I attended the Beyond the Basics: Rifle class at KR Training on July 31, 2016 to gain a little more knowledge about shooting my AR15 rifle. It was taught by Aaron Marco, and Karl Rehn was assisting (owner of KR Training, krtraining.com). Aaron is a competitive shooter, owner of Sheepdog Solutions, and has been in law enforcement since early 2000s. Karl opened KR Training with his wife in 1991, is a top-tiered firearms instructor (and one of my mentors 😀 ), and has trained with over 50 top-tier instructors and schools over many years.
Last year, I built my AR15 with some help. I know how to shoot it, clean it, and lube it. I haven’t shot any rifle matches but have taken Basic Rifle 1 at KR Training and other instruction from several top women competitive shooters at the annual A Girl and A Gun National Conference every year. I took this class to gain more information and experience so I can start shooting matches . I don’t have optics for my rifle yet, but figured I wouldn’t have any problems attending the class with iron sights. Out of 12 people, I was one of two that didn’t have optics, and the only time it became a little bit of a problem was at longer distances.
Aaron began the morning class by making sure our rifles were shooting accurately, or “zeroed”. He also asked us if we knew what distance our rifles were zeroed because that makes a difference if your rifle is zeroed at 25 yards and your shooting from 100. If there were issues once zeroed, we knew it was a user error. I quickly realized that I didn’t know these sights well enough to shoot precise shots every time. I had it figured out enough to make sure my shots hit mostly in the A-Zone of the target. The A-Zone is the center area of a USPSA target. Up to 25 yards, we were shooting in a standing position and my groupings stayed together. Once we went out to 50 and 100, my groupings started to spread. At 50 and 100, we started shooting in an standing position but changed to prone. Once prone, the shots spread up and down but stayed in the A-Zone.
Aaron quickly addressed some issues with several of us students before starting the next part of our class. I was one of them. With me, I shoot my AR15 like I shoot other rifles and shotguns. Aaron corrected my left arm so it extends out straight and holds onto the side and top of my free floating handguard. He also corrected some students’ trigger finger placement. One of the biggest tips he gave to the class during this time was regarding rounds in magazines. He stated that 30 rounds can go into modern magazines without messing up the springs. A few people ended up with 31 rounds and nothing worked. He told us to always remember “Right is Right.” As the bullets go into a magazine with one to the left and one to the right staggered into the magazine, he stated you should always end with one on the right so that you know that you have an even number. When it is full, make sure the last bullet is on the right, thus “Right is Right.” I don’t think I will ever forget this. I will say that it was very hard for me to load a magazine with 30 rounds into the rifle, so I think I will do as Karl and a couple others in the class suggested and only load 28.
I think I said before that I know how to shoot my rifle. After the first part of the class, Aaron began to teach us how to “manipulate” and “operate” our rifles. I learned so much during this time. Aaron demonstrated many beyond the basic techniques, and then he made us do them. He demonstrated how to do fast reloads, make sure the magazine was seated, closing the action, and getting back on target. He also demonstrated transitioning from target to target while keeping a cadence. I am familiar with cadence because this is what I do while training for pistol matches. It was very interesting doing this with iron sights. I have only practiced this with pistols and the sights are so different. I can see where having optics could help with transitions.
Aaron also demonstrated how to shoot faster and ride the recoil to the next shot. After demonstrating, he put us through a series of 10 round drills at different distances so we could improve our speed. I had to suck up and load 30 rounds again for this drill. The last thing we worked on was shooting, in the open and from behind cover, from different positions like kneeling with different legs in front and squatting.
Thoughts and Notes
Overall, the morning was an outstanding morning of learning. KR Training offers some of the best training classes in Central Texas and brings in top named instructors from around the country. This was another great class and I highly recommend it. I may even take it again in the future. Yes, it was a hot day, but this is Texas on the last day of July!!
NOTE to other ladies: I usually wear dry wicking shirts with a v-neck that doesn’t have buttons. I don’t usually have a problem with hot 9mm brass going into my shirt because it lies flat. The first thing Karl told me after arriving and signing waivers was to button up my shirt because .223 brass burns on contact. I had a cool towel I was able to tie around my neck to cover the v-neck. Make sure you always have extra hats, a cool towel, scarf, or Shemagh in your vehicle. I did have some hot brass that hit my arms while shooting prone…. And YES, it is hotter than pistol brass and does really burn.