RSKTKR 1-Day Pistol Class: After Action Report - ITS Tactical

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RSKTKR 1-Day Pistol Class: After Action Report

By Bryan Black

The rain apparently didn’t get the “Don’t mess with Texas” memo, as we definitely saw it on Sunday during the RSKTKR 1-Day Combative Pistol Class we hosted in Greenville, TX.

Despite the rain and eventual mud on the range, the class was a huge success! Jacob’s Plain Gun Range, where the class was held, proved to be less than ideal for a class our size though.

RSKTKR had originally capped the class at 20 people but let 2 more register since there’s always a few that don’t show up for various reasons, I know I’ve seen that at all the classes I’ve been to.

Well, everyone decided to show up, including two walk-ons. It proved to be a non-issue though, as the individual bays at the range only held about eight shooters across comfortably and we would have wound up having three relays anyway.

The range bays while a decent size for a pistol class, would not have given us the room we needed had this been a rifle class.


RSKTKRinstructorsOur instructors for the class were Mike “Doc” Hewett and his wife Andrea, along with assistant instructors Casey Bohn from The Caskell Group and Justin Springer of XS Sight Systems.

The crew did a phenomenal job relating the course material to all the different skill levels in attendance. We had quite a wide range of shooters, from those who had never been to any kind of formal training, up to those with Military, Law Enforcement and multiple classes under their belts.

Everyone seemed to take just what they needed from Doc’s instruction, which is the definition of a great instructor in my book. Doc had a unique way of explaining each of the class fundamentals with real life examples… despite having to give the fundamentals lecture under a tin roof in a heavy downpour (I could have sworn I heard hail too).

Gear Selection

The class was largely Concealed Carry based, which didn’t go to well with the Safariland Drop Leg Holster I was running, but I made it work. I was running a Sig Sauer P226 with a Surefire X200 WeaponLight, which ran like a champ. Despite dropping my mags in the mud with every mag change and emergency reload I had no failures to feed or any malfunctions.

The MSA Ranger Single Comm Hearing Protection I ran also took the rain just fine without any issue. I wore Oakley M-Frames with Amber lenses which truly helped with the overcast day. I’m not a big fan of the 1st Gen. M-Frames digging into my head beneath comms, but I’ve heard the 2nd Gen. frames are much more comfortable.

On my belt I wore two Emdom CQB Mag Pouches affixed to a Down Range Gear Belt Stabilizer. DRG was also a sponsor for the class (more later). The 215 Gear URB did a great job of holding my mag pouches and Safariland Holster throughout the day without sagging.

And I can’t forget to mention my Crye Precision Field Pants AC. While this will obviously vary for everyone reading this, these pants fit me perfectly. You know, that great feeling you get from a good fitting pair of blue jeans. Definitely the most comfortable tactical pants I’ve ever purchased.

Cold Quals

RSKTKRcoldqualsWe started the day with a brief introduction and moved into Cold Quals, which is the equivalent of how it happens in real life if you’re involved in a shootout. Unless you’re a tier one shooter, odds are that you won’t have just been on the range when the bullets start flying.

The Cold Qual encompasses the two major points in Concealed Carry situations: Draw & Fire, and Emergency Reload. During the CQ the instructors were also looking at the shooter for the first time, noticing things like stance and grip.

Doc mentioned that there were a lot of stance and grip issue with this class due to the number of new shooters.

Due to the sudden downpour, which forced us all under the tin roof covered picnic area, only about half the class wound up getting through the Cold Qual. Doc expressed his disappointment with this, as it’s proven to be a valuable training tool to gauge results after the qual is run again at the end of the day.

Draw & Fire

RSKTKRdrawfireNext we moved into draw and fire exercises where we worked on stance, grip, draw stroke, sight picture and trigger squeeze. Emphasis was placed on drawing your thumb straight up the rib cage, meeting and greeting your support hand and punching straight out to the threat.

A few people were corrected for fishing (throwing the gun down in an arc) and scooping (bringing the gun up in an arc) on the draw. The more efficient the draw the less chance there is for the bad guy to exploit an opportunity to take your weapon in a CQC situation.

Emergency Reload

RSKTKRemergencyreloadThe emphasis during the emergency reload practice was increased efficiency and economy of motion. Cutting out unnecessary movement reduces the time it takes you to perform the reload.

