Texas DPS 25 yard course of fire (Jan 2021)

Here is a course of fire, dated January 2021, used by the Texas DPS in their handgun training program.

I’ve been shooting it in my practice sessions over the last month and I thought I would share it here.

It’s intended to be shot on the giant B-27 target, scored like the Texas License to Carry test (8-9-10 rings score 5, 7 ring scores 4, on target but outside the 7 ring scores 3). To make it harder I’ve been shooting it using a Shoot Steel target center, where the B zone (center circle) scores 5, the C zone (roughly same size as the 8-9-10 ring on a B-27) scores 4, and everything outside the C zone scores zero (unacceptable hit). The images below are NOT to scale, since the B27 is 24″x45″ and the Shoot Steel target is 18″x24″.

On Monday I shot a personal best 245/250 using the harder/smaller target, shooting the test as my only 50 rounds fired that day. Scoring it using a B27, I’ve shot a perfect score every time, so if you can shoot a perfect score on the B-27 version, try the shootsteel target center with works with their great cardboard training target.

Monday’s target
Download and print this image on 8.5x-11 paper


» All courses of fire will be scored on a standard B-27 target. The B-27 target must be 24 inches by 45 inches and may be one of four colors; black, blue, red, or green. The target shall be scored utilizing the 5, 4, 3 scoring diagram in the upper left hand corner.
» Optical enhancers are not allowed. Only live ammunition may be used during training and qualification. Target marking cartridges are not permitted.
» If any malfunctions are encountered, the shooter must work through the problem and finish the course of fire. If rounds are held (not fired within the allotted time), the shots will be scored as misses.
» Instructors are to be attentive when shooters are shooting with the support hand with a two-handed grip.
» All shooters with a decocker on their weapons will decock their weapon after each st.ring on fire.
» This course of fire is designed for a semi-automatic weapon with a 17 round or 12 round magazine. All other magazine variations will reload in-between stages to ensure enough rounds to complete the course of fire.
» Administratively removing magazines does not require the weapon to be un-holstered and should be done in a safe manner.

>> A total of 50 rounds will be fired during the course of this qualification. A score of 70%, or 175 points of a possible 250, is required to pass.
>> This course is NOT primarily designed for revolvers, shooters using revolvers will reload when empty.
>>Weapons with 17 round magazines will start the course with a handgun loaded with 16 rounds. Weapons with 12 round magazines will start the course with 12 rounds. No additional round in the chamber for this course of fire.
>>Shooters will perform emergency reloads where required.


I think this is a fairly well designed course of fire. It includes a good mix of skills, with behaviors appropriate for distance (movement and one handed shooting at close range, a few reloads, kneeling at longer ranges). Whoever designed it shares my dislike of frequent par time changes, as much of the test uses a 3 second par time, and the other par time changes are well organized. It includes one skill I rarely practice, which is swapping hands with the pistol and shooting 2 handed, using the left hand as the primary shooting hand. That skill is 3 of the 50 rounds, done at 7 yards.

This may or may not be a course of fire shot by the state troopers. All I know for sure about this particular course of fire is that it’s one in their library and it’s relatively recent.

Three Yards (12 rounds)

(1) From the holstered position, on command, draw, fife 3 shots while moving one step right, weapon hand only. (Time limit: 3 seconds) Transition the weapon to the support hand.

(2) From the ready position, on command, fire 3 shots while moving one step left, support hand only.
Re-holster on command. (Time limit: 3 seconds)

(3) From the holstered position, on command, draw, and fire 3 shots while moving one step right, two handed grip. Re-holster on command. (Time limit: 3 seconds)

(4) From the holstered position, on command, draw, fire 3 shots while moving one step left, two handed grip. Re-holster on command. (Time limit: 3 seconds)

Seven Yards (12 rounds)

(1) Un-holster, transition the weapon to the support hand. From the ready position, on command, fire 2 shots support hand with two-handedg rip. (Time limit: 3 seconds) Transition the weapon to the weapon hand. Re-holster on command.

(2) From the holstered position, on command, draw, fire 2 shots, two-handed grip. Re-holster on command. (Time limit: 3 seconds)

(3) From a holstered position, on command, draw, fire 4 shots, take one step right, and then fire 4 additional shots, two-handed grip. Re-holster on command. (Time limit: 15 seconds)

Account for 24 shots on target, conduct interim scoring and repair.

(I like this step, which makes scoring easier than trying to score all 50 shots at the end. It also makes it easier to identify problems associated with 15 and 25 yard strings. Most of time, I was keeping all my shots at 3 and 7 in the center circle, so the only scoring I would do at this point is to note any shots outside that zone.)

The official instructions are for shooters running a 12 round magazine to administratively remove the magazine and add one round. Really all that matters is that you set the gun up to have somewhere between 8-12 rounds in the magazine, so that a reload has be done during the 6 shot string (string 2) from the 15 yard line.

15 Yards (14 rounds)

(1) From the holstered position, on command, draw, fire 4 shots, take one step left, and fire 4 additional shots. Re-holster on command. (Time limit 15 seconds)

(2) From the holstered position, on command, draw, fire a total of 6 shots. When necessary, shooter will reload while moving one step to the right, and then fire remaining round(s). Re-holster on command. (Time limit: 20 seconds)

The gun should be loaded with 11+1 or more for the 25 yard string so that all 12 shots can be fired without a reload.

25 Yards (12 rounds)

(1) From the holstered position, on command, draw, fire 6 shots, move one step right and fire 6 additional shots, standing or kneeling. Re-holster on command. (Time limit: 30 seconds)

If you taped up the entire target after the 7 yard string, score 26 more hits and add the two scores together. Or, if you shoot it like I do, just count up “points down” based on whatever is outside the B zone center circle of the ShootSteel repair center.

KR Training February 2023 Newsletter


As you’ll see from this newsletter, we’ve been busy, and most of the classes we’ve scheduled have been selling out. We just added more classes to our April-June schedule, with more to be added next month as we work out our summer and fall plans.


I am available for private weekday training. Doug Greig is also available for private weekday and some weekend sessions. Contact us for details.


We have migrated all our class registrations to ShootingClasses.com, which provides a better interface for users and simplified back end processing of rosters and payments for us. The major update to the KR Training main website is almost complete and should be announced next month.

Upcoming classes with space available:






Courses marked with *** are classes that count toward the Defensive Pistol Skills Program challenge coin.
Prices and registration links are at www.krtraining.com

Click HERE to register for any class.


In the AT2 Force on Force Scenarios course, we run students through more than a dozen different scenarios (home defense, 7-11 and restaurant). They interact with live roleplayers using a variety of simulated weapons, from rubber band guns to SIRT laser guns to firearms equipped with Simunition conversion kits. Very few trainers offer this type of instruction, which is more realistic than any live fire course where students shoot stationary paper or steel targets. A few slots are available for our March 12 class.


Due to the high cost of keeping the videos hosted on Vimeo, Paul and I are going to shut down our Vimeo archive of more than 10 hours of material from his Preparedness Conferences. The videos will be available until March 1. We do not plan to re-host them as free content on youTube, so they will be gone when the Vimeo account closes. All the videos are available as a download for $50.


I attended and passed the DPS First Responder Instructor course in January 2023. I was a guest on the CCW Safe Podcast. Part 2 of my episode can be heard here.


I also traveled to Baton Rouge to teach a Force on Force instructor course, and full day of scenarios in their terrific 2 story shoot house.

Paul Martin hosted another fundraiser for the Central Texas Food Bank, in conjunction with Franklin’s BBQ in Austin. KR Training donated $500 in gift certificates and books to the auction.

Dave Reichek attended and passed the Rangemaster Shotgun Instructor course. An AAR of that class is here.

Here’s some video clips from the recent Two Person Team Tactics course. If there’s interest we’ll offer it again in the fall.

John and Karl have added a lot of content to our Strategies and Standards for Defensive Pistol book. The updated text is with the proof reader, and we anticipate having print and e-book copies of the new edition available in early March.

Most of the KR Training team will be attending the Rangemaster Tactical Conference in Dallas in March, with Karl and John Daub both presenting blocks of training again this year. TacCon will be in Dallas in 2024. This 3 day event provides attendees with the opportunity to learn from more than 2 dozen top national trainers. When registration opens for the 2024 event, we will post the link on our Facebook page. It typically sells out within a month of registration opening. Many KR Training students have attended in the past, and we encourage everyone to consider signing up. TacCon has been an annual event for the past 25 years, but nobody knows how many more years it will continue, as Tom Givens reduces the number of classes and events he is doing as he approaches retirement.

Karl, who was recently appointed to the board of directors of the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network, will be at the ACLDN booth for the NRA Annual Meeting in Indianapolis in April.


One of the bands I play with, “Changes – A Chicago Tribute Band” played a sold out show at the Grand Stafford Theater in downtown Bryan in January. Here’s our version of Colour My World, with me on piano and vocals, and Michael Fortunato on flute.


Keep up with the interesting articles, links, and stories we share in real time. Follow KR Training on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Subscribe to this newsletter or follow this blog (right) for more frequent posts and information. Send me an email to schedule your private weekday training session.

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

KR Training December 2022 Newsletter


The holiday season is always a busy one for me, performing 3 nights a week at Santa’s Wonderland in College Station along with weekend performances with many other bands. Behind the scenes there’s work going on with range and website maintenance, scheduling guest instructors and planning for our own 2023 home and road classes. John and I are also working on an update to our Strategies and Standards for Defensive Pistol Skills book, for early 2023 release.


I am available for private weekday training. Doug Greig is also available for private weekday and some weekend sessions. Contact us for details.

Upcoming classes with space available:




Courses marked with *** are classes that count toward the Defensive Pistol Skills Program challenge coin.
Prices and registration links are at www.krtraining.com

Click HERE to register for any class.


To start the year off, a 3 hour course to knock the rust off your skills. 50 rounds of coaching drills, the 50 round NRA CCW course of fire, and 50 more rounds of shooting the standard Texas License to Carry shooting test or a modified version of that drill tuned up to challenge graduates of our Defensive Pistol Skills courses. Weather permitting students will also get a shoot house run, and a short classroom refresher presentation on recent changes to state and local gun laws. This noon-3pm class is perfect for those that haven’t done any shooting or holster work in the last 30 days or more.

We will also offer a Stop the Bleed training session after the range course, useful as new or refresher training in this topic.


Winter is a great time to practice shotgun skills. In January we are offering a half day Defensive Shotgun class focused on home defense: ammo selection, patterning, shooting from cover, armed movement in structures, and more. Suitable for traditional shotguns and the Shockwave-style firearms. This class is highly recommended for family members in homes with defensive shotguns that need some range time and skills with that gun.


The Personal Tactics Skills is an indoor, lecture, demonstration and hands on course teaching critical concepts about “what to do” in the typical self defense situations. It includes instruction in proper selection and use of pepper spray, and discussion of home and in public armed self defense incidents. It’s part of our Defensive Pistol Skills Program required sequence. Because it’s not a live fire class, many students skip over this important class, only to end up needing it to finish their coin eligibility.

In January we’ve paired it with a 2 hour Handgun Coaching block suitable for shooters of all levels.

Have friends or family members that put “get self defense training” on their New Year’s resolutions? These two classes would be an excellent first step, particularly if combined with an online License to Carry course. Students enrolled in Handgun Coaching could shoot the LTC shooting test as part of that course, and Handgun Coaching would meet state requirements for online LTC completion.


I will be returning to the FRC range in Baton Rouge, Louisiana at the end of January to teach my Force on Force instructor, Tactical Scenarios and More Scenarios courses. Their facility has a 2 story indoor shoot house, which will allow me to run some new scenarios using the stairs and split level design. Registration is open for those courses – come join me on the road!

Indoor range scenario


I continue to research the history of handgun training, and my blog article on the origins of the infamous “pie chart” target got a lot of attention.


Paul recently had the opportunity to attend a tactical driving class.



Doug Greig attended and passed the Department of Public Safety’s new First Responder handgun course. DPS is also allowing instructors to offer the course to carry permit holders, as a higher level tactical and defensive pistol course. Karl is scheduled to attend this training in early January 2023. We will have more details about the course and our plans to offer it to students after more of our team attends the instructor certification course at DPS.

