Historical Handgun class April 2021 (part 1)

As part of the 6 days of training Tom Givens (Rangemaster) taught at KR Training’s A-Zone Range in April 2021, Tom and Karl co-taught a one day session of Karl’s Historical Handgun course. The course consisted of a 4 hour lecture from Tom, and a 4 hour block of live fire drills from the 1910’s-1980’s run by Karl.

The oldest course of fire that we shot was the drills from Pollard’s 1917 book on pistol shooting. Details about that course of fire, including video, are here.

We also shot Fitzgerald’s 1920’s police qual.

Tom discussed “point shooting”, including Jelly Bryce, Fairbairn and Applegate.

We shot the 1940’s FBI course of fire, including the hip shooting part at 7 yards.

Older blog posts about this course of fire are here (part 1, part 2, part 3)

More about this course will be in part 2, as we move into the 1950’s-1980’s.

Book Review – The Book of the Pistol and Revolver (Pollard, 1917)

In 1917, WWI veteran and British gunwriter Hugh Pollard published “The Book of the Pistol and Revolver”. Pollard wrote for magazines and authored shooting books from 1912-1945. He was a soldier, possible spy, firearms expert, widely published author, sportsman, social butterfly (son of a surgeon), forensics and ballistic expert, historian and collector. This particular book was reprinted as part of the excellent Firearms Classics Library and is also available as an inexpensive ebook.

Much of the book, as shown in the Table of Contents, is standard mechanical discussion of how guns work, and how to shoot them. The parts that interested me the most were the sections on Speed Shooting, Duelling (which was in its fading days after WW1), and his course of fire for Active Revolver Training.

Pollard Speed Shooting Standards

Pollard’s basic standards for speed shooting were:

Single action – 6 shots into a 12″ square card, at 20 yards, in 3-4 seconds. (since no discussion of drawing from a holster occurs in the book, I assume this was from open carry, starting at a ready position). Here’s a video I posted to instagram of me shooting the single action qual. I scaled it down to 6″ at 10 yards in 4 seconds.

Double action – 6 shots into a 12″ square card, at 12 yards, in 2 seconds.

Here’s video of me shooting this drill on a 12″ round plate at 12 yards.

For the drill, I used my 1953 S&W K-38 Combat Masterpiece, with adjustable sights and a BK Grip adapter. A more period appropriate gun would have had smaller, fixed sights and possibly black powder loads.

I ran students through these drills in the recent Historical Handgun course I co-taught with Tom Givens. For that class, I created an 11×17 target that had a 10″ square and 6″ square, so we could run both the single action and double action drills at 10 yards quickly. The bottom part of the target had 1.5″ white squares on a black ground for the dueling practice drill discussed below.

Pollard’s understanding of the fundamentals of speed shooting using aimed fire was detailed and specific. In the book he writes:

The average man refuses to believe that such speeds are humanly possible, and reinforces his argument by the claim that the double action of a revolver cannot possibly be functioned by the human finger at this speed. He actually means that the muscles of the finger and eye cannot obey the brain commands necessary for each separate discharge of the six shots. In this he is technically right; but the actual process that makes the feats of speed work possible is—that the eye receives only one command—look straight at the target, and does not need a separate “brain message” for each shot. Next, the trigger finger of an expert operates the mechanism of a revolver much more easily and instinctively than can that of a novice, the muscles of the trigger finger being perfectly trained to their work by previous practice. Then there is the rather complex process of utilizing the recoil of a revolver, translated through the various arm muscles to the trigger finger to operate the double action almost to the point of discharge, before the barrel is level with the target for the next shot. Just as Press photographers develop a knack of instantaneously pressing the button of their reflex cameras a fraction of a second before whatever they desire to snap happens, so the speed shot anticipates the falling in line of target and weapon, and presses his trigger at exactly the right instant. To fire the six shots at different targets takes infinitely longer than to fire the six at one, the time being lost by the transmission of the brain orders to change direction to the muscles as well as by the actual traverse of the weapon. The recoil of a shot naturally throws one off one’s aim, but by practice it can be absorbed, just as one absorbs the shock of a caught cricket-ball, and the muscles trained to bring the weapon automatically back into correct alignment with the target. This is the first point to remember—always accustom yourself to bring the weapon back to the point of aim after each discharge.

Back in the 1990’s I had the opportunity to take a one-day revolver class from Jerry Miculek. In that course, he made the comment that often he started pulling the trigger for the next shot as soon as a shot was fired, and it was “a race” to get the gun to the next target before the new shot fired. That process is very similar to what Pollard describes in the passage above.

Next master the practice of double-action shooting. In this a firm grip of the weapon is taken and steadily increased as the trigger is squeezed back. You will soon get to “feel” intuitively the end of the travel and the imminence of the fall of the hammer. This “feel” of the exact moment previous to the fall of the hammer varies with different weapons, as some have shorter or longer hammer falls than others. In some pistols, notably the .38 hammerless Smith and Wesson, a distinct pause can be felt after the hammer has reached the top of its stroke, and before the continued trigger pressure pulls the sear clear of its bent. Speed practice should be commenced at the short range, and continually varied by practice at two or three targets arranged unevenly at the same distance. A good practice is to let the marker give the command at which target the shot is to be delivered, as the varying order of the commands—Left, Right, Center, as his fancy dictates—insure more practical shooting than plain high-speed discharge at the same target.

Always work against a stop-watch, and vary your practice, firing some targets for speed alone and some for speed and accuracy combined.

Pollard’s advice regarding working with a timer, varying target sizes, positions and distances, is still valid today. Much of what the British pistoleros wrote about techniques and training was either not known, forgotten, or rejected by US shooters, particularly after the FBI adopted the hip shooting approach of Jelly Bryce as their preferred combat shooting technique. It would not be until the late 1950’s and early 1960’s that much of the knowledge was rediscovered and put into practice.

US National Guard Qualification

According to Pollard, the U.S.A. National Guard grades its men into three classes: Marksman, Sharpshooter, and Expert. To qualify as Marksman or Sharpshooter, 65 and 80 per cent of the possible score of 200 points must be made respectively. The course is as follows:

  • 15 yards, two scores of five shots, 10 seconds per five shots.
  • 25 yards, two scores of five shots, 10 seconds per five shots.
  • 25 yards, two scores of five shots, 30 seconds per five shots.
  • 50 yards, two scores of five shots, slow fire 1 minute per shot.

 The expert qualification is only open to those who have passed the previous test as sharpshooters:

  •  15 yards, two scores of five shots, 8 seconds per five shots.
  • 25 yards, two scores of five shots, 8 seconds per five shots.
  • 25 yards, two scores of five shots, 20 seconds per five shots.
  • 50 yards, two scores of five shots, 20 seconds per five shots.
  • 75 yards, two scores of five shots, 20 seconds to each shot.

An expert must make 80 per cent. of the possible score—200 out of 250 points.

The U.S.A. revolver course is fired at “Target D,” a silhouette figure of a standing man. Another target, “Target K,” the silhouette of a mounted man, is also used. These targets are set up in groups at varying distances and varying angles to the line of movement of the shooter, who has to ride past them at the trot, walk, and gallop, firing one shot at each as he passes.

In the U.S.A. Navy practice is carried out at “Target A,” a 6-foot by 4-foot rectangle, with an 8-inch black bull’s-eye, counting 5, and other concentric circles of count: 26-inch ring counts 4, 46-inch ring 3, the rest of target 3. The sharpshooter’s course, both for instruction practices and annual record, has to be fired on this target—6 shots at 15, 25, and 50 yards. Time limit, 18 seconds for 6 shots.

Dueling

Pollard describes a shooting club in France where participants train to duel using wax bullets against live opponents wearing fencing safety gear. This is the earliest reference to training similar to today’s force on force training I’ve found in any book on shooting. The book claims that faux duels were held as club matches, with formal scoring. The next time this type of face to face shooting competition resurfaces was in fast draw matches in the 1950’s.

