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Thread: AAR: KR Training "Historical Handgun," Culpeper, VA, 10/20/18

  1. #1

    AAR: KR Training "Historical Handgun," Culpeper, VA, 10/20/18

    I took this class hosted at John Murphy's fine FPF Training facility in lovely Culpeper. The instructor was Karl Rehn of KR Training, who's put a ton of time into developing this truly unique course. This was the one-day version intended to be shot with a single handgun, though I used two (see below).

    We only had five students in the class, including Murphy, so it was pretty relaxed. With the small class size, Karl was able to alternate between lectures giving a decade-by-decade review of handgun training from the 1930s to today, and live fire qualification courses. For each decade, he gave an overview of the key historical events, trainers, technological developments, and pop culture influences that affected handgun training at the time. The material included some fascinating/cringeworthy old training films from the L.A. Sheriff's Department, U.S. Army, and more.

    We shot eight courses of fire, totaling 341 rounds:

    1935 US Army (25 and 15-yard bullseye shooting, then 25-yard "quick fire" on a silhouette. Cup and saucer grip for two-handed shooting.)
    1945 FBI (7 hard hip shooting, then 60-, 50-, and 25-yard shooting from various positions - cup and saucer again)
    1950s NRA PPC B (7, 15, 25 and 50 yards, varied positions)
    1970s Gunsite 250 (3 to 25 yards - Weaver stance, of course)
    1970s Gunsite 350 (3 to 35 yards, Weaver stance)
    1980s FBI (25 down to 5 yards - time limits adjusted for lack of the running that the original course required. Weaver again.)
    1990s Texas urban police course (25 down to 3 yards, isosceles stance)
    Current FBI (3 to 25 yards, isosceles)

    The 2013 USMC Combat Pistol course is in the syllabus but we ran out of time.

    Not surprisingly, those who turn out for a class like this were all experienced shooters; while some of us struggled with particular skills, most of us were able to pass most of the courses. My scores show a U-shaped curve. I scored Expert on the 1935 Army course and passed the 1945 FBI course, then turned in sub-par performances on the PPC, Gunsite, and 1980s FBI courses before rebounding to shoot the 1990s PD course clean and a 97% on the current FBI course. (Factors included procedural errors, lack of familiarity with borrowed speedloaders, and general difficulty with the Weaver stance.)

    The trend we observed was that courses have gotten closer, faster, and easier to administer. Scoring the B-21 target (with all its fiddly little armpit and scalp zones) takes forever.

    I shot the 1940s FBI course and the PPC course with a police trade in S&W Model 66 (2.5Ē barrel) and .38 Spl. ball, and everything else with a Glock 19. (I was glad I brought the revolver, because semi-auto shooters on the 1945 FBI course were required to load magazines with loose rounds from their pockets, on the clock. After all, that's what they made Jeff Cooper do, because just being able to drop and replace a magazine is an unfair advantage.) I brought a SIG P229 for the 1980s FBI qual, but we were running a little late and I didnít want to slow everyone down switching gear. If Karl comes back next year, Iíll probably take the class again with more historically correct equipment - at least a 1911 for the Army course.

    At the end of the class, Karl asked everyone to state the biggest thing they'd learned. Mine was that hip shooting is stupid. I asked him what he'd learned developing the course, and his answer was that "those old guys could shoot" -- especially considering the inferior equipment and techniques they were working with. Karl encouraged us to try some of the old courses with modern equipment and techniques and compare the experiences.

    Overall, this was one of the most fun classes I've ever taken, and a must for serious students and especially instructors who want a historical perspective on what we do. Highly recommended.

    GN

  2. #2
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    I was in his Advanced Handgun class the next day. Good class but now I kinda regret missing this one.
    ďI've been riding on the crest of a slump lately.Ē
    ― Tom Waits

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by modrecoil View Post
    I was in his Advanced Handgun class the next day. Good class but now I kinda regret missing this one.
    Iíll be watching for your AAR on the one you did take.

  4. #4
    Excellent review. The way Karl tracks the changes over time really puts things into perspective and how we got to where we are.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by John Murphy View Post
    Excellent review. The way Karl tracks the changes over time really puts things into perspective and how we got to where we are.
    Hearing about the key influences on training way back in the Ď90s also made me feel ... experienced.

  6. #6
    I'm curious if you found any of the older techniques surprisingly effective? I've ways tried to reconcile photos of Jelly Bean Bryce blazing away from the hip with the fact that was a "been there, done that" guy.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by MK11 View Post
    I'm curious if you found any of the older techniques surprisingly effective? I've ways tried to reconcile photos of Jelly Bean Bryce blazing away from the hip with the fact that was a "been there, done that" guy.
    The cup and saucer hold worked better than I expected, especially from prone and kneeling.

    Karl noted that Bryceís hip shooting was aided by superhuman eyesight. He could see the bullets in the air and adjust accordingly. The technique doesnít work so well right off the bat for us mortals.

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