I was a guest on the CCW Safe Podcast. Part 1 of my episode can be heard here.



I frequently perform in the Round Top/Fayette County area with the Black Cat Choir, voted best band in Fayette County for 2021 and 2022. We recorded some audio and video from performances during the October Antique Week. Here’s a version of our cover of Jackson Browne’s “Running On Empty”. The audio from this video got some airplay by a LaGrange radio station in October and November.


Keep up with the interesting articles, links, and stories we share in real time. Follow KR Training on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Subscribe to this newsletter or follow this blog (right) for more frequent posts and information. Send me an email to schedule your private weekday training session.

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

Origins of the Pie Chart Target

The pie chart “shooting correction” target has been around as long as I’ve been shooting. It’s widely shared and is used as basis for guidance in some dry fire apps. It’s also widely derided by high skill level shooters and trainers, with this variant on the pie chart being a frequently shared meme:

Karen Ziegler of Red’s Indoor Range in Austin recently gave me a print copy of the 1971 U.S. Army Pistol Marksmanship Guide, which I have scanned and will share for download in the very near future. A more recent edition of that book is available as a download from archive.org.

Stuck within the pages of her copy of the 1971 edition was a worn copy of a reprint of an article from the May 1962 issue of the NRA’s American Rifleman magazine, titled Pistol Targets “Talk”, written by T/SGT Edmund Abel, of the U.S. Air Force. My research shows that the article was offered as an official reprint from NRA for many years. During the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, bullseye shooting was the second most popular pistol sport. Fast draw was more popular, but the NRA refused to sanction or even acknowledge any non-law enforcement pistol sport (or training class) in which pistols were drawn from a holster at any speed until after 2000. The author assumes that the shots are being fired one handed in the classic bullseye competition style. Modern practical pistol sports did not exist in 1962, and pistol sports had very few women participants, so consider the article in the context of the era in which it was written. Based on the article’s content, with the 8 different errors linked to sections of a bullseye target, if this article wasn’t the original influence for the pie chart, it certainly reflects “conventional wisdom” of that era regarding that topic.

Pistol Targets ‘Talk’ (original article text)

Most pistol shooters have experienced a misplaced shot that has utterly defied explanation.

Since the pistol shooting brotherhood is composed of reasonably intelligent individuals, they tend to consider that misplaced shot on the target has its logical explanation.

Vast strides have been taken in the last decade to improve target pistols to the quality demanded by serious shooters. Ammunition manufacturers have been working successfully to give pistoleers the close-grouping ammunition they require. An experienced pistol shooter’s first response after spotting a flyer should be question his own performance, not that of his equipment — which generally can out-perform the shooter.

Targets can “talk” and tell quite a bit about a shooter’s personal performance if one will take the time to study them. This process is referred to as target analysis.

It is assumed that correct zeroing of the pistol has been accomplished and that correct sight alignment and sight picture were obtained at the time the trigger was squeezed. The possibility of wind or light deflections as well as faulty ammunition and equipment must be excluded.

The targets show depict the 8 most common errors that plague pistol shooters. They are for a right handed shooter, but by reversing the areas from left to right they will show the errors encountered by a southpaw.

A shooter will sometimes not believe he made an error because he thought his front sight remained where it was supposed to be when the bullet left the barrel. He should realize that many of these errors will not be noticed from the working end of the weapon. The reason is quite simple: the recoil covered up the error at the last moment. But it is there.

If a shooter is having difficulty convincing himself that he is making any specific error, he can perform an exercise that will make him a believer. In the military it is called “ball and dummy” firing. In performing this exercise, the shooter is assisted by a coach or an observer. The coach does all the loading of the weapon. Sometimes he may put a live round in the chamber or he may load a dummy or a fired case, the shooter not knowing whether the weapon is loaded or not. Watch what happens when he thinks it’s loaded and the hammer falls on an empty round. Now the shooter will be able to see the error because there is no recoil to hide it.

Once a shooter realizes he is not infallible and accepts the story that his target has to tell, he can then concentrate on his error(s) and will be on the road to better scores.

My Thoughts (Karl)

I spend a lot of my time on the range working with students looking closely at their hands, watching as they manipulate the trigger as they shoot. It’s rare that a student having difficulty shooting accurately produces a target that looks like any of the targets shown in this article, except for perhaps the last one. This is because they are either making multiple errors, or are inconsistent in their technique.

The common factor in all these errors is that fingers other than the trigger finger are moving as the shot is being fired. Often this relates to the shooter trying to add extra grip pressure during the trigger press, and/or sympathetic movement of other fingers of the firing hand occurring when the trigger finger moves.

The author comments that recoil can hide observation of gun movement. Recoil actually occurs after the bullet leaves the barrel. What hides the observation is blinking, either a natural blink or a blink in reaction or anticipation of the shot. The typical eye blink is 100-150 ms (milliseconds). The time a bullet is traveling down the barrel of a 4″-6″ barrel pistol, depending on velocity, is roughly 0.25-0.50 ms.

Shooters that dry fire a lot can develop a problem where they press the trigger properly in dry fire, but still make shooting errors in live fire. Ball & dummy or live/empty practice is a great way to solve these problems. I prefer the Rogers Shooting School approach of “known dummy” training vs the surprise dummy approach the author describes. By loading a magazine alternating live and dummy, and firing two shot drills (bang, click), the shooter can learn to react to recoil and fire a follow up shot with the proper sight picture and trigger press, as opposed to the “aim once, shoot twice” approach popular with many beginner USPSA/IDPA competitors that shoot A/D, A/M or 0/+3 pairs on targets.

A variation on this technique that doesn’t require dummy rounds (and avoids the hassle of manually ejecting and chasing down dummy rounds) is simply insert a magazine, rack the slide, then eject the magazine, and shoot a 2 shot drill, with the second dry fired with an empty chamber. Always load the live rounds into the gun racking the slide with a magazine inserted. Loading a live round into the chamber by dropping it into the barrel with the slide locked, and then closing the slide, can damage the extractor as it smashes into the rim when the slide goes forward.


With the modern two handed high thumb grip, there’s ample opportunity for one or both thumbs to push against the slide. This can result in malfunctions if the thumbs are pressing in against the slide as it cycles. In my experience that error is more common than the gun moving right.


With two handed shooters I rarely see this problem occur.

Breaking the Wrist

A term more commonly used today is “pre ignition push”, which means pulling the whole gun down trying to negate recoil. As the author observes, letting go or relaxing the grip during recoil can be another factor. Relaxing as soon as the shot breaks is a bad habit that recreational shooters and those restricted from firing at realistic defensive speeds (faster than one shot per second) by range rules can develop. It also relates to the “tactical gopher” syndrome, where the shooter immediately relaxes their grip, lowers the gun and looks at the target as quickly as possible, after the shot was fired, to assess where the shot went. (Often this problem includes leaving finger on trigger when the gun is lowered, as the shooter has stopped paying attention to the gun in his or her hand.)

Riding the Recoil

Another variation of pre-ignition push. Shooters that do “one shot” practice can get in to the bad habit of getting off the trigger like it’s on fire, even before the gun is out of recoil, in a race to get the finger back in register (touching the frame above the trigger guard). While this is a safe way to shoot, this habit becomes a problem when the drill is to fire multiple shots without mentally or physically quitting until the entire string is fired. A shot fired with proper followthrough should end with the shooter ready to fire another shot, with sights on target and finger on trigger, until the decision to fire again or return to the finger-off-trigger ready position is made.

Too Much Trigger Finger

The author’s comments about problems using the second or third section of the finger are valid, but less relevant in our current era of wide-body, double stack pistols than they were in the 1911 and single stack target .22 days of the early 1960’s. The problem I see more often is frame dragging, which is the shooter laying the entire trigger finger against the frame, often associated with poor gun fit (gun grip too big for the shooter, or trigger reach too long, or both). It’s a byproduct of people being told to evaluate a gun based on whether it “feels good in your hand”, which is a meaningless standard, and being more concerned with gun capacity than gun fit, even though gun fit plays a significant role in shooting skill.
Frame dragging problems are exacerbated by shooters that mistakenly believe that their firing hand grip should grip harder than the support hand grip, so the support hand grip does little to deter the gun from moving left as trigger finger movement twists it to the left. The vast majority of shooters fail to grip the gun hard enough with their support hand, which should be using 100% of its available grip strength for every shot, not relaxing in any way between shots.

That problem is shown in the picture below.

Frame Dragging

The photo above shows better trigger finger placement, with no contact of the second section of the trigger finger with the frame.

Tightening Grip

This is a very common problem. Gripping the pistol with full grip pressure in the support hand, and strong but not maximal pressure in the firing hand is fatiguing, and there is a tendency, particularly with shooters firing at a slow pace, to relax the grip and re-tighten as the trigger press for the next shot resumes. The best universal correction approach I can offer is to use a SIRT pistol or dry fire magazine or a pistol capable of dead trigger dry fire (full range of trigger motion if the gun is uncocked), having the shooter run the trigger as fast as they can while watching the sight movement. At that maximum pace there is no time to relax and regrip between shots. Once they have the concept of consistent grip, slowing the pace down to strive for a standard such as 5 shots, 5 seconds, 5″ at 5 yards rather than one shot exercises can be useful.

Trigger Jerk

99% of the time it’s not the speed that the trigger is manipulated that is the issue; it’s the movement of all the other fingers during that spastic trigger press. Often the quick punch of the trigger is combined with the incorrect idea that when the sights are in the right location for a fraction of an instant, the shooter’s job is to snatch the trigger as quickly as possible. The wrong but commonly used phrases related to smooth and slow and fast are often given as advice to shooters with this problem, and they don’t help. “Slowing down” often ends up being taking more time between shots aiming more carefully, but still snatching the trigger at the last second producing bad hits even slower than before.

Similarly, doing the wrong or inefficient technique smoothly may never lead to peak performance.

There is no substitute for the dry and live/dry combined practice necessary to learn how to press the trigger, at any speed, without moving the gun out of alignment. Slowing down and being smooth can make producing the right outcome easier, or make it easier for the shooter to pay more attention to what is happening to correct errors, but slow and smooth by itself, without correct technique, isn’t a solution. Slow and smooth may never lead to fast and accurate if errors creep back in as speed increases. In general, that statement applies to all the shooting errors in the author’s original article and to all the advice from the pie chart.

KR Training Sept/Oct 2022 Newsletter


The last 30 days have been very busy, with more than a dozen classes, public speaking engagements, school safety presentations, expert witness work on court cases and private lessons. October will be busy (most of our classes have already sold out) and then we get a fall break as our annual “no live fire classes on weekends during deer season” agreement with neighbors takes effect.


I am available for private weekday training. Doug Greig is also available for private weekday and some weekend sessions. Contact us for details.


Use the discount code “IAN22” to get 20% off any or all of the Paul Martin Preparedness video collection. Offer expires Oct 31!

Upcoming classes with space available:



Courses marked with *** are classes that count toward the Defensive Pistol Skills Program challenge coin.
Prices and registration links are at www.krtraining.com


Due to student requests we added another Basic Rifle class on Sunday, October 23rd, in the afternoon from 1-5p. This class is ideal for the new rifle owner (AR, AK or any other rifle with a shoulder stock, no AR/AK pistols) who wants to learn shooting fundamentals, maintenance and zeroing.


Also due to student requests, we added a 2 hour range only version of our popular Defensive Pistol Skills 1 course on October 15, from 10-12. Use it as a refresher if you’ve taken the class before, or a short course to learn new skills!


The Defensive Pistol Skills 3 class is the highest level live fire course required for our Defensive Pistol Skills Program challenge coin. Graduation from DPS-2 is required to attend. DPS-3 includes shooting and written tests, and graduates also earn an NRA CCW program certificate. Russell S, in the picture below, recently completed all the coursework and earned his challenge coin. If you have passed DPS-2 and haven’t taken DPS-3 yet, we only offer the course 1-2 times a year, and cool fall weather is a great time to attend!


We taught multiple Force on Force scenario courses, in Memphis and at home. Here are a few pics from those classes.

