Shooting the Stephenville PD Qualification Course

A KR Training student recently sent me the qualification course of fire used by the Stephenville, TX, police department. It uses the CSAT (Paul Howe) target, which is basically a USPSA target with a 6″x10″ A zone.

Officers are not given a specific load out to force a reload during a specific string of fire. Officers show up with mags loaded to capacity, but because a variety of handguns and calibers are authorized, there will be variation in how many rounds are fired before the gun goes empty and a reload is required. When a reload occurs, officers get a 3 second grace period on the string in question. The other difference is on Stage 6 at 3 yards. Officers using a red dot are required to shut the dot off to “simulate” a failed optic.

Stage One

25-yard line, standing outside, left side of cover, on command officers will aggressively move behind cover while drawing and engage their target with 1 round in 6 seconds, repeat once

TRANSITION, SCAN AND HOLSTER

25-yard line, standing outside, right side of cover, on command officers will aggressively move behind cover while drawing and engage their target with 1 round in 6 seconds, repeat once

TRANSITION, SCAN AND HOLSTER

Stage Two

15-yard line, officer stands outside strong side of cover, facing target weapon holstered & snapped in.

On command officer will draw their weapon while moving to cover. Once behind cover, they will engage their target with 8 rounds in 12 seconds

TRANSITION, SCAN AND HOLSTER

Stage Three

10-yard line, no cover, facing target, weapon holstered and snapped in.

On command officer will step left while drawing and fire 4 rounds in 10 seconds.

TRANSITION, SCAN AND HOLSTER

On command, officer will step right while drawing and fire 4 rounds in 10 seconds.

TRANSITION, SCAN AND HOLSTER

Here is video of me shooting stages 1-3. To keep the video short enough for instagram, I trimmed all the “transition, scan and holster” parts out, except for the first few segments.

Stage Four

On command officer will draw with dominant hand and transition to their support hand and stand by. On command, fire 6 rounds in 9 seconds, support hand only.

Transition and holster as you normally would.

On command, draw with dominant hand only and fire 6 rounds in 9 seconds, dominant hand only.

TRANSITION, SCAN AND HOLSTER

Stage Five

One Shot Drill – Facing target, weapon holstered and snapped in. On command officers will draw and fire one round. After firing, they will reluctantly transition, scan and holster. This will be repeated 5 times, for a total of 6 rounds. Each round fired in 3.5 seconds.

If using a RDS, at this stage officers will be required to shut off their dot.

Stage 6

3-yard line (Controlled Pair) 

On command, officer draws while moving left or right (officers’ choice) and fire 2 rounds in 3 seconds. (6 if reload is needed at this stage)

TRANSITION, SCAN AND HOLSTER

Reset and repeat drill 5 times for a total of 12 rounds.

Here is video of me shooting stages 4-6. I did the strong hand/weak hand segments out of order. I assumed that it was OK to use both hands for reloading during the one handed strings, because a 3 second addition for reload time is appropriate for a two handed reload, but not for a one handed reload.

My Performance

I didn’t have an actual CSAT target handy, but I did have some of Dave Spaulding’s center chest overlays printed on 8.5×11 paper. Click the link below to download your own copy of this handy target.

I shot this course of fire as a cold drill (first drill of the day) during two separate practice sessions. The first time I shot, I couldn’t remember what the correct target was, and used a TQ-19, shooting the drill with the Taurus G3 (with iron sights) during my 1000 round torture test of that gun.

If the entire light colored section was 5 points, then I had only one shot outside it…but a lot of my hits were lower (below the heart), a few strayed up to the top of the shoulder and there’s that one low right flyer. When I went back and looked at that video, I also realized that I didn’t shoot all the strings exactly the way they were described. I topped off the gun between stages and never had a slide lock reload during any string. So my “perfect score” was probably down 7-10 points (or more) and the video wasn’t a fair representation of what the course of fire intended.

A couple weeks later, I shot the course of fire again, using my Glock 48 with Holosun 507C green dot, this time using the Spaulding overlay on a USPSA target to approximate the CSAT target more closely. I paid more attention to stage procedure and used more of the available time to get better hits.

The white center on the brown target, plus the dot optic, definitely made it easier for me to focus on putting all my hits in the 6″x10″ box. That run was a 50/50 (250 points).

Analysis

The 25 yard stage is good, with movement to cover and emphasis on getting a first shot hit, moving to cover from each side. This might be difficult for people shooting this drill at an indoor range using a single lane. If you eliminate the movement and cover requirement, dial the par time down to 4 seconds.

The 15 yard string also requires moving to cover, and 8 rounds in 12 seconds is really closer to one shot per second after you factor in the draw and movement to cover for a typical shooter. Those running this drill on a single lane at an indoor range should be able to sidestep, even without cover, to run this one with the 12 second par.

For the 10 yard string, a 10 second par to fire 4 shots seems slow, and off-pace from the one shot per second expectation at 15 yards. The 7 yard string has a 3.5 second par with no movement, so a 4 second draw time “par” and one shot per second should really lead to an 8 second par, not a 10 second par.

The 6 rounds in 9 seconds for one handed shooting is a reasonable par for a cop qual, in my opinion.

The 3.5 second draw time at 7 yards, though, should be 3.0 or even 2.5 seconds. Fast shooters working from open carry retention duty holsters are capable of 1.5 or faster draws, 50% of that is 3.0. It’s not clear why movement for the one shot draws at 7 is omitted when it’s included for all the other strings, all the way back to 25 yards.

Shutting off the dot at the 3 yard line is a reasonable requirement as passing this part of the qual requires using backup irons, using the shell of the dot sight, or simply good body index (back of slide aligned with center of target). The timing for this string is significantly out of sync with the 7 yard par times, though. Someone with a 3.5 second draw time at 7 yards isn’t going to be able to make 2 shots in 3 seconds at 3 yards. 2 shots in 3 sec is fine, but it points back at the need to make that 7 yards one shot draw par time faster so the standards for each string are roughly equal in difficulty.

Overall this is a decent police qual course, testing a variety of skills, including use of cover, limited movement, one handed shooting, true surprise slide lock reloads (not “programmed slide lock reloads” where the shooter knows it is going to happen on round X of the sequence), with reasonable balance in round count vs distance. 12 rounds (24%) at 3 yards, 18 rounds (36%) at 7 yards, 8 rounds (16%) at 10 yards, 8 rounds (16%) at 15 yards, and 4 rounds (8%) at 25 yards. The LAPD on-duty shooting incident data shown below (linked from a longer Lucky Gunner article on this topic you should read) uses different categories and has more longer distance shooting, but the NYPD data is biased toward closer distances. So there’s no universal distribution curve that fits every jurisdiction.

Go Shoot The Drill Yourself

Go shoot the drill yourself. A standard USPSA target with it’s rectangular A zone is the best simulation of a CSAT target, or print out the Dave Spaulding target I linked above and paste it any larger cardboard backer. Don’t have a shooting timer? Just run the drills and try to get all the hits, at any speed. Can’t draw from a holster at your range? Shoot the drills starting from a ready position, and if you are using a timer, take 1 second off the par time for each string where you replaced drawing with starting from ready.

Shooting the LAPD Combat Qualification

I recently read Claude Werner’s excellent book “Real Shootouts of the LAPD, Volume 1”, which is a collection and analysis of shooting incident reports released to the public by the Los Angeles Police Department. One section discusses OIS (Officer Involved Shootings) In and Around the Home, another section discusses animal shootings (in and around the home), and a section on Unintentional discharges is also included. For the Armed Citizen, these reports and the analyses provide valuable information about what really happens before, during, and after the gunfire. Claude also includes his own material on The Decision Process and Proxemics and Personal Protection, which are excellent explanations of critical concepts every armed citizen should understand.

It also includes the LAPD Use of Force policy, including warning shots, LAPD policy on when firearms can be drawn or exhibited, their public safety statement, and their firearm qualification courses.

You can learn more about the book (and purchase it) here:

https://thetacticalprofessor.net/2021/02/16/real-shootouts-of-the-lapd/

The section on weapons qualification starts out with these requirements:

LAPD Officers are required to quality 3 times per year with their handgun using practice ammunition, and 1 more time each year using duty ammunition. For the annual duty ammo qualification, the officer shoots up the ammo that has been carried that year and replaces it with new duty ammunition.

That guideline is equally appropriate for the armed citizen. John Daub and I have written extensively on the idea of minimum competency, with discussion of several different standards for reality-based performance not linked to state carry permit requirements. Armed citizens tend to separate into these categories:

  • Competition shooters
  • Self defense training hobbyists
  • Recreational shooters
  • Gun owners

Competition shooters and self-defense training hobbyists shoot more than 3-4 times a year, and they will find this course of fire relatively easy. Recreational shooters are those that may go to the range frequently, but rarely measure their skill against any specific standard. The rest (“gun owners”) really aren’t “shooters” as much as they are people that carry guns around, more often unsecured in their car than on body, that aren’t motivated enough to hold themselves to any specific training schedule or standard beyond the one-and-done state carry permit process.

For those in the last two categories, this course of fire would be a decent place to start as a range drill to shoot for fun but also as a useful standard of performance.

Two Targets, Odd Loading

One thing that makes this course of fire unusual is that it uses two targets, instead of one. This allows for target transitions on both head and body areas to be incorporated into the qualification. Some indoor ranges may not allow this using full size targets, but half scale targets could be used at half the distance if needed. In his book Claude references the BT-55 target, available from Alco Targets, as the standard target used for the test.

I didn’t have any of those on hand, so I substituted the SQT-A1 target, which is similar in shape (particularly the shoulders) and scoring area sizes.

The course of fire also mandates oddly loaded magazines to force reloads. From the course description: For autoloaders, the loading sequence is 7, 5, and 7 rounds in the magazines. The 7 round magazine is in the weapon, the weapon is made ready for live fire then holstered. The 5 round magazine is in the primary pouch. The second 7 round magazine is in the secondary pouch.

I reloaded with a full (more than 10) magazine to finish out the course of fire, after the 19 rounds in the first 3 magazines were used.

Course of Fire

PHASE ONE: 7 yard line, 12 rounds in 25 seconds, 2 right, 2 left, left head, right head, reload and repeat
the sequence. Start with the pistol holstered.
PHASE TWO: 10 yard line, 2 rounds in 2 seconds, 3 times. 2 left, 2 right, 2 left. Start in a Low Ready position.
PHASE THREE: 12 yard line, 6 rounds in 8 seconds. 2 right, 2 left, 2 right. Start in a Low Ready position.
PHASE FOUR: 15 yard line, 1 round in 3 seconds, 3 times. 3 rounds left hand barricade on the left target,
3 rounds right hand barricade on the right target. Start with the sights aligned on target, trigger finger on
the trigger.

Video notes: the camera on my phone flipped the image. I’m not actually left handed. I’m shooting the drill using my Glock 48 w/ Holosun 507C sight, from a JM Custom Kydex holster carried on my right strong side hip.

So, as it turns out, I didn’t follow the instructions properly. According to Claude’s detailed course description, on that first string the reload was supposed to be a speed reload in between the two target sequences, and I ran the gun dry, did a slide lock reload and continued on, which is actually harder than the programmed “speed reload”.

I shot the course of fire as a cold drill and after realizing I had done it wrong, I decided to publish the video anyway, because the time difference between speed and slide lock reload didn’t matter relative to my performance on that string.

Scoring

From Claude’s book:

The course consists of 30 rounds fired on two silhouette targets, 15 rounds fired on each target. Combat
scoring is used, i.e., 10 points for each round in the body and head, 5 points for each round in the arm(s).
Only two head shots are allowed on each target, additional head shots are 5 points each. The maximum
score on each target is 150 points or 300 total points. The minimum score required to qualify is 70% or
105 points on both targets. Ricochets and rounds entering the back of the target after it has turned will
not be scored.