Pollard’s advice to someone training to fight an actual duel was this:

Practice was made at small white wafers about two inches in diameter pasted on a black background, and the novice was advised to “culp,” or break, three dozen of these each morning before breakfast. When he could be sure of breaking twelve of these at fourteen yards in six minutes, he himself reloading his pistol between each discharge, he could consider himself trained.

I simulated this by printing some 1.5″ squares at the bottom of my Pollard Test target, white against a black background, and ran a 6 round drill in 3 minutes, loading one round at a time. Even going as slowly as I could stand it, I never took more than 2 minutes for this drill, but my best run only landed 5 of 6 in the squares. This is basically the 1918 equivalent of the dot torture drill, but shot one round at a time, at 10 yards (for my 1.5″ squares) or 14 yards for the 2″ wafers.

If you want to try the Pollard drills for yourself, download and print this image on 11×17 paper. The drills, all shot at 10 yards, are:

  • 6 shots, starting from ready (can be aimed at base of target stand or even higher just below the target), single action, in 4 seconds. 6″ square at 10 yards.
  • 6 shots, same ready position, double action, in 2 seconds into the 10″ square.
  • 6 shots, load one, fire one, reload, in 3 minutes. One shot per white square

KR Training April 2021 Newsletter

MAY-JUNE OUTLOOK

Ammo is slowly becoming more available and less expensive. We have loaded up our schedule with classes for all levels. May and June are great months to train before the serious summer heat of July and August arrive. Mask and class size restrictions are all lifted and we are back to normal operations.

UPCOMING CLASSES AT THE A-ZONE

Here are the classes we have scheduled with space available through end of June. Don’t see the class you want here? Let us know. Many classes can be taught as weekday private lessons, or we can add it to the schedule if there’s enough interest.

Courses marked with *** are core classes that count toward the Defensive Pistol Skills Program challenge coin. Any pistol course (Red Dot, Competition, Team Tactics) taught by in-house staff can count toward your elective hours.

CLASSES WITH DOUG GREIG (CONROE AREA)

CHALLENGE COINS EARNED

Five more students earned their Defensive Pistol Skills Program challenge coins in April. Congratulations to Stephen J, O. Lee J IV, Bojan B, Chris S and Thomas W for completing 40 hours of training with us and passing the written test and shooting qualifications! Learn more about the Defensive Pistol Skills program here.

PREPAREDNESS SEMINAR (PAUL MARTIN)

The videos from Paul’s March 2021 preparedness seminar are now available on Vimeo. Use discount code PTM15OFF until May 15 to get 15% off download or rental cost.

SUMMER USPSA MATCHES

We are starting up our summer USPSA matches May 13. Limited to 18 shooters. No prior match experience required, but you do need to have completed a holster class with us (DPS-1 or higher level). Show up as late as 7 pm, 3-4 quick stages and the opportunity to shoot the stages again for fun after the match is over. More info and registration links here. Here’s a sample video from a great run on one of our shoot house stages.

RANGEMASTER TACTICAL CONFERENCE REPORT

Karl and John both taught sessions at the 2021 Rangemaster Tactical Conference, with Tracy Thronburg, Ed Vinyard and Dave Reichek all assisting Karl, John and other trainers as event staff. Tracy made the women’s shootoff and Dave made the men’s shootoff. Read more about 2021 TacCon in these blog posts. 2022 TacCon will be at the Dallas Pistol Club and registration will open in May. Don’t miss out on this fantastic opportunity to train with some of the nation’s best!


STAFF DEVELOPMENT

During Tom Givens’ 6 day marathon visit, many on the KR Training team attended one or more of the classes. There’s video from the Historical Handgun course (I co-taught with Tom) and the Revolver class on Instagram if you click the links.

Also assistant instructors Levi Nathan and David Tschirhart, along with a few new assistant-instructors-in-development (Quamodi and Wiley), adjunct instructor Mark Overstreet and many other KR Training alumni attended and passed the Rangemaster Instructor Development course. Levi wrote a class AAR you can read here. David was #2 shooter in class and Levi was top 5. Tom’s instructor class typically has a 15% failure rate, but in this session everyone passed.


SONG OF THE MONTH – MAY 8 FREE CONCERT

On Saturday May 8, Midnight Express (10-piece band with horn section) will be performing at the Wolf Pen Amphitheater in College Station. It’s a free concert, funded by City of College Station.

Some video from one of our previous shows at Wolf Pen 8 years ago of us performing Tower Of Power’s “What is Hip”.

FOLLOW US ONLINE!

With the recent trend in Facebook and Twitter deplatforming and shadow banning firearms-related content, I strongly encourage you to subscribe to this blog, as direct email and blogging remain the best ways to get un-filtered, un-suppressed information. The link to subscribe is on the right hand side of every page of the blog, including this newsletter.

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

Rangemaster Instructor Course AAR

“Context, you’re going to hear that word a lot for the next few days, so pay attention people” was one of the many memorable quotes said by Mr. Tom Givens. He said that to use on day 1 of the Rangemaster – Instructor Development Course and applied it throughout all 3 days.

My name is Levi Nathan and I am an Assistant Instructor at KR Training, the owner of Rainbow Tactics and one of the most recent graduates of the three day Instructor Development Course as created and taught by Mr. Givens. Class ran from April 23rd-25th 2021 at the A-Zone Range, KR Training Lincoln TX.

Day 1, Academic Lecture

Weather was grey skies, gloomy and quickly turned into a torrential downpour with 3 inches of standing rain (this becomes relevant later on) we entered the classroom at KR Training and got seated prior to 9 AM. Mr. Givens started handing out spiral bound books to everyone. The book in question is 237 pages long, bears the Rangemaster seal on the front and was updated in December of 2020. Mr. Givens introduced himself and gave us a glimpse into his professional background, with a career spanning 5 decades. After that, he introduced us to his Assistant Instructor, Dr. Troy who also had been teaching for some time and was also prior law enforcement. After that, Mr. Givens called each student to the front of the classroom, one by one, to state their name, city, any agency or school they are associated with, their current training background and then what they hoped to learn from this course.

Mr. Givens made a few things very crystal clear to us. His classes have an average 15% wash out rate, the written exam is very difficult, you must study every single night when you go home, no exceptions and no distractions.

After introductions, we went straight into academic lecture. We started going over the four rules of firearms safety, why there are only four, and safety considerations that must come into play in every single range session, private or a class.

  1. All guns are always loaded
  2. Never point a gun at anything you are not willing to destroy
  3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target
  4. Always be certain of your target and what is beyond it and around it.

He explained those in depth, the context behind them and gave a safety tip to instructors, which I have personally found to be true long before he said it, due to my background in EMS. “Never, ever say to yourself, no one could be so stupid as to do that, someone will take that as personal challenge!”

Earlier I mentioned class started at 9 am SHARP and he was very serious about that, punctuality is everything. What he normally does is teach from 9:00AM to 2:30PM and then we do some range work, but because we had a torrential downpour that was not possible. It was actually a perfect example of how instructors must be able to adapt and change things on the fly, so we continued with academic work for the remainder of the day. He made sure that everyone was under no illusions. When you go home, don’t go out to dinner with friends, don’t watch a movie with your spouse or any of that. Study, study and keep studying every night. Lots of material in the book to review.

Day 2, Range Training

Weather was sunny, blue skies and cool. We spent nearly 8 hours on the range making up for lost time and fired approximately 500 rounds. We shot drills from the Parrot Drill, the Rangemaster Bullseye Course, the Casino Drill and many others, all which different areas of focus. The purpose was to teach us how to properly warm up students in Basic level courses, test our own skills and learn coaching techniques. It was difficult because we would shoot, hurry back to the tables to reload magazines, stuff loose cartridges in pockets and then hurry back. This was not a leisurely pace, it was GO! GO! GO! Nearly all the time. To add to the difficulty, he would then point at a target with an unacceptable hit (commonly referred to as a miss) and then demand an answer as to why. So we’d be standing there with racing hearts, having just fired 50 rounds, still loading magazines and going back to the academic side of coaching. Was it from squeezing the trigger? Milking the grip? Eye sprinting? But it was enjoyable to do that. Another phrase he would throw out to make certain we were not getting to wrapped up in a single unacceptable hit or over thinking what the answer could be was “c’mon dumbass, this ain’t rocket surgery!”

