More Chuck Taylor historical docs

From Bob Hanna about central Texas firearms training history:

In 1975 I bought 49% of the Marksman indoor Range in South Houston, TX. That’s when I really became involved with the Houston gun scene and folks like: Fred Rexer – Wikipedia, machine gun dealer, screenwriter, movie consultant (Apocalypse Now, Red Dawn etc.). Joe was an exhibition shooter and trainer, taught movie stars (Sammy Davis, Jr, Robert Duvall etc.) and law enforcement. Herman Mueschke, who designed the ambi safety used by Colt. Several deceased gun writers whose names I no longer remember unless they are mentioned. Col. Cannon, former OSS, inventor of the Glaser Safety Slug, several very interesting conversations over coffee in his kitchen.

Became involved in “Combat Shooting” matches about this time with The Brazos Practical Shooters, a sub group of the Sugarland Sportsmans Club, a long gone competition club. I was Competition Director in 1978 when Jeff Cooper sent me “…the First Draft of the IPSC rules for practical pistol competition.”

In 1977 and 1978 I was Co-Manager for Collectors Firearms, probably the nicest gun store in Houston. Founded by Mike Clark, Jerry Fountain, Gary Green and a guy I can’t remember, they started with $20K. Two of them dropped out and it left only Mike and Jerry. They split up shortly after I left Houston in the early 1980s, Jerry took his half and opened Fountain Firearms.

Around this time I was an assistant for a Police Defensive Tactics course at San Jacinto College. Primarily, I knew how to do break falls and the students practiced Judo throws on me until they learned how to be thrown without being hurt.

Jeff Cooper and my Uncle, Mike Ryan were stationed at Quantico together and Mike, Jeff and their wives, Marjorie and Janelle played cards weekly, Pinochle if I remember correctly. Jeff Cooper came to Houston to teach what he called an extension course in 1979, I scored Expert.

Then in 1980 I went to Gunsite for the 499 Advanced Class, I believe I have given you some paperwork on that. This was I believe the first class after Chuck Taylor left, he had been the Operations Manager and Lead Instructor. He and Jeff had a serious disagreement and parted ways abruptly. Chuck ran things and Jeff would teach some things, but also ferried people around from range to range where the different instructors were teaching. The class, in my opinion, did not seem well organized and were not worked near as hard as in the 250 and I blamed that on Chuck’s abrupt departure. I was not the only one in the class who thought so. I mentioned it to Jeff in private and he took exception to it. This and some inappropriate actions to the wife/girlfriend of a student by two students in the class, Presidential Bodyguards from Guatemala, that was just ignored sort of turned me off to Jeff/Gunsite at the time. I guess Jeff and I parted ways as did Chuck. I had told my uncle about my discussion with Jeff and his response. My Uncle said “Jeff is very opinionated.” When my uncle died, Jeff wrote a nice comment in Guns & Ammo and his Commentaries, article attached, and twenty years had passed, I mellowed on my opinion of Jeff/Gunsite.

Around 1981, the Harris County DA’s Office asked my assistance as a Professional Witness on a couple of cases, though none actually went to trial.

In 1981, I was looking for more training and contacted Chuck and we came to an agreement that I would bring him to Houston to teach classes. I partnered with a friend, Wally Gorman, owner of Alexander’s Guns, we put on several classes a year through about 1985 or so. I moved to Wimberley in late 1982 and we put on classes in Houston and Austin. I had assisted Chuck in his classes since 1981 and in 1984 I was invited to an Instructor Course, certificate attached.  Teaching Scuba full time at Southwest Texas State and teaching gun classes on the side was keeping me pretty busy and so we ended our promotion of Chuck Taylor classes at the end of 1985 I think.

Took a class from Ross Seyfried just after he won the 1981 IPSC World Championship. I don’t recall any handouts, Ross suggested some things Chuck did not agree with.

Around 1984 I was a guest Instructor for a SWAT Class at San Antonio College with officers from small departments, The class was so they would be familiar with operations if they interacted with SWAT teams , I taught most of the firearms section. The 1991 IPSC World Champion, John Dixon, put on bowling pin matches at the Marksman Indoor Range one night a week while I was part owner.

Gear upgrades, December 2020

I made a few upgrades to the Glock 48 I carry daily.

