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A trip to Front Sight.

If you ever visit a gun-related website, you're sure to be familiar with Front Sight Firearms Training Institute. Their advertising and email campaigns seem to be everywhere. My, earliest impression of Front Sight was based on that intense advertising, and it was not very favorable. Nonetheless, back in 2008, when brother Jeff scored some certificates for the Four-Day Defensive Pistol class, I went along for the ride.

What I saw surprised and impressed me enough that I wanted to go back. I also wanted my son Brandon, who is considering a job in law enforcement, to experience the level of training that Front Sight offers. So, almost four years to the day after my first trip, Brandon and I headed north. This time, I was less surprised, but even more impressed.

I saw capital improvements to an already-impressive facility, as well as careful updates to a comprehensive introductory course in the martial art of gunfighting.

The Front Sight facility sits on some 550 acres of desert about 15 mile east of Pahrump, Nev., and 40 miles west of Las Vegas. Brandon and I arrived on Sunday night where we met my. brother-in-law, Joel and his daughter Sydney, along with, his brother Phil and nephew Luke. It was Phil and Joel's fourth time through this class and Luke's second.

On Monday morning, I guessed the crowd size at around 600. The process begins with student check-in, and Instructors check holsters, guns, and ammunition--factory loads only--and make sure everyone has eye and hearing protection. From there, students move to a large central classroom where an instructor provides an introductory safety lecture and the usual stack of legal paperwork before heading to the range to meet the team of instructors.

The Four Day Defensive Pistol class is an all-ages, entry-level class. Our group of some 40 students ranged in age from 18 (my niece) to folks well into their 70s. There were both experienced and novice shooters in the class. Everyone had use of his legs, but the range included firing stations with paved approaches that a wheelchair could easily navigate. Even with this diverse mix, the class was genuinely challenging, both mentally and physically. We were all there to get better, and everyone rises to meet his own challenge.

Through dry practice and shooting drills, instructors monitor students, looking for issues in stance, grip, trigger control, and of course, safety. Front Sight teaches the Weaver stance exclusively. While there are arguments and controversies over the virtues and vices of isosceles versus Weaver, Front Sight teaches Weaver. End of discussion.

Over the next four days, we would shoot nearly. 700 rounds of ammunition, and make even more presentations from the holster. I noticed some tweaks in the new edition of the Four. Day Pistol course. The course has been "flattened" a bit, to focus more on fundamentals. Every skill was introduced in the first two days and honed in the second two days.

The methodical process shows impressive results. Every student's groups tightened up. People went from barely being able to hit the paper to drawing from concealment and hitting the target under time pressure. We also worked on malfunction drills, and got a taste of advanced techniques with a house-clearing exercise.

Between range sessions, we attended lectures covering topics like the moral, ethical, and legal issues of using deadly force, deciding when to clear a room and when to sit tight, and equipment choices such as flashlights, lasers, and gun modifications. Along the way there are membership offers, but I never felt any uncomfortable hard sell pressure.

I know nothing about Front Sight's business model other than that the Marketing and advertising push pretty hard With yet another once-in-a-lifetime opportunity showing up in my inbox every 'Week or so. That hard-sell advertising leaves me cold. And Over the years I've seen some negative comments about Front Sight in online forum postings and elsewhere. There have been allegations and lawsuits, but those issues seem to be receding. My personal tastes in advertising aside, the business model seems to be working at least well enough to pave more than four miles of private' road and bring fresh water and flush toilets to a range complex far out in the desert.

The important thing to me is that, for a fraction of the cost of some of the more elite schools, it's possible to get an excellent introduction to defensive gunfighting. Those who pass the basic course as a Distinguished Graduate are eligible to move on to more advanced classes. Among our group of almost 40, there were only three who met the criteria for Distinguished Graduate--my brother-in-law Joel, his brother Phil, and Phil's son Luke. My Son Brandon came close, just missing Distinguished by a few tenths of a second. Me, well, I'm doing a lot of dry practice, working on my malfunction clearing ... I think there will definitely be a next time.

Permission to reprint or post this article in its entirety is hereby granted provided this credit and link to is included. To receive The Firearms Coalition's bi-monthly newsletter, The Knox Hard Corps Report, write to Box 1761, Dept. SGN, Buckeye, AZ 85326 or subscribe at

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Title Annotation:From The Firearms Coalition; Front Sight Firearms Training Institute
Author:Knox, Chris
Publication:Shotgun News
Article Type:Essay
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2012
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