Memphis graduates
Memphis indoor range scenario
medical simulation in FOF scenario
Caleb Causey from Lone Star Medics assisted with A-Zone FOF classes


Paul Martin attended and passed the Department of Public Safety’s new First Responder handgun course. DPS is also allowing instructors to offer the course to carry permit holders, as a higher level tactical and defensive pistol course. We will have more details about the course and our plans to offer it to students after more of our team attends the instructor certification course at DPS.

Paul was also a presenter at the annual Texas Bar Association conference on firearms law. He has shared his presentation on self-defense legal services on his blog.


I was a guest on another episode of the “That Weems Guy” podcast. This episode was recorded awhile back but Lee reposted it to his podcast stream so new subscribers could see it.



Earlier this year I released a remixed, remastered compilation of my late 1980’s/early 1990’s electronic instrumental work, where I wrote, arranged and played all the instruments on each track. “Now I’ve Found You” is an upbeat Latin & funk song with lots of fancy piano playing in the solo section.


Keep up with the interesting articles, links, and stories we share in real time. Follow KR Training on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Subscribe to this newsletter or follow this blog (right) for more frequent posts and information. Send me an email to schedule your private weekday training session.

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

KR Training August 2022 Newsletter


Due to a special request we have added a multi-day block of NRA instructor training!



Update: the scholarship slots have all been claimed.

Upcoming classes with space available:




Courses marked with *** are classes that count toward the Defensive Pistol Skills Program challenge coin. Any pistol course taught by in-house staff can count toward your elective hours. More class dates through end of December are listed here.
Prices and registration links are at www.krtraining.com


Due to student requests we added another Basic Pistol 1 class on Saturday, August 27. This will include the Gun Selection clinic. This class is for people with little or no shooting experience and those wanting an opportunity to try different guns before making a gun purchase decision.

We also have Basic Pistol 2 (which includes the range work necessary to complete the online Texas License to Carry course), and Personal Tactics Skills offered back to back on Sept 10. The PTS course teaches “what to do” in the most common self defense scenarios. The class includes home defense, vehicle defense, pepper spray and other topics. Highly recommended for ALL carry permit holders.

Learning home defense tactics


Our fall “force on force” training will happen Saturday Sept 24 and Sunday Sept 25. We only offer this training twice a year. The Saturday course (Tactical Scenarios) will include the entire AT-2 course (required for our Defensive Pistol Skills Program) plus more scenarios from our AT-7 course and scenarios incorporating medical skills (co-taught with Caleb Causey of Lone Star Medics).

Force on force scenario
Medical scenario

The Sunday class will include more complex scenarios, including some that allow physical contact (similar to Craig Douglas’ ECQC course) along with disengagement, harsh words, pepper spray, and (Simunition) gun. Dave Reichek, who has been a role player for multiple years of Craig Douglas’ Experiential Labs run at the Rangemaster Tactical Conference, will be co-teaching this course with me.


Dave Reichek and Doug Greig will teach a 6 hour Red Dot Pistol Course on Sept 11 (Sunday). This course focuses on red dot specific knowledge and skills. Loaner guns are available for those that want to learn about red dot sights but have not yet upgraded their gear to have one on a pistol.

Sean Hoffman shooting a red dot pistol


Back in June, Tom Givens and I co-taught a session of my Historical Handgun class. I wrote about it in this blog post.

A dedicated group of advanced students attended the Advanced Training 4 class in early August. Due to the small class size we were able to add some bonus drills working around and in the new range car to the course. See what you missed in the instagram video. We will offer AT-4 again in summer 2023.


Doug Greig attended and passed the Department of Public Safety’s new First Responder handgun course. DPS is also allowing instructors to offer the course to carry permit holders, as a higher level tactical and defensive pistol course. We will have more details about the course and our plans to offer it to students after more of our team attends the instructor certification course at DPS.

Karl and John were guests on the Concealed Carry Texas podcast.


Our book “Strategies and Standards for Defensive Pistol” was the Book of the Month for the A Girl and a Gun club, and Karl participated in the book club Zoom meeting in late July.

Back in June I was a guest instructor at the Surgical Speed Shooting Summit. Lee Weems had several of us guest instructors on his podcast in early July.


Earlier this year I released an album with updated mixes and remastered tracks. This song features Mick McMillan on lead guitar. For more videos from all my recent musical activities, visit the Karl Rehn Music youtube channel.


Keep up with the interesting articles, links, and stories we share in real time. Follow KR Training on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Subscribe to this newsletter or follow this blog (right) for more frequent posts and information. Send me an email to schedule your private weekday training session.

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

Historical Handgun Course (June 2022)

Back in June 2022 I co-taught a session of my Historical Handgun course with Tom Givens. Tom did a 4 hour lecture, similar to what he presented at the Master Instructor course. Due to summer heat we started the day on the range, shooting courses of fire from the 1910’s to the 2000’s.

Bo Wallace, one student in the course, brought vintage gear to use.

Bo dressed to shoot the 1940’s US Army pistol qual
rear view of 1940’s gear
For the 1920’s Fitzgerald qual, Bo had vintage cartridge pouches and classic wheelgun
Holster closeup

I had Bo pose for some action pics after we got done shooting the 1920’s qual.

Hipshooting the B21-X (Fitzgerald) target
One handed aimed shooting at distance

I’ve written about the development of the B21 to the B21X to the B27 in this previous blog post.

Video of me shooting the 1920’s qual we fired in class is here

During the class we shot part of the 1996 Border Patrol/INS pistol qual. The full qual is 72 rounds, with strings from 3 to 50 yards. Shot on the TQ-15 target, it’s a good and thorough test of pistol skills. Back in that day they were carrying Beretta DA/SA .40 caliber pistols.

INS 1996 course of fire
TQ-15 target
Part 1 of 1996 INS qual
Part 2 of 1996 INS qual
Part 3 of INS pistol qual

We also shot the 2013 Marine Military Pistol qualification test

During his presentation, Tom discussed the class “National Match” course of fire:

  • 10 rounds slow fire, 1 minute per shot, at 50 yards
  • 10 rounds, 2 strings of 5 shots, 20 secs per string at 25 yards
  • 10 rounds, 2 strings of 5 shots, 10 secs per string
  • 300 points possible. Course is shot on the B8 target
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NRA_Precision_Pistol

He showed an example of J. Henry Fitzgerald, in his 1930 book “Shooting”, firing using a two handed position that looked like the classic Weaver stance.

Read more about the history and technique of the Weaver stance here

Tom also discussed target development, including the Langrish limbless target, which had six 6″ circles (same size as a modern plate rack target, similar to 5.5″ B8 target center). This target was developed in the 1930’s.

My Historical Handgun course is available in 1/2 day (range only), 1 and 2-day versions, with the 2 day version including 8 hours of lecture and 8 hours on the range. Participants do not have to have vintage gear and can shoot all the drills with one handgun type, although those that have a variety of pistols and revolvers are encouraged bring a 1911, a DA/SA, a revolver and a striker fired pistol to get maximum fun out of the class.

I haven’t yet scheduled the 2023 Historical Handgun course at my home range, and I’m always interested in taking that class on the road.

KR Training July 2022 Newsletter


Upcoming classes with space available:





Courses marked with *** are classes that count toward the Defensive Pistol Skills Program challenge coin. Any pistol course taught by in-house staff can count toward your elective hours. More class dates through end of December are listed here.
Prices and registration links are at www.krtraining.com


A private group requested that I offer the Active Shooter course designed by the Department of Public Safety. They have allowed me to open that class up to general registration. This is day 1 of the 2-day course. It includes 200 rounds of range work (in the morning) plus lecture and indoor scenarios in the afternoon. We will likely offer day 2 of this curriculum on a weekday in August, for those that want the complete 2 day course and official state certification in this material. Registration is now open.

Threats and no-shoots


I will be in Memphis, TN teaching Force on Force Instructor and Tactical Scenarios the weekend of August 27-28. Classroom will be at JNISSI Safety Consultants and the scenario class will be held at The Gun Store & Range on Winchester Road. These classes need a few more people to register so they ‘make’ so please spread the word to people in the Memphis area about them.

Force on force scenario


Lone Star Medics returns in August for their one day TacMedEDC medical response course, and “Cut and Stuff” – a combo class combining knife related medic skills with a 1/2 day of knife training from Allen Elishewitz. Slots are still available in these classes.

medical skills training


I was one of a dozen instructors invited to the Surgical Speed Shooting Summit by SureFire’s Andy Stanford. Joining me at that event were other national trainers, including Greg Ellifritz, John Hearne, Lee Weems, John Holschen, John Johnston, Melody Lauer, Don Redl, Claude Werner and many others.

I shared videos, photos and a writeup about the event on these two blog posts.

In June I accepted an invitation to join the board of directors for the Armed Citizen Legal Defense Network. They are the organization we recommend for armed citizen self defense legal services.

Paul Martin will be training with the Department of Public Safety, getting certified to teach the new First Responder handgun course. Fire & EMS personnel in rural counties that complete this new state certified course will be allowed to carry while on duty. DPS is also allowing instructors to offer the course to carry permit holders, as a higher level tactical/defensive pistol course. We will have more details about the course and our plans to offer it to students in September.


In June the Texas T-Birds played a fun backyard party show with help from two friends that sat in with the band. Here’s part of our jam on the classic “Takin Care of Business”. We will be performing Friday July 15 at College Station’s Calvary Court Canteen from 7-10 pm.


Keep up with the interesting articles, links, and stories we share in real time. Follow KR Training on Facebook or Twitter. Subscribe to this newsletter or follow this blog (right) for more frequent posts and information. Send me an email to schedule your private weekday training session.

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

Surgical Speed Shooting Summit AAR Part 2 (June 2022)

I was honored to be invited to be one of the guest instructors for the Surgical Speed Shooting Summit, run by SureFire’s Andy Stanford at the Tactical Response facility in Camden, Tennessee.

This is Part 2 of my AAR. Part one is here.

American Combat Shooting Club

Back in 1988, when I naively volunteered to be Club Secretary for our local USPSA club, an old shooter advised me “people with guns shouldn’t form clubs”. My experiences serving as an officer in several other clubs in the next decade showed me that he was right.

Andy inducted all the invited trainers into his American Combat Shooting Club on Thursday during the Summit. I’m not sure what his plans for the club are, but since it’s set up as a benevolent dictatorship, I’m happy to be member if there are no dues or committees.

My Notes

Thursday Andy talked about the history of handgun training, and noted that Ken Hackathorn was the first to leave Gunsite and become a traveling trainer. He mentioned Chuck Taylor, Michael Harries and Clint Smith as other Gunsite instructors from the early days that were important figures in training history.

Andy defined two eras of Jeff Cooper’s work: 1961-1965 – the Big Changes era, when the core ideas came into being, and 1965-1982, when there were few changes to what Cooper and his acolytes were teaching.

Andy taught us his breathing approach for slow fire pistol marksmanship: in through the nose, slack out of trigger. Out through the mouth, press the trigger as you exhale.

He described the focus of his interest in training as working to instruct the “Barely Trainable” to the “Almost Self-Motivated”. That describes many gun owners, including many that attend most of the training courses offered by traveling trainers. Competition shooters and instructors tend to be more self-motivated. At the bottom end, below “barely trainable”, are the once-a-year-or-less shooters that are usually family members of gun enthusiasts. These are the folks that don’t like shooting, don’t really want to apply themselves to getting better at it, are never going to carry, and at best can be trained to point shoot a target at 3 yards, keeping their hits in the 8 ring or better of a B-27.

He discussed Tom Givens’ 3 speeds of shooting: Quickly, Carefully, and Precisely, and how those concepts relate back to quality of sight picture and speed of trigger press.

John Holschen contributed his thoughts on trigger control, using the phrases “get on it”, “ease through it” and “get off it”. I intend to try those phrases out with students in an upcoming class to see if they resonate more with students than what I say now.

Andy discussed the Jim Cirillo standard (which is also a drill Ken Hackathorn is credited with inventing), which is 1 head shot on 3 separate targets (3 shots total), in 3 seconds starting with gun concealed and holstered.

On Friday, during presentations by other trainers, I made these notes:

Claude Werner pointed out that a Glock 19 is the same weight as a can of soup, and as large as a box of Grape Nuts cereal. His point was that for those new to carrying, even the Glock 19 seems like a large, heavy gun. Claude is one of the few trainers really focused on working with smaller guns, including guns in calibers less than .380, as viable carry options for people with regular jobs. His concern is that too many firearms trainers exist in a world where being “made” for carrying has little/no consequence. Most people outside the firearms industry often have to weigh the risks of carrying against employer policies, where being caught carrying might not only end their employment with that firm, but result in significant difficulty finding a new job in that field if their reason for dismissal was shared with future employers.

