KR Training 2017-02-04 – Lone Star Medics Dynamic First Aid Quick hits

Caleb Causey of Lone Star Medics returned to KR Training on February 4, 2017 to put on his Dynamic First Aid course. I like to describe Dynamic First Aid as “First Aid 102”. That is, First Aid 101 is things like dealing with cuts and Band-Aids and such first-aid fundamentals. Dynamic First Aid continues from there talking about dealing with severe bleeding (tourniquets, pressure dressings), shock, burns, splinting, scene safety, and the like. It’s a great course and I think one everyone should take.

Yes, everyone.

In one of my first interactions with Caleb years ago he made a great point. He asked the class how many people had seen a gunshot in the past year? No hands go up. Then he asked ho many people had seen a car wreck in the past year? Hands go up. Don’t you think that’s a situation that may warrant first aid skills?

And think about simple things like cuts, or nosebleeds – solving those are first aid skills! The preservation of life isn’t just about “self-defense”; first aid is very much a part of that, and essential skills for all people to possess. Because we ALL encounter such issues at some point in our lives.

Something else to think about? There are people that believe when things go pear-shaped they will rise to the occasion. That may happen, but in a first aid situation? Explain to me how you will rise up and suddenly have the knowledge of how to stop severe bleeding? or administer CPR? You won’t. These skills and knowledge will not just come to you: you must have taking the time to acquire them beforehand.

I made it one of my 2017 training priorities to get more non-gun skills, like medical training. But this class became a little different for me: I wanted my family to take it. And yes, Wife, Oldest, Daughter, and Youngest all attended and participated in the class. Yes, Dynamic First Aid is suitable for children, but within reason. For example, part of first aid has realities of body parts; so if there are issues with words like “penis” and “vagina”, they may not be ready for the class. That’s something I admire and respect about Caleb: he called me before class and wanted to check on all of this. His sensitivity towards his students is part of what makes him a great teacher.


Class ran well. A good and motivated group of students. Caleb balances the class well. There’s a time for lecture, a time for demonstration, and then a time to have everyone practice and try it for themselves.

What’s especially good? The class culminates in some scenario training. This is invaluable training, because it not only forces you to put your knowledge to work, but it adds some pressure and realism to make you have to think.

I also find scenario work to be a good source of inoculation, so when problems happen you don’t freak out but instead can handle the situation with some degree of aplomb. For example, in one scenario Wife was a resucer and Youngest was a victim. When Wife saw Youngest, she was truly shocked and broken up at the sight, but went to work because that’s what Momma has to do. Afterwards, Wife told me how it was hard for her to see it, but I told her it was good because now if something does happen to Youngest, instead of emotions taking control of her, she can know that she’s seen it before, that she’s got the skills to address the problem, and she can get to work.

That’s why such training is so important, and I’m so thankful that Caleb puts a high value on scenario training in his classes.

Get out and do it

Get the knowledge, get the skills. You don’t know when you may need first aid, but I feel safe in saying that you will at some point in your life – you just don’t get to choose when, so it’s important to have that knowledge beforehand.

My family is one of the most precious things to me. I’m willing to put their well-being in Caleb’s knowledgable and proficient hands. If you get a chance to train with him, you should.

Thank you for teaching me and my family, Caleb. Drink water.


A few days ago I taught a private lesson to some new(ish) shooters.

I ran the students through the KR Training Basic Pistol 2 curriculum. At the end, the students shot a version of the Texas Handgun License test. I say a version because we have them shoot on a better (tougher) target. But one thing we don’t change? The use of time limits.

One thing we do at the end of all KR Training classes is go around the room and ask the students for something they learned. One of the students told me how the use of the timer added some pressure and that really changed things for them. This student has prior knowledge and understanding in the realities of self-defense – that it’s not an open-ended situation, that it’s quick, and time is a significant factor. This was the first time they ever shot against a timer, and it really added stress and pressure.

It was hard, it was stressful, but they appreciated it. They walked away with a deeper understanding of realities, and themselves.

But you know… some people still want to say that using timers is a bad thing. They’re welcome to their opinion. I’m glad my students want to improve.