This is also one of the most time consuming pieces in a concealed carry situation. As Doc says, “You have the rest of your life to fix it.” Those seconds may not seem like they would matter, but those are seconds that could mean the difference between life and death.

The goal is to keep the Emergency Reload to sub 6 sec. while keeping your eye on the threat, cutting out extraneous movement and relying on instincts to perform it.

Doc also stressed that this is the time to develop your rituals, and carry them over into your daily routine. If you carry concealed, don’t just get into the habit of taking your gun out a the end of the day and placing it on your dresser.

Every time your hand goes to your weapon, use it as an opportunity to practice your draw stroke, scan & assess and back to high ready. Get into a ritual!

Doc doesn’t emphasize the “Tactical Reload” for concealed carry, which is retaining a partial magazine and topping off a weapon during a lull in the gunfight. The Tactical Reload definitely has its place, but I tend to agree that in a Civilian Concealed Carry situation I’ll be shooting until empty before reloading.


RSKTKRmalfunctionsAfter the Emergency Reload we moved into Malfunction Drills, which consisted of just one drill. Tap (tap the bottom of the magazine to ensure it’s seated), Rack (rack the slide to clear the malfunction), Ready (back to the ready position).

It used to be Tap, Rack, Bang, but Doc mentioned that somebody decided that Tap, Rack, Bang gives off the impression that as soon as the Tap and Rack is executed one should fire automatically.

I know that if I have to clear a malfunction I’m more than likely trying to shoot already, so I still prefer the Tap, Rack, Bang… personally.  TRB will also clear about 90% of the malfunctions that are encountered with a pistol.

The next step after TRB, if it doesn’t clear the malfunction, is Lock (lock the slide to the rear), Rip (rip the magazine out), Work (work the slide back and forth at least three times), Tap, Rack, Ready.


RSKTKRtransitionsNext up were Transition Drills, where we’d draw down on a threat (the target directly in front of us) and then based on the command would fire 2 rounds to the body and 1 to the head of the threat in whichever direction was called (left or right).

The emphasis on these drills was using your eyes to move to the threat before your gun does. This avoids turreting, which as you can imagine is how a tank turret moves.

Turning Drills

For Turning Drills we faced up range, turning 180 degrees as the command “threat rear” was given followed by the direction we’d turn. We were educated on why you turn towards the front and not behind, to avoid obstacles that could be behind you.

You can’t pick up objects in your peripheral vision like you can turning towards the front, and while it may not save time compared to other turning movements, it will eliminate the possibility of tripping on an object. The other teaching point of this was to pivot on the foot of the direction you’re turning in.

The first step is to look over the shoulder of the direction you’ll be turning in, while making contact with your weapon. Next is the turn to the rear, and then and only then do you draw your weapon down on the threat.

This is to ensure that you have a stable shooting platform before starting your draw & fire. You may be able to unleash a few rounds from an unstable platform, but when you’re having to make transitions and movement you’ll need that stability.

Shooting & Moving

RSKTKRshootingmovingThis was the other area we had to trim due to the rain and mud, as there was a safety concern from slipping while running. We did go over how to step while moving and shooting, just not running.

Emphasis here was placed on heel/toe contact to be able to respond to changes in the terrain, having a lower body position and taking shorter steps. If stepping normally while encountering an obstacle, you can correct for it faster using the heel/toe method.

While walking backwards run the opposite, toe/heel contact.

Single-Handed Shooting

RSKTKRsinglehandOur last exercise of the day was Single-Handed Shooting, where we were taught two different techniques to stabilize our shooting platform when shooting one handed.

The first was “Muscular Tension” where the arm is significantly bent and the elbow is pointed down towards the ground. This creates additional muscular tension around the shoulder and adjoining muscles to help stabilize your shooting platform. I found this technique to work better for my strong side hand.

The other was canting the weapon at 45 degrees inboard to aid in lining the sights up. To me this was particularly important on my weak / non-dominant side as I did feel that it helped me line the sights up better.

Top Shooter

RSKTKRtopshooterWe held a shoot-off for top shooter at the end of class, as there wasn’t a Cold Qual score for everyone to compete with.

