – good enough to pass at the standards required by our 1st level Defensive Pistol Skills 1 class, but not particularly good overall.  More than likely a less skilled shooter would have found it difficult to shoot.

4) Seeing so many shots trending left on the target caused me to take a closer look at the sights. I shot a 5 shot group on the “B” circle on the target, at 7 yards. That produced a nice group left of the point of aim.

I took a closer look at the slide, and noticed that the front sight was off to the right of center line.

5) The other problem I observed is that the gun did not lock back on the last round of any of the 3 magazines that I used during my testing.  This may not be a gun problem.  If you look at the pistol you’ll see that the slide lock lever is located in a place where a shooter with a high thumbs grip might end up riding the lever, preventing it from moving upward and locking the slide on the last round. I had this problem with the Springfield XD, and it was one of several reasons I stopped shooting and recommending the XD series of pistols to students.

MOVING FORWARD

I’m teaching 3 group classes this weekend, and then private class on Tuesday before I head to Firearms Academy of Seattle for the 2018 Northwest Rangemaster Tactical Conference to teach a session of my Historical Handgun courseso the SD9VE will sit in the safe until I return in early August.

Next time I work with the SD9VE, I will adjust the sights to get the gun zeroed, re-run the 3 Seconds or Less test and a few other baseline tests with it, assess the slide lock issue, install the Apex parts, and re-shoot the baseline drills after I install the Apex parts.

A special day in KR Training history

Back on July 4th, 1988, two Austin-area USPSA competitive shooters, Randy Johnson and Don Davis, took a relative novice/ target shooter out to the Hill Country Rifle Range and introduced him to the 1911 .45 ACP pistol, and the fundamentals of practical shooting.  Over the next few months they coached me, as I learned skills necessary to compete safely – drawing, reloading, movement with a loaded gun.

They introduced me to Alan Tillman, local gunsmith and competition shooter, who also coached me and built all my competition guns for many years.  Through the local USPSA club, I became part of a group of shooters and gun businesses in the Austin area that have many familiar names: Chip McCormick, STI, Tripp Research, Dawson Precision, LaRue Tactical, Shockbottle, Competition DVD, Taylor Tactical Supply, Ben Stoeger Pro Shop – and many others.  With Randy and Don’s coaching and encouragement it’s unlikely I would have started down the path I’ve taken, and certainly would not have progressed as quickly as I did in the first year.

Today is the 30th anniversary of that special day in KR Training history.

To celebrate it, I’ll be running a USPSA match at the A-Zone tomorrow (July 5th), shooting in the single stack division, using a classic 1911 .45 ACP. The gun actually has the same slide and barrel that I used in the early 1990s, mounted on a newer Springfield Armory frame.

 

 

KR Training June 2018 newsletter

Welcome to the KR Training June 2018 newsletter!

Check the schedule page on the KR Training website for the full list of upcoming classes.

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 or Twitter for more frequent posts and information.

First Do Know Harm Medical Preparedness TrainingMEDICAL PREPAREDNESS JULY 14-15

On July 14-15 we are offering a one time special medical class taught by Dr. Ben Weger. Medical Preparedness is an in-depth, two day course on medical issues for individuals and families looking to improve their overall readiness for medical issues. The student will learn various first aid skills necessary in an emergency, along with techniques to manage various illnesses and injuries until skilled help arrives.

No prior medical training is required to attend.  The class will be inside in the air-conditioned classroom.

Sign up for Saturday morning ($120), all day Saturday ($200), or the full 2-day class ($350).

Family discount offer! Get two slots for $200/$350/$600 *must pay in full in advance for discount.

AUGUST 4th COOLFIRE & WALTHER DEMO & EVALUATION

KR Training, in collaboration with Dvorak Instruments, Walther Arms, and Paulus Consulting, will be offering students an opportunity to evaluate the Walther PPQ M2 pistol and the CoolFire Trainer simulated recoil system.

The event, to be held August 4th from 9-12 at the A-Zone Range, will be a beta test for a possible new research study, evaluating the relative benefit of the Cool Fire product vs. live fire for shooter development.  All guns and ammo will be provided. Event is open to up to 24 participants. Event cost is $20. Pre-registration and payment in full in advance is required.

JULY-AUGUST CLASSES

Basic & LTC Courses

Defensive Skills Program

Advanced Classes & Guest Instructors

We will be announcing our full schedule of Sept-Dec classes in the July newsletter.

RANGEMASTER TAC-CON NORTHWEST

Karl and Ed Vinyard will be representing KR Training at the NorthWest Regional Tac-Con, July 27-29, 2018, to be held at the Firearms Academy of Seattle in southern Washington state.  Haven’t made summer vacation plans yet? Join us in the Pacific Northwest for cool weather and great training.

NOTES FROM KR: RECENT BLOG POSTS

June was super busy – 15 days on the range teaching, not counting multiple range maintenance days, and 13 music performances.  We’ll get back to blogging in July and August. Many articles in queue to complete and share in the coming weeks.

Don’t miss future blog posts! Visit our blog site to sign up, and they’ll come straight to your email.

BLOG-O-RAMA

2018 SCHEDULE

The KR Training schedule shows most of the classes we plan to offer through late October 2018 and even a few already scheduled for 2019. Registration is open for everything listed. We are adding more classes to Sept-Dec. They will be announced in the July newsletter.

KR Training Defensive Pistol Skills Program Challenge CoinThank 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