The importance of being honest with yourself (and setting ego aside)

Had a long weekend at KR Training: July 16 was a Basic Pistol 2 and Defensive Pistol 1, and July 17 was a Basic Pistol 2… yes again. Classes have been selling pretty well.

I want to depart from my usual “class AAR”. I mean, what we see out of these classes from a skills perspective tends to be the same thing every time. So if you were in one of these classes and are curious about skills, just hit the Search field and read what you find.

What I want to talk about is – self-assessment.

It is vital in life to be (brutally) honestly aware of yourself, your skills, your abilities, your level, your capabilities, your limits, your strengths, your weaknesses. It’s the only way to truly achieve your goals.

We had a couple people in the BP2 class that were scheduled to stay for the DPS1 class. As BP2 progressed, it was evident that DPS1 was not going to happen for them: just too much to handle. We gave them feedback, but they also took a step back and looked at themselves and opted to skip DPS1 and come back later. I’m not sure what they will do exactly (maybe take BP2 again, maybe take some private lessons), but I am proud of them for making an honest self-assessment and doing the right thing. They set ego aside and made an honest and wise choice. In the long run, this is going to pay dividends.

There’s another gentleman that’s been around for some time. He’s taken many classes with us, and BP2/DPS1 are “below him”. But he still takes them (again) because he knows he has things to work on, skills to learn, and that he can improve – and that these classes will help him get there. His honesty, his humility, that serves him well towards progress and improvement.

Don’t feel you need to always move on to the next class, just because you’re supposed to, or especially because you just want to. If you take a class before you’re ready, you’ll just be frustrated and won’t learn. There is nothing wrong with taking the same class again; in fact, now that you’ll know the material, you’ll be able to focus on other aspects of the class, including putting more effort into the drills and really letting the material sink in. Remember the maxim: redundancy fosters learning. Taking a class multiple times, that’s redundancy, and it will lead to (improved) learning.

After you finish a class, let things digest. Take a step back. Self-assess where you are. See where you are now relative to where you were: both where you really were and where you thought you were. Now look where you want to go. Will taking the next class be the way to get there? or could taking 1-2 steps back serve you better in the long run towards achieving your goal? It all depends upon your goals, of course. But the more honest you are in your self-assessment, the willingness to put ego aside, THAT is what will help you achieve your goals in the long run.

Train hard, train smart.

If you think education is expensive…

Seth Godin wrote about Training and the infinite return on investment

Imagine a customer service rep. Fully costed out, it might cost $5 for this person to service a single customer by phone. An untrained rep doesn’t understand the product, or how to engage, or hasn’t been brought up to speed on your systems. As a result, the value delivered in the call is precisely zero (in fact it’s negative, because you’ve disappointed your customer).

On the other hand, the trained rep easily delivers $30 of brand value to the customer, at a cost, as stated, of $5. So, instead of zero value, there’s a profit to the brand of $25. A comparative ROI of infinity.

And of course, the untrained person doesn’t fall into this trap once. Instead, it happens over and over, many times a day.

The short-sighted organization decides it’s ‘saving money’ by cutting back training. After all, the short-term thinking goes, what’s the point of training people if they’re only going to leave. (I’d point out the converse of this–what’s the danger of not training the people who stay?)

Granted, Seth speaks in the context of marketing, sales, and business – his “lane”. But really, training – education – is relevant to any and every facet of life.

The more training you have, the more education you have, the more knowledge you have, the more it pays off.

Because to Seth’s last point: you stay in your life, so what’s the danger of going through life untrained and  ignorant?

Seth concludes:

What’s not so easy is to take responsibility for our own training.

We’ve long passed the point where society and our organization are taking responsibility for what we know and how we approach problems. We need to own it for ourselves.

If I apply this to one of my “lanes” – self defense – I actually am pretty astounded at how much people don’t take on responsibility for what they know and how they approach problems, which is odd because these are the same people that espouse how they have/carry a gun because they accept responsibility for their own personal safety. Often times there’s belief they are “good enough” and will be able to handle themselves if the flag flies, yet they’re unable to quantify what “good enough” should be – but whatever it is, I’m it (apparently).

