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)


TacCon22 is in the books. A fine time was had.

I taught 4 blocks: 2 AIWB Skills (live fire), 1 panel with Lee Weems & Erick Gelhaus, and my presentation on Minimum Competency. I participated in 1 live fire class, and observed a few presentations. I stunk up the match. Of course, being able to hang with “the family” for a few days is what makes this awesome. So many hugs given and received ‚Äď my heart is full.

I first presented at TacCon21. Tom asked me to step in for brother Spencer Keepers (Spencer had some medical issues to tend to; all good). I was quite surprised yet honored to be asked. My imposter syndrome skyrocketed to 11. I was honored to be asked back for TacCon22. 

Scott, me.
photo: Tamara Keel

AIWB Skills went over well. Saturday lunch, Scott Jedlinski asked me if I had any open slots in my Sunday class ‚ÄstI did, and Scott joined. Imposter syndrome 12. It was cool tho. My first time really hanging with Scott ‚Ästmy fellow large Asian mammal ‚Ästand it was good. He gave me some excellent feedback, and taught me the meaning of “cheater”. ūüėČ

“I once caught a fish this big‚Ķ”
photo: Ed Vinyard

Minimum Competency for Defensive Pistol is something I’ve been researching since 2013. I presented my original work, along with my recent thinking. I also presented my “Minimum Competency Assessment” and thinking behind it. My present thinking is to write this up in long form and update my “Drills, Standards, Qualifications, & Tests” eBook. Matter of time and priorities. Stay tuned.

Lee, Erick, me
photo: my camera taken by (I can’t remember‚Ķ)

The Aftermath, my panel presentation with Lee & Erick. This was‚Ķ¬†special. I spoke about my 2015 home invasion. Erick about his incident. Lee about 2 incidents his deputies were involved in. Funny thing about this is we did barely any planning/organization work prior to TacCon: each made a few slides, Lee collated, Lee projected them‚Ķ¬†and then the 3 of us stood in front of the audience figuring out how we wanted to do this presentation. ūüėā I went first, then Erick, finally Lee, each giving a short account of our incident focusing heavily on issues of the aftermath. Erick turned to me and asked if he could reference one of my slides (of course!). Before today, Erick and I were strangers to each other. Our stories are different, yet our aftermaths are similar. We didn’t plan our presentation, and I think the organic nature of it all made for a special and emotional session. Erick and I (and those deputies) are in a club, for better or worse. I’m fortunate to have found a new brother. Love you, Erick.

Shot the match with my franken-P365: WC XL grip, curved trigger, P365 slide with irons. Scored paper: 245/250, tie: 35/50 4.49 sec: 252.795. Finished 76/174. On paper, dropped the first WHO shot to just outside the box; tie had 3 just outside 6 o’clock. With that gun, basically cold, after the emotional drain I just went through? If this is where my skill degrades to, I can accept that.

Took class from Wayne Dobbs (HiTS) channeling Larry Mudgett; most excellent stuff, giving me new tools to diagnose problems and help students improve. The excellent learning resources Jon & Sarah Hauptman (PHLster) are producing through their Concealment Workshop will become industry reference. I finally got to partake of John Holschen’s wisdom. I listened to Erick present research. Greg Ellifritz had an informative session on medicine under austere circumstances. Good learning being had.

And of course, seeing old friends, making so many new ones. Eating good food. Having to eat Whataburger. Many many selfies. Endless hugs. More selfies. Hot AF tents (Meadhall Range cookies!). Going to bed late and getting up early. Big thanks to the Dallas Pistol Club for the facility and contribution. Thanks to Tiffany Johnson, Martin Hoffert, Aqil Qadir, the RSOs, the crew. And of course, Tom & Lynn Givens of Rangemaster. What a special event; I am truly blessed to be a part of it. ‚̧ԳŹ

See you at TacCon23!

Thank you, Tom.

Get Your Apps Ready for iPhone X

Yesterday Apple announced the iPhone X. Over at the Big Nerd Ranch blog, I wrote about what we iOS developers need to do to get our apps ready for iPhone X.

Urban Decay Vice Lipstick – now available for iPhone

For the past 6+ months I’ve been working on a new iPhone app. Now I can finally talk about it. ūüôā

It’s an app for Urban Decay Cosmetics¬†(a division of L’Oreal), to help introduce and promote their new Vice Lipstick line.

You can download the app from the App Store here.