When we were seated in the classroom during the last hour, he could tell that some people, myself very much included, were stressed over shooting well on Day 3, which is Qualification Day. He was very kind but firm and told us that every shooter in class had made excellent progress and that tomorrow would be the best we had ever shot and explained the why. The why in this case is that, at the time he said that (roughly 5:45PM) he said the blood in our brains was in the front, we were learning new skills, applying them and processing new information. By midnight, the blood would be in the middle of the brain “while the data processes and starts saving to your hard drive” and by 5AM, it would be in the back, saved and ready for immediate use.

Day 3: Qualification Day

I just want to provide some quick context, I had been training and sharpening my skills for nearly a year before class day and for the last 3 months, the focus was all about getting good hits on a B8 target at 25 yards, which is something I was struggling with. We went into class and Mr. Givens called for all of group 1, which I was a part of, to come outside, load magazines and get on the firing line.

We shot the 2019 FBI Pistol Qualification course first, cold. I remembered was Tracy from KR Training (a Master Instructor graduate of Rangemaster) told me. “Play a movie in your head. Perfect draw, perfect sight picture, perfect trigger press. Bang bang bang”

And then the whistle blew. I came out of the holster faster than either of the gentlemen next to me and got those perfect hits. We kept shooting and then at the end, the dreaded 25 yard line! And I got 6 out of the 8 shots at 25 yards into the desired scoring zone. I scored a 98 out of a possible 100. When Mr. Givens gave the command to walk to our targets, my hands started to shake a little. I made it! We then shot the exact same FBI qualification again. This time, 100/100. We loaded magazines and too the Rangemaster Firearms Instructor Qualification Course, 2019 version. And for more context, Mr. Givens jokingly referred to passing the FBI Qualification course (at an 80% skill level) as a sobriety test. That was not the case for the Rangemaster test! For which I scored a 237 and 241 out of a possible 250.

He sent group 1 inside to study and took group 2 outside. It was a team effort inside the classroom as well. One gentleman from a local police department immediately went up to the had of the classroom and started quizzing us and discussing the points of self defense law, for which we would later be tested on. We broke of into little groups. I was with my partner known as Q and we kept going over everything we could. Mr. Givens called group 1 outside after about an hour and we shot one more course of fire, non-graded.

It was part of our academic work for later. We took a very quick 30 minute lunch and then spent the next 4 hours going over more lecture. How to lecture,  how to design a good presentation, how to hold yourself, how to coach and develop people and many more topics, concluding with Self Defense law.

And then came the dreaded written test! I won’t put to many details here but it is worth noting, only roughly half the test was multiple choice and the rest was fill in the blanks, with an S at the end. I took almost the entire allotted hour and turned in my test and left the classroom as ordered.

Assistant Instructor Troy came and got all of us. Mr. Givens stood up and appeared to be pleased as he said that every student in class had passed. I personally scored a 97.5% on my test and was one point away from being an honorable mention (barely missed 3rd place!)

Tom Givens (Rangemaster), Karl Rehn (KR Training), and Levi Nathan

The entire room erupted in applause and stayed that way when each graduate was called forth to get their certificate and a picture, if they asked for one. It was an amazing, difficult and eye opening 3 days and I cannot recommend it enough to anyone who either is an instructor already, or looking to become one. You will learn so much, make some new friends and push the boundaries of your skills with a handgun.

Advice

Below are some highly recommended pre-requisites for the Rangemaster – Instructor Development Course:

  1. Make sure you can shoot the 2019 FBI Qualification at 90% or better, before coming to class.
  2. Make sure that your draw is smooth, fast and safe.
  3. Study self defense law, including terminology, from both your local state and other resources like Massad Ayoob (MAG, Second Amendment Foundation) and Andrew Branca (Law of Self Defense)
  4. Possess at least one NRA Instructor certification. It’s not nearly as good as a Rangemaster certification, but it will make some of the basics a lot easier to learn and understand if you already have a good foundation.

In summary, this class is really hard, worth every dollar, every cartridge, you should prepare prior to taking the course and take it if you have a real interest or passion in teaching others self defense.

“Mastery is a journey, not a destination” – Tom Givens, Rangemaster

Karl notes

About half of the students in the course were KR Training assistant instructors, affiliate instructors, or people soon to be joining our assistant instructor team. Many more were former KR Training students, including several instructors from other schools. We will be hosting the next course in Tom’s instructor development program, the Advanced Instructor Course, June 4-5, 2022.

March 2021 Preparedness Seminar Videos

In March 2021, Paul Martin gave a well-attended presentation on preparedness. We were able to capture the entire presentation on video, and it’s now available as a series of low cost videos on our Vimeo site. Rent the entire set for 3 months for $19, download the entire series for $25, or get the 2018, 2020, and 2021 videos (complete) for $30 (3 month rental) or $50 (download). Individual videos are $2-5 depending on video length.

Use code PTM15OFF to get a 15% discount on the videos until May 15, 2021.

Texas has its annual Emergency Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday April 24-26. You can take advantage of it to purchase items listed in Paul’s Ready Citizen Manual.

A quick overview of the topics in the 2021 videos is here

Introduction – includes basic overview of Preparedness concepts

The Ready Citizen Manual

Paul expands on the content in his free Ready Citizen Manual

Food – the most critical preparedness item

Water – second most critical

Cash and Medical

Energy and Lighting

Security

Wrapup

Learn more about Paul and his preparedness programs at paultmartin.com

Emergency Supplies Sales Tax Weekend is April 24-25

From Paul:
One of my favorite weekends of the year is coming up this week: Texas Emergency Supplies Sales Tax Holiday Weekend! I helped get this law passed a few years ago, and now we can all save tax dollars on things we need anyway.   Many of these items would have been very helpful to have back in February when our power grid crashed.  If it crashes again this summer due to hurricanes, high temps, locusts, or some other passage in the book of Revelation, you’ll want some of these items on hand. Stock up now!  The more you spend, the more you save!
These emergency preparation supplies qualify for tax exemption if purchased for a sales price:

Less than $3,000 Portable generators

Less than $300 Emergency ladders Hurricane shutters

Less than $75 -Axes -Batteries, single or multipack (AAA cell, AA cell, C cell, D cell, 6 volt or 9 volt) -Can openers – nonelectric -Carbon monoxide detectors -Coolers and ice chests for food storage – nonelectric -Fire extinguishers -First aid kits -Fuel containers -Ground anchor systems and tie-down kits -Hatchets -Ice products – reusable and artificial -Light sources – portable self-powered (including battery operated) -Examples of items include: candles, flashlights and lanterns -Mobile telephone batteries and mobile telephone chargers -Radios – portable self-powered (including battery operated)  includes two-way and weather band radios -Smoke detectors -Tarps and other plastic sheeting

KR Training, in association with Paul, will offer a two day preparedness weekend August 28-29, 2021. That weekend will include a full day of preparedness-focused medical instruction from Dr. Ben Weger, and a full day of in person activities and hands on instruction from Paul in our air conditioned, indoor classroom at the A-Zone Range.


This two-day event will cover recent developments in the vulnerabilities of the grid, societal unrest, increased response times from law enforcement and EMS, recent weather extremes and possible changes to firearms laws across the country.  Students will receive information and guidance on better managing such situations such as dealing with extended utility outages and supply chain disruptions, preparing for a wide spectrum of medical problems, and improving their ability to ready their homes and neighborhoods for prolonged emergencies.

Read more about preparedness by browsing older preparedness articles on this blog.

