KR Training October 2020 Newsletter

Gov. Abbott’s policy change allowing businesses to run at 75% capacity applies to KR Training, and we have opened additional slots in October classes to meet unprecedented demand for training. (UPDATE: most of the open slots have been filled!) We’ve added more weekday group classes to the schedule also.

AMMO SHORTAGE & DRY FIRING

Ammunition has become very difficult to find, with prices up as high as 500%. This article from RECOIL magazine explains the cause and answers many questions. The current situation could easily continue into 2021. We have reduced the round counts in some classes, and are offering many no-live-fire courses (marked with ** in the list below).

Dry firing is an essential way to continue maintaining skill. Annette Evans’ Dry Fire Primer book and Ben Stoeger’s dry fire book are excellent ways to learn how to do effective dry fire practice. Training aids such as the SIRT pistol (use code KRT10 for a discount) and Coolfire Trainer (use code REHN20 for discount) can make dry firing more interesting. With 9mm ammo selling for 500 per thousand (or more!), a training gun that allows realistic practice and does not require racking the slide for each shot becomes a much more cost-effective solution. After you have dry fired the training gun 500-1000 times, the “investment” is paid for and all future use of that gun is essentially free. Dry firing doesn’t require leaving the house, ammo, or a shooting range. 10-15 minutes a few times a week can produce significant improvement, particularly if you practice drawing from concealment.

UPCOMING CLASSES WITH SPACE AVAILABLE

Private weekday classes including LTC online completion are also available. Tina Maldonado, Sean Hoffman and Doug Greig also offer private and a few weekend group courses not listed here.

Register for any class using our online system.

PREPAREDNESS VIDEOS UPDATE

Paul Martin and Karl Rehn along with guest instructors Caleb Causey and Mark Overstreet have posted new videos for 2020 as part of our ongoing Virtual Preparedness Conference. More videos will be released in October.

The entire video series can be found here.

AT-5 TACTICS LABORATORY

If you’ve taken AT-2 scenarios and want more force on force training, the AT-5 Tactics Laboratory class is for you!. This higher level class integrates unarmed skills along with Simunition guns to provide a more realistic simulation experience with full scenario context. Drills integrated unarmed and gun skills for close range encounters are also part of the class. The “shooting from retention” drills in DPS-1 are repeated, this time against live opponents using SIRT guns and other props, to reinforce and build on that skill, practicing against an uncooperative opponent. We only offer this course once a year, so we encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity.


SEPTEMBER BLOG POSTS

In case you missed it, here’s what we’ve been blogging about in September:

TEXAS BAR FIREARMS LAW TRAINING

Karl will be attending the (virtual) Texas Bar Association’s Firearms Law seminars this week. Guest instructor Massad Ayoob will be presenting a session. The virtual sessions are open to anyone paying the tuition fee, and the sessions will be available after the event is over for those that want to register and view them later. Texas Bar CLE has also published a new book on the essentials of Texas Firearms Law – highly recommended for any instructor or serious student of armed self-defense. Unlike mass market books on this topic, this book includes references to case law with citations, and has a college-textbook price to match its college-textbook information.

SONG OF THE MONTH

This month’s music video is from summer 2010, when Leannasaurus Rex had a weekly gig at popular biker hangout Yankees Tavern near Iola, Texas. The best performances from those shows ended up on the “Hot Summer Jams” CD (download the remastered tracks for free here). Plans for a 10th anniversary re-release and Leannasaurus Rex reunion show were scrapped due to COVID. This fan-shot phone video for our cover of Matt Schofield’s “Siftin Through the Ashes” seemed appropriate given the fiery riots and civil unrest of the past 30 days.

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: Quick or Dead (Cassidy, 1978)

Quick or Dead was published by Paladin Press back in 1978. There are still copies available online, even though Paladin has closed up shop. The title doesn’t tell you as much about the book’s contents as the subtitle on the inside cover page does.

Written during the time when the Modern Technique (Weaver stance and the rest of the program Gunsite taught) was becoming more widely accepted, the book gathers up the best of all the non-Modern Technique material from 1900 to the present. The tone of the book is better than many “point shooting” books (and the book doesn’t specifically advocate point shooting), because it doesn’t insist that the methods it shows are The Way and that the Gunsite/Weaver/Cooper material is Wrong and Bad. Many of the observations and explanations in the book actually align well with where technique evolved in the 80’s and 90’s.

The list of those named and acknowledged (and those NOT mentioned, specifically anyone that was part of the Gunsite community), is a good indicator of the roots of the book’s content, though.

And in keeping with the spirit of many of Paladin’s other publications, here’s a list of other books the author wrote for them. Several of the topics are very 1970’s in flavor.

The best part of the book, for me, as a student of history of handgun training, was the extensive bibliography. Most of the books and articles the author references were familiar to me, including many of the books written by British shooters in the early 1900’s. His frequent references to Pollard’s writing added that name to my “need to read” list. I picked up a e-book edition of Pollard’s “The Book of Pistol and Revolver” for $10 and will review it here at some point. My current stack of “read and ready to review” is over a dozen books, with another dozen or more in the “to read” stack. (The rabbit hole of old gun books is a deep one.)

Pollard is quoted in ‘Quick or Dead’:

“Shooting at a man is quite different to target practice. You are, unless cast in a specifically heroic mold, excited, possibly startled or alarmed. You may have had to run and be out of breath, or you may have experienced that emotional heart acceleration which makes the hand positively dither. In any case, you will be looking at your man, not at your pistol.”

Pollard, according to historical claims, was a “duellist of some repute”, since formal duels were still being fought from time to time post WWI. (I have been reading old books on dueling and will have a separate blog post at some point in the future discussing how the schools that taught young nobleman how to duel have their own place in the history of handgun training.) Pollard is quoted again in Quick or Dead:

“Never advance cheerfully on your late opponent without reloading. You may have used your last shot, and he may not be properly dead and still spiteful. There is one golden rule which should never be broken. If a pistol is carried it must be loaded and ready for instant use. A unloaded, unready pistol is less use than half a brick in an old stocking.”

