Advanced Training Weekend
I had been considering a trip to Karl Rehn's 'Advanced Training' weekend for a couple of months, and decided to do it after an email exchange discussing one of my postings that mentioned 'under stress, you do as you are trained'.
Karl holds three classes in succession over the weekend, one all day Saturday, one for a few hours on Saturday night, and one all day Sunday. By taking all of them in the same weekend of 10/24/98 and 10/25/98, I got a discount, spending $200 for the classes.
A semi-auto handgun and at least two magazines are needed. I shot about 350 rounds during the day on Saturday and about 100 rounds that night. How much you actually shoot depends on your style: some of the drills are shooting until you are behind cover. Sanborn Shooters makes a bulk buy of ammo for anyone that asks for it, so it's easy to buy more than you think you will need and keep the rest for future use.
All firearms and ammo are furnished on Sunday -- one of the rituals is to make sure you are not carrying any firearms, conventional ammo, knives or other sharp objects.
I wrote a series of 11 postings either during the weekend or shortly thereafter, putting the finishing touches on them and sending them to Karl and John for review before distribution via Usenet. I've reproduced them on this web page substantially intact for future reference.
AT-I - Saturday morning
It's 7 AM in the morning, and since we are on the last day of Daylight Savings time, it's still dark as I head for Sanborn Shooters in Smithville from Bastrop. Fortunately, by the time I get to the turnoff from the main road, I can see where I'm going. Karl promised that there are no dirt roads --- it's paved all the way, but just barely in some spots (the rain on the previous weekend washed out the road in some places).
There are 12 students and 4 instructors from Team KR Training: Karl Rehn, Penny Riggs, John Kochan, and Glenn Garvey. Most students are from the Austin area, but I drove down from Dallas and at least a couple of others drove in from Houston. Every student has a CHL or prior clearance, so we skip the basic stuff about 'this is a semi-automatic, this is a revolver, etc.' We do spend a couple of hours discussing equipment, range rules, and procedures.
Since everyone has already demonstrated their ability to handle a handgun safely (many were Karl's CHL students), we run a hot range all day, with a table off to the side for clearing or switching firearms away from the firing line. I only had two magazines, but dumped about 100 rounds at a time into a small fanny pack so that I could quickly reload my magazines without walking away from the firing line.
Karl and Mr. Megaphone
Before we fire a shot, the instructors walk up and down behind the firing line to observe everyone's firing stance. I learn to lean forward slightly and bend my knees, stepping back with my right foot to balance the recoil. John also helps me with a new grip that I quickly find is much better at recovery after a shot. Unfortunately, my previous grip is so ingrained that I hardly ever remember to use it. I need to practice it on my own for a few thousand repetitions, with no other distractions.
Then, exercises start at a basic level almost indistinguishable from the CHL qualification: single and multiple shots to the center of the target, starting at the low ready position. Then, it's multiple shots to the center ('plan A'), and shots to the top of the target ('plan B' if 'plan A' doesn't work), and then finally shots to the bottom ('plan C') to keep the cardboard target from chasing after you when it is still moving because plans A and B went awry.
We move on to drawing from open carry and dry-firing, with instructors again walking the line to observe technique. Live firing resumes with the same sequence of shots as before, except this time we are drawing from belt holsters. Ranges to target starts at 3 feet, so we draw and fire at point blank range without sighting, being careful to shield the handgun from being grabbed by the cardboard target. After an hour or two of shooting, it's time to break for lunch.
AT-I - Saturday afternoon
As we finish up lunch (you do remember to wash your hands before handling food after shooting, don't you?), Dave Rosenfield stops in to tell us about his range. It's a private range, by invitation only. He extends invitations only to his customers -- either retail sales, gunsmithing services, or training classes held on his premises -- by prior appointment. If you live in the Austin area, it's a great place to practice tactical shooting drills that would be strongly discouraged at most ranges open to the public.
Shooting resumes as before, but this time with a new twist: barricades. Everyone practices shots from toy guns from behind the barricade, while a partner watches how much of you is actually exposed. My center of gravity is so high that I practically have to kneel on the ground to keep toppling over as I lean out.
Next, half of the students at a time start within an arm's length of the target, backing up while shooting to take cover behind the barricades. Again, we practice with toy guns or pointed fingers, watching for uneven spots or ant hills on the ground, before using live ammunition. I do kneel on the ground for this one, and am properly chastised for planting my knee where it exposes my entire left flank.
