Introduction to Pistol Red Dot With War Hogg

— Travis PikeCADRE Dispatch

My job gives me some unique opportunities. One of the more recent opportunities was to train with Rick Hogg and War Hogg Tactical close to sunny Destin, Florida. The class was a Pistol Red Dot class explicitly aimed at Law enforcement, and I believe I was the only non-LE student. Rick had a last-minute dropout, which gave me room to join at the last minute. With excitement, I grabbed my belt, Safariland 6354 RDSO, and some ammo and hit the road.

The class was hosted at Element Training Center, an impressive range with more target bays, rifle ranges, and berms than Bermuda. This class was free for law enforcement and acted as an introduction to red dot sights for officers. Propper, Walther, Aimpoint, and Safariland came together to provide the course, guns, holsters, and more.

rick hogg teaching law enforcement - war hogg tactical
War Hogg brings 29 years of Special Operations experience. (@ashley_stone1911)

Rick Hogg is a 29-year special operations veteran and owner of War Hogg Tactical. He travels extensively to train police, military, and civilians. Rick also hosts the On the Range Podcast and runs a nonprofit called In Honor of Duco. He’s a fairly busy guy but he made time to teach the 12 of us how to properly use a red dot.

I’m a big fan of the red dot on a handgun, but I’ve never taken a handgun red dot course. I learned there was a ton I didn’t know about the dot and the best practices.

The War Hogg Pistol Red Dot Course

The class all used Walther PDP pistols, Aimpoint Acro P2 sights, and Safariland holsters. I went with the 6354RDSO holster and Bianchi belt setup I’ve been using for a few months now.

The class started at 0800 with a rundown of red dots, a brief evaluation of how they work, and the difference between enclosed and open emitter dots.

Next, we were introduced to “The Firearms Training Notebook.” Rick Hogg and Mark Kelley created this notebook for logging training. The simple design makes it easy to detail the data taken from drills you shoot. I have been using a notebook to document my own training, but this provides a standardized format for recording data. It also has links to various drills and targets via a few QR codes.

Recording data in the firearms training notebook - war hogg tactical training
You record every hit and split. (@ashley_stone1911)

It didn’t take long before we hit the range for our first live-fire drill. We shot the Hogg Self-Eval, which served as an introduction to red dots, our firearms, and the notebook, where we recorded all of our data from the drill. This was an icebreaker and set a baseline of data we used for the majority of the class.

Mastering The Red Dot

Throughout the day, we shot a wide variety of drills. We practiced presentations, controlled pairs, speed reloads, draws, and five-shot drills. Each drill followed a predictable and efficient pattern and built on the last one like building blocks.

Everything we did escalated slowly. Rick would introduce and explain the drill, then demo it for us. From there, we’d practice the various drills for three magazines worth of ammo. As we practiced, Rick worked up and down the line and helped us improve, providing tips and pointers.

Izzy target at war hogg tactical red dot training event
400 rounds in the hot Florida sun was an educational experience.

After we fired three mags worth of ammo for the drill, we’d load a magazine or two with a specific round count. We then fired the drill we’d been practicing, but this time, it was against a timer with Rick watching. After the drill, we recorded our information in our notebooks.

After the drill, Rick gave us a chance to self-evaluate. Instead of just telling us what we did wrong, he asked. If we couldn’t figure it out, he’d show us. The intent seemed to be to create shooters who could self-diagnose their issues. Most of our shooting won’t have an instructor present to constantly correct the issue, so learning to self-evaluate is a critical skill to learn.

All About The Dot

All of the drills we worked on in the War Hogg class focused on using the red dot efficiently. There was a huge focus on proper presentation to ensure that you acquired the red dot as fast as possible and got it on target.

Targets at range
Our day started by working presentations.

We worked on using the dot to shoot quickly and recognized that the dot looks more like a blur when used properly and quickly. Rick even broke out the blue tape and covered at least one dot when a shooter was having trouble with a target focus.

We used a variety of targets that matched the necessary drills. Some were large, and some were small, and each matched the idea of the drill we were shooting. We even used a red paper plate to show that red reticles still showed up against a red target.

Smart Training

Florida in June is brutal. It was 99° for most of the day, and we trained on a blacktop platform. Oof, it was hot. Rick recognized the heat factor and allowed for plenty of breaks in the shade to load up, record data, and do mini AARs (After Action Reports) after each drill. There was plenty of time to get water and take a break from the heat.

It bears mentioning that Mr. Hogg never seemed to sit down or take a break.

rick hogg teaching
Rick was a well of knowledge. (@ashley_stone1911)

He was always up teaching, doing demos of different concepts, and asking his own questions. His energy never seemed to dip, which was admirable because I was always happy to grab some water and guzzle it down.

At the end of the day, we sat back and conducted an AAR of the class. In the AAR, I voiced that my only change would be to take the training further than 10 yards and to stretch the dot and pistol range. Mr. Hogg told me that his two-day course explored longer-range shots and performance, but a one-day class didn’t have time for that, and after eight hours of training, I could easily understand that.

students on line
The class was small, and moved quick (@ashley_stone1911)

Sharpening Skills: Pistol Red Dot Course

Overall I learned a ton in the course. The biggest improvement I’ve seen in my own performance is my presentation. I used Rick’s method and my presentation is almost always perfect now. This has reduced my time to first shot on target significantly.

The shirt drill
The shirt drill had us making hits without the effective zone being visible.

If you see a War Hogg pistol red dot class pop up near you, I highly recommend you jump on the opportunity. I’ve been using red dots for a few years now, but this class sharpened my skills and took my capability with the dot to the next level.

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