Holosun 507C-GR-X2

I replaced the Trijicon RMR with the new Holosun 507C-Gr-X2. The sight is the latest design from Holosun. Same footprint as the RMR, with a smaller green dot and the new X2 features. The X2 has a better auto adjust, with the ability to lock out the side intensity controls to prevent them from being accidentally bumped, if the sight is left in manual adjust mode. Like the older 507C and 507C-v2 it has the option to run a dot or the circle-dot reticle, which I find a little faster on close targets.

Johnny Glock G48 trigger

On the recommendation of John Holschen of West Coast Armory North (Everett, WA), I purchased a drop in carry grade trigger assembly from JohnnyGlocks. I had trained a lot with John when he was teaching for InSights Training (Seattle), and hosted him in Texas for many classes over the past 30 years. The JohnnyGlocks trigger is put together as a full assembly that’s super easy to drop in. It comes with a variety of springs so you can do some tuning on it. I didn’t change any springs, just installed it in my gun, and it gave a nice 4.5 lb carry grade trigger, with nice takeup and excellent break. I’ve tried replacing connectors and other parts in other Glocks in the past, but never got a trigger that felt as good to me as the full drop in assembly.

Rangemaster December 2020 Drill of the Month

With ammo in short supply, I’ve cut way back on the amount of live fire practice that I’m doing, and being super busy playing music this month, I’ve done very little dry fire.

The December 2020 Rangemaster December 2020 Drill of the Month is the Baseline Skills Assessment Drill. Use a B-8 repair center, FBI-IP-1 bullseye, or the bullseye on an LTT-1 target, scored as printed. This drill is intended to be shot cold, from concealed carry.

5 yards Draw and fire 5 rounds in 5 seconds, using both hands.

5 yards Start gun in hand, at Ready, in dominant hand only. Fire 3 rounds in 3 seconds.

5 yards Start gun in hand, at Ready, in non-dominant hand only. Fire 2 rounds in 3 seconds.

7 yards Start gun in hand, loaded with 3 rounds only. Fire 3 rounds, conduct an empty gun reload, and fire 3 more rounds, all in 10 seconds.

10 yards Start gun in hand, at Ready. Fire 4 rounds in 4 seconds.

20 rounds total. Possible score = 200

Using the new sight and new trigger, I shot a 199, with the one 9-ring shot occurring on the first strong hand only shot at 5 yards.

I had shot the same drill in early December, only scoring 195. Given my lack of practice I’m going to credit the improvement to the better trigger and smaller dot on the Holosun sight.

Noisefighters Gel Pads

I also upgraded the worn out ear pads on my Pro Ears Gold earmuffs with Noisefighter gel pads.

I had purchased a set of these to repair a set of loaner Howard Leight “Impact” muffs, and started using that headset for some of my practice. I liked them enough to choose them instead of the ProEars factory replacement for the ear pads. As someone that wears hearing protection 120+ days a year on the range, often for 8-10 hours at a time, comfort is important.

Rudy Project RX lenses

Back in 2017 I spent a lot of time picking out new shooting glasses, and chose the Rudy Project Rydon frames with their photochromic lenses. I wrote a long blog post about it here. Over the last 4 years those lenses saw daily use, and this summer a hot .45 ACP case coming out of student’s gun smacked into one of the lenses hard enough to scratch it. My eyes are also 4 years older and my prescription changed. So I have new lenses coming for those frames, due to arrive early January. I dug out my old Oakley prescription glasses and have been wearing them, waiting on the Rudy lenses to arrive. All the glasses were set up for monovision, with dominant (left eye) corrected for front sight distance, and right eye corrected for driving. I have regular glasses set up that way also. This article from the Truth About Guns website, including information about an eye doctor in the Austin area who understands how to set up glasses for monovision, is a good read. (Like the author of that article, I use over the counter reading glasses for anything requiring focus closer than front sight distance.)

I have one more “new” item coming in: custom grips for my Uberti .45 Colt sixgun, in #12 Curly Walnut from Joe Perkins of Classic Single Action grips. I’ve been on his wait list since October 2019, and I shipped my gun to him in early November for the grips to be hand fit to it. It’s also due to arrive in early January.

Holiday Bullet Art

The exhibition target shooters of the 30’s and 40’s would create bullet art, tracing shapes with bullet holes. Texas shooting showman Ad Topperwein would draw an indian head, like this

Back in 2002, I created a bullet art “Merry Xmas” sign for my office door decoration, with fake snow as “trim”.