In the video I claim 300/300 points, but in looking at the other target Claude referenced in his book, I think that the low head shot would have scored a 5, not a 10, and there are probably 3-4 hits in the torso that would have scored 9’s or maybe even an 8, so a fairer estimate of my score would likely be 290/300. Having the bullseye type visual reference scoring rings on Claude’s target would have likely made a difference in my shooting, as I had plenty of time for all the strings and could have used more of it to get better hits.

Buy Claude’s Book

If you want the full detailed course description, buy a copy of Claude’s book, order some of the correct targets, and give this course a fire a try in your next range session. Or just use the simple description and try it with USPSA or IDPA or FAST targets.

KR Training August-September 2023 Newsletter

SEPTEMBER 2023 UPDATE

We have finalized our schedule for the rest of 2023. All the classes we plan to offer through the end of 2023 are listed below. We are already working on winter/spring 2024 plans!

PRIVATE LESSONS

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

REFRESHER DEALS

Re-take any class you’ve taken before for half price! Contact me to get the alumni discount code. Firearms skills deteriorate without practice. Most ranges don’t allow drawing from a holster, shooting quickly, moving or shooting from cover. If you don’t practice the skills you learned in class, they won’t be there when you need them. Fall classes will have cooler weather – but they often sell out, so don’t wait until the last minute to register!

Upcoming Texas classes with space available:

SEPTEMBER

OCTOBER

DECEMBER

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

Click HERE to register for any class.

NEBRASKA CLASSES

Click HERE to register for any class.

Defensive Shotgun 1 – Sept 17

This half day class, Sunday, Sept 17 teaches fundamentals of defensive shotgun, including shotgun patterning, ammunition selection, shooting positions, shooting from behind cover, shooting at multiple targets, use of the shotgun for home defense, shotgun malfunction drills and generally developing proficiency with the shotgun under stress. This is not a bird-hunting, clay shooting shotgun class. The focus is on home defense use of any pump or semiauto shotgun. Shotgun level 2 is coming up in October also.

Tactical Pistol / Beyond Basics – Sept 23

A special session of our Beyond Basics course taught by Eric Wise of Cornerstone Performance. Eric is also a firearms instructor for a major Texas city’s training academy, and a Grand Master level shooting competitor. Highly recommend for intermediate/advanced level shooters and instructors that want to shoot faster and more accurately. Content is similar to material taught by Gabe White, Scott Jedlinski, Ben Stoeger and other “high performance pistol” trainers.

Gunfighting in Crowds – Sept 24

Doug Greig, in association with Palisades Training Group, is offering a session of their Gunfighting in Crowds course Sept 24. Students will participate in exercises and drills that require them to quickly and accurately assess the immediate area around them and then move rapidly into a better position that mitigates the risk to others not only around the attacker but the area around and behind him or her (especially true when they are with family members or friends). Emphasis is placed upon situational awareness, site assessment, movement into a better position if necessary, short-range surgical shot placement, and even exploitation of attacker expectations and control of the vertical plane of shots fired when over-penetration represents a major threat to others in close proximity to the attacker. Also covered in this class are actions that may reduce the chance that the student is mistakenly engaged by other concealed carriers and responding law enforcement.

Challenge Coin Classes – September and October

Trying to complete your classes to earn our Defensive Pistol Skills Program Challenge Coin? All the required courses are being offered in September and October, along with classes that count as electives.

BLOG O RAMA

All the articles you missed if you don’t follow the KR Training Facebook page and Instagram feed.

SONG OF THE MONTH

In August, Midnight Express played a sold out show at the Grand Stafford Theatre in downtown Bryan, Texas. Our 9 piece rock band with horns will be headlining the Palace Theatre in Bryan on Friday, November 10th, the night before a Texas A&M home game. This is a video of us performing the Doobie Brothers’ “Long Train Runnin”. I play a synthesizer solo at the end of the song.


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

Shooting the New Jersey carry permit qual course

In response to the Bruen decision, the state of New Jersey has revised its carry permit program, including the training and qualification requirements. The official document, titled “Use of Force Interim Training for Concealed Carry” includes an outline of the topics to be covered in classroom lecture, and Appendix B has the details of the shooting test.

One writer on a popular gun blog referred to this course of fire as having “John Wick” level standards, which is a cute, clickbaity phrase to use, but is completely inaccurate. The course of fire is “old cop” standards.

I’m going to set aside the philosophical issues as to whether there should be training or qualification standards at all, and just take a look at the course of fire New Jersey residents will have to pass to get a carry permit under the new regulations. I went out to my range and shot the entire course of fire using the Taurus G3 pistol (with iron sights) that I have been shooting for the past several months. I used a Comp-Tac Q series holster, worn in the appendix position, drawing from concealment, to replicate the gear that a moderately trained applicant might have.

The Q series holster was not optimized for appendix carry. It’s mainly designed for plain IWB, and when I moved it around front, the gun leaned out more than I would like (or would wear in public), which caused my cover garment to snag a few times (as shown in the videos). I did not try to shoot the test at “Grand Master”/Instagram showoff speed. The goal was to shoot at a speed that roughly used up 75% or more of the allowed time for each string.

The test was very obviously lifted from an old police agency qualification, as it assumes shooters will be working from an open carry, likely retention, holster, with easy access to spare magazines. Clearly it was not designed by anyone that was thinking about armed citizens carrying concealed.

The course of fire uses an FBI Q target (I used the old Q with the larger scoring area, not the QIT-99 that cuts off the lower abdominal area. The dimensions of both the old and new Q targets is shown here.

Phase 1: 25 yards

I used a barricade for the 25 yard shooting, which wasn’t specifically required for the 25 yard stages, but the instructions reference staying behind cover, as if it the police qual course this was adapted from required shooting from a barricade. (More likely, it required standing behind a 4×4 post like they do in PPC matches, which simulates, but isn’t really “cover”). References to a ‘secured, holstered’ position imply that shooters are using open carry duty holsters with retention. My interpretation is that ‘secured’ also means concealed.

The instructions include direction to de-cock between strings, which is only relevant for those shooting DA/SA style hammer fired pistols.

  • On command, from a secured holstered position, assume the strong-side kneeling or standing position, fire 4 rounds. (30 seconds)
    —STOP TIME—
  • Decock and remain behind cover with visual focus towards the threat area.
  • Reload if needed (revolvers will reload and index the cylinder)
  • On command assume a kneeling or standing position and fire 3 rounds. (25 seconds)
    —STOP TIME—
  • Decock and remain behind cover with visual focus towards the threat area. Reload if necessary
  • On command fire 3 rounds, standing or kneeling (25 seconds)
    —STOP TIME—
  • Reload if required and holster an uncocked weapon.
  • Reload loading devices.

Phase 2: 15 yards

For this section, the term “point shoulder position” was used, which used to refer extending the gun at arm’s length but not looking at the sights, back when Col. Applegate wrote about it in the 1940’s. I am assuming that what is intended is two handed aimed fire.

  • On command, from a secured holster position, draw and fire 3 rounds in 5 seconds from a point shoulder position.
    —STOP TIME—
  • Reholster an uncocked weapon.

This string requires faster shooting than the current FBI agent qual, which gives 6 seconds to draw and fire 3 rounds at 15 yards. In my opinion, the time allotted for this string is too short, relative to the difficulty of the other strings.

Phase 3 (15 yards)

15-Yard Line. Time: 25 seconds. 7 rounds.

  • On command, from a secured holster position, draw and fire 3 rounds from a point shoulder position.
  • Assume a strong-side kneeling position. Reload with 4 rounds, index if required, and fire 4 rounds from a strong-side kneeling position.
    —STOP TIME—
  • Reload if required and holster an uncocked weapon.
  • Reload loading devices.

Again using the FBI agent qualification course for comparison, 3 rounds, starting from the holster, should take 6 seconds, and 4 rounds from kneeling (at the 2 seconds per round pace), would take 8 seconds. That leaves 11 seconds to do a reload: an eternity for even the most unskilled semiauto shooter, but possibly difficult for someone trying to qualify using a 5 round snub revolver. (Back in the 1940’s, when FBI agents were reloading their wheelguns from loose rounds, a 20 second reload time was standard.)

The par time for this course was definitely influenced by the slower reloading time for modern revolvers, likely with speedloaders. Should a timed reload be part of an armed citizen qualification course? John Correia of Active Self Protection’s study of over 45,000 gunfights indicates that reloading during a fight is extremely rare, and very few other state carry permit tests include this skill.

My opinion is that this string could be split in the way that the current FBI qual is split, into two separately timed strings, one shot from the holster, and the other shot from the ready, with the kneeling requirement removed. Getting into and out of kneeling with gun in hand, or while drawing, is a more advanced skill – and many indoor ranges don’t allow this type of practice. Requiring the skill at all, and requiring it on the clock, could pose all kinds of difficulties for shooters with physical limitations and those with no experience practicing that skill. Untrained gun owners are likely to have finger on trigger and compromised muzzle direction, particularly if they struggle to get up and down.

Phase 4 (10 yards)

10-Yard Line. Ready Position.
Each drill, Time: 3 seconds. 2 rounds.
(Total 6 rounds).

  • On command, draw weapon and assume a ready position, i.e., muzzle depressed below eye level.
  • On command, bring weapon up to eye level and fire 2 rounds in 3 seconds. Repeat drill twice, firing a total of 6 rounds.
    —STOP TIME—
  • Reload if required and holster an uncocked weapon.
  • Reload loading devices.

I shoot this drill at the end of the second embedded video (above).

It requires a 1 sec to target from ready presentation, and 1 shot per second for each shot.

This is roughly in line with FBI agent qual standards. At 15 yards they require 3 rounds in 5 seconds, and at 7 yards it’s 5 rounds in 4 seconds, each starting from ready. Assuming a 1 second ready to target time, that’s 3 rounds in 4 seconds at 15 yards (1.33 per shot), and 5 rounds in 3 seconds at 7 yards (0.6 per shot), so requiring 1 second per shot at 10 yards is consistent with the standards used elsewhere in this course of fire.

Phase 5 (7 yards)

The third video (below) shows all the remaining strings.

7-Yard Line. Time: 4 seconds. 3 rounds.
Standing point shoulder position.

  • On command, from a secured holster position draw and fire 3 rounds in 4 seconds from a standing point shoulder position.
    —STOP TIME—
  • Reholster an uncocked weapon.

Three rounds in 4 seconds assumes a 2 second draw and 0.67 seconds per shot, or (more realistically), a 2.5 second draw and 0.5 hurried seconds per shot.

For a police officer with 40+ hours of training on the range working on their draw from an open carry retention holster, this string should not be difficult. For an armed citizen with no formal training in drawing from concealment, likely limited to practicing at indoor ranges that restrict firing to 1 shot per second or slower, this string will be difficult. Those new to gun carrying often start out with suboptimal holsters, cover garments, carry positions and poor (non existent) technique, leading to a variety of shooting errors and late or bad hits. Instructors teaching New Jersey permit applicants will likely have to spent a lot of time teaching all the components needed to perform well on this string.

Phase 6 (7 yards)

7-Yard Line. Time: 15 seconds. 6 rounds.
Standing point shoulder position. Mandatory reload/magazine change

  • On command, from a secured holster position, draw and fire 3 rounds from a standing point shoulder position.
  • Reload and fire 3 more rounds within the 15 second time period.
    —STOP TIME—
  • Reholster an uncocked weapon.

Assuming the first 3 rounds are fired in the first 4 seconds (same pace as the previous string), shooters will have 11 seconds to reload and fire 3 more rounds. What that really means is shooters will have 7-8 seconds to do the reload – certainly do-able by an untrained semiauto shooter, but perhaps a challenge for anyone using a revolver without speedloaders and lots of practice in that skill.

Again there’s a strong argument against the need to have reloads “on the clock” in any armed citizen qualification test. Doing the reload off the clock and resuming as a second string starting from the ready would be more appropriate for carry permit level shooters.

Phase 7 (7 yards)

7-Yard Line. Time: 4 seconds. 3 rounds.
Standing point shoulder position.

