Yesterday was a Defensive Pistol Skills 2 day at KR Training. I was assisting Karl with class. After class, a few students reshot the Three Seconds or Less test, and I joined them on the line.
I shot with the Sig P365XL Holosun from my Enigma/JMCK. I finally picked up a Sport Belt (where have you been all my life you sweet thing!). I also chose to rotate my carry ammo, so throughout the day I shot up my Gold Dot 124 grain +P.
First thing I noticed was I was going back into the holster by the time students were just breaking their first shot. Getting out of the holster quickly has merit.
Second, I way failed the test.
Where was the fucking dot?
That’s all that kept going through my head.
Where’s the fucking dot?
I tried playing with some things like slide/window indexing. But still… where’s the fucking dot?
During class, I was running the shoothouse. Afterwards I cranked off some 25+ yard rounds to the 3-D reactive targets – behold the power of the dot.
If you can fucking find it. 🤪
I’ve not been dry practicing for a couple weeks. I’ve been massively burned out due to sleep issues. If I can’t increase my reserves I have to cut expenditures. It’s why I took the last week off from the gym, and why I’m readjusting my gym work with regards to fatigue management. In fact, I’m writing this on a late Sunday afternoon, where I’ve napped most of the day and am starting to regain myself. I rewatched this from Rob Leatham:
and I’m feeling a rise within to want to get back to work.
That’s a good sign.
Oh another thing. It’s ok to suck in public. A couple students stayed after and spectated the shooting. I – the instructor – failed and sucked in front of students/clients. On the one hand, I get the ego involvement and protection. On the other, as Jake the Dog said:
Dude, suckin’ at something is the first step to being sorta good at something.
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.
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
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.
As you can see in the video, my ability to pick up the dot did improve – but no question I still have a long way to go. A few high points for my focus:
Focus on the Draw To First Acceptable Hit(s) skill
Start from the holster and work on that draw to first acceptable hit.
Grip acquisition (primarily dialing in new gear, or going back to old gear and adjusting more)
Make sure I’m being target focused (establishing that as a new habit, instead of well-habituated front-sight focus).
Make sure that pinky is engaged, especially on this P365XL
My 10 yard and 3 yard shooting were fairly similar. I’m working to find the dot every time because that’s my current skill focus. What I need to do next is learn what it looks like with the RDS to “see what I need to see”. Because I’m new to this, every bit of shooting is me trying to find the dot and shoot with that “perfect sight picture” – because that’s my skill focus. But of course, what sight picture I need at 3 yards vs. what I need at 25 yards are different things. This is something I’ll need to set aside a live fire session for, especially at 7 yards.
One other thing that I’m not sure what to do with. I realized the act of producing the video is a novel stress. I’m thinking about the shot, staying in frame, am I generating a cohesive narrative, word choice, minimizing ums and ahs, ensuring I look at the iPhone’s camera not screen, etc. Lots of little things while I’m trying to just shoot. I wonder how much the novel stress impacts my performance – not as an excuse, but literally as a measure and assessment of my performance. We want automaticity in performance so that we can have the brain cycles available to focus on the novel stress of the event so…
Anyways, a good session. Told me a lot. Work ahead.
I finally have a long enough stretch of schedule, at least the rest of 2022 if not longer, so now’s the time to dedicate to exploring the Red Dot Pistol (RDS). It’s a bit of work to switch from iron sights to the RDS, but with my 100 Day Challenge going on, I have the means to work on it. I don’t expect proficiency overnight; in fact, accepting it may take me a year is a load off because now I can just focus on the work, the process, and knowing the result will come (thank you, Jim Wendler).
Since TacCon22 ended, I’ve been doing dry work. It’s mostly been focused around simply looking at the sight picture. The dot-circle red reticle is a different sight picture for my brain to process – it’s novel, and I need to remove that novelty. I also need to change where my eyes focus: from front sight to target; as well, I don’t need to close one eye any more. Consequently, most of the dry work hasn’t been any sort of skills or movement, merely acclimation. I’m still not acclimated to it, but it’s no longer truly novel. And so, it’s time to do some exploration in life fire.
April 15, 2022 I went to the A-Zone Range (KR Training’s home). I took my gun, which is Sig P365-based. I’ve been carrying, working, and shot the TacCon22 match with a P365-based gun: P365 slide and factory irons, curved trigger, Wilson Combat XL grip module. Why this? I prefer the XL length, and it was the only solution I had with irons; buying an XL slide JUST for irons didn’t make financial sense. I do have an XL with a Holosun 507K X2 and a Boresights grip module. I used that for dry work, now I’m swapping the slide/dot onto the WC-grip-curved-trigger 365 assembly.
For live work, I did the following:
Warmed up with my irons setup (since it’s what I’m familiar with)
Minimum Competency Assessment (v3)
Three Seconds or Less
Rangemaster Core Skills (hit factor scoring)
Swap to XL slide and dot
Zero at 10 yards
Just shoot a bunch
Fiddle with sight picture, grip, presentation, trigger, etc you name it. Change reticle.
Shoot the 4 drills again
Shoot on a shootsteel.com target, which Karl’s been using a lot more lately – it’s a good, target, well-designed, tougher than IPDA/IPSC/Q if you restrict to A & B zones (which I did; Core Skills opened to C zone). Shot about 400 rounds in 2 hours. I will say, my hands felt a little shredded from the WC grip. As expected, performance degraded. Not horrible, but let’s be real. If I shot 119 on Core Skills with the P365-irons and 78 with the dot, I need to be able to consistently pull 120 if the dot hype is to be believed. So, I’ve got work ahead of me.
From how it went down, first thing I need to work on is grip acquisition. I need to do some holster adjusting, and while I love the Enigma I am thinking about going back to a belt holster, at least for a cross-check. But I need to ensure I get the best grip on the gun, because I’m not doing it. And I have to balance this with how the gun needs to conceal since the Holosun adds more things that jut out. So, it’s holster fiddling, to ultimately ensure best grip acquisition. I need to get on the gun and get it out of the holster quickly.
Then I need to work on getting it out of the holster and onto target efficiently, acquiring the dot while doing so.
Then, on pressing the trigger and not messing up the sight picture. Keeping mind of consistently applied grip pressure throughout the firing cycle.
Repeat until I suck less. Improving the above will do wonders.
In related news… as I think about my first “season” of #ItsColdDrillTimeAgain (a small video series I did about cold drills), I thought about fiddling with a little more production. We’ll see where this goes.