I was fortunate this past March 2013 weekend to finally participate in Rangemaster’s Firearms Instructor Development & Certification Course, taught by Tom Givens and hosted by Karl Rehn of KR Training.
I’ve tried to take this course for the past some years, but was unable to for one reason or another, usually logistics due to involved travel to Memphis. But now that Tom and crew were coming to my turf, there was no reason not to make the class.
The event was held over 3 days (Friday through Sunday) from about 9 am to 6 pm each day (a 24 hour course). It’s an intensive and dense course, split about 50/50 between the classroom and the range. This is not intended to be a class where you learn how to shoot, but rather a place to learn how to be a better instructor (firearms and private citizen self-defense in particular, but of course many teaching concepts can be applied anywhere in life). Thus this is not a class to take to learn how to shoot or how to be a better shooter; it’s a class geared towards instruction.
Weather was most cooperative. Spring is starting here in Central Texas, with the wildflowers in bloom and the temperatures just right… mostly. Friday we were pretty warm outside, broke a good sweat. Saturday we were pretty cold with some early rain threats. And Sunday we were cold and fought a bitter cold 25+ MPH wind (with higher gusts). So while not ideal, that’s life — you don’t get to choose when the fight happens, so you just work through it and have to be that much better.
Tom came with his wife Lynn, assistants John and Ray, and of course Skeeter his Back Up Dog (for when your real dog breaks). We had 15 students, including numerous KR Training assistant instructors (Karl took the class too).
The course is about a 50/50 split between the classroom and the range.
It’s important to understand that the context of this course is that of private citizen self-defense and concealed carry. This is not law-enforcement, military, nor competition. Could folks working in those areas benefit from such a course? Certainly. But it’s important to realize that the core context is private citizen self defense with firearms, and as such all is geared towards that end.
The classroom is where most of the relevant material comes. It runs the gamut from safety, parts and nomenclature, history (Tom is one of the best repositories of history), adult learning, coaching techniques, use of force issues, speaking/presentation techniques, etc.. Anything that might come up in the classroom is discussed along with information and techniques for working with it.
There are 3 tests by the end of the weekend. Two of them are classroom tests: a written test, and a short presentation on an assigned topic. Yes, you will get up in front of people and do a presentation, because if you’re going to teach, what do you think you’ll be doing?
To help with the written test, you are provided with a 170+ page workbook containing a host of useful information. Some directly applicable to the course, others as supporting material for you to use afterwards. And yes, keep this book and use it as reference. Reread it from time to time as it’s a useful and information-dense resource.
One subtle thing Tom does in his classroom work is practice what he preaches. For example, Tom talks about the use of “other things” when teaching so it’s not just you up there droning for hours. He used video to show the operation of various firearms, because the video was shot on the range with Tom actually shooting and manipulating the guns — can’t do that in the classroom, so what a useful thing video can be as a supportive aid. Also, Tom talks about not hiding behind a lectern, stand to the side. While there’s no true lectern in the KR Training classroom, Tom still stood off to the side of the table. There’s much to pick up and learn from, if you pay attention.
Of course, everyone looks forward to the range work. We started shooting some diagnostics so Tom and his crew could assess where everyone’s skill is. A few things were cleaned up, and qualification tests were shot. All tests were scored, but the tests shot on the first 2 days were not recorded.
If you haven’t shot much at 25 yards (or even 15 yards) you need to work on that. There’s a fair bit of work at those ranges, and they are humbling.
But the range time wasn’t all drills. The range is also the meat of the content for many classes you aspire to teach, so you need to know how to handle the range and run the range. Tom didn’t go over much about how to run the range itself, and for that I’d suggest something like NRA Instructor classes and RSO certification (Tom can only teach so much in 24 hours). But he did talk about how to interact with students on the range. He provided useful tips and techniques for teaching technique, diagnosing problems, how to remedy problems, and how to convey numerous concepts in a way that makes sense to students. One really useful technique he provided was how to allow you, the instructor, to verify a student actually understands what sight alignment and sight picture are; I think we’ll need to keep a “red gun” in the range wagon for just such occasions! (you’ll have to go to class to learn the technique, sorry).