(Only 1/3rd of pistols caught by TSA in spring 2020 in carry on bags had a round chambered, although most have ammunition in the gun, indicating that a lot of carry permit holders still need education as to what “unready” means and how little time they will have to deploy the pistol if needed. My suspicion is that most of those guns were flopping around loose in no particular orientation within the bag, which might be the reason the owner was uncomfortable having a round chambered. Two wrongs, in this situation, don’t make a right, as a gun carried off body in a bag should be in its own compartment that has an embedded holster that covers the trigger guard…with a round chambered.)

The book includes some good illustrations showing stance, grip, and other fundamentals.

In 1978, very few shooters were using this stance, but it should look very familiar to 21st century shooters, with the gun brought up to the eye target line, gripped in two hands, fully extended with no asymmetric arm bending.

While the author describes this stance as “instinctive pointing”, clearly the pointing is being done by aligning the finger with the dominant eye, which is not the “point shoulder” position nor the hip shooting position some point shooters advocate. In the 21st century, shooting with the gun at eye level, using the sights but a target focus for close range (the author chooses 25 feet, or roughly 8 yards, as his definition), is widely taught, both with iron sights (particularly by multi-time USPSA national champion Ben Stoeger) and with red dots (by basically everyone teaching red dot pistol classes).

This grip drawing shows proper alignment of the gun with the hand and arm – something that remains valid today. The rise of the wide-body, double stack magazine semiauto pistol has caused many shooters, particularly those with short fingers, to learn to grip the gun with it twisted over their thumb knuckle, as the picture in the upper left shows. The growing popularity of single-stack of narrow guns, such as the Glock 48, M&P Shield, Springfield XD-S and others, has finally given small handed/short fingered shooters better options for guns that fit their hands properly, but based on what I observe with students in classes, understanding of this basic principle of gun selection is poor to nonexistent at the carry permit level. Mis alignment of the gun with the hand also occurs when the grip is built starting with the firing hand fingers, vs. aligning with the web of the hand. Another common source of this error is getting a bad grip on the pistol when drawing from an inside the waistband holster.

The author comments on the importance of keeping the thumb parallel to the slide – something that can be done with a classic thumb over thumb grip, and also with the more modern “thumbs forward” grip. Gripping with enough pressure that the hand trembles is not current thinking, but gripping with significant pressure with the fingers (of both hands) is commonly taught.

The material on how to draw from concealment is dated, showing the classic FBI “bowling” draw including movement of the head and eyes as the gun is being drawn. Draw technique changed radically in the decades after 1978. The average shooter trained in modern draw technique is faster, and getting better first shot hits, than those using the FBI lean, bowl and crouch technique were getting in their day.

Chapters

A quick overview of the chapters and topics covered:

  1. Influences and approaches – The Moros and the .45 caliber cartridge, advantages of the self-loading pistol, World War I instruction, fast draws, Ed McGivern, A.C. Gould, A.L.A. Himmelwright, and “snap shooting”
  2. The Shanghai Influence – This chapter does an excellent job of presenting the history of Fairbairn’s time in China, and the program of training he developed, particularly his shoot house, scenario based concept of training.
  3. Voices in the Wilderness – Hugh Pollard, William Frazer, J.H. Fitzgerald, A.L.A. Himmelwright, Charles Askins, Fairbairn, Sam Yeaton and Sam Moore — basically a collection of information from all of these influential writers and shooters from the WW2 era.
  4. Specially Employed – Askins, Fairbairn and Sykes, Applegate, and how the FBI got “educated” by the WW2 point shooters.
  5. Post-War Approaches – Cowboy Quick Draw, Cooper, Chic Gaylord, Bill Jordan, Colin Greenwood, Leatherslap – basically 1950’s-1960’s evolution of training and technique summarized nicely.
  6. How to Practice Shooting – this is where most of the pictures of fundamentals in the review came from. From the era before shooting timers were common, there are few courses of fire in this section, just descriptions of how to draw from concealment and shooting using the techniques described earlier in the book.
  7. Technicalities – the final section of the book is mostly a compendium of ballistic studies, mostly dated results advocating for the .45 ACP caliber and the Glaser Safety Slug, with one subsection “All Guns Are More Or Less Equal Except Those Designed by John Browning Which Are Better”, which would have been at home in any late 1970’s gun magazine.

Summary

This book would be a good choice for someone that wants the history of handgun training and technique, 1900-1960-ish, from the perspective of those that did not (or were slow) to get on board with what Jeff Cooper was teaching in the late 60’s and early 1970’s. It shows that some of the things that were later merged with the Modern Technique came from those sources, and would give any shooter a sense of historical perspective. It’s a short read, full of references to related works, making it easy for someone interested in diving deeper into the topics to track down the source material.

Gun Rights Video

Paul Martin and I have been posting new videos as part of our ongoing Virtual Preparedness Conference. These videos are part of the package of On Demand content we have on Vimeo. Each video is a few bucks to stream (3 month rental) or download. The newest video is from retired NRA-ILA researcher, firearms training and national columnist Mark Overstreet. It’s a sample of the material he taught in a recent Gun Rights Seminar we hosted at the A-Zone Range. This particular video discusses the legal history of gun rights and the nuances of the rulings in several critical Supreme Court decisions, as well as the future of gun rights in the current political climate.

Because they are pay-to-watch videos, it appears that Vimeo is blocking embedding, so follow the links to rent or purchase them on Vimeo’s site.

Gun Rights Video link

More videos are in production and will be announced in coming weeks.

If the embedded video links don’t show up in your browser, go to the Vimeo page here.

