This past Saturday was one of our long days at KR Training. 3 classes: Defensive Pistol Skills 2, AT-2 Force-on-Force Scenarios (only), and AT-1A Low Light Shooting. Originally these classes were to be the prior Saturday, but we got rained out. One complicating factor in scheduling is AT-1A of course requires low light, so it tends to only be offered in the Fall and Spring when it’s dark enough in the evening…. but throw in daylight saving time after last weekend and we had to run a little longer in order to time the class against sunset. Waking at 4 AM and going to bed at midnight… long day.
But a good day.
What was really cool was seeing a fair number of people staying for all 3 classes. Many classes tend to dovetail pretty well with skills learned earlier in the day being able to be used later in the day. There’s so much information and new skills that I don’t hold it against folks if they don’t remember to do everything, but it is always cool to watch people having those “oh yeah!” moments when they find themselves using the new skill or seeing how to really apply it and the practical utility of what they just learned. A satisfying moment as a teacher.
Whenever I’m in classes I always think about these “post class blog posts” and what I’d like to stress or talk about.
DPS2 worked on more advanced gunfighting skills, such as dealing with cover and concealment, reloads, malfunction clearing, 360° scanning, one-handed shooting. AT-2 is like a “intro” to force-on-force and coming to understand the tactics and other realities of self-defense, and AT-1A is about low-light shooting realities, which means a lot (more) one-handed shooting. All of these are really cool and important things. But even amongst all this cool stuff, one thing remains as more important than any of this stuff:
Or more precisely… well, yes, just that: precision, or more accurately, accuracy.
All of these “high speed low drag” uber-tacti-cool skills don’t mean jack if you can’t hit what you need to hit. During DPS2 I ran students through a small shoot scenario course against various sorts of targets: some steel reactives, some photorealistic targets, various other props. But the key was if you couldn’t hit things properly, you couldn’t progress and props wouldn’t work. The target window was made intentionally small so you had to slow down and get acceptable hits, and on those they did. But when the target window was large or visually difficult to perceive, such as on photorealistic targets, there was a larger tendency to “spray and pray” or “smoke and hope”. Unfortunately students would then go down and see where their holes were, and realize how they just made some lawyer very happy. :-( And this was a factor throughout all 3 classes: the end of DPS2 includes a test, and while speed matters, ultimately your ability to pass rests upon you getting hits within the A-zone of the target. Stopping the bad guy in a FoF scenario? shooting him in the leg won’t stop him. All that one-handed shooting because a flashlight is in your other hand? the fact you use a flashlight technique that illuminates your sights so you can enable accurate shooting? All things come down and work towards being able to get acceptable hits.
You must slow down to get acceptable hits. You can’t go too slow, but if you need that extra 0.5″ seconds to ensure proper sights and a smooth trigger press, then take it because that will be less costly. Don’t shoot faster than you can shoot acceptable hits. But once you CAN shoot acceptably at some speed, bump up your speed 10%. Yes your accuracy will go down, but then you step back, analyze what the problem is, fix that bit, and that’s how you progress.
We don’t expect you to be able to do all this stuff when you come to class — it’s class! you’re coming here to learn! We expect you to try, we expect you to work hard, and we expect you to then take this information and skills and go home and practice. When you come back for the next class, we do hope to see progression and improvement. But if you’re having trouble, drop us a line and we’ll see how we can help. As well, do NOT be afraid to take a class again or even go backwards in curriculum. If perhaps you need work on fundamentals (grip, stance, sights, trigger), step back and take Basic Pistol 2. There is NOTHING wrong with this, and it could do you a lot of good. Remember that we don’t build houses on sand. If you determine your foundation is shaky, swallowing your pride and ego and going back to strengthen your foundation is a good thing to do. If taking one step back enables you to take two steps forward, ultimately that’s progress.
What really made Saturday work well? The weather. It was gorgeous. A little humid, but fine. In the 70’s all day, gentle breeze. Then a great group of students, open to learning, working hard… it was a good ay.