We also shot numerous drills to introduce us to the host of drills and variations on drills that can be used to teach and practice various concepts. Of course, Tom did use it as an opportunity to put us under pressure. For example, after introducing the whole class to the “casino drill”, he asked for variations. Someone said how you could have people shoot drills individually, because that puts greater pressure on them to perform (the eyes of their peers upon them, which is a huge stress). So what did Tom then do? Have us all shoot the drill individually with our peers watching.
Sunday contains the third test: the shooting test.
We shot two tests for recorded score. The first test was the FBI Qualification. Just a few months ago, the FBI revised their test based upon improved and modern data. They removed that which doesn’t happen so much, and replaced it with that which happens more often. I haven’t been able to find a printed copy of the test online, and didn’t have time to record it during the test administration. But you will shoot from 3 to 25 yards, two hands, one hand, draw from concealment, reloads, and time pressure. It’s a tough course; I think Karl was the only one to clean it and he didn’t clean it every time he shot it. The other course was Rangemaster’s Instructor Qual course, which was also revised in light of the FBI revisions (I believe). It’s similar to the FBI course, but tougher (e.g. smaller scoring zones). Both tests were shot twice and the better of the two scores (on each test) recorded.
Thus at the end of the weekend your class score was made up of the FBI test, the Rangemaster test, and your written test.
And yes… you have to pass with a high score on all three portions. There’s a high standard to uphold, and no, not everyone passed.
What I Learned
I’ve taken numerous Rangemaster courses in the past, and much of the core material is the same. This stands to reason, given the source. But this class was not a rehash of Combative Pistol 2. This class was teaching about teaching, and so material was presented from that angle.
That said, having heard some of these things before was useful. On the one hand, it’s always good to hear it again because redundancy fosters learning. It just helps me become better in general. On the other hand, because I heard it before, it meant there was less quantity of new things to cram into my head. One can only absorb so much, and the class material is dense with information — you won’t remember it all. So having heard much of this before meant there was less I had to cram in my head, just refresh what was already there.
I certainly picked up on numerous things I can immediately put to use in my work teaching and assisting at KR Training. In fact, one was kinda funny. My assigned presentation topic was “follow-through”. I giggled as soon as I received my topic, because back when I was taking NRA Instructor training? My assigned presentation topic was… “follow-through”. I did a much better presentation this time around, but I hope future instructor trainings can give me a different topic! Else I’ll take it as a sign someone really wants me to be an expert on follow-through. Of course, I talk about follow-through every time I help with a Basic Pistol class at KR Training, so the topic was old-hat to me. I already knew what to say, what to do, and how to present it. Of course, I still practiced and prepped for it, because this setting and audience was slightly different. In doing so, I came up with a revision for my presentation. When we introduce the concept, we use an analogy of golf. But golf, bowling, baseball, whatever… that “swing” is a familiar concept to folks. I came up with a better example: tennis. Why? Because in all those others, it’s just you. In tennis, someone is shooting back at you, if you will. I think it’s a slightly better analogy because it makes it more evident why you need to follow-through, so you can get ready to shoot again (or return the volley, if you will). Of course, the other analogies I think are still fine. I think it’s more that if I was say talking to someone in a bullseye shooting context? I might use golf. But if I’m talking in a self-defense context (which is what I usually am doing), I think tennis works a little better.
