Sometimes, it’s “just another day” at KR Training. But this past Saturday was an exception to the rule.
The first major cold front came through, and it seems summer is officially over. We dropped around 30º in a day, from being in the mid-90’s going to the mid-60’s. It was wonderful! However, with that drop in temperature also brought a lot of rain. I don’t know how much rain fell at the A-Zone Range, but at my home in Austin we got about 2.5″. It certainly felt that way at the range, with much rain coming on Friday and making for soggy, muddy range conditions. Then despite the weather reports, the rain kept going throughout most of Saturday. Sometimes a light drizzle, sometimes a break, and sometimes it went so hard for so long we just had to go or stay inside.
The weather made things challenging, and I want to give credit to all the students for their positive attitudes and willingness to keep working regardless of the conditions. You don’t get to choose the conditions when the flag flies for you, so it’s good to get used to less than ideal circumstances.
One thing this changed up was exactly what we did in class. We just couldn’t run the same drills. But major props to Karl Rehn for his ability to improv — it’s probably because he’s also a jazz musician. 😉 Seriously, if I can brag on my boss-man for a moment, this is something I’ve long admired in Karl: his ability to adapt. It could be because the weather isn’t cooperating, it could be because he sees the class as a whole is struggling and needs more focus on some element, or maybe he sees everyone is exceeding expectation so he can push further. But he’s always able to call an audible and do what’s right and best for the class, even if it’s not specifically what’s on the lesson plan, it’s still within scope for addressing what the students need within the scope of the class goals. It’s a rare trait, and I’m not sure students can appreciate it because they only see a small slice. But I’ve been around Karl in a teaching capacity for 7 years now and have seen a lot of how he operates. He’s got talent.
Back to students….
One take home? Preparedness. Not just things like carrying your gun or loading all your magazines before coming to class and such. But simple things like if it’s going to be sunny, wear sunscreen. If there’s a chance of rain, wear boots and a raincoat. Windy or chilly? a jacket or windbreaker would be wise. Don’t just think about your gun and ammo for class.
Speaking of equipment.
Another way the classes were atypical were the guns we saw. Some years ago you’d see wide variety in classes, but the past couple years it seems that everyone’s pretty much settled on Glock and M&P, with some XDm and the occasional other thing (Sig, H&K). But then suddenly this class was loaded with all sorts of different guns. Not a bad thing, just interesting.
Still, I think a lot of people were able to see how much equipment matters.
Gun fit? Very important. We had a few people with small hands and short fingers, and it was challenging to find a gun that fit them. But now that you know about gun fit (here’s a guide if you need a reminder and reference), now it’s time to go back to the store and just go through everything in the case until you find something that fits you. Yes, that might mean less than ideal calibers like .380 Auto or even .22 LR. But those are better than nothing, provided it means you can find a gun you can shoot, shoot well, and are happy to shoot (meaning you’ll practice). Also, don’t neglect potential for custom gunsmithing to help as well. You may need to get a grip reduction to reduce the mass in your hand, or a different trigger that doesn’t change the weight or safety of the trigger but does change the position so your finger can properly operate the trigger.
Accessories matter too. Lots of people with plain old belts, and they got to experience how they just don’t work well. They cannot support the weight, they twist, they sag, they give, the are too thin and narrow and holsters flex and move. Good belts are important. I’ve used belts from TheBeltMan, and these days I wear a Wilderness Tactical Original Instructor Belt. The Wilderness belt is NOT fashionable at all, but no one ever sees my belts and I like the “infinite adjustability” because of all my weight fluctuations. There are many good makers of gun belts; use them.
Same goes for holsters and magazine pouches. You will NOT find anything good or useful in the stores in town. Hooray for the Internet tho, because there are people like Comp-Tac, Blade Tech, Raven Concealment, Custom Carry Concepts, Dale Fricke, and many others making quality holsters. A key factor is you want a holster whose mouth stays open so you can reholster without problem. Kydex is good for this.
But while equipment is good, once you have it settled, that’s enough. It’s time to move up the ladder to more important things.
One side-effect of the weather was we got to do a lot more dry fire work in class than we normally do. I know it’s not as exciting, but I hope the students were able to see the value. I mean, they learned how to draw from a holster and draw from concealment all inside and dry — didn’t have to fire anything, ammo was not necessary.
Many of the skills learned cannot be practiced at local ranges. But about the only thing you can’t work on dry is recoil management. That’s one skill out of the many involved in pistol shooting, so focus on what you can. It’s easy, it costs you nothing but a few minutes of time every other day.
We saw numerous people making extraneous movement.
This is simply movement that doesn’t need to be made, and probably shouldn’t. The most common thing was on drawing the gun, squatting down.
I totally understand. I did this for a long time myself.
The thing is, it’s unnecessary movement and can work counter to what you’re trying to do. The biggest problem? When you move your body like that, you now affect where your eye-target line is. So not only are you trying to bring the gun up to the eye-target line, you are also making a moving target because the eye-target line is moving! All this movement makes it harder for you to quickly acquire a sight picture.
The only way to overcome it is to be aware of it, and work on it in dry fire.
Video yourself. Or watch yourself in a mirror. It will tell the truth.
So much of what we do is about economy of motion. For example, how instead of serializing the movements of pressing the gun out and pressing the trigger in we do them simultaneously? We don’t have to move faster, but the simultaneous motion allows us to achieve the end result much sooner. Economy of motion.
Despite the rain, it was a good day. The temperature remained cool and it was wonderful to have a day on the range where we weren’t soaked in sweat afterwards. Still soaked, but I’ll take the much-needed rain.
We had full classes, and each class was majority female. We had students aging from college to retirees. People of various backgrounds too. Again, I like to point out the wide diversity of students in classes because it shows that you cannot pigeonhole nor stereotype gun owners and people that take responsiblity for themselves.
And while I bragged on my boss-man, I also want to brag on my fellow assistants, Tom and Tracy. It’s great when you can have a well-oiled machine.
Thank you all for coming out and giving us the privilege of teaching you. I hope you had a good day, learned something, and we hope to see you out on the range again soon. 🙂