Defensive Pistol Essentials (Basic Pistol 2)

Course Description: This teaches the essential skills necessary for defensive use of a handgun. This course is strongly recommended for anyone preparing to take the Texas CHL qualification course, and is a mandatory pre-requisite for those enrolling in our Defensive Pistol Skills 1 course.

Topics: The essential skills required for defensive use of a pistol. Those skills include:

- safe, disciplined gunhandling with constant attention to and awareness of trigger finger and muzzle direction
- optimal, safest techniques for gun manipulation (loading, clearing malfunctions, locking action open)
- loading the pistol with gun in firing grip in "workspace", eyes forward, head up (NOT with gun at gut level, looking at your feet)
- shot followthrough (reacquiring sight picture after recoil, taking slack of out trigger, keeping gun on target)
- learning the difference between an alert defensive ready position and low ready/"my gun is heavy" position
- learning to initiate the trigger press as the gun comes from a ready position to the target, when a shot is intended
- understanding the difference between sight picture quality, target distance, target size, and available time (traditional aiming vs. flash sight picture vs. point shooting at close range)
- using trigger reset or the "flip and press" method to manage the trigger during multiple shot exercises, instead of taking the finger completely off the trigger
- learning proper use of DA/SA style pistols (guns with decocking levers), decocking the gun when coming back to a ready position, shooting double-action for all first shots (for those with DA/SA type pistols)
- bringing the gun from ready to the target and firing accurate shots with CHL-test time limits

These skills are the essential foundation that every pistol owner should learn, whether the person is new to shooting or has a lifetime of informal recreational shooting but has never taken a formal training course. These are also the skills necessary to shoot a 90% or higher score on the Texas CHL shooting qualification course.

Length: four hours

For prices and upcoming course dates, check the schedule page.

Prerequisites: Basic Pistol 1 or ownership of your own handgun (and a basic understanding of how to load and shoot it). If you are a total firearms novice, you need to start with Basic Pistol 1. Basic Pistol 1 and 2 are typically not offered on the same day. Graduates of Basic Pistol 1 need to study the take-home material provided in BP 1, and preferably get in some pre-class practice on the range reviewing what was taught in BP 1, before taking BP 2.

Required Equipment: A handgun and 100 rounds of ammunition, eye and ear protection. Students should also bring a baseball cap (to deflect spent brass), pen and paper.

Optional Equipment: none

Taught by: Karl Rehn, Penny Riggs, or other staff NRA certified instructor

Facility: A-Zone Range

Additional information:

Here are some photos from previous Basic Pistol courses.

What are the differences between Basic Pistol 1, Basic Pistol 2 and Beginner Pistol? Answers here.

Trying to decide what kind of pistol to buy? Read our Handgun Selection Guide.

Trying to decide if you need to take Basic Pistol 2? Points to consider here.

Class after action reports: