I attended the above two 4 hour courses at KR Training in Manheim, Texas on Saturday Oct. 26 2013. They were held one after the other with BP2 as a pre-req for DH1. I was joined by a good friend for these classes.
I'll start with a description of the courses and follow with my personal comments and impressions below.
Basic Pistol 2
This class was described as being for people who have shooting experience and familiarity with handguns but have no formal training. It's also designed to prepare you for the shooting qualification portion of the Texas CHL.
Attendance was 12 students. 3 ladies and the remainder men. Ages ran from 20's to seniors.
You are advised to bring 100 or more rounds of ammo and a .380 or larger caliber pistol with enough magazines to allow you to shoot 25 rounds without having to reload mags.
The class began with an overview and what we would be learning and doing. That was followed by a lengthy discussion on safety. An explanation of sights and their use, the how-to and importance of dry-fire as practice and what trigger press and reset were, their importance and and how we performed them. Other topics such as the ready position, 'press out', grip, stance, pistol manipulation and eye dominance were described and demonstrated.
After a break we went out onto the range. Cold range procedures were in place. A safety and range etiquette brief was given. We were divided into 2 squads (groups 1 and 2) one group was on on the line shooting, the other was watching and or reloading magazines through the time we were on the firing line/range. We were instructed to get our cased pistols and bring them to the barrels at the firing line.
From there we went into dry-fire drills practicing trigger press and reset. Once a lot of dry fire was done we moved to live fire. We were shooting at IPSC targets with a small orange bullseye (I think it was 2" to 2-1/2" in diameter) We were instructed to shoot various numbers of rounds at this bullseye while concentrating on sight alignment, trigger press and reset. Next we were shooting various strings of shots on a timer. It was explained that most self defense shootings are over in less than 3 seconds with an average of 3 shots fired. From there we began shooting on a timer. The drills were X number of shots fired in X number of seconds. Most of these drills were from the ready position, finger indexed to the frame of the gun. Timer sounds, you put your finger on the trigger, take up the slack, press out to firing position and fire the number of shots called for in the drill, return to ready position, finger off the trigger. All the while trying to remember to do everything you just learned about trigger pull, reset etc.
By this time we've fired about 40 rounds each. For the next drill we shot what was a close approximation of the Texas CHL qualification course of fire. 50 rounds broken into various amounts of shots in a certain amount of time. For example from the 3 yard line, the first string of fire is 1 round from ready in 2 seconds 5 times. This progressed to more shots in slightly longer distances and amounts of time.
From there a basic debrief was conducted and all were asked what they had learned in the course.
The next class I attended was Defensive Pistol 1
This class is designed to teach you how to draw from concealment and fire accurate hits in a deadly force encounter. It also lays the foundations for DP2 and DP3.
Many of the students from the BP1 class were also enrolled in the DP1 class. There were approximately 19 people in attendance with three ladies (2 from the earlier class) the rest men. Same as before from folks in their 20's through seniors.
You are advised to bring a centerfire handgun, belt holster, min 2 magazines with carriers and 200 rounds of ammo, a baseball style hat to deflect brass and keep the Texas sun out of your eyes. Also the usual safety gear, ear and eye protection.
Prior to class we each did a pre-class evaluation shoot. Two dummies spaced around 7 feet apart, about 7 yards down range. A hit to the heart box or eyes will knock them over. You had 3 seconds to knock them over from the ready position. Any number of shots within the 3 seconds.
The class began with an overview of the course. From there discussion and demonstration of the 4 count draw stroke, pistol manipulation, magazine changes, legal considerations, what you need to do if you ever are in a gunfight (shoot, do I need to shoot again, scanning for other threats etc). We also discussed various means of stopping an encounter before it turned deadly etc.
Once we had gone through this material we went out to the range.
The range was run as a hot range. Holstered loaded ready to rock pistols. Safety and range etiquette was discussed.