Grant Cunningham writes about “shooting well”:

Any shooting you do — whether in competition, for hunting, or in self defense — is a balance of speed (how quickly you shoot) and precision (the size of the area into which you can shoot)….

Most people evaluate their shooting skill level under only one of those two factors. Either they focus on how precisely they can shoot, or they focus on how quickly they’re shooting. Either one in isolation gives an incomplete view, and the same is true when evaluating a gun; if you shoot slowly enough, so that each shot is a completely separate event unaffected by what came before or what will come after, then most guns can be shot “well”.

In other words, just about anyone can shoot just about any handgun (or rifle) “well” for one shot. It’s when you need to fire more than one shot, or when time becomes a factor, do you discover how things like recoil, weight, hand fit, and more affect your ability to shoot well. It’s not just about tight groups!

Granted, Grant’s writing was alluding to issues of caliber and recoil, but the whole of his article touches on the fact that most people believe they can “shoot well”, yet aren’t fully considering the complete context under which they may have to shoot.

That complete context, in terms of self-defense, is likely to go beyond these issues of caliber, recoil, and marksmanship. If you are in a self-defense incident, there’s going to be chaos, adrenaline, and intense high-pressure split-second decision making. Can you “shoot well” in that context? Remember: doing “well” in that context may actually require you to not shoot at all.

Some people are proud to seek out the least amount of training possible. They want the cheapest, least-hassle solution. As few dollars spent, as few hours in the classroom or on the range. It’s as if they are proudly seeking ignorance. I grant, if you can spend $50 or $500 and get precisely the same results, I’d go for the $50 option as well. But like most things in life, you do get what you pay for – and you get more spending $500 on a weekend training with Tom Givens or Massad Ayoob.

Especially if you contrast that $500 against the potential $50,000 or $500,000 or more you could wind up spending on a lawyer. Because ignorance of the law can be mighty costly.

You may not be training to be a customer service rep answering phone calls about a product. But aren’t you trying to bring value into your own life? You’re going to be staying in your life, hopefully for a long time, so take the time to invest in yourself. Don’t expect the state or others to provide “adequate” training, because it usually is not. Take the time, the money, the responsibility to invest in yourself. The education will pay dividends.

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 – 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!

Prepping for a shooting class

Over at, Howard wrote up a short article: “Getting ready for a shooting class”.

I thought the list was a good start, and wanted to expand on it. Over my 7 years with KR Training, as well as all the classes I’ve taken myself, I’ve picked up a few things.

I agree with Howard on #1 – look at the class’ required equipment list. Whatever it is the instructor/school is telling you to bring, bring it! If you’re unsure or have questions, contact the instructor/school and ask. For example, when I recently attended CSAT’s Rifle class I wasn’t sure about mag pouches or chest rigs, so I contacted Paul and he told me what I did and didn’t need. Saved me a lot of trouble and money.

Howard’s #2 was water/electrolyte drinks. I’d expand upon that to include some food. What food? Depends. All-day class? You’ll probably want to bring a meal or two (depending upon class timing and your dietary needs). Just a few hours? At least some sort of snack (granola bars, nuts, dried fruit, etc.). One of my favorites is Blue Diamond Smokehouse Almonds, because: they taste good, protein and fat goes a long way for sustained energy, and the salt and other goodness within the nut is a good replenisher when you’re on the range and sweating all day. It can also be worthwhile to check with the instructor/range about off-campus meal options; CSAT? many restaurants within minutes of the range. KR Training? maybe after-class supper, but you won’t be able to make a lunch run anywhere nearby. Besides, bringing food and eating on-campus can be useful for casual socializing with instructors and other students, and there’s often gems of information you get to pick up.

I would bump up Howard’s last comment to #3: sunscreen. Even if the range has a covered shooting area, you’ll likely spend a lot of time uncovered in the sun. Getting sunburned will detract from your ability to learn. In addition to sunscreen, consider covering clothing. Me? I often like to wear long-sleeve, light-colored Under Armour shirts because they cover me fully but remain pretty cool even in the Texas summer heat. Long pants are good too. Brimmed hats can also be good. Note: do not equate sunscreen/sunburns with summertime and heat; just as snow skiers. If it’s an all-day class, reapply at lunchtime.