The other fun thing about my presentation? I didn’t present what I planned to present. I figured we were supposed to present as if we were presenting to an audience of beginning students. That is, present like we’d present if we were teaching a class. Well, Karl was the first to go (his topic was safety) and he took a different angle. Givens teaches with the 4 Cooper Rules, Karl with the 3 NRA rules. Karl took this opportunity to present to the classroom of (aspiring) instructors about safety and those 2 sets of rules. So his presentation was informative to the current audience. I liked that. I also observed other presentations and found myself wondering who they were presenting to; did they identify their audience when they developed their presentation? Hey… I taught public speaking for a number of years, I can’t help but observe these things. So I decided on the fly to modify my presentation and instead of presenting as if I was teaching follow-through to a class of beginner students, I opted to teach this classroom of instructors a technique they could use in their classrooms for teaching follow-through (tennis analogy, using the SIRT gun, whiteboard, etc.). Came off great. But I’m not afraid to speak in public… probably got that from my politician dad.
So how did I do? I scored a 96% on the FBI Qual test, 235/250 (94%) on the Rangemaster, and 98% on the written. I passed.
I did get a lot of other things out of the class, including assessment of shooting skills and what I need to work on from here. I’ll write more on those in the coming days.
Should YOU take this class? If you desire to teach? Yes you should. However, I’m not sure this should be a first class. I think one might get more out of it if first they obtain their NRA Instructor Certifications and RSO. Even if you don’t do them first, you should still obtain those certifications. I also think it may be useful to attend one of Rangemaster’s other courses, such as the Combative Pistol or Dynamic Marksmanship, or their Level 1-5 handgun courses. This gives you an introduction to how Tom runs things, his material, his point of view. Thus when you come here, you aren’t focused on everything, you can focus more on just the “how to be an instructor” portion of stuff.
After taking this class, are you ready to teach? Nope. Certainly you’ll have a better foundation for things, but nothing substitutes for experience. If you can, seek apprenticeships. I have benefitted greatly from Karl Rehn’s generosity: his time, his teaching, his knowledge, his friendship, his mentorship, and of course, having me as an assistant instructor at KR Training. There’s so much that can and will happen on the range; to have an experienced eye watching, helping, and teaching you will benefit you greatly. This will allow you to have greater confidence in your ability to teach, and it will show in your students.
Thank you to Karl for hosting, and Tom, Lynn, John (great name!), and Ray for coming out to teach us…. and Skeeter for snoring in the back of the classroom.
They aren’t public schools, they are government schools.
And they are not places of learning.
If life was nothing but standardized testing, which the budget depended upon, then maybe we’d be accomplishing something useful. But alas, life isn’t that… so what exactly are children being prepared for? Other than learning to sit still, conform, suffer, deny yourself, that you’re stupid, creativity has no place, and the list goes on and on….
If you look down on “rednecks”, both the people and the things they do, then you should stop reading now because this post will probably offend you.
Had a wonderful day with the family today. Originally we were to do this during my Christmas vacation, but since I was down with the flu it didn’t happen. Fortunately the heavens saw fit to give us today, so the opportunity was taken.
The main thing? Going to the gun range and shooting. Some work, some recreation. Thank you, Karl, for letting us use the range.
It started off with me doing some live fire pistol skills work, because of my desire to start shooting IDPA. Details on this elsewhere. Meanwhile, Wife and Kiddos were inside the range house doing schoolwork (the joys of homeschooling).
When I finished my work, I took Wife out for a little work with the shotgun. She wants to improve her proficiency with the shotgun, so we did some work there. Alas, a 12 gauge, even with low-recoil rounds, just isn’t in the cards for her (Karl, if you find her shoulder, please let me know). She’s just fine with the 20 gauge. I just wish … oh wait! It looks like Federal now has a 20 gauge buckshot with FLITECONTROL wad (PD256). Holy crap! This is awesome. Of course, as I look around right now, everyone’s out of stock. But wow, this is great. I’m there and it’s pretty much removed my reserves about the 20 gauge. Sure it’d be nice to standardize on 12 gauge, but oh well. At least now I don’t have to put up with sub-optimal 20 gauge buckshot.