We started with unloaded guns and learned the 4-count draw stroke. We did much practice with this. The instructor would call out a number in the stroke and you would perform that. For brevity I'll not describe this procedure. Lots of practice of that drill. We went on to practicing that drill and shooting from hands at your side. This then went to the same drill with a timer and round counts. We also had magazine reloads thrown into the mix. Both on command and when you ran empty.
We then took a short break and reconvened in the classroom. More discussion about deadly force etc. We were also shown a couple of videos. One of The late Paul Gomez demonstrating the 4-count draw. Another was of a pharmacy robbery where the perp was so caught up in getting his drugs he failed to deal with a security guard who eventually shot the robber to death. Discussion of the OODA Loop and other situational awareness matters were talked about. We were also shown a drill where as you did your scan for threats an instructor would hold up a sign that said either right, left, head or body. You were to shoot at what the sign said. Either shoot the target to your right or left or shoot the head or body of your own target again.
During this break we were shown autopsy photos and a description of a gun fight between police in Pennsylvania and a gang-banger.
Somewhere in the second shooting session were were taught how to move to either right or left before shooting in an effort to disorient your attacker (breaking their OODA Loop).
We then went back out to the range and began working on drawing from concealment. Various methods of dealing with concealment garments were demonstrated. Lots of the students (including myself) had problems with their cover garments. More on this below.
Techniques for getting potential attackers to keep away from you were demonstrated and practiced. I missed part of this due to pistol problems. Please see my comments below.
The groups were then split up and one went to the other range. On the other range each shooter was to shoot one-handed. Stance and grip for this was demonstrated. With your strong hand we were directed to shoot at a plate target that appeared to be around 7 or 8 yards from the shooting table a yard or so off the ground. Two hits were required to move on. Next was a hostage plate with a 'bad guy' swinger on the head end of the torso. This was at about 15 yards downrange. You were directed to hit the swinging plate 'bad-guy'. This drill was then repeated with your weak hand. (this was seriously fun).
We went back to the main range and began a shooting test that involved moving, various draws, counts, timing and locations on the target. 14 rounds on the paper got you a passing score for the class. (more on this below)
The last range drill shown and shot was a close quarters drill. You start out with your hands on the posts of the target stand. You then duck your head down, put your off-hand on the back of your neck, lean your elbow into the head of the target, draw to count #2 (Remember #2?? ;-) Rotate the top of the gun away from your body until it's butt is resting on your ribcage and the barrel is perpendicular to your body. Fire one shot, step back one step, simultaneously get into count #3, fire a shot into the body, step back again, press out, fire a round into the head of the target. Scan for threats. To see this demonstrated please see this Paul Gomez video:
Following that we returned to the classroom. A debrief was held and all were asked what they learned. Certificates were given out and we all went home.
I'm certain I missed a few items we learned. This was a busy day with a lot of information to absorb.
My comments and thoughts on these classes
Basic Pistol 2
My personal experience with the classes begins here. I attended these classes with a good friend named Doc. I thought I was a pretty good shooter but I have had zero training other than actual shooting, watching stuff on YouTube and some reading.
The gear I brought to this class was a Para P14.45 double stack 1911 style pistol and a Kimber Desert Warrior 1911 as my spare. Both in 45ACP. Each with a minimum of 4 magazines and a two mag belt carrier. I had just short of 450 rounds of mostly hand loaded 230 grain hard ball ammo. More on the pistols later. The school recommends striker fired pistols or failing that 1911 styled pistols. Because of that I left my 9MM CZ pistols home.
Basic Pistol 1 was an eye opener. While most of what I was doing shooting wise prior to attendance was good, improvement was definitely made taking this class. The hardest parts of this class for me were having to learn a new grip on my 1911. While my grip was good for other pistols, the 1911 is a special beast and you are supposed to grip with your dominant thumb riding the thumb safety and holding it down. That was very hard to get used to and very hard on my arthritic hands.
The next item I had a hard time with was trigger reset. The Para has a very short reset that is hard for me to judge under live fire. I can overcome these issues with practice.
I shot well and had no problem getting on target and making hits.
