Historical Handgun

Course Description: Learn the history of handgun training & technique, 1920-present day.

This course is an elective class in our 40 hour Defensive Pistol Skills Program.


This course will present a chronological history of handgun skills and drills, paired with the guns most commonly associated with those skills and drills. Lecture material will focus on the most influential shooters and trainers from different eras, and their specific contributions to the field of defensive handgunning. Additionally, the 2 day course will include a session in which students re-shoot some of the historical drills using whatever firearm and technique they believe will give them the highest score on the drill, to compare the relative differences between historical and modern skills.

Length: Offered in 2 and 4 hour lecture, 1/2 day live fire, 1 day and 2 day format

2 and 4 hour lecture only format

1/2 day shooting only, no lecture, shot with one firearm type

1 day format is shooting and part lecture, shot with 1-4 firearm types.

All drills can be shot with a single firearm. You don't need all 4 guns listed below to attend any version of the course.

The full 2 day course includes all the drills and all the lecture material.

The 2 day is also available as two stand alone 1 day courses. The two 1 day courses can be taken in any order.

Prerequisites: Prior training in, or completion of any match or event in which drawing from a holster was required.

Required Equipment: Handgun, enough speedloaders or magazines to shoot 30 rounds of drills, eye and ear protection, a pen, 400 rounds of ammunition (1/2 and 1 day), 800 rounds of ammunition (2 day).

Optional Equipment (2 day): double action revolver (.38/.357), 1911 style pistol (.45 ACP), double action/single action pistol (9 mm or .40 caliber), striker fired polymer pistol (9 mm). Each pistol will be used for approximately 25% of the course, used for drills from periods & schools associated with that pistol type and caliber.

Four-gun students in the 1 day class will need 100 rounds for 1911, 150 rounds for revolver, 100 rounds for DA/SA and 150 rounds for striker fired guns.

See the general policies page for suggestions on food, drink, clothing, etc.

Taught by:  Karl Rehn

Facility: A-Zone Range & road locations

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

Additional information:

Completion of this course using all 4 handgun types is highly recommended for handgun instructors, who should be familiar with the history of their profession, key figures and their contributions, historical and current techniques, and be proficient with all 4 commonly used firearm types.

Related blog posts and podcast interviews about this course: