2019 was a fantastic year for me and KR Training thanks to tremendous help and support from my wife Penny, my KR Training team instructors, trainers that hosted my road courses, podcasters that invited me on as a guest, and the great musicians I played with in the musical side of my life.
I spent 110 days on the range teaching and 8 days on the range shooting matches (the 7 summer USPSA matches I ran at the A-Zone and the match that was part of the Rangemaster Tactical Conference). Those days don’t include days I was on the range doing live fire practice, range maintenance or hunting.
I spent fewer days on the range this year than in 2018, mostly due to making multiple trips to Washington DC to visit Penny while she was working there, on loan to the Department of the Interior from Texas A&M.
I taught classes in multiple Texas cities (from Lubbock to Bandera), and in Louisiana, Virginia, Georgia, Oregon and Washington, and was a guest on 8 different podcasts and one national TV show. In September 2019 I was part of a large group at the Practical Pistol Reunion for an upcoming Shooting Gallery episode.
I worked on two legal cases in 2019. One was a felony murder trial in Louisiana, where my analysis of the video of the event itself supported his (successful) claim of legal self-defense. In the other, I collected and analyzed shooter performance data and researched incidents in which more than 10 rounds were fired in self-defense incidents against multiple attackers, supporting a case that is still in progress.
KR Training reached over 1000 students in 2019, counting students taught at home, on the road, and at conferences. We published more than 60 blog posts, including 15 gun specific book reviews. I have another 16 gun books read in 2019, with reviews not yet written, and a stack of at least 20 more in the queue to read in 2020.
The biggest accomplishment in 2019 was the release of the book Strategies and Standards for Defensive Handgun Training, co-authored with John Daub, in print and e-book format. The book was extremely well received and well reviewed, with sales beyond our expectations. Even better than that, the ideas in the book influenced other instructors, and drew attention to other trainers that inspired and influenced us.
I’m still hard at work on research for the planned Historical Handgun book, as I’m still gathering data, photos, interviews and information. As word has gotten out about my project, many that were involved in historical incidents have reached out and shared their first-hand accounts with me for inclusion in the book. Research led me all the way to the Library of Congress, tracking down out of print books and military training manuals, and to used book stores in every state I visited, looking for rare and out of print volumes.
I attended 221 hours of training: courses I hosted, two I traveled to attend, and multiple sessions at the Rangemaster Tactical Conference and Rangemaster Instructor Reunion. Guest instructors I hosted included Hock Hockheim, John Murphy, Lee Weems, Gabe White, Tiffany Johnson, Aqui Qadir, and Dr. Ben Weger.
I also added new certifications: the 33 hour Force Science certification, GLOCK armorer, ALERRT Civilian Response to Active Shooter Instructor, and Training Counselor certification (instructor trainer) for the new NRA CCW class.
During the summer I set a goal of trying to get to GM in USPSA Revolver division, with coaching from a Bryan/College Station area revolver shooter that earned his own GM rating in 2018. After spending more than a month trying holsters, speedloaders, moon clips, grips and other gun mods I finally found a combination of gear (S&W 625 in .45 ACP running moon clips, Federal Syntech major power factor ammo, CR Speed revolver holster) that worked well enough to get me shooting solid Master, but not Grand Master, scores in USPSA. Considering that I started that summer effort as a solid low-B shooter, I was happy with my progress. I also shot some classifiers in Single Stack and now have a true Master class classifier percentage in that division as well. With USPSA’s recent increases in GM high hit factors, earning GM ratings has become more difficult. Scores that would have been GM level a few years ago are now Master level.
Assistant Instructor Professional Development
Highlights from the professional development our assistant instructors completed in 2019:
Levi Nathan attended 10 classes, taught 21 classes, shot 2 matches. He shot the MAG-20 course “mirror image” and began assisting with low light shoot house courses with us.
Sean Hoffman attended more than 320 hours of formal training, and received all of these new certifications: KR Training Force on Force Instructor, Rangemaster Advanced Instructor, Force Science Institute Certification, Modern Samurai Project Red Dot Pistol Instructor, MAG-40 completion.
Paul Martin completed the Rangemaster Defensive Shotgun Instructor Certification, and Stop the Bleed Instructor Certification.
John Daub co-wrote a book with me, and earned his Rangemaster Master Instructor certification, certification in the new NRA CCW pistol course, and a Light Pin from Gabe White.
Tracy Thronburg earned a Dark Pin from Gabe White, taught the MAG-20 course for KR Training and attended: Paul Martin Preparedness Conference, Rangemaster instructor reunion, FPF Training – Concealed Carry: Two Person Tactics, FPF Training – Concealed Carry: Vehicle Environment Skills, NRA CCW student/instructor, Gabe White: Pistol Shooting Skills, David Maglio: Speed Skills, Massad Ayoob Group 10-year reunion, Massad Ayoob Group – 4-hour refresher handgun retention, Massad Ayoob Group – 4-hour Kubotan refresher, American Heart Association – basic life support renewal, Stop the Bleed class with Stacy Kitchens, Hock Hochheim – Hand, stick, knife, gun, and Texas License to Carry instructor renewal.
Tracy is also a regular panelist on the Polite Society Podcast, and was a guest on the Firearms Chat podcast.
Tina Maldonado completed instructor certification in NRA Refuse to Be a Victim, and ALERRT Civilian Response to Active Shooter. She also attended 3-Gun University with Dianna Muller.
Becky Dolgener earned her Rangemaster Defensive Shotgun Instructor certification.
Dave Reichek attended Shivworks Armed Movement in Structures, the Rangemaster Instructor Reunion, and earned a blue belt in Brazilian JuJitsu training with 6th degree black belt Professor William Vandry.
When I’m not doing all the other things I already listed, I perform live music, playing keyboards and singing. I played 153 gigs in 2019, from solo shows to performances with a 12 piece band that included 4 horns and 3 backup singers. During my 40 shows at Santa’s Wonderland, (based on a rough estimate of average daily park attendance in 2018), it’s likely that I performed for as many as 100,000 people. Our stage was near the entrance/exit to the park so every visitor passed by that location.
I did very little studio work in 2019, but thanks to modern technology making it possible to capture digital multitrack recordings from the soundboard, I ended up doing multitrack mixes of the biggest shows and using video from multiple cameras to make some high resolution/high fidelity band videos available on my youTube music channel. The Midnight Express videos from our big show in downtown Brenham are a good example of this.
I pulled two of my older original music CDs offline, where they had been available on iTunes, amazon, Spotify, etc., to condense them into a single best of CD, with some remixing and mastering for better sound when streamed.
My long time musical collaborator Andrew Wimsatt has been working with Slowdive drummer/producer Simon Scott, re-working some tracks that I played on. That instrumental/electronica album that should come out in 2020.
I’m looking forward to 2020, focusing on finishing up some projects that have been in progress for too long, like the major update to the KR Training website (which KR Training assistant instructor Becky Dolgener has been hard at work on this fall), editing together some class-specific promotional videos from the hundreds of hours of video in my archive, completing and publishing the Historical Handgun book, offering the first session of the new Handgun Coach Development course (coming up Feb 8th 2020), launching a KR Training red dot pistol course co-taught/developed with Sean Hoffman, who was recently certified as a red dot pistol trainer from Modern Samurai Project and Sage Dynamics, getting the “best of” music project completed, attending the Rangemaster Master Instructor course, making a second attempt at a Light Pin with Gabe White, and of course, teaching students and playing gigs.