John Holschen discussed the importance of learning to shoot moving targets, particularly targets moving in realistic ways, for example the target only begins moving after the shooter begins to draw.

John referenced Mike Wilkerson’s PhD dissertation on vision and shooting in his talk. (I am working to track down a copy of this work.)

Someone (apologies for not noting who it was) cited Thomas Sowell’s observation that in reality, there are “no solutions, only tradeoffs”. That statement applies to many different aspects of defensive shooting and particularly to technique.

John Hearne shared a great tip about replacing the bottom two buttons on your carry shirt with sewed on buttons (false buttons) and snaps. I actually went to Hobby Lobby upon my return from the Summit and purchased some snaps to try on a few of my favorite carry shirts.

Greg Ellifritz cited Beasley’s Hand Surgery manual as his source for the claim that losing your little finger can cause a 33% (or more) reduction in grip strength. This article discusses the issue in more detail.

The role of the little finger in proper pistol grip is significant. A lot of popular subcompact guns only have 3-finger frames, needing a pinky shelf magazine to provide a place for the pinky finger to grip the pistol. Unfortunately the 3-finger frame is an impediment to good dry fire practice (because the gun can’t be easily racked to reset the trigger with the empty pinky shelf magazine inserted) and quick reloads, because the pinky finger has to be moved away from the mag opening to eject and insert a magazine. The 3-finger frame pistols are popular with untrained, carry permit level gun buyers, but 4 finger length guns like the Glock 43X/48 or SIG 365XL are more popular as small carry guns with higher level shooters.

Lee Weems discussed the “holster ready” position, which is hand on the holstered gun. He explained that for most people, a draw to first shot time from “holster ready” is 0.5-1.0, with an average of 0.75, with the biggest variation in draw time caused by moving the concealment garment and establishing the grip. That tracks with my own observations in coaching students and instructors in improving their draw technique and speed.

More from the Range

Claude Werner, the Tactical Professor, ran everyone through a dry fire program using scaled targets and a live fire drill (with full size targets) for the LAPD Retired Officer’s qualification course. Claude’s version was a little more difficult than a version run on a B-27 target, though.

Claude Werner demonstrating ultra close range, tiny scaled target dry fire
Claude’s dry fire target
My live fire target on Claude’s drill

Allan McBee used his “Three Stooges” drill in his block. Start with 5 in the gun. Draw and shoot a close big target with 3 rounds, shoot a target half that size with 2 rounds, reload and shoot a very small target with 1 round.

Here’s video of students shooting the drill.

Michael Green with James Yeager

James Yeager made an appearance at the Sunday afternoon wrapup, where all of the instructors and attendees each stated at least one thing they learned from the weekend. I was honored that several of the attendees mentioned things I had covered in my sessions were their takeaways. Andy, who also performs and records as Whitey Winchester, entertained us with Gringo Pistolero, Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner and a few other songs on accordion, before switching to guitar and playing us one of his newest songs.

Many thanks to Andy Stanford for putting this together, and to everyone at Tactical Response for being a great host of this unique and excellent event!

Surgical Speed Shooting Summit AAR (June 2022)

I was honored to be invited to be one of the guest instructors for the Surgical Speed Shooting Summit, run by SureFire’s Andy Stanford at the Tactical Response facility in Camden, Tennessee.

Instructors and staff for the Surgical Speed Shooting Summit June 2022

Andy’s concept was to put together a ‘review board’ of sorts to discuss his curriculum for his Surgical Speed Shooting class. He originally put the course together in the 1990’s. It reflected the best knowledge of its time, spanning Andy’s studies starting in the 1970’s under Jeff Cooper and other Gunsite instructors and the Southwest Pistol League, and later, Ron Avery, Greg Hamilton, John Holschen and others in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

from L-R: Michael Green, Andy Stanford and John Holschen

On Thursday, Andy would present his current vision of the curriculum to us, lecture and range time.

Andy used a rule of 3’s drill (he credited Ken Hackathorn with the concept) as a cold evaluation of all the trainers on Thursday, and again on Saturday for all the attendees. The drill is simple: at 3 yards, draw and fire 3 shots into a 3″ circle, in 3 seconds. Shots later than 3.00 on the timer don’t count. Edge and touched-the-line hits don’t count. Run the drill 3 times. All shots within time and in the circles passes.

As we found on Thursday, the 3-in-a-row consistency element made it hard. Only 3 trainers shot all 3 strings clean. Lee Weems went on to win the trainers shootoff. On Saturday, we used students performance on that cold drill as a way to group them by skill level, and those that shot it clean (I think there were 5 out of about 50 attendees that shot that day), were in a shootoff Sunday morning. The shootoff drill was more complex and included a reload, and shots on 3 different sized spots on the Surgical Speed Shooting target.

Friday, each of the invited trainers would get 30 minutes to present their own ideas to contribute or rebut what Andy had presented.

A pic from my Friday presentation on issues related to hand size and strength
Lee Weems (Rangemaster, First Person Safety)

Then on Saturday and Sunday, 4 dozen students would attend a 2 day course co-taught by more than a dozen trainers, getting about a half hour of instruction each day from each trainer.

This format was different from the Rangemaster Tactical Conference or other multi-instructor shooting events, because Saturday morning, Andy split us into three 4-person teams and gave us about 30 minutes to figure out what we were going to teach in our 2 hour block. A sports analogy would be like an all star game, where 4 head coaches, each used to running their own team, told to work together to coach the all star team. On Sunday Andy re-arranged the teams and we repeated the exercise, teaching different material.

Michael “Bobo” Bethancourt teaching

I joked to the other trainers that it was like a corporate team-building retreat for instructors, where we had to work together, stepping in and out of lead instructor and range assistant modes, and doing our best not to give students conflicting instruction. As a result of hosting classes, teaching at conferences, taking classes and interacting with other teachers online over the past 20-30 years, many of us knew each other and were familiar with our material. The two days of discussion prior to the weekend training gave us more time to share ideas, but we weren’t paired into teams and given clear direction until Saturday morning, when we had 30 minutes to get organized.

John Johnston teaching

As Andy explained to us: “there are two kinds of people – the ones that make a list a week before they have to travel, and those that wake up the morning of the trip, realizing they have to do laundry to have clothes to pack. You have probably figured out which one of those I am.”

Melody Lauer teaching

Here’s a collection of short video clips taken at random times during the event.

showing my best side
Andy Stanford
John Hearne teaching

John Hearne (Rangemaster, Two Pillars Training) came better prepared than many of us, with a truck full of steel targets, and all the gear he uses in his Cognitive Pistol classes. The video below shows a sample of the light boxes and how he uses them.

Hearne’s targets

More about this event in part two, click here to read it.

KR Training May-June 2022 Newsletter


Upcoming classes with space available:




Courses marked with *** are classes that count toward the Defensive Pistol Skills Program challenge coin. Any pistol course taught by in-house staff can count toward your elective hours. More class dates through end of December are listed here.
Prices and registration links are at www.krtraining.com


By popular demand we have added a session of our Red Dot Pistol Essentials course on Sunday July 10. This will be the full 6 hour class, going in depth on skills and technical knowledge about selecting, mounting and running a red dot sight on your pistol. Don’t have a dot sight on your gun yet? We have loaner guns available for use in this class.

On July 23 afternoon we will be offering our indoor Personal Tactics Skills class. This class, which is required to earn your Defensive Pistol Skills Program Challenge Coin, combines lecture, red gun work, (inert) pepper spray drills, and Image Based Decisional Drills to give you answers to all the “what should I do if…?” to common self-defense scenarios. Most self-defense incidents can be resolved by awareness, body language, communication, movement, use of pepper spray, or presentation of a firearm without firing. Shooting guns is fun, and gun skills are important, but a well rounded defensive firearm student needs to be competent in all the other topics. Those skills can’t be developed in dry or live fire.

This course is excellent for people new to self-defense, including those that are only armed in the home, or are not comfortable with the thought of using deadly force for self-defense.

We have paired this course with Basic Pistol 2 / Online LTC Completion that morning, so people can complete the range portion of the LTC class, or just improve their basic defensive pistol skills. They can get some live fire training that morning and then come indoors for the afternoon lecture course.

NEWSLETTER SPECIAL: Attend both Basic 2 and Personal Tactics Skills for the combo price of $125! Mention this discount when you enroll to get the reduced price.


We will run Thursday evening USPSA matches starting May 26, through end of July, on selected Thursdays. These matches are suitable for anyone that had training in how to draw from open carry, or has a pistol caliber carbine. USPSA membership not required. Limited to 18 shooters. Matches start at 6, you can show up as late as 7. 4-5 stages, 100-ish rounds per match, $25 entry fee. Pre-registration is required. Pay match fee in cash on event day. Stages remain set up after the match for open practice until it gets dark. Highly recommended for DPS-1/2/3 graduates that have never shot competition.
Register here for the May-June matches.


I was a guest speaker at the 2022 Texas Handgun Association annual meeting.

John Daub and I both made appearances on the new License2Kari podcast.



In May the Midnight Express band performed a big show at the Wolf Pen Amphitheater in College Station, in our configuration as “Changes”, a Chicago tribute band. We recorded multitrack audio and video at that show, but videos are not yet complete. This month’s Song of the Month is from our Wolf Pen show from 2021, peforming Chicago’s “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is”.


In May I released a collection of my 1980’s and 1990’s electronic jazz compositions, with tracks remixed and remastered. Electrophonic Expanded is now available on all the streaming music services for your listening pleasure.


As a thank you for clicking on the link and reading the entire newsletter, you can get $15 off any $75-150 class, $10 off any cheaper class, a free KR Training hat or a free signed copy of our book, for any new June or July class registration.


Keep up with the interesting articles, links, and stories we share in real time. Follow KR Training on Facebook or Twitter. Subscribe to this newsletter or follow this blog (right) for more frequent posts and information. Send me an email to schedule your private weekday training session.

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

Small Gun Class 2022

Each May I run a session of our Defensive Pistol Skills BUG (Small gun) class, as temperatures rise and people are more likely to carry small guns, often in a pocket or in other non-belt-holster methods.

In each class I collect performance data comparing small gun skill to skill with a larger gun carried in a belt holster, worn concealed with a cover garment. The data from 2019 and 2020 classes is here.

We did not run a small gun class in 2021 due to COVID.

drills from a small gun class

We used our Three Seconds or Less test (3SL) as the course of fire for data collection, as we have in the past.

2022 Class Data

14 shooters

Small Guns: 3 snub revolvers (2 S&W, 1 Ruger LCR). 3 Glock 42 .380’s, one Glock 44, one Glock 17 open carried (not a small gun!), Glock 44 .22, two S&W Shields, two SIG 365 9mms, and one Taurus G3C.

Large Guns: Seven guns that were either G48, G19 or G17. One CZP09, one SIG 365, one SIG 320, one M&P 2.0, one HK VP9 and one HKP30LS.

Scoring: 5 points for each acceptable hit (20 hits possible, 100 pts possible). Earlier versions of the 3SL test shot on USPSA and IDPA targets awarded points for hits outside the 5 point zone. Current version is scored on a 5 or 0 basis.

Average small gun score: 76.07 out of 100 possible
Average large gun score: 73.57 out of 100 possible

Performance loss from shooting the smaller gun: +2.5%

This was an unusual result, as some shooters shot 10-15 points worse with their larger gun.

Prior to shooting the test with the small gun, shooters had fired 100+ rounds out of their small guns, practicing the different strings of the 3SL test. They switched to their larger guns for the final retest. I had let some shooters get away with shooting their “small gun” from a belt holster worn open carry, but for the large gun test I required everyone to shoot from concealment. I believe this affected the results quite a bit.

For example, looking at the 3 shooters that used snub revolvers drawn from pockets for the small gun part, and 9mm striker fired guns drawn from belt holsters (concealment) for the large gun test, their snub scores were 45, 70, and 80, and large gun scores were 60, 55 and 75. Two of them shot better with the snub than the large gun. Difficulty drawing the large gun from concealment may have been a factor.