  • On command, from a secured holster position, draw and fire 3 rounds in 4 seconds from a standing point shoulder position.
    —STOP TIME—
  • Reload if required and holster an uncocked weapon.
  • Reload loading devices.

This just repeats Phase 5.

Phase 8 (5 yards)

5-Yard Line. One-handed – Strong hand.
Each drill, Time: 4 seconds. 2 rounds.
(Total 4 rounds).

  • On command, draw and fire 2 rounds using only the strong hand.
  • Reholster an uncocked weapon
  • Repeat once.
  • Reload if required and holster an uncocked weapon.

One handed drawing from open carry is not significantly more difficult than two handed drawing, but one handed drawing from concealment, particularly for those using closed front garments, is harder and slower. The typical carry permit level shooter will likely have never practiced that skill, and even with practice, is going to have a much slower draw. Having carry permit applicants, who won’t be carrying in open carry retention holsters, test the skill of one handed open carry drawing during the test is unnecessary and potentially dangerous, as a fouled, rushed draw could lead to negligent discharge and injury. If one handed, dominant hand shooting is to be tested (and analysis of actual incidents indicates that strong hand only shooting is a relevant skill a reasonably trained armed citizen should have), starting from the ready, allowing any drawing to be done off the clock using two hands, would be safer.

Phase 9 (5 yards)

5-Yard Line. One-handed – Support hand.
Each drill, Time: 3 seconds. 2 rounds. (Total 4 rounds).

  • On command, draw and transfer the weapon to the support hand. Assume a ready position.
  • On command fire 2 rounds using only the support hand. Return to ready (The strong arm should be limp along the body).
  • Repeat once.
  • Reload if required and holster an uncocked weapon

The “need” to test support hand (“weak hand”) only shooting is a holdover from law enforcement qualification courses. One handed support hand shooting, in actual incidents, appears to be even rarer than reloads. Testing this skill at all really should be considered an advanced skill and isn’t necessary for a state level carry permit qualification.

Phase 10 (1 yard line)

1-Yard Line (or as close to 1-yard line as safety dictates).
Weapon Retention Position. (Begin with the support hand across the chest with the hand grasping the collar of the shooter’s shirt.)
Each drill, Time: 2 seconds. 2 rounds. (Total 4 rounds).

  • On command, draw and fire 2 rounds in 2 seconds from the weapon retention position.
  • Reholster an uncocked weapon.
  • Repeat drill once, firing a total of 4 rounds.
  • Clear all weapons. Holster a safe, empty weapon.

If shooters are required to work from concealment, this string once again mandates a one handed draw, which adds many safety concerns. While learning how to shoot from retention is very relevant to armed citizen defensive pistol skills, in my opinion the risks of trying to test that skill, under tight time pressure, are high. Most ranges do not allow this type of practice, making it difficult for permit applicants to learn those skills, and unless New Jersey provides instructors training in how to teach those skills safely and properly, this string should be modified to take the draw off the clock, or just remove it entirely.

My target

100% hits, using the Taurus G3. Even if I replaced the older Q target with the QIT-99, I would still have 100% hits. 80% is required for passing, copying the standards for the FBI test, which appears to have been a big influence on the design of this course of fire. Most other courses of fire I’ve studied have used 70% as passing.

Is this Course of Fire Too Hard?

If you compare the relative difficulty of this shooting test to what is used in many states, yes. Very few states require drawing from a holster as part of the test, and many state level carry permit instructors, who have only trained to the NRA Basic Pistol or USCCA entry level standard, aren’t certified to teach that skill. It would take an instructor trained to law enforcement academy instructor level, or NRA CCW, NRA Personal Protection Outside the Home, Rangemaster instructor, or similar level, to have the certifications and experience necessary to even teach all the skills required to complete the test.

I’m a big advocate for higher voluntary standards. People serious about being well prepared to defend themselves should aspire to performance levels far beyond most states’ meager requirements. Teachers and church defenders should be much better at shooting at distances beyond 10 yards than a typical armed citizen, because their “typical” situation may require that skill. This course of fire may be a reasonable minimum for on duty law enforcement officers. It’s likely very similar to, or the same as, New Jersey state on duty police qualification standards. But it’s not a practical standard for the skills an armed citizen needs. Worse, the standards impose a burden on applicants to put in the effort necessary to attend the training and put in the practice necessary to meet them. This burden is highest on law abiding but low income citizens that may not have any of the resources needed (time, money, access to ranges & training).

I’m sure this course of fire met its political objective, which was to create the appearance that New Jersey was meeting the Bruen standard, but also make it as difficult as possible for anyone to meet the new state standards.

We’ve shared our thoughts on what a realistic set of standards for minimum competency are in the past, and in depth, in our book Strategies and Standards for Defensive Pistol. John Daub discusses that idea with Lee Weems in this podcast episode:

Go shoot the test

I encourage readers to go shoot the New Jersey qual course yourself and share your results with me. If you have friends, family, co-workers at the carry permit but not training-junkie/competition shooter/serious shooter level, run them through it next time you are at the range with them. It would be interesting to see how many could pass it.

Student Story #4

Fourth in a series of student-involved incident stories from his time in law enforcement in the 1970s.

The Burglary


6PM to 2AM is a great shift if you don’t mind handling trouble. A lot of bad things happen after 9PM when most people are at home watching the news. I worked 6-2 for several years at HPD and at the time of this incident, we lived in an apartment off Memorial Drive west of Kirkwood. I was headed home from work around 2:30AM in our family car. It was a 1976 Mazda station wagon.


As I approached the “T” intersection of Kirkwood and Memorial, I saw a vehicle backed through the glass storefront at the Kirkwood Pharmacy. There had been about 60 such burglaries in recent months. These burglary crews were in and out before we could respond to the alarm call. This crew was still in the pharmacy.


I shut off my headlights and entered the strip center parking lot from Kirkwood. As I closed on the pharmacy, they were coming out to their vehicle . . . . and they saw me.


Like a fool, I blocked them in with the driver’s side of my vehicle. There just was not enough time to do it any other way. Their engine was running of course and I exited my vehicle as they entered theirs – two in the front seat and one in the back right seat. So there I was standing between the two vehicles with their engine running and their driver entering the vehicle. My 1911 was trained on the driver. We had words.


The passengers were screaming for the driver to run me down. I was fixated on the driver advising against it and his gaze was fixed on my gun. The verbal exchange lasted perhaps 30 seconds when the driver looked at the passengers briefly, moved his head down a bit behind the steering wheel, and then reached for the column shift. When he put it in drive, I fired one round aimed at his forehead.


The driver lurched back into his seat and then forward again to the steering wheel. To my amazement, he put the car in park and slumped in the seat. I turned my gun on the other burglar in the front seat and said, “get out of the car”. He replied, “yes sir” and immediately did so followed by the burglar in the back seat. I used two sets of handcuffs to secure them around one of the pharmacy awning supports. As I was doing this, and again to my amazement, the driver exited the car holding his chest. He clearly was in no condition to fight or run and so I helped him to the ground.


He asked me if he was going to die and I replied, “I think so”. I was not trying to be cruel, but I just finished thinking I was going to die. I did not care about his feelings; I just spoke the blunt truth – I thought he was dying.


There were no cell phones back then and there was no one around to help. It was deserted. I did not want to leave these burglars to find a phone. I knew the night shift would eventually respond to the burglar alarm. Some time passed and no one arrived. I was concerned with the burglar’s wound. I saw headlights on Memorial drive, but it wasn’t a police car. The driver did not slow down despite my frantic attempt to wave him down. I needed to get his attention and did so by firing two rounds into the grass nearby. He slowed but kept going. I found out later that he did call this in to the dispatcher. Finally, help arrived. Again, supervisors, patrol units, and paramedics were all over the scene. The wounded burglar was transported. I went home and got some sleep. My supervisors said I could make my written statements the next day.

These burglars were teens. The driver was very lucky. My bullet was deflected by the windshield and struck the underside of the steering wheel. The bullet went down into his chest entering just to the left of his sternum and between two ribs. It did not exit and was stuck between two ribs in his back. It did not puncture his lung and pushed all of the arteries near his heart aside doing no real damage except trauma. The doctors were able to remove the bullet at his back with a minor incision requiring only a couple of stitches.


This crew of three was just one of several crews hitting pharmacies all over Houston. They were primarily students and former students of Memorial High School. They were spoiled rich kids selling the stolen drugs to their fellow students. I believe the detectives were able to arrest all 17 burglars in the gang.
A detective in the Homicide Division handling this incident told me that the mother of the boy I shot thought he bought his Porsche with the money he saved from his school lunch allowance.


The River Oaks Rotary Club rewarded one officer a month with a plaque and a free lunch. At this lunch, the owner of a River Oaks car dealership approached me with a “brother-in-law” deal on a car if I was interested. Coincidentally, I had priced a used VW at his dealership a week before at $350. This was to be our second car, but I could not quite pull the cash together. Acting on his offer, I went back to the dealership. The owner called a salesman up to his office overlooking the swank showroom and told the salesman to give me a “brother-inlaw” deal. That deal price was $750 for their previous price of $350. I left having confirmed the car salesman stereotype in spades.


I went to the examining trial for this incident at the JP court in Bellaire. The boy’s father was there with his corporate attorney. There is not much to an examining trial, but defense attorneys try to use them for “discovery”. This case was “cut & dried” and so I was off the stand in just a few minutes. My wife was with me that day in court along with my two young boys, 8 and 5. As I was walking my family back to the car, the father and his attorney stopped me on the sidewalk.


The attorney stated they were considering filing a lawsuit against me. I asked why. He said that he heard no testimony regarding a warning shot. I replied; “I did fire a warning shot – it hit him in the chest”.
They never sued.

Student Story #3

Another shooting


We stored gasoline in an elevated tank behind the Station and used gravity to fill our cars. The Chief was always looking for a way to save a dollar, and bulk gasoline delivery did save the City some money. The evening shift conveniently forgot to fill my car and I noticed the gauge around 2:00 AM.


The Station was just a half block south of Interstate 10. I was filling my car and watching the traffic on I-10. It was clear and warm – a typical summer night in Houston. I heard gunfire to the west followed by high ‘revving’ car engines coming my way. It takes a long time to fill a 20-gallon tank, and I was far from finished but decided to get back on the road quickly before the incident, (what ever it was), reached my location. Just then, the dispatcher called out a robbery-in-progress at the Safeway store at Echo Lane and I-10. No time to loose; I dropped the gas hose on the ground and jumped in the car. The gas cap was lost in the moment.


My police car was responsive and nimble. It was a real pleasure to drive. I always liked the big Chrysler products for speed and dependability, but this police package Nova was the most fun in a chase. By the time I made it out of the parking lot and over the short distance to the freeway service road, there they were. A passenger car and a pick-up truck were eastbound on the freeway at very high speed. I heard
more gunfire. As I got onto the freeway and topped Voss Road, I could see them topping Silber Road. I had some catching up to do.


The Nova ‘floated’ at 110, but I was gaining ground. A fellow officer was on the scene at Safeway and advised that three young males had robbed the store and the customers. One of the robbery victims had given chase in his pick-up truck. I was closing with this pick-up truck by the time we reached downtown Houston. As I passed the truck, the driver frantically pointed at the suspect’s car as if I did not know
what was going on. The truck was about 100-yards behind the suspect’s car, and I soon realized why.


As I closed with the suspect’s car, the man in the back seat leaned out the right window and shot at me. I could not hear the shot – my windows were up and the background noise was deafening. The muzzle flash of his pistol was clearly visible. It seemed so innocuous at the time, but I instinctively swerved to the left. I tried to tell the dispatcher that shots were fired, but I was out of radio range already. The man in the back seat went to the left window and tried it again. I decided to return fire.


It is not easy to roll down a window, un-holster a gun with the wrong hand, and maneuver back and forth across the freeway dodging bullets. Somehow it all worked out, but the 100 mph wind made it impossible to hold the gun steady. I wedged my 1911-A1 between the rear-view mirror and the windshield column. Aiming was done with the steering wheel. That worked great – my first shot went into the trunk of their car. It caused quite a commotion among the occupants.


