KR Training 2015-07-11 Beyond the Basics Quick Hits

KR Training held it’s “Beyond the Basics: Pistol” class this past Saturday. We had a full class of good students. Here’s some quick hits from my observations.

Gear Matters

Shooting is a context where gear can help or hinder you. You can increase skill with the right gear, and you can hamper performance with the wrong gear.

As discussed in class, better sights and better trigger will certainly improve your performance. Beyond that discussion tho, things like the right holster and magazine pouches go a long way as well. While this class wasn’t a high-speed-low-drag class, it wasn’t a “draw from the holster” class, certainly performance was helped or hindered by such equipment.

For example, magazine pouches need to provide quick and unhampered access to the magazines. Covering flaps slow down access. Having the “pocket” be too deep, the sides of the pouch coming WAY up the side of the magazine, doesn’t allow you to get a proper grip on the magazine. Having double-pouches that don’t put enough space between the magazines can prevent you from getting a proper grip on the magazine. The magazine pouch needs to allow the magazine to pull free without any binding or need to withdraw the magazine in a special way (Karl was testing some new magazine pouches that were difficult to withdraw from). These things may not matter when you’re slowly plinking at the range, but when you need to move quickly, these little things matter.

Speaking of magazines….

Have More Magazines

Having a lot of magazines is useful in a class situation, because the more magazines you have, the more that are loaded, the more you can keep running drills uninterrupted. I like keeping 10 fully-loaded magazines in my range bag. Usually I only run 3-4 of them in the course of a class, but I like having 10. Why? With 16 rounds in each magazine, chances are high the class will have a greater than 160 round count, so I’m going to have to reload a magazine sooner or later. Thus whenever the rest of the class breaks to reload mags, I do too. But by having some spares I have a buffer, because sometimes there isn’t time to reload (e.g. have to run to the bathroom, have to move to the next station) so I can minimize downtime and delay by just grabbing another full mag from my bag. And with something like an UpLULA I can reload quickly. Seriously, I used to scoff at that thing, but now I love it. Saves your fingers, and once you learn the rhythm you can reload mags really fast.

But really what stood out to me regarding “more magazines” was I saw a few people prep for class by taking their carry gun, taking the magazine out, stripping out their carry ammo, then reloading with practice ammo. While this isn’t a horrible sin, it’s not an ideal thing.

Consider my posting from a few days ago about magazine springs. (Yes click through and read, or at least look at the picture in the article).

Magazines wear out. They are a likely point of failure (that’s why it’s a solid idea to carry a reload). I don’t like putting a lot of wear and tear on my carry mags because I’d prefer to keep them as far away from failure as possible. Yes, modern magazines can perform quite well, and even the “worn out” ones I was using were still chugging along just fine (and I’m sure will continue to do so on the practice range), but unless you have some particular need to do this, well… take the time to invest in a few more magazines. Let your carry mags be your carry mags, keep them well-cared for, and let your practice mags be used for practice. If you pick up one new magazine here and there, each time you go shopping, before you know it you’ll have a good supply.

Speed

Everyone wants to go faster, but you can’t go faster than you can go while still getting acceptable hits. Remember your performance at the end of class on the steel plates? It’s all about speed change-ups, right? Speed is relative, and being able to make “bang bang” noises really close together means nothing if you don’t make the hits.

But remember, you don’t just go faster by purely going faster. Efficiency of motion matters a great deal.

I’ve written on this before, so I’ll link to a few articles:

Explaining “Going Faster” without necessarily “Going Faster”

and

Equipment Matters, and more on Going Faster

and

Slow Down to Go Fast

These articles are specially useful because they contain videos that manifest everything that came out of the class (changing speeds, economy of motion, etc.). Yes, click through and watch.

Solidify Your Foundation

Ask yourself something.

What is your goal? What is your purpose? Why are you taking classes?

Is it to stroke your ego?

Or is it to improve your skills and abilities?

If it’s the former, I can’t help you.

If it’s the latter, realize that the former may have to take a hit. Yeah, I’m not always thrilled about being humbled and embarrassed, I’ve got an ego too, but we don’t improve if we don’t humble ourselves now and again.

Beyond the Basics addressed a particular skill area. Because of the limits of class we can’t work on perfecting things like grip-and-stance, drawstroke, etc.. But I did see numerous students that could benefit from some attention to those areas. Seek some instruction in those areas, of shooting fundamentals. A class like our Basic Pistol 2 is fantastic for the fundamentals of sights and trigger control. A class like Defensive Pistol Skills 1 builds upon that and introduces the drawing from concealment holsters.

You don’t have to receive your training from us, tho we would love to see you again. But do seek instruction. I think a couple students in class made a good case.

One student said he had watched lots of videos, read lots, and thought he had a lot of the concepts and techniques down (and he did). But that it took having an instructor there to be able to actually watch and give him live and direct feedback that made a big difference.

Another student? If I remember correctly, this was his third time taking Beyond the Basics. These are skills we all need to work on, and it’s great to see such acknowledgement and dedication to self-improvement.

Coda

Apart from the fact summer’s officially here and it’s getting pretty hot out, it was a good day. A good group of students, cooperative weather, lots of brass on the ground…. can’t ask for much more. 🙂

Thank you all for choosing KR Training and coming out to spend the day with us. Hope to see you back on the range soon!

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