One shooter fired a 75 with a Shield and a 55 with an M&P. Another shot a 70 with their LCR and a 55 with their G19. Again, I think that poor concealment draw skills (which were observed during the big gun test) were a big factor.

Students passing the 3SL test with 70% or higher score using their small gun: 9 of 14 (65% passed)_
Students passing the 3SL test with 70% or higher score using their primary gun: 9 of 14 (65% passed).

Students passing the 3SL test at the 90% level (desired) using their small gun: 4 of 14 (28% passed).
Students passing the 3SL test at the 90% level using their primary gun: 0 of 14 (0% passed)

Historical Data

Historical average of the entire data set of 105 shooters:

Small Gun score: 75/100
Larger gun score: 82/100

Students passing the 3SL test with 70% or higher score using their small gun: 73 of 105 (69% passed)_
Students passing the 3SL test with 70% or higher score using their primary gun: 20 of 105 (19% passed).

Students passing the 3SL test at the 90% level (desired) using their small gun: 88 of 105 (83% passed).
Students passing the 3SL test at the 90% level using their primary gun: 37 of 105 (35% passed)

Looking at the historical data set, those in the “low” skill level (unable to pass the 3SL test with the primary gun), dropped an average of 0.8 points switching to the smaller gun, indicating a general lack of shooting skill regardless of which gun was used.

Those in the “medium” skill level (70-89 points on the 3SL test shot with their primary gun), dropped an average of 6.2 points switching to the smaller gun.

Those in the high skill level (90+ points with primary gun) also dropped an average of 6.2 points.

Interpreting Data

The Three Seconds or Less (3SL) test was designed to define an acceptable minimum performance standard for concealed carry pistol shooters. I describe as a simple go/no-go assessment. If you can pass at 70% with a particular combination of gear, that configuration is probably OK to carry in public. Being able to shoot 90% means you are well prepared and not just “OK”. 90% on the 3SL test is roughly equal to IDPA Sharpshooter or USPSA upper C class skill.

The data shows what we already knew: smaller guns are harder to shoot. Those with lower skill level shoot poorly regardless of gear. Those at higher skill levels shoot higher overall scores, but drop more points on average when switching to the smaller gun. That’s a result different from what was observed in years past, with a smaller data set. About half (46%) shooters capable of shooting 90% with their primary gun couldn’t do it with the smaller gun (17 of 37).


It’s convenient to have a large and a small gun, used as weather and type of wardrobe dictates. It’s good to be able to shoot at least 70% on the 3SL test with both, better to be able to shoot 90% with both. Being able to shoot a 70% or a 90+% score with the primary gun and gear configuration does NOT guarantee that you’ll be able to do it with the small gun.

Small guns are harder to shoot fast and accurate, deep concealment carry methods slow down draw times — but violent attackers are not going to attack more slowly to compensate for the difficulties imposed by the gear you’ve chosen.

Texas Handgun Association 2022 conference

I just got back from attending and speaking at the Texas Handgun Association‘s 2022 conference, held at the YO Ranch hotel in Kerrville, Texas May 13-15.

The Texas Handgun Association was originally the Texas Concealed Handgun Instructor Association, and I was one of the organization officers (vice president) in 1997-1998. Growth of my business caused me to step away from that organization (as well as shooting competition and being a match director for local USPSA and Steel Challenge matches). Since 1997, the organization expanded its focus to all carry permit holders, and more recently expanded its mission to represent and serve all handgun owners.

The full conference was a 3 day event that included range training, hands on medical training, active shooter training, instructor-focused sessions on marketing and social media, advice and information from criminal defense attorneys that have worked Texas deadly force cases, and my own presentations on realistic standards and the history of handgun training. I was able to attend several sessions on Saturday and the panel discussion Sunday morning.

My presentations

On Saturday afternoon I talked about realistic standards for handgun training, which was of interest to both instructors and armed Texans at the meeting. In the new permitless carry era, many Texans that choose to carry may not choose to take the state carry permit course or shoot the classic LTC test. That leaves them with no answer to the question: how good should I aspire to be with my pistol to be well prepared for a defensive shooting incident?

Using material excerpted from John Daub’s recent “Minimum Competency” writing and his presentation at the 2022 Rangemaster Tactical Conference, I discussed the failings of the Texas carry permit test (target selection, time limits, lack of requirement to draw from a holster) and referenced the standards used by Tom Givens in his program, which has produced 67+ successful defensive gun uses with a 96% hit ratio when shots were fired.

I concluded my one hour presentation with three recommendations for higher standards:

  1. Draw from concealment and hit the 5.5″ center of an NRA B-8 in two seconds or less (3-7 yards)
    99% of carry permit holders get no training in proper draw technique and never practice this skill under time pressure, yet it’s one of the most critical defensive skills. I explained during the talk that even though many ranges do not allow live fire draw practice, that dry fire practice was free, and simple, free shooting timer phone apps can be used to provide the time pressure. Even for those uninterested/unwilling to attend training beyond the state minimum, there are dozens (hundreds?) of videos from qualified trainers on youTube teaching draw technique. There are no barriers other than low motivation preventing any handgun owner from developing this essential skill. Start at 3 yards and increase the target distance until a 2 second first shot at 7 yards can be accomplished 10 times out of 10 tries.
  2. Gila Hayes’ 5x5x5 drill. Five shots, five seconds, 5 inches, five yards.
    Again the B-8 target can be used, with its 5.5″ center, and the difficulty of the drill can be adjusted for shooter skill. Practice the drill starting aimed at the target, then from ready, then from a partial draw (firing hand gripping gun, support hand lifting garment or high on chest), then from a true hands at sides concealment draw. With each change in start position the available time to make the shots decreases.
  3. The no-reload F.A.S.T. Two shots to the 3×5″ area, 4 shots to the 8″ circle, using the F.A.S.T. target at 3-7 yards. Can be started from ready, partial draw or full concealment draw. Eliminating the reload makes the drill simpler and puts the focus on learning two shooting speeds: carefully (two head shots) and quickly (4 body shots). Many permit holders and armed citizens don’t carry a spare magazine, and both John Correia’s and Tom Givens’ data set indicate that the need to reload an empty gun during defensive incidents is extremely rare (odds of less than 0.1%). Eliminating the reload removes the requirement to have two magazines, to have a magazine carrier on the belt, to have a magazine loaded to a specific capacity (one round) for each rep of the drill, to drop magazines on the ground (many gun owners with no experience in defensive firearms training are reluctant to do this, particularly at ranges with hard concrete floors), and no need bend over every 6 rounds to pick up a dropped magazine.

Dry Fire Gear

I discussed the importance of frequent dry practice, and dispelled the gun shop myth that dry firing centerfire pistols will damage them. Often gun owners will make their dry fire practice unnecessarily complex by trying to use dummy rounds or snap caps, which have to be hand cycled for every shot. I explained about modern dry fire gadgets such as the DryFireMag, SIRT pistol and Coolfire Trainer, each that allow dryfire practice for multiple trigger presses without developing the training scar of racking the slide between each dry shot.

History of Handgun Training

My Sunday morning talk was a 90 minute version of the 4 hour lecture presented in the Historical Handgun one day course. I started with events in 1880’s and progressed decade by decade, identifying important events and individuals that produced changes in handgun training and technique.

Joining Texas Handgun Association

I recommend a membership in THA to any Texas handgunner, carry permit, instructor, or not. At $30/year it’s a great value. They put out a weekly email newsletter with links to the best articles from blogs and other sources each week. They plan to expand their efforts in 2023 to offer some regional meetings and will offer the multi day conference again in May 2023. I’ve been invited to present again next year.

Electrophonic Expanded album released

Back in the 1980’s and 1990’s I wrote and recorded a lot of instrumental music. The songs spanned a very wide range of genres, involving a lot of different collaborators. I had compiled that material into album called “Lost in Time” that was a single CD length greatest hits package. A few years ago I let it slip out of print and did not renew the licenses to keep the tracks online on the streaming services.

A few years ago I revisited the idea of re-releasing that old material as a two CD set, one mainly electronic and high energy tracks including everything on my 1989 Electrophonic cassette release, the other mostly acoustic & new age work including everything on my 1991 The Illusion of Competence cassette release.

Streaming Links

Apple Music

Amazon Music Unlimited


it’s also on Spotify but I don’t have a Spotify account to look up the URL

It’s also live on a bunch of other streaming services

Electrophonic Track List

  1. Suburbia (Elephant Jam) – This came out of a jam Peter McNutt and I collaborated on, trying to use all the different keyboards in his studio, so it incorporates a bunch of different styles and themes. Remastered from the original digital audio tape (DAT).
  2. Autumn Leaves/Summertime – My arrangement of these two seasonal classics, for a quintet that had drums, bass, piano, organ and vibes. The different instruments trade off as the time signature jumps around from 4/4 to 3/4, including a section where the three lead instruments trade 3-bar phrases (normal jazz players trade 4 bar phrases), and Summertime is played in 5/4 time, just because I was trying to put as many cool ideas into each track as I could during that era. Remastered from the original digital audio tape (DAT).
  3. Samba for Steve – Chris Bennett helped with the drum programming on this one, playing the part live on a set of drum pads with MIDI triggers. Includes a Chameleon (Herbie Hancock) quote at the jump where the song changes from piano-based samba to synth based funk. This original is one of the few that’s been played live, mostly at Luigi’s with the house band. Remastered from the original digital audio tape (DAT).
  4. Night Song 2 (electric) – This 7/8+5/8 ballad started out as an acoustic guitar song, was reworked into a synthy ambient song for electrophonic, and was re-recorded in its original acoustic form for The Illusion of Competence. Remastered from the original digital audio tape (DAT).
  5. Now I’ve Found You – This is a fairly straightforward 4/4 funk/fusion jazz track with some odd meter parts and an Eleanor Rigby quote in the piano solo. Remastered from the original digital audio tape (DAT).
  6. Round Body Midnight and Soul – The idea here was to take the jazz standards Round Midnight, and Body and Soul, and put them in a mixmaster. I make copies of the charts for each and cut them into sections with scissors, taping them back together in a structure where the A part of Round Midnight led into the B section of Body and Soul, and the final section changed songs every 2 bars (2 bars from Round Midnight, 2 bars from Body and Soul, and so on) to make a new melody. The electrophonic version of this track was solo piano only. I went back to the original MIDI file, had Michael Holleman play some MIDI triggered drum samples, added sampled acoustic bass, and trimmed about 2 minutes out of the original 6 minute version to make an updated version of this track that had more feel with less repetition.
  7. Untied – A simple happy dance track. Remastered from the original digital audio tape (DAT).
  8. Mesa Village Blues – This is really two songs: the slow solo piano section is part one, and the full band version (piano, bass, drums, accordion) is part two. Remastered from the original digital audio tape (DAT).

Bonus Tracks

9. Clip – this is a demo from 1986, featuring Julien Kasper (who went on to much bigger and better things) on the end guitar solo. Originally released on the decrepitude cassette release in 1995 and included in Lost in Time. Remastered from the 2 track DAT mixed from cassette 4 track)

10. But I Shouldn’t – Jazz organ trio composition influenced by Monk’s “Well You Needn’t”. Additional drums and organ polish added during the remastering process. Recorded 1994, released on decrepitude and revisited again in 2010 for the evolution CD project.

11. Men in Blues – recorded late 1990’s featuring Mick McMillan on guitar and included on the et. al. CD release in 2000. Edited, trimmed and remastered for this project.

12. For July 3 – Written in 1982 with David Nather for a July 3 jazz gig. Originally recorded by Karl and David on the “Do Not Eat The Glass” cassette. This version is a completely new recording featuring Dr. Wayne Smith on acoustic drums, along with electronic drums, and all other instruments by me.

13. Dog Park Blues – written and recorded mid 2000’s at the request of Greg Phelps, to be used as background music in a film he was making. Previously unreleased.

14. The Teacher – Originally a bonus track on the first Hidden Agenda cassette release. Remixed, edited and remastered from the original 16 track for this project. The title refers to the synth solo at the end sounding like Charlie Brown’s teacher (with a sample of the original ‘teacher’ sound, which was played on muted trombone at the start of the track).