We then practice drawing from concealment. Some switch to an IWB holster, others switch to a different handgun altogether, as the small powerful handguns like the Glock 27 can really pound your hands in a long day of shooting.
Finally, we do a series of drills to clear malfunctions. Stovepipes take time to set up, so we only do one of them. Dropping the magazine just out of lock does a good job of easily simulating a malfunction (and the clearing technique is the same as for almost everything else), so we do a few of those. I think we would have done more, but we are running short of time and need to move on.
AT-I - Tactics
After a break, we split up into three groups of four. The groups rotate through a live-fire scenario against paper targets wearing clothes and reactive steel targets, self-defense with a folding knife, and a very basic introduction to martial arts.
I start with a 'walk on the street after getting out of the car'. After much discussion, I decided we were going to a movie, since the symphony hall in Dallas is posted. Penny walks along with me and supplies the 'audio', vocalizing the reactions of various targets. A given target may ask for the time, ask for a handout or demand your wallet. Depending on how you react, the target may choose to withdraw or threaten you. The point is to not actually draw or draw and fire unless there is a real threat. One of the targets was carrying a gun and wearing a badge -- fortunately, no one shot that one.
I'm shooting at the steel targets. Credit to John Kochan for this photo
John had set up a few steel targets. Since the minimum safe distance for them is about 10 yards, I couldn't point and shoot. I completely missed the first one (about the size of pie plates) at least 3 times before I realized that I was focusing on the target and not the sights. After that, the targets went down in quick succession, and the third tripped the appearance of a another target that Penny would randomly identify as a threat or innocent bystander by her choice of dialogue.
The drill finished up with a final pair of targets, and most people had to reload at that point using the available cover. As I was trying to convince the final one to get down on the ground or back off (it didn't have a gun, but was making threats), John sounded the siren on the bullhorn and became law enforcement arriving on the scene. Since I was the first one to experience that particular twist of events, we had great fun playing out an exaggerated version of the expected interaction. I probably said too much.....
The groups switch around, and Karl demonstrates the use of a Spyderco knife for close-in self-defense, both with and without a handgun.
Once again, the groups switch around and Glenn demonstrates a variety of hand-to-hand techniques to defend yourself from an attacker -- including how to break holds on your arms and neck.
I found both of these last two small group sessions to be very interesting, as the point is to give you more options in a threatening situation. It's easy to think of a gun as a hammer to use on every nail that you see, and these relatively simple techniques might be more appropriate in many circumstances (especially in those where you don't have a gun. :-)
AT-IA - Saturday night
After dinner, night has fallen and it's dark outside. We start with a demonstration of the various ways to hold a flashlight. Most people have small tactical lights, but one person has a heavy 4 D-cell battery which he rests on his shoulder (and can easily be swung as a club from that position).
First, we shoot without any lights at all (the house lights are turned off after everyone is on the firing line and in position). Those that have night-sights have to obscure them with tape, as the point is to show you that a proper grip and stance allow you to point and shoot at about 5 yards even when you can't aim. Still, I find that do much better with the night sights visible, even when there is nothing more than a bare shadow of a target.
But, you shouldn't be shooting at something you can't identify. So, we use the flashlights to briefly illuminate and identify the targets, fire 2-3 shots, and then quickly extinguish the light. This is a setup for the next exercise.
With the lights out, we illuminate one target with a flashlight and fire 2-3 shots, then immediately extinguish the light and move 1 or 2 steps to the right or left. The point is to shine the light for only a couple of seconds and then move away from that spot to avoid any incoming fire directed at your flashlight.
The final shooting drill of the night (run in parallel with another exercise I'll describe in a moment) is to set up 9 targets in random order with big numbers (1 through 9) on them. The lights are turned off, and the range officer calls out a number. You must determine which target has that number and shoot it. You can use your light only for 1-2 seconds at a time, and then move from that spot immediately. The targets are spread far enough apart that you must move back and forth along the entire firing line, reloading at least once.
At the same time, Penny and John ran another 'real-life scenario' drill in the classroom. Posterboard had been hung from the ceiling to create a small house with several rooms. You must clear all hostile intruders from the darkened 'house', rescue a baby that you knew where to find (it's supposed to be yours after all, although it did have a serious hormonal problem and was the hairiest infant I've ever seen), and call the police from a phone in your 'safe room' at the back of the 'house'.