Other videos posted recently include (links below):

What to Do in the next 6-12 months

Building your Medical Kits

Use of Force to Protect Property (decision making algorithm)

Setting up an Expedient Neighborhood Watch

Video Review: Gunsite Active Shooter (Panteao, 2016)

During a recent trip to Gunsite I picked up a physical copy of the Panteao-produced, Gunsite Active Shooter Response video. Since I will be teaching another session of the Texas DPS-certified Active Shooter response course this month, I spent some time watching the Gunsite video as part of my review of class materials.

This 3 hour video is mostly lecture material, presented on the range, but with all the shooting and drills covered in the final hour. It’s a very thorough program (chapter titles listed below) suitable for those at the carry permit level with no training beyond that level. For those with more experience, some of the material in the early chapters will be review.

The last hour of the video, starting with chapter 17, gets into live fire drills, shoothouse and vehicle work. The fundamentals of these topics are taught at a relaxed pace, working simple problems in small chunks, which is an excellent approach for teaching these skills to those that haven’t seen them before, or are using the video as review.

Similarly, the vehicle segment focuses on basic skills, engaging targets around vehicles, moving to cover, with acceptable hits.

Medical response is well integrated into the course, as medical gear is discussed in the sections on setting up your bail out bag, and use of the gear is shown in context during the shoothouse drills.

If you haven’t seen any of the Panteao videos, they are all well made: professionally scripted and produced, and a good value for the money. In addition to the Gunsite Active Shooter video, they also have Paul Howe’s Active Shooter video, which is a condensed version of his multi-day active shooter course. I attended that course at his facility several years ago and wrote an AAR of it here.

While there are many videos available on youTube for free, long form, professionally produced videos offering instruction from verified subject matter experts (such as the ones Panteao offers) are worth paying for. They provide a way to get some valuable training without needing a range (or ammo).

Book Review: Gun Control Myths (John Lott, 2020)

Research John R. Lott, Jr. has a new book out, “Gun Control Myths”. Like all his other work, it’s fact-filled, with higher quality research than the Bloomberg-funded gun control advocates produce. Since Dr. Lott’s conclusions don’t fit the “narrative” of most media, you won’t see his results reported as widely. If you find yourself discussing gun control and gun laws with others during this election season, the material in this book may be useful to you. Lott does an excellent job of providing detailed endnotes for each chapter, referencing back to every article and study he mentions in the book. He exposes the ways that data are misrepresented and manipulated to create statistics widely believed by those that blindly agree with those claims due to confirmation bias, and/or ignorance of technical details about firearms and existing gun laws.

Lott addresses the (false) myths that are widely repeated by anti-gun politicians and media in depth, including:

  • America has more firearm homicides than Canada and Germany
  • Developed countries with more guns have more gun deaths
  • There have been more than 1600 mass shootings since Sandy Hook
  • Household gun ownership is declining
  • States with tighter gun control laws have fewer gun related deaths
  • Attacks in the US have become deadlier
  • Tightening gun laws lowered firearm homicide rates
  • There is not enough gov’t funded research on guns

Countries and states and cities all have differing populations. When raw numbers of events are presented instead of rates per 100,000, and those raw values are compared with no discussion of relative population, incorrect conclusions can and are frequently drawn.

Lott devotes a full chapter to debunking myths about mass public shootings. Incidents that are gun fights between two armed groups, particularly gang-related incidents, which are different from active killer situations, often get counted by anti-gun groups to inflate their numbers. Similarly, incidents in which a potential active killer is stopped before 3 people are killed are not included in some anti-gun research databases (or the FBI’s statistics), making it possible for those opposed to armed teachers or concealed carry or individual armed response to make the false claim that no attack has been stopped by a good “guy” (of any gender) with a gun. He also addresses the issue of magazine capacity and its effect (or lack of effect) on outcomes in mass public shootings, and presents statistics on the number of incidents occurring in “gun free” zones.

Lott uses the correct definition of a gun free zone as one that prohibits individual carry of guns, which includes military bases and many public buildings. Anti-gun propagandists exclude those locations claiming that weapons in an armory, or a location where only on-duty law enforcement are allowed to carry, are equivalent to a public space where legal carry is possible.

Other chapters explore “The Heroes That the News Media Doesn’t Cover”, the politicization of the FBI and their statistics on mass public killers, and how much money Michael Bloomberg has invested in academic programs to do anti-gun research. An old friend is an editor at a major online news website, and I recently explained to him that when a study comes from the “Bloomberg” School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, it should not be considered as unbiased research. They are the equivalent of studies on tobacco funded by R.J. Reynolds – tainted by the bias of the funding source. I encouraged him to at least do his readers the service of printing the entire name of the school, not just “Johns Hopkins”, when writing about research results, in the interest of honesty and fairness and clarity.

Lott’s work has been subject to constant media bias and omission, despite him doing far more than the anti-gun researchers to provide transparency in his sources and data analysis methods. He discusses the lack of transparency and selective data omissions other researchers have done to achieve desired results in their work.

I recommend this book, along with all of his previous publications, and encourage gun owners to support his research by purchasing his books. Visit the Crime Prevention Research Center for more information about Dr. Lott and his work.

KR Training September 2020 Newsletter

Caught between COVID restrictions on class sizes and ammo shortages, we are also seeing the highest demand for training we’ve had in 29 years in business. We are offering courses on every weekend between now and end of October, and have multiple instructors teaching private sessions at the A-Zone and at locations from Conroe to Georgetown and Lampasas. Training is available at any level, including LTC online completion. Contact us to request a specific class.

KEEP BUILDING SKILL WITHOUT AMMO

Many of you have shared your frustrations about the ammunition shortage and price-gouging, and we share those frustrations. We added a reloading clinic at the end of August for those of you who asked, and we’re happy to offer that class again if you let us know that you’re interested.