If I remember correctly, this was done with my .38 super USPSA Open gun with Aimpoint red dot sight, from about 5 yards.

I cheated and used a target overlay to help me do my drawing. Topperwein would “freehand” his Indian head image. This 1936 San Diego cop used a full auto Thompson to write initials (start the video at 1:29 to see the demo.)

John Pepper’s original “Pepper Popper” drawing

Here’s another historical document from the early days of practical shooting. This is a scanned copy of the original design document for the “Pepper popper” – the most commonly used falling steel target in USPSA, IDPA and other practical shooting matches. The target’s name came from designer John Pepper, who was active in the founding years of IPSC and USPSA on the East Coast. Gary Greco shared this document with me as part of a collection of John Pepper and early practical shooting memorabilia.

Pepper’s design skills were not limited to steel: the document itself is an information-rich layout with many elements. I’ve broken each element out into a separate image for easier viewing.

Pepper is mentioned in one of Jeff Cooper’s “Commentaries”, archived here:

Some discussion of John Pepper here on the Brian Enos forum:

More about John Pepper and Jeff Cooper here:

Vintage shooting timers (1980s)

Timers from the Bob Hanna collection: two early electronic shooting timers.

Par Timer

The first one is a simple par timer with a headphone output.

Controls are simple but complicated: start button, headphone jack, and a row of DIP switches you use to set the par time. To get a 1.0 second par time, for example, you would set the 0.2 and 0.8 switches to “ON”.

Stop Plate Timer

Instead of using a microphone to detect shots for timing, it was a simple buzzer that only displayed one time: the time when a piezo sensor attached to a stop plate registered a hit on the plate.

It was designed to be plugged into the cigarette lighter of a car (because cars back in the 1980’s had lighters). My portable Goal Zero box worked great for powering it.

I used magnets to attach the sensor to one of my steel targets, powered up the unit, and gave it a quick test.

The display is the classic 7 segment LED.

If you watch carefully in the video, you’ll see the sensor fall off the plate when it was struck. Apparently the magnets were not strong enough to hold it on. Bob explained that it was common to have to re-attach the sensor after each run. This worked OK for USPSA stages, where each shooter only got one run before targets were scored and taped. For Steel Challenge style shooting, with 5 runs per stage, a better solution was needed. Using two screws and a few zip ties I was able to mount the sensor to a 2×4, and it stayed attached. I shot the plate with 10 rounds and then stopped when I realized that a miss passing through the 2×4 could destroy the sensor. I didn’t measure the sensor cable but it looked like I could put the sensor at least 25 yards downrange from the timer box, possibly more.

Bob kept the par timer but gave me the stop plate system to add to my collection of vintage gear and targets. It will get used, at least in demo form, at the upcoming Historical Handgun class Tom Givens and I will co-teach in April 2021 at my range.

KR Training December 2020 Newsletter


Ammunition has become very expensive and hard to get. As a result we have reduced the rounds requires for most classes, and will continue to offer many defensive skills courses that have no live fire component. Live fire is fun but not essential for learning or developing skills. Taking classes with .22 caliber guns will be allowed, and dry firing is always a good way to maintain and develop skills.


Here are the classes we have scheduled through end of March. We have reduced round counts and in some cases reduced class hours and prices. Some weekends were left open to add more courses as students request them or to reschedule in case of weather cancellations.

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


The 2 hour Online LTC Completion class is an hour of indoor lecture and dryfire work, plus 50 rounds of practice drills and one run on the 50 round LTC shooting test. The drills are the same ones we run in our Basic Pistol 2 course, and by using a more challenging target and starting with pistol holstered, the drills are excellent practice for more advanced shooters.

The updated course now fills 3 roles in our program:

  1. Online LTC completion for those taking LTC for the first time.
  2. Basic Pistol 2. The course includes all the drills from Basic Pistol 2 with a much shorter lecture. Students must pass the LTC shooting test with a score of 90% or higher to earn a Basic Pistol 2 certificate.
  3. LTC / Defensive Pistol refresher. Graduates of Basic Pistol 2 and/or LTC holders can shoot the drills and test on the B-27 or more difficult IDPA or KRT-2 target. Graduates of DPS-1 or higher classes can run the drills and test starting with pistol holstered from open carry or concealed.

