Self Defense

KR Training Advanced Handgun

KR Training’s Advanced Handgun course tests a student’s technical pistol shooting skills against well known drills while offering practice tips to help improve specific skills needed to perform at higher standards. It’s also a ton of fun.

I recently attended yet another class at KR Training. This time it was the Advanced Handgun course. This class is normally a class that Karl Rehn takes on the road and combines the material contained in a few other courses I’ve yet to take: Correcting Common Shooting Errors, Top 10 Drills, and AT-6. In of itself, the class was a lot of fun and is arguably my favorite technical shooting skills class from KR Training that I’ve attended thus far.

The class was led by Karl Rehn who was assisted by Dave Reichek and Tom Hogel. With a class size of eleven (11) students, this was one of the smaller classes I’ve attended at KR Training. The student to instructor ratio remained at a typical four to one or less consistent with many of the other KR Training courses I’ve attended. Additionally, the students were either returning students or students who had received prior instruction. The combination resulted in a very smooth running class.

Gear wise, I stuck with the usual suspects I’ve taken along to other KR Training Defensive Pistol program courses I have previously attended. Here was my load out:

The class started out in typical KR Training fashion. That is in the classroom for the safety brief and facility overview before getting into the meat and potatoes of the course. In this case, the meat and potatoes all took place on the range.

Normally for an after action report, I do my very best to detail the drills and content as it happened. However, I’m not going to do that this time around. Instead, I’ll attempt to provide a high level overview with some highlights and takeaways. The main reason for this approach is because the drills we performed are well known and documented elsewhere. Additionally, there were so many drills that my traditional approach would make this after action report unbearably long.

The course presented an array of well known drills. Each drill was scored and compared against a standard. For each drill, Karl Rehn provided plenty of context concerning the drill which included a description of the drill, the drill’s origin, and the drill’s purpose. In each case, the students were provided with a supporting practice drill or two which isolated a key skill or element of the scored drill. These supporting drills worked as a warm up and provided the student with a specific exercise that could be used outside of class to help improve specific shooting techniques. Every student was provided with a sheet documenting their own scores at the end of class which functioned as a baseline to compare against when the scored drills are attempted again outside of class.

The scored drills included:

  • 25 yard groups
  • Bill Drill (7 yard, 7 yard strong hand only, 7 yard week hand only, and 15 yard variants)
  • Four Aces
  • Farnam
  • The Wizard
  • Three Seconds or Less
  • IDPA 5×5 Classifier
  • F.A.S.T.
  • 5 yard Round Up
  • The Test (10 yard and 5 yard variants)
  • Casino Drill

As a side note, the drills shot in this class are documented and explained in the Drills, Qualifications, Standards, & Tests eBook authored by John Daub which is available as a free download.

In many ways, this particular KR Training course is arguably the one I’ve enjoyed the most out of the courses I’ve taken so far. Don’t get me wrong, every class has been excellent and fun. There have been a few others that I think have more value in terms of better equipping students for potential armed self defense encounters, such as, Personal Tactics Skills and Force on Force Scenarios. There are also plenty of courses which focus on pistol shooting skill development. However, the myriad of standards tested in this course really helps measure how far along specific technical shooting skills have been developed and identify specific skills that are lagging behind. There is a lot of value in knowing that. I also had a lot of fun putting those skills to the test.

There were some major takeaways for me in this class. The first was me recognizing there were moments in certain drills where things felt right and I knew I could push and attempt to score a faster time on a drill. I also recognized there were some attempts when things weren’t right and I knew that pushing would result in less than acceptable hits. There were a few different “things” that I identified such as my grip or how the tracked dot during recoil was moving to name a couple. The realization that I could identify what was right and what was off was a big deal for me.

Another takeaway was that last minute changes, especially unfamiliar and untested changes can wreak havoc on performance. An example of this was when I decided to apply some Liquid Grip to my hands towards the end of the day. It was hot. I was sweaty. I was also getting tired. I had used Liquid Grip a few years back and thought maybe applying some would help me perform a little better in the last few drills. This decision wasn’t as fruitful as I thought it would be. It turned out that even though my hands were dry, I struggled running the pistol how I wanted to run it. I failed to make the adjustments I was used to making while shooting. In some ways, the pistol I was very familiar with felt foreign. That hurt the scores on a few drills. It wasn’t that Liquid Grip was bad as much as it was that I had no recent experience or practice using it.

It didn’t dawn on me until a few days later that the score sheet I had also didn’t give me an idea of how my performance level compared to other shooters. There were drills where I beat the standard. There were also drills where I didn’t. While I was happy to have that data, I didn’t know how many shooters at a given skill level performed against those standards. Interestingly enough, Karl Rehn published a post on the KR Training blog a few days after the class which provided a relative performance measurement. It was as though he was reading my mind. As uncanny as that was, I was exceptionally pleased to see how my performance compared against a relative scale.

So, yeah. The class was fantastic and a lot of fun. There was plenty of learning and loads of shooting. I continue to be impressed by the quality of instruction offered by KR Training and encourage folks to check out their schedule as they offer a multitude of valuable courses throughout the year. Alternatively, consider subscribing to the KR Training email newsletter to get course schedule updates delivered to your inbox and other useful information.

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