There was no sign of surrender though. We exchanged a few more rounds before they slowed down to about 85 and moved toward an exit. I pulled my pistol inside thinking we were about to leave the freeway – I’d need both hands to drive on city streets. They took the exit ramp and I followed. At the last possible second, the driver cut back onto the freeway. He cut across the shoulder and some grass – it’s a wonder he didn’t loose control. My car was sprayed with gravel and dirt, but I managed to follow him back up on the freeway.

We went back up to 100+ speeds for a bit before he decided to slow down for the Wayside Drive exit. I wasn’t going to let him pull the same stunt again so as he took the exit, I jumped around to his left and pulled alongside. To this day I do not know how the passenger window in my police car was lowered. Perhaps an angel rolled it down but in any case, I found myself looking straight into the driver’s eyes as we took the exit side-by-side. I will never forget the look on the drivers face as I raised my pistol and aimed it at him. I pulled the trigger and his window exploded. He went down in the front seat, and his car lost control. We were only inches apart so I can only assume that same angel guided his car away from me.


The crash was spectacular. Hollywood could not re-create the scene at any price. The car spun wildly through a gas station missing the pumps somehow. Just south of the gas station there was a vacant lot grown over with tall weeds. There was a large pile of new utility poles on the edge of the lot. The suspect’s car hit the pile and actually went up to the top and rolled back down. The car stopped with the front end aimed about 30 degrees up. His headlights were lighting up some treetops and a cloud of dust. I was so close to all of this that his car actually hit my front end as he rolled back down the pile.


To my surprise, the driver was the first one out. He bailed out of that car and jumped about eight feet to the ground and never missed a step. He was gone. Just as I got out of my car, the right-front passenger emerged, jumped onto the hood, and fired at me as he rolled off the hood on the driver’s side. I returned the favor with one shot but he kept going. My buddy in the back seat got out on the right side and followed the other passenger. He also decided to take one last parting shot. I fired once at him and my pistol slide locked back. That was the eighth and last round in the magazine.


This suspect disappeared into the tall weeds just as the first two did so I assumed that I missed all of them. The robbery victim driving the pick-up truck pulled up behind me as I reloaded my pistol. I yelled at him to back away in case there was more shooting. I told him to call 911 and get help. No one knew where we were. Using my police car for cover, I just wanted to watch the vacant lot until back-up arrived. After a minute or so, the victim called out and said that he had no change for the pay phone. I backed up with my pistol trained on the lot and gave him a quarter. It was then that I noticed the bullet holes in the front of his truck.


HPD must have put out an assist-the-officer call because I heard sirens light-off in all directions. The first back-up unit that arrived was my old partner, James B—-. We knew it was highly unlikely any of the suspects stopped to engage us again, so we decided to clear the vacant lot so we could disregard other units and avoid the inevitable fleet accidents usually associated with an “assist”. In the middle of the vacant lot we found him – he was still in a running position. I don’t know which one it was, front seat or back seat, but he was dead. The adrenaline must have carried him that last 75 feet of his life.


The scene became typical; homicide detectives, the medical examiner, the DA’s office, reporters, my supervisors – all were present. No one really asked me much because the robbery victim had a lot to say, and the scene spoke for itself. I didn’t find out until the next day that they could not find the dead suspect’s gun. The tall weeds in the lot had been trampled down by an army of investigators and no one
had a metal detector.

The robbery victim’s actions in this were quite heroic and unorthodox. First, he chased the suspects out of the store. He rammed their car as they were making their get away. He chased them and took several hits in the front of his truck. Even though he was unarmed, he would not let them go. He was ready to back me up at the scene and thought nothing of the danger he was in. When this victim learned the nvestigators had not found the suspect’s gun, he was upset and feared I might be in trouble. He returned to the scene after daybreak and searched the lot himself. He found the gun. Someone had stepped on it and had pushed it down into the soft ground under the trampled weeds. He called the police from the scene and turned over the evidence.


I went on to receive an ‘Officer of the Year’ award from the 100 Club, but the real hero was this un-named, tenacious citizen who would not let this crime stand. I’m sorry that I don’t have his name, but I will never forget him.


Post Script:
It was easy to identify the suspects. The driver borrowed his mother’s car for this robbery. The last I heard, the two surviving suspects fled the country and were living in Jamaica. They were charged but have never been apprehended. Perhaps I will have to go to court and testify on this someday but if not, I sincerely hope these two men have changed and have become productive citizens wherever they are.

1986 USPSA Match Video

In going through my archive of historical handgun material, I found an old, low quality VHS tape that had video footage of a local club match from 1986. It was shared with me by one of the club members. I didn’t start shooting USPSA until 1988. This was back in the day when everyone shot single stack 1911’s in .45 ACP (with few shooting .38 super), using cast lead bullets and ammo reloaded with the cheapest (and often smokiest) powder available. Some of the footage is from a winter match where everyone shot from concealment. IDPA didn’t spin off from USPSA until the early 1990’s, and many clubs had an equal mix of gamers and tacticians. This was from back in the day when a “big” club match would have 25 people (current weekend club matches in Austin have 60-80 participants), and a club match was 3-4 short stages. 75 rounds was a typical match round count. Stages were simpler, a lot of “run to the box, shoot 6-8 rounds” design, often with minimal props, although the video shows a lot of falling steel and partial targets. One stage required engaging the body of the partial target from one box, and re-engaging the heads on those same targets from a different box after a reload.

When I joined in 1988, the club was operating pretty much the same way they did in 1986. Times and hits were written on paper score sheets, and after the match was shot and torn down, most of the club would go to the BBQ place down the road from the range, calculators in hand, to do all the math to calculate hit factors and stage points and figure out who won. This was back when “who showed up” was the only division. At the time the only people running red dot sights on pistols were bullseye shooters running super light target loads. In USPSA, everyone shot major power factor loads, back when “major” was 185,000, not the watered-down 165,000 limit that exists today. .45 ACP factory ammo was 200,000+ power factor, and factory .38 super was 160,000 (maybe), so the only way to get .38 super loads hot enough to make major was to exceed safe loading pressures, even with heavy 150-160 gr bullets. Most of the loads people were shooting in the video were probably 190,000 power factor handloads, which had a lot more recoil than the 130,000 power factor 9mm ammo most people shoot today.

KR Training July 2023 Newsletter

JULY 2023 UPDATE

We have finalized our schedule for the rest of 2023. All the classes we plan to offer through the end of 2023 are listed below. We are already working on winter/spring 2024 plans!

PRIVATE LESSONS

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

REFRESHER DEALS

Re-take any class you’ve taken before for half price! Contact me to get the alumni discount code. Firearms skills deteriorate without practice. Most ranges don’t allow drawing from a holster, shooting quickly, moving or shooting from cover. If you don’t practice the skills you learned in class, they won’t be there when you need them. Fall classes will have cooler weather – but they often sell out, so don’t wait until the last minute to register!

Upcoming Texas classes with space available:

AUGUST

SEPTEMBER

OCTOBER

DECEMBER

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

Click HERE to register for any class.

NEBRASKA CLASSES

Click HERE to register for any class.

Red Dot Level 2 – August 6 (4 hours)

If you have a red dot sight on your gun and want to shoot it better, the Red Dot Level 2 class is for you. Tricks and tips for finding the dot quickly as you draw, speeding up target transitions, better shooting at longer distances, and more. This is not a beginner class. It’s an intermediate level course intended for the skilled shooter that wants to improve. This class will be taught by USPSA Master Class Carry Optics division shooter Dave Reichek, who is also a red dot trainer certified by Modern Samurai Project and Aaron Cowan.

School and Church Safety – August 1-4

Summertime is teacher training time. I am offering another sequence of the 16 hour DPS-certified School Safety class. It can be attended by anyone with a Texas carry permit. Classes will be 8a-noon August 1-4. Total cost to attend is $225 for all 4 sessions. Contact me to enroll as spaces are limited. Those that do not want the state certification can attend fewer blocks at $75/day, but completion of block 1 or our DPS-1 course is required to attend blocks 3 and 4.

TAC MED EDC & The Explosive Threat – August

Both of these classes are indoors, in the AC. TacMedEDC is Lone Star Medics’ signature one day medical class for armed citizens. If you’ve taken it before, contact me to get your alumni 50% discount code! The Explosive Threat is a lecture from Greg Ellifritz, discussing improvised explosives – how to recognize and avoid them. 2024 could be a very dangerous, volatile year. There is more to “being prepared” than just having a gun, whether you carry and are proficient with it or not.

Gunfighting in Crowds – August 26

Doug Greig, in association with Palisades Training Group, is offering a session of their Gunfighting in Crowds course August 26. Students will participate in exercises and drills that require them to quickly and accurately assess the immediate area around them and then move rapidly into a better position that mitigates the risk to others not only around the attacker but the area around and behind him or her (especially true when they are with family members or friends). Emphasis is placed upon situational awareness, site assessment, movement into a better position if necessary, short-range surgical shot placement, and even exploitation of attacker expectations and control of the vertical plane of shots fired when over-penetration represents a major threat to others in close proximity to the attacker. Also covered in this class are actions that may reduce the chance that the student is mistakenly engaged by other concealed carriers and responding law enforcement.

Challenge Coin Classes – September and October

Trying to complete your classes to earn our Defensive Pistol Skills Program Challenge Coin? All the required courses are being offered in September and October, along with classes that count as electives.

PODCAST APPEARANCES

Karl was on the “That Weems Guy” podcast with Steve Havey and Lee Weems, answering listener questions.

John was on the Evolution Security podcast talking about fitness, supplements, testosterone treatment and small revolvers

I was on Memphis Beech’s podcast in early July.

I also recorded an episode of the American Warrior Podcast with Rich Brown. It will come out in August.

BLOG O RAMA

All the articles you missed if you don’t follow the KR Training Facebook page and Instagram feed.

Video from Eric Wise’s Tactical Pistol course. Eric will be in September to teach another session of this class.

SONG OF THE MONTH

From July 1-4 the Black Cat Choir played multiple shows, including performing on a float in the Round Top 4th of July Parade (winning 2nd place in the Patriotic Division). The video is audio recorded July 1 paired with parade video and pictures and video from earlier shows (and other songs). The song is “Just a Little Bit”, originally by Rosco Gordon. Our version was influenced by the Jimmie Vaughan cover.


FOLLOW US ONLINE!

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

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

Book Review: Shoot To Win (John Shaw & Bill Currie, 1985)

He is a self-taught shooter who recognized that the techniques and lessons he learned could be used to train our war fighters.  Accordingly, he founded Mid-South Institute for Self Defense Shooting (MISS), in 1981 just south of Memphis, TN where he developed the most comprehensive firearms training program in the country.  For over 41 years, Mid-South has been continually regarded as one of the premier shooting schools in the world by the United States Special Operations Community. To this day, their shooting principles and tactics have become the operational doctrines for numerous Special Operation Forces as well as Federal and State Level Law Enforcement.  Mid-South Institute for Self Defense Shooting (MISS), is still operating (under different ownership) and is only open to military and law enforcement personnel.

In 1997, John retired and moved his family to Southern Idaho.    Shaw’s son Houston was also a top competition shooter. Houston has his own training company, Shaw Shooting, that continues the family tradition of providing quality firearms training in the Idaho area.

In an earlier blog post I shared links to online clips from his mid 1980’s instructional videos.

The Book

If anyone knows Ed Porter, I have his signed copy of Shaw’s book, purchased online.

In 1985 Shaw and Bill Currie published the book “Shoot To Win”. The book captured the best knowledge of what the top shooters in IPSC and 3-gun were doing. Highlights:

Bracing against the barricade was a popular technique used in PPC and the Bianchi Cup. You don’t see it much in modern USPSA matches, possibly because modern matches rarely use that type of wood barricade any more.

