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. ūüėĄ

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) ‚Ästthe 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‚Ķ¬†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 ‚ÄstI 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‚Ķ¬†but I had the dot. More on that in a moment.

I’ve taken around 150 hours of training from Tom¬†‚ÄstI’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 ‚Äď 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‚Ķ 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 ‚Ästplus the way Tom tells it, well‚Ķ 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‚Ķ). Practical Tactical provides fun ‚Äď 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 ‚Äď 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” ‚Ästyou 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 ‚Ästcomment 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‚Ķ yeah.

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

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‚Ķ
  • 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)

Austin’s Increasing Crime and Increasing Police Response Times

I was sitting in the doctor’s office yesterday. On the waiting room TV was the local Spectrum News talking about Austin’s uptick in violent crime.

  • Murder ‚ÄĒ same as last year
  • Rape ‚Äď up 4.6%
  • Robbery ‚Äď up 37.3%
  • Aggravated Assault ‚Äď down 12%
  • Total violent crime ‚Äď up 1.7%

They also went back 5 years and looked at the total violent crime index:

  • 2017 ‚Äď 4414
  • 2016 ‚Äď 4288
  • 2015 ‚Äď 3536
  • 2014 ‚Äď 3608
  • 2013 ‚Äď 3135

That’s pretty much a steady increase in violent crime in Austin.

The TV was on in the background. I was sitting and checking email on my phone, and a notice from NextDoor came in, with someone posting this article on how over the last 7 years APD response calls are significantly slower:

The Austin Police Department is releasing new numbers comparing response times between 2011 and 2017. In 2017, response times for P0 and P1 priority calls are nearly a minute and a half slower.

For P2 priority calls, officers responded about four minutes behind times in 2011. As for P3 priority calls, or those that are the least urgent, police reached callers more than sixteen minutes later.

Michael R. Levy, Former Chair of the Austin Public Safety Commission says he‚Äôs been watching public safety in Austin since 1976 and it’s never been this bad.

When you need the police, it’s taking them even longer to get to you. A lot of bad stuff can happen in a minute and a half.

What made seeing these two reports at the same time interesting was this quote from Mayor Steve Adler:

But¬†he says doesn’t believe Austin residents are at an increased danger. “I certainly don’t think the public should just be looking at response times because Austin as we know is one of the top 4 safest cities in the country when it concerns violent crime. Property crimes are at a 20 year low.”

Top 4 safest cities in the country when it comes to violent crime.

Mr. Mayor, did you not see your own police chief’s latest monthly report on violent crime? I guess not.

Take this data however you want, residents of Austin.

Me? I suspect it’s going to get worse. Austin’s population continues to grow rapidly. It’s a tough time to be a cop, and fewer people want to get into the profession. And you can also see from Mayor Adler’s comments that there’s a bunch of waffling regarding budget. Not a recipe for success.

Folks: Austin’s still a nice city. But the hard reality is, things are getting worse. And you just cannot count on the police to be there ‚Äď immediately or in a reasonably timely manner ‚Äď to protect you.

Updated: Paul Martin discusses this article and topic in episode 25 (Feb. 25, 2018) of The Situation:

Listen to the 911 operator, but blindly obey them? Well‚Ķ

You call 911 for whatever reason, usually because something bad or dangerous is occurring.

What is the 911 operator going to do? They’re going to ask you a lot of questions. They have to ask questions because they aren’t there with you ‚Äď they¬†don’t know what’s going on and have to rely upon you to tell them. They are trying to assess the situation to determine who to send (police? fire? EMS?), and then to help relay as much information as possible to the responders so the responders can respond accordingly and know what they are about to walk in on.

This is quite reasonable.

However…

I am of the opinion that you do not and SHOULD not BLINDLY follow the directions of the 911 operator.

Should you listen to them? Yes.

Should you work to be as helpful as possible? Yes.

Should you risk your own personal safety? No!

Case in point (and what motivated me to write this).

Friends of mine woke up to a truck idling outside their house. The truck’s front bumper was pressed up against the tail their son’s car (parked on the street). Car running. Driver passed out.

911 operator told them to turn the car off.

Nope. Sorry.