After that, Wife was done for the day. With the wet weather and the temps in the 40′s, it was just too cold for her to keep going. But the Kiddos were ready.
I recently purchased a new shotgun and needed to break it in and ensure function. I ran a bunch of 12 gauge target loads through it, then some full-power buckshot (of course, the Federal FLITECONTROL), and some slugs (Brenneke low-recoil slugs). The slugs didn’t want to go into the mag tube easily for some reason, looks like the brass was hanging up on the retainer clips, but no big deal really. Everything functioned great. I did put a 12″ Hogue Short Shot stock on it (shorter LOP makes for easier shouldering) and while 12″ LOP is a little too short for me, it worked out alright and I didn’t smack my thumb into my face as much as I expected I would. I consider the shotgun functional and able to be pressed into service.
Oldest has never shot a 12 gauge before — he’s always been a bit recoil shy. But today he stepped right up to the plate and fired it like a champ. We’ll work on speeding up his shot recovery, but he really did a great job with it.
Youngest has never fired a “big gun” before, just .22′s. But he wanted to try the shotgun. 12 gauge was too much tho, so I pulled out the 20 gauge (a Mossberg 500 Bantam youth model) and let him try it with some light target loads (which are still kinda stout). He handled it well, tho was taken aback a bit because it was a big boom — again, it’s the most gun he’s ever fired. But he did come back for a second shot, but that was enough.
We put the shotguns away and took out an AR-15. I originally didn’t plan on bringing out an AR, but when packing up this morning, Oldest expressed interest in shooting it and I wasn’t going to say no. Again, he’s been very recoil shy in the past, only wanting to shoot .22′s. So for him to want to step up is great in my book. I mean, I know he can handle it, after having shot that 255# feral hog a couple years ago with a .308 bolt-action. Oldest got to learn what “giggle factor” is. He was having WAY too much fun with that rifle — I should have brought more ammo. Daughter shot it for a bit, but she tweaked something in one of her arms the other day and so it was kinda painful to hold up the rifle. Youngest tried the AR as well, and was quite pleased that the recoil was far less than the shotgun — tho it was a heavier gun to hold up.
We put the long-guns away, and pulled out everyone’s favorite: the Buck Mark Camper. All 3 kiddos shot at the steel targets with this, and it’s just fun to plink with such a low-recoil gun — tho Youngest did get bit by the slide. Daughter showed some good improvement on trigger control. She asked how you get to shoot faster, so I explained a bit and I guess something clicked because she was shooting a little faster by the time we wrapped up.
While a lot of today was about having fun, it also was with purpose. I want my kids to be self-sufficient and able to take care of themselves. Yes, that means being able to shoot a gun proficiently. You may not understand why that’s the case, and if you don’t understand I’d be happy to discuss it with you; even if you don’t agree with it, I hope you are willing to have an open mind and come to listen and understand. The guns shot, the things we did, all done with purpose, even if I was the only one that knew what the purpose was.
Alas, we had to wrap it up before everyone was tired of it, but that’s ok — always leave them wanting more.
We headed to the Elm Creek Cafe for a delicious lunch (everyone loves that place), then back home.
Oh… and the Buc-ee’s in Bastrop is finally open. Yes, we stopped in. Finally my family came to understand why I adore Buc-ee’s.
We had a great day. Smiles all around. Happy family. I can’t wait to do it again.
My prior article on instructors was primarily aimed at those that wished to be instructors and the path to get there. However, in examining the path one might follow on the road to becoming an instructor, it sheds a lot of light for those that wish to be students — how can you pick a good instructor.
While the context might be different — weightlifting/physical training — the principles remain the same. Dave Tate lists 4 ways to tell if your coach has a clue:
- Who did they learn from?
- Who did they train with and/or under?
- What have they done?
- Who have they trained and have made better than themselves?
Doesn’t matter the context or the specific type of instructor. These pretty much hold for any instructor be it martial arts, lifting, cooking, painting, whatever.