Shaw’s gun was worn at a 2-oclock position, canted for optimum speed. The details about drawstroke in his book are still relevant and valid regardless of where the gun is worn.

Shaw was one the early USPSA champions that shot with both arms extended, and his grip changed from thumb over thumb in 1982 (in the previous book), to something closer to the modern thumbs forward grip that is popular today.

This book included discussion of shooting on the move. I had socks like that in the 80’s too.

Shaw’s match winning shotgun shooting technique circa 1985.

Back in the early days of USPSA, stages required climbing a wall using a rope and many other physical challenges.

At this match in 1994 shooters had to climb up a telephone pole and shoot over a barricade. Over time those physical challenges disappeared from the sport.

More pics of Shaw shooting combat rifle stages in the early days of 3-gun matches.

This picture shows Shaw with yet another grip variation, part way between thumb over thumb and thumbs forward. This may have occurred to make it easier to see his finger on the trigger. One advantage of skinnier guns is that it’s possible for people with shorter fingers to put that much finger on the trigger without dragging the trigger finger against the frame. Tom Givens and many others still teach the “center of the fingerprint” as the best place to contact the trigger with the firing finger.

Copies of both of Shaw’s books are still available from ShawShooting.com

https://shawshooting.com/pro-shop

For anyone interested in the origins of modern pistolcraft, the books are a “must read”.

When I posted my blog review of Shaw’s first book, some of the comments from top trainers and top shooters included these:

If John Shaw isn’t a household name, it’s only in the non-military community. Mid South was the shooting destination of almost every special forces group in the US military and a bunch of foreign ones as well. He was the first real instructor to take high performance competition shooting techniques and apply them to combative shooting. LE/Military shooting techniques might still be in the dark ages were it not for John Shaw. – Michael Brown (retired SWAT officer)

John was shooting PPC in 1976 when I introduced him to “practical shooting” with our group in Memphis that became the founding club of the Tennessee section of IPSC in 1977. John was always a gifted athlete and a helluva shooter. – Tom Givens (Rangemaster)

MISS training back in about ’91-’92 changed my whole approach to pistol shooting and helped me make strides and increase capability like nothing else. – Wayne Dobbs (Hardwired Tactical/Aimpoint)

John Shaw taught me how to shoot. When I was first learning, I got the book and video and copied what he did. It has worked for me for 44 years, and while people tell me that things evolve, most cannot outshoot me.- Marty Hayes (Firearms Academy of Seattle / Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network)

Michael Bane, co-author of Shaw’s first book, You Can’t Miss, discussed John Shaw and my review of the book on a recent podcast episode.

John Shaw Instructional Videos

I recently digitized, cleaned up, and posted John Shaw’s 1984 pistol training video split into 5 segments. Someone else had previously posted his shotgun training video (with Spanish subtitles). All those videos can be found at the links below.

My review of John’s first book, You Can’t Miss, can be found here:

A review of his second book, Shoot To Win, will be posted soon.

Student Story #2

Angel Piss


The title should catch your attention and pique your interest. I will explain the reference at the
end.


I always paid special attention to the crime of ‘Robbery by Firearms’. First impressions are important – on my first night on the street with Houston PD, December 16th, 1968, a man died in my arms from a gunshot wound while I tried to get his final statement and make him comfortable. He was shot during a robbery where the suspects only got eleven dollars and change. The shooter was 14 years old. His grandmother turned him in when she learned of the robbery after questioning his sleeplessness and bad dreams.


Robbery suspects are hard to catch. The crime only takes a short time and the suspect usually has a well-planned escape. Officers typically learn of the robbery after the fact. If the officer knows his district, he can try to predict the suspect’s escape route, but even this does not often pay off. To catch a robbery in progress, the officer has to be in the right place at the right time and he has to be observant. Mostly, it is a matter of luck.


And so, I watched convenience stores and other convenient targets at closing times. One slow night I checked the convenience store at 10th and Heights just before closing. The clerk signaled for me to come inside. There were no vehicles in the parking lot and I did not see any one in the store except for the clerk. Upon entry, the clerk directed me to the rear of the store where he said there was a suspicious man. There was a man at the rear of the store. Upon seeing me, he made his way to the exit and went out into the parking lot. I said something reassuring to the clerk and exited the store to follow-up. I was not cautious.


As I stepped outside, no more than fifteen feet in front of me was a Browning Hi-power 9mm aimed straight at my head. Before I could react, he pulled the trigger – nothing happened. This man looked at the pistol briefly and ran to the rear of the building and down a dark alley. I gave chase but stopped before entering the alley since I was highlighted from the rear. My Kel-Lite was still in the police car.
I went to my unit, called for assistance, grabbed my Kel-Lite and went back to the alley. Johnny S—- was gone but his driver’s license was still at the register. In his haste, he left his ID behind.


I filed my report and went back to work not fully appreciating the fact that I could go home at the end of my shift. Johnny was arrested two weeks later after an exchange of gunfire with two HPD officers. Johnny S—- was a heroin addict and would rather kill than miss his next injection.


A flintlock rifle has a small exposed pan where gunpowder is placed. The flint falls forward when the trigger is pulled making a spark that hopefully ignites the pan of gunpowder. The flash continues though a small hole in the barrel and ignites the main charge firing the rifle. If the pan flashes but the rifle does not discharge, it is called “a flash in the pan”. Sometimes the gunpowder would become damp and would not ignite. Soldiers with flintlocks were told to not let an “angel piss on their musket”.


I never learned why that pistol did not fire – all I know is that he pulled the trigger and nothing
happened. My guardian angel pissed on his musket. It was good to have that angel at my side again.

Student Story #1

A student who was a Texas police officer in the 1970’s has shared several stories from his law enforcement career with us so that others could learn from his experiences in multiple officer-involved shootings.
This is the first in a series.

A Shooting


It has been difficult to come to the point of writing this down as evidenced by the passage of thirty years. This has been easy to discuss in passing as if it was the recollection of a movie scene, but it is very difficult to discuss in detail because it is real, and I was there, and I was involved. The salient details are as fresh in my mind today as they were when this shooting incident happened. This is an unfortunate fact of life – you can never forget something like this. I’m telling the story in the hope that some insight or observation may help another officer or anyone who has been involved in the taking of a life.
It is important that the other officers involved in this incident remain anonymous. The reason will become evident as I tell the story.


It was a slow Sunday afternoon in an old neighborhood. The radio was quiet, and I had not had a call for hours. I was just thinking about finding some fast food. My location was just North of 11th street and East of Tulane a few blocks. This was a good neighborhood for cruising the side streets looking for bad guys trying to avoid the main roads. Then the radio broke squelch: “All officers – discharging firearms in progress at 1000 T—- – any unit clear and close ….” I was close enough to the scene that I should have been able to hear the gunfire, but air-conditioning in Texas is sometimes more important that public safety. When I started in law enforcement, we did not have air-conditioning in the patrol cars. Those
were better but less comfortable times. Just seconds after the call, I turned onto 11th street heading west toward Tulane. I was surprised to see two police cars just in front of me. The sound of three hemi-head 383 engines winding up is something that air conditioning cannot cover. As the lead car slowed for his left turn onto T—-, we were all fairly close together. As I reached the corner and slid to a stop, I could see the first officer start to exit his car.


The scene was close to the Southeast corner. The first officer had pulled partially into the driveway of the corner house. The second officer pulled up behind the first police car and his front end was aimed at the driveway. He was back about 10 feet from the rear of the first car and his car was facing Southeast blocking the northbound lane of T—-. There was a small portable building at the corner that partially blocked my view of the driveway. What I am about to describe happened very, very fast.


Again, as I slid to a stop on the wrong side of 11th just past the West side of the portable building, I saw the first officer open his car door. I could also see someone in the driveway, but my eyes were focused on the officer and his demeanor. I was starting to exit my police car and was reaching for the double-barrel coach gun I kept along side the seat. For some reason I decided there was not enough time to grab the shotgun, so I started running toward the driveway. My focus changed when I saw an orange flash and heard a loud report. The officer lunged as if he was kicked in the gut, but what appeared to be obvious, wasn’t the case. He dropped to his right knee behind his open police car door.

I had only covered a short distance when that first officer opened fire. His revolver was aimed straight up in the air. He had a two-handed grip on his revolver and his head was looking straight down into the dirt. All six rounds went straight up into the sky, and the officer continued to pull the trigger on spent casings. By this time, the man in the driveway was pumping lead into the police car, and I could see glass flying all around the officer.


I had not paid much attention to the second officer until I heard the report of his handgun. By this time, I had taken several more running steps to close the distance. The second officer had wisely slid across the front seat of his car and exited his vehicle on the passenger side. He was also firing a revolver, and he was using a two-handed grip from a standing position, and he was using the roof of his police car to steady his aim. Somehow, in this short time of processing a lot of tactical information, I noted the contrast in the actions of these two officers. By the time I reached a point even with the South side of the portable building, the second officer was firing his last of six rounds. The man in the driveway was still standing there with his rifle aimed toward the first officer. He was opening the lever of the gun and I saw a brass shell casing come out. As he closed the lever, I opened fire.


Unlike the other two officers, I had an automatic pistol. It was a Colt 1911, Army issue. After two or three of my rounds, the man started toward the ground. I was shooting from his right side from a distance of just over 50 feet. He was right handed and was firing the lever action rifle from his hip. He released his right hand from the grip and the rifle butt went to the ground. I was not sure if he was taking cover or what, but there was no way I was going to stop firing until he was out of action. I continued to move forward and fire until my slide locked back. The first officer’s revolver was still clicking on spent cartridges. I could hear the gun clicking because of the sudden contrasting silence. The four of us had just fired twenty-five rounds in just a few seconds.


I ejected the empty magazine to the ground and somehow found a fresh magazine in my left hand. It went into the gun and the slide went forward. I had closed the distance to this idiot who was now lying on his right side in the driveway. I kicked his rifle away and rolled the man onto his back. Blood was starting to come out of a number of holes in his chest and arms. He was alive and judging from the expression on his face, he was in great pain. He did not say anything – he just slipped away and died.


The second officer and I started to collect our wits and figure out what to do next. There wasn’t anything for us to do except notify the dispatcher of our need for an ambulance and supervisors. The rest is a blur. There were supervisors, detectives, paramedics, and medical examiners all over the scene. After about a half hour, we were asked to report to (Homicide Division) for statements. I headed for ‘Central’ but stopped for that fast food on the way.


On the way to the station, I tried to take stock of what had just happened. I could still smell the gun smoke and dust in my clothes. My ears were still ringing. I was in a quandary over the actions of the first officer. My assumption was that the second officer had hit the suspect at least once, but since he was shooting a .357 magnum, it would have been very possible for the suspect to have taken those rounds and remained standing especially if he was high on drugs. I assumed that I had hit the suspect at
least once also. We would not know the details until after the autopsy.


We made our sworn statements, and I went back to work. The rest of the day was uneventful. The next day when I showed up for work at roll call, the other officers looked at me differently. Nothing I can describe – just ‘differently’. My supervisor asked me to go up to Homicide and get an update. One of the detectives working the case saw me come in and approached. He said, “You were involved in that suicide
yesterday, right?” I was surprised at the question, and before I could respond, he said, “anytime those bastards shoot at a cop it should be ruled a suicide”. And then he said, “Yours were all that hit him.” I said, “what?” And he replied, “45’s were all that hit him – you hit him five times”. The detective showed me the report and pulled out an autopsy diagram. One of my five out of eight rounds that hit this guy, (the one causing his death), went through the subject’s right arm, through his chest and lodged in his left arm
– it made five holes.


So now I was a bit of a hero with the detectives, but that turned out to be more of a problem than a compliment. The first two officers worked in Radio Patrol and I worked in Accident Investigation. I had transferred from Patrol to Accident several years earlier. There had always been competition and rivalry between the departments, and now I had ‘shown-up’ two Patrol officers. The first officer had totally ‘lost it’ and the second officer had missed six times from a perfect shooting position only 25 feet from the
suspect. Neither officer had the presence of mind to reload his gun. Their guns were still empty when they were making their statements in the Homicide office.