(iPhone only, needs iOS 9 or above, and looks best on larger phones like the iPhone 6, 6s, 6 Plus, or 6s Plus; tho it functions on any iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch that runs iOS 9).

What’s really cool about the app is the virtual “try on” feature, where there’s a live camera that superimposes the lip shades on your lips so you can see what they might look like on you! That particular bit of technology comes from Modiface, who themselves have some apps in the App Store and do some pretty neat facial recognition and morphing stuff.¬†Check them out.

I mention this not only because I’m proud of the work (and¬†learned a lot about the cosmetics industry, which I have a newfound respect for), but I’m hoping to get back to writing more now that I’ve been able to come up for air. You may have noticed (or maybe you haven’t) that my¬†writing has been light the past some months — it’s because of the intensity of this¬†app project. But it’s done, and so I hope to get back to writing more regularly.

Anyways, go check the app out and give it 5-stars ūüôā

Swiftly geeky

Been very busy so I’ve been unable to write. Many topics¬†in my head, just need time.

That said,¬†for the geeks here I did just publish¬†an article on “The Joys of Swift ‚Äď Enums” over at¬†my Hsoi Enterprises LLC blog. Tap/click on over and give it a read.


2016 Paul T. Martin Preparedness Conference

Have you registered yet for the 2016 Paul T. Martin Preparedness Conference?

It’s almost here:¬†Saturday, January 9, 2016 at the Cabela’s in Buda, TX.

There’s a¬†Mega door prize ‚Äď a weekend getaway to a beach house in Port Aransas!

Alas, while I’ll be at the Conference, I won’t be qualified to win the door prize. Why? Because¬†I’m one of the Conference presenters!

John Daub of Hsoi Enterprises on Preparing for the Aftermath of a Self Defense Incident. Self-defense incidents involve far more than just the moment of the incident itself; there’s an aftermath of legal, social, and emotional issues. John Daub will be discussing these issues and how to prepare yourself to handle the aftermath of a self-defense incident.

There’s a lot of other great topics being discussed, including the¬†fresh Open Carry laws (that will have been in effect in Texas just 9 days as of the¬†Conference) and one I’m especially interested in:¬†Allen Codding, DVM on Pet Preparedness Strategies.

There’s a lot of great topics on the schedule¬†at this 4th annual conference.

Hope to see you there!

DR Performance Practice Deck 1.2 – 20% off!

Head over to the Hsoi Enterprises LLC website to learn about our most recent release: the DR Performance Practice Deck 1.2.

To help celebrate the release of this version, the Pro Uprade is being offered at 20% off the regular price, through the end of June 2014.


One month down – looking back

So it’s been a month (more or less) since I entered the world of self-employment.

I still don’t know how to officially classify myself. Am I a consultant? A¬†freelancer? ¬†Am I an indie(pendent) software developer? Am I self-employed? Or am¬†I really a full-time employee of Hsoi Enterprises LLC? Sometimes it’s easier to say one thing to people, but then no matter what I say, there’s always explanation. Then when there are forms to fill out, sometimes it feels like saying one thing is more appropriate, then sometimes it’s another. Or like¬†filling out a medical form in the insurance part, I have medical insurance, but I pay for it out of my own pocket (oye!); but the form asks for “employer” assuming the medical plan comes via your employer (which it might, eventually). ¬†But whatever and however I actually classify myself….

The key factor is… was this a wise decision? ūüôā

I still don’t know. Ask me again in a few months. But so far, I’m saying “yes”.

Income of course isn’t steady nor what it was when I had that regular¬†semi-monthly paycheck. That’s taken some adjustment and getting used to.¬†There’s a different rhythm now. I used to pay bills at a certain time, and pay certain bills at certain times, dictated by when the paycheck came in. But now? Doesn’t matter… just pay the thing because there’s no juggling. More importantly, don’t FORGET to pay the thing, because the¬†semi-monthly rhythm isn’t there. I am living off savings for now, and it won’t last forever. But work is underway to remedy this… it will just take time.

My mental, physical, and emotional health is improving. No question I’m getting more sleep. I’m still struggling to find a daily groove, but I think something is settling in. For the past 2 years I went to bed around 8pm and woke up around 3am. That wasn’t my choice, that was the evolution. Going to the gym is a morning thing, so I needed to allot time for that. Then there was the hell of¬†commute traffic, which was a key factor to avoid because 1. I hate it, 2. sitting in traffic and commuting is¬†a massive waste of precious time, IMHO. So I structured life to minimize traffic, which meant being out the door by 6:25am (yes, you had to be out before 6:30 because the rest of the world aimed for 6:30; get just 5 minutes ahead of the rest of the world and it makes a big difference — a rule that¬†can be generalized to¬†the rest of life). And so with all of that adding up, it pushed me to a 3am wake up.

