AAR: 9 May 2020 Basic Pistol with Kyle Gentry of Combat Absolute

Spent Saturday May 9th at a Basic Pistol Class with Kyle Gentry of Combat Absolute out of Boise, Idaho


I came to class with:
Gen 5 Glock 19 MOS
Trijicon Type 1 RMR RM06
Mounted via a C&H Precision Weapons V4 RECCE plate.

Carry setup:
Tenicor Velo4 AIWB holster and an older model JM Custom Kydex AIWB mag pouch for a G17 (which held a G17 mag with a Dawson Precision +5 baseplate). Belt was a Graith Specialist.

Did the whole class from concealment in blue jeans and a lightweight long sleeve hoody with an under armor compression shirt. Used shirt stays from Men's Warehouse to keep the base shirt tucked in (in dry practice the compression shirt gets untucked)

Started out with introductions then went into instructor background and safety which included showing the class the location of med kit and delegating tasks - this person calls 911 (in which it was stated you report a training accident - not that there was a shooting), while a student who is/was a paramedic was designated the medic. Up at the 5 yard line Kyle covered the basics of pistol shooting (stance, grip, trigger) then had us shoot while observing each shooter and refining their technique.

From there we went to reloads, clearing malfunctions, a cadence drill to practice shooting fast, walking while shooting, and a drill that allowed us to practice a weapons hold called "sul". While teaching the sul, Kyle touched on the "temple index" (pistol held muzzle up by the ear) and how situation dictates which to use (ex: if there are little children around, sul is not ideal). We ended the day with a fun drill called "chasing the rabbit" which was awesome. Ranges were from 3 yards out to about 15 - maybe 20.

Targets used were a paper target with the human silhouette shape (I think I heard that it was an "I"-something), a bullseye-style target, the Dot Torture (which I was quite a fan of), an 8" ring (available to print out on his website combatabsolute.com) and steel targets like a silhouette but smaller (about 9" wide by 28" long).

We did a "last comments" section (reviewed the day for the note-takers, asked what we learned/liked, and didn't like) in which I wish I did better. I had said that I enjoyed the rabbit drill and that I wished there was 25 yard shooting. I said that because it was the freshest thing in my mind (as we had just completed that) and I was dragging ass. My excuse is that it was hot (for my nordic blood) I skipped eating lunch and that I'm withdrawn when in groups. I had wished for 25 yard shooting because I have a tough time keeping all my shots in the black. My theory was if you can get shots in the black on a B-8 at 25, anything closer is a cakewalk.

So, that's how the class went to the best of my memory and notes.

Here's my thoughts on the class itself:

This was my first class for pistol work. I've done smallbore rifle shooting at 15 meters and some NRA highpower stuff with M1 Garands. I came into class with pretty good marksmanship skills. I dry fire A LOT and at the range the closest I'll (typically) shoot is 10 yards (sometimes 7) at a 4x6" index card or a 3x3" post-it note.

I learned a lot about weapons manipulation. At the range I'll do emergency reloads, but with Kyle we covered tactical reloads (grab a fresh mag, bring it to the gun, remove in-gun mag while retaining it, insert new mag) and clearing malfunctions which I'd never done before. I had a moment where I was up on a drill where I hadn't chambered a round. Gun went click and I looked at the gun, looked at Kyle with a "huh?" face and remembered: tap, rack! I still laugh about it.

Shooting dot torture was cool as it made me shoot 1 handed dominant and non-dominant hand. It was weird because dominant hand has a nice circular wobble, while non-dominant was a zig zag like the polygraph machine you see on TV - running from 2 o'clock to 7 and back to 2.

Shooting while walking was eye opening. I kept losing the dot with each step and had almost missed a shot because I hadn't been able to pick up the dot until just before the barricade.
The sul is something that was new. I had a hard time keeping the pistol straight up and down. I had a slant in it that pushed it out the bullet path a few feet in front of me instead of in front of my feet.

On the instructor:

Kyle's a great dude, he knows his stuff and he's really good at verbally and physically demonstrating stuff. You can tell he has a serious passion for this and it's not a way to make money for him - he LIKES this work.

He has a way of dropping knowledge bombs that made me think. Twice he told us that shooting is NOT tactics and someone with high tactics and low skill is preferable to someone who has high skill and low tactics. This was something I had not thought about (honestly it didn't even register at first, but as I reviewed the class in my mind, it stood out). He broke up sessions with humor and stories from his LEO career which kept it light.

I have a fairly severe hearing impairment and he was very accommodating. Spoke loudly and when he could, he would move and face me so I could read lips. Very approachable and was kind enough to answer my questions after class even though I'm sure he just wanted to pack up and go home.

Kyle was good enough to get in touch the day after class (via facebook - where he is very good with responding) and thank me for coming out.

The price:material was really good. Honestly he could (maybe should?) charge more and I'm seriously tempted to whip out the credit card for his carbine course this Saturday. I'd strongly suggest taking a course with Kyle, it would be impossible to regret spending the money on his class.


An addendum:

I think the silhouette targets were these:

I kept thinking IDPA, but pretty sure it was IPSC.

I did not have any problems with my gear. That said, I have closed soft loops on my Tenicor. The pistol would move around a little and would cant towards my belly button. It didn't seem to slow me down and I didn't pick up on any difficulties with the draw, but it was an annoyance.

I run the tail of the belt back over the holster loops, trying to adhere the hook velcro to the loop velcro in between the holster loops. I'm thinking if I put some strips of adhesive loop velcro to the kydex soft loops it will help my holster stay in place more. It might more an appeasement of my OCD nature than a necessity.

I think the holster works well (as in conceals well) as I was wearing a hoody with a slim-ish fit (something Kyle had requested when I asked about taking the class with an appendix rig "as long as they don’t have any goofy clothes interfering with the holster upon reholstering"). When Kyle was asking what guns we were running, he looked at me - left side, right side and said "I didn't see what you were running" and in response I pulled up my shirt at the chest (to avoid dropping my hands to belt level) to reveal the holstered G19.

Also wanted to write out a practice regimen:

Dry fire (untimed) two hands, strong hand only, & weak hand only.
Draws from concealment, in lighted room and dark room (to learn picking up red dot faster)
Tac reload practice, emergency reload practice (use both slide lever and power stroke)
Practice walking laterally with pistol at extension, trying to keep the dot in the window.
Practice sul and temple index to extension and back to sul/temple index