And now some supplemental information and some reflections…
From this point forward, many other officers related to me differently. I had seen this before. When I was a rookie, officers who had handled a gunfight would be pointed out or discussed. They were members of an elite club. Now I was a new member, and I would see training officers point me out to their rookies. I guess this dubious unspoken membership was based on an experience that none of us really wanted to face. Maybe my colleagues did not know how it would affect me, or perhaps they felt uncomfortable
relating to a ‘club member’ so they just avoided contact. Other personality types seemed to revere and envy membership. When the subject came up from time to time, I just made light of it and changed the subject.


I never spoke with either of the two Patrol officers again; they avoided contact for different reasons. The second officer had started bragging about killing the suspect even before the autopsy. He downplayed my role saying he had downed the suspect before I fired. He continued to spread that story and painted himself a hero. I guess he relied on the report being confidential. This behavior is common and two famous incidents come to mind: the University of Texas tower shootings, and the killing of Yamamoto. I have personally seen similar behavior several times in law enforcement.

With regard to the actions of the first officer, I told only my supervisors and the detectives what had happened. It did not go into my statement, and by name, it has never gone any further. I wonder how he feels, and I wonder if he has ever come to terms with his panic under fire. He did stay in law enforcement for at least several years.

For me there was a disturbing revelation. That spent round that I saw ejected from the rifle was his last one – the rifle was empty when I opened fire. There was no way for me to know that at the time, but I wish there had been one more bullet in that gun. The suspect was drunk. He had just had an argument with his brother-in-law and had shot up the house from the driveway. He was reloading his 30-30 Winchester at the trunk of his car when we arrived. I truly hope that his blood alcohol level served the
purpose of relieving some pain in his final minutes.


I can’t remember the suspects name. I have seen it several times, but as soon as I look away from the report, it is gone again. The same is true of another man in another case. That one got me ‘Officer of the Year’ and a Rolex watch. I was alone that time; why should I get an award for defending myself and not get an award for defending a fellow officer? The answer is circumstances, rivalry, pride, and embarrassment.


Having been through this only makes the ‘law enforcement dreams’ worse. The standard dream of facing a life and death situation with an empty or malfunctioning gun only becomes more real. Looking back, I would not change any of my actions except I probably would not have stopped for that hamburger on the way to Central to make my statement.


My advice to officers is to always take care of business first. The decision to shoot in this incident was a ‘no brainer’, but not all of us were prepared for what happened. In my case, preparedness was an obsession. I spent my quiet time in law enforcement playing out scenarios, (constructive day dreaming I guess you could call it). Luck can be defined as preparedness meeting opportunity. I was prepared and the opportunity was forced on us by an enraged drunk with a gun. The second officer was prepared,
reacted well, but unfortunately did not shoot well. The first officer was not prepared, but then again, he was looking down the barrel of a Winchester 30-30 and the bullets were hitting all around him. If that situation had been mine, how would I have fared?


I am happy to say that time does tend to heal but not completely: never completely.

KR Training June 2023 Newsletter

JUNE 2023 UPDATE

Summertime is shooting time. Come join us in July for morning classes and some Wednesday night USPSA matches! Come see us in August for some indoor classes (medical & bomb threat) and a few morning live fire courses. Paul Martin’s 10th annual preparedness event has already sold out and we are looking at dates to add another session of that event.

Don’t see a class that interests you? Let us know. We are still adding dates for August, September and October.

PRIVATE LESSONS

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

Upcoming classes with space available:

July

AUGUST

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

Click HERE to register for any class.

NRA Range Safety Officer – July 2

Get certified to run a firing line and assist with organized shooting events. The NRA Range Safety Officer course is useful if you find yourself being the “range boss” when you go shoot with friends at a commercial range or on private land. It teaches you how to make sure the range is safe for shooting, how to deal with safety issues, accidents and emergencies. It also familiarizes you with a wide variety of action types for rifles and shotguns – useful if you have friends that want your help learning how to operate manually operated guns (pump, lever, bolt action, etc.). The class is mostly indoors with a short “how to inspect an outdoor range for safety” exercise. It’s coming up Sunday, July 2.

Defensive Pistol Skills 1 – July 8

Defensive Pistol Skills 1 teaches you how to draw from concealment and shoot with the speed and accuracy necessary to save your life in a real incident. The License to Carry shooting test is too slow, using a target that is unrealistically big. The DPS-1 class teaches the skills every person that carries outside the home should know.

School and Church Safety – July 10, 11, 17 & 18

Summertime is teacher training time. Monday July 10 we will offer part 1 of the range training from the DPS-certified School Safety (armed teacher) course. The class is open to all. It will be 200 rounds of live fire drills. Tuesday July 11 (afternoon) we will present the ALERRT Civilian Response to Active Shooter Event lecture, which is suitable for all audiences (armed and unarmed). The following we will offer parts 2 and 3 of the range training. Those completing all 4 blocks will earn a DPS School Safety class completion certificate.

Handgun Beyond Basics – July 16

A special session of the Handgun Beyond Basics class will include the drills from the Sure Fire Master Coach course we hosted back in May. If you’ve taken BTB before, you can still attend this session at refresher price (use code KRFRESH for your discount). This is an excellent tuneup course for the intermediate level shooter.

SUMMER USPSA MATCHES

We will run some USPSA matches this summer. Details about the matches are here. Any one that has taken DPS-1, Beyond Basics or higher level classes is welcome to attend. These small matches run faster than the big weekend events, with 150 rounds of shooting fun. Each match includes a shoothouse stage, steel target stage, one historical stage (shot using USPSA rules) and other shooting activities not always included in group classes.

TEAM KR TRAINING AT MAJOR MATCHES

KR Training student Randy Wallen shot in the Gunsite Glock Classic match held at Gunsite in May. He had a great match, winning 3rd overall, High Senior, and 1st in non-Master Rimfire.

KR Training team shooter Roy Stedman was 3rd Senior at the USPSA Carry Optics National Championship.

BLOG O RAMA

All the articles you missed if you don’t follow the KR Training Facebook page and Instagram feed.

SONG OF THE MONTH

Last year I released an expanded, remastered version of my early 1990’s electronic jazz album, electrophonic. Since then I have been making videos for all the songs and posting them on youtube, because I’m reaching more people with the music there than on the streaming music services. One of the bonus tracks on the expanded release was something I wrote and recorded as background music for an independent film. The track didn’t get used in the final production, so the rights reverted back to me. It’s a two piano (four hands) boogie woogie piano track called Dog Park Blues, with video featuring Scudder and Rye. It’s only 46 seconds long, and it has puppies, so click on it and give it a view!


FOLLOW US ONLINE!

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

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

Book Review: You Can’t Miss (John Shaw & Michael Bane, 1982)

John Shaw dominated the competitive shooting scene during the 1980’s.  While being the captain and nine-year member of the World Champion U.S. I.P.S.C. Team, he won, or was the runner-up, in every major shooting competition in the world including:

  • I.P.S.C. National Championships
  • I.P.S.C. World Championships
  • Bianchi Cup
  • Steel Challenge ‘World Speed Shooting Championships’
  • Second Chance
  • Soldier of Fortune

He is a self-taught shooter who recognized that the techniques and lessons he learned could be used to train our war fighters.  Accordingly, he founded Mid-South Institute for Self Defense Shooting (MISS), in 1981 just south of Memphis, TN where he developed the most comprehensive firearms training program in the country.  For over 41 years, Mid-South has been continually regarded as one of the premier shooting schools in the world by the United States Special Operations Community. To this day, their shooting principles and tactics have become the operational doctrines for numerous Special Operation Forces as well as Federal and State Level Law Enforcement.  Mid-South Institute for Self Defense Shooting (MISS), is still operating (under different ownership) and is only open to military and law enforcement personnel.

In 1997, John retired and moved his family to Southern Idaho.    Shaw’s son Houston was also a top competition shooter. Houston has his own training company, Shaw Shooting, that continues the family tradition of providing quality firearms training in the Idaho area.

The Book

In 1982 Shaw and Michael Bane published the book “You Can’t Miss” (with introduction by Massad Ayoob). The book captured the best knowledge of what the top shooters in IPSC were doing. The Isoceles stance, 1911’s with barrel weights and compensators, steel lined holsters, and shooting B8 targets were all core ideas from which current shooting training and technique evolved.

Historical Note: Shaw and Ken Hackathorn were both early pioneers in shooting B8 targets at combat, not bullseye, speeds. Modern era trainers coming from the special operations community have certainly mainstreamed and popularized this practice in the past decade, but they were not the first to do so.

The content and techniques shown in the book should look very familiar to graduates of any modern pistol course, with the only significant change being the shift from the bent support side elbow to a more balanced extension of both arms. In the 1980’s, it was common for matches to require some shooting from the prone position at 25 and 50 yards. The only remnant of this exists in the Bianchi Cup (NRA Action Pistol) matches. Instinct and hip shooting are topics that come and go, with the most popular current variant being the techniques taught in the Shivworks ECQC program. Classic cowboy flat-and-level one handed hip shooting, as shown in the book, has basically disappeared from all modern training programs in favor of close quarter shooting techniques that integrate better with defensive tactics and unarmed skills.

Shaw’s grip and stance, circa 1982, with support side elbow partially bent. Classic thumb over thumb grip is used. Modern “thumbs forward” grip didn’t become dominant until the late 1980’s when Rob Leatham and Brian Enos popularized it.

In 1982, revolvers were still in common use by law enforcement, and used for Bianchi Cup matches.

The classic Steel Challenge start position, wrists above shoulders. The popularity of the “surrender” start for competition, particularly in the 1980’s, became a topic that tacticians more concerned with defensive shooting criticized. I remember going to a police dept “fun shoot” in the early 1990’s, and they made a big deal about not using the surrender position to start any course of fire. These days outside of Steel Challenge stages, where it’s still the required start position, the surrender start is rarely used.

Classic early 1980’s belts, holsters and mag pouches from Gordon Davis.

GEAR

My 1911 in .45 ACP with Bomar rear sight. This gun is basically a 1980’s competition setup, except for the more modern synthetic grips and the fiber optic front sight.

1980’s Gordon Davis outside the waistband, steel lined leather gamer speed holster.

Most of the gear section includes all the standard advice regarding modifications of the 1911 pistol in .45 ACP, which was the platform everyone in the practical shooting world used at that time. Shaw had a close association with the Clark family (Jim Clark Sr, bullseye shooter and gun smith, and his son IPSC & 3 gun shooter Jimmy Clark). Clark’s development of the pin gun (adding a muzzle weight to the pistol and extending the sight radius by moving the front sight to the muzzle weight, evolved into the compensated pistol. Early comp guns had a single port, and as competitors shifted to the higher capacity and higher pressure .38 super round, comps began to be longer, with multiple ports.

In the 1980’s and early 1990’s, compensators were considered “gamer gear” and unsuitable for carry — a situation that didn’t change until the Roland Special and factory ported guns were suddenly acceptable to “tacticians”, and social media influencers in the past decade. Compensators do reduce muzzle rise, and their value is most noticeable on the current generation of very small, lightweight carry guns like the SIG 365.

DRILLS

In the book, Shaw lists his favorite pistol training drills:

NRA B8 at 7 yards, open carry, one shot draw
2.0 sec par, then 1.5 sec par
X ring hits, 2.0 sec

back up to 10 yards,2 sec par, X ring

2 shot draws, x ring, 5 yards, 2.0 sec

3 ft by 6 ft cardboard
3 across, 4 rows
three targets, one shot each, X ring, 5 yards, 7 yards, 10 yards

In the book, Shaw also shares the training drills recommended by Mike Dalton and Mickey Fowler, who ran International Shootists, Inc, out of Southern California. Dalton and Fowler were two other top shooters from the late 1970’s/early 1980’s formative years of IPSC, Bianchi Cup, and Steel Challenge.