We also know how important it is to have recent and relevant training and practice. If ammunition is preventing you from attending classes or getting to the range (or even if it’s not), it’s a good time to explore options for dry-fire practice that supports and reinforces skills you’ve recently learned.

Ben Stoeger’s dry fire book and scaled dryfire targets are excellent, as is Annette Evans’ Dry Fire Primer book. Here’s a link to an article by Massad Ayoob about dry-fire safety.

Our friends with Immersive Training Solutions are offering individual and group sessions using their VIRTRA video simulator in the north Austin/Leander area.

You can buy a SIRT pistol using the code KRT10 from Next Level Training, or a CoolFire kit from CoolfireTrainer using the code REHN20.

You can use the Image Based Decisional Drills kit (get the special KR Training card pack!) in dry fire or live fire to build your rapid decision making skills.

Set up a productive training and practice regimen by taking these steps as soon as possible:

  • Use Ammoseek.com to find 150-200 rounds of ammunition. Expect availability or shipping delays and higher prices.
  • Contact us to schedule a private Handgun Coaching session for yourself, your family, or your small group with an instructor closest to you. Several of our instructors offer training at local ranges, as well as at the A-Zone Range.
  • Take what you learn during that session and apply it to a daily dry-fire routine. Just five minutes a day, even with a “dead” trigger, can help you maintain or improve your skills. You can work on your concealment draw (perhaps the most important skill) without pressing the trigger at all. Work on drawing to a sight picture with the slack out of the trigger.

PAUL MARTIN VIRTUAL PREPAREDNESS CONFERENCE

COVID affected our plans to run an August event, but many have concerns about the current pandemic and volatile political situation. Paul, Karl, and guest instructors Caleb Causey, Lee Weems, and others to be announced will be sharing new videos from now through the end of October (and possibly beyond). These videos are offered as Video On Demand via Vimeo. You can stream them or download them for a small per-video fee. The entire video series can be found here. The older content from the 2018 presentations is still available.

HANDGUNNING BEYOND BASICS

Handgunning Beyond Basics is one of the required courses in our Defensive Pistol Skills program. It’s not a beginner class. Tom Givens teaches that there are at least 3 types of shooting: “quickly, carefully, and precisely”. Quickly is for big targets in the 3-7 yard zone. Carefully is for small targets up close and big targets from 7-15 yards, and Precisely is for anything past 15 yards. Most shooters do not understand or apply those concepts, firing every shot with the same sight picture, with the same speed of trigger press, regardless of shot difficulty. The Handgunning Beyond the Basics course teaches all 3 modes and applies them to single and multiple targets at varying ranges. If you plan to earn your challenge coin, this course is required. If you want to shoot better on harder targets, this class will teach you how.

MASSAD AYOOB MAG-20

Legendary trainer Massad Ayoob will visit KR Training Sept 26-27 to teach his 2 day indoor lecture course, MAG-20 Armed Citizens Rules of Engagement. This class goes far beyond the material covered in the Texas License to Carry course and should be mandatory for any LTC instructor. Mas has worked hundreds of cases as an expert witness and has extensive experience dealing with all the aspects of preparing an armed citizen to make good use of force decisions and be able to defend them in court.

Due to COVID this class will be smaller than a normal MAG-20, with limited slots available, but a few slots are still open.

UPCOMING CLASSES

Many of the Sept-Oct classes are already sold out as we continue to operate under COVID restrictions on class size and student distancing (details here). The following classes still have spots available:

Register for any class using our online system.

View our full schedule to see the 2021 classes that are now open for registration. Due to the agreement with our neighbors regarding live fire during deer season, the only live fire training we will offer at the A-Zone during those months will be mid-day, weekday private or group courses. Other team instructors working at other ranges will have some weekend training available.


TAC MED EDC – MAYHEM! – NOVEMBER 15

Due to recent events across the country there is a demand for skills and tools required to survive violent mob attacks.  One of the problems is that these violent mobs are using unconventional weapons against civilians and law enforcement alike; fire bombs, blunt objects (rocks and bricks), chemicals (acid, paint products), feces, pyrotechnics, and lasers that cause blindness. These attacks are not restricted to just downtown areas, they have made their way to residential neighborhoods.  As their tactics change, so should yours to protect your family… which includes your own medical responses to such attacks.

This one day course provides solutions to injuries already witnessed as a result of these violent attacks.  We’ll be covering the same subjects as previous Tac Med EDC courses, but with a focus on injuries related to mob attacks in your vehicle, your home, and at work.

Students are encouraged to bring their Get Home Bag, any med kit they already have, or other related preparedness gear to class.  Scenarios will involve some skills and tools not medically related, but critical to surviving a mob attack. 

AUGUST BLOG POSTS

If you don’t subscribe to this blog or follow us on Facebook, you may have missed these articles we posted in August. A very busy month of teaching, with a record number of weekday private lessons has limited our blogging.

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.

STAFF NEWS

Tracy recently attended an indoor, low light/vehicle defense force on force class at the FRC Indoor Range and Training Facility in Baton Rouge, LA. Karl taught two classes for Buck and Doe’s range in San Antonio, assisted by Tim Reedy of TDR Training, was top pistol shooter in his first IDPA match in more than 20 years. Many of our staff instructors have been busy teaching private and small group classes, from Conroe to Georgetown to Giddings, as demand for License to Carry and beginner training hits record levels. DPS reports that they are receiving more than 1600 applications per day. At that rate, the number of permit holders in Texas could grow by 300,000 or more by the end of the year.

SONG OF THE MONTH

This month’s sample video of Karl performing live at Luigi’s in College Station, where he plays every Tuesday night (and occasionally live streams the performances on his personal Facebook page). This is his version of Otis Redding’s “You Don’t Miss Your Water”, in honor of August’s dry weather.

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

A testimonial from Greg Ellifritz of Active Response Training about Karl Rehn and John Daub's book, Strategies and Standards for Defensive Handgun Training.