While the article is titled “Being a Woman is Not a Disability“, and while the article is presented in the context of powerlifting, what the article is really about is teaching.
Teaching boils down to a lot of the same concepts, whether you’re teaching arithmetic, how to bench press, how to shoot a gun, how to bake a cake. And addressing needs of a student rarely comes down to the student’s gender, race, ethnicity, religious preference, sexual orientation, age, etc.. Oh sure, sometimes those things do matter, but all too often teachers/coaches/educators apply the wrong context and thus the wrong solution. For example, many times when teaching beginning shooters, women do get treated differently. But I’ve found issues with new shooters aren’t because of gender, but because of something like smaller/weaker hands. Yes one can make the generalization that women have smaller and weaker hands than men, but I’ve seen some large strong women and some small weak men. It wasn’t their gender that mattered, it was their hand size and strength. Thus what’s important to address is their hand size and strength, not their gender.
Successful teaching does follow the same guidelines regardless of the topic being taught. Amy Wattles’ article does a fine job of presenting these guidelines:
- The introduction is the most important part of a lesson<
- After the delivery of your instruction, check for understanding.
- Next, it is time to demonstrate the skill to be acquired.
- Provide students with constructive feedback throughout the lesson.
Read her article for full details, including a good list of additional tips for teaching success.
One thing I’ll add? Know your audience.
If you know your audience, you can better shape the presentation of your message. Let’s say you want to teach how to bake a cake. How might your presentation differ if your students were a group of adults vs. a class of kindergarteners vs. veteran chefs? Your material and message would be the same, but how you present that message, how you work to convey your information, that’s going to and should differ from audience to audience. Suppose you didn’t change. Suppose you wrote it all out for a group of veteran chefs and your audience is a group of 5-year-olds? Do you think your presentation is going to succeed? Do you think you’ll successfully convey your message? Unlikely.
Some might say that they don’t know what their audience will be comprised of. If that’s the case, then you still know that fact and should proceed accordingly. But you may also be able to glean at least a little something. For example, when a new class of Basic Pistol 1 students show up at KR Training, we generally don’t know what to expect. We will have people of both gender, wide range of ages, many ethnicities, socio-economic status, background (e.g. maybe they were brought here due to a bad crime victim experience and are very sensitive)… it’s all over the map. We really can’t know much and thus have to be reserved in our presentation. But we can know they are all here to learn how to shoot a gun, and most are coming because of an interest in personal defense, so we can play off that tidbit of audience awareness.
Teaching is rewarding, even more so when you’re successful at it. Knowing how to teach helps you succeed.
It’s been about a month and a half since we’ve seen any rain here in Central Texas. Of course, that happened during the hottest part of the year… so intense heat and no rain really compounded our drought situation.
But the weather is breaking. The heat is going away, and yesterday it started raining. As far as I can tell, it’s been raining all night. This morning has a nice steady shower. This is the sort of rain we need, so the hard ground can soften up and soak in the rain instead of it all running off. Looking at the landscaping I can tell everything is perking up, both flora and fauna.
The cool part — apart from the drastically lower temperatures — is the rain is predicted to keep up through the weekend. Just what we need.
But it’s not just what we need ecologically.
It presents a unique training opportunity.
As per usual, we’ve got classes at KR Training this weekend. Whenever weather issues coincide with classes, Karl is proactive in sending out email to all enrolled students to discuss how we’ll proceed. Sometimes we have to consider cancellation or postponement because the weather is going to be severe and detrimental to learning and safety. But this is rare, and usually class can proceed, tho with minor changes to the program. We’ve done this many times before and are able to reasonably adjust the layout to cope with weather (e.g. some drills we will do inside with dry fire; many times this actually yields better end-results!).
But as per usual, once this email goes out, the student cancellations also start to roll in.
On the one hand, I understand. There was a time in my life where I refused to get wet or get dirty and just didn’t have the right mindset in me.
