Back to Basics: Skill Development and Practice

Karl RehnAn Interview with Karl Rehn

Interview by Gila Hayes

When making New Year’s resolutions, do you vow to practice at the range more often or take a shooting class? Sounds like a good idea, doesn’t it?

I recently chatted with Advisory Board member Karl Rehn and came away with a different approach to that resolution. I called Karl about the release date and details of a new edition Rehn and his writing partner John Daub have underway for their book Strategies and Standards for Defensive Handgun Training (first edition reviewed at

The book outlines realistic shooting standards for armed citizens measured against various shooting qualification tests. Our recent phone conversation explored the differences between measurable skills and tactics crucial to self defense, how skill level supports on-the-fly decision making under stress and using standards to drive self-motivation. I asked Karl about applicability of uniform standards across various age and physical abilities. With many of us in the older demographic, I think members will appreciate Rehn’s observations as much as I did. Since the new edition of Strategies and Standards isn’t expected until later this month (January 2023), for now, enjoy sitting in on our conversation and learn about ways to hone armed self-defense skills, while whetting your appetite for Rehn and Daub’s book.

eJournal: Why are established standards important to skill development and maintenance? Time limits, 1.5 second to draw and fire a headshot at 3 yards, for example, can seem unachievable and discouraging.

Rehn: We need goals that we can measure. There is a point in the skill development process where you have to go slow, and you have to break it down, and you have to be deliberate, and you have to get all the steps right. Then, you need to begin to put the timer on the drill to have a goal.

The book has a list we call the Top 10 Drills. The drills are structured so you practice drill one until you can pass and then you move on to drill two until you can pass and then you practice drill three until you can pass. You are only adding essentially one new skill with each new drill as you move forward.

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2022 Legal Defense Fund Growth

 by Gila Hayes

As 2022 spools down to the end, we offer our year-end review of the Network’s work on behalf of its members. During 2022 several members called and discussed situations of concern with Network President Marty Hayes, but none resulted in any danger of charges for the members so the services of an attorney were not needed and no money was withdrawn from the Legal Defense Fund.

Without any legal defense expenses to add to our statistics this year, let me offer a snapshot of our history of service to members spanning 15 years from 2008 through the end of 2022. During that time, we have paid just short of $282,500 to attorneys to represent 29 members who have lawfully used force in self defense. We first paid an attorney in February of 2011 to represent a member after he displayed a pistol but did not shoot when threatened by multiple assailants; the most recent member-involved case came in the fall of 2021 and entailed defensive display of a rifle.

Our members’ experiences run parallel to the findings of prominent researchers: armed citizens can and do resolve violent situations by the display of a firearm. Members have done this 12 times in our 15 years. Called “defensive display,” these situations come up in research more frequently than cases in which armed citizens shoot attackers.

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President’s Message

Marty Hayes

by Marty Hayes, J.D.

Happy New Year! Last month I posed a question to our members in which I asked, “What member benefits should the Network add to the benefits we extend to our members?” I really appreciate the numerous answers you sent me to the question, and since the answers are still trickling in, I will give it another month before I compile the answers and report back.

In the meantime, I want to clarify something. At least one member expressed confusion about why, on one hand, we would be advising of a likely dues increase to help us meet our obligations due to rising inflation, when, on the other hand, my question implied that we had plenty of money in the Legal Defense Fund and would consider adding benefits.

I can understand the confusion and would like to explain. So, here is how the Network finances work. When we receive member dues, we separate the amount into a 25-75 percent ratio. We then deposit the 25% into our Legal Defense Fund (a separate bank account) and the other 75% goes into our general operating bank account.

We administer the business of the Network from the operating account – salaries, rent and other operating expenses come out of this account. We also maintain a fairly large savings account so we can address any emergencies that come up.

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Attorney Question of the Month

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Recently, there has been considerable discussion about the role of training for armed citizens and whether or not training could be used against the armed citizen in a court of law. We here at the Network are intimately aware of one such case in which an armed citizen was questioned extensively while on the witness stand about attending several military-centric training courses. Consequently, we asked a couple of questions of our affiliated attorneys.

Do you have personal experience with training becoming an issue in court for an armed citizen in a self-defense trial, and if so, what was the outcome?

If a person has a strong training résumé, what steps would you suggest taking to keep their extensive training from creating a negative result in court?

Our affiliated attorneys responded in such numbers that we ran this topic in December and wrap it up this month. The second half of the attorney commentaries follow:

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News From Our Afilliates

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by Gila Hayes

Long-time Network members will remember the Networking column from years ago. A play on words, the column’s title isn’t a noun, it is a verb that smilingly acknowledges the power of working together with like-minded folks to accomplish a common goal.

Network affiliated instructors have, from the Network’s very earliest days, been essential to introduce the Network’s mission to shooting and concealed carry class students and to explain why being part of our supportive membership organization is so essential for armed citizens. That outreach is important to us and to every member of the Network because the more well-trained, knowledgeable, and careful armed citizens we recruit into membership, the stronger the Legal Defense Fund grows. Outreach by our affiliated instructors puts us directly in touch with the armed citizens we want in the Network; the like-minded men and women with whom we want to associate.

Recognizing how much the Network affiliated instructors do for our organization, it is my hope that Network members will turn to their fellow Network members when seeking training, be that a skills update, mandated training for carry licenses, or to add new skills. Need to learn to run a new firearms platform like expanding from pistols to add rifle skills to your repertoire or get a tactical first aid, defensive knife or other survival class under your belt? I intend to introduce Network members to these affiliated instructors, and in this revival of the old Networking column, let’s reintrodue one of our very first affiliated instructors and meet one of our newest, too.

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Editor’s Notebook

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Don’t Make it Easy

by Gila Hayes

Without jumping into the swirling maelstrom of supposition, opinion and misinformation about mass killing attacks committed with firearms, automobiles, arson, knives or any other murderous means, I think we best brace for more violence in 2023 as our government, entertainment, news media and social influencers beat the drums of tribalism, disenfranchisement and divisiveness. Because their most popular theory is that guns are responsible for all these evils, it is kind of hard to get an unbiased report on other mass killings of the past few years.

As armed citizens it is hard not to feel singled out for unwarranted hatred and scrutiny after a mass murder conducted with a firearm hits the news, be that the mass killings at schools or the Highland Park parade murders.

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About this Journal


The eJournal of the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, Inc. is published monthly on the Network’s website at Content is copyrighted by the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, Inc.

Do not mistake information presented in this online publication for legal advice; it is not. The Network strives to assure that information published in this journal is both accurate and useful. Reader, it is your responsibility to consult your own attorney to receive professional assurance that this information and your interpretation or understanding of it is accurate, complete and appropriate with respect to your particular situation.

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