William Aprill, RIP

Yesterday the news rippled through the firearms training community that Dr. William Aprill of Aprill Risk Consulting had passed away. I’ve known William for close to 20 years, as he and I were regular presenters at the annual Rangemaster Tactical Conferences, and in recent years I had hosted (and co-taught) his “Unthinkable” course.

His “Unthinkable” course was offered all over the country, sometimes as a stand alone package of his lectures, and sometimes as a longer course co-taught with other trainers, incorporating their material with his. The training he offered was unlike anyone else’s: a guide to understanding behavior of violent criminals, and how to interact with (or preferably, avoid) them. He was also a very skilled handgun shooter, and presented some excellent blocks of training on unarmed self-defense at some of the early TacCons.

Another course he co-taught was the “Establishing a Dominance Paradigm” class, with Tom Givens and Craig Douglas. KR Training’s Dave Reichek attended and wrote a detailed review of that class back in 2015.

William and I had talked in the past few weeks, as I scheduled him to teach two 1-day versions of “Unthinkable” in December at the A-Zone. As soon as I put it on the calendar, people began signing up. Earlier in the year his name was top of the list of student requests for guest instructors. His reputation and the quality of the information he shared on many podcasts and videos made the course easy to market.

Recently he was featured on two episodes of Ballistic Radio, sharing his thoughts on recent events. These may be the last interviews he did before passing. He was a frequent guest on that podcast and many other, older episodes are also worth listening to.

William frequently updated his Facebook page with his “they don’t think like us” posts, giving examples from the news of behaviors and situations similar to those presented in his classes. It’s another way to learn from him, even though he’s no longer with us. Hopefully his family or friends will keep his page active, so his knowledge and digital memory will be preserved.

Most of the KR Training team knew William, as many of us were frequent TacCon attendees, or interacted with him in person and online. We were looking forward to having him back at the A-Zone, not just for training but to enjoy his company and catch up with an old friend. We are diminished, and he will be missed, but never forgotten.

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Flags at half mast. William Aprill RIP.

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Book Review: The Gun Gap (Mark Joslyn, 2020)

I picked up a copy of this e-book recently. Someone I follow online (can’t remember who, sorry) recommended it. The author, Mark Joslyn, is a political scientist at the University of Kansas who does research on voting trends and demographics, including gun ownership. According to the introduction, the author “has never owned or gun or been involved in gun politics”. That lack of understanding of the history of the gun culture in the U.S. shows in some of the critical points that were missed in his analysis. He read a lot of books on the subject, mostly books written by gun culture outsiders and other academics, and draws conclusions based on graphs and charts and the third-hand conclusions reached by the authors of the books that he read.

It’s a wonky book that analyzes changing trends based on survey and poll data, making the case that political analysts and pundits and academics should be looking at more than gender, age, location and other factors to understand the growing political divide. As someone deep inside the gun culture who deals with these issues on a daily basis, nothing in the book was particularly surprising or new information. The target audience – pundits and academics who are outsiders to the gun culture – will likely find it far more interesting than I did.

Quick summaries of the 7 chapters, with my thoughts on their contents. Direct quotes from the book are in bold, my own thoughts in italics.

1 – Understanding gun culture (and introduction)

National exit polls do not regularly ask voters about gun ownership. Decades of serious research in political behavior have ignored gun owners and gun ownership. (Karl: This is because coastal elites, academics and pollsters all tend to live and work in places and at institutions where gun ownership is rare and/or secret, as cultural norms, bias, discrimination, and divisive attitudes make it uncomfortable for gun owners. I have students that absolutely do not want to be photographed when attending classes, out of concern that their employers or co-workers will disapprove, leading to interpersonal conflict or even discrimination related to job assignments or promotions. The author addresses those issues in chapter 5 of the book.)

Gun owners did not represent a serious political group until the 1980’s and 1990’s. (Karl: This is because until then, gun ownership was culturally “normal”. Prior to the late 1970s there was no significant gun control “movement” in US politics. Starting in the 1980’s, media elites and liberal think tanks began creating the same kind of lobbying/biased advocacy research structure for gun control as they were creating for other social issues. In the 1950’s and 1960’s, movie stars and politicians and presidents (JFK, for example), considered it normal to hunt and target shoot, and riflery was taught at every summer camp and in some high schools.)

The 2004 election revealed an emerging urban/rural divide. (Karl: Not really urban/rural as much as the efforts of the Boomer Left to make gun ownership and appreciation of firearms freedoms as marginalized as tobacco use and drunk driving: wiping out “urban” gun culture via passage of more and more laws making it harder and more expensive for those in major cities to own, shoot or carry guns. That trend may be reversing in 2020.)

Gun owners believed guns improved their sense of control in life and enhanced feelings of safety, confidence, and responsibility. Those believing those things supported arming teachers and concealed carry. Gun owners are increasingly unlikely to tell poll takers that they own guns, making an accurate estimate impossible. (Karl: Another factor the author ignores is that gun and magazine bans in anti-gun states, up to and including laws requiring owners of banned items to turn them in or destroy them, make those in possession of those items, even in states where bans and confiscation orders have not been enacted, very reluctant to admit to a stranger that they might own those items. Yet another factor is that modern technology makes it much easier to block or decline calls or texts from unknown numbers, reducing the potential pool of those willing to answer poll questions even more.)

The author refers to those that own twenty or more guns as “super-owners”, and mistakenly infers that the main reason those people own that many guns is that they have interest in “gun collecting” and belong to gun collecting “clubs”. (Karl: That has not been my experience at all. Most of the people I know that own a lot of guns do so not because of collecting but because of participation in shooting sports, hunting different species, equipping family members of varying sizes, ages and physical abilities, the hobby of building and customizing guns, preparedness and purchasing guns and magazines specifically as a hedge against future bans, for investment or to hand down to family members. Others purchase new guns simply because new models that interest them or that may work better for their needs are introduced, and those that shoot a lot may purchase multiple copies of a frequently used gun or replace a worn out gun.)

