This past Saturday was another day at KR Training. Two classes, Basic Pistol 2 and Defensive Pistol Skills 1. Not only was the usual crew out there, like the TXGunGeek but a couple of others came out to help with DPS1 like Deputy Jay!
Both classes went alright. The BP2 folks were actually doing quite well for students of that level, and Karl switched things up at a the end of class for a bit of fun shooting steel. I believe TXGunGeek said he had folks shooting a 4″ plate at 15 yards no problem. That’s very good for people at the BP2 level.
In DPS1, it was nice to see a larger number of women in the class, some of which had previously come out for the Rangemaster Ladies-only course a few weeks ago. One of the ladies I knew (Mrs. foo.c), but I wasn’t sure of the rest. I was watching how they shot and asked one “did you come out for the Rangemaster course a couple of weeks ago?” The answer was yes, and the reason it was evident? They had solid fundamentals of grip, stance, and so on. Good shooters stand out from the crowd, so what does that tell you about the crowd?
I must admit, that was one of the harder parts of this DPS1 — fundamentals. DPS1 is not intended to be a fundamentals class but we did end up spending a little more time correcting fundamentals of grip and trigger control than we usually do. I do think the students in class picked up on the DPS1 class material pretty well, but I think a fair number of folks in class would do well to come back and take a class like Basic Pistol 2 where we can focus on fundamentals. This isn’t a slight on anyone, but a sober assessment. We could see it in students: when they would relax and press the trigger, no problem. But then they’d start yanking the trigger, slapping the crap out of it, and wind up hitting nothing. We try to make it clear in DPS1 that as a shooter you are accountable for every round you fire. If now we’re talking a gunfight, you must make acceptable hits, which means hitting the assailant in vital areas as accurately and quickly as possible to stop the fight as soon as possible. Anything less is an unacceptable hit. That means you can’t just blaze away and pray (remember, in a fight you’ll perform at 75% of your worst day at the range). You must have the fundamentals of trigger control solidly down, and if you’re not doing as well as you should be, be honest with yourself and step back to work on those fundamentals. There’s potential for ego to get in the way here… but ego isn’t going to save your life and could cost someone else theirs. Again, this isn’t to say the folks in class were horrible, merely that taking a class that provides instruction on the fundamentals and then working on those particular skills would be useful.
A few things:
- Slow down and get acceptable hits. If you need 0.5 seconds to (re)verify your sight picture and ensure a smooth trigger press, better to slow down and take that time vs. throwing the gun out there, yanking the trigger, and getting a fast unacceptable hit. Then you have to shoot again, and likely you’ll rush that one even worse because you feel you need to make up for lost time, and it just goes downhill from there taking too much time and not getting the job done. That 0.5 seconds doesn’t seem so expensive now, does it?
- You will fight like you train. So train like your life depends on it… because it does.
- Every movement you make is a repetition. Every time you do something, you are training muscle memory. If that’s the case, how should you treat every movement? Make it a useful and worthwhile movement. For instance, when dry firing, don’t rack your slide just enough to cock the action, fully rack it. Don’t build up a “short-stroke” muscle memory, just build up the single muscle memory of full rack.
- Remember, when doing a reload, first put your hand on your spare magazine to ensure you have one! Don’t risk dumping a partially full magazine on the ground only to find you didn’t have a spare and now you’ve got nothing.
- One question we tend to ask a student when we check their gear upon arriving at the range is “Do you have a CHL?”. If the answer is no, then we proceed. If the answer is yes, then we follow up with the expectation that they arrived with their gun on their person. Unfortunately some people don’t arrive in a “street-ready” manner: they may not have their gun on them, or maybe they have their gun on but they have it in a “class ready” manner (e.g. using FMJ rounds instead of proper “social” ammo). Folks, YOU do NOT get to decide when you will get into a gunfight. YOU do NOT get to decide when you will be attacked. What if you stopped at the gas station on your way into class just as the place was being robbed and the dude opted to point his gun at you? If you have a CHL, carry your gun — else why did you get the CHL? And when you carry it, carry it in the proper manner; those FMJ rounds don’t stop much and have a penchant for overpenetration… remember what we said about you being responsible for every round fired?
- Don’t argue with the instructor. If you don’t like what we’re teaching you, you’re free to reject it later. But you came to the class, be willing to hear what we have to say and try what we have to teach — there may be good reason for why we do what we do and teach what we teach. Be willing to consider it, evaluate it. Afterwards, like Bruce Lee said, “Retain what is useful, discard the rest.”
- If you are not on the line shooting, you should be drinking water and loading magazines. However, while you do that stay near the rest of the class and/or the other group that’s on the firing line. The instructors may have a new skill to teach and class runs faster if they only have to demonstrate it once. Furthermore, if you watch the other group on the line, you’re bound to learn something. One thing you can do is put a bunch of loose ammo in your pockets; while standing behind the line and paying attention you can reload your magazines from the loose ammo and you only need to go back to the tables to quickly refill your pocket. As well, buy more magazines (how many? yes.). I like keeping at least 10 magazines fully loaded in my range bag… tends to make classes and practice sessions run smoothly because I can go and don’t have to spend time (re)loading mags; do that in front of the TV in the comfort of air-conditioning and no time pressures.
- It’s good to bring extra gear, like ammo and guns. However, circumstances for using that extra gear may or may not happen. For instance, I’ve had numerous classes where folks bring multiple guns and want to switch guns throughout the course. While that COULD be possible, it’s generally not possible because class moves quickly and the time it takes to change your holsters and other support equipment is time-consuming. Plus, to actually change the gun you’d have to go to the other range (no gun handling behind the line) and that again takes time and takes you away from instruction (see above point). So generally, come with a gun and run that one gun. But that said…. if your Glock happens to KaBoom! (kB!), it’s good to have another one handy. Yes, we had a Glock go boom during DPS1… he was using hand loads and the hypothesis isn’t a double-charge but likely the case wasn’t empty (e.g. cleaning media stuck in there) and thus less case volume and thus way too high a pressure. He had another gun in his bag and was able to get back in business without much downtime.
- Drink water. Use sunscreen. After last weekend’s classes where I wore shorts and my short-sleeved KRT shirt (and sunscreen), I opted to totally cover up this class. While shorts and such are usually OK for me, something about last weekend’s sun just baked me and drained me heavily. So for this class I wore some long pants (actually, BSA Switchback pants), long sleeve white Under Armour shirt and then my KRT instructor shirt atop that. I was fully covered, but all lightweight, very breathable clothing. I did sweat more due to the double-shirt, but overall I felt a lot better because my skin was covered and not baking. At the end of the day I was tired but not drained.
- I need to learn to put my beef jerky out of reach of thieving dogs. (it’s my own fault… I keep treating her, I left it within reach, she just helped herself since I wasn’t around to fed her. He he he).