TacCon21 (part 3)

The KR Training team taught, competed and attended sessions at the 2021 Rangemaster Tactical Conference, held in Dallas at the Dallas Pistol Club (DPC) facility. In part 1 of this series I wrote about the KR Training team’s participation as trainers, staff and competitors. Part 2 covered the sessions I attended. This part shares four video compilations from the event.

Women’s Shootoff

Men’s Shootoff (partial)

Vision and Reloading

Here’s a short clip from one of my Correcting Common Shooting Errors sessions. I was discussing what you need to see during a reload, specifically the myth that looking at your gun during a reload is a Tactical Sin that will get you Killed On the Street. Those that promote that idea often assume that person reloading gets tunnel vision on the gun for the entire duration of the reload. In reality, there’s only a small part of the reload where looking really does make a difference – the time when the new magazine needs to get into the empty gun. Those that are really good at quick reloads likely see even less than what I recommend in the video, but the demonstration conveys the general idea.

The Support Hand Only Grip

During my Saturday session I did a demo I hadn’t done in a long time – gripping the pistol with only my support hand grip and firing it. Not traditional “support hand only”, which is a standard one handed grip. What I demonstrated was the support hand gripping the gun with no fingers and no support around the backside of the frame, the way that it’s used in a two handed grip. The point of the demo was in relation to grip strength and grip pressure with the support hand. That hand should be gripping the gun hard enough to be able to hang onto the pistol in recoil. For many carry permit level shooters (or lower skill), their support hand isn’t gripping the pistol that hard.

DISCLAIMER: if you attempt to duplicate what I’m doing in the video, try it first with a .22, with no magazine in the gun, and only one round in the chamber. If that goes OK, try it with more powerful calibers, but NEVER do it with more than one round in the gun. That way if you are unable to retain your grip on the gun when it recoils, the worst that will happen is an empty gun falls to the ground. (I also recommend NOT doing this at any facility where you are standing on concrete or gravel. Soft grassy ground like we had at DPC is ideal.) Even more ideal is to have enough confidence in your grip that you know you can hang onto it. If you don’t have at least 80-100 pounds of grip strength in your support hand, I wouldn’t try it at all. “Experienced professional on a closed course”, “don’t try this at home”, and I am NOT responsible for any damage to your gun, you, or anyone else that might be injured if you choose to imitate this demo.

The M&P Shield Experiment

Several years ago I was carrying an M&P Shield and experimenting with different modifications that could be made to it. I ran the gun, with a variety of increased capacity magazines, in a John Farnam class and wrote a blog post about it.

After that class I did some additional experimenting, posted about it in some online discussions, but was reminded today that I had never written it all up as a blog post. Longer sight radius and longer slides and barrels generally reduce recoil, improve reliability, increase bullet velocity, and improve accuracy. At the time S&W had not introduced a long slide version of the Shield (now available as a Performance Center model).

Silencerco makes a threaded barrel for the Shield with a standard 1/2-28 thread, and I found one on sale at a great price. Taylor Freelance makes an interesting product called the Glock Sight Block that adds 3/4″ of sight radius. It’s basically the same sort of barrel weight/sight extender that people used to run on single stack 1911’s back in the early days of USPSA before those barrel weights were turned into compensators.

I bought one of those (an earlier model with a slimmer profile), and threaded it onto the Silencerco barrel, removed the front sight from the Shield’s slide and installed a Dawson Precision Glock style fiber optic front sight of appropriate height into the sight block, making a Shield that looks like this:

I also added a Crimson Trace laserguard to the gun, to experiment with using the laser instead of iron sights.

All the mods made the gun completely incompatible with any holster made for a normal Shield. I discovered, though, that the Raven Morrigan holster I had for a 4″ M&P could be tightened up, using the velcro strap, to fit the modified Shield.

Results

All the mods worked OK, but I found that I really didn’t see that much difference in performance between the stock Shield and the sight block extended gun. My primary complaint with the Shield became the challenge of doing reloads with a gun that only allowed me three fingers on the frame. My pinky didn’t know where to go, and sometimes wanted to block the mag well.

A lot of shooters are attracted to the 3-finger framed guns, thinking that they are easier to conceal than a 4-finger frame gun — but then those same shooters stick a pinky shelf magazine in the 3-finger frame gun, ending up with a frame that is just as long (3 finger frame + pinky shelf) as a 4-finger frame with a flush mag. So they end up with no concealment advantage but a disadvantage when reloading the gun.

The only way to get the true advantage of the 3-finger frame is to run the flush mag and have a true 3-finger gun. What I finally decided was that the Shield’s best role was in that truly minimal configuration, with no laser and no sight extender, carried as a pocket gun or deep concealment option. The experimental Shield got parked back in the gun safe after the Glock 48 came out, which gave me a 4″ barrel and a 4-finger frame with a flush mag holding 10+1 (and later 14+1 using the Shield Arms S15 magazines. I run the S15’s with the 10 coil heavy springs loaded to 14, and I get better reliability this way than loading to 15 with the 9 coil recoil springs).

The next experiment I’m going to do with the Shield, though, is to put it back to stock configuration and try the deep concealment approach shown in this Rhett Neumayer video, using a PHLster Enigma and Dark Star Hitchhiker holster.

I’ll do another blog post after I get my Enigma (they are sold out again) and can get some dryfire and range time in with that configuration.

TacCon21 (part 2)

The KR Training team taught, competed and attended sessions at the 2021 Rangemaster Tactical Conference, held in Dallas at the Dallas Pistol Club (DPC) facility. In part 1 of this series I wrote about the KR Training team’s participation as trainers, staff and competitors. This post will cover the sessions we attended and other events at the match.

The Sessions

Here was the schedule for all the sessions. As you can see there were a lot of great options: classroom, live fire and hands on.

FRIDAY

Friday morning I attended a 3 hour live fire block taught by Brian Hill of the Complete Combatant. Brian’s background includes coaching for strength and fitness, martial arts and firearms, giving him a very broad perspective. He’s also an excellent shooter. I was too busy shooting and learning to take a lot of pics. A bonus of attending that course is I got to meet and chat with Scott Jedlinski and Tim Herron in person. I’ve chatted with both of them online over the past year. For the past several months I’ve been running my Holosun 507 sight in “32 MOA circle only” mode, influenced by Tim’s suggestion and recommendation. I’m finding I like the big open circle better than small dot or circle-dot.

Interestingly enough, the value of having a larger reticle is something I recommended to the industry back in 2017 when I posted my red dot study results. Apparently a few companies read the post and implemented that idea into their products. As I had predicted in the 2017 post (and something Tim observed in his own use of the larger circle) is that in cases where you don’t get perfect alignment of gun and reticle and eyeball, being able to see part the reticle at the edge of the window gives you sufficient visual information to correct the alignment faster than seeing no dot in the window and having to make a guess (educated or uneducated) about which way to move the gun.

Friday afternoon I taught a 4 hour session.

SATURDAY

The TacCon presentations and seminars are always a mix of new material, special topics trainers only offer at conferences, and “greatest hits” drawn from the presenters’ best known curriculum. Having been to more than 20 TacCons, I admit to skipping the 8 am sessions in favor of getting enough sleep and a decent breakfast, so I would be reasonably well prepared to shoot the match, sample some sessions, grab a snack and be ready to teach all Saturday afternoon. I did get a chance to observe bits and pieces of the Small Auto Pistols class taught by Chuck Haggard and the Revolver Essentials session taught by Lee Weems as they were wrapping up before lunch break.

Sunday

I started Sunday with Darryl Bolke’s Revolver Options presentation. Darryl is working on a book about the history of revolver-oriented training.

The next session I attended, (conveniently in the same classroom as Darryl’s talk) was Eve Kulcsar’s “Business Tactical”. Her talk addressed an issue I get a lot of questions about: how to balance the desire to carry and be prepared for self-defense against the need to dress in business attire, and potentially be in violation of company policies that could lead to being fired. I recently became aware of one gun blogger/serious student of self defense who had lost his job as a result of a co-worker making a comment that attracted the attention of management. That resulted in company security searching his office, finding the pistol he had in his backpack, firing him and removing him from the building.