This short, $60, 100 round course is a perfect winter tuneup for all levels of students.


On January 30-31, international (Texas-based) trainer Hock Hockheim will be visiting us to teach a Vehicle Gunfighting course. This two day, $300, 200 round class will include live fire, Airsoft/Simunition work, and lecture on fighting with firearms in and around vehicles. This is a pistol-only class (no long guns). Space in this course is limited and registration is open.

Register for any class using our online system.

GOA Texas Activist Online Training

Gun Owners of America are offering free online training for those interested in being more politically active during the upcoming legislative session. Three 1-hour courses will be offered in December. Click here to sign up for updates about these courses.

  • Thursday, December 10: Your Lifeline – the TLO Website. Learn to navigate the Texas Legislature Online website to find all the TXLege information you need without moving off of your couch.
  • Thursday, December 17: Talking to Legislators — Learn to advocate for your beliefs through phone calls, emails, meetings, and in testimony at committee hearings – and discover the most effective way to use your time.


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


My own holiday tradition is to perform with Doc Tictock and the Mistletoe Medicine Show out at Santa’s Wonderland in south College Station. This is us playing our version of “Feliz Navidad”.

Santa’s is the largest Christmas attraction in the South, more than 100 acres of lights and activities – this year’s expansion includes an ice skating rink, to complement the real snow mountain for tubing and more than 3 million lights on the hay ride trail. If you come on a weeknight (I play Tue-Thu every week through Christmas week) it’s less crowded with shorter lines.

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

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

1989 Texas Challenge USPSA match

I started shooting USPSA competition back in June 1988, with the Hill Country Practical Pistol Club. Since the early 1980’s they had run a statewide match called the “Texas Challenge”. The 1989 match was the 8th annual, and the club ran the match every year into the mid-1990’s. Unfortunately I don’t have any pics from the match to share.

This was back in the days of single stack 1911 pistols with single port compensators, like this old gun of mine. I had a stainless steel hook welded onto the frame, because during this time, it was popular to shoot with the index finger of the support hand wrapped around the trigger guard – something local shooter (and two time World Speed Shooting Champion) Chip McCormick did.

By modern standards this state level match was pretty small, with only 5 stages, lower round counts, and longer shots. The “Moving Softly” stage was similar to the mover at Bianchi Cup.

Here’s video of John Pride shooting the mover at the Bianchi Cup in 2011. Pride was a top shooter back in the late 1980’s when I got started, and his book “The Pride Method” was one of the earliest books on mental training for pistol shooting.

The “Full House” stage was a shoot house stage. Note that some targets were to be engaged with one round, others with two rounds.

“Eagle Eyes” was the signature stage of the match. Back in the early days of USPSA (and practical shooting generally), every major match had at least one stage that tested 50 yard shooting. Most of those stages were timed fire standards. This course was a stretched-out stand and shoot with some falling steel. The 60 second time limit had to be added to address the problem of some shooters running out of ammo on the firing line after many attempts to hit the 40 yard stop plate. By the end of the 1990’s, major matches rarely included stages with shots past 25 yards.

This was the stage I designed for the match. I had taken the USPSA range officer class in fall 1988, and had been designing and running stages at club matches. Instead of using full targets that had been painted with hard cover, we used actual “partial targets” that had been cut. (If I recall correctly the rulebook was changed in the 1990s to prohibit this, requiring painted hard cover instead.) This was a harder stage than I intended it to be (youth and inexperience) with a lot of 15-25 yard shots.

Alan Tillman was one of the club’s top shooters (and gunsmith for most of the local competitors). His stage was a move and shoot steel stage using a mix of stationary and falling steel. Counting some smaller plates as 10 points (instead of the normal 5) was another common practice from that era that faded away (or was

Here’s video from 1989 USPSA Nationals, to give you more perspective on guns, gear and stages from that era. (I still have one of those yellow RO shirts.)

Book Review: The Modern Technique of the Pistol (Morrison, 1991)

The Modern Technique of the Pistol was written by Gregory Morrison, as part of his PhD work. It compiles many of the techniques and concepts taught at Gunsite in the 1980’s. The book is available direct from the Gunsite Pro Shop.