15. Pitch Bender – Original title “I’ve Got a Pitch Bender and Can Play Keyboards like Eddie Van Halen”. The whole song is built around a thing I figured out where I could use the arpeggiator on my Korg Polysix to imitate the style of playing EVH did in the finger tapping part of Eruption. Featuring John Taylor on drums. The original recording was released on my Baf Ensemble cassette back in 1985. For this version I went back to the original 4 track reel to reel and did major audio surgery reprocessing the drums, autotuning an out of tune guitar, reprocessing the bass, and editing the song down from 6 minutes down to a tidy 3:51.

16. Breakin’ Glass – Another 1985 Baf Ensemble track. We used the 4 track reel to reel to play the intro music to the film Koyaanisqatsi at double speed, and then painstakingly hand tuned the tempo of a Roland “Dr. Rhythm” drum machine (precursor to the TR808 used in hiphop) to add the synth drum track. Then I played other synth parts, and we chopped up a bunch of other tracks, including bits from new age harpist Andreas Vollenweider, Herbie Hancock and R.E.M. to make a sonic collage that linked the other three parts of the track together. We did all this in the analog world: starting and stopping tape machines and turntables, working with a 4 track reel to reel and analog synths that had no way to sync to tape. Remastered from the best cassette copy I could find for this release.

Credits (Electrophonic tracks)

Sequenced tracks recorded September 1987 – August 1989. Mixed direct to DAT August 5-7, 1989 at Sixth Street Studio.

Produced, composed, arranged and performed by Karl Rehn
Associate producer – Andrew Wimsatt
Drum programming – Chris Bennett and Karl Rehn. Additional drums from Michael Holleman and Wayne Smith.
Recording Engineer – Aaron White (tracks 1-8)
Advice and Support – Peter McNutt

Autumn Leaves by Johnny Mercer, Summertime by George Gershwin, Round Midnight by Theolonius Monk, Body and Soul and J. Green.

Relative Performance Measurement

One of the classes I offer, my Advanced Handgun Road Course, focuses on measuring student performance and comparing it to known baselines. I use a sequence of 18 different drills, ranging from 25 yard group shooting and B8-centric exercises like the 5 Yard Round Up and The Test, to USPSA/IDPA standards like the IDPA 5×5 classifier, Four Aces, the Bill Drill, and more complex tests like the 3M (Farnam) and Casino (Rangemaster).

John Hearne developed a chart linking shooter performance on widely used standard drills to assess how automatic a shooter’s handgun skills are. He and I and others have had discussions about the relative difficulty of the drills he used. I didn’t run all the drills that John used in his chart in my class, but I ran several of them and can compare class results with his estimates, and link performance on some other drills not used in his chart.

The majority of students in the class had abilities in the USPSA C class range, which spans from 40%-60% of the skill required to shoot 100% Grand Master scores on classifier stages.

Bill Drill

The Bill Drill involves drawing and shooting 6 shots at 7 yards. We used a USPSA target but used IDPA scoring (+1 sec for a C hit, +3 seconds for a D hit). This was because John’s data is all time based and not hit factor based.

Student raw times ranged from 2.85-4.03 seconds, with penalties pushing a few students over the 5 second mark, but basically all of them fell within John’s 2nd category “Performance suggests some automaticity”.

IDPA 5×5 Classifier

The IDPA classifier is 4 strings shot at 10 yards, described in more detail in this video.

During the class, I ran each string with all shooters firing and a fixed par time.

Draw and fire 5: 5 seconds
Draw and fire, strong hand only: 8 seconds
Draw and fire 5, reload, fire 5 more: 11 seconds
Draw and fire 4 body, 1 head: 6 seconds
This is a total of 30 seconds, which is (depending on division), somewhere in the Marksman/Sharpshooter range, which is the lower end of John’s 2nd tier.

All the students were able to complete the strings under the par times, but due to penalties, their scores ranged from 31-41 seconds. Relative to John’s chart, they underperformed, perhaps indicating that the IDPA classifications need to be slid to the right, with a clean Sharpshooter run moving to the boundary between tiers 2 and 3.


Todd Green’s Fundamentals of Accuracy and Speed Test, often just called the FAST, is a simple 6 round drill: draw and fire 2 precision shots into a 3″x5″ rectangle, reload and fire 4 faster shots into an 8″ circle, all at 7 yards.

On the Hearne chart, FAST scores between 7-10 seconds place students in the 2nd tier. Student scores from class (raw times plus time penalties) ranged from 6.51-13.49, with raw times all below 10 seconds.


The Rangemaster Casino drill is a 21 round, 7 yard test that includes drawing, reloading, counting and shooting targets in the correct order. Tom’s video explaning the drill was shot at our A-Zone Range.

Based on Hearne’s chart, times of 22-27 seconds would be expected, based on the other student data. We ran the drill twice during class, once with everyone shooting and a 21 second par time, and a second time with individual timing. For both runs, time was added for shots outside the numbered shapes and procedurals. Student scores ranged from 19-32 seconds, with most in the 22-27 second range.

Other drills

This same group of students, who were fairly close in skill level, scored as follows on other drills:

The Test (10 yards, 10 seconds, 10 shots, B8 target): 87-100 points

The Test 5 yards (5 yards, 5 seconds, 10 shots, B8 target): 87-100 points

Five Yard Roundup (5 yards, multiple strings): 57-98 points

Three Seconds or Less (3 and 7 yards): 16-19 points (out of 20)

Wizard Drill (Hackathorn, 2.5 sec par strings): 100%

Four Aces (draw, 2, reload, 2 at 7 yards): 3.39-7.05 seconds

15 yard Bill Drill: 5.37-9.84 seconds (raw plus time penalties)

Placing these other drills on the Hearne chart

A modified version of Hearne’s chart with the other drills placed on the relative difficulty scale.

Reasonable Goals

John Daub has written and taught extensively on concepts of Minimum Competency. Obviously there’s lots of room between minimum competency and maximum human performance. If you use the Hearne chart and set a life goal of keeping your skills inside the “performance sufficient to strongly suggest automaticity”, these drill goals make a good set of standards to aspire to or maintain.

The Test – 90 points
5 Yard RoundUp – 90 points
Three Seconds or Less – 18 points
Wizard Drill – clean, no overtime shots
Casino Drill – 21 seconds no penalties
Four Aces – 5 seconds all A’s
15 yard Bill Drill – 6 seconds all A’s
F.A.S.T. – 7 seconds
7 yard Bill Drill – 3 seconds all A’s
El Presidente – 10 seconds all A’s
FBI Bullseye – 250 points
Failure Drill – 2.0 seconds all A’s

Essentially the goal is IDPA Expert or the boundary between USPSA B and C class.

In most cases, it’s draw and reload times that result in the biggest gains on these drills past the sufficient skill level, as most drills are low round count strings where draw time can be as much as half of the total string time.

Book Review – Street Warrior

Ralph Friedman was an officer with the NY Police Department in the 1970’s and 1980’s, during the gritty, high-crime era made famous by so many movies and TV shows of that era. Friedman was promoted to detective after five years on the job and his extraordinary career has been commemorated with 219 awards, including the department’s second-highest honor: The Police Combat Cross.

From the book:

In 1971 the NYPD engaged in 314 shootouts. Ninety-three hoodlums were killed and 221 were wounded. We lost 15 police officers and hundreds wounded. In March 1974, a man was exchanging gunfire with two uniformed officers. When Ralph arrived on the scene, he immediately jumped onto the hood and then the roof of a Cadillac. Ralph leaped onto the culprit, and after a furious battle, was able to subdue, disarm and arrest him.

Street Warrior, foreward by Captain Tom Walker.

Street Warrior is a retrospective on Ralph’s police career, told in his own words. He describes himself as “not a gun guy”, but he was involved in multiple shooting incidents in his career. A majority of his use of force situations were hands on, sometimes involving guns and knives in grappling distances. When he started his career, cops on foot patrol didn’t have portable radios, and had to use land line phones to call for backup. He spent a lot of his time working in the district known as Fort Apache.

The full history of Fort Apache is detailed in another true crime book written by retired NYPD Captain Tom Walker.

A few choice quotes from the book:

The NYPD of the 1970’s didn’t frown on force, excessive or otherwise. Bringing a prisoner in dead wasn’t advised, but anything just short of it was usually overlooked and considered good police work. “We use violence to implement justice” were the words to live (and survive) by.

The book is full of great cop stories and lots of history about organized crime, radical groups attacking the police, and all the civil unrest of New York in the 1970’s. Definitely recommended reading for those that weren’t alive in that decade, to give perspective on current urban crime and unrest and riots and other current problems in major cities.

Ralph is still around and has an active profile on Facebook. He and I exchanged some messages and I was able to get an autographed copy of his book for my collection.

Ralph was also host of a TV show, Street Justice: The Bronx. Episodes are available from Amazon Prime and other sources.

USCCA also has an in depth interview with Ralph available online

KR Training April 2022 Newsletter


We have added more sessions of popular classes from June-October. We will announce more summer rifle and red dot classes soon! Upcoming classes with space available:





Courses marked with *** are classes that count toward the Defensive Pistol Skills Program challenge coin. Any pistol course taught by in-house staff can count toward your elective hours. More class dates through end of October are listed here.
Prices and registration links are at www.krtraining.com


We will run Thursday evening USPSA matches starting May 26, through end of July, on selected Thursdays. These matches are suitable for anyone that had training in how to draw from open carry, or has a pistol caliber carbine. USPSA membership not required. Limited to 18 shooters. Matches start at 6, you can show up as late as 7. 4-5 stages, 100-ish rounds per match, $25 entry fee. Pre-registration is required. Pay match fee in cash on event day. Stages remain set up after the match for open practice until it gets dark. Highly recommended for DPS-1/2/3 graduates that have never shot competition.
Register here for the May-June matches.


Dave Reichek wrote up his experiences as a roleplayer in Craig Douglas’ scenarios at TacCon in this blog post.

I wrote up my own after-action report for the Tactical Conference in this blog post.

John Daub was on the “That Weems Guy” podcast talking about minimum competencies for defensive pistol.



I’ve appeared on the “Free Music Friday” segment of College Station’s KBTX TV several times over the past few years. Recently I was able to get high quality copies of those performances. Lyle Lovett got his start playing at the Mr. Gatti’s pizza place on Texas Avenue (and other venues) in Aggieland, so I cover several of his songs in my solo act. “She’s No Lady” was the first song of his I ever heard, and I think it’s one of his best.


Keep up with the interesting articles, links, and stories we share in real time. Follow KR Training on Facebook or Twitter. Subscribe to this newsletter or follow this blog (right) for more frequent posts and information. Send me an email to schedule your private weekday training session.

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

Book Review: Fast Draw Yesterday Today (Blasgen, 2009)

book spine

Very few books have been written about the history of fast draw competition, and the few that have been written are out of print. As part of my research for the Historical Handgun book, I’ve been trying to track down copies. As I wrote in a previous entry about this topic, Bob Arganbright’s book has been impossible to find outside of the one copy the Library of Congress has (which I was able to access and read a few years ago). Last year I was able to purchase a copy of the other major work on this topic: Fast Draw…Yesterday Today, which is a 600+ page compilation of magazine articles put together by Tom Blasgen.

Disclaimer: The book is thick and I did not want to destroy it by flattening it to scan pages, so I took pics with my phone, and you will see some warping and other distortions as I used Photoshop to remove shadows and crop images. But because copies are rare and very hard to find (I lucked into a copy by being on a Fast Draw group on Facebook), I’m including the pics here along with the key points I think anyone interested in the history of pistol technique should know.

Prior to the 1950’s, wax bullets had been used by early 1900’s dueling trainers, whose force on force sport of simulated dueling was the precursor to modern paintball and marking rounds used in combatives training. Simulated dueling even made a one time appearance in the Olympics.

This page gives the highest level summary of the sport: started in 1954 at Knott’s Berry Farm by the stunt show gunfighters and a tech who developed the first shooting timer.