To that end, clothing should be weather appropriate. If it’s going to be raining, wear a raincoat, boots that can handle water and mud, etc.. If it’s going to be cold, wear layers of clothing and see how gloves will affect your ability to shoot (could be a good time to learn about such options). Be mindful of zippers, drawstrings, and other dangling things that could get caught in holsters and trigger guards – they can lead to bad results, so just take a knife and cut them off (do you ever tighten those drawstrings anyways?).

Final bit on clothing is to have range-appropriate clothing. Close-toed, sturdy shoes. Shirts should be close around the neck (even for you guys, because hot-brass down the shirt is no fun whether you have cleavage or not). If the class works drawing from concealment, clothing appropriate to such a task (how do you or will you normally carry?).

As for guns, ammo, and gear…

Guns. Bring your gun, cleaned and oiled and ready to go. If you don’t know how to do these things, check with the instructor as you may be able to arrange coming early to class so they can help you get set up. If you happen to have a second gun, it may not hurt to bring that second set of gear in case something goes wrong with the first gun. I’d avoid using it as a way to just switch and try different guns during class as that tends to be disruptive to class: pick one gun and set of gear, use it for the whole class. Just have a backup in the off-chance something goes wrong (or ensure the facility has loaner equipment in such an event).

Ammo. Whatever the class requirement is? Bring more. You never know. If the class says 100 rounds, I’d bring 200. If it says 1000, I’d probably bring 1200-1500. You won’t be upset if you go home with ammo, but you will be bummed if you run out.

Magazines. The more the merrier. My habit is any time I am at a store (brick-and-mortar, or online) that sells magazines for my guns, I buy 1 magazine. If I do this every time I shop, over time I build up a nice supply of magazines. Many I keep in the closet for when I need it, but I have 10 M&P9 mags in my range bag ready to go. Yes, load mags before you come to class, so you’re all ready to go (an UpLULA is your friend). I find I typically only use 3-4 mags during the course of class because I’ll use a mag, then break in the action, reload the mag, and keep going throughout class. But having all those other pre-loaded mags? If something causes me to be unable to get a mag reloaded (e.g. I had to run to the bathroom), I can just grab another mag from my bag and stay in the flow of class. Buy more mags, have more mags.

Eye protection and hearing protection. Must-haves. If you don’t know what’s appropriate, talk with the instructor before class. They may even have loaner gear to help you get started. And even if they could have loaners, you really do want your own for your own practice sessions.

Holsters, mag pouches, and belts. This depends upon the nature of the class if you need these or not (again, check with the instructor). But make sure you have them. Should you have them on before arriving in class? That depends upon the class. A competition class is unlikely to be a class you could wear your gear to, so you’ll have to suit up at the range. A self-defense class, especially a higher-level one where you’re expected to have a carry license in order to attend the class? You’ll probably be expected to have your carry rig on when you arrived to class. But do expect the instructors will have a gear check to ensure all is good and quality gear. If the instructors suggest changes to your gear, listen to them. For example, holsters where the mouth collapses are not ideal. But this could be a subject of a multi-part article series. For the purposes here, just be sure you have solid gear and ask if you don’t know what that means.

Other stuff? Depends upon the nature of the class, coupled with your own needs. Bad knees? You may want to consider knee-pads, but there’s no harm in asking the instructor beforehand (there may be no kneeling so it’s irrelevant). How about a folding/camp chair? Maybe; but ask first (facility may have benches so no need to trot out your own). Small first aid kit? the range/instructor should have something, but no harm in bringing your own, especially if you might have special needs. To that end, if you do have special medical needs, be sure to alert the instructor before class so they can be aware and prepared.

Before you head to class? Check in with the instructor. Maybe not directly, but check your email or phone or whatever other means the instructor is using for class notifications. It may be possible the class was cancelled (weather suddenly turned and holding class is impossible), so save yourself an unnecessary trip.