I'll work on the dry fire drills we were taught and keep on trucking. Hopefully as my muscle memory builds I'll be faster and even more accurate.
This was a good class. In my opinion well worth the time and money spent. I learned plenty that that I did not know and I am convinced the class and more dry and live practice will make me a better shooter. Overall the shooting was fun and the classroom portion very engaging.
Next, Defensive Pistol 1
Oh boy. Where to begin. We were warned up-front that this would be a stressful and frustrating class. They were right. Up until the point where we were dropping mags into the dirt my Para was running like a thoroughbred. After that it all went to shat. I got failure after failure which forced me to step off the line for a cleaning. This did not resolve the issues so I had to change out some gear and bring the Kimber DW out of the range bag. This put me at a disadvantage as I had 8 round magazines with me. This came around to bite me in the ass later as I ran out of ammo at some pretty bad times. Dirt in the mags also gave me 2 stoppages during the 'exam'.
I experienced more than a few problems with this class other than gun issues. A week prior to attending I tripped over a curb and face-planted myself into a concrete walkway. My face, hands, wrists, left arm, both knees and my back were beat up and quite painful. (Thankfully nothing broken) This made it difficult for me to physically complete some of the maneuvers required. This also came to bite me on dealing with my concealment clothing. In retrospect I should have brought something other than a lightweight shirt to put over my fat ass.
Like the previous class I need to work on my trigger press and resets. My draw was also getting sloppy and I need to spend some quality time with my toy 1911 and my holster. The first shooting portion of the class was a bit stressful. I had a lot of fun with the second shooting session once I got my gun issues sorted out. I really liked the one-hand shooting drill. I was allowed to run it a few times as we were waiting for the other range to finish their drills so we could all return. I shot quite well one-handed. Left handed (I'm right handed) I managed to shoot the two required shots on the short plate and the hostage swinger without missing. (OK, I was shocked that I did that well) the other runs through were also pretty good with few misses.
On the pre-test we did I managed to knock both dummies down in a hair over the three second time allowed. I hit the first one with one shot. It took me three shots to get the other. This was also great fun.
As I mentioned earlier I had problems with my concealment garment. It seems a few others did as well. Because of this the shooting test to pass the class was changed where we ran it without concealment. You shot various drills all timed. Some with an empty gun where you had to load a magazine, some where you began turned to the side, some where you shot one handed both strong and off-hand. You moved left or right then shot on most of these runs. Shots were called to either head or body. A score of 14 hits on the paper got you a passing grade. Due to my not being more squared away I nearly failed due to ammo issues. I had two stoppages due to dirt and I ran out on the last segment of the drill and only got off one round instead of the three called for as I was out of loaded magazines. I managed to 'squeak' by with a score of 14. I'm not confident I'd have passed the original test that involved shooting three shots in three seconds into a 6" circle from concealment and after moving before you shoot.
However, everyone passed the class. (yay!)
Overall this was a difficult class. Almost everything we did was built on top of what we learned earlier in the day during Basic Pistol 2. I'm glad I took these classes back-to-back as everything was still fresh in my head. The issues I had aside I thought I did OK. Not great not horribly either. Plenty of room for improvement on my part.
When asked what I learned my response was basically what gear works and what does not. Due to this I'll be better off the next class I take with KR. While I *love* my 1911 pistols they are not good guns for this sort of training. As I'm fond of good guns dirt really fouled up the works on these 1911s. Combine that with a change in my grip where my thumb is riding on the safety and possibly on the side of the slide this led to unacceptable failures of the pistol. It got through the first class with zero problems. Only one failure to fire. (Bad ammo) Once dirt was involved all bets were off. The Kimber only fared better as I had more mags and was careful about using a dropped mag later in the class after I had a dirt related failure in the Kimber. I'll also have better concealment gear next class.
I also learned pretty much the same as the first class just with quite a few more steps in the skills learned early in the day.
I'll be making some gear changes for future classes and perhaps for my carry system.
The class was held at the KR Training A-Zone Range in Manheim Texas. It's a bit more than an hour east of Austin, Texas.