In the following years, it became a national fad, with Western TV/movie stars, the Rat Pack (particularly Sammy Davis Jr.) and other celebrities taking up the sport. As the article claims, over 250,000 people participated in fast draw matches. That was out of 150M people. The population of the US has doubled since then, but even if you add up the memberships of USPSA, IDPA, SASS, Steel Challenge, and count those that shoot NRA bullseye matches, pretending that there’s no overlap…those numbers are less than 250,000, nevermind a population adjusted 500,000. So the Fast Draw era was a point in time where pistol competition got more (positive) mainstream media attention and general population participation than at any other time in US history.

Jeff Cooper wrote about the sport of Fast Draw in Guns and Ammo magazine back in 1958 (the magazine’s first year of publication).

E.B. Mann was a writer of Western pulp stories and paperback books, who also wrote for gun magazines, and was the champion of Fast Draw at GUNS magazine. In addition to collecting books on guns, I enjoy reading and collecting Western fiction books and pulp magazines. E.B.Mann is one of my favorite authors and over the past few decades I’ve found hardback, paperback, and pulp magazine copies of most of his works.

GUNS covered Fast Draw more than any other print publication and many of the articles in Blasgen’s book can be found in the GUNS magazine digital online archive.

Many early articles focused on the draw speed, similar to the current obsession with the “1 second concealment draw”. Quarter second draw times were the goal of that era.

More data from elsewhere in the book:

At the peak, Fast Draw championships, sponsored by Colt, were held in Las Vegas in the early 1960’s. Interest in fast draw led to many innovations in holsters and timers, and technique. Shooters using the “twist draw” technique, where the gun was fired at a 90 degree angle, began beating the traditional fast draw competitors, and shooters began transitioning to stronger-built Ruger sixguns. As with most other shooting sports, gamers, gamer gear, and gamer techniques pushed the limits of performance but also drove many in the general population away from the game.

KPIX-TV news footage from November 1960 featuring silent views of people preparing for and taking part in a fast draw competition, including Dee Woolem (‘The Daisy Kid’). Also shows movie stars like Ernest Borgnine, Gene Barry and others (possibly Clu Gulager?) watching the event in an indoor arena. Opening graphic designed by Carrie Hawks. (WordPress would not let me embed the video so click the link to see it).


Andy Anderson was another influential holster maker of the Fast Draw era.

This article mentions Ernie Hill, who started out making fast draw holsters and shooting fast draw matches, who became the dominant holster maker for IPSC in its early days, making the same kind of steel reinforced leather holsters the fast draw shooters used, only for 1911 pistols.

By the mid 1960’s, fast draw had waned in popularity, and the dominance of Westerns on TV and on the big screen began to fade as well, as spy and space shows surged in popularity. Most importantly, Jeff Cooper began running fast draw matches using modern firearms and holsters at Big Bear Lake, which led to two handed aimed fire, comstock timed shooting matches (instead of par time), and to basically everything we know as standard practice in defensive firearms training.

Arganbright ties the history together with modern technique in this 1988 article.

Fast Draw competition is still alive, with the Cowboy Fast Draw organization and World Fast Draw Association each sanctioning and running matches. This page from their website lists all the national and world champions by year.

Update: a great video compilation of 1950’s fast draw

Rangemaster Tactical Conference 2022 AAR

Tom and Lynn
Tom and Lynn Givens

Since the early 2000’s I have been attending and teaching at the annual Rangemaster Tactical Conferences. They were originally held at “the mothership” (Tom’s indoor range in Memphis), later moving to the Memphis Police Academy and other outdoor ranges in Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas before finding a new home at the Dallas Pistol Club.

This year 5 of us from the KR Training team taught or worked the event: Karl and John Daub taught sessions, Tracy Thronburg and Dave Reichek worked as range staff, and Dave and Ed Vinyard were roleplayers in Craig Douglas’ force on force sessions.

Dave Reichek

Dave wrote about his experiences in that session here.

John wrote about his experiences teaching on his own blog.

As of April 14, 2022, registration for the 2023 Rangemaster Tactical Conference has been open for a few days, and the event is already 80% sold out. It will be March 24-26, 2023 at the Dallas Pistol Club. You can register here if it hasn’t sold out already.


I taught one of the first sessions of the conference, starting at 8 a.m. on the first day. My “Becoming a Better Drawstroke Coach” session was mainly for instructors, discussing all the different problems I’ve observed in 30 years of teaching the skill of drawing to a wide variety of students.

demonstrating proper initial grip on the pistol

I started with gear: does the holster attach to the belt properly (belt thickness, belt width, belt loop width)?, and is it riding at an acceptable height and angle? The importance of getting a good firing grip on the pistol while it’s still in the holster was discussed at length. I see a lot of appendix-carry holsters set to ride too low, preventing the users from getting all their fingers on the gun without doing some sort of pinching/palming movement to partially raise it. In addition to being slow and awkward, it can lead to the trigger guard being exposed as the fingers are curling around the grip, which could result in negligent discharge and serious injury. I also see strong side holsters designed for behind the hip use (angled forward) worn too far forward of the hip, causing the users to curl their wrists to grip the pistol and “bowl” the gun out of the holster rather than lifting straight up.

We continued to work through the steps of the draw, ending with what I call “hand chasing”. This occurs when the support hand doesn’t join the firing hand until the gun is at full extension. This usually begins with the support hand not moving at the same time as the firing hand, with the hands failing to join close to the body. This occurs most often to people that do not use the support hand to clear their cover garment.

hand chasing during the draw stroke

The morning was cold so I had on multiple layers, which were shed as the day went on.

After finishing up my session I listened to training legend John Farnam discuss his thoughts on instructor development. His talk focused on the language trainers use during classes: “Us” vs “you”, “we” vs. “I”, and perhaps most importantly, “when” vs. “if”. John is a great trainer with more years experience as an instructor than anyone else still teaching. John Daub and Ed Vinyard took his instructor certification course recently, and I trained with John a few years ago.

My next session on Friday was the excellent “Concealment Tune Up” presented by Jon and Sarah Hauptman of PHLster.

Jon and Sarah from PHLster

After developing the innovative Enigma chassis, which allows carry without a belt or pants with belt loops, they turned their attention to the broader topic of concealment. The notes and slides from their talk can be found here, and I recommend them to everyone reading this post. Whether you carry strong side or appendix position, the principles and concepts in their talk are applicable. Talking with Jon after his session about the uses of wings and claws to assist the holster in following the body’s contours better, he suggested that I try adding some washers to my belt clip on my strong side holster, to turn the grip of the gun farther inward, closer to my body. When I got home from TacCon I implemented that change, which helped reduce how much the grip of the gun poked out.

I finished up Friday by teaching a two hour “Low Round Count Training” session, structured around our Three Seconds Or Less test. I showed students how to build a 100 round practice session from a 20 round test, using dry fire, live/empty drills, dummy rounds, and other variations on each string of the test, to work on specific skills firing less than 10 rounds per topic.


After an early Friday that ran late (the KR Training crew went to a Brazilian steakhouse and filled up protein.), I started Saturday by skipping the 8 am sessions in favor of being well rested before I shot the pistol match Saturday at 10.

The pistol match at TacCon has become very competitive, with a few points or fractions of seconds separating each place in the overall standings. Over the past 20 years the level of shooting required to win the TacCon match has advanced, with Grand Master level scores required to get into the top 10.

This year’s match was no different. As with previous years, there was a timed fire standards course with turning targets. 49 of the 175 shooters shot perfect scores on the standards. The tie breaker was a 5 yard, 4″ circle comstock drill. Draw and shoot 5 shots. Points divided by time.

I debated this year whether to shoot the match from appendix carry or strong side, knowing that at some point draw time would be a factor. My draw time from appendix carry is faster and less likely to be fouled from garment clearing, but despite everyone in the world insisting that AIWB is “perfectly comfortable”, my experience, after buying 5 different holsters and an Enigma, and spending dozens of hours experimenting with wedges and claws and foam pads, that AIWB remains uncomfortable if I’m sitting down for more than few hours. So I opted to shoot the match from strong side carry, using a lightweight open front cover garment. As I explained to students in the draw stroke coaching class, using one hand to clear a lightweight open front cover garment is fast when it works, and a mess when it doesn’t and you end up with a handful of shirt when you grab the gun.

So I knew better.

On the one string tiebreaker test, when drawtime mattered most, I pushed my draw and flubbed it, losing a full second, was aware of that and fired my first shot outside the 4″ circle, then hit the brakes to make sure the other 4 were inside…ending up 38th/49 out of the group that cleaned the standards.

On the plus side, my score was 95.8% of the 1st place score. But it took a score of 97.3% of the 1st place score to make the top 16 shootoff. KR Training instructor Dave Reichek made the cut for the shootoff.

After lunch, I attended a Progressive Folding Knife session taught by Chris Fry of Shivworks. It was an excellent review of material I had learned from John Holschen from InSights, Allen Elishewitz, and Craig Douglas in their knife and close quarter classes. Because I had to teach another drawstroke class for the final session of the day, I didn’t get to stay for the whole knife session.

Chris Fry
Larry Lindeman of Shivworks assisting

I got one of these cool “Slowpoke Rodriguez” patches from Tony from JM Custom Kydex, who attended my Saturday session. After the sessions ended, I attended the annual trainer’s dinner.

If you are unfamiliar with this classic Warner Bros. cartoon character, here’s a short clip.


I started Sunday by attending Darryl Bolke’s excellent “Police Guns of the Bonnie and Clyde Ambush” presentation. He dug deep into the history of all of the shooters, and guns they were known to have carried, and the history of how some of the guns others claimed were used in the Bonnie and Clyde Ambush may not have been.

After Darryl’s talk I went to Erick Gelhaus’ talk about ready positions and “mistake of fact” shootings.

He reviewed many recent studies about the use of different ready positions affecting shooter ability to make correct use of force decisions. The high ready (gun near face, muzzle pointed up) is perhaps 0.1 sec faster to get gun to target than lower ready positions, but in well designed experiments, shooters using the high ready position made 30% more errors in shooting decisions. On the street this translates to “they shot people that should not have been shot”. Erick made the argument that lower ready positions sacrifice very little speed to provide significant reduction in unjustified use of force.

Sunday after lunch I taught one more session of my Low Round Count Training block, before slipping out early, to get downtown to attend a concert from Little Feat, one of my favorite bands whose tour schedule put them in Dallas that night.


The NRA’s Kevin Creighton and Tamara Keel were at Tac Con taking pictures and gathering content for articles. One of Kevin’s TacCon articles, about the Managing Unknown Contacts training provided by several different Shivworks trainers during the conference, is here. It features a nice pic of KR Training assistant instructor Wiley Swift about to pepper spray someone.

TAC CON 2023

The Rangemaster Tactical Conference is a great opportunity to train with dozens of different instructors teaching topics spanning the full spectrum of self defense concepts. Trainers that were there, that I didn’t train with this year included Tom Givens, Massad Ayoob, Wayne Dobbs, Gabe White, Scott Jedlinski, Tim Herron, Ed Monk, Craig Douglas, Eve Kulcsar, Chuck Haggard, Jeff Gonzales, Tatiana Whitlock, Tim Chandler, Ashton Ray, Andrew Branca, Tiffany Johnson, Greg Ellifritz, Cecil Burch, Tim Kelly, John Murphy, Hany Mahmoud, John Hearne, Sherman House, Tim Reedy, John Holschen, Lee Weems, Larry Lindeman, Steve Moses and Scott Oates.

I’m already looking forward to 2023, as this is always a great time to reconnect with many of my favorite trainers and longtime friends.

Experiential Learning Lab (Force-on-Force) Observations from the 2022 Rangemaster Tactical Conference

Scenario Description

This year’s Experiential Learning Lab scenario features an armed robbery, perpetrated by a single actor, of a convenience store populated with multiple additional customers. The participant’s instructions are to enter the store, purchase a bottle of water, and leave. The robber enters as the student is picking up a bottle of water at a table, which is intentionally placed such that the participant’s back is turned when the robber enters and the participant will be caught off guard. The robber enters, fires a shot into the ground, and orders everyone to get on the ground, but does not point the gun at the customers. If not stopped or otherwise derailed, the robber will get into a verbal and physical altercation with a disabled woman over her purse near the cash register, murder her, then run out of the store with the purse and the money from the register. I role-played the armed robber.