And all of these things? Try to prepare as far in advance as possible. If you have to obtain stuff, the more time you have to find it, order it, get it delivered, or otherwise obtain it may take a while. No need to do last-minute scrambles.


Be mentally prepared for the class.

You’re taking this class because you want to learn. Be open and receptive to the teaching. Maybe they do something different than you already know, but be willing to try it their way because you came to learn from them so be willing to be taught and try… you don’t know what you might pick up from it. If you have questions, ask. Be mindful to not be disruptive or “that guy” (you can always ask questions later, or during breaks), but don’t be afraid to ask for explanations to help you better understand the material.  Have the right mindset for learning.

And most of all? Have the right mindset of having fun. 🙂

So what did I miss?

KR Training – 2014-07-19 – H:BtB/SB Quick Hits

A fine day at KR Training. Due to that polar vortex, weather was abnormally wonderful: didn’t get higher than the mid-80’s, partially overcast, and tho it was very humid, you couldn’t ask for a better day. Classes on tap ere Beyond the Basics: Pistol and Skill Builder. These are solid intermediate-level classes that help to drive home the fundamentals. Look at any sport, any discipline, and the best in that area know that fundamentals are what everything is based upon. Mastery of fundamentals is key, and here, that’s ultimately about trigger control.

Or at least, that was the order of the day. Yes, trigger control was the biggest issue all day, tho by the end of the day there was marked improvement with very little trigger slapping going on.

Here’s some comments about what I saw.

Trigger Control

Slapping, yanking, jerking, whatever you want to call it… it’s when all your shots wind up low-left, or more generally, they go where you don’t want them.

It comes back to what we kept saying throughout class: slow down, press the trigger. Yes, the feel of the trigger gets heavier as you press, but you don’t need to smack it to then overcome that resistance – just keep pressing.

Work this in dry fire. Start out working slowly, getting the feel, reinforcing that feel. Focus on the front sight, don’t let it be disturbed by your trigger press. But remember that one drill we did? The “ball and dummy” drill? Remember how the first time we’d do it slowly, but later on we did it faster, where you’d press the trigger, round goes off, and as soon as the gun came out of recoil and you had the sight picture we’d have to press again? Work that too. Don’t always make it a slow, deliberate pause between presses, because ultimately you’re trying to get faster so you have to work faster. It will smooth out. Push yourself a little faster, a little faster, until you see things break down; stay there for a bit and keep working it.


A few people had issues with shots going all over the place. From what I could see, it’s a grip problem.

First, it’s about griping hard enough. Yes, it’s going to make you tired because you need to clamp down as hard as you can on the grip. You’re not used to that, your muscles will fatigue, and you will lighten up your grip to alleviate the discomfort. Don’t do this! Keep clamping down, because you need to build up that strength and endurance. Remember how we were saying just 10 minutes of dry fire every other day? Well, you should be able to work that clamp grip every time you dry practice, and you just watch! Give it two weeks of consistent work and you’ll see your grip improve.

Second, it’s about gripping properly. Remember to get your primary hand up high on the gun, with that cushioned part of your hand between your thumb and index finger smooshed up into the beavertail area. Remember to cant your support hand forward, get it high up on the gun, and clamp hard with this hand. Do this every time. Work to have consistency in your grip.

Third, consistency. Be sure that you grip the same way every time. That you are gripping hard enough every time and that that grip pressure remains as constant as you can make it. Try this. Hold the gun in a proper but very loose grip and line up the sights with your eyes. Now, don’t move anything else and just clamp down your grip on the gun. Did you notice the gun moved? The sights are now off and you do not have a proper sight picture? Try it a few times, and notice how not only things move, but they move differently each time. Often what happens is people start out with a loose grip, then they know the gun is about to go off so they suddenly clamp down their grip and you get what you saw above. That sudden clamping shifts the direction of the muzzle, a different way every time, and so you wind up with almost no consistency nor accuracy in your shots.

.380 ACP

A few yeas ago .380 became the new hotness. All these small guns, the growth of women and people recommending guns chambered in .380 to them. Trouble is, there are problems with .380.

