Shooting Gallery Historical Handgun episode

Earlier this year, Michael Bane, who produces Shooting Gallery and other shows for the Outdoor Channel, invited me to meet with him and his production crew during the NRA Annual Meeting in Dallas, to discuss the idea of doing an episode of that show that covered the material I’ve been presenting in my Historical Handgun class (and the book in progress).

That meeting led to my traveling to the Great Guns range, near Fort Collins, CO on Saturday, Sept 8 to record a Shooting Gallery episode that will air in early 2019. Here’s a short clip, of my “handgun technique history in 30 seconds or less” demo.

Michael talks about the episode taping as part of this episode of his Down Range TV podcast.

 

As part of the episode taping, I had to shoot a bunch of the historical drills using period appropriate guns and holsters, like the FBI 1980’s qual (shooting Weaver with a DA/SA gun), and the current Marine military police qual using an M9 from a drop leg retention holster.

I also had to shoot the 1930’s U.S. Army qualification. Michael brought a beautiful 1930’s replica 1911, built by Doug Turnbull for him.

As usual, the tang on the grip safety dug a nice divot out of my hand, after shooting 15 rounds out of it. This is why when shooters began doing a lot more live fire practice, gripping the gun higher and harder, that different (wider and smoother) beavertail grip safeties were created.

Some photos of the crew in action.

And some pics of some of the different targets we used during the shoot.

The 1960’s to 1980’s array:

The Austin PD 1990’s target:

The F.A.S.T. target after my first take 6 second run from appendix carry, using a Keepers Concealment holster.

And the Marine military police target after I shot part of that test.

The one target I didn’t get a picture of was the 1940’s FBI target.  My first take on the hip shooting at 7 yards drill (5 shots in 5 seconds or less) put 5 rounds in a nice 8″ group high center chest – exactly where you would want them.  At the end of the day they filmed me re-running that drill using a high speed camera. Hopefully that clip will make into the broadcast episode.

FINISHING THE BOOK

With an expected broadcast date in early 2019, I have even more motivation to get back to work on the book, and get it completed in time for Christmas 2018, or SHOT show 2019.  After I get back from teaching the Historical Handgun class in Culpepper, VA in late October, KR Training will take our usual deer season/holiday season break, giving me time to sit down and write.

 

 

Historical Handgun – S&W model 459 – shooting the 1980’s FBI qualification course of fire

As part of the KR Training Historical Handgun project that teaches the history & evolution of defensive handgun skills, I’ve been purchasing specific guns and holsters associated with specific times in handgun history. The guns will be used in demoing the drills shot in the Historical Handgun course.

The S&W 459

According to Ed Mireles’ book, the S&W 459 was the semiauto handgun model FBI agents had during the 1986 Miami shootout.

I purchased a used 459 that had probably been a cop’s gun. Lots of holster wear.  One magazine had lots of rust on the inside, with a rusted spring, likely from riding in a holster in the Texas heat.

The double action trigger pull was well over the 8 lb max on my cheap trigger pull gauge. The single action trigger pull was just under 7 pounds.  The sights on the pistol were small. Solid black rear with a serrated, ramped blade that was very difficult to see compared to a squared front post.  I painted the front post with some orange fingernail polish before I used the gun to shoot the 1980’s FBI qual for the first time.

Mireles said the standard holster used by the agents of that time was a DeSantis leather belt holster.  I found a ‘vintage’ used Bianchi holster from that period that was very similar in design to use with the gun.

It had a leather snap thumb break – a feature I’m not used to working with.

Shooting the FBI qual

The old FBI quals (from the 1940’s to the 1980’s) all required starting at one distance and running to the next before drawing and firing. When I’ve shot the qual course in classes, that part is usually omitted — but the time to move from one spot to the next is a task that’s included in the par time for that string. So those that have shot the drill without the movement, but with par times unmodified, got additional time the agents did not have.  Since I was on the range by myself, I included the movement when I (literally) ran the course of fire, in the 100+ afternoon August heat.

“Old” FBI Pistol Qualification Course (1980’s)

Target:  FBI “Q”

Scoring: Hits in or touching “bottle” count 2 points; misses and hits outside bottle count zero points.  50 rounds service ammunition.

Qualification: 85% to qualify; 90% (45 hits) for instructors

STAGE I 

18 ROUNDS

Starting Point:  25 yard line

Time Allotted:  75 seconds

Procedure:  Start with a fully loaded weapon. On command, shooter draws and fires 6 rounds prone position, decocks, fires 3 rounds strong side kneeling barricade position, 6 rounds strong side standing barricade position, and 3 rounds weak side kneeling barricade position. Upon completing stage I, the shooter will conduct a magazine exchange and holster a loaded weapon.

STAGE II 

10 ROUNDS

Starting Point:  25 yard line, on signal run forward to the 15 yard line.

Time Allotted:   2 rounds in 6 seconds, come down to Ready

4 strings of 2 rounds in 3 seconds each, from the Ready, Then

 

Procedure:  Start at the 25 yard line. On command, the shooter moves to the 15 yard line, draws and fires 2 rounds in 6 seconds, decocks, and returns to low ready. The shooter will fire 4 strings of 2 rounds in 3 seconds, decock and return to low ready after each string. Upon completing Stage II, the shooter holsters a loaded weapon [without reloading unless gun capacity is only 10 rds ]

STAGE III 

12 ROUNDS

Starting Point: 15 yard line

Time Allotted: 15 seconds

Procedure:  Start at the 15 yard line. On command, the shooter moves to the 7 yard line, draws and fires 12 rounds in 15 seconds, to include a reload. Upon completing stage III, the shooter holsters a loaded weapon. Shooter then arranges remaining 10 rounds to have 5 rounds in the weapon and 5 rounds in a spare magazine.