Again, Penny provided the dialogue. I found one unarmed intruder that quickly followed my commands to get down on the floor, although I turned my back on a part of the room that I never checked. I shot an armed intruder (in the hallway) twice with a .38 revolver loaded with special paintball ammo. More about this in a followup, as we will spend the entire day in AT-II using what is called Simunition.
AT-II - Sunday morning
On Sunday morning, it's not dark as I check out from the hotel, fill up with gas, buy some ice, and head out to Sanborn Shooters. We've switched from Daylight Savings Time to Standard Time last night, and the 'fall back' gives me an extra hour of needed sleep.
Some students from yesterday haven't returned, either due to a prior choice or conflict or something that came up at the last minute. We also pick up a couple of Karl's prior students (from other classes?) that drove in from Houston. A couple of graduates from Karl's prior AT-II classes also arrive later in the morning to participate and assist in the exercises.
We spend all morning talking about various aspects of using deadly force in self-defense: prior preparation, during the conflict, and the aftermath. I have the class notes plus a lot of handwritten notes, but I'm not going to reteach Karl's class in this forum. :-)
AT-II - Sunday afternoon
After a break for lunch, we each go through the 'house' set up last night -- once as the homeowner investigating an intruder, and once as an observer/participant... roleplaying a brother, sister, grandfather, etc. Since I wanted to take pictures of subsequent exercises, I went first. Without an observer (to preserve surprise for the rest), once again I had the child with the hormonal problem (represented by a stuffed teddy bear).
Karl ran the exercise, playing the role of the 911 dispatcher and the voice of the child. I suit up with protective clothing, including a hockey goalie's groin protector and a towel wrapped around the front of my throat. The handgun is an ordinary full-size .38 special revolver, loaded with plastic casings and projectiles powered only by a lead free primer. The projectile is actually a paintball (either blue or red) with a muzzle velocity of about 250 feet per second.
Karl is the ONLY civilian instructor in the State of Texas that can purchase this Simunition ammo from the manufacturer, since he's completed the requisite training. This is a significant advantage, because we use real revolvers that can be carried in a realistic manner. The manufacturer also makes conversion kits for semi-autos and shotguns.
The exercise starts in the 'safe room' at the back of the house. Ben plays the intruder in another room, stomping around and making noise. The child calls out for me. I pick up the phone and call 911, tell them there is an armed intruder in my house and that I'm the tall one. The dispatcher asks me what I'm wearing, and I tell him that I'm wearing a camouflage flak jacket and a black mask over my face (you had to be there). I leave the phone on the bed without hanging up.
I choose a handgun loaded with Simunition and a inert pepper sprayer, and go to check on the kid. I'm about to tell him to stay where he is until I come back for him, when I spot been around the corner of the hallway, holding a box labelled 'TV'. I'm distracted by the intruder, so I confront him -- demanding that he drop the TV. He does and goes for his gun. I tell him to stop and keep his hands up, but he goes for it anyway.
Note the red spot by his left elbow, where a paintball from an earlier shot has struck the 'wall'
We exchange several shots (I think I got off the first one, but it doesn't really matter at this point). I'm shot at least twice -- the tip of my trigger finger and lower on my ring finger. There's a red spot on the front of my flak jacket, but we believe that it was one of the first two rounds glancing off my hand.
I've done a lot of things wrong:
- I should have taken the kid back to the safe room -- not tell him he should stay there (as I intended), and certainly not be distracted by the intruder unless he was a threat.
- When I encounter the intruder with the TV, I tell him to put it down. I should have told him to just take the TV and leave, and that I had already called the police and they were on their way. As long as he had the TV in his hands, he couldn't use them to attack me. :-)
- I stepped out into the hallway to confront the intruder, without using the corner of the hallway for cover. Even though a sheetrock wall won't stop a bullet, most people won't shoot at what they can't see.
This is how you are supposed to do it
Karl walks me back through the exercise and points some of these things out. I realize the rest of them after I have time to think about it and watch the other students. No one 'fails', as this isn't a test -- it's a learning exercise. The instructors re-run the scenario as necessary so that students can try various alternatives and see the outcome in real-time.