The contents of the book are listed below. It covers the standard topics found in virtually any handgun training manual, separated into mindset, gunhandling and marksmanship categories, with some additional material included in the final section.

From the foreword of the book:

It must be emphasized that the Modern Technique of the Pistol is a completely civilian development and not a product of either the police or military establishment. It is practically impossible for anything radical or innovative to be introduced by people on the public payroll, bureaucracy being what it is. Several of the people involved in the movement were indeed in the public service at one time or another, but their pioneering work in shooting was done on their own time, at their own expense, and in some cases contrary to the policies of their superiors.

The Modern Technique of the Pistol, Jeff Cooper foreward, 1991

In the 1980’s and early 1990’s, the Weaver stance was widely taught and used. The book provides explanation and pictures documenting what a proper Weaver stance is.

In this video, Jack Weaver discusses the history of the stance that bears his name.

During the 1980’s, semiauto pistols began to displace revolvers as the standard duty handgun for law enforcement, and interest in semiauto pistols for personal defense grew, as traveling trainers teaching Modern Technique and practical shooting matches became more popular. Discussion of revolver reloads, in particular, began to be phased out of training programs and books on handgunning. Morrison’s book covers revolver techniques for right- and left-handed shooters. In the current era very few instructor programs spend any time at all on these techniques. Tom Givens included a block of instruction on that material in his Master Instructor course.

Gunsite has multiple shoot houses, and has always taught “house clearing” (armed movement in structures) skills. Prior to the Gunsite era, armed citizens typically had no access to this type of training.

In the early days of practical shooting, kneeling and prone positions were far more commonly taught and practiced.

The majority of students training at Gunsite were using 1911 pistols, and many of the techniques taught for gun manipulation were specific to that model (and in some cases, such as the press check method shown below), only possible for certain configurations of 1911. The pinch technique does not work for a gun with full length guide rod. (That’s one of many reasons why that technique is no longer commonly taught.)

In the section on malfunctions, a 1911-specific malfunction is explained. It occurs when the firing pin stop drops down, preventing the firing pin from returning to its correct position after a round is fired. In the days of custom 1911s this may have been a more common problem. I shot 1911 pistols in the late 80s and all throughout the 1990s and never saw this particular malfunction occur in my own guns or anyone else’s — but apparently it occurred enough times to make the malfunction list in the book.

Perhaps the most misunderstood term that’s part of the Modern Technique is “double tap”. Both USPSA and IDPA competitions require “best 2 hits” on paper targets, and many competitors (particularly those that begin competing without getting any training beyond the carry permit level) hear fast shooters rattling off quick pairs and assume that what is occurring is “aim once, work the trigger twice” shooting. (There is a USPSA club in San Antonio Texas named the Alpha-Mike shooters. Their name comes from the score that often occurs when the “aim once, shoot twice” technique is used: one A-zone (Alpha) hit, and one miss (Mike).

The book explains the more precise terms of ‘hammer pair’, ‘dedicated pair’, and ‘controlled pair’. Just as the Eskimos have many words for snow, shooters have many words to describe the nuances of sights and trigger manipulation. According to the book, the hammer pair involves pressing the trigger for shot #2 as quickly as possible and is “usually reserved for distances of a few paces”). For a dedicated pair, the shooter uses their experience and familiarity with the recoil cycle of the gun to sync the timing of the second shot to point at which the gun is roughly indexed on the target. Each shot of a controlled pair has its own sight picture, and is controlled individually. The subtleties of these concepts only make sense to those that put in a lot of time working on fast pairs (or longer sequences such as 6 shot Bill Drills), and in practice become a balancing act between timing and visual information and recoil.

Unlike many older books on shooting, the Modern Technique book is not easily located in the used market and new copies are not listed on amazon. There is no e-book version. The best way to get a copy is to order direct from the Gunsite Pro Shop.

For a sample of what training at Gunsite in 1992 was like, here’s a class AAR from Barry Needham.

1978 First Draft IPSC Rules

More from Bob Hanna: a copy of the first draft of the IPSC rules for practical pistol competition, sent to Bob by Jeff Cooper, when Bob was competition director for the Brazos Practical Shooters, a sub group of the Sugarland (Texas) Sportsman’s Club.

The rules are interesting, in historical context, as so many of them have eroded over time from the original intent. Principle #4 was perhaps the first to go, as truly ‘realistic’ stages simply don’t have enough targets or shots fired to be as exciting or interesting as longer courses of fire. Principle #5 (weapon types are not separated) proved to be unworkable in a sporting context, as every practical pistol sport is now subdivided into divisions based on action type and other characteristics.

In 1978, the idea of a magazine capacity ban was not a concern. It was only after the 1994 national magazine capacity law (and state laws that persisted after the national law expired and was not renewed) that capacity limits became an issue in the pistol sports. The lack of limits on magazine capacity, along with courses of fire requiring more and more rounds, drove interest in higher capacity pistols and magazine upgrade kits allowing a few more rounds to be fit into existing magazines – from 8 round 1911 .45 magazines in the 1980’s to today’s aftermarket spring, follower and base pad vendors offering ways to increase magazine capacity by 1-3 rounds without extending mag length, and magazine extension kits for the competition approved 170mm magazines, and super extended magazines used in Pistol Caliber Carbine divisions.

The ballistic pendulum, and major/minor scoring, was later replaced with pulling and weighing bullets and measuring velocity with chronographs. The intent of this process was to prevent the use of downloaded ammunition, as was common in PPC and bullseye matches.

Principle #19: “holsters must be practical” became a controversial topic in the 1980’s, as open carry, high speed competition holsters were developed and used by match winners. Holsters evolved from steel lined leather holsters suitable for concealed carry, to very open designs using plastic locks grabbing the trigger guard. The limits imposed on holsters by IDPA are an attempt to get back to the original principles of the sport.

The current rulebooks for IPSC and USPSA and IDPA are considerably longer than this original draft, but much of the original language and intent still exists within those competition formats. Many of these rules date back to the rules for the Leatherslap matches that predate the formation of IPSC, and some are derived from PPC and other pistol match formats from the 1950’s.

1980 American Pistol Institute (Gunsite) class notes

Another artifact from Bob Hanna – notes from classes he attended at the American Pistol Institute (aka Gunsite) in 1980 and 1981.

Here’s their recommended twice-a-month practice drill.

API dry practice drill.

Another practice drill.

The advanced practice drill. Turning draws were emphasized a lot more in courses (and matches) in the 1980’s than they are today. Other than concerns about students muzzling others during turning draws, I have no good explanation for why that particular skill has faded away. We included a turning draw in our Three Seconds or Less test, but none of the other popular standards courses, including most law enforcement qualification courses, incorporate that skill.

Mindset and tactics guidance.

Holster advice. The issue with being able to get a full firing grip on the pistol when its holster remains valid. One common problem I deal with in almost every class or private lesson is holsters set up to ride too low to the belt, or having giant sweat guards that prevent a full firing grip on the holstered gun.

Schedules for 1980 and 1981.

The list of pistol modifications recommended (and not recommended). Most of these are 1911-centric as that pistol was by far the most popular one with API students.

Book Review: Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make (Werner, 2019)

Claude Werner, a.k.a. the Tactical Professor, has a distinguished background as an analyst in the military (Special Operations), as a market research director for real estate and major accounting firms, and as a firearms trainer at the elite Rogers Shooting School.

Several years ago he began to study what he called “negative outcomes” involving armed citizens. What mistakes do they make? What are the contributing factors? It’s a topic that really hasn’t been written about or discussed within the gun culture or training community to the depth that Claude explored it.

He defines three factors that lead to bad decisions and negative outcomes:

  1. Don’t Know the Rules
  2. Inadequate Skills
  3. Don’t understand the situation

There’s really no excuse for not knowing the rules, in a time where information is immediately accessible online. Perhaps a better description for this factor is “didn’t think it important enough to learn the rules”. Rules could be gun safety rules, applicable laws, or the basic rules of self-defense tactics and interaction with law enforcement when armed.

The importance of dry fire practice in building skill, particularly related to safe gun handling and rapid, effective presentation of the gun from concealment, has been understood for decades, and is widely emphasized in modern training programs. Live fire time, or access to a range, isn’t required to develop most of the skills associated with pistol shooting and gunhandling. So perhaps another description for this factor is “didn’t think it was important enough to learn how to develop skills and develop them”.

Claude has produced several books on how to practice, available from his webstore.

