On  Sunday, January 31 I will be attended the Beyond the Basics rifle training class at KR Training with Karl Rhen and Aaron Marco,  lead instructor with Sheepdog Solutions.

I have taken a few pistol classes from Karl and thought they were outstanding and I have been recommending KR Training ever since.  I also happen to be good, long time family friends with John Daub one of the KR trainers.  Just all around great guys that really focus on helping shooters out, at whatever level, total beginner to serious competitor.

I was at SHOT this week and one of our staff writers, Jason Hallmark is good friends with Aaron.  I got to spend some time with him and got to know him, seemed like a good guy.  I had seen him shoot at some 3 gun matches and he is an outstanding shooter.  Aaron is also full time SWAT.  I am always eager to learn and believe in the saying “you don’t know what you don’t know”.

Beyond the Basics: Rifle

Course Description: The goal of this course is to improve the general shooting skills of intermediate level rifle shooters. Perfect for those involved in IPSC 3-gun and IDPA carbine competition.

Topics: improving on the basic techniques, and increasing accuracy and speed on single and multiple targets. This course will focus on 10-50 yard shots from cover taken from kneeling, standing and awkward positions, as well as shooting on the move, reloads, malfunctions and other skills.

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

Prerequisites: previous rifle shooting experience, Basic Rifle or equivalent preferred. Must have the skills to put 5 rounds in the A Zone of an IPSC target (6″x11″) from 25 yds standing unsupported. Students should arrive with their rifle already zeroed with the ammo they plan to use for class.

Stay tuned for an update after the session..


So, the class went very well.

There were 10 shooters in the class.  It started with some classroom discussions getting a feel for where people were at in their experience, discussing the outline of the class, covering range safety as well as the obligatory gear talk.  Being that this was aimed at the intermediate level competitor Aaron covered some items such as optics, differing rifle zero theories, parts, such as comps, adjustable gas blocks, lightened bolt carriers, etc.. Basically, setting up a rifle for competitive use and maximizing the rifle’s potential.

We moved out to the range and verified zero from close range at 10 yards out to 100.


One thing people need to remember is to zero your damned rifle before you show up to class!  Come on, it’s not that hard.  You hold up the class when you have to mess with it. There’s always that one guy… yes, I am trying to shame you into showing up prepared. Also, make sure your BCG is properly lubed, we shouldn’t hear it when you charge your rifle with ear muffs on.


Aaron got into discussing the effects of the offset of the optic center and the barrel, about 2.5″ on most ARs.  This matters a lot shooting close range and the drills we did from very close range out to 50 yards really drove this home for me personally.  I mean, I KNOW it, but I tend to forget in competition or even hunting.  You put the center crosshair or red dot on the target at 10-25 yards and you WILL hit low 2-3″ inches.  Does it matter shooting center mass on an 18″ ISPC target? Hmm, probably not so much.  But going for a head shot then yes.   I have also shot running hogs at close range and forgetting to essentially hold high and hit them low.  A “right behind the ear” shot becomes a low in the throat shot. If you are LE, Military or in a defensive situation it becomes obviously WAY more important.

The drills really drove this home and it was one of the key takeaways for me to remember to aim high and to practice that on my own.

We did some drills focusing on keeping all the rounds in a relatively tight group from 25, 50, 75 and 100 yards.  Some of the drills were to illustrate the negative impact of trying to run the gun faster than we could accurately shoot.  That is the hardest thing about doing a competition racing the clock.  The tendancy to want to shoot as fast as you can.  The trick is to find how fast you can shoot ACCURATELY and know what that feels like from a cadence perspective.

We also did some positional shooting from varying barricades including shooting weak handed.  How many of you have ever fired your rifle from your left should if you are right handed?  How about from the left side of a barricade?  How about just moving the stock to the left shoulder but still using your right hand to fire?

We did a run through the shoot house which is essentially a mocked up mini 3 gun course in a tactical bay.  Aaron talked about stage preparation and walking through a stage to determine the best way to shoot it.  It was a good exercise and we then all took turns running it with 22 semi auto rifles.

All in all this was a very good class and I am glad to have participated and will attend more of Aaron and Karl’s classes.

I should really point out that they are genuinely nice guys, no ego trips.

They really are interested in helping you become a better shooter.  They were open to questions and provide really good info back to you in an easy to digest manner.

That’s one of the main things I tell people about KR Training.  “Just go”..  Don’t be intimidated.  Talk with them about where you are at, even you are a complete beginner and what you want to learn.  They will help put you in the appropriate class and I guarantee it will be time well spent and you WILL learn.  There’s a saying “you don’t know what you don’t know”, this is especially true with shooting.

For more information:



John Daub’s blog “Hsoi”




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Founding staff member, avid shooter, hunter, reloader and all around gun geek with an obsession for perfection