2017 Rangemaster Instructor Conference

On Nov 11-12, 2017 I attended the Rangemaster Instructor Conference held at the BDC Gun Room in Shawnee, Oklahoma. 49 instructors, out of the more than 800 graduates of the 3 day Rangemaster Instructor program, spent 2 days shooting and learning.

The event included live fire time on the range, shooting the most challenging qualification courses in the Rangemaster program, from the Rangemaster Bullseye course to the Casino Drill, with two drills shot for score Sunday.

The level of shooting proficiency of attendees was very high, with most shooting 90% or better, and many shooting 95% or better, on all the scored courses of fire.  At one point Tom asked for a show of hands of those that were top shooter in their instructor class, and many of those present raised their hands.


Tom didn’t do most of the teaching.  In his opening remarks he observed that many of the pioneers, founders and key figures of the private sector training industry were slowing down, retiring or had passed away.  Part of his efforts over the past two decades of his instructor program was to mentor other trainers that can carry on the great work of the previous generation.   Tom started the annual Rangemaster Tactical Conference to provide annual professional development opportunities for everyone in the private sector training industry. The model was law enforcement training conferences, where new ideas could be shared and peers from all over the country could network and compare skills and training concepts.  The impact of the conference (and Tom’s instructor training program) on the curriculum taught by trainers all over the US has been significant.

On the range and in the classroom, Tom provided opportunities for younger trainers to gain experience teaching their peers.

Tiffany Johnson, John Murphy, Lee Weems and John Hearne presented a long block discussing the ten principles of Rangemaster training doctrine.  I’ll summarize that presentation in a separate blog post.

John Murphy (in the picture above) will be visiting KR Training September 2018 to offer a two person team tactics course and a vehicle defense course.  I’ll be visiting John’s school, First Person Training, in Culpepper, Virginia, in October 2018 to offer a session of my Historical Handgun course.

John Hearne’s section included some of his excellent material analyzing gunfight successes and failures.

Lee Weems presented some excellent material on interacting with police, including an in depth discussion of 4th amendment issues, McFadden stops (commonly known as Terry stops) and the history of “Miranda rights”.

Warren Wilson, from the Enid, OK police department, presented on criminal gangs and the armed citizen, providing advice on how to recognize members of organized gangs (colors, tattoos, clothing, other behaviors).  Several instructors present at the conference were also K-12 teachers, who shared their own experiences dealing with teenagers (and younger children) with gang affiliations in classes.

John Correia of the Active Self Protection youTube channel gave a long presentation on 21 points learned from his observation of more than 12,000 videos of gunfights. I recently became an ASP-affiliated instructor, so I’ll be using some of John’s 1100+ narrated videos of actual incidents in classes.

Shooting Competition

The end of the range session Sunday was a two stage match. One stage was a 60 round qualification course of fire based on the Rangemaster Instructor qual test. The other was the casino drill.  The casino drill was scored using “time plus” (penalties added 1 sec for each shot outside any shape).  The field was tightly bunched together. Only those that shot a perfect 300 on the qual course and had zero penalties made the top 5.  I pushed for speed on the casino course and had 3 hits less than 1″ outside the shapes and ended up 12th.  Dave Reichek only had 1 hit outside a shape and ended up 9th. Spencer Keepers won the match with solid runs on both courses of fire.

John Correia did a poll of what guns and ammo the attendees carried, and reported the results in a video on his channel.


The BDC Gun Room was a terrific host for this event.  Their indoor range area was clean with a fantastic air handling system. Multiple classrooms, an archery range, machine gun rentals, inventory of guns, ammo, clothing, accessories, and store dogs – the 3 Givens dogs plus two that belonged to one of the BDC employees (who was attending the conference).


The Rangemaster instructor family is full of great people: highly skilled shooters committed to providing high quality, relevant, life-saving training.  It’s always a pleasure to be around them.

Those that attended got copies of all the powerpoint presentations and videos.  I’ll share some highlights from that content in future blog posts.