Today was pretty cool.
I took part in the first offering of KR Training’s new “Defensive Pistol Skills – Back-up Gun” class. I participated as a student, tho I certainly assisted where and when necessary. I’ve been looking forward to this class, because I think it’s an important offering.
You see, like all things made by humans, guns aren’t perfect. Like all mechanical things, guns can break. There are many reasons for carrying a Back-Up Gun (BUG), and mechanical failure of your primary gun is one reason — hence, “back-up”. But because BUG’s tend to be small guns, like Glock 26’s, snub-nose revolvers, Ruger LCP, Kel-Tec’s, the smaller Kahr’s, and the like, a lot of people choose to carry these “little guns” as their primary guns. Whether you carry one of these guns as a primary or a secondary, taking a class like DPS-BUG is highly recommended.
I recommend taking such a class because shooting these guns is not like shooting a full-sized gun. Basically, it’s harder to shoot them and shoot them well. They have low-capacity, so every shot matters. Some of them shoot weaker rounds, like .38o Auto, so again every shot matters. Then because they are small, the sight radius is short thus a small change in alignment can mean a big difference in the ability to hit the target. It’s hard to get a good grip on them. Many are intentionally designed to be “double-action-only” with long and heavy triggers; that’s hard enough to shoot with as it is, then coupled with such a lightweight gun makes it even harder to shoot. Carry modes, like in a pocket (holster) are harder to draw from. I know these sorts of guns are very popular with folks that carry concealed, so if you opt to carry such a gun you should get some training in the use of that gun.
The class curriculum is based upon the Defensive Pistol Skills 1 course, but it is NOT the same course. If anything, consider DPS1 a prerequisite to this class. DPS-BUG starts out with some fundamentals work using the little gun, because that is important. All the “high speed low drag” stuff means nothing if you can’t basically hit what you need to hit. And yes, you will be working on one-handed shooting… you can hate it all you want, but you won’t stop sucking at 1H shooting unless you keep shooting 1H. There’s group shooting, shooting against a timer, shooting the “3 Seconds or Less Drill” (in fact, we shot that both with our BUG’s and our full-sized guns, to compare and contrast). We shot from a chair, to allow experimentation with drawing a BUG, since they might be carried in an ankle rig or a pocket holster.
That was one cool thing about the class: experimentation. Whereas a lot of other classes have to be straightforward in the gear and what’s done in class, here part of the point was to allow you to see and figure things out. Normally carry in a pocket holster? Maybe try an ankle rig, or using off-body carry like a fanny pack or a daytimer. It’s a great opportunity to try things out and figure out how things are going to actually roll and work for you.
As for how the class went for me….
I shot my S&W 442 with the DeSantis Clip Grip the entire class. For much of the class I actually opted to use the clip grip and draw from the appendix position. That actually worked quite nice, tho it’s still a little difficult to get a solid draw (gotta get your stomach out of the way). I’m also happy that my hand held up after 150-200 rounds of abuse. 🙂
The big take home for me? I need to work on getting on that long, heavy trigger press a lot faster. My problem is because of that long heavy trigger to overcome, I will smash it thus yank the hell out of the gun. To avoid that, I press a lot slower than I should. I scored suboptimally on the “3 Seconds or Less Drill” with the snub because on the last string (7 yards, 3 shots WHO, 3 seconds) I only got 1 shot off. I was determined to only get good hits even if it meant I didn’t get all the shots off, but totally lacking 2 shots killed my score. *sigh* So I need to work on getting on the trigger sooner and faster yet ensuring an acceptable hit.
I’ll also say, when we switch to our normal carry guns at the end, it felt weird. Not just because I had a large gun in my hand, but when I shot it I could feel the springs vibrating and shaking. It was weird. 🙂 In fact, I felt like I couldn’t shoot as well… just spent 3 hours shooting this little hammer, then switching guns and shooting the full-sized M&P9 felt totally foreign in my hands. Just more things to practice and work on.
And I remembered to put on sunscreen this time. 😉
A good day. I hope we can offer this course more often… and I hope more people will be willing to take it. If you carry a small gun, you owe it to yourself to take this class. You’ll learn a lot.