STAGE IV 

10 ROUNDS

Starting Point: 7 yard line

Time Allotted: 15 seconds

Procedure:  Start at the 7 yard line. On command the shooter moves to the 5 yard line, draws and fires 5 rounds with strong hand only, reloads, transfers the weapon to weak hand and fires 5 rounds weak hand only. Upon completing stage IV, the shooter will unload and holster an empty weapon.

Since I was running the drill by myself, and it involved a lot of movement, I did not take video of the test.  Apparently no one else ever has either, since I could not find a youTube video of anyone shooting the old test, with movement, to include here.

Results

Other than checking the zero on the pistol at 25 yards, and a few minutes of dry practice on both DA and SA trigger pulls, I didn’t do a lot of warm up or practice before I shot the drill with the 459. It was also the first time I had shot the FBI drill with the included movement.  I passed the drill with 45 hits (90%) at instructor level.

After I shot the drill I did more experimenting with painting the front sight, and ended up changing the orange color with some gold model paint that made the front sight easier to see than the orange did.  Running a gold or brass front sight is something recommended in many older books on shooting.

I also realized, after I finished the drill, that I should have been using the Weaver stance as agents were trained to do during that time.  When I get around to doing a video of this drill shot with the movement I’ll run the gun with the gold front sight and shoot using the Weaver stance.  I also ordered a kit of Wolff springs to replace all the internal springs in the gun and the springs in both magazines, which all likely need replacing. Wolff does offer a reduced power hammer spring that will likely reduce the trigger pull a pound or two.  The old gun ran reliably even with the rusted mag spring.

The elements of the test that have faded away in more modern qualification courses of fire – running to position and more shooting at longer distances (25, and even 15 yards is now considered “long” by some), plus the longer heavier trigger pulls on the DA/SA gun made the test more difficult than shooting the current FBI qual with a striker fired gun.  Many that advocate for DA/SA guns in the current era are running guns with 6-8 lb DA and 2-4 lb SA pulls, which are considerably easier to shoot than the 10-12 lb DA and 6-8 lb SA factory trigger pulls.  I’m going to leave this gun as close to factory as I can stand, so that students (and NRA instructor candidates) can gain experience running a duty-grade trigger.

KR Training August 2018 newsletter

Welcome to the KR Training August 2018 newsletter!

We have had a very busy month, with a lot of events coming up in September and October!

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.

SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER EVENTS

Basic & LTC Courses

Defensive Skills Program

Advanced Classes & Guest Instructors

*Must pay in advance, in full to receive discounted prices for combo registrations.

COMBATIVE PISTOL 2 (DYNAMIC PISTOL MARKSMANSHIP) – TOM GIVENS OCT 6-7

Tom Givens has trained over 48,000 students over the past 40 years. 64 of them have been successful in armed incidents, with a hit ratio of over 90% (about triple the typical law enforcement officer hit rate).  Tom is returning to KR Training in early October to offer his level 2 Dynamic Pistol Marksmanship course.  If you’ve taken DPS-2 or a higher level course with us, you are ready for Tom’s level 2 class.  This class is also an excellent defensive pistol course for experienced IDPA / USPSA competitors that have never taken a class focusing on defensive pistol skills. It’s not a “how to draw” course.  It’s a “how to win a gunfight” class.

HALF PRICE REFRESHER SLOTS

You can come back for any class you’ve taken before, for half price.  Repeating a course is a great way to maintain skills for low cost, particularly if you haven’t practiced the skills you learned in our classes due to time, cost, or range limitations.  Retake the class with a different gun, or go as moral support for that friend or family member you finally talked into attending.

“LEARN TO TESTIFY” SEMINARS FROM GUN OWNERS OF AMERICA

KR Training graduate and Massad Ayoob Group certified instructor Rachel Malone recently became the Texas lobbyist for Gun Owners of America.  She’s doing a statewide tour in September and October, offering seminars on how to be an effective speaker for gun rights at public meetings: town halls, city council, even the state Legislature.  Click here to see the schedule and register (no charge) for any of the events.

COOLFIRE DISCOUNT CODE

If you missed the CoolFire/Walther event we ran earlier in August, read the AAR here. The Coolfire kit is a great way to fully simulate live fire at home, using your gun with full recoil simulation and a cycling slide. No more racking the slide to fire multiple dry fire shots! For the month of August 2018, you can save $20 off the purchase of a CoolFire Kit by using the code KR20 at checkout.

“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.

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.

KR TRAINING SHOOTING TEAM NEWS

Jason Wilson, who has been a regular at the A-zone summer matches the past few years, earned the rank of Grand Master in the Revolver division of the US Practical Shooting Association in August.  Many of the scores he shot at the A-Zone matches contributed to that achievement.

KR Training shooting team captain Roy Stedman won Gold in the Senior Classic division, Silver in Classic Overall and Bronze in the shoot offs at the IPSC Pan American Handgun Championship held in Jamaica in August.

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 Coin

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

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.

 

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.

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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.

 

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.

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

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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.

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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.