First, the shame is that there are few guns that are of decent quality in that chambering. So many of the .380 guns are cheap and of questionable quality and reliability. Usually when we see a .380 in class, there are problems and failures with it. If this is the gun you’re betting your life on, you need to trust your equipment and know it will perform when called upon.

Second, it’s a marginal caliber. I don’t need to say much here, as Greg Ellifritz recently wrote a good article on this very topic.

A .380 is better than nothing, but I would encourage folks that choose a .380 to step back and examine why they chose the .380  and to see if there’s a better alternative that can satisfy your same reasons and requirements.

For the Ladies

The student body was majority female, and just about everyone stayed all day. I forget what chapter they were from, but most were from A Girl and A Gun, and it was great to have them out there.

What I wanted to mention here was the notion of “drop and offset” holsters. This is a holster where the belt loop is of course at the belt line, but then the holster itself is dropped down a bit and offset a bit from the belt, which helps to work with a woman’s body structure (hips). Take a look at the International from Comp-Tac. See that picture? See how the holster is dropped down and offset from the belt loop? That’s what we’re talking about.

Granted, this isn’t the best solution for every day carry, but for classes, for range work, for competing, it’s an option to look into.


Thank you all for coming out and choosing to spend your day with us. It was a pleasure to have you, and we look forward to seeing you again on the range.


Teach your children these four vital things

Our society puts high value on three things:

  1. Our children
  2. Their education
  3. Their safety

We value our children because we love them, because they are our future (and our legacy), and because they are vulnerable and prone to make mistakes (such is childhood). That’s why we put such high value in their education: they need to not just survive but thrive in their adult life, and education is key towards ensuring a bright future. But since “stuff happens” and “kids can be kids” we value the safety of our children, because want to see grandchildren, because we don’t want to bury our children, because we know that mistakes can be costly, so we’d rather see them be a source for education and growth.

Our children,

Their education.

Their safety.

We value these things so highly.

Because of that, I am dumbfounded when I see people going out of their way to keep their children ignorant. I do not understand why someone would do such a thing. Yes, we homeschool our children, but we refuse to shelter them or only expose them to a single mode of thought. How will that serve our children as they enter the adult world? How will that enable them to seek knowledge and truth? How will that keep them safe?

I keep thinking back to a time when I was putting on the Eddie Eagle GunSafe program. I saw numerous parents make an overt effort to keep their children away and not attend the program.

OK, I do understand why. It’s because it involves “guns” and “the NRA” and is probably just some covert indoctrination into that world of gun-toting, Bible-thumping, Tea Party rednecks, right? People just see trigger-words like “gun” and “NRA” and immediately clam up, putting their fingers in their ears, closing their eyes and refusing to hear what has to be said. OK, I can understand why, but I think it’s doing a grave disservice to your children.

You can hate guns all you want. You can be on the crusade to ban guns and wipe guns and gun-loving-people off the planet. That’s totally fine. But in the meantime, guns are still around, and your children could encounter them.

In July 2008 an Austin Police K-9 unit was at a park. Apparently the dog jumped on his handler, knocking the officer’s gun out of its holster. The gun was found by a mother and her child.

“I know that having a 2-year-old, they’d pick that up without a problem,” Bendt [a frequent park visitor, with her 3 children] said.

In January 2013, a school security guard in Michigan left his handgun in a school bathroom.

Chatfield parent Tris Fritz told that the incident was “a big mistake”: “I think that some kid might not think it’s a real gun. They might think it’s a toy. They’re going to be curious, that’s the nature of a child.”

Consider that many who despite and hate guns and want them banned do consider police acceptable people to have guns. But police, like you, are fallible; as you can see, so long as there are guns in this world, there is opportunity for your child to come in contact with one.

So while you crusade for a better tomorrow, you must accept the reality of today: guns exist, and you and/or your child may come in contact with one at some point in their life.

When this contact occurs, will your child know what to do to stay safe?

Are you willing to educate your child on how they can keep themselves and their friends safe?

