Saturday March 4, 2017 was another installment of “the big day” at KR Training. This is a (long) day of training we hold typically twice a year, consisting of:
Many students come for all 3 classes and a very long day, but for sure we have folks that come for just 1 or 2 of the classes. And this session was no different.
Here’s some quick hits from the class.
Attendance was good, with a good mix of students.
Rain was the order of the day. Pretty much rained all day long, tho it was mostly a gentle rain (no thunderstorms). So the rain didn’t prove to be much of a problem, but for sure it had some effect. Of course the cardboard targets eventually wilted, the shoothouse got a little muddy, and the main range had a few puddles. But all in all things went well, and everyone was in good spirits. We were a little nervous about class having to be modified, but for the most part we were able to have business as usual.
Guns and equipment was a little more varied than usual. I’ve noticed we’ve seen students generally standardizing on Glocks and M&Ps these days; just less variety than in years past. But I consider that generally a good thing – people are gravitating to known reliable platforms. This is not a place for the unknown and the unreliable, because we’re talking about self-defense and life-safety equipment. That said, I did want to point out one instance.
One student came with a SCCY pistol. These pistols are not known for reliability. Yes you read the Internet message boards where people talk about how reliable their SCCY is, then you find out their boasting is a meager “200 rounds and no problems”. I consider 200 rounds to be barely a break-in period. At this point I’ve put a couple thousand rounds through my new M&P9 M2.0, and am only just starting to trust it as reliable. 200 rounds means almost nothing.
I’ll be straight here. When I saw the SCCY my first thought was “how long until that gun shits the bed?” The DPS-2 class starts out with a simple cold drill: 5 yard line, IDPA or IPSC target, from concealment, on buzzer: move, draw, shoot, scan, reload, communicate. It’s a fast, cold drill to give the student some indication of how they can and will actually perform should the flag fly. That SCCY? It malfunctioned. The first shot of the first string of the first drill of the first class of the first day — and it failed.
I consider that a bad sign.
In fairness, the gun did get through the entire day (note: only 2 of the 3 classes are shooting classes). I did notice it had a few other malfunctions throughout the day, whereas I didn’t see any of the other guns in class (Glocks, M&Ps, an H&K, a Ruger) have problems (doesn’t mean they didn’t; just I didn’t observe nor hear from the other instructors). Karl shot the SCCY a little bit and said it appears to be particular about how you hold it and thus can malfunction (Karl, please correct my memory if I’m remembering your experience incorrectly). Even still, I consider that a Bad Thing™ because there’s no guarantee in a fight you’ll have perfect grip (we all botch the drawstroke now and again, even under the best of range conditions). It’s one reason we’re not too high on grip-safeties (like on the XD).
If that student is reading this: don’t take this personally, but do take this as a learning point. We choose to carry a gun because we have reasonable belief that someday we may need such a tool to protect someone’s life. We don’t get to choose when that moment will occur, nor the circumstances of that moment. Thus it behooves us to do all we can ahead of time to tilt the odds in our favor; picking reliable equipment helps tilt the odds in our favor. This is one of the benefits of receiving professional/formal training: you get to put yourself and your gear under more stress than a casual day plinking, and you get to find out what works and what doesn’t. If it doesn’t work less than 100% awesome, get rid of it and adopt what’s known to be 100% awesome. This is not a place for ego investment, aside from being ego invested in keeping your ego around to see another day, y’know?
I think we had a really good group of students. Very eager to learn, picked up on concepts pretty quickly. Things moved well throughout the day.
What I enjoy about these classes is helping students move beyond. For example, for many this is the first time they have to consider the notion of target discernment. Is that a target to shoot? Is that not? The use of photorealistic targets, that may be holding a gun or may be holding a cell phone. Or maybe it’s a guy holding back an aggressive dog. Is that something to shoot? Or not?
Really, the big order of the day is – thinking.
Yes, there are hard skills that get worked and taught, but the big take home is having to use your head and think through the problems. Not everything is a shooting problem, and you have to learn that just because you have this hammer, not everything is a nail.
That’s one reason I think that “force-on-force” scenario training is so important. Our AT-2 class is a basic introduction to scenario training. It’s not really physical, but it’s very mental. You will have to think, and for many there will be a lot of mistakes made. But that’s precisely part of the value in scenario training: making your mistakes here so can learn and not make them when it matters.
The students were very receptive, very open, and picked up on things very quickly. It’s great when as class goes on, your attempts to cause the students to make mistakes don’t work out because they just don’t take the bait – learning is occurring. 🙂
Student homework is simple: practice what you learned.
Remember that most of the skills we taught cannot be practiced at most public ranges. But that’s OK, because most of the skills we taught don’t need live fire to be practiced. You can perform these with an unloaded gun (dry fire) or a dummy (red) gun at home. In fact, some of the skills, like movement through your house, is something you can do without a gun at all. Be sure to look at your home, the layout, and how you could move through it. What else could you do to the house to aid that (e.g. motion detector lights? strategically placed mirrors? etc.)
I’d also recommend students come back for our Beyond the Basics: Pistol class (the next one is in April – and it’s an infrequently offered class). The focus of the day was on other skills, so we didn’t (couldn’t) spend much time correcting marksmanship and other basic shooting skills issues. BtB: Pistol will be a big help on such skills. I’d also say it’s worth considering the Basic Pistol 2 class for the same reasons: fundamentals of marksmanship. Don’t get your ego hung up on taking a class that comes earlier in the curriculum than the one you just took: sometimes a step back is what you need in order to charge forward. All the fast shooting and fancy skills don’t mean a thing if you can’t hit what needs hitting.
This is a time for honest assessment of your skills, and doing what it takes to make yourself awesome. 🙂
I want to thank all the students that came out to train with us. Thank you for taking the time and spending your hard-earned money with us. Thank you for putting your faith and trust in us to teach you. Thank you for putting up with the rain, and not letting it distract you from learning and making yourself better. I’m thankful for the job I have, and that you enable me to do it.
Hope to see you back out on the range. 🙂