“Not understanding the situation” is the most difficult factor. Unlike the other two, learning how to assess situations often requires life experience, and most armed citizens living normal lives don’t get a lot of life experience in high stress deadly force situations. Watching videos and online analyses of incidents can help, as can participating in force on force scenarios, but it’s fair to say that this particular factor requires more effort to improve than the other two.

Claude breaks down the types of mistakes into three categories:

  1. Legal mistakes
  2. Imprudent mistakes
  3. Mechanical mistakes

Claude’s list of legal mistakes include unjustifiable shootings, warning shots, unnecessary intervention, and more. His definition of imprudent mistakes mainly focuses on gun access problems (lost, stolen, child access). Mechanical mistakes are related to gun handling and marksmanship.

From that he defines a list of Negative Outcomes, that include being injured or killed, arrested, tried, imprisoned, and several others.

The book itself goes into detail about each type of mistake and negative outcome.

I strongly recommend this book to all firearms trainers, particularly those teaching state carry permit classes. Carry permit students, most of whom are unmotivated to train beyond mandatory state minimums, are the ones that need to understand the information Claude presents, to understand why training and regular practice is important.

The book, like all of Claude’s work, is available from the Tactical Professor website by clicking the “Tactical Professor books” button.

1980 Chuck Taylor course notes

KR Training student Bob Hanna recently gave me his copies of class notes from training he attended with the late Chuck Taylor. Taylor was one of the early traveling trainers who spun off from Jeff Cooper’s American Pistol Institute (Gunsite), bringing that curriculum to a national (and international) audience. In 1980, Taylor had just started offering classes under his own American Small Arms Academy business name.

I’m sharing them here as part of my work exploring the history of pistol training. The full package of scanned notes can be downloaded here as a PDF. Many of the handouts were copies of copies, and are still relatively poor quality after scanning and cleanup. Taylor’s pistol shooting book, published in 1982, is a better place to find much of this material in more readable format.

The majority of the notes are copies of magazines articles Chuck wrote for various publications. They provide a snapshot of what the topics of concern were for combat pistol trainers in the early 1980’s.

The first article discusses the purpose of the handgun, ending with advocacy for the .45 ACP caliber and its “stopping power” (a major concern and favorite topic of gun writers and trainers in that era).

The next articles focus on gun modifications. The late 1970’s and 80’s were the era of the custom 1911 – days in which someone would purchase a stock pistol and have a gunsmith replace most of the parts in it with aftermarket upgrades.

In 2020 language this would be called a “build”, with the only difference between 1980 and 2020 being that the end users are doing most of the work themselves, as pistol designs and manufacturing have made it easier to install drop-in parts.

“Stopping power” and Taylor’s short form version of the Hatcher calculation gets many pages of charts and tables. The FBI’s decision to switch back to 9mm and general acceptance of that change throughout the private sector and law enforcement training community basically ended much of the stopping power debate.

Malfunctions – which were more common in the days of customized 1911’s and mil surplus magazines – was a popular topic for discussion in the 1980’s also. The “sweep across the top of the slide” technique works well with the tall .45 ACP case, but not as well with the short 9mm case, in my experience, which is one reason why that technique is not widely taught any more.

And of course, being “killed on the street” is an evergreen topic as popular on internet gun forums today as it was in the 1980s.

Interestingly enough this article calls stopping power a myth (despite Taylor’s focus on it elsewhere in the class notes). His thoughts on reloads show up in a section called “The Myth of Cover”

This article shows state of the art techniques and gear for low light shooting circa 1980.

The full package of scanned notes can be downloaded here as a PDF.

Here’s a full length interview with Chuck, recorded in 2018. It includes a summary of his history (why and how he became a trainer) along with a lot of other great insights.

KR Training November 2020 Newsletter


While all the attention has been on the presidential race, there are many down-ballot races of major importance, from Congressional seats to Texas Legislature seats to county district attorney and state judge positions. As always we encourage you to consider the impact of elections on your gun rights. County district attorneys decide whether to prosecute defensive gun uses. Our state legislature and judges set and define policy (campus carry, reduced fees and hours for LTC, open carry, and more). At the national level, the President gets to appoint leaders of all cabinet agencies and major departments – including those that can decide whether AR pistols with shoulder braces are legal, or ban the use of lead for hunting and target shooting – all with the stroke of a pen. Most importantly, the future of the 2nd amendment ultimately lies with the Supreme Court. A pro-gun SCOTUS could overturn bans on AR-15 rifles and magazines holding more than 10 rounds; a SCOTUS “packed” with a progressive majority could overturn the Heller and McDonald decisions, bringing “California-style” gun laws to the entire nation. If you haven’t read, or don’t understand the impact of, the gun control proposals in the Biden/Harris platform, you should educate yourself. We encourage you to make a candidate’s position on gun rights, firearm carry outside the home, and the fundamental human right of self-defense a priority in your voting decision.


