Rangemaster Practical Tactical 2022-06

On June 1, 2022 I was a student in the Rangemaster Practical Tactical Course presented by Tom Givens, hosted by Karl Rehn at the KR Training facility. I took this class not only because I appreciate a refresh on Tom’s doctrine, but it’s also part of my journey of the red dot pistol.

I was planning to make a video to post to my YouTube Series on Exploring the Red Dot Pistol, but the day job’s been stressful and I just wanted to be a student (no pressures of producing a video). So, you get a blog post. 😄

Practical Tactical

The Rangemaster Practical Tactical Course is 8 hours of intensive training in defensive marksmanship, proper gun-handling, and personal tactics. The class started in the classroom with Tom speaking on the importance of mindset. Tom dove into the 1986 FBI Miami shootout and the lessons it holds. Home security matters were addressed (tl;dr “lock your damn doors”). Staying safe in public. Who is around me? What are they doing? Active shooter realities. This classroom portion is the money of the class (or really, any class with Tom Givens) – the mechanical skill of shooting is, relatively, easy. But to have what? 5+ decades of direct knowledge, professionalism, and experience laying it down for you? People… that’s where it’s at.

I get the feeling the design of the class is half-classroom half-range. I say “feeling” because we experienced sudden, unpredicted downpours throughout the day and were confined to the classroom for a fair portion of the day. Tom of course being a wellspring of knowledge there was no shortage of things for him to teach, and so he did. Eventually the rain stopped and we went out. It’s a pleasure watching Tom run a range – I got reminded of a few places I need to tighten up.

Range work was strong on fundamentals. Note: Tom had the following prerequisite for the class:

Registration is strictly limited to students who have had any prior Rangemaster handgun course, such as Combative Pistol, Intensive Pistol, or Instructor Development. This assures that everyone is on the same page on Safety and Basic Marksmanship procedures, so we don’t have to use time in this class to cover those topics. This assures everyone of a better learning experience in this course.

(I think a KRT DPS1 grad would be minimal for this course)

In range work, Tom went over the 4-count drawstroke, refining technique. We did a lot of drawstroke, dry work, present from low ready, DTFAH, multiple hits, Parrot Drill. Good stuff. Very fundamentals, very much ensuring people have (minimum) competency.

For me, the range work wasn’t anything I couldn’t already do… but I had the dot. More on that in a moment.

I’ve taken around 150 hours of training from Tom – I’m familiar with what he teaches. I think this “Practical/Tactical” class makes a fantastic entry into the world of “The Gospel of Givens”. It is solid and well-considerate of topics for a 1-day class offering – it is rich in appropriate and relevant skills and information. I am happy people were introduced to Quickly, Carefully, Precisely. And again, the real money is the classroom material. Folks… THIS IS THE SHIT YOU NEED. And I’ll be real for a moment: I dunno how much longer Tom’s gonna keep doing this, so get your ass into one of his classes.

If you are more on the experienced side, this is still a valuable class. You can ALWAYS stand to hear the classroom stuff again – plus the way Tom tells it, well… you can tell he’s an articulate motherfucker who knows his shit. And the range time is excellent work on fundamentals – you will learn something new, that will help you along.

People go to classes because they want fun: a class has to be fun. It is a bit of an escape for most of us (e.g. I came home refreshed, actually! a day outside away from the computer…). Practical Tactical provides fun – you’ll get “pew-pew time”. But this is one of those classes where your satisfaction comes later, after class, when you realize how richer you’ve become for the experience.

Bottom line: a solid 1-day offering beneficial to those who wish to become richer in their knowledge of defensive handgun

Red Dot

I shot my Sig P365XL, curved trigger, Wilson Combat grip module, Holosun 507K (circle-dot), PHLster Enigma & JMCK Enigma Shell (recently adjusted).

My biggest problem was eye focus: I’m heavily myelinated on front-sight focus, so I wound up doing dot-sight focus. I’m also learning how to acquire (hunt for) the dot. I’ve been mostly working on the press-out, which implies ready positions like “high-compressed ready” (which is what is done at KRT). Tom works from the low ready – I haven’t worked that with the dot. The “on press-out” techniques to help you find/acquire the dot like starting slightly muzzle-up waving/dropping the muzzle as you get to extension to allow the dot to “drop in” – you can’t do that from low ready. So how the F do you manage low ready? What’s the trick there? Seriously, I’m asking – comment below.

I just have to continue to (un)learn it. I think I need more live-fire at this point, because recoil, sun, etc. It’s just going to take work – I need to get my eyes/brain seeing what needs to be seen here. I was thankful Doug Greig was AI’ing, as he was a solid resource for dot-specific tips.

