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Thread: Front Sight: 4 Day Handgun Course Review