Gun Training Chronicles: Getting My Finger Back on the Trigger

Jeff Charles doing shooting exercises at KR Training in Manheim, TX (Credit: Jeff Charles)

Last week, I restarted my pistol training after having fallen off the wagon for the past six months. I wrote about my first outdoor range training here and explained how I allowed life to get in the way of my training.


But now, I’m back and here to stay. As Texas weather was beginning to cool down as we approach the Autumn season, I grabbed my M&P 2.0 and moseyed on out to KR Training, which is located in Manheim, which is about an hour east of Austin.

Here are some pictures of the facility.

KR Training facility in Manheim, Texas.
KR Training facility in Manheim, Texas.
KR Training facility in Manheim, Texas.

My instructor was Karl Rehn, the owner of the facility. He has been a trainer for over three decades. He is also a writer, expert witness, and has had more than 3,000 hours of training from over 90 different instructors. He’s also a professional musician. Needless to say, this guy knows his stuff.

First, we started with basic gun handling, which includes gripping the gun, changing targets, dry fire, and other techniques. Even though I had already been trained on how to properly grip my pistol, this was still immensely helpful to me, especially when it came to changing targets. My tendency was to follow my barrel to the other target instead of looking at it first before bringing my gun to bear.

Rehn spent a decent amount of time with me on these fundamentals, but it wasn’t too long before I got to the plinking. He went over the fundamentals of drawing my pistol and went over the various positions in which to hold the firearm. Then I started training with live ammo.


This was when I had to confront my greatest weakness: Recoil anticipation. Rehn worked with me extensively on this. I have a tendency to overthink what I’m doing and focus too much on aiming. I will sometimes jerk my pistol down right before pulling the trigger, which causes my shots to go downward and to the left.

My instructor had me shoot with my gun in this device that prevented me from pulling the barrel downward before shooting, and this helped. But I still need to work on it.

It was at this time that we realized that my shots were not only going astray because of recoil anticipation – my sights were also off! Rehn discovered this when I started shooting from longer range. He fired my gun and noticed that the shots were going left. He could only hit the middle of the target if he aimed to the right.

We took my poor little M&P indoors where he inspected it further and made some adjustments. It made an enormous difference! Then, we went back to shooting and did some more exercises. These were timed, which I hadn’t done much previously.

As a way of identifying my limits, Rehn had me shoot a 12-inch iron target from further away. I was able to hit it at 30 yards, but when he took me back to 40 yards, I might as well have been a Star Wars stormtrooper.


Then, Rehn put me through the test that students go through to get to the next tier. Check out how I did!

And here are the results:

Well, in the words of the immortal Maxwell Smart, I “missed it by that much.”

But next time, it will be different.

Since my session, I have been doing dry fire training at home to improve. I will also be purchasing some tools to help me do better with my recoil anticipation and spending more time at the range. I’ll give some more updates on that in the future. But I would say, all in all, it was a positive return to the pew-pew life.


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