Dalton/Fowler International Shootists, Inc Mission Hills, CA

25 m, 6 shots prone bullseye, no time limit
7 m, 6 one shot draws, 1.5 sec (2 hands up, 2 hands down, 2 hands clasped)


7 m, 2 shots each on 3 targets, SHO, 5 sec

7 m, 2 shots each on 3 targets, WHO, 6 sec

10 m, El Pres, 10 sec

10 m, 1 RL 1 – 5 sec par (6 times total)

15 m 2 on 3 targets, RL, 2 shots WHO, 14 seconds
25 m 10 single draws, freestyle, 2.5 sec

Michael Bane Interview

I interviewed co-author Michael Bane to get more information and history about the book and John Shaw. From my notes from that conversation, Michael’s comments (paraphrased):

“John Shaw and I grew up together in Memphis and played together as kids. We reconnected in the early days of IPSC, and that’s how I ended up helping him with his book. In the early 1980’s John was still developing the curriculum for his pistol training, and I was one of his first students, training with him when I went home to visit family in Memphis. He had a Mississippi Highway Patrol trainer (I can’t remember his name) that assisted him. John was a Weaver shooter but wasn’t a purist. His approach was to experiment with grip and stance and do what the targets and timer showed gave the best results. If a technique felt bad then you probably weren’t doing it right or the technique wasn’t working for you. John spent a lot of time with Jim Clark Sr. and Jimmy Clark at their family range in Louisiana. I believe that the Clark’s had a big influence on John’s shooting and his curriculum.

“After winning all the major matches, John shifted his focus on teaching. He had gotten big contracts with the Navy SEALs, and he used that money, along with rent income from older houses in Memphis he had fixed up, to build the Mid-South Institute for Self-Defense Shooting facility. He built a bunkhouse and basically constructed what the SEALs needed for their sessions.”

“The book was the first one ever published specific to practical shooting competition (pistol, rifle and shotgun). His second book, Shoot To Win, which he wrote with a different co-author in 1985, didn’t sell as well as the first one.”

Shaw also published two videos on shooting technique, one for shotgun and one for pistol. I am in the process of cleaning up digitized copies of those videos and will share them, along with a review of his second book Shoot To Win, in a later post.

Fairbairn “Shooting to Live” drills

At the 2023 NRA Annual Meeting, Claude Werner (The Tactical Professor) handed me a print copy of his edited version of Fairbairn’s famous “Shooting To Live” book.

I wrote a full review of the book on this blog (Linked here). It includes his “editor’s synopsis” of the Shanghai police recruit training program. When I get home, I set it up and shot it.

I used a B-21 style target, which was the largest man sized target I had. In the book, Fairbairn uses an 8 foot by 8 foot canvas with a man drawn on it. The B-21 is 35″ wide. Again, according to the book, getting 50% of the shots on the man target is a passing score.

Dry Practice

The process begins with dry practice, drawing and racking the slide each time. Recruits were taught to carry on an empty chamber. They were taught a two handed grip (fig 15) that looks similar to the thumbs-forward grip popular today. I chose not to use the “grip the wrist” technique shown in fig 15A.

Recruits were then taught a “ready” position (note that in Fairbairn’s ready position, the finger is on the trigger), and a firing position.

Loading and Unloading

Recruits then spent an hour doing these tasks:

  • Charging and uncharging magazines (Fairbairn used this term, not “loading” for the task of putting rounds into a magazine or removing them)
  • Inserting the magazine
  • Loading the pistol (chambering a round)
  • Removing the magazine
  • Unloading the pistol
  • Disassembling the pistol for cleaning

Live Fire Drills

Initial practice was done at 2 yards on a man sized target. Four single shots, then 2 shots as a pair. (Use the term “pair” was carried forward by Jeff Cooper and the Gunsite curriculum.)

During the second practice, the recruit was given a magazine loaded with 5 live and 1 dummy round, with the location of the dummy round unknown to the student. For my range demo, I had my videographer load the magazine. Three two-shot pairs were fired, which would include one malfunction clearance.

Third practice was the double the distance to 4 yards and repeat the 5 live/1 dummy exercise.

For all these drills, the gun was brought up to the eye target line, but the sights were not used. The eyes were focused on the target.

The final recruit live fire exercise was shot from the 3/4 hip position.

The illustration shows the gun pointing down. My approximation of it was to bring the gun high enough that I could see it in the bottom part of my peripheral vision, which was higher than the “position 3” of the typical draw, where the hands join. That position is closer to Fairbairn’s “half hip” position which is truly a point shooting position with no visual information.

From 3 and 4 yards, “bursts” of 2-3 shots were fired.

For my range demo, I used a SIG 365 .380, which was the gun in my collection most similar to the Colt 1908 .380 the Shanghai Police were issued.

For the dummy round drills, I ended up using my Glock 48, because I had 9mm dummy rounds with me and no .380 dummy rounds handy.

The complete recruit training program was 21 rounds. I actually fired 26, because I shot “burst” of 2 and 3 at 3 and 4 yards, doing more than the required minimum. I ended up with all 26 in the X ring of the B21, which more than passes Fairbairn’s recruit criteria.

What Was the Point?

From Claude’s abridged edition (which I hope he will make available soon):

The hope is that the methods forged by all these early pioneers of self-defense pistol shooting will be of value to the modern day pistol shooter who owns a “one-hand gun” for protection of self and loved ones.

I made a video of the drills so people could see what Fairbairn and Sykes were teaching. As the late trainer Paul Gomez once said: “Point Shooting works if you move close enough and make the target big enough”, which pretty much defines their 2-4 yard, ginormous target training approach. The drills in their program, however, aren’t that different from the 3 yard strings of the Texas License to Carry shooting test, using the giant B-27 target and strings of 1 and 2 shots. The techniques that Fairbairn and Sykes were teaching in the 1940’s were actually better than what the FBI was teaching in the 1940’s, which was pure hip shooting. The 3/4 hip and target focused full extension techniques of the 1940’s did eventually lead to Jack Weaver bringing his head down so he could see the sights from that 3/4 hip position using a two handed grip, which led to all the improvements in technique that followed.

Claude has also written about, and shot, the Fairbairn drills.

Andy Stanford Master Coach Development course AAR

On May 16 & 17, 2023 I hosted Andy Stanford of SureFire, who taught two sessions of his new Master Coach Development course. Day 1 was for LEO trainers, Day 2 was for private sector trainers. We had 12 students attend each day, with trainers from Austin, San Antonio, Houston and other nearby communities present.

This course was the next step forward from the Surgical Speed Shooting Summit Andy ran at Tactical Response in 2022. You can read about those events in these two blog posts.

Andy’s goal in working with other trainers was to update the material to make sure he was presenting the best possible material, in the coach development courses he planned to offer.

He did a tour through Oklahoma and Texas, offering pilot sessions of the class, refining the presentation and the material. KR Training was the last stop on the tour, so we saw the class at its most refined.

Andy developed a new paper target specifically for use with the program, incorporating 1.25″ dots, 2.5″, 5″ and 10″ circles used in an information-rich, multi-use format. He said that there is a patent pending on the target, so for now only those that have taken the Master Coach course have copies of it.

His mission statement for the class was to enhance the teaching skills of those who teach the “barely trainable to the nearly self-motivated” – a phrase that describes a majority of law enforcement officers and shooters who may carry often but rarely seek out formal training and/or only shoot when the job requires them to. Several of the trainers in the private sector class were there because they were team leaders for church security teams, who are often staffed with well meaning but minimally trained volunteers.

The class focused on trigger control, incorporating Larry Mudgett’s trigger control exercises. I posted video of several of those drills to Instagram.

The class also included the classic live & empty drill (we use this in our classes too). Andy’s version includes a lot of additional steps, to maximize the training value of every repetition of this simple exercise.

Andy also included material from his original 1990’s Surgical Speed Shooting class, such as the cadence drill Ron Avery developed.

There were several shooting tests in the course . The initial evaluation test required students to shoot 3 rounds into 3″ at 3 yards, 3 times, first with no time limit, then working from a ready position, and finally starting with pistol holstered in either a duty retention holster or concealed in a carry holster. This 27 round evaluation provides a simple assessment of student skills.

The final shooting test used two of Andy’s new targets at 3 and 7 yards, in a 3 string test that included drawing, movement, reloading, engaging the 1.25″, 2.5″, 5″, and 10″ circles with two hands, strong hand only and weak hand only.

Instructors on the KR Training team that attended the Master Coach Development class will be offering a short course on July 16, 2023 where our students will get to learn the curriculum we were taught in the development course. You can register for that course here.

KR Training May 2023 Newsletter

MAY 2023 UPDATE

Due to severe weather Mother’s Day weekend, we rescheduled the Small Gun and Stop the Bleed classes to this Sunday – and we have slots open! Summertime is shooting time. Come join us in June for pistol, shotgun and rifle training!

Don’t see a class that interests you? Let us know. We have a few dates left in July to add some courses. For the hotter summer months we will mostly be offering morning courses.

PRIVATE LESSONS

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

Upcoming classes with space available:

MAY

JUNE

July

AUGUST

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

Click HERE to register for any class.

Small Gun Class / Stop the Bleed – Sunday May 21!

Severe weather caused us to reschedule the Small Gun and Stop the Bleed classes for Sunday, May 21. Have a small gun you carry in a pocket, purse, fanny pack, Sneaky Pete or other method that isn’t a belt holster? Want to learn how to carry your gun using a PHLster Enigma or other deep carry method that doesn’t require a belt? This class is for you. We have a limited supply of loaner gear.

This will be the ONLY small gun class we run this year, so don’t miss it!

The gun is useless if it’s sitting in the car’s glove box, a nightstand drawer or a closet shelf because you’ve decided that it’s “too hard” to carry in a traditional belt holster with an untucked shirt. There are solutions but they do require training to use effectively. This PHLster video shows some of those techniques.

Tactical Pistol Class

Local law enforcement trainer and USPSA Master class shooter Eric Wise will be offering a full day Tactical Pistol course on June 3. It’s suitable for anyone at the Basic Pistol 2 or carry permit level. It will cover material similar to our Defensive Pistol Skills 1 and Handgun Beyond Basics class, and those that need to shoot the Texas LTC test to complete online permit training can do that during the course also. It’s a great value for $150. Highly recommended for graduates of our DPS-1, Beyond Basics and other classes that haven’t practiced those skills since their last class.

Defensive Shotgun 2

Every time we run a session of our Defensive Shotgun class, people ask if we are going to offer a level 2 shotgun course. Taught by Dave Reichek, graduate of the Rangemaster Shotgun Instructor course, our Shotgun 2 class is perfect to refresh what you learned in Defensive Shotgun 1 and take your shotgun skills to the next level. This will be the ONLY session of Shotgun 2 we offer this year. Now is the time to sign up for this new student-requested class!

Appendix IWB Skills / Top 10 Drills

John Daub will offer his popular Appendix Carry skills class June 17. 4 hours of instruction in how to carry safely and comfortably in the appendix position. Loaner equipment is available for those that don’t have AIWB holsters! There are AIWB solutions that don’t require a belt.

Top 10 drills is on the schedule for that afternoon, to give students more opportunity to practice all the skills other ranges don’t allow, like drawing from concealment and shooting faster than one shot per second. Benchmark your skills so you know what you can do and what you need to work on to get better! Shooting skills fade away if you don’t practice, and you can’t maintain high speed defensive pistol skills by slow fire untimed target shooting.

Defensive Pistol Skills 2

Also by request, another session of Defensive Pistol Skills 2, for spring graduates of our Defensive Pistol Skills 1 classes.

John Daub on the Primary and Secondary Podcast

John was a guest on a recent “Primary and Secondary” podcast. You can listen to the episode here

SUMMER USPSA MATCHES

We will run some USPSA matches this summer, with one early match May 24, and the remainder of the series starting mid June through end of July. Details about the matches are here. Any one that has taken DPS-1, Beyond Basics or higher level classes is welcome to attend. These small matches run faster than the big weekend events, with 150 rounds of shooting fun. Each match includes a shoothouse stage, steel target stage, one historical stage (shot using USPSA rules) and other shooting activities not always included in group classes.

