After Action Report
Defensive Long Gun Essentials
KR Training, Lincoln, TX
I attended the above 3 hour course at KR Training in Lincoln, Texas on Saturday April 5, 2014.
I'll start with a description of the course and follow with my personal comments and impressions below.
This course was described as being an introductory course for defensive use of rifles and shotguns or as a refresher for other defensive long gun courses.
In attendance were 12 students. 5 ladies and the remainder men. Experience ranged from no experience to well experienced shooters. There were 10 of us shooting rifles and 2 shotgunners.
You are advised to bring 60 or more rounds of ammo for rifles, 50 rounds of various ammo for shotguns. This course allowed pretty much any rifle including pistol caliber carbines and rimfire.
The course began with a brief overview and what we would be learning and doing. That was followed by an also brief discussion on safety. Before heading out to the range we each did a demonstration and observation drill relating to use of cover.
Once on the range we were divided into two squads (group 1 and group 2). Safety was again briefly discussed. From there we went right into drills.
The two squads would trade positions on the line and the non-shooting squad would either observe or be loading magazines for the next drill.
The routine for each drill was for the shooters to try this with dry-fire and then once a few repetitions were done and the instructors were satisfied we mostly had it we would then move on to live fire. (From here forward I'll describe the drill and not talk about both the dry and live fire portions unless there is an important point to make.)
The targets used were the image of a man's torso and head with a gray aiming point between the eyes and a gray area center mass that approximated the shape and size of the cardiac cavity on humans. Hits inside the gray area were desired. Outside was more-or-less a miss.
Head shots were, well, head shots...
Shooting was at various distances ranging from about 5 yards back out to 25 yards. The reasoning here for the short distances was nobody is shooting home invaders at 100 yards. These encounters happen in close quarters.
For the benefit of those of us with AR type rifles there was discussion of the concept of 'hold-over' due to the height of optics over the bore axis and the effects of this. Also discussed were POA (Point of Aim) vs. POI (Point of Impact) for the distances we were shooting from and how we needed to be mindful of this when taking aim.
Drills began with dry-fire practice holding sight picture and trigger press. We then progressed to live fire by shooting the paper bad guy in the head twice.
Next drill was holding low ready, bring the rifle to shooting position and firing. As the drill progressed the addition of a timer set to 1-1/2 seconds was added. High ready position was also introduced and practiced. This drill culminated with us going from ready to firing to dropping to a knee and firing again. We then went behind a barrel, dropped to a knee and fired using the barrel as support for the rifle.
A segment of the first portion of this shooting from low ready drill was also performed offhand. That is if you are a right handed shooter you would be shooting from the left hand and using your left eye.
From there a barricade was placed in front of each shooter and we practiced leaning out from behind the barricade and shooting at the target. This was to simulate leaning into a doorway to shoot at bad guys. This was done both strong and off handed. As this drill progressed a timer was added.
As the barricade drill progressed it ended with us leaning out, shooting once, back to cover, drop to a knee, lean out shoot again.
Next for the very last barricade drill a hostage/bad-guy target was added and on a timer you needed to lean out and only shoot the bad guy in the head. Two sets of 5 repetitions.
Final drill from 25 yards starts behind a barrel. On a timer from the beep, advance two steps, drop to a knee, support the rifle on the barrel fire at the target. This was repeated 5 times. Last drill was to do the same shooting from the barrel but to put 5 well aimed shots on the target. No time limit.
Also running simultaneously to the above drills each student in turn went to the 'Shoot House' set up in another shooting bay.
This consisted of a series of dividers meant to simulate a maze which the instructor, John, told us was a Mall. We would progress through the 'Mall' using the techniques learned in the main course to check rooms and decide shoot or no-shoot between bad-guys and civilians.
Course concludes and we go back into the classroom for debrief and Q&A.
My comments and thoughts on this course
My personal experience with the course begins here. I've always considered myself a so-so rifle shooter. I own and shoot a lot more handguns than rifles. With that in mind I thought this would be a good novice to low-intermediate level course to take.
I was not sure what to expect from reading the course description but willing to just roll with it having attended this school previously I was sure this would be worthwhile. Regardless of my (lack of) pre-conceptions.
It was suggested you bring 60 rounds of rifle ammo. Just in case I brought 80 rounds. I have one round left post course. If I had not run out on the last shot in one drill near the end of the course I'd have used that last round up too!
The gear I brought to this course was a home assembled AR-15 "M4" style carbine built on an Aero Precision lower with a Vortex Strikefire red dot optic. 5.56 NATO caliber.