Or would you rather you and your child remain ignorant, perhaps costing them their life?

It’s your call, but I would hope you’d be willing to swallow your pride and at least teach your child these 4 vital things to do if they ever come in contact with a gun:

  1. STOP!
  2. Don’t touch.
  3. Leave the area.
  4. Tell an adult.

I’m not saying this to shill for the NRA. I’m saying this because I don’t want to see your child become a statistic.

Minimum Competency for Defensive Pistol – Revisited Again

I just re-read an article from Claude Werner on “Practice priorities for the Armed Citizen“. (h/t Greg Ellifritz). As I was reading it, it reminded me of my article series on “Minimum Competency for Defensive Pistol“. I did revisit the series a few months back, but Claude’s article gave me a few more things to think about, and perhaps revise/refine in my suggestions for practice and skills progression.

Claude speaks about a progression, a “where do I go from here?” sort of thing. Claude offers his own suggestions, like the NRA Defensive Pistol Qualification. But what really got me was pointing out a key problem most people have when it comes to live fire practice:

Most people have to limit their livefire practice to indoor ranges where drawing from the holster is not allowed. This presents an issue to those who carry pistol in holsters. There are solutions, though.

Indeed this is a problem. I’ve gotten quite spoiled at KR Training and with the host of good ranges around Austin where you can do things like practice drawing from a holster. Of course, there are still those people that go to one of the local indoor ranges that have these restrictions, and of course others around the country tend to have these restrictions as well. I overlooked that reality. Claude offers:

Like many of my colleagues, for a long time I said the hard part of the drawstroke is establishing grip. I’ve changed my opinion on that. The hard part of the drawstroke is getting the pistol indexed on the target enough to get a good hit with the first shot. John Shaw, a World Champion shooter, clued me in to this many years ago. Note that I didn’t say a ‘perfect’ hit.

Indexing the pistol to the target (presentation) is easily practiced from a high ready position starting at the pectoral muscle of the body’s dominant side. Starting this way is not generally a problem at an indoor range. And since I recommend practicing one shot per presentation, the ‘no rapid fire’ limitation at many indoor ranges isn’t an issue either.

This is one of those smack your head because you wish you could have had a V-8 sort of moments. What Claude writes is so true. The press-out, the presentation, whatever you want to call it, it’s the hardest part and such a vital skill. When you draw? You then must press-out. After a reload? You must press out. Clear a malfunction? You must press out. The press out is such a vital skill (it’s a key thing stressed in so many of the KR Training courses). And yes, you can practice this at the indoor ranges. You can start from that high, compressed ready position (step 3 of the 4-step drawstroke), and press out and break one shot. While you might end up eventually moving fast in doing this, your single-shots will still be “slow” relative to each other (i.e. you’re not double-tapping) and thus no range rules broken. So so so true, and so important.

Thank you Claude for my “V-8 moment”. Regardless if you take a progression like Claude recommends or I recommend, the underlying issue remains the same: that you’ll use some particular course of fire (e.g. TX CHL test), assess your skills, then focus on improving the areas you identified as weak. For example, my last live-fire practice session I shot numerous drills not so much to shoot the drills (i.e. throw lead in a semi-organized manner), but to exercise the fundamental skills I consider important and identify what I was doing well and what I needed work on. I saw I needed to move faster, and doing a lot of one-shot draws are in my future. So yes, working that press-out is in my future.

Another thing Claude touched on.

…to get a good hit with the first shot…. Note that I didn’t say a ‘perfect’ hit.


What I like about it most is that it is a 100 percent standard, not 70 or 80 percent like a qualification course. We need to accustom ourselves to the concept that if we shoot at a criminal, ALL the rounds we fire must hit the target. That’s being responsible.

These remind me of my concept of “(un)acceptable hit“. I just prefer that phrasing over “good hit” or “miss”, because like Claude said, it’s not necessarily a “perfect” hit. It’s also understanding that all the rounds must hit what we need it to hit; we must make acceptable hits.

Thanx, Claude!

on instructors

You need an instructor not to instruct, but to guide you on the journey of discovery.

– Gabe Suarez