SONG OF THE MONTH

Back in the early 1990’s, I played on a studio project with the Andrew Wimsatt Ensemble. That band included bassist Chris Maresh (who went on to much greater things including a Grammy nomination and gigs with Eric Johnson, Bonnie Raitt and Willie Nelson), jazz guitarist Clay Moore, drummer Tony Edwards (Austin Symphony, UT professor), guitarist Andrew Wimsatt and vocalist Jack Brandt.

The promo videos for those songs ended up in rotation on Austin’s ACTV cable channel for most of the 1990’s. Using modern AI video enhancing software, I was able to upscale and clean up the digitized VHS recordings, and updated the audio with the remastered version. Here’s the video for the song “Time is Forgiving”, featuring Clay on a complex jazz-influenced guitar solo, along with video of us lipsyncing under Austin’s famous 360 bridge.


FOLLOW US ONLINE!

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

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

Kauai Carry Permit Qual

Back in September 2022 I was able to get a copy of the carry permit shooting qualification course for Kauai, Hawaii. Penny and I had just visited there and made friends with a couple that owned an outdoor range and taught classes. Here’s the course of fire, with some videos of me shooting it, with analysis and commentary.

Course of Fire

The instructions are unclear. Some strings require drawing and firing, others are just marked “strong hand” or “weak hand”, with no explanation as to whether drawing is part of the time limit. Some strings have no time limit. The specific target to be used is not identified in the instructions either. I used an IDPA target when I shot the test, but I expect the giant B-27 (like we use in Texas) would likely meet their requirements also. Compared to the dozens and dozens of police and private sector firearms qualification tests I’ve analyzed, studying the past 100 years of firearms training, this one might be the most poorly designed. It would be challenging to shoot the test with a 5 shot .38 snub, but the glacially slow (non existent) par times for the 6 shot strings make it still possible. A 75% score is required to pass it, which should be achievable for anyone capable of slow fire target shooting.

3 Yards

  • Standing, draw and fire 2 rounds in 3 seconds (3 times)
  • Standing, strong hand only, fire 6 rounds in 25 seconds
  • Standing, strong hand only, fire 6 rounds with no time limit

The course of fire starts out with a skill we test in our Three Seconds Or Less and Minimum Competency Assessment: basic draw and fire. 2 shots in 3 seconds is a reasonable minimum standard.

6 shots in 25 sec, and 6 shots with no time limit, at 3 yards, though, makes no sense at all. Some strong hand only shooting at 3 yards is a good idea, but where the time limit came from is a mystery to me, since it’s unlike any qualification course from the past 100 years that I’ve studied.

7 Yards

  • Standing, draw and fire 1 shot in 2 seconds, 6 times
  • Standing, draw and fire 2 shots in 2 seconds, 3 times
  • Standing, fire 6 rounds in 30 seconds

The 7 yard part starts out with something harder than anything in the 3 yard part: one shot in 2 seconds. Then it gets harder: 2 shots in 2 seconds, starting from the holster. The test just went from requiring 2 shots in 3 seconds at 3 yards to 2 shots in 2 seconds at 7 yards. Historically, shooters are given more time when target distance increases. Seems like this should have been 2 shots in 4 seconds. And another string of 6 rounds in 30 seconds makes no sense unless the target is a B8 bullseye center.

10 yards

  • Kneeling, strong hand only, 6 rounds, no time limit
  • Standing behind barricade, weak hand, 6 rounds, no time limit
  • Standing behind barricade, strong hand, 6 rounds, 70 seconds

Historically, kneeling strings aren’t shot strong hand only, and one handed shooting at longer distances disappeared from most qualification courses by 1970. I may have misinterpreted the vague directions, and what was intended was two handed shooting similar to what is done in PPC courses of fire. I shot the drill one handed, not braced against the barricade. And I forgot to shoot strong hand only from the kneeling position.

General Thoughts

Feedback from our instructor friends on Kauai is that people are able to pass with 75% or greater, with some failing to make the 2 shots in 2 seconds par time at 7 yards. But with 75% as the passing score, dropping 3 shots out of 54 is not a big problem.

I can’t recommend this qualification course of fire as anything but a novelty – something to run on a practice day where you want to do something out of the ordinary, with lots of emphasis on slow fire target shooting.

Wilson’s Comprehensive Handgun Proficiency Drill

I saw this new drill from Bill Wilson online the other day, so I set it up and shot it. He calls it the “Comprehensive Handgun Proficiency” drill, which aligns with our interest in minimum competency and standards generally. It includes a concealment draw, emergency reload, engaging targets at 7 and 12 yards with 12 yard head shots (simulating 24 yard body shots), stationary target transitions within a single target and across a wide space, shooting on the move, and thinking (surprise reload).

It’s an easy drill to set up if you have an outdoor range and space to move. Not a drill well suited to single lane practice at an indoor range. This stage will definitely be set up and run during one of our summer USPSA matches.

CHP DRILL (Comprehensive Handgun Proficiency)


Purpose: This drill is designed to test as many basic defensive shooting skills as
possible with a quick to administer single string of fire and minimal ammunition required,
that can be shot on basic ranges, even indoors.

What This Drill Tests: Draw/presentation, multiple shot control, target transition,
movement under time, shooting on the move, target acquisition after movement,
emergency re-load and precision shots.


Designer: Bill Wilson


Equipment/Ammunition Required: Self-defense handgun of 9mm caliber or larger, a
proper concealed carry holster, one spare magazine, magazine pouch and 14 rounds of
ammunition.


Targets/Scoring: 3 standard IDPA targets scored raw time +1 second per point down.
Targets are scored +0, +1, +3 for body shots, head -0, -1, complete miss +3 seconds.


Start Position: Standing holstered hands naturally at your sides at P1. Can be shot
concealed or unconcealed at the shooters discretion. NOTE: Start with between 8 and
13 rounds in your handgun and for best training have a buddy load your magazine so
you won’t know when the emergency reload will come.


Procedure: Start at position 1, on signal draw and engage T1 with 3 rounds, transition to
T2 and engage with 3 rounds, move to P2 while engaging T3 with 2 rounds on the move,
from P2 re-engage T2 with 2 rounds to the body and 1 round to the head, transition to
T1 and engage with 2 rounds to the body and 1 round to the head. Do a mandatory
emergency slide-lock re-load when you run out of ammunition.

ADVANCED: 18 Sec or less, PROFICIENT: 18.01-29.00 Sec, NOVICE: 29.01 Sec or more

I shot it 3 times, this was the best run. 16.03 down 1, for an Advanced score of 17.03. From open carry with a full size gun, I could probably knock a few seconds off that time, but the intent of this drill is to shoot it with real world carry gear.

KR Training April 2023 Newsletter

APRIL 2023 UPDATE

We just added more classes to our May-June schedule, with more to be added next month as we work out our summer and fall plans. Don’t see a class that interests you? Let us know. We have a few dates left in July to add some courses. For the hotter summer months we will mostly be offering morning courses.

PRIVATE LESSONS

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

Upcoming classes with space available:

MAY

JUNE

July

AUGUST

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

Click HERE to register for any class.

Strategies and Standards 2023 Updated Edition

We released the updated edition of our “Strategies and Standards For Defensive Handgun Training” book just in time for the 2023 Tactical Conference. The 2023 edition has more than 40 pages of new content, bigger text, bigger graphics. Signed copies available during classes at the A-Zone for $10, or we will ship you one for $20. Or you can buy the e-book or an unsigned print copy from Amazon.

Rangemaster Tactical Conference 2023

KR Training was well represented at TacCon 2023, and registration for TacCon 2024 was posted (and sold out!) before we could get this newsletter out. Read more about what you missed in our AAR

John and I have already accepted an invitation to co-teach some classroom and range sessions, based on the material in our book, at TacCon 24.

NRA Annual Meeting

I also attended the NRA’s Annual Meeting, representing the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network, as a Board of Directors member. My AAR from that event is here

Basic Rifle Skills

Slots are still available in Doug Greig’s Basic Rifle Skills class, coming up May 7th. This is a small group class intended for new rifle owners, particularly new AR-15 owners, teaching parts, operation, zeroing, basic marksmanship and other fundamentals. Students under 18 are allowed if a responsible adult remains on site with them during the course, and .22 rifles can be used for this course.

Defensive Pistol Skills – Small Gun

Every year in early summer we offer a special class that focuses on small guns popular for summer carry. That means snub revolvers, subcaliber guns (from .22 to .380), pocket guns, and subcompact guns. Students in the class can work from pocket carry, belly band carry, purse carry, “tuckable” holster carry, Flashbang bra carry. Train with the gear you are going use this summer. Because those guns are not that much fun to shoot, class is low round count, and short (3 hours). Here’s the writeup from last year’s class:

We paired that class with a short (indoor) Stop the Bleed class, suitable for first time STB students and those that want a quick refresher on those critical life saving skills.

Visit the KR Training website to register. Refresher slots in DPS Small Gun are available, contact us for the discount code. Due to the low price for Stop the Bleed, there is no discount for refresher students.

Andy Stanford/Sure Fire Visit

Andy Stanford from SureFire is coming to teach two invitation only classes on May 16-17. He’ll be offering two pilot sessions of his new Master Coach Development class, one only open to law enforcement trainers, and one limited to private sector instructors and KR Training challenge coin holders.

TCOLE Tactical Pistol (and instructor) class

At the end of May we are offering a Texas Commission on Law Enforcement certified firearms instructor class. Normally these classes are only open to law enforcement officers who have taken the TCOLE 40-hour basic instructor class, but a limited number of slots will be available to private sector trainers that are Texas LTC or higher level instructors. Private sector students will not get full accreditation for attending, unless they have a TCOLE PID and have taken the pre-req TCOLE basic instructor course. But the real benefit to KR Training students is this:

On Saturday, June 3, the graduates of the TCOLE Firearms Instructor course will put on a full day class that replicates part of the handgun curriculum taught to law enforcement officers. This Tactical Pistol course is a one day class, 350 rounds, suitable for anyone at the carry permit or higher level. Student-teacher ratio will be very low, possibly even 1:1, so each student will get attention and coaching. Graduates of our Basic Pistol 2 and DPS-1 classes are strongly encouraged to attend this course, as it will reinforce and expand on what you’ve learned from us, and give you opportunities to practice those skills with individual instruction and guidance.

SUMMER USPSA MATCHES

We will run some USPSA matches this summer, with one early match May 24, and the remainder of the series starting mid June through end of July. Details about the matches are here. Any one that has taken DPS-1, Beyond Basics or higher level classes is welcome to attend. These small matches run faster than the big weekend events, with 150 rounds of shooting fun. Each match includes a shoothouse stage, steel target stage, one historical stage (shot using USPSA rules) and other shooting activities not always included in group classes.

Fun video of USPSA Grand Master Ben Stoeger running a shoothouse stage at the A-Zone during his February visit.

BLOG-O-RAMA

SONG OF THE MONTH

Last year I released an expanded, updated version of my late 1980’s all electronic jazz project “electrophonic” called “electrophonic expanded“. All the audio tracks are on all the streaming outlets (Apple, Spotify, Amazon, etc.). I’ve been making videos for each of the tracks, and there’s a playlist for them on youTube. Back in 1990, three songs from “electrophonic” were selected to be part of a package representing Austin music at an international music conference. The promo videos for those songs ended up in rotation on Austin’s ACTV cable channel for most of the 1990’s. Using modern AI video enhancing software, I was able to upscale and clean up the digitized VHS recordings, and updated the audio with the remastered version. This one, Mesa Village Blues, is a simple video but the song features some of my fanciest piano playing, particularly in the second half (a.k.a. “the fast part”).


FOLLOW US ONLINE!

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

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