KR Training Advanced Training 4: Pistol Skills Development

Yesterday afternoon I drove out to Giddings and took Karl Rehn’s Advanced Training 4: Pistol Skills Development class.

The range is way out in the country making for a beautiful drive. Except it is bluebonnet season, so everyone and their dog, felt the need to go take pictures on the side of the road and for some reason that meant everyone driving had to come to a near halt. I was sure I was going to be late from all the stop and go traffic I had to endure on Highway 290. But I made it with 10 minutes to spare.

This is an advanced course and you have to have had some kind of training before. I was depending on the Four Day Defensive Handgun course I took 4 years ago and I learned how much I have lost. At the end of that course I could draw from concealment and put 2 shots in the center ring in under 1.5 seconds. I couldn’t quite do that some thing from ready at the beginning of this training. I was better by the end, but nothing like as good as I thought I was.

The course was four hours and was almost completely on the range. The two goals were trigger reset and shooting on the move. I think that was suppose to be 50-50, but ended up more like 80-20. Probably because we weren’t as good as Karl expected us to be.

The instructors told us a lot of things we were doing wrong. Which was a good thing and a bad thing. It was a good thing because you just can’t see these things yourself. It was a bad thing because it was a little discouraging and it was hard to be humble and take it. But I did learn lots of stuff I need to work on. Matter of fact so much stuff I need to practice that I’m just going to focus on a couple of things. Mostly trigger reset and proper form is draw and present.

Enhanced hearing. A funny thing I noticed after awhile was the instructors could hear me even when I was talking low enough I thought they couldn’t. I’m sure it was because of their ear protection which, like mine, actually amplifies the sound around you until a loud sudden noise.

Tired. I can’t believe The Mrs and I spend 8 hours a day for 4 days training at Front Sight. I was tired after 4 hours of this course. You were basically on your feet the whole time, except for reloading time. While there was moving, it wasn’t that much of the time. Of course I was a good P90xer and did an hour of Kenpo X that morning, which could have contributed.

Reloading. I need more magazines. Hsoi I take back anything I said about you having too many mags. That is impossible. I’ve got 4 XD mags and that was the minimum you needed if you didn’t want to spend time loading on the range. I also need a better mag holder than the one that comes with the XD.

Compete. Karl said if you want to get good you need to compete. It teaches you to shoot well and teaches you to shoot well under stress. I think I’m going to take that to heart. Now to find locals that compete.

I’m sure I’ll get the inevitable question of comparing KR to FrontSight, so I’ll answer. It isn’t easy to compare because this was an advanced class and my FrontSight class was a beginners class. This was 4 hours and FrontSight was 4 days. FrontSight was more refined. They had everything worked out and down to a science through the whole day. They also had many more instructors. Karl and Tom were as competent as any FS instructor, but FrontSight’s guys were just more polished as teachers.

This is both and good and bad, KR’s training was more relaxed and free form. When I thought I was almost out of ammo I loaded my last but didn’t get into line for another round of shoot and move. When I realized this was the last thing we were going to shoot, I asked to go ahead and shoot it again and Karl said go for it. There was the flexibility to do that. At FrontSight that flexibility probably wouldn’t be there. But I wouldn’t have ended up in a situation where I wasn’t sure what we were doing.


I enjoyed myself and will being going back. It is a bit of a shelp for me from Houston, but not as much as Nevada. I’ve got a lot to learn and KR Training will be a good place to learn it on a regular basis.

I’d also recommend it to any gun owner I know. You learn how true Jeff Cooper’s saying “Having a gun doesn’t mean you are armed.” is. If you can’t hit stuff in a class like this I shudder to thing how much you will miss when your life depends on it.

Carrying At My New Bank

Last week I finally had it with Compass Bank and decided to change to Chase. So on Saturday morning I went to the local branch and spent two hours creating accounts and filling out paperwork.
Killer School Girl Denise Williamson
When I walked into the bank a young man – God I sound old – greeted me and sent me to talk to a banker about opening new accounts.

At one point I was asked for two forms of picture ID, so I naturally pulled out my Driver’s License and my Texas Concealed Handgun License. Two forms of government issued ID.

But alas, my new banker told me they can’t take a CHL as a form of ID. A credit card would be fine. WTF? She said when they get audited by the main office that isn’t one of the things on the list.


I was carrying. I had on jeans and a long shirt. My Springfield XD in a inside the waistband holster.

My wife wasn’t around on Saturday morning to sign paperwork, so we had to go in on Monday morning and handle it. When we did we got an interesting story from our new banker. She said the young man who greeted me at some point realized I was wearing a gun. I don’t know if I flashed while stretching or moving around, or if I printed while sitting down, but some how he saw it.

Well it freaked him out and he went and found the manager and said “There’s a guy here with a gun!”

The manager said to calm down, but they did let the banker know later that I was carrying. She said she knew because I’d tried to use my CHL.

