KR Training 2016-04-16 BP2/DPS1 Quick Hits

This past Saturday, April 16, 2016 we had another Basic Pistol 2 (Defensive Pistol Skills Essentials) and Defensive Pistol Skills 1 day at KR Training.

Karl had to be out of town, so class was headed by Tom Hogel, with myself, Ed Vinyard, and a special 4th assistant. Our scheduled 4th blew out her knee a few days prior thus was unable to join us, so my son, “Oldest”, joined us to be our gopher and safety officer. He was a tremendous help, and the day wouldn’t have been successful without him. Thanx, son. 🙂

We had threats of rain all day, and a few sprinkles here and there, but for the most part the day ran smooth and good. But it was a rather interesting class. About 1/2 of the students were there for both classes, but regardless of the makeup, we had an interesting variety of equipment. A lot of SIGs, a lot of DA/SA guns, and a lot of tiny guns. And an interesting observation? Not a single student had a Glock (a number of M&Ps tho). I point this out because it plays into some of the take-homes.

Gun (and gear) selection

Karl has an excellent write-up about gun selection. A relevant excerpt:

When most people go gun shopping or get advice from gun salespeople or gun owner friends, typically their ‘search criteria’ list looks something like this:

size (small is good), weight (light is good), cost (cheap is good), caliber (bigger is better), magazine capacity (bigger is better), night sights (good), laser (cool), color (blued, stainless, green?)

A lot of those assumptions are wrong. As it turns out, what really matters when you try to hit a target with it is this:

gun fit (can you reach the trigger), trigger pull weight, trigger pull distance, barrel length, sight radius, sight quality, gun weight proportional to caliber.

Let’s put this in perspective. The whole point of shooting is to hit your intended target quickly. If you miss or you are too slow, the consequences could run from just wasting ammo to giving up a game animal, a prize at a shooting match, or your life. There’s no award for ‘had a big caliber’, ‘carried the lightest gun on the market’, or ‘had plenty of ammo in the gun’. You either hit or you don’t. Choosing the right equipment will get you to a higher level of skill in less time, and whether you only shoot 50 rounds every 4 years because the state requires it for your carry permit, or you shoot multiple days a week with dreams of winning the Nationals, equipment will make a difference for you.

Emphasis added.

And let me restate it:

The whole point of shooting is to hit your intended target quickly.

Certainly skill matters, but gear matters too. If your gear gets in the way you will be unable to put your skill into play and won’t be able to hit your intended target quickly.

And so we had a number of people with very tiny guns, like SIG P938‘s, other sub-compact and ultra-compact type guns. They just could not run them well:

  • Couldn’t work the safety (properly)
  • Couldn’t get both hands on the gun and get a good grip
  • Couldn’t get a good sight picture
  • Hands too big and/or gun too small, so couldn’t press the trigger smoothly to the rear
  • etc.

What is our solution? We got them to shoot larger guns. As soon as they did that, they were drilling the centers out of the targets. They had the skill, but their gear was in the way.

Hopefully people are going shopping this week. 🙂

Yes, small guns have their place. But the reality is small guns are much harder to shoot. For lack of a better way to put it? Small guns are expert guns. When you are at this stage, when you are working to acquire fundamental skills, you need to focus on skill building (not gear). So get yourself something like a Glock 17 or Glock 19, S&W M&P9 (full-/service-size), and focus on your skills. This gear will run well, will be a lot more fun and productive to shoot, and now you can focus on skills and not frustration caused by gear.

In addition to the small guns, we had a number of DA/SA guns. That long, heavy first DA trigger press is just a lot to overcome. Can you do it? Sure. Can you train around it? Sure. But there’s a lot of dedication and work required. Or, could you get a Glock or M&P and have a consistent good trigger and just move on?

As well, guns like this often get more complicated: decockers, external safety levers, magazine disconnects, etc.. I know people hate working all those gizmos, but if you’re going to have a gun with all of them you MUST work the gizmos; you must run every drill string from that decocked and long-heavy undesirable DA trigger press. If you hate running all the gizmos, get a simpler gun.