Eve’s discussion started out presenting classic risk management concepts, and then focusing on specific risk associated with job sites and business environments.

She pointed out that one of the biggest risks (that is often neglected or discounted) is risk of being in a traffic accident commuting to/from the workplace. For most people, that risk is higher than the risk of workplace violence, but gets much less attention.

Her presentation concluded with a discussion of gear and different ways to carry it: not just firearms but also pepper spray and medical gear. Off-body carry has many limitations but is often the most practical, with the lowest risk of detection.

SHOOTOFF

Claude Werner shared this excellent video of the final shootoff. It used the 3D targets developed by John Hearne, originally used for the main match when it was run indoors at the Rangemaster and Memphis PD facilities. KR Training has a set of 8 of these targets that we use in our shoothouse.

The final presentation I attended on Sunday was Jeff Gonzales‘ block on gun range accidents. Like Eve’s talk, it began with discussion of traditional risk management concepts. (Jeff’s presentation was held in one of the classroom tents. Lighting was poor, so these pics are not as good as others I took in other sessions.)

The topics on that last slide are relevant to every level of firearms training, as Jeff explained in his talk. From teaching beginners to working in live fire shoot houses, drawing from concealment and doing force on force training, those elements need to be considered to minimize risk. Most readers have probably seen videos of classes run with students downrange, or muzzling others through inattention, or videos in which negligent discharges occur, sometimes resulting in injury. I’m not going to link to any of those videos, because in many cases they are content the unsafe trainers have posted themselves to promote their businesses, and I don’t want to contribute to their online traffic.

Still more to come…

I still have some videos taken during my sessions and the shootoff to edit and post. That will be the third and final post in the series.

TacCon21 (part 1)

The KR Training team taught, competed and attended sessions at the 2021 Rangemaster Tactical Conference, held in Dallas at the Dallas Pistol Club (DPC) facility. This was the 24th TacCon. I’ve attended 22 of them and been a presenter at at least 20 of them. For many of us, the event is a family reunion, getting to visit and train together. The event has moved around over its history: from many years at the “mother ship” (the original Rangemaster range in Memphis, to the US Shooting Academy in Tulsa, DARC in Arkansas, a combination shooting range/racetrack in New Orleans, and now Dallas.

DPC has been confirmed as the location for the 2022 TacCon, and registration will open in May 2021. The event always sells out many months in advance. I will share the registration link in our monthly KR Training e-newsletter posted to this blog when it becomes available.

Claude Werner has some history about the Tactical Conference here, and I posted some videos from a 2005 Shooting Gallery episode about that year’s conference here. Michael Bane was at the 2021 TacCon filming for his new “Triggered” online series.

Karl’s Sessions

I presented two sessions of my 4-hour Correcting Common Shooting Errors course, which was useful for instructors and shooters. It’s a class that I teach several times a year at our home facility, and have taught on the road.

Explaining acceptable sight picture (and aiming point) for close range defensive shooting
Demonstrating with the SIRT pistol
Another demo

John’s Sessions

John Daub was asked to fill in for Spencer Keepers, (who had to cancel due to a medical issue) teaching three 2-hour blocks of appendix carry skills. This was John’s first time to be a lead instructor at a Tactical Conference, and he received many compliments, in person and online, from students in those sessions.

Clearing the cover garment
Re holstering
“Hi, Mom!”

John is going to expand his appendix carry skills course into a 4 hour class we will offer this summer at the A-Zone.

Match Staff & Attendees

In addition to Karl and John teaching, KR Training instructors Tracy Thronburg, Dave Reichek, and Ed Vinyard all worked as range officers for our sessions and sessions run by other trainers. KR Training instructors Becky Dolgener and David Tschirhart also attended TacCon. Several KR Training challenge coin holders and many other alumni were there too, taking advantage of the opportunity to train with a wide variety of national trainers.

The Match

Part of the event is a live fire match that now includes an initial qualification stage, a tiebreaker stage, and a head-to-head shootoff on the final day. The KR Training team made a respectable showing, with Dave Reichek (7th overall) and making the top 16 for the men’s shootoff, and Tracy Thronburg (2nd womens) and top women’s shootoff. John Daub was 20th and Karl was 25th.

The qualification stage was a fixed time, 40 round course shot on a Rangemaster RM-Q target with 200 points possible. Anyone scoring over 190 shot the tiebreaker stage, which was 5 shots from 5 yards on a B-8 target, with individual times recorded. Total score for the main match was raw points from the qual stage PLUS the hit factor (points/time) from the tiebreaker. John will be including the match course of fire along with other drills from TacCon in an upcoming revision to his “Drills, Qualifications, Standards, & Tests” eBook (free download).

K Clark’s winning target (below) shows a 200 point main score with a B-8 with 50 points in 2.83 seconds. Had they counted X’s, he would also have had 5X — a truly impressive performance. That gave him a main match score of 217.61.

Perfection

There were a lot of shooters in the top 30 that shot hit factors in the 11-13 range (compared to K’s 17.6 factor). John shot a fast 43 points to get a hit factor of 12.25, my slightly slower 50 points was a hit factor of 12.59. I shot the tiebreaker right after dropping one point on the last string of the main match, which caused me to be more conservative than I should have on the tiebreaker run. Dropping one point on the main match moved me down 8 places in the overall standards, so a 0.5% difference in score making a 5% change in overall placement. There were a lot of great shooters there and the level of competition continues to get tougher and tougher each year.

Karl’s target: 199/200. Dropping one point in the main match cost me 8 places in the overall finish.

But Wait There’s More!

Stay tuned for future posts, as I share some pics and content from sessions I attended, video from the sessions I taught, and some shootoff video. TacCon is always a very full 3 days. My reports from TacCon 2018 (both the Arkansas and Northwest Regional conferences) and TacCon 2019 are still online also.

TacCon 2005

Back in 2005, the Rangemaster Tactical Conference was featured on an episode of Shooting Gallery. The event was held at “the mothership” – the original Rangemaster facility in Memphis. Back then the event was called the “Polite Society Conference”.

Sharing these videos as I and several on the KR Training staff head to Dallas for TacCon 2021, as instructors and range staff.

Here are some excerpts from that 2005 episode.

KR Training March 2021 Newsletter

SPRING 2021 OUTLOOK

We have reduced the number of rounds required for most classes, and will continue to offer many no-live-fire defensive skills courses. Taking classes with .22 caliber guns will be allowed, and dry firing is always a good way to maintain and develop skills. February gave us a 100 year ice and snow storm, complete with lengthy power and water outages. March brings us the 2021 Legislative Session, with over 100 bills filed relating to firearms rights (pro and anti). Lt. Governor Dan Patrick’s list of priorities is here. Note that Constitutional (permit less) carry is NOT one of his priorities, although there are several other firearms issues on his list.

FREE PREPAREDNESS SEMINAR (PAUL MARTIN)

Paul Martin is offering a free preparedness seminar Saturday March 20 in Austin. The seminar will be recorded and will be available after the event for a small fee on our Vimeo channel. We have over 14 hours of content on the Vimeo channel: lectures on Prepping for Beginners, Building Your Medical Kits (from Caleb Causey), Use of Force, Law Enforcement Guidance for Armed Citizens (from Lee Weems) and many more.

UPCOMING CLASSES AT THE A-ZONE

Here are the classes we have scheduled with space available through end of June. Don’t see the class you want here? Let us know. Many classes can be taught as weekday private lessons, or we can add it to the schedule if there’s enough interest.

Courses marked with *** are core classes that count toward the Defensive Pistol Skills Program challenge coin. Any course taught by in-house staff can count as elective.

