This isn’t our first time discussing Karl Rehn’s Three Seconds or Less standard. It is a good basic course of fire that really focuses in on the core competencies of defensive shooting and gun handling. The premise is every string of fire has to be completed in less than 3 seconds. This version of the standard adds the use of a flashlight, which I personally think is a valuable addition. There is not much out there in the non-governmental firearms training world that has to do with the use of a flashlight and defensive shooting. While there might be a discussion to be had on whether or not it is a likely skill to be needed. Being able to meet some sort of standard shooting with a flashlight doesn’t come with many downsides.
The course of fire requires 20 rounds and a handheld flashlight. Only about half of the course of fire actually requires a flashlight. All of the closer-distance strings of fire are without a flashlight. The assumption being that if you are within 10 feet of someone, you can probably see them well enough to make positive ID as a lethal threat, even in poor light conditions.
KR Training‘s Low Light Shooting Standard Course of Fire
There are quite a few flashlight techniques out there that a person could use. I generally default to one of three, depending on the circumstances of their application. For pure shooting and being quick, I use a sort of eye index, which I stole from Mike Seeklander. I am cross-eye dominant and my gun tends to float toward the left side of my face. By using a slightly higher light position it keeps me from getting a lot of splash off the back of my wrist and gun. This is the position that I used for the duration of this course of fire.
If shooting the course of fire on an IDPA target, or another target with an 8” circle primary scoring zone (which is pretty easy to come by) that the course of fire is scored either a hit or a miss. Only the -0 zone (8” circle) counts as a hit. Hits are worth 5 points, everything else is worth 0 points. Nice and easy scoring.
I have shot this version of 3 Seconds or Less, and the standard version. Between the two, I felt like this one was a bit more of a challenge. Perhaps that is an indication that I need to work on my one-handed shooting. There is certainly a heavy emphasis on one-handed shooting with this course of fire, but that is the reality of running a handheld light, most of the shooting will basically be one-handed by default.
The strings of the fire that were most difficult were two five yard strings that required manipulation of the light, movement, and shooting. Layering that many tasks on top of each other can really bog down the processor. This is a good indicator of whether or not the skills are actually learned, or if they still need a little work. If they are properly programmed, it will be quite a bit easier to do everything correctly, in its proper sequence, and still, get the hits within the time frame.
I really dig this course of fire. It has been a bit since I shot the standard version of 3 Seconds or Less, but I would say I like this version better. As mentioned in the opening, using this as a baseline assessment or a standard to train towards for low-light shooting has some real merit. It is focused, requires a reasonable level of skill to manage, and incorporates the use of the handheld light in a reasonable fashion. If you have the ability to work this course of fire in true low light, it is worth the effort. Even using it in normal lighting conditions I think has some merit if your range access in the dark is an issue.
If you give it a try, be sure to drop your thoughts in the comments.