I’m still getting up early, because I still like going to the gym early, when it’s empty. Prior to the gym (4+ years ago), I¬†stayed on a fairly natural clock with the sunrise and such. But now? I find myself wanting¬†to sleep in but¬†forcing myself to get up somewhat early, because of my desire to get to the gym when it’s empty. This is something I am undecided on — to¬†try to keep to a semi-strict schedule, or to just ignore it, wake when I do, and then go to the gym regardless of time. But at least, I’m not intentionally waking at 3am, and no more alarm clock for sure. That’s huge.

I nap a lot. That’s been immeasurable in benefit. I knew my plantar¬†fasciitis just needed time and rest to go away; today, I might feel a little stiff when I wake up, but that’s about it. Huzzah!

I am happier. I’m able to focus on¬†my work, not having to struggle to find time here and there for the projects that I enjoy. I released an update to PanemQuotidianum, I’m almost ready to release a long-overdue update to the DR Performance Practice Deck for iOS¬†(and yes, more is planned beyond this update).¬†I’m still doing contract work for¬†Bar-Z Adventures¬†(the prior day job).¬†I’ve got a solid project¬†of a new app on deck (and I’m very excited to start work on it). And¬†I’m talking with¬†various groups about other future projects. So… not bad. Just gotta turn this work into¬†income. ūüėČ

Being home has been wonderful. I can tell you the past month has been good for everyone in the household. Family is vital to me, and this has been wonderful.

Of course, it’s not all good.¬†Not a single day has gone by where I didn’t do some work. Most days are working a lot, tho I break the work day up; maybe there’s a nap after lunch,¬†then I can start work in the afternoon far more refreshed (vs. having to be locked-down for 9 hours straight, that’s hardly productive). I’ll also work in the evening, reading, researching, or testing on the iPad while lying in bed. Work is fairly perpetual. But I’m OK with this. I think I’ve only had 1 day that I might classify as a “day off”, but I was out at the KR Training facility helping Oldest care for the grounds (mowing, painting steel, etc.).¬†It wasn’t a total day off because I did work for Bar-Z a little bit, but I chalk it up as a day off since I did spend a few hours shooting, and the overall majority of the day was spent not doing Hsoi¬†Enterprises work.

And that… is something¬†I have to mind.¬†Every day that I keep going, that I keep slinging code, is a day I get deeper into it. It becomes harder to emerge from it, which can be bad when there are things to do. Chores around the house, bills to pay, Wife to go on a date with. So I have to be mindful. Before I officially started this, I happened to listen to a RayWenderlich.com podcast (ep. 5) about life as an indie developer. The guest spoke about how he tried to keep to a M-F 9-5 work schedule, because it was far too easy to have life become work otherwise. I¬†understand that from my prior 12 years working from home. But yet, it’s totally different when it’s YOUR baby and there’s no guarantee of a paycheck unless you’re slinging¬†code. Plus, when you’re so in love with the work you’re doing, when the ideas and thinking keeps going, you don’t want to stop.¬†Interestingly, I’ve started to look at the clock in terms of “billable hours” and every hour, every¬†15 minutes, start to feel a different sort of value and pressure. Probably not healthy, but¬†a number of my in-laws have run their own businesses and have told me you get over that in time. ūüôā

Reminds me… my truck needs an oil change, and I think the rear differential gearbox has a small leak. Hopefully that will just require a new gasket.

So yes, I’m still working to find balance. Still working to find my groove.

But overall? Things are good. I do not regret the decision. I feel overall happier and healthier, mentally, physically, and emotionally. I’m excited about the work I’m doing, and the business I’m trying to build. I sometimes wish there were two of me (so the other one could handle the boring stuff, like accounting, sales, marketing, contracts, paperwork, etc.). But¬†it’s one heck of an experience.

For the record, I lean towards “Indie Software¬†Developer”… it sounds¬†cool. ūüôā

PanemQuotidianum 1.0.3 released

Hsoi Enterprises LLC (my day job, now) has released an update to one of our apps, PanemQuotidianum.

Full details of the update here.

If you’re so inclined, please check it out and share it with others.

Thank you.