MAY-JUNE

Overhead view of the A-Zone Range shooting bays

CLASSES WITH DOUG GREIG (CONROE AREA)

JOHN MURPHY CLASS IN MARCH

We are bringing national trainer John Murphy to KR Training in March, for his two day Street Encounters Skills and Tactics course. He has lowered the round count for this course to 250 rounds, and he has limited ammo available to sell to students. Slots are still open. John is an excellent instructor with his own facility in Culpepper Virginia, with decades of experience. It’s a great choice for those with a carry permit wanting their first post-LTC course, and it’s a great complement/refresher for the material we teach in our Defensive Pistol Skills course program.

HOME DEFENSE TACTICS IN AUSTIN SUNDAY APRIL 11

We will be offering a special session of the Home Defense Tactics course Sunday evening, April 11, from 5-8p at a student home near The Domain in Austin. In this class you learn how to do a security assessment of your own home, practice armed movement in structures (aka “houseclearing”) using red guns, and practice working in a dim/low light environment inside an actual home. This class is limited to 6 students plus the host family.

We can bring the Home Defense Tactics course to your home on request.

NEW E-BOOK FROM JOHN DAUB

John Daub has compiled his favorite drills into a PDF e-book that we are offering for free download.

REFRESHER SLOTS ARE HALF PRICE

Want to take a class you’ve taken before to keep your skills sharp? Refresher slots for most courses are half price!

Register for any class using our online system.


KR TRAINING ON PODCASTS

RECENT BLOG POSTS

New blog posts and Facebook article links since the last newsletter:

STAFF DEVELOPMENT

In the past few months, several of our staff have attended courses with Hock Hockheim (Karl, John Daub, Dave Reichek), Ben Stoeger (Karl & Dave), Brian Hill (John Daub), and Tom Givens (Tracy Thronburg and Sean Hoffman). Most of the staff will be attending the upcoming Rangemaster Tactical Conference in Dallas, with Karl and John both teaching sessions as lead instructors, Tracy and Dave working as assistants, and all the rest attending as participants. I’ll post some articles here on the blog about the event when we return.

Tracy’s 5×5 card from her recent Tom Givens course.

SONG OF THE MONTH

Back in 2008 I released a CD of original music called “Respectable” (link goes to amazon Mp3 version, physical copies of the CD are available from me at the A-Zone). Here’s another song from that CD: a cover of a classic Texas blues song from the 1920’s, also covered by the Grateful Dead.

FOLLOW US ONLINE!

With the recent trend in Facebook and Twitter deplatforming and shadow banning firearms-related content, I strongly encourage you to subscribe to this blog, as direct email and blogging remain the best ways to get un-filtered, un-suppressed information. The link to subscribe is on the right hand side of every page of the blog, including this newsletter.

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 – Legal Boundaries By State (Concealed Carry.Com, 2021)

The folks at ConcealedCarry.com have released a new state-by-state gun law book called “Legal Boundaries by State”.

It’s available as a print book, but also as an e-book that comes with lifetime updates. In my opinion the e-book version is more useful. Load it into the reader app on your phone, and you will always have the handy updated reference available. There are websites that offer similar information, but I trust the folks at ConcealedCarry.com to get the information right and keep it up to date.

STATE BY STATE GUIDE

For each state, it provides a one page summary of current gun laws, in a simple, easy to follow format. Each of the categories shown in the sample page below are repeated for all 50 states.

OTHER TOPICS COVERED

Additional information provides a nice summary of all of these topics:

  • How to check a gun in luggage when flying
  • Article 926A of the Firearm Owner Protection Act
  • Proper Vehicle Firearm Storage
  • Hotels
  • Non-Resident Permits for Expanded Reciprocity
  • Traveling With Firearms in National Parks

It also includes tables with one line summaries for all states on these topics:

  • Duty to Notify Law Enforcement when carrying (traffic stop or other interaction)
  • Duty To Retreat
  • Carry in State Parks
  • Carry in Restaurants Serving Alcohol
  • Constitutional Carry
  • Campus Carry (Colleges)
  • Magazine Capacity Limitations
  • Open Carry
  • Suppressor Ownership

In less than 100 pages, this book provides a lot of useful information, particularly for those that travel across state lines on a regular basis. Order the print or e-book editions here.

Two From the Vault

Here are two videos from our archive, recently added to our youTube channel.

This is one is the full video podcast of my appearance on the Civilian Carry Radio podcast from 2019

And this one is quite a bit older: Penny is interviewed on local Austin news, during a Refuse to Be a Victim class we taught in a restaurant on 6th street.

One bonus video: a short clip of me getting a short “ride” on the Taser at a 2004 trade show. Anyone willing to take a testdrive got a free T-shirt (and I still have the T-shirt).

Exhibition Shooting

For the first half of the 20th century, exhibition and trick shooting was a common and popular form of entertainment. Famous shooters from Annie Oakley, Ad and Plinky Topperwein, Ed McGivern and Bill Jordan put on shooting demonstrations as part of Wild West shows, circuses, county fairs, and later, on TV shows.

In the second half of the 20th century, Herb Parsons, Tom Knapp, Bob Munden, Jerry Miculek and others kept the tradition alive.




Exhibition and trick shooting has made a bit of a comeback, with many 21st century trick shooters like 22plinkster, Gould Brothers, Howard Darby and Chris Cheng still putting on shows, making online and TV appearances.

Latest news is that Chris Cheng will be one of the performers on a new “talent show” to be televised on TBS. More about his involvement in that show in this Ammoman article.

This episode of the Time Suck podcast tells the life history of Annie Oakley, who the most famous of the early exhibition shooters. (Warning: host Dan Cummins drops a lot of f-bombs. Spoiler: George the Poodle does not get shot.)

Feb 2021 Winter Storm AAR

Paul Martin has already posted his winter storm AAR. Here’s another one about prepping for under $200, and one more from Lawrence on “cheap prepping”.

Dealing with multiple locations

One of the big challenges we faced was having two locations to winterize and worry about – doubly complicated when they are 50 miles apart (our house in Bryan and the A-Zone property in Lincoln.

Both properties have a bunch of smart home products: cameras and lights, TempStick temperature sensors on fridges and freezers, thermostats and smoke alarms, and a sprinkler system. We also have two weather stations that feed data to WeatherUnderground.com.

When we have power and internet service, these give us monitoring and control of important building infrastructure. Overall, all of these systems worked very well — particularly at the A-Zone property, because Bluebonnet power and Zochnet internet outages were typically of short durations (a few hours) as opposed to the long outages we experienced in Bryan. The AT&T cell phone network stayed up even when power went off in Bryan, giving us connectivity back to the remote sensors.

During the first wave of the storm, we learned that the heat pump on the house on the A-Zone property froze up. I ended up texting with our AC guy, who talked me through rewiring and configuring the Nest thermostat out there to switch on the electric heat strips and shut off the exterior heat pump. We haven’t seen our electric bill yet, but even with the thermostat set to 63, the electric heat was running at least 50% of the time for more than a week. We learned that the Nest thermostat we have isn’t “smart” enough to switch to the emergency heat. We were able to figure out that the heat pump had failed when the temperature inside the house kept dropping and the heater kept running, so the remote sensing did provide essential information.

Similarly, the exterior rain/freeze sensor worked to stop the sprinkler system from running (and we manually stopped the sprinklers remotely just to make sure no sensor error would cause them to run.)

Deciding where to ride out the storm

As the forecast worsened we had to make a decision as to where we were going to ride out the storm. At the A-Zone we had a generator and a wood burning fireplace with plenty of wood, but poor cell service (regardless of weather), with gas and food vendors 15+ minutes away. In Bryan, we had natural gas appliances (including a gas fireplace), and are within walking distance of a Walmart and multiple gas stations. We had food and bottled water at both locations.

We mistakenly assumed that utilities would be more reliable in the larger urban area. (This turned out to be wrong, as we had a 19 hour and a later 8 hour power outage in Bryan.)