Our shoot-off consisted of a modified version of the new Navy Qual, which is much more difficult than it sounds.

I know that when I qualified as Expert in the Navy, it consisted of nothing more than a few rounds from standing, kneeling and prone. This was considerably more advanced.


RSKTKRschwagOur top shooter, William W., got first pick from the schwag pile consisting of an ITS Tactical ETA Kit, 2 Gift Certificates for free sights from XS Sight Systems, 2 Gift Certificates for free holsters from Peter’s Custom Holsters, a Down Range Gear Modular Panel Insert with Modular Holster Insert and a Tactical Revolution Plate Carrier.

The next six shooters down continued to pick until the schwag was gone! Congratulations guys!

Wrap Up

RSKTKRgroupWe’d like to thank RSKTKR for a stellar class and their level of knowledge, attention and passion that went into a great day of shooting, rain or not.

Thank you to all those that attended, it was great to put names with faces! I think we’ve got a great group that’s interested in training in the D/FW area, and we’re all looking forward to hosting more classes!

If you’ll excuse me, I still have some muddy magazines to clean out.
~ Bryan

Here’s a photo gallery of all the photos from the class! Click here to view the images on Flickr to download.

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  • John T

    Wow excellent write up! I wish everyone did this after a class. Maybe that could be something you guys do. After someone takes a class, if they choose to, write up an AAR and post it up to share their experience with others (Good or bad). Just a thought.

    Thanks for sharing all that info Bryan. Sounds like an intense and fun class.

    • Thanks John, it was a blast. I’d highly recommend training with RSKTKR if you get the opportunity.

      ~ Bryan

    • John T

      I just went through the Flickr picture set. Bryan you need to hire someone to take pictures for you! Looks like you barely got a chance to shoot since you were constantly taking pictures =p.

    • John, the large gallery on Flickr is a combination of a few different cameras. I actually did get to shoot the whole day, and it was great to have help taking pictures! Andrea, Doc’s wife was taking photos as were a few others from the class.

      Our only regret is that we didn’t get to shoot video because of the weather. Maybe next time 🙂

      ~ Bryan

  • tremis

    Any further detail on the modified navy qual? I barely remember the qual from when I was in the Navy, but I too, dont remember it being too difficult. Maybe an idea for an article? I know there are a few different quals that could be discussed, MEU, FAM, ModNavy ect.

  • Ed Harris

    Curious as to whether any close contact, parry-draw-fire, arms-length or less, weak hand, one-handed firing and reloading, non-sighted fire etc. was done. How many people used snubby revolvers? I wish I had a buck for every .45 fan I know who leaves his heavy chunk of iron at home and has a 642 in his pocket as EDC.

    • Ed, all those things were done with the exception of one handed weapon manipulations. Doc mentioned that is done in a multiple day class.

      No revolvers and quite a few .45s or “Man Guns” as Doc calls them 🙂

  • TxSoldier

    I appreciate you putting all the work into organizing that class Bryan. Thanks to RSKTKR as well! It was great. I think everyone, no matter their experience level came away with some new skills. It was good meeting everyone as well. Whats up next? LOL

  • Bryan thanks again for putting together this class. There are a lot of moving parts to coordinate such a class. Also thanks to “Doc” and crew for their time and candor during the training. It was very beneficial in a structured but relaxed environment that helped maximize the transfer of applied knowledge to myself.
    I also wanted to state, not to take away from your Sig Bryan, that I was shooting the Glock 22 RTF2 which shoot extremely well and the RTF (rough texture finish) proved to be a big help to keep a good grip on the pistol in the rain and mud. There were no malfunctions or jams and often cleaned clips after drills in the nearest puddle to clean out mud in between drills. I received this gun the Tuesday before the class so I was impressed with its performance.
    In addition, as a testament to the instruction my cold quals were quite sub-par to the exit quals with draw, double tap and draw, double tap, emergency reload and double tap. Not only did my times dramatically improve with my draw and double tap time was clocked at 1.6s at exit quals (both head shots) but also scored +12 (perfect) on exit quals within a 8″ ring. This is a big deal to me because I always considered myself a descent shot on a center mass target but when you’re under stress and can only rely on training to put 12 shots in a 8″ ring in different movements as Bryan described above, it can only be contributed to your instruction.
    After taking this class I can say if you carry open, concealed or only own a gun for home protection you must take this class!
    Thanks again guys and can’t wait for the next one!