To that… remember. The old man is 70, still uses irons, and outshoots all of us. Take that to the bank.

I was better in my grip… almost too good:

Blood blister, I reckon from a bottom-corner on the mag well. I’ll be taking some sandpaper to round off edges. I like the WC module, but it’s a trade-off for the part vs. something like a Boresight module. I have an off-the-shelf BS module, but I think to work in my hands I need a custom job, which is time and money so… yeah.

After adjusting the Enigma/JMCK setup, it’s working better. I need to get a sport belt…

It was an informative time. Things I see I could stand to do:

  • Do more dry work “at speed”
    • Think about that DTFAH skill.
  • Drive the gun, especially during dry work.
    • Small gun issues…
  • Continue to work on eye focus
  • Live work – use Gabe’s 4 technical skills, perhaps.

It was good to see Tom. I’m privileged to know and learn from him.

Tom Givens & John Daub (me)

9 thoughts on “Rangemaster Practical Tactical 2022-06

  1. In your dry practice, aim the dot at your target, then keep that arm/wrist relationship as you lower the gun. When you get to low ready, make sure you can still glance down and see the dot in the window. Then raise the gun without losing the dot in the window. Soon you will be able to draw to that position and confirm the dot there, that way when you come up, the dot will be in the window. I go to low ready, confirm the dot is there, and then raise it while looking at the target.

    • Doug mentioned that: to think about cocking the wrist lower than you think, then to actually glance down to confirm.

      The wrist thing I get, because that’s just a human physiology thing that we have to train because it’s not a normal angle for us to exist at. The glance… I mean, it’s all about keeping your eyes on the threat, and this is taking your eyes off it. Of course, I see arguments – because KRT teaches to look at the mag well during a reload (target in peripheral). So… I dunno.

      I can see this in dry practice to learn – but we know that every rep provides a pathway to myelination. If we keep doing it in practice, we’ll be prone to do it for reals. But we gotta learn somehow…

      I dunno. This feels like a lot of square range do-able, but maybe not ideal for “da streetz”. What am I missing here?

      • I was doing this at Rogers. Two of their start positions are like this. It’s a quick enough glance that the target is still in your peripheral vision while confirming the dot, and then you can maintain the dot in that position with your peripheral vision while looking at the target.

  2. I agree … Tom is the real deal and I always learn a lot from his classes! I’d encourage you to take a red dot class with Scott Jedlinski of Modern Samurai Project – he’ll blow your mind AND you’ll master the red dot sight.

  3. 1- Target focus re-training is a pain. I can’t emphasize enough the value I got from occluding the red dot. Nothing fancy here, just put some tape in front of that 507K then do some dry work, live work, and maybe shoot a match or two. It works wonders. I’ve got a blog post on it here: https://unclezo.com/2022/05/03/cashing-in-pistol-mounted-red-dot-sight-benefits-with-occlusion/

    2- The key for me to get comfortable starting from low ready with the dot was to set the grip angle in low ready. To do that I make sure my grip is how I want it and look through the window to make sure I can see the dot and “lock in” that wrist angle. On the signal bring the gun up while keeping the wrists “locked in”. If the dot isn’t in the window chances are it’s below it so raise the muzzle to bring it. Kind of the opposite if “fishing the dot” on the press out. Dry work from low ready to dot on target with trigger prepped or pressed cleans that presentation up too. Bonus tip: do this with an occluded red dot to avoid looking for a front sight to correct with.

      1. I shall try that. Thank you.
      2. Yeah… biggest thing for me was that I had never practiced/tried low ready (KRT doctrine is high-compressed, Rangemaster low) so I was experiencing it for the first time in class and trying to figure it out on the fly.

      I just need to put some dry work into it – your and Rick’s suggestions I will try.

      Thank you.

  4. Just as Uncle Zo said. Establish your grip with the dot in the window at low ready, and keep your grip, and keep that angle coming up. Set it, then only move your shoulders on the way up.

    • Yeah – that’s been a cool side-effect of this work: It’s making me focus on grip more.

      With a larger gun (that has a larger grip/stocks/frame), my larger hand size and my increased grip strength made it something I could slack on and get away with. The smaller P365XL size requires me to be more thoughtful about grip. For example, I have a tendency to let my palms come apart (specifically at that “point” at the base/end/corner of your palm just above your wrist on the ulnar side). If I engage my pecs to squeeze my palms together, that helps (Mike Seeklander is the only person I’ve heard advocating pectoral engagement to make your grip).

      So it just adds to the things I have to think about, consider, apply, keep doing throughout, etc. while shooting here. I probably should have started with a dot on my M&P (i.e. change one thing at a time), but this keeps it interesting. 😉

      Thank you for your continued input, my friend.

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