The standard observations about the change in gun owner motivation from hunting to self defense (aka Gun Culture 1.0 to 2.0) are made, referencing the usual sources. Also the usual discussion of the NRA is included, with the usual overstatement of the NRA’s influence on gun owners, with the false claim “The NRA is often noted as the singular voice in articulating, refining and forging a gun owner identity.” (Karl: Gun culture is far more tribal than outsider academics realize. There is on singular gun owner identity, and at best the NRA’s positions on issues is a reflection of gun owners, not the other way around. NRA lagged behind the curve on acceptance and growth in interest in the AR-15, USPSA/IDPA matches, suppressors, concealed carry, open carry, and just about every major trending change in gun owner behavior of the past 30 years.)

The widening gap between the two major parties on gun issues is discussed and explored with charts and graphs, showing a result that should surprise no one: as the party platform of the Democrat party supported more and more restrictions on gun ownership, gun owners stopped supporting that party. (Karl: The author points to John Kerry’s failed attempt to pretend to be “one of us” as the last attempt of a Democrat candidate to appeal to gun owners.)

2 – A gun gap in voter choice

In this chapter the author makes the case, using charts and graphs and data, that political scientists should study gun ownership as a factor that separates voting blocks, noting big shifts starting in 2000. Southern Democrat candidates Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton attracted majority support from households that did or did not own guns in 1976 and 1996, respectively. Donald Trump’s “gun gap” is 3x larger than the gap was in 1976. (Karl: This is largely a function of the Democrat party’s hard left turn and aggressive push for gun control, as well as the growth in popularity of concealed carry and the AR-15 rifle. The GOP pays lip service to gun rights during campaigns but rarely exerts political effort to expand gun rights. The best they can do most of the time is vote ‘no’ on Democrat proposals and give weak excuses to gun owners as to why promises made to repeal or revise existing laws are never kept.)

The gun control-group talking point claiming that poorly educated white men make up the largest block of gun owners is repeated in the book. Gun ownership is, as the author identified, a strong indicator of voting preferences. (Karl: My own experience with three decades as a trainer is that my students come from a wide variety of backgrounds, from construction workers to doctors and lawyers and professors, as well as musicians and programmers and service industry workers. The key point the author, and most academics, ignore, is that each election gun owners must choose between one party intent on taking guns, magazines and the rights to carry and own specific (or any guns) away from gun owners, and another party that at least pretends to support gun owners and gun rights during the campaign, that only votes for gun bans occasionally. There is no “compromise” ever in play, as a compromise would involve gun owners trading some freedoms for others. Instead, when the word ‘compromise’ is used, it always refers to gun control advocates only getting some of their policies enacted today, with others deferred until the next opportunity.)

3 – A gun gap in voter turnout

This chapter studies the gap in voting turnout between those motivated to support gun control and gun rights. Gun owners have the most to lose and unsurprisingly are the most motivated to vote and to urge others with similar interests to vote. The author does a fairly good job of explaining this, and going farther into gun owners’ motivation to be politically active by contacting elected officials, staying informed, and peacefully protesting.

(Karl: If every election posed the risk of new regulations and criminal offenses for academics owning certain kinds of books, or studying certain topics, or being prohibited from using certain words, perhaps they would better understand what motivates gun owners to be as politically active as they are. The upcoming election may pose that actual risk to academics, as “cancel culture” and woke censorship has become a serious concern of the traditional Left, who are under attack from the extreme Left.)

4 – Safer with a gun

People that own guns feel safer because they own them. Those that do not own guns are (justifably) scared of being harmed by a gun, and therefore want fewer people to own guns or carry guns in public. This idea is supported by graphs and charts and poll data, all of which shows what gun owners already understand.

This chapter leads into the next, which explores this idea further.

5 – Feelings toward gun owners

Unsurprisingly (to any gun owner), those outside the gun culture have considerable bias and believe many negative stereotypes. This bigotry and bias affects opinions about gun laws and voting patterns.

From the book: The gun is simply an object. Assailing it and demanding limits can be construed as harassment of gun owners and disapproval of gun culture generally. Gun owners may view criticism of guns as insulting, questioning their judgment and their capacity to carry and operate a gun safely. The resounding message after a gunman claims dozens of innocent lives is “we must regulate guns.” Gun owners may hear this as “we must do something about gun owners”

From the book: If people like gun owners, they also believe concealed carry improves public safety and guns are not threats to personal safety. And this makes sense. If an individual favors gun owners, why would she be threatened if others own guns and carry them in public?

(Karl: There are essentially no portrayals of normal gun ownership presented in modern entertainment media. “Good guy” gun users are always law enforcement or military personnel, typically engaging in very violent behavior, often dismissive of citizens owning guns, parroting the gun control talking point that regular people can’t possibly have the judgment or skill to use a gun for self defense.” Cop shows like Law and Order, set in New York City, mislead national viewers into thinking that NYC gun laws are representative of gun laws in their home state, while false claims made by Democrat politicians mislead non gun owners into thinking that anyone can order a full auto gun over the internet.)

Karl: The only moderately positive examples of citizen gun ownership I can identify are one Simpsons episode where Homer buys a gun, learns that most of the characters on the show are gun owners and members of the National Gun Association. They try to teach Homer gun safety and end up kicking him out for being irresponsible and unsafe. At the end of this episode, Marge takes possession of the gun, using it to thwart a Quik-E-Mart holdup. Similarly, a King of the Hill episode involves Bobby Hill participating in target shooting in a somewhat ‘normal’ setting. And the final season of “Major Crimes” involved a subplot where the gay abused teen adopted by the series main characters is allowed to get a California carry permit, is trained (by his police step-parents) to carry responsibly, and who uses his gun to protect himself from a lethal attack.