That would require  me to approach the vehicle. That would require me to reach into the truck and/or open the door, and otherwise interact with someone that is demonstrably not within normal faculties.

Consider as well there have been numerous events where people have observed crime occurring, reported to 911, and the 911 operator tells the caller to follow the criminal! Often the caller proceeds to follow the criminal, risking their personal safety.

For example,¬†Paul Saustrop was an Austin, Texas CHL holder who 911 dispatchers told to follow the attacker that had threatened him and his wife because there were no officers available four blocks from the police station. It resulted¬†in a defensive shooting where the press crucified him for “chasing down the victim”. All kinds of errors there: ¬†starting with listening to the dispatcher and following the threat. (h/t to John Kochan for¬†jogging my memory on¬†this event).

Why does this happen? One explanation is obedience to authority figures. See the Milgram Experiment.

Of course, it’s your choice to actually follow-through with any request from the operator¬†because you are there and have better knowledge and context about what’s going on. Just remember, while the¬†911 operator may have requested it, if you feel it’s a risk to your personal safety, exercise judgment and¬†politely refuse.

 

 

Life worth protecting? Get medical skills!

‘Blood was coming out of her mouth and down her shoulder. ‚Ķ

‘I grabbed her and she was a puppet. I was walking to her towards the door and got her through the foyer and she collapsed in her arms.

‘I put her down and blood was coming out of her mouth and I thought she would have choked. Her eyes were staring up and I lifted her up and her little arms were broken. She had shrapnel in both her legs, her shoulder and her face.

May 22, 2017. Manchester. Almost 2 dozen dead and 10x as many injured at the end of an Ariana Grande concert. Many were children.

‘She lost pints and pints of blood in the time I was there. ‘We made makeshift compressions to press on her wounds on her legs and shoulder. I was holding her up and talked to her, asking her name.

A sick, evil creature inflicted this.

‘We stopped the bleeding but I couldn’t move as she screamed if I did,’ she said.

‘It took so long for help to come. I was holding her all the time crying we need help we need help. Every time i moved a little bit she screamed she was in that much pain.

‘The armed police swarmed in and sit seemed to take forever to check the place. I was sat there so long and all I could see was the bodies and the blood. I saw a body in half, there was so much blood. Peoples clothes had been blown off them and people crying in agony.

(Full story. h/t Greg Ellifritz)

It’s maddening.

People go on and on about wanting to carry a gun to protect their lives. I totally get that.

But let me ask you this.

How many times in the past year have you needed a gun?

How many times in the past year have you needed medical skills? Even so little as having to clean a cut and put on a band-aid.

Which do you think¬†is going to go further in terms of your ability to¬†preserve your life and the lives of others? Carrying a gun? Or having medical skills?¬†First-aid. Field trauma. You don’t have to be an EMT, but there are critical life-saving skills you can possess.

What drives me (and¬†many of my colleagues) crazy? That people will plunk down hundreds or thousands of dollars¬†for a weekend shooting class, but when presented with the ability to take a¬†medical class, they go out of their way to¬†make excuses to NOT take the class. I shit you not, I’ve seen it first-hand.

WTF?

My buddy Caleb Causey of Lone Star Medics is coming to KR Training June 3-4, 2017 to teach his Med-X EDC course. And you know what? Last I checked, the class is at risk of not making. Not enough students interested. Back in February when Caleb was down for his Dynamic First Aid class? Class was able to make because 4 of the students were my family members.

I’m appalled.

No, I’m not trying to advertise and drum up enrollment; I was pissed¬†about this before the Manchester tragedy. It’s manifestation of the fact people do NOT put emphasis on medical training, when it’s pretty damn obvious¬†such knowledge could do more to save lives than carrying a gun ever will.

Carrying a tourniquet and whatever other things you can? Is there any reason not to?

Next time I go into a concert venue,¬†when questioned about why I’d bring a¬†tourniquet into a concert my response is pretty much:

  • Ask Dimebag Darrell
  • Ask the Eagles of Death Metal and their fans at the Bataclan
  • Ask the people at the Pulse nightclub
  • And now, ask Ariana Grande

Folks, if you believe in carrying or owning a gun to protect your life, if you believe that¬†life is that precious that it should be preserved “at all costs”, then damnit ‚Äď get some medical training.