I know I screwed up letting them see it, but here are a couple of thoughts I had.

First, I always assumed if someone saw it, they would assume I was a cop. Guess not.

Second, this is Texas, a gun shouldn’t freak you out. Remember that scene in Miss Congeniality where Sandra Bullock sees someone with a gun in San Antonio and jumps them from the stage? Her beauty pageant coach says, “This is Texas. My florist carries a gun”.

Third, even before there we shall issue CHLs, on way show need for a license was if you had to carry large amounts of money to the bank. So banks should have the most experience with people with guns. But I can understand they also have a big fear of being robbed. I’m pretty sure that was why the guy was standing there to start with. Someone told me it was a security measure they instituted to catch people acting strange before they get to a teller.

Reading a recent post about Open Carry by Hsoi made me remember and decide to post this story.

Guess Placement Does Matter More Than Caliber

I was reading a Houston Chronicle story about a homeowner defending his property and person from a criminal with a tire iron and had a couple of interesting thoughts.

First, the most fun I’ve had reading a news story comments in a long time. I love Texas. Normally threads on news paper websites are some of the worst on the net.

Second, was the paragraphs at the end about other homeowners defending themselves. Compare the main story and the last other shooting.

In the main story the homeowner had a 45 pistol, and fired 4 or 5 times and still doesn’t stop the guy. Eventually the guy does bleed out, after struggling for the gun, and dies trying to drive away.

In the last paragraph is says:

On June 17, a north Harris County man shot and killed a teenager who refused to leave his property in the 5500 block of Susanna. Sheriff’s investigators said Dwayne Austgen, 69, feared for his life when he fired a .22 caliber rifle at 17-year-old Vidal Herrera.

Here the guy uses a 22 and kills the assailant, apparently only shooting him once in the abdomen.

I guess the lesson here is that just because you shoot someone – maybe even leading to their death – they probably won’t stop.

Guess that’s why at Frontsight they teach, two shots to the chest, and if they don’t stop, one to the head.


I mentioned Neil Strauss’ new book Emergency in my last post, but I wanted to talk about why I was gung-ho about it and why I pre-ordered it. (In paper no less, not Kindle)

If you’ve read this blog for long you know I’ve got a lot of interests. Photography, guns, pretty girls, computers, filmmaking, writing, personal development, etc.

My wife says I have a tendency to cycle through them. I’ll get gung ho on guns for a few months, and then get into photography again. I think I’ve settled to doing a number of them at the same time now and just cycle through focus. And I’ve figured out how to combine them. Now business, photography, and pretty girls are combined in Glamour Apprentice for example.

But since I was a wee lad, I’ve been into what was called survivalism when I got into it in the late 70s and early 80s. I wasn’t dedicated enough to move out to the country and live off the land, but I had plans for when the Shit Hit The Fan (SHTF).

I blame Robert Heinlein, and I do for a lot of my philosophical early development. As a teen I read Solider of Fortune and Survive magazines. Books like Lucifer’s Hammer, Farnham’s Freehold, and The Out Of The Ashes‘ series were fodder for my imagination.

So naturally when I read the prologue to Neil’s book I was hooked. This paragraph in particular hooked me.

But that wouldn’t happen anymore. Today I can draw a holstered pistol in 1.5 seconds, aim at a target seven yards away, and shoot it twice in the heart. I can start a fire by rubbing two pieces of wood together. I can identify seven hundred types of footprints when tracking animals and humans. I can survive in the wild with nothing but a knife and the clothes on my back. I can find water in the desert, extract drinkable fluids from the ocean, deliver a baby, fly a plane, pick locks, hotwire cars, build homes, set traps, evade bounty hunters, suture a bullet wound, kill a man with my bare hands, and escape across the border with documents identifying me as the citizen of a small island republic.

I thought. “That’s cool I want to be able to do all that.”

I’ve bolded the ones I can already do competently. Those I’ve at least done and/or trained for.

It reminded me a Heinlein quote, which I had to search for.

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

Again I’ve bolded the ones I can already do competently. Those I’ve at least done and/or trained for.

Now Heinlein’s quote is by a fictitious science fiction character, but I still find it somewhat unrealistic. Or at least fuzzy and I’m not sure why I need to know how to write a sonnet. And do I have to be able to do it well? We learned sonnets in High School, but I’m not poet. I’ve never pitched manure, but really is it a “skill” I need to learn? Or is he talking about the mindset that will do what needs to be done.

Now I’m curious, and we’ll start a little meme here. Write a blog post with these two lists of survival traits with those you can do bolded. Then trackback ping this post, or comment with a link to your post below.

AR Ammo Discussion

I’ve got a long time friend John who’s gotten major into all kinds of manly stuff including guns. He’s also started a blog Stuff From Hsoi and probably has as many posts in a couple of months as I have in 5 years. OK, that’s an exaggeration, but he’s very prolific. Go check it out.