The rest of the Gun Gap chapter provides plenty of examples of anti-gun-owner bias in major media. From the book:

Gun owners are often lampooned by media outlets (Kohn 2004). Common labels are “fanatics,” “gun nuts,” “violent hicks,” “rednecks,” and “racists.” Hallman (2017) noted that reporters tended to frame stories in ways that “make it clear they see gun-owning Americans . . . as distinctly other.” The frames effectively separate gun owners from the world where most journalists and the bulk of their audience live. Scholars examined the representation of the “other” in journalism (Furisch 2002). And journalists are now advised to help them become aware of the habit and its consequences (Ordway 2018). Gest (1992) suggested that many journalists grew up in urban environments where guns were uncommon. They acquired a cosmopolitan perspective, which questions gun ownership and leads to antigun bias in the news media.

In 75 percent of the documents, covering typical gun policy debates, gun owners were characterized as selfish, incompetent, and irresponsible, “caring more about guns than people”. In articles that concerned child endangerment, over a third suggested owners were the danger. The characterization is reinforced in headlines such as “Gun owners are responsible for almost as many death annually as motorists” . When referring to gun owners and self-defense, Downs found the most common adjectives describing owners were selfish, incompetent, dangerous, and unreasonable… The most common terms for the NRA were “most feared lobby,” “gun organization,” and “powerful gun lobby.” In a careful study, Steidley and Colen (2017) analyzed the New York Times responses to press releases from the NRA and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. In general, their findings show greater sensitivity toward the Brady Campaign.

Joslyn, Mark R.. The Gun Gap (p. 129). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

Missing from this chapter is a discussion of how research from biased academics, for example those working for the “Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health” and the University of California Violence Prevention Research Project – both funded by partisan, anti-gun sources, tasked with the job of generating studies and data opposing gun rights, are treated as impartial and valid sources by major media, while the work of John Lott, another academic whose results typically contradict the work of the anti-gun academics, is consistently presented as questionable or tainted.

6 – How many gun owners

This chapter explores the difficulty in determining how many gun owners there are. (Karl: That number has definitely changed in the past 6 months, as I and many other trainers on instructor forums indicate that the number of new gun owners and new carry permit holders, and demand for training, are all at record high levels – and most of the new gun owners are buying semiauto pistols that hold more than 10 rounds and AR-15 rifles. This means that gun control measures proposed by Democrats will affect a larger number of voters. The question remains whether these new gun owners will fear those new restrictions enough to vote against candidates advocating those new laws.)

7 – A gun gap in death penalty support

Unsurprisingly, gun owners support the death penalty more than non-gun owners. The death penalty is only an option for the most heinous crimes – the same crimes the average gun owner (and their state’s Penal Code) would likely identify as situations in which use of deadly force is legally justifiable. Those uncomfortable with the idea of potentially taking a life to save others while a crime is occurring are far more likely to be uncomfortable with the idea of taking a life as punishment for that same crime.

Summary

Overall the book is a good presentation of reality from the gun owner perspective, showing the different aspects of the gap between gun culture and mainstream media, and the reasons and ways the gun culture separates from the views and motivations of non-gun owners (or casual gun owners with less affiliation or alignment with gun culture values). With the significant numbers of new gun owners, particularly those that are not conservative older white males, demographics and possibly support for new gun control measures may be changing rapidly.

Because of that, it has value for new gun owners and non-gun-owning friends and family of gun owners, as it explains the political landscape in a way that’s accessible to those outside the gun culture.

KR Training August 2020 Newsletter

TRAINING UPDATES

Classes continue to fill quickly at the A-Zone Range, so we’ve added more training opportunities to the schedule to accommodate more students while keeping classes small. We’re also aware that ammunition can be hard to find, so we have scheduled more non-shooting classes and reduced total round counts in many classes.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • The page at this link is our official COVID status page.
  • Masks are mandatory inside the A-Zone classroom building.
  • The range is set up to facilitate 6 feet of distance on the firing line and at the safe tables.
  • Classes remain at 50% of normal capacity per state and Lee County guidelines.
  • Round counts are lower in many of our classes, but not all.
  • Registered students will receive updated round counts in their pre-class email.
  • We recommend finding deals on ammunition at AmmoSeek.com, but read this message from AmmoSeek to understand why your order may be back-ordered, sold out, or delayed significantly.

Although we’ve added many classes, they continue to fill quickly. Weekday lessons are available with Karl for individuals, families, or small groups. Tina Maldonado and Sean Hoffman are available for weekday and weekend sessions in the NW Austin/Georgetown area, and Doug Greig is available in the Caldwell/Bryan/College Station and Conroe area. Training is available at any level, including LTC online completion. Contact us to schedule.

REFERRING NEW GUN OWNERS

Many of the classes we’ve added are entry level classes suitable for new gun owners and those with LTC and no other training. Often new gun owners think that the only training they need are classes in gunhandling and marksmanship. As discussed in Claude Werner’s excellent book “Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make“, the greatest failure area is tactics: taking the wrong actions, at the wrong time. If you recommend our courses to new gun owners, please encourage them to attend not only the basic gun skills courses we’ve added, but the Home Defense Tactics and Personal Tactics Skills courses that teach the non-shooting skills necessary to avoid making serious mistakes.

We do have loaner guns available for beginner classes, including shotgun and carbine classes, for those that want to learn those skills that don’t yet own a firearm, or have had difficulty finding the firearm they want in stock.

UPCOMING LIVE-FIRE CLASSES

We asked for your input into the class schedule, and have responded by adding many of the most-requested live fire classes to the August – October training calendar. Some classes (not listed below) are already sold out.

Due to an agreement with our range neighbors related to deer season, in November and December live-fire training will be limited to private, mid-day weekday sessions. We will also offer some non-shooting group classes on weekends.

