I taught a lot of private handgun lessons over the past two weeks, and I wanted to share some of the observations and lessons learned from those classes, which I taught at KR Training’s A-Zone Range facility. Private lessons are available, by appointment, on most weekdays and weekday evenings. Often these take the form of private versions of our regular group classes, refresher lessons on group course material, or coaching to get graduates of those courses tuned up and ready for the next course in the series.
I had an older couple come to class with a variety of guns, including the NAA 22 mag mini revolver with integral holster grip. We started with those guns, to assess what the shooters could do with them, and they let me do some runs to see what I could do with them. The fastest I could do, starting with hand on gun in the pocket, getting the gun out of my pocket, opening the grip, cocking the hammer and firing one shot, was a 3.5 second draw, compared to a sub 2 second first shot time with an M&P Shield, starting with hand on gun in pocket. The tiny bead sight on the NAA pistol was usable for getting hits at 5 yards on a 3″ dot, but shot to shot time was slow because of the single action design. The biggest problem with the gun was reliability. It was rare that any of us could get 5 rounds in a row to fire, with difficulty loading and unloading the little pistol. I finally had to tell them that I simply didn’t consider the gun to be suitable life-safety equipment, even as a backup gun, and we put those guns away and moved on to the other guns they brought (a .380 and a .38 revolver). Those guns were more typical carry guns, with better sights, better triggers that were safer to handle, faster to shoot, and more reliable than the NAA revolvers.
Another student had been using a soft nylon belt paired with a Comp-Tac holster belt hanger designed for a wide, rigid competition belt. The end result was more holster movement and wiggle than was useful for the student’s training goals (faster drawspeed). A secondary problem was the limited adjustment of the stock holster belt attachment. To really speed up draw time, matching the angle of the pistol to the natural arm/hand angle makes a difference. That student ended up switching to a rigid Double Alpha Academy belt and BOSS holster hanger to end up with a more consistent, stable holster placement and angle.