I sent him an email yesterday about Neil Strauss’ new book Emergency, which is about becoming self-sufficient. I can’t wait for the book.

We got to trading emails and he’s been sending me links to “cheap” ammo for my AR-15, the discussion naturally we got to talking about ammo. As part of the email he said this:

The thing is, all .223/5.56 ammo is NOT built the same. Ignoring the .223
vs. 5.56 issues themselves, the big thing is terminal effectiveness with
this ammo. You need at least about 2500-2700 fps (depending who you ask)
for best terminal effectiveness, so that means 5.56 rounds, which are loaded
hotter, are going to do better there. Then the bullet itself needs to be
“thin walled” and with a canelure (sp?) to help um… “minimize structural
integrity” of the bullet itself (so to speak) so that upon impact it
fragments… which leads to greater tissue damage but also can improve
issues of overpenetration. You gotta look at the bullet you’re using to
determine this, and XM193’s are known to do this. Others such as Hornady TAP
are designed for this too.

reprinted with permission

Frankly a lot of that went over my head. I’m a geek, but I haven’t put that much geek into my gun knowledge in awhile. But I replied with this.

When I read something like this my first question is “What is the percentage difference?” How much better a round is the XM193 and even say the Wolf target ammo you use? By better I mean stopping power on a human target given the same round placement. 1%? 10% 50%

To me that makes a big difference in whether you should invest in the more expensive round. I’d pretty much link effectiveness to price. If the price increases 30% to get a 2% increase in effectiveness its not really worth it.

Of course there are a lot of other factors, but for ammo of the same caliber that’s what I think.

There are always trade offs, including price and some of the stuff you mentioned like over penetration.

For instance when people bitch about the army using a varmit round in the M16 they miss the point. They didn’t pick that round because of its stopping power – or IMHO because of politics as is often pointed out – but because a solider could carry more rounds while rucking through the battlefield. Weight makes a big difference. That’s probably why they carry 9MM instead of 45. (Or it could be because of gun capacity, especially vs the 1911).

I think part of my thoughts here are that we all only have so much time for study on this and we only have so many resources for purchases. So is the trade off of “expensive” ammo worth it? You tell me.

But John and I both agree that training trumps gear all the time.

Valerie Whitaker & My AR-15

I bought a day after Barak Obama was elected president from Talon Arms and named it after Barak. I mentioned this in the past, but hadn’t posted any pictures. Well now I will.

I was scheduled the Sunday after I bought it shoot with nude model Valerie Whitaker, so I asked if I could bring the rifle. She said she’s shoot with anything I brought.

The problem with posting the images her is she’s naked. That is a problem right? I’ve avoided posting nude images on Reactuate because not everyone who reads it wants to see naked women. But here are two that have all the naughty bits covered.

Valerie Whitaker & AR-15 Valerie Whitaker & AR-15

If you don’t mind tasteful, artistic nudity and want to see the whole rifle – oh and all of Valerie – you can got to my other blog/website

FrontSight Member Now

Well I finally did it. I joined FrontSight as a Legacy member. If you look at their website that is a $9,900 membership, but I got a direct mail piece that let me get it for $1,900.

I’ve been considering becoming a member since Feb 2007 when the Mrs and I went for the 4 day Defensive Handgun course. But the cost to course ratio was never right. I wanted at least Advanced Handgun and Practical Rifle. I’d also have liked the One Day 30 State Handgun license class.

Well the Legacy doesn’t have the CHL class, but it did have all the other classes and then some. And as Dr Piazza says it cost about the same as one course. So I’m a member now and need to find time to go to Nevada and train. Don’t really want to go until after Feburary anyway having froze my ass off at night last time.

I bought an AR-15 and need to learn how to use it.

Obama And The Assault Weapons Ban

Don’t know if you get the NRA newsletter, but they included a PDF of President Obama’s “Plan to Stimulate Urban Prosperity” page in the last email. It was the google cache for Nov 7.

In the Crime and Law Enforcement section, between “End the Dangerous Cycle of Youth Violence:”and “End Racial Profiling” was this section on guns.

Address Gun Violence in Cities: As president, Barack Obama would repeal the Tiahrt Amendment, which restricts the ability of local law enforcement to access important gun trace information, and give police officers across the nation the tools they need to solve gun crimes and fight the illegal arms trade. Obama and Biden also favor commonsense measures that respect the Second Amendment rights of gun owners, while keeping guns away from children and from criminals who shouldn’t have them. They support closing the gun show loophole and making guns in this country childproof. They also support making the expired federal Assault Weapons Ban permanent, as such weapons belong on foreign battlefields and not on our streets.

He has taken down his detailed agenda from the site now, but it is still available in PDF form on his campaign page. (Under “Read The Plan”)

I bought an AR-15 last Wednesday. I named it Barack. It is sweet. Pictures to come.