We have guest instructors scheduled for January, February, March and April. Details are on the KR Training schedule page. We are waiting until after the election results are known and the impact on civil unrest is assessed before announcing additional 2021 courses. That planning also includes a decision regarding a potential 10th annual Preparedness Conference. Those concerned about preparedness should take a look at the 17 hours of video available on our Vimeo channel for a small fee.


Due to our agreement with range neighbors, we will have no weekend group live fire classes Nov 1 – Dec 31. Weekday private live fire training will be available on a limited basis. We do have some no-live-fire courses available as listed below.

This fall eleven students earned their Defensive Pistol Skills Program challenge coins. Most of the classes we have scheduled in November and December (except the Lone Star Medics courses) are challenge coin program courses.


Our friends at Bear Arms (Austin) and Greig Shooting (Caldwell/Conroe) have live fire classes scheduled for November and December. Private weekday classes including LTC online completion are also available. Tina Maldonado, Sean Hoffman, and Doug Greig also offer private and a few weekend group courses not listed here.

Register for any class using our online system.


Our staff participates in continuing education every year. Classes one or more staff instructors have (or will) attend in 2020 include: SIG Red Dot Instructor, Rangemaster Master Instructor, KR Training Force on Force Instructor, Rangemaster Instructor Reunion, SIG 365 Armorer’s Course, Tactics-Based Land Navigation, Texas Bar CLE Firearms Law, CutNStuff, TacMed EDC, competition training with Ben Stoeger, and others. I’m personally on track to complete 125 hours of training in 2020.


Penny and I have adopted two yellow lab-mix puppies: Scudder (male) and Rye (female), from the same litter. As we get them socialized and trained they will be “assisting” with future classes.


My trio covers “Rockin Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu” (aka “the COVID theme song”) from back in March, when the bar at the George Hotel was still open and booking live music.

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

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

Book Review: That’s The Way I Remember it (Gordon, 2019)

Retired Texas Ranger Joey Gordon is a regular contributor to the Texas State Rifle Association monthly magazine. His articles feature stories about guns used and owned by Texas Rangers. Many of his articles have been compiled into a glossy book available from TSRA as a fundraising item.

A couple sample pages from the book’s chapters, showing more detail about the guns and lawmen featured in the articles.

The book is full of great pictures and great stories from Texas history. The Texas State Rifle Association is under-appreciated and under-supported by Texas gun owners. Much of the work to get concealed carry passed in the 1990’s, and all the reforms and improvements to the law since, was done by TSRA. Money donated to TSRA stays within Texas and is used to support not only lobbying but youth shooting programs like the Scholastic Clay Target and Scholastic Action Pistol programs.

If you are a Texas gun owner or Texas carry permit holder, particularly if you are dissatisfied with the current state of the National Rifle Association, please join Texas State Rifle Association.

Armed Citizen-Police Interaction Video

As part of the ongoing 2020 Virtual Preparedness Conference Paul Martin and I are presenting this fall, LEO instructor and private sector trainer Lee Weems from First Person Safety contributed this video giving guidance for armed citizens interacting with police.

Like the other videos in this series, it’s available to stream or download, ad-free, for a few dollars.

KR Training October 2020 Newsletter

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


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

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


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

Register for any class using our online system.


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

The entire video series can be found here.


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


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


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


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

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

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

Book Review: Quick or Dead (Cassidy, 1978)

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

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

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

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

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

Pollard is quoted in ‘Quick or Dead’:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


A quick overview of the chapters and topics covered:

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


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

Gun Rights Video

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

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

Gun Rights Video link

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

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

Other videos posted recently include (links below):

What to Do in the next 6-12 months

Building your Medical Kits

Use of Force to Protect Property (decision making algorithm)

Setting up an Expedient Neighborhood Watch

Video Review: Gunsite Active Shooter (Panteao, 2016)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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