Key decision points in scenario timeline

There are a series of intentionally crafted decision points for the participant:

  • Initial gunshot and declaration of robbery
  • Escalation of tension between robber and verbally combative disabled woman, culminating in direct threats of violence
  • Murder of disabled woman
  • Robber fleeing scene

If the participant initiates a drawstroke (including a flinch reaction), “picks” at their concealment garment, does not immediately comply with demand to get on the ground, or otherwise draws attention of robber, the robber challenges their actions but does not point the gun at them or shoot them unless the participant’s gun becomes visible, even though partially initiating a drawstroke is highly likely to be recognized in the real world by the “bad people” as evidence that the person is armed.

Range of Participant Reactions/Scenario Results

Actions taken by the participants varied widely, as expected:

  • Immediately turn and draw pistol when robbery is announced (always resulted in a losing gunfight)
  • Flinch or initiate draw (gun does not become visible) but stops when challenged and complies with robber’s demands to get on the ground 
  • Initial partial compliance with fidgeting and obvious indecision (kneeling or partially proning, or repeated attempts to get into a more favorable position on the ground) 
  • Initial total compliance 
  • Engage with robber once violence or threat of violence escalates with disabled customer
  • Wait for robber to be distracted with robbing the clerk, then drawing and challenging 
  • Fired shots at robber (now murderer) as his back is turned and he is fleeing the store
  • After gunfight and robber flees, several continued to point gun at clerk and other customers (at least one participant displayed no awareness that they were doing it)
  • Flee once robber is distracted with clerk and not facing participants

Debrief/After Action Discussion Notes

I found some of the participant remarks or reactions during the short debrief following each scenario particularly worthy of note:

  • Some students expressed disappointment during debrief that their situational awareness “failed”.  In reality, “complete situational awareness at all times” is a unicorn. It doesn’t exist. To paraphrase Craig, anyone who claims it does lacks real-world experience.
  • Some students, when being debriefed after having gotten into a losing gunfight after drawing immediately when robber entered and verbalized, did not grasp that initial compliance was actually an option.  
  • At least one student falsely recalled the robber initially pointing a gun at them as justification for immediately drawing.

Considerations and Lessons Learned

I really like Craig’s hotwash/debriefing approach with participants immediately after the scenario has been terminated, asking the participants to recount their view of what just happened, what they thought they did well, and what they thought they could have done better. I can tell you from personal experience that there is a lot to absorb, and just like an actual incident, the participant’s full recollection of the event may not be complete (or as complete as it is going to get) for 24-48 hours. The participants are probably going to be “their own worst critic” assuming they have requisite knowledge to critically evaluate their own performance. However, it is necessary for the sake of discussion in this blog post to examine the reactions and actions of some of the participants more critically in order to property convey a few key points. It is not my intent to disparage the participants personally; participants were selected for the scenario based in part on their relative inexperience with force-on-force scenarios.

Prior to diving into what some of the participants could have done better, one positive point merits highlighting. Although getting into a gunfight with the robber and getting shot is obviously a negative outcome, all participants who got into a gunfight continued to fight back until the robber fled. This is critically important and speaks to the committed mindset of the participants – you are not out of the fight until you are out of the fight!  

Tactical considerations

Feigning compliance and “waiting your turn”

Whether you have decided to act and are waiting for a tactically advantageous opportunity, or are observing and initially intend to comply (I say initially because reasons may develop which cause you to change your mind about complying, such as escalations in threats, escalations in violence, or people are being searched), one point needs to be made very clear. Compliance means 100% compliance. As the “robber” I observed a lot of participants exhibiting only partial compliance to the point that they attracted my attention. You do not want to attract attention to yourself. Immediately exhibit a submissive posture. If they tell you to get on the ground, get on the ground. Become a ghost! All of the fidgeting around, squirming, partially kneeling, etc. that I witnessed and challenged the participants about will get you threatened at best, probably searched, and possibly shot. You aren’t fooling anyone when you do that.

Is it ok to shoot someone in the back?

In my opinion, as well as in my experience in force-on-force scenarios, not only is shooting someone in the back or side acceptable, it is preferable. When you are acting in defense of others, I have never seen any deadly force statutes that stipulate that deadly force is only justified if the bad guy is facing you or looking at you. Wait until their back is turned or they are otherwise not looking at you (preferably you aren’t in their field of vision at all) to draw and shoot. You may have to take incremental steps to get your gun out and then wait for the right moment. Once you start shooting, keep shooting until you are sure they are out of the fight – and for God’s sake, remember to look for the “+1”. At least one of the participants waited until I turned to face him before he decided to pull the trigger, and got themselves shot. Don’t forget that action beats reaction. If I have a gun in hand, I can bring that gun up and shoot at you before you will be able to recognize my actions and shoot me in response.

Participant has already drawn, and his gun is hidden by the person laying in front of him
I am reacting to having already been shot in the side. OW OW OW. Good tactics!

Should you “challenge”, or just shoot?

Action beating reaction is also applicable in this situation. If my memory serves me, Force Science Institute studies have demonstrated that they physical act of turning and firing can be achieved in as little as a quarter of a second. If you challenge someone at gunpoint, even if they aren’t facing you, it is possible for them to turn and shoot you before you will be able to react to their movement and open fire. I have personally proved this true multiple times while role-playing bad guys in force-on-force scenarios. As a real world example, an armed citizen verbally challenged an active shooter at the Tacoma Mall in 2005 and was shot and paralyzed.

“The right thing to do tactically in that situation, legally in that situation, and morally in that situation,” he says, “is end the shooter’s ability to keep shooting. And that means apply lethal force now.”
– John Holschen


When it is time to shoot, shoot, don’t talk. The only scenario where I could envision myself challenging a gunman would be if I was behind good cover (cover being something that stops bullets, as opposed to concealment).

Does my draw speed matter?

At 5 yards, the average knucklehead is probably capable of 3-4 shots a second that are probably going to hit you. If you decide to try to out-draw someone that is looking at you with gun already in hand (and perhaps you don’t have any choice, if they are about to shoot you), you should recognize that the odds are pretty high that you are going to get shot at least once. The good news is handguns are actually not very good at killing people…the bad news is you’re going to have to use one yourself to make them stop trying to kill you. Still wearing my “bad guy” hat, it is pretty reasonable that even with a reaction lag, I can shoot you one or two times by the 1 second mark. Your blazing fast 1 second draw is still going to result in you getting shot before you can shoot at me. That 1 second draw is far superior to a 1.5 second draw though, which would probably result in me sending at least 3 bullets your way before you are able to return the favor; a 2 second draw means I get a 5 bullet head start on you. We saw this play out in the evolutions when participants elected to turn and draw on me right after I came in, or waited to shoot until I was facing them.

Legal and financial costs and risks of acting on behalf of others

There are financial and legal risks involved when we use force, and especially deadly force, on behalf of others, beyond the more obvious risk of injury or death. You are going to have to legally defend your actions, even if they were 100% justified and you made no questionable decisions.  This will be expensive and could possibly financially ruin you and your family. One figure I have heard thrown as a baseline/minimum legal cost is $50,000. John Holschen poses a terrific thought exercise which Greg Ellifritz blogged about here, which I highly encourage everyone to read.  Even if you do everything right, you may still get prosecuted! You are no doubt aware that malicious prosecutions are becoming more commonplace.

What if you do make a questionable or bad decision, despite having the best of intentions? Your legal costs just went way up, and if you haven’t sought out quality force-on-force experiences, the chances that you are going to make a serious mistake are much higher than you think (the Dunning-Kruger effect is a thing). We haven’t even addressed the possibility that a bad decision leads to lengthy incarceration on top of voluminous legal fees.

What kind of questionable decisions might lead to such a financial, and possibly legal, negative outcome? At least three participants shot me as I was fleeing the store and no longer posing a direct threat. This is a morally questionable decision, but more importantly, legally it is very questionable. Attorney Andrew Branca, author of The Law of Self Defense Principles, and the website lawofselfdefense.com, outlines 5 fundamental principles of self-defense, one of which is Imminence:


The law allows you to defend yourself from an attack that’s either happening or about to happen very soon, meaning within seconds. It’s not intended to justify vengeance for some past act of violence, nor to “stop” a speculative future attack that you have time to avoid by other means.

You can think of the element of imminence as a window that opens and closes. Before the window of imminence is open—before the threat is actually occurring or imminently about to occur—you can’t use defensive force. After the window of imminence has closed —after the threat is over—you again cannot use defensive force.

It’s only while that window of imminence is open that you can lawfully use defensive force.


Shooting someone in the back as they are fleeing the scene of a crime is highly likely to be deemed in violation of the principle of imminence; if you prefer to think about legality in terms of the Ability-Opportunity-Intent triad, is someone running away from you fleeing the scene of a crime manifesting intent to do you serious body injury? Not likely. Some states/jurisdictions may deem this action explicitly legal under “fleeing felon” statutes, but there are some that do not. At best, in my opinion, you are taking a huge gamble with both your financial and legal freedom if you choose to shoot a fleeing felon, all moral questions aside.

More than one participant muzzled (pointed their gun) at others in the store after the robber fled, which in many jurisdictions can be deemed aggravated assault or a similar serious felony. At least one participant did not seem to be aware that they were doing so as it happened. Had the other customers in the store done anything to justify pointing a gun at them? The answer to this obviously rhetorical question is “no”. You could get prosecuted for it.

You owe it to yourself, your family, and your loved ones to seek out education and training on the legal aspects of deadly force. Masaad Ayoob’s “MAG20 / Classroom – Armed Citizen’s Rules of Engagement” course is outstanding and can’t be recommended highly enough. Andrew Branca’s classes (available online) are also very good (Gun Culture 2.0/David Yamane’s review and summary of a 2014 seminar here).

What is worth dying for?

What are you willing to die for, or to a lesser extent, sustain potentially life-long crippling injuries?  Are your loved ones and dependents (parents/spouse/children) going to understand or agree with the decision you made?  Are they going to understand the risk you took to defend someone else’s money, someone else’s business, or even someone else’s life if they are a stranger? To extend John Holschen’s Gas Station Clerk analogy, would you be willing to be euthanized if she needed a heart transplant and you were the only matching donor left in the world? Would those you leave behind understand and agree with that decision? As Tiffany Johnson beautifully expressed, “There is no shame in surviving.” There is no shame in escaping. There is no shame in keeping your head down and being a good witness.

It is my firm, passionate conviction that far too many people visualize a fantasy of how they think the action will unfold which ends with them prevailing heroically and triumphantly, without considering any other possible outcomes (the Hero Fantasy).  We need to carefully consider the worst case scenario before acting – again, what is worth DYING for?  What is worth ruining yourself (and your family) financially for?  What is worth being incarcerated for the rest of your life? Consider all possible outcomes

These decisions are extremely difficult to decide in the heat of the moment.  If you carry a gun and are willing to act on behalf of others, it is imperative that you devote time to determining what your “red lines” and moral boundaries are in advance.

Know thyself and train accordingly

If you are a high responder–if you are somebody who’s just going to run into the fray–you had better know that now so that you can build the knowledge, skills and attributes and have with you the tools that you’re going to need when you get into the kind of trouble that your temperament is going to get you into.

Dr William Aprill (from 2017 Ballistic Radio podcast episode 197)

I can’t tell you where your own moral red lines should be drawn, and neither can anyone else. Those are for you to decide. I implore you, beg you, beseech you, however, to determine where those lines are ahead of time, and make those choices with a solid understanding of the possible physical, legal, and financial ramifications that those choices for you and your loved ones. Don’t fall prey to the Hero Fantasy. Think about the worst possible outcome should you decide to act – especially if you fall into the “high responder” category. To be explicitly clear, there are definitely situations where I am personally willing to risk everything to defend others – children are a big moral red line for me – but these situations have been carefully thought through, and my wife and children understand my pre-made choices.

Get training!

Unfortunately, in my experience it is not at all atypical for people who are relatively or completely new to complex force-on-force scenarios to make poor or even catastrophically bad decisions. In fact, I would assert that it happens more often than not – I previously blogged about my experience and observations as a participant in one of these Experiential Learning Lab evolutions in 2014.  The fact that poor outcomes are so prevalent in these evolutions serves to highlight the importance of seeking out quality force-on-force scenario training for any serious practitioner.

Thank you spending your valuable time reading this post, and stay safe!

Dave Reichek
KR Training Instructor