  • Wow! Sounds like a really amazing class! I wish I could have been there but driving from DC would not have been a lot of fun!

    Anyway, I have a comment regarding Tap Rack Bang (or Ready). If any of you have seen the Art of the Dynamic Handgun DVD’s from Magpul then you may have already seen this but they introduce a new process for clearing malfunctions.

    Travis & Chris have a time saving technique. You have to watch it to get the full effect but basically what they do is after a malfunction of some kind, they tilt the muzzle to the sky so you can see what kind of malfunction it is. Stovepipe? double feed? etc… Then do a fix based on that. One fix to solve the problem, not a series of procedures.

    Example, if it’s a stove pipe, just sweep in one motion from the muzzle to the rear (almost like you are power stroking the slide to chamber a round) and the casing will eject with the new round seated properly.

    I’m still very new to real “handgunning” so all of these tips help but I would love to hear one you seasoned grizzlies share your take on the Magpul way.

    Either way, I can’t wait to start doing some local classes. I had the Ruger LCP (which is a little more difficult to operate in classes like this) but the new M&P9 was literally just ordered and is now on its way!

  • For non tier 1 level shooter learning to fix each individual issue is tough. When teaching higher levels and more dedicated shooters I do teach individual fixes, but at most levels up to and including higher levels then TRR fixes 90% of the problems seen. Diagnosing and applying an individual fix will slow a majority of shooters down that don’t have 1000’s of rounds a week to practice.
    Check out Hick’s law for a few reasons I teach this this way.'s_law

  • That’s a good point sigsshooter. I agree that fundamentals are key but I wonder if the different techniques would benefit a more experienced shooter. But I totally see what you are saying. If you ever get a chance, watch those Magpul DVD’s and tell me what you take of it. Thanks again for your input!

  • Well looks like my link did not come through, Wikipedia Hick’s Law for the reason.
    I have those videos and they are very good, and yes they might benefit a more experienced shooter but in my eperience that particular skill set belongs to Teir Level shooters. I am not one of those and I rarely see one of those in a class. The guys that can differentiate one malfunction from another and apply the appropriate clearance technique get free ammo and are paid to shoot daily.
    You need to realize that every technique shown in a video is not for every student. There are levels of instruction, and trying something before you are ready for it could get you killed. Your time to figure out that malfunction and process which technique to clear it will have you staring at your pistol while I have already TRR’ed and burned through another Magazine.
    No disrespect is meant but numerous techniques like that can confuse, therefore slow down all but the best shooters.

    • Actually, I found the Hick’s Law on wiki so I got to read it. Very interesting stuff! I agree with what you are saying exactly now. No disrespect taken! I really do appreciate you explaining this to me! If you are ever in the DC/NoVA area, let me know and we’ll go to the range so you can give me some tips!

      Oh, if other readers are looking for Hick’s Law, click here:

  • Anytime.
    And for those that do not want to read all the gobbledy gook on the wikipedia page, basically Hick’s law states that for a stimulus (In this case “Click” instead of “Bang”) every possible response adds time to your response time.
    So for example if “Click” gets one response, TRR, my response time is .5 seconds.
    If “Click” gets two possible responses, whether it is a FTF or an out of battery, my response time is 1.0
    If “Click” gets three possible responses, whether it is a FTF, out of battery or stove pipe, my response time is now 1.5
    This is an example for illustrative purposes.
    Response time is the time to start the action, so now I have to complete the appropriate action.
    TRR will fix 90+% so why not do this as the default?

  • Aaron

    Had a good time out there, really liked the relaxed atmosphere. I didn’t expect the prizes at the end of the course, very cool. Also didn’t realize Doc was Sigshooter, You helped me with a shooting problem my sister had a few months back, would have thanked you if I had known.

  • I been teaching Potentially Dangerous and Nefarious skills for quite a few years, and I have found that being all keyed up that someones going to smack you on the back of the head if they walk up to you does not make for a good learning environment. There is a time and a place for that type of learning environment, and my classes rarely give me that type of opportunity 🙁 But alas I persevere!
    Glad you enjoyed it!
    “Doc” up!”

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