After the near fiasco surrounding gun failures in a previous course I attended I brought backup gear. The old notion of two equals one, one equals none was my guide. This time I brought a spare rifle (22LR AR) as well as a spare sighted-in red dot.
Early in the course the battery crapped out in the Strikefire. I quickly swapped in a Primary Arms Micro-Dot. As both are on quick release mounts the swap was done swiftly. From there on I had no failures with my sight or carbine.
As I was not really sure what to expect from this course once things started the main instructor, Karl Rehn, explained the focus was to teach how to defensively use long arms inside one's home.
The course was scheduled to run 3 hours. Actual time was closer to 3-1/2 hours with nearly 3 hours spent on the range shooting.
In the classroom we discussed the usual safety issues and then each of us held a wood rifle stock with no action and the reasoning behind leaning out into an opening like a doorway was demonstrated with each student both trying the lean-out and once finished observing from the end of the hall just how much (or little) of you is exposed by both stepping out or leaning out into the doorway.
Once done with that we went out to the range.
Once on the range things ran very smoothly. A few of the attendees were fairly new to shooting and had various gear issues including unfamiliarity with borrowed rifles. I watched an Eotech sight literally fall off a rifle. This did not slow us down enough to be a hindrance thankfully.
Most folks brought AR-15 type rifles. An AK47 underfolder with iron sights and a Kriss Vector in 45ACP as well as 2 shotguns rounded out the rest of the arms on the line.
What can I say here? The shooting was loads of fun in addition to being instructive. I was very surprised at how reasonably well I did on the off-hand shooting as I've got some vision issues with my left eye. Further, I'm a pretty beat up and out of shape large dude and things like getting on my knee in a hurry are not easy for me. (Probably even fun to watch me attempt).
The issues I personally had with the course were centered around my physical limitations. In the thankfully few drills where we were shooting from a knee, and on a timer, I took too much time getting to a knee. As a result I then would hurry my shots making for really poor shooting with wide open groups. In one drill out of 5 shots made going from standing to shooting behind a barrel while kneeling I only made two shots into the kill zone. Once we went to the last drill where we got into that position, make a string of 5 shots supported on the barrel, no time limit I got off my 5 shots accurately and in fairly good time.
The Shoot House
As mentioned above each student individually went to the other shooting bay where a 'shoot house' was setup. This was a fun stage. You were handed a 45ACP carbine with a red-dot sight and 8 rounds of ammo. The idea here is a shoot/no-shoot drill. This used some of the techniques were were learning in the other shooting bay to clear out the 'Mall' while searching for a 'loved-one'. I've never been exposed to this sort of shooting. I was not really sure how this was supposed to flow. After a slightly confused start I managed to shoot all the bad guys and no civilians. Although in all fairness one shot just nicked the elbow on a bad-guy target that was swinging back-forth so no-kill there.
This was a fun thing to shoot. I'd like to play with that again someday.
Once the range time was concluded we went back into the classroom for a Q&A and handing out attendance certificates. I asked Karl what areas I need to work on. His comment was my speed. He told me my fundamentals were good. Work on the speed.
I'm definitely low-speed, high-drag. We'll see about working on my speed.
Overall I feel that I shot well and had no real problems getting on target and making hits other than rushing my shots to make the par time going from standing to a knee.
Other than the battery failure I had no hardware issues at all.
This was a great course. The impression left on me was how much value this course represented. The amount of time spent on the range, the amount of material that was presented combined the shooting and the sheer FUN had, and the reasonable cost makes this program a real winner in my opinion. You will have a very hard time finding a better value for your time and money.
I learned plenty that that I did not know and had never tried previously. Learning the low and high ready positions was kinda big for me. I am sure the drills I learned combined with dry and live practice will make me a better shooter.
The course was held at the KR Training A-Zone Range in Lincoln, 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.
There are three range bays all surrounded my high berms. We used two bays. One set up and a 'shoot house' and the other as a generic firing line with 7 or 8 lanes defined.
Overall a nice place although a bit spartan. Students are welcome to use the kitchen and cold water is provided.
KR is owned by Karl Rehn and Penny Riggs. They are also listed as the lead instructors. This course was led by Karl and two assistant instructors. The brief classroom portions were very pleasant to sit through and were conducted in a very light and engaging manner. All were very good at getting the material clearly across to us students. The brief 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 courses are conducted and how we were all treated.
I will readily recommend KR Training to anybody looking for training. I will be attending other training with KR.