On the other hand, I’ve grown and changed and realized that such a training opportunity is a blessing.
The bad guys aren’t going to wait until it’s sunny and pleasant out to attack you. No, shit can and does happen at any time under any circumstances. It’s wise to train under different circumstances and settings so these things don’t affect you, or perhaps you can learn how these situations affect you. Better to learn in practice (when you can afford mistakes and a learning opportunity) than to be forced to learn when the flag is flying. For example, while I prefer to do my dry fire practice in the morning, when I do it at night I can see how tired my eyes are and that changes things for me. I’ve read about many top competitors that vary up their practice schedule because major (national, world) matches go forward rain or shine, so you better be used to shooting in the rain, in the mud, in the wind, in less than ideal circumstances, if you want to win.
If you don’t train in discomforting situations, those situations will never become comfortable. How do you think that fares for you ability to perform in the face of whatever gets thrown your way?
If you only do the things you like, if you only work under ideal circumstances, then you are leaving large gaps in your training, education, knowledge, and ability.
Yes, I won’t train at the Austin Rifle Club in the rain because they’re in a flood plain and rain means flooding and true (avoidable) danger. But the worst that happens at the KR Training facility is a little mud.
You won’t melt.
Rain isn’t a training artifact we can conjure up. It comes when it comes, and so when opportunity knocks you ought to take it. You may learn something you couldn’t learn any other way.
The feature article in the Sep. 5, 2012 edition of The Shooting Wire is titled “Between the Berms: The Weaker Sex?”
It’s about the introduction of women to shooting sports, and how often it’s done in a manner that treats women as weaker. That they are given .22′s to start out with because there’s less recoil. But that many times men are started out with 9′s or .45′s because they can handle it.
Actually what further struck me about the article was the author, Paul Erhardt’s, use of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association as examples of tough women. It makes me smile because I know a member of the Texas Rollergirls has been out to KR Training a few times. I’ve seen her on the track, I’ve seen her shoot, and she’s certainly tough.
I think Paul’s right tho. There’s a lot of “little lady” sexism in shooting for whatever reason. It may be ignorance. It may be machismo. It may be chivilary. It may be misunderstanding. But whatever it is, it’s there.
Over my years of teaching, especially teaching beginners, I see that factors should generally not be gender-based but characteristic based.
The ability to properly grip a large gun isn’t based on gender, but on hand size. I’ve seen women with large hands and men with small hands.
Starting off a new shooter (never held a gun before, never shot a gun before, maybe never seen or heard a gun except via Hollywood), it is wise to start with a .22. This is especially true if they’re nervous or scared or intimidated by the notion. If someone is scared, starting off with a .44 Magnum is going to be loud and painful and not sow productive seeds. As a n00b they don’t know how hard to grip the gun, any loud noise is going to make them jump. Starting with a .22 is great as a “lowest barrier of entry” to ease them into things. But it certainly shouldn’t stop there. Move them on to a 9, to a .45, to a .40. If you’ve got more, let them try more… but only as much as they wish to. I’ve had some students shoot a 9 and want to stop. I’ve had some clamor to shoot the biggest, baddest gun available… again and again. I’ve seen this from men and from women.
If we talk recoil and “being weak”, I’ve seen some weak men that couldn’t adequately handle a mid-range caliber handgun. I’ve seen men with grip problems, arthritis, and other things that essentially make them “weak”. I’ve seen women hammer the hell of of every gun they shot.
On the other hand, there are certainly issues that are gender-based. Women are built differently from men, with different curves both concave and convex. This creates realities about things like carry methods and holster selection. IWB doesn’t work for many women. OWB can work with drop-and-offset holsters. Men generally can’t wear a Flashbang Holster.
In competition shooting sports, all other things being equal, men are generally going to produce faster times than women when the sports involve more physical aspects like running. Usain Bolt holds the world record in the 100m sprint with 9.58 seconds. Florence Griffith-Joyner holds the record at 10.49.