Things that worked well

In my vehicle I always have a Streamlight Siege lantern, a Goal Zero solar panel and an AA battery power box that could be recharged by solar panel or USB, and could be used to charge devices connected to it via USB. During the period we went without power, I was able to use the solar panel to recharge AA batteries. The Panasonic Eneloop Pro AA batteries that I had been carrying around in my car for over a year had held their charge: other brands of rechargeable AA batteries did not, and the Goal Zero-branded AA batteries drained fastest. I will be buying more Eneloop Pro AA’s. It would have been useful to have more of them.

Natural gas appliances allowed us to cook and provided some warmth during the power outage. When power returned after the first 19 hour outage, we charged up every rechargeable thing we had, particularly all the little USB power packs and flashlights.

On the Saturday before the storm hit we went to the A-Zone and wrapped and insulated every pipe we could find. I tracked down some low-toxicity antifreeze and we poured that into the PVC water pipes in the barn to try to protect them against bursting and freezing (this worked). On Tuesday after the first big cold snap and snow and ice, we made an emergency run from Bryan to the A-Zone to check on everything. It took 90 minutes vs. the usual 60, due to road conditions and slower speeds but we were glad we made the run as it gave us peace of mind that the winterizing we had done was working (and weather conditions got worse preventing us from getting out there for another 5 days).

The batteries in the UPS’s attached to our computers were additional power storage that were used to charge USB devices and laptops. (UPS makers need to provide an option to run the UPS without the alarm sounding. Neither of ours had that option.)

The TempStick freezer/fridge sensors are expensive, so we don’t have them on the patio fridges that are only used for sodas and beer, or on the small freezers on the kitchen fridges at either location. We did have Accurite wireless sensors on those, giving local alarms if the temperatures inside the fridge or freezer got out of bounds. They allowed us to locally monitor temps without opening the door. Having those sensors let us know when we needed to relocate frozen or refrigerated items outside (into the ice and snow) to keep them from spoiling.

The only food we lost was some frozen meals in the freezer of the patio fridge at the A-Zone house. We unplugged the patio fridges at both locations out of concern that the old fridges would fail trying to keep the fridge area heated to a non-freezing temp, and expected that the sodas inside them might freeze. As it turned out, the patio location and insulated cabinets kept the sodas from freezing, and we did not have to deal with frozen/exploded soda cans.

Improvements to make

Things we are going to do to be better prepared for future power outages:

Generators at both locations. Propane heaters (we had propane at both locations but no heater to connect to the bottles). Look at replacing/modifying the gas fireplace in the Bryan house to something capable of producing heat. We needed heat far more than a decorative fire.

NOTE – some decorative fireplaces may not be built to withstand the kind of heat a useful gas heater or wood fire might produce. Inspect your fireplace area or have a professional inspect it before you make that sort of change.

Learn more about how the plumbing is run in both locations, particularly pipes that run into the attics that may need additional insulation.

Find the main power connections to the AC/heat units in the attics and put in extension cords long enough to get from the attic down to a generator. We had gas heat in Bryan, and if we had been able to run the attic unit blower from a generator, we might have been able to heat the house during the outage.

The next most likely crisis will be summer power outages. Making sure we have generators at both locations capable of powering the freezers, and maybe even a small AC unit capable of cooling a room, will go on the spring to-do list.

More observations

A few more observations from KR Training staff and alumni:

A lot of people discovered (the hard way) that heat pump systems don’t operate well in temperatures below freezing. Before the storm hit, electric and propane heaters disappeared from store shelves. We loaned an electric heater to a friend with a retail store in College Station. When he asked for the loan he said “there are no heating devices in stock anywhere within 100 miles of here”. I found the same situation with external hose covers. Our dogs decided that the styrofoam ones they could access in the backyard were fun dog toys for shredding, so we ended up using old T-shirts and tie wraps to protect the hose connections.

After the storm had passed, demand for plumbing parts soared. One KR staffer described the plumbing aisle as “looking like a tornado had hit it. Parts scattered all over the floor, boxes ripped open.” The most popular sizes of fittings were the first to go. One staffer drove 50 miles out to the A-Zone to get one of the small propane cans we use for gassing up Airsoft guns, so he could use it as a torch to work on copper fittings that had burst in his garage.

One lesson here: part of prepping is to have a network of other prepared people, in case maybe they have something you need and are willing to share. That includes your geographic neighbors.

Early during the storm, one of the A-Zone neighbors posted on Facebook that a stray dog had showed up at their property. They took it in, gave it shelter and food and water but didn’t want to keep it forever. Meanwhile, another neighbor posted on Nextdoor about a dog that had been lost within a few miles of use. Penny saw both posts, wondered if the stray dog and the lost dog were the same. We contacted the neighbor with the dog, pointed her at the Nextdoor posting…and dog and owner were reunited before the storm made things too dangerous to be driving.

Staff AARs

A few days ago I asked all 12 of the KR Training staff to send me their lessons learned. The lists below are the highlights from their responses.

Items we needed:

  • Lifestraw
  • Flashlights, batteries, glow sticks, head lamps
  • Canned or other storable food
  • Pet food
  • Water valve wrench
  • GMRS radios

Things we did right:

  • Pre-staged equipment
  • Having a mix of gas and electric appliances
  • Having fuel (gas, propane) on hand
  • Topped off vehicles early

Things we would do different next time

  • Shut off water sooner and flush the lines
  • Fill up bathtubs and other available containers
  • More firewood pre split
  • Tow rope in vehicle
  • Inspect trees – look for branches that might ice over and fall causing damage
  • Have a better plan for “things to do” when stuck in the house sitting around with no power and no heat. (Cards, games, books, crafts, dry fire drills, etc.)
  • Have a propane fired high BTU turkey fryer or lobster boiler for heating water
  • Have an assortment of copper and PVC fittings & soldering torch
  • More fire extinguishers
  • Have a better quality camping toilet
  • Know where water cutoff is and clear access to it
  • Indoor-safe propane fueled camping stove

Make a To-Do and To-Buy List and Follow through

The supply chain for many of the “wish we had” items listed above is strained right now. The best plan is to make the to-do and to-buy lists and follow up on them, even if that means ordering and waiting weeks for items to come in. As many people learned in the week before the storm, expecting big box retailers and shipping services to be able to supply everyone in the days before a major crisis is unrealistic. The challenge now is not to let the preparedness tasks get forgotten post-crisis.

Meeting and Maintaining Acceptable Standards

We recently modified our Basic Pistol 2 course to offer a two-hour version that serves 3 functions:

Basic Pistol 2

The BP2 course is the class we recommend for people that know how to shoot, but have never had a formal handgun course where fundamentals were taught in depth, and/or have never shot on a structured firing line running timed drills. Many years ago we came up with a list of questions students could ask themselves to determine whether they would benefit from attending the course:

  1. Can you score 90% on the Texas LTC shooting test?
  2. Do you understand how your pistol works? (For example understanding cocked and locked carry for a 1911, or using the decocker and firing DA for the first shot with a DA/SA style pistol).
  3. Do you do any “dry fire” practice with your pistol at home?
  4. Have you practiced starting at a ready position, finger off trigger, and getting the gun quickly to the target and firing?
  5. Are your grip and gunhandling skills up to date?
  6. Do you really know what your trigger finger is doing before, during and after each shot?
  7. Do you follow through after the shot is fired?

The vast majority of carry permit holders answer “no” to several (or all) of these questions. A well trained armed citizen should be able to answer “yes” to all of them. The primary objectives of the course are to teach those skills.

Online LTC Completion

Texas now allows carry permit applicants to do their classroom training online, needing only a short in person course (minimum of 1 hour classroom, minimum of 50 round shooting test on the range, with range test time NOT counting as part of the 1 hour classroom training).

In the two-hour version of the course, we spend one hour covering the required classroom material, and the second hour is 100 rounds of shooting: 50 rounds of drills to practice and develop skills necessary to perform well on the LTC test, and then the LTC test itself. By adding an extra 30 minutes to the state minimum, we provide significantly more instruction and improve student skill. The full 100 round program includes the first 4 drills from our Top 10.