For those seeking their Texas License to Carry, our recommended option is to take an online course and do the range completion with us. Under DPS guidelines, completion requires a 1 hour (minimum) classroom block of training and the shooting test. The shooting test is not part of the 1 hour instruction. We are now offering 2 hour LTC Completion weekend courses priced lower than our private weekday completion sessions.

The LTC completion sessions also make excellent refresher courses for those that already have LTC but have not practiced or taken other training since getting the LTC. They are scheduled on days that other courses appropriate for LTC level students are offered, such as our shotgun, carbine and Skill Builder classes, to encourage those attending to use the LTC completion classes as a low cost handgun tuneup session.

UPCOMING CLASSROOM-ONLY COURSES

These indoor classes are still open for registration at the time of this writing, but there aren’t many slots available. Register soon to reserve a spot.

As you can see from the class list above, one of you still has a chance to train with Lone Star Medics and Tactician Concepts August 1, learning knife and medical skills in Cut and Stuff. Massad Ayoob’s MAG-20 Classroom also has spots available. We’ve also added a Tactics-Based Land Navigation 8-hour class on October 25, and two options to attend Dr. William Aprill’s cornerstone class, Unthinkable, December 12 and 13. These are opportunities you don’t want to miss, so register now and secure your seat in these classes.


AUGUST VIRTUAL PREPAREDNESS CONFERENCE

Paul Martin and I are putting together a virtual preparedness conference, which will offer low cost, short videos on a variety of preparedness topics from us and guest experts. We will announce more about this mid-August when the videos are available to download and stream. We still have over 14 hours of material from the 2018 preparedness conference online for low cost download or streaming. The trailer for that video series is here.

JULY BLOG POSTS

If you don’t subscribe to this blog or follow us on Facebook, you may have missed these articles we posted in July:

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.

STAFF NEWS

Instructor Doug Greig attended and passed the SIG Pistol Mounted Optics Instructor course, held at the SIG Academy in New Hampshire, this month. He joins Karl and Sean Hoffman as SIG-certified trainers in red dot pistol shooting.

SONG OF THE MONTH

Most of the places I used to perform music each week are either closed or operating at reduced capacity with no live music, but Luigi’s Patio Ristorante in College Station continues to have live music every day they are open. Those of you in the B/CS area are encouraged to support them (dine-in and takeout), and everyone is encouraged to support all the family-owned local restaurants near you as they struggle to stay open.

I have started live streaming my Luigi Tuesday performances via my personal Facebook page. Here’s a sample from a live stream a few weeks ago.

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

A testimonial from Greg Ellifritz of Active Response Training about Karl Rehn and John Daub's book, Strategies and Standards for Defensive Handgun Training.

Austin Crime Stats and upcoming tactics courses

(From Paul Martin): Last week, the Greater Austin Crime Commission released a Crime in Austin report. Download it here. Citywide, aggravated assaults and individual robberies were up last year. Response times are slower, and traffic fatalities increased. Cutting 100 cops takes us back to 2015 staffing levels. Does that make sense in a rapidly growing city?

The link you will find most interesting if you live in or near Austin is here.  Note the summary of the report for the first half of the year:

  • Murder up by 64%
  • Auto Theft up by 30%
  • Robberies up by 16%
  • Aggravated assault up by 14%
  • Arson up by 9%
  • Burglaries up by 8%

Remember – if you think crime happens “to other people,” rest assured that to someone else, YOU are “other people.” Take time this week to:

  • Honestly and critically evaluate your own readiness and prevention measures for crime, both in and out of the home
  • Determine what training you need to alleviate those deficiencies.  Given the pandemic, you may have to resort to online training – it’s better than nothing
  • Don’t limit your evaluation to just self defense needs – what first aid training do you need?  Do you have enough fire extinguishers at your house and in your vehicle?  What can you do to promote health and safety with your neighbors and community?
  • Make any necessary changes in your habits or daily activities to reduce the risk to you.

If you appreciate the reporting below, consider getting on the Greater Austin Crime Commission’s email distribution list by going to their website It’s free to join.  If you can, consider making a donation for the work they are doing.  I have provided financial support to the Commission in the past.  

(from Karl): Recently the head of the Austin Police Association advised officers to “do the minimum” while on duty, as protest against the attitudes and policies of local leadership regarding police and policing. With crime increasing, police staff reductions, limited response levels and slower response times, the importance of taking steps to minimize your risk and improve your abilities is high.

The KR Training Home Defense Tactics class is coming up August 15th, 2-5 pm. It’s an indoor lecture course (no shooting) that teaches how to do a security evaluation of your own home, and includes instruction on how to handle the “what if” scenarios that are most likely at home.

Lack of training leads to the actions that has gotten a St. Louis couple national attention and criminal charges. Stepping outside the home to confront an angry mob, using an unloaded rifle and fake gun was not good tactics, regardless of the legality of their actions. The Modern Service Weapons blog recently published an excellent article on this issue.

We also have slots still open in our August 8th Personal Tactics Skills class, which addresses all the “what if…” situations that can happen to people when they are away from home, in their vehicle or in a public place. That course includes instruction in selection and use of pepper spray. That course is also indoors, no shooting, no equipment required.

There is more to self-defense than just “have a gun and carry it”. If you read Claude Werner’s excellent book/ebook/audiobook “Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make“, you will learn that the training armed (and unarmed) citizens most need is instruction in tactics, not marksmanship and gunhandling. That’s why we offer these courses in addition to our traditional firearms skills classes.

The tactics courses can be attended by anyone, armed or unarmed, including teens and those with no interest in firearms who just want basic “how to avoid being a victim of crime” instruction.

If you don’t have time or interest in driving out to the A-Zone to attend a class, Lee Weems of First Person Safety is doing an online “Standing your Ground” course Saturday afternoon, July 25. You can register and attend that class by clicking this link.

Register for these courses by visiting the KR Training official website.