So there are certainly some realities that gender brings to the table. We cannot and should not deny those, if we’re to be honest and forthright.
But on the whole, most issues, most problems, most limits when it comes to shooting… they have nothing to do with gender and we need to look beyond gender at the issue’s fundamental nature. That way we do best service to the shooter, no matter who they are or what their gender is.
By Joyce Burges, Special to CNN
Editor’s Note: Joyce Burges is the co-founder of the National Black Home Educators, an organization that empowers parents to educate their children for excellence. She and her husband, Eric, have been married for 35 years and have five children between the ages of 16 to 35.
It was a rainy afternoon. I was rocking my baby girl by the fire and enjoying a cup of hot chamomile tea.
I just learned the Ian Knot.
How much of my life have I wasted tying shoes the “standard” way?
If you don’t know what the Ian Knot is, watch:
Youngest is still struggling with shoelace tying. Understandable because he rarely wears shoes with laces, so far too often when he wears those shoes we don’t have the time to teach him properly. Couple that with the fact that knots are useful, and I’ve been on a kick to get the kiddos to learn a bunch of basic knots (Oldest fights it and refuses to learn… then every time I see him struggling to tie something up, I remind him how much easier things would be if he’d listen to his old man once in a while and learn proper knots). All the basic ones they teach in Boy Scouts: square knot, two half-hitches, taught-line hitch, bowline, sheet bend, clove hitch, etc..
Might as well start with shoelaces.
And yes, while the rest of the household knows how to tie laces the old fashioned way, we’re all going to learn the Ian knot. Well, we’ve mostly got it… doesn’t take long. But mastering it so we can tie it super fast will just take practice.
So what are some other useful knots?
Figure 8 knot is simple, and good to know about as a stopper.
Lark’s Head is another simple one, useful too.
I read about the Trucker’s Knot and think that would be useful to learn. I don’t know it myself.
Of course there’s the basic overhand knot, but you tend to learn that one as you do other knots.
It’s good to learn about the granny knot… just so you can recognize it, since you’ll probably tie it a bunch while learning the square knot.
What are some other essential knots to know?
Today KR Training held the first Defensive Pistol Skills 3 class. It’s a new class aimed at pushing you further, putting you in new and interesting positions, and rounding out skills and situations that are possible in defensive shooting situations.
Overall the class ran smooth. Good group of students. Karl deviated from the set curriculum slightly, but they were good changes that I think will lead towards refinement of the curriculum.
Here’s a few take-homes for the students:
* Keep moving.
When you draw, move. When you reload, move. When you’re dealing with a malfunction, move. Generally speaking, if you’re not shooting, you should be moving. Consider this is a defensive setup, so that means there’s someone(s) attacking you. If there’s incoming gunfire well… it’s more important to not get shot than it is to shoot. One way to help yourself towards not getting shot is to move off the line of incoming fire. Standing still is a good way for the attacker to get a bead on you, and you don’t want that to happen.
* Dry work
Lots of trigger yanking today. Dry work will help. Furthermore, many of the skills taught just cannot be performed at the public ranges in the area. What can you do? Practice them dry. No it’s not 100% the same, but it’s sure better than nothing.
* Consider a backup gun
There were a lot of malfunctions today: failures to feed, double-feeds, things just didn’t go right for a number of guns. Sure, some of them were PEBKAC or simple equipment issues. But regardless of the reason, often fixing the malfunction was way too time consuming. If in a gunfight seconds count, does taking 5-10 seconds to fiddle-fart with a non-functioning gun make sense? What works faster? Drop the gun on the ground and draw your backup.
We have no problem with you doing this in class. Carry a backup. If in the middle of a drill something goes wrong and you draw your backup and keep yourself in the fight, awesome! Going for your backup is a lot faster than struggling to get your gun running again. It’s a fight for your life, so keep fighting.