There has been a LOT of chatter here on TTAG and on the Internet in general about what makes the perfect home defense boomstick. Some say a pistol affords you the ability to run a flashlight, open doors and hoist children to safety if need be. Rifle proponents say there’s no replacement for 30 rounds of persuasion with some real knockdown power. Not to mention the ability to put accurate shots on target at spacious living room distances. And yet, Tailgunner Joe thinks a shotgun is the way to go. As do some other, wiser, more grounded people that actually know something about the subject. They feel that there is no replacement for a dose of 00 buck or a slug . . .
The Defensive Long Gun class from KR Training aims to help you understand the limitations of your shotgun (if that is what you use) or your capabilities with a rifle. This isn’t my first rodeo with KR. I took my first class with Karl a year ago and learned the basic mechanics of running my defensive pistol. Then I took the more advanced defensive pistol class as well as a skills and tactics session in June, so I’m not exactly neutral when it comes to my feelings on KR. I love what they teach as well as how they teach it. And the price rocks too. Most classes are ~$20/hour.
Defensive Long Gun is an all-day session capped at 16 students taught by 4 instructors. The “big” group sessions come during the morning and are run in two heats which gives a student to instructor ratio of 2:1.
The morning session starts with initial checking of zero at ranges from 7 yards to 50 yards. Those with issues were able to go to a secondary range to straighten things out. At this point, those students with optics mounted high above the bore axis got to see what a difference that made in point of impact at various distances. The one guy running a shotgun also got to see what kind of practical accuracy he could achieve with his shotgun running 00. In this case, 15 yards. Past that, said student needed to switch to slugs. Most of the other students in class were running an AR 15/AR 10 platforms with two guys running 9 mm carbines.
Next up was shooting at various distances from behind and around barriers. This was probably the most physically demanding part of class, and it showed with some of the students. For the purposes of this class, I would HIGHLY recommend knee pads. Only one student had taken the class before, and sure enough, he was wearing knee pads. If you are considering this class, I would highly recommend working on some basic calisthenics a few weeks prior. You are going to be up and down more than a nun at Sunday mass.
Thats when we we broke for lunch, and a discussion about the gear you can outfit your home defense long gun with. Simplicity is best. I would also like to mention that my friend Jacob absolutely nailed our lunch menu. We were the envy of all our fellow students with our roasted chicken and fresh garden salads with lemon vinaigrette.
After lunch, we broke into three groups. The first focused on strategy and tactics for the home. Specifically, how to navigate around left handed and right handed corners, and planning out a strategy to get to kids, grandma, grandpa, or other important sentient beings. We used dummy guns for this portion and every student got to run through the house and every student got popped by our home invader instructor. Food for thought.
The second stage was to run a fairly standard rifle course with sections dedicated to weakside shooting, shoot/no shoot, and shots taken from behind or over cover. The first round through was body shots. The second round through was head shots only. Your humble scribe missed a gangbanger, popped an innocent child and forgot to shoot a bad guy. More practice obviously needed.
The last stage was to run a drill very similar to the 3, 3, 3 drill that Karl runs for the defensive pistol classes. I dropped 2 points in the first round, and 4 points during the second. More practice needed. Again. Still.
Why you might take this class
Like all KR classes, you’ll notice an immediate improvement and be able to identify ways to improve moving forward. You aren’t going to become an expert with the rifle in 7 hours. However, you’ll build a solid foundation and know what to look for to improve your performance. If you’ve never drawn the blinds and walked your house to get a good grasp on the weaknesses of your castle, I can’t recommend this class enough.
The strategy portion of the class was absolutely the most valuable part for me. And finally, if you’ve never really “run” your gun, and by that I mean shooting from the weak side, shooting from kneeling, around cover, and in various awkward positions, you need to take this class first to understand how to do it right.
Why you might pause before taking this class
My friend Jacob is a pretty active competition shooter and goes out probably 15 – 20 times a year for competition. While I was having difficulty shooting from behind cover and in awkward positions, Jacob was right at home. And when it came time to run our shoot/no shoot stage, Jacob mentioned that it was very similar to a rifle stage he had run at the local range a few months ago.
So if you regularly shoot competitively with your rifle, the skills portion is going to see pretty routine. However, you are probably not going to suffer by working through a home clearing scenario with an instructor. Again, I can’t stress this enough. This class is not for teaching “competition” shooting. It is about using a rifle or shotgun defensively and safely.
Specifications: KR Training Defensive Long Gun
- Length: 7 hours
- Prerequisites: Some rifle shooting experience and understanding preferred
- Required Equipment
- Rifle in a moderate defensive caliber or shotgun in 20 or 12 gauge
- Shotgunners need 150 rounds of target load birdshot, 40 rounds of buck shot (#4 or OO) and 10 slugs
- Rifle guys and gals need 200 rounds of ammunition. Bring some high quality defensive ammo to check your POI/POA against your “plinking” ammo
- Water & Lunch (roasted chicken optional)
- Optional Equipment
- Knee pads
- Low profile headphones that allow you to get a good cheek weld with your rifle
- Cost – $140
Overall Rating * * * * *
I can’t say enough good things about KR, and I’m blessed to have such high quality training within a one hour drive. This class helped me build some good fundamentals for my defensive rifle shooting, and opened my eyes a bit to my home defense situation. Defensive Long Gun also helped me learn some basic drills I can do to further polish my skills. This class is only offered one or two times a year and fills up very quickly. If you live in the area, stalk the KR front page and book it as soon as it shows up.