AT-II - Observations
As an observer for the next exercise, I don a pair of goggles and an orange highway worker's vest to identify me as a good guy. I play a brother of the homeowner. As the exercise starts, I stick just part of my head (protected by the goggles) out the door of my room to greet the homeowner as he comes out of the 'safe room'.
My point was to surprise (but not scare) him, and avoid getting shot in a vulnerable place. As he appears and sees me, I ask 'what the hell is going on?' He steps forward, motions and tells me to come behind him into the safe room and stay there. I don't see any of the rest, and wait for the exercise to end before coming out.
Each exercise is a little different, as the 'bad guy' has a script to follow -- and does something different each time. I take a few pictures while they are setting up and after the exercise is completed, posing the players in a reenactment of what just occurred. Later, I switch to the windows and shoot pictures of some of the action, always wearing goggles but ducking whenever I appear to be in the line of fire.
Photo taken from behind the 'homeowner' as he peeks out of the safe room to confront the intruder
In the safe room: Karl is on the right, the homeowner is on the left, and the 'kid' with the bear is on the phone to 911 dispatcher. Note the cot/bed at bottom left
One of the more interesting scenarios at the end was a woman with her wheelchair-bound grandfather in the other room. The bad guy is a rapist with a knife. Before she has a chance to do anything, he is down the hallway and in the safe room. I'm watching from the window and ready to take a picture when the gun comes up, so I duck and miss the shot (both hers and mine -- how did you like that double entendre?).
The shooting subsides and the sound of her voice indicates she is clearly in control of the situation, so I peer in again and see the rapist on the floor, between her and the phone. Since Grandpa is wheelchair-bound and in bed, he can't come to her aid. She tries to get the rapist to move, even kicking him in the foot (not hard :-) to get him to move. He is still conscious but incapacitated, so she has to step over him to get to the phone, screaming at him that she will shoot him if he moves. He complies.
The would-be rapist is on the floor. You can just barely see Karl's orange safety vest on the right edge. Note the phone on the table at center right
I've cleaned and bandaged my fingers where I was shot, as the skin was broken and I have a good bruise on my trigger finger where the paintball made a solid impact at the base of the nail and squeezed my finger against the trigger. It's my own fault, since I chose to not wear gloves because they were interfering with my gun handling -- I couldn't put my finger in the trigger easily, so it was nearly impossible to carry with my finger out of the trigger before I was ready to shoot. However, I won't make that mistake again. Karl asks for a show of hands -- of the dozen or so people that went through this exercise, 4 or 5 of them were shot in the hand. I was told long ago that was relatively common, since that's where the shooter is focusing.
AT-II - Life on the Street
The final exercise is repeated variations on a theme -- a crime in a convenience store. Five people are sent into the environment with different instructions. You don't know who the bad guy is or what he is supposed to do. You also don't know how many bad guys there are, or how the other customers will react. Mix in a little impromptu acting, and you have something very close to real life.
I start the first one as the bad guy. There are three other guys in the store and a woman behind the counter (with a toy cash register and play money). I hide the gun in a shopping bag, and go to the 'cooler' in the back of the store. The stuffed bear is there, so I ask a customer to hand it to me. I walk around the store, check out the bathroom to make sure it is empty, and try to shield my gun with my body from the rest of the customers and keep the clerk quiet as I rob her.
She doesn't comply. Instead of handing me any money, she starts screaming and pounding me with a foam rubber bat, alerting the rest of the customers. I see someone run for the restroom. I back up a bit and become more vehement about my demands, but she hits me again. Suddenly, groceries are flying across the room and hitting me.
Someone in the back of the store yells: 'I'm calling the police!' I decide get out of there while the getting is good, as I can't bring myself to shoot anyone in cold blood, even while play acting. As I exit the store, Karl asks: 'you left without the money?' I reply: 'But I shoplifted the bear!'
We go through a post-crime analysis. The person running for the restroom was taking cover behind a partition next to the restroom. He was watching me, but didn't shoot. He intentionally yelled about calling the police to scare me off. It worked.
The flying groceries were from an angry customer. I wouldn't recommend this if you aren't behind cover. I was so surprised that I didn't know how to react, but someone else might fire back.
It was an interesting exercise, but a little contrived for me, as I'm not a good actor. But, it's still both educational and entertaining, just like the rest of the weekend.
I observe a couple of additional exercises with other sets of people from the window, taking a few pictures. At this point, I make an observation that I really don't understand until I discuss it weeks later with Karl. Many of the participants are doing silly little things of no real consequence, and the rest are laughing out loud at stuff that would barely merit a smile (or perhaps a groan) under normal circumstances. A non-participating observer might think we aren't taking this seriously. But, the reality was that we were taking it very seriously, and the jokes and laughing was actually stress relief.
Each time, we do a post-analysis. This is an important part of the exercise, because the participants offer their immediate observations of what just happened. Everyone's perception is just a little different, and you learn a lot about how pre-conceptions color people's reactions.
The robber holds up the clerk, who pretends to speak little or no English. There is play money in the toy register
As the robber comes around the side of the wall/shelf, he encountered the CHL holder and they exchange several shots. If you look closely, you can see one paint marker falling to the floor in the bottom center of the photo, next to the chair. You can also see where the CHL holder has been shot in his right hand between his third and fourth finger
So far, it's been interesting, educational, and even fun. But in the space of about 10 seconds, my personal perception about the use of deadly force in self-defense is about to change dramatically.
AT-II - my final exam
My last exercise of the day wasn't intended to be a 'final exam', but it turned out to tie everything together for me as a result of the role I chose to play. It had a really profound effect on me, so this account may appear to be a bit overly dramatic.
I went to the guy playing the CHL holder in the last exercise I had observed from the window and told him I wanted his card. Since I played the bad guy the last time I participated, I wanted to play out the good guy role to see how I would do.
I suited up with the mask and gloves (in case I got shot in the hand again), but Penny wouldn't let me have the snub-nose revolver. I didn't give it any thought, but took a large revolver and stuck it in my belt behind my hip on my strong side under my coat -- in the same place I had drawn from all weekend -- because it wouldn't fit in my coat pocket. This would turn out to be a very significant choice.
The instructions from Karl are to go into the store, pick an item from the cooler, and take it to the front to pay the clerk. I enter, ask Glenn (another customer?) to give me a bottle of juice, and I go to the front. As I arrive at the cash register, the clerk is whispering to another customer (not Glenn) to call the police.
The clerk is obviously spooked, but I don't know why. I tell the other customer to leave and call the police. My back is to the entire store, so I turn and back up, covering her exit, scanning the store for the threat.
At that moment, Matt screams something addressed to everyone in the store. I don't remember exactly what it was, but it is clearly threatening, since he is screaming and pointing the gun at me and Glenn. All I really saw was the gun, and everything else was extraneous.
I put my hands up and continue backing up to put distance between me and Matt. I yell at the clerk to give him the money and let him go. The gun is still pointed in my general direction and Matt is watching me.
The clerk opens the register and gives Matt some money. I yell at Matt to take the money and get the hell out of here. The gun is still pointed in my general direction and Matt is still looking where any movement by me would quickly be picked up. I've inadvertantly backed myself into a corner where I'm exposed with no cover.
Matt turns and points the gun at the clerk and focuses on the register and the clerk, stepping toward him. My opportunity appears.
Time slows down dramatically. I realize that if Matt starts shooting because the clerk is balking, to eliminate witnesses, or just because he is having a bad day, I'm exposed and dead or seriously injured unless I do something now.
From the decision-making part of my brain comes a command to shoot. From that point on, instinct takes over. I don't remember drawing or firing the first shot. I do remember deciding to followup with the second and third (and fourth?) shots, because Matt was still standing and trying to shoot back.
Glenn has drawn on (and fired at?) Matt. I see him in my peripheral vision, but don't regard him as a threat because he isn't pointing the gun at me. Matt falls to the ground. Glenn and I both move watch Matt closely for further signs of movement.
I unconsciously shift to a 90-degree angle from the target to Glenn, so that we aren't in each other's line of fire. I'm still not sure about Glenn, so I keep watching him out of the corner of my eye. He doesn't point his gun at me, so I decide he is another 'good guy'.
I ask Glenn to keep Matt covered, while I go to the front door to make sure that none of Matt's buddies come in with guns blazing. I remind the clerk to call the police and peer out the door. The parking lot appears to be clear, so I tell Glenn I'm going to holster my gun, wait for the police, and tell them he is the good guy (at the same moment he reminds me to do so).
Karl opens the door. I thought it signaled the end of the exercise, but then realize he is playing the arriving police officer. I back away to clear Karl's view, and tell him Glenn is the good guy and the bad guy is on the floor. As Karl tells Glenn to put down his gun and back away, I remember to raise my hands and tell Karl that I have a gun in my belt behind my back. Karl tells me to back up further, and keep my hands up and just wait while he calls for backup.