The facilities were in a nice setting out in the Texas countryside. A house like building held the classroom and other space. A kitchen was available to utilize.
The ranges are was divided into two spaces. One with various steel targets and the two knock-down dummies. The main range could be set up for 10 or so individual lanes. All surrounded my high berms.
Overall a nice place.
KR is owned by Karl Rehn and Penny Riggs. They are also listed as the lead instructors. These two classes were led by Karl and three assistant instructors. Classes were conducted in a very light and engaging manner. All were very good at getting the material clearly across to us students. The classroom portions were very pleasant to sit through. The instructors were not boring at all. There was no air of arrogance or anything negative at all.
Once on the range the instructors were on the ball and quick to point out safety issues, gun handling issues and other corrective things. Never were any of the instructors abusive or short with any student. They were firm but gentle in their handling of us.
Further, all of the instructors were incredible. Each appeared enthusiastic and were *very* quick to offer assistance or tips and answer any questions we had, no matter how silly the question may have seemed.
I give Karl and his team a gigantic A+ for the way his classes were conducted and how we were all treated.
I will readily recommend KR Training to anybody looking for training. I will be attending other classes with KR.
Edited by Flesh Wound, Oct. 30 2013 - 06:54 PM.
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Thanks for sharing, Flesh Wound. I always love reading about fellow shooters getting formal instruction on a sport/self defense activity I love and take very seriously.
A couple of observations:
1911's are AWESOME for that kind of training. Para's and Kimbers are not (sorry to those of you that own them - we see a TON of failures from those guns). If dirt in the magazine was indeed causing problems, time to put them on gun broker or get them worked over by a competent 1911 gunsmith. They are quite different from Glocks, M&P's, etc. in that they are more finicky and take more PM, but they are "the finest CQB weapon every made," or so I'm told by someone who would know. I can also say I have put tons of rounds downrange in some very dirty training and competitions with my own 1911's with no malfunctions, so I can say it can be done.
Having you thumb ride on the safety and or non-dominant hand on the slide should not in any way shape or form cause a malfunction. If it did, see the point above.
CZ's are also great guns. Nothing wrong with learning to run them hard. You just have to learn 2 trigger pulls, the first being harder to master because it is longer and heavier. I highly recommend taking a class running your CZ as well. You will only become a better shooter.
Learning to draw from concealment certainly takes practice. However, even when done wearing just a loose cover T-shirt, and can be done with practice. Stay at it, and you'll get there with no problem.
Thanks again for posting. I enjoyed reading it. Good on you for getting some training. Now practiced what you learned so it sinks in, and seek out more, and you will see your shooting go to new levels.
Sounds like good training. I have taken the Texas CHL Test and scored 100% on it with my 1911. Would you still recommend taking Basic Pistol 2? I only live a few hours from there.
Edited by gshayd, Oct. 30 2013 - 06:23 PM.
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If you go by the thoughts of others here yes, it's training therefor worth taking. The most important skills taught in that class were trigger press, reset and using them together. There was of course a whole lot more to the class. I hope my above AAR was not too brief.
I have a Virginia CHL so I have not taken the Texas CHL (well not yet). I'm certain I could have scored a 250 on that test before I had taken Basic Pistol 2 while shooting the same Para 1911 I took to class. My fundamentals were good. Now post class, so long as I practice as shown I'll easily pass the CHL test at 250.
Karl Rehn and I exchanged a few emails before I signed up. Here's a snippet of one email with the quick description of the course:
Basic 2 is our "fundamentals class for people who don't think they need a fundamentals class."
Basically, people who think they know a lot about shooting, who have no formal training.
So you two are probably well suited for the course.
What I thought was great about the two classes were holding them back-to-back on the same day. Many of the skills learned in the BP2 class were needed to get through DP1. Considering the cost of the classes it's not prohibitively spendy to just go for both. I'm sure you'll get something out of it if you decide to attend. the cost for the two classes was only $160.
I hope that answers your question. I'd be happy to talk off-line if you have more questions.