After the most excellent time I had gunning at Karl Rehn’s Defensive Pistol Skills 1 class, I had to jump at the opportunity to add a layer with some running and gunning. DPS 2 is the second in the three part series that Karl teaches. While DPS 1 was mainly focused on getting the gun out of the holster, DPS 2 focuses on what to do once your piece comes out. Specifically, finding cover, shooting from behind cover, one-handed shooting/reloading, clearing malfunctions, and performing a 360 degree scan.
Now that summer is here in Texas, we wasted no time in getting out to the range. This class was a bit different in that every student had already completed DPS 1 so everyone was a competent shooter and knew what Karl expected. Because of this, class flowed very smoothly and we actually got ahead of schedule, so we got to run a couple of the drills a few extra times.
Here’s a word to the wise, bring extra ammo. The class calls for 200 rounds. Like an idiot, I brought exactly 200 rounds and ran out towards the end. Luckily, I brought cash and one of my fellow students had come tooled up for the end days. Play it safe and bring at least 300 rounds.
The student to instructor ratio was excellent just like DPS 1. We had 8 students and 2 instructors, but we ran drills in heats of 4, so the instruction was really 2:1. I really like that format as it allows everyone to see the drill, watch for mistakes, and allows Karl and his fellow instructor to give a high level of attention.
Even with that level of attention, I came away with the impression that I had done very well. And I hate that. I’ve been practicing my draw, my reloads, and my movement at home, but I didn’t think I’d practiced that much. When I ran DPS 1, the instructors were constantly on me about 100 little things. This time wasn’t like that.
So instead of learning a ton of new things, I came away with some good drills to practice at home and on the range. Not really a quibble so much as a frustration with my expectations.
After about three hours on the range, we headed back to the blessed air-conditioned comfort of the classroom. At this point, Karl walked us through some video of real shootings and talked us through the good, the bad, and the ugly. And boy is there some ugly.
This point really hit home watching the video of a police officer getting gunned down near Conroe, TX a few years ago. The officer lost the fight before it even started. He had multiple opportunities to take a clean shot and take down a gun wielding perp who was threatening him. And when his script broke down (repeated commands of “put the gun down” were met with resistance), he tried to barter. And he lost the fight along with an eye. He got shot with a shotgun by a guy who made his intentions known and presented one of the cleanest shots in the world.
Watch the linked video to get an idea of what that looks like.
Karl is not an armchair quarterback, and I try not to do it either. But the sad fact is, that officer had a bunch of opportunities to end things, and he didn’t. As armed citizens, we have to make the jump in our mind every time we leave the house that we can squeeze the trigger if necessary. That’s a heavy way to end a class, but I’m glad it ended exactly like that. Running and gunning is fun, but it is always good (and necessary) to get a sober reminder about why we are practicing all that running and gunning.
My parting advice is this. Bring, and drink, more water than you think you need. I drank two liters in three hours, and still got the first signs of heat exhaustion. On that note, don’t be afraid to wear shorts and a breathable shirt. Bring 100 more rounds than you think you’ll need. Running out of ammo sucks. It sucks even worse when you are starting to get into your rhythm. And last, have a realistic expectation of this class.
If you’ve been practicing the fundamentals, this is going to reinforce some good behaviors. If you haven’t been practicing, you’ll probably get left behind. Do what you need to do to get to Giddings, TX to take any of KR’s classes. They are the absolute best value in training out there. At $20/student hour, you will not regret it.