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Defensive Pistol 1 at The Range as Austin

by Ric Hubbard • August 28, 2021

Gun ownership is up and more people than ever before are carrying handguns for self-defense. Additionally, there are now 21 states and growing that have passed Permit-less, or Constitutional, Carry laws. It is the responsibility of everyone that carries to get the best training possible when they strap on a gun.

With the Texas Permit-less Carry law going into effect on September 1st, I decided that it was time I got some hands-on training before I start to carry a gun for self-defense. When Constitutional Carry laws began to be passed I have to admit that I was a little concerned. Like a lot of people, I felt that too many people would just put the gun on and go about their life. I think there is logic to the argument that people should prove their competence before being allowed to carry a gun.

I discovered a few things as I watched these laws go into effect around the country. First, there was not an increase in shootings. Second, crime rates dropped in these states. Third, none of the training requirements that I have read had anything, really, with being able to fight with a handgun. And last, attendance in training class rose as gun owners, of their own volition and sense of responsibility, started taking classes.

I have written about Panteao Productions over the last few weeks and I still think it is a great product. Watching the training videos gives you a number of perspectives on shooting well, but nothing is better than working with a live instructor, as I just found out.

The Range at Austin is a prestige shooting range in Austin, TX. This means that membership is a little pricey, but if you can run to it, it is worth it. They provide firearms purchase and rental, an onsite gunsmith and a state of the art indoor range. They also provide a number of training opportunities.

I just attended their Defensive Pistol 1 course. This class is three hours of instruction to get you started to better shooting proficiency and understanding of the needs of fighting with a handgun. The instructor, Jeff, has years of experience in competition and self-defense shooting. He was assisted by Garret, one of the Range Safety Officers who work at the Range.

Defensive Pistol 1 is three hours of instruction in private shooting bays with a maximum student load of 8. In my class we had four people so there was plenty of attention paid to each student. It is the first of three classes in the series and puts the student on the path to greater ability by starting with the basics. I have been shooting since I was 11 years old but this is the first time I have been to an actual class.

After going over the safety rules, grip and stance are the first things taught. I have always used the grip technique that I picked up watching Travis Haley’s videos, but Jeff made some adjustments to my grip for me to try and it led to an immediate improvement to my ability to get a good sight picture fast. In the process of this we learned some dry fire drills to use to increase our skill when not on the range.

After dry fire, we started with shooting drills to work on accuracy and shooting controlled pairs, drills to get us ready to reload from slide lock and to identify anticipation problems. Too much anticipation and you can throw your shot off. In a defensive encounter you want to know, to the best of your ability, exactly where the bullet is going. Too much anticipation and your bullet may not go where you intend.

Next was the tap and rack drills. It does not matter the quality of your gun, you will someday face a malfunction. The tap and rack drill should clear the most common malfunctions that you will face. As part of this block Jeff keep our attention explaining the drill while Garret set up our magazines for “failure”. This is simple and you can added it to your practice.

Take 5 snap-caps in your caliber and mix them up with live rounds, or better yet, have someone else do it. Then, just shoot as you would and do the Tap and Rack drill when one of the snap-caps chambers. When you get that click, check your chamber with the gun pointed downrange, smack the magazine smartly and rack the slide to clear the chamber. This is one area where I need improvement. I had surgery on my strong hand wrist about two years ago and I still need to strength it so that I get more power of my rack.

The rest the class is drills to improve accuracy and increase confidence. At the end of class there is a shooting test to see how much you learn. Jeff scores your target and provides guidance on how to continue to improve. If you pass the shooting test, you are eligible for Defensive Pistol 2, which I intend to take ASAP.

The Defensive Pistol 1 class, or one like it, is a class everyone who intends to carry a pistol should take. If you are in the Austin area I can wholeheartedly endorse, especially at only $129 . Everyone I talked to at The Range at Austin was professional and friendly. Jeff and Garret were, and I am going to say it, good instructors.

You can find The Range at Austin on the web at https://therangeaustin.com/