AT-II - the analysis
Karl calls the end of the exercise, and I look at Matt. He is swearing at Karl for 'setting him up'. The reason Penny didn't offer me the snub-nose revolver is that she had intentionally jammed it to simulate an incompetent bad guy.
The clerk had been spooked by Glenn, who hadn't properly concealed his handgun (it was difficult with the full size gun and a flak jacket). The clerk misinterpreted it as 'flashing' and thought Glenn was the bad guy. I remember mentally kicking myself for not asking the clerk who spooked him and why, but now realize that he identified Glenn as a bad guy simply because he was seen carrying a gun. Had I taken his word at face value, the results might have been significantly different.
I had stuck the handgun in my belt in the same place that I had used a belt-loop holster all weekend. If I had taken the snub nose instead, I would have put it in a front pocket, where my draw technique would have been entirely different and unpracticed. Penny was observing the entire exercise from a corner of the room, and said that she saw me move my right foot back or aside and plant it as I drew. I had to grab my jacket and pull it up to clear the grip, so even though I don't remember it, I must have repeated exactly the same actions that I had been doing over and over during the previous day and evening.
I don't remember aiming either, but I add Matt to the list of people shot in the hand. I hit him at least twice in his gun hand and supporting hand (he had turned to face me in the time it took me to draw and fire), including punching a hole in the money he was holding and splattering blue dye all over it. He said that even though his jammed gun prevented him from firing back, he was shot twice while he was still trying to figure out where it was coming from.
The reason Matt didn't take the money and run was because he got greedy. The clerk didn't give him all the money, so he leaned in to take the rest of it from the cash register.
Glenn didn't know which one of us was the bad guy when the shooting started, but apparently decided that Matt was the appropriate target because he was standing near the register with money in his hand. I didn't monitor the details of all the exercises, but I think it was the only one in which there were two armed good guys, at least up until that point. In all the confusion, we never directly threatened each other -- but I presume that Glenn was watching me closely as well.
It's time for me to leave, as I have to drive back to Dallas and be in my office early on Monday. I quickly pack up the car and don't have much time to think about what just happened.
AT-II - the aftermath
Someone reading the above might misinterpret them as boasting or bravado. In reality, the experience has been somewhat traumatic. Hopefully, I'll be able to explain why.
I hit the road to head back home. As I approach Bastrop about 15 minutes later, the significance of what I've just done finally sinks in -- I had just drawn and fired on someone with no warning at all. Further, that person had turned out to be effectively unarmed.
A casual observer might think: it was all just an exercise. But, while something in the back of my mind remembered that it was was just an exercise, the rest of me was running on overdrive. I experienced all the reported effects: time dilation, blockout of extraneous sensory input, reflexive actions, etc. Confronted with the same situation in real life, I really can't say that I would do otherwise
So, I spent a long time wrestling with why I had reacted as I did. My best guess is that my path toward that action was set at the moment that Matt pointed the handgun at me, because it was an unambigous threat to my life. From that moment on, I was completely focused on self-preservation, and simply took the first opportunity to eliminate the threat.
It wasn't real, but it was as close as you can get. What I learned about myself was very sobering.
If this web page (and its original string of postings) achieves anything, I hope that it convinces at least one reader that there is a lot more to the use of deadly force in self-defense than just having a license to carry a handgun.
Even if you put every one of those 50 shots during your CHL proficiency test in the same hole, that's only a fraction of the skills that you need. At the typical distances between offender and defender, marksmanship is almost a non-issue.
More important is your ability to draw from concealment in one fluid motion without losing sight of your target. But, most ranges won't let you practice this.
The really important skill that you need is making the decision about whether to use deadly force. You won't have time to 'think it out' and your thought process will be nearly instinctive. Again, what you need is practice, so that you can learn from your mistakes without getting killed.
So, my suggestion is to consider your CHL as a 'license to learn'. Don't presume that you will somehow magically know what to do if and when the time comes to use deadly force in self-defense. Take the time, spend the money, and make the effort to pursue additional training. Karl's classes are a great opportunity at a fraction of the cost of the more well-known schools. They are also a lot of fun -- I met a number of people for the first time that I had 'known' via the 'Net for quite some time.