LTC Refresher / Annual Tune Up

The two hour course can also be used as an annual tune up for students at any level. For those that have gone beyond the state minimum and had formal training in how to draw from concealment or open carry, by changing the state mandated B-27 target for our KRT-2 target, and having the shooter run the LTC starting each string drawing from concealment, making two of the 5-shot strings mandatory head shots, they can join lower level students on the firing line as they run the state test, but get much more training value from the more challenging version of the course.

I recently shot the Texas LTC test this way using our KRT-2 target. It’s considerably smaller than the B-27. The videos below show the KRT-2 pasted on top of a B-27 for scale. Only the grey and white parts of the KRT-2 count as hits. Anything in or outside the black border is considered a miss. The white section is the “X ring” with the grey area counted as an “acceptable” hit.

Firearms training is not a “one and done” thing, although many carry permit holders treat it that way. Taking a short course to verify that your skills are maintained at a reasonable level is a good thing to do each year, whether you do that by taking our 2 hour course, shoot an IDPA, USPSA or Steel Challenge match, or run some structured, timed drills in your own practice time.

Preparedness Study Resources

Here are several online resources useful for preparedness.

Ready Citizen Manual – free e-book from Paul Martin’s website

After a Disaster – free e-book from Texas A&M Agrilife

and Paul & I have curated more than 14 hours of videos on preparedness topics available online for minimal cost on vimeo.com

In the coming weeks I will be collecting up lessons learned from all who want to contribute their thoughts, to provide a group after action report on what measures we took to prepare for the current crisis worked, what did not, and what we need to do to be better prepared for the next crisis, which could be spring flash floods or a summer heatwave once again taxing our electric grid.

KR Training February 2021 Newsletter

2021 OUTLOOK

We have reduced the number of rounds required for most classes, and will continue to offer many no-live-fire defensive skills courses. Taking classes with .22 caliber guns will be allowed, and dry firing is always a good way to maintain and develop skills. COVID restrictions are still in effect, limiting class sizes and mandating masks indoors.

UPCOMING CLASSES

Here are the classes we have scheduled with space available through end of April. Some classes are already sold out. We will announce May-June classes in the March newsletter.

Don’t see the class you want here? Let us know. Many classes can be taught as weekday private lessons, or we can add it to the schedule if there’s enough interest.

JOHN MURPHY CLASS IN MARCH

We are bringing national trainer John Murphy to KR Training in March, for his two day Street Encounters Skills and Tactics course. He has lowered the round count for this course to 250 rounds, and he has limited ammo available to sell to students. Slots are still open.

REFRESHER SLOTS ARE HALF PRICE

Want to take a class you’ve taken before to keep your skills sharp? Refresher slots for most courses are half price!

Register for any class using our online system.


KR TRAINING ON PODCASTS

RECENT BLOG POSTS

New blog posts and Facebook article links since the last newsletter:


SONG OF THE MONTH

Back in 2008 I released a CD of original music called “Respectable” (link goes to amazon Mp3 version, physical copies of the CD are available from me at the A-Zone). Penny and I collaborated on this song, all about her experiences surviving a terrible winter storm when she was attending Purdue University. This week’s weather inspired us to make a video for it, featuring Penny’s photos of current and older Texas ice and snow.

FOLLOW US ONLINE!

With the recent trend in Facebook and Twitter deplatforming and shadow banning firearms-related content, I strongly encourage you to subscribe to this blog, as direct email and blogging remain the best ways to get un-filtered, un-suppressed information. The link to subscribe is on the right hand side of every page of the blog, including this newsletter.

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: Unintended Consequences (Ross, 1996)

This controversial work of fiction was written in the late 1990’s, after the assault weapon and magazine capacity bans were signed into law by Bill Clinton: after the Waco/Koresh standoff, the Ruby Ridge standoff, and the Oklahoma City bombing. Anti-government sentiment within the gun culture and the right was strong, and the militia movement was the focus of law enforcement attention. Also during this period, many states passed shall-issue concealed carry laws. This period of US history can be considered the transition from Gun Culture 1.0 (hunters and target shooters) to Gun Culture 2.0 (urban concealed carriers). It’s an artifact of that era, published independently and largely sold through gun shows and other non-traditional channels. I don’t recall ever seeing a copy on a shelf at Borders or Barnes and Noble or any other bookstore when it first came out.

Depending on your perspective, Unintended Consequences either tells the fictional story of patriots who rise up to force the Federal government to restrain an out of control bureaucracy, or the story of terrorists that succeed in forcing the President to bow to their demands through political violence. The protagonists are a small group of wealthy, highly skilled, lifelong “gun guys” who prevent a Waco/Ruby Ridge style raid on one of their properties, and then using news releases and recordings, combined with targeted assassinations of government agents, ignite a national rebellion and widespread targeted violence against Federal employees working for regulatory agencies. This puts so much pressure on the Executive Branch that the President gives in to the gun guys, enacting a set of policies that reads like the standard wish list for anyone in the gun culture:

“…a Presidential pardon to all persons currently serving time fo or how have been convicted of violations of the National Firearms Act of 1934, the Gun Control Act of 1968, the McClure-Volkmer Act of 1986, the firearms and magazine provisions of the Crime Law of 1994, and all other Federal, state and local anti-gun laws, including any and all anti-concealed carry laws.”

Like many books from that era, from Tom Clancy military novels, Stephen Hunter action-mysteries, and men’s adventure paperbacks, Unintended Consequences is full of “gun and gear nerd” content: African safaris, long discussions about guns, loads, long range shooting, and plots that are structured around technical nuances. Taken purely as another book somewhere in that genre of “action thriller”, it’s a well written, long (863 pages), entertaining read with an ending written to please its intended audience.

If you search for the book on Amazon or Abebooks, they will tell you that it’s out of print. It’s not. Signed softcover copies are available from this website. A free PDF version is also available.

Today is the 3rd anniversary of the Parkland school shooting, and President Biden has chosen to use this day to attempt to turn the clock back to 1994, with a policy goal of putting the semiautomatic long gun and magazine capacity bans back in place, along with other restrictions that go beyond what was passed in 1994. The policies in the executive orders he has signed since taking power are implementing progressive, not centrist policies that will further divide the nation and outrage those now in the political minority.

During the past year, anti-government rioters and mobs have attacked government buildings in Portland, Seattle, Washington DC and other cities. Gun sales have hit unprecedented levels. Ammo is scarce and selling for 500% of pre COVID prices, when it can be found. The country is sharply divided, with more public figures calling for acts of revenge, cancellation, re-education, and other Orwellian measures against their political opponents. Government regulation of many aspects of our lives has increased because of the pandemic, with no specific end in sight. The positions and policies of the extreme Left are now the default for Big Tech, colleges, public schools, entertainment media, “mainstream” news, professional sports, Fortune 500 corporations, the Executive branch and the House of Representatives. Trust in government is at record low levels, and outrage builds as scandal after scandal results in no significant penalties for elites and high ranking government officials, regardless of political affiliation. Lower tier elites and other expendables are ruthlessly cancelled for WrongThink or WrongSpeak, with careers ruined, but those at the top face no consequences for any offense, from simple lies to corrupt acts for financial gain to decisions and statements that result in significant property losses and deaths (of property and lives of the non-elites).

In many ways the situation is far worse than what existed in the mid 1990’s, when John Ross wrote this, in the introduction to his book:

Today in America, honest, successful, talented, productive, motivated people are once again being stripped of their freedom and dignity and having their noses rubbed in it. The conflict has been building for over half a century, and once again warning flags are frantically waving while the instigators rush headlong toward the abyss, and their doom.

Should you read the book? It’s entertaining as clever escapist fantasy. It’s educational, teaching about the history of gun laws and technical details about many different rifles and machine guns. And I think that it’s also relevant to current events, as political discussion about gun rights may soon sound like a repeat of 1994.