Then there’s other stuff like holsters. Saw a number of students with the hybrid holsters (a backing made of leather or something soft/flimsey, then a kydex shell on the other “half”). While I’ve not been as down on hybrids as some other instructors, I gotta say the hybrid situation in class was pretty bad — people just had a hard time reholstering because the backer was collapsing due to “body shapes”. As well, some of these holsters were riding so low that folks couldn’t get a solid grip on the gun during the drawstroke. Yeah that holster might be inexpensive or “comfortable”, but you get what you pay for.

At the end of DPS1 I spoke further to this point.

As an engineer, I want my machines to be as simple as possible (but no simpler). When you start adding things on, it just provides more points of breakage, failure, etc.. A Glock and a SIG ultimately accomplish the same task, but the SIG takes a more complicated route to get there. So if you are going to add all of this extra stuff into the mix, you need to have an articulable reason as to what advantage that extra stuff gives you. USPSA Production shooters that really work to game it are now shooting CZ’s and Tanfoglio’s because, while they have that DA/SA trigger, the weight of that gun provides improvement in recoil management so it’s worth the tradeoff. Plus people going that route are heavily dedicated to competition shooting and so they are willing and able to put in the time and effort to make the system work. Thus, an articulable reason for the more complex choice. Point being, make sure you can articulate the reasons behind your choices and that they are sound for accomplishing your goal in the most effective and efficient manner possible.  If the gizmo isn’t helping, get rid of it.


There’s a lot of things out there about OODA.

There’s a lengthy video lecture from Boyd himself:

That’s just part 1. Look at the playlist/sidebar for the further parts.

I’d also recommend you give Claude Werner’s further examination of the “OODA Loop” some investigation. Claude’s one of the most analytical minds in the shooting world, and has spent a good deal of time trying to get people to correctly understand what OODA is about.

Ballistic Radio Podcast episode


Decisions Determine Outcomes


And if you wanted to watch that Paul Gomez drawstroke video again:

Thank you

It was a good day out to be out on the range. Thank you to all the students that were willing to spend their time and money to come out, learn, and grow. Thank you as well for choosing and entrusting us at KR Training to help you in your journey. We hope to see you back out on the range.

Meantime, if you have questions about anything – including gear, because we’re happy to save you some heartache and money before you go buying – just drop us a line. We’re happy to help.


4 thoughts on “KR Training 2016-04-16 BP2/DPS1 Quick Hits

  1. Great write-up. Excellent description: “small guns are expert guns”. My wife was the one with the sig p938 and hopefully this article changes her mind. While we don’t need to get rid of the p938 completely, she would be much better off practicing with a full-size because of all the points you outlined. Glad that we both took your class and we will be back for more!

    • I hope that the experiences in class changed her mind. 🙂 I mean, she was ok with the P938, but once she started shooting the larger gun she was nailing it!

      I agree. Don’t get rid of the P938 entirely, but right now at this stage of things she’d do better to use the full-sized gun, work on skills aquisition, etc. and primarily focus with the larger gun. But from time to time, pull out the P938 and work it with the better skills. The skills are mostly transferrable — a little bit of modification between such vastly different guns, but generally things will roll over.

      Looking forward to seeing y’all again!

  2. I just wanted to reiterate what a great day I had… Still grin when I think about the zipper drill! Major props to the staff- you guys are top notch! A question… Skills wise, does it make more sense to jump into DPS2 or BTB? Something keeps pulling me to BTB as a next step since it focuses on some the the finer points in fundamentals. Figure I need to sure up that side of things first… which will allow me to go faster (smoothly) when I do take DPS2. your thoughts? (I was the southpaw w/ the 1911)

    • Thank you for the kind works, Keith.

      Where to go next? Either DPS2 or BTB would work for you; I’d recommend both (eventually) because they do work different skill sets. DPS2 starts to address more “fighting” skills like malfunctions, reloads, cover/concealment. BTB works more on marksmanship drills from 5-15 yards (and thereabouts). Both are important skillsets. So I’d say in many respects, it probably comes down to your schedule vs. our class schedule, budget, etc.. Both would be good for you.

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