Rangemaster Tactical Conference

Take a drink from the Pool of Knowledge …
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John Murphy watches a student move while shooting a 3D target.

For a score of years now, master instructor Tom Givens and his wife Lynn have hosted the annual Rangemaster Tactical Conference. The program is a 3-day smorgasbord of presentations ranging from adult learning theory to criminal psychology, tactics, hand-to-hand combat and shooting — ranging from live fire to force-on-force. It’s a gold mine of cutting-edge information and techniques. Here are some of the nuggets I mined at the 2019 conference in New Orleans.

The Finer Points

Street cop and martial artist Paul Sharp is best known for his teachings on fitness and jiu-jitsu but he’s also deep into defensive firearms. His class on recoil control combines his knowledge in all those fields and goes far beyond its title. Here are some samples:

You know how we’re taught to hold the pistol with the barrel in line with the long bones of the forearm? Paul has a slightly different take. Hold your hand and fingers straight, he says, as if you were doing a “karate chop” and your gun hand will now be in his recommended alignment of pistol to arm and aiming eye.

“For a very precise shot, don’t just focus on the front sight, watch the edges of your front sight.”

Paul’s advice on stance includes the following. “Brace your body between hips and pelvis,” he says. “Roll your toes in, as if you were grabbing the ground with them.” He quotes Matt Burkett’s principle of “drive your chin into the target” to keep your body weight forward into the gun for better recoil recovery, but leave your head still straight up to better aim and scan for additional targets.

“Press the pinky finger of the firing hand upward toward the thumb,” he advises. Another gem: “For a very precise shot, don’t just focus on the front sight, watch the edges of your front sight.” He also likes to use some push-pull, even with an Isosceles stance. Sharp gives credit to those from whom he has learned. He explains he was heavily influenced by D.R. Middlebrooks and the late, great grandmaster Ron Avery. It was Ron, says Paul, who got him into kinesthetic learning with the handgun.

This shooter demonstrates a bit of “push-pull,” even from the Isosceles stance.

Violent Encounters In Context

You’ll learn a lot just watching John Murphy’s YouTube channel at FTF Training. He’s best known for his analyses of actual violent encounters and for explaining the subtle danger cues that can tell you whether you or yours have been targeted — and what to do about it. Well, it turns out he’s a darn good firearms instructor, too. He makes his students think, with lines like “You want maximum return on investment per cartridge” when he’s working them for fight-winning accuracy.

Among other drills, John had us all shoot a 3-D mannequin from various angles while moving. It was a test of shoot-on-the-move skills but it also stressed the importance of aiming at the parts inside the target to get the bullets where they need to go to shut down lethal hostilities.

A most innovative instructor, Murphy has also worked out a system of “shoot/don’t shoot” training while he verbalizes the “opponent’s” dialogue from behind the shooter while using SIRT laser guns to project dots on the silhouette target. One color means “danger.” Another means “you’re under attack.” This technique teaches the students to use visual cues, which are what they’ll most often have to work with on the street.

Paul Sharp demonstrates his method of alignment of hand and arm with the pistol.

Precision Hits At Speed

Wayne Dobbs is a retired cop and a helluva shooter. He won High Lawman at the TacCon competition shoot, and not for the first time. He’s also a helluva good instructor. His program focuses on accuracy delivered fast enough to stop the threat, yet at a pace allowing the brain to perceive and process what is happening on the other side of the gun.

He uses a lot of NRA B8 bulls-eye targets because their round black bull is about the size of a grapefruit, which in turn is roughly the size of your target for a fight-stopping heart or brain shot. His focus on fast precision hits has helped his trainees win gunfights.

These were the only three under whose tutelage I actually got to shoot. There were more fine instructors teaching, and many more eager students filling their classes. The annual Rangemaster Tactical Conference is a fabulous deal for self-defense.


www.rangemaster.com

www.sbgillinois.com/fitness

(Paul Sharp)
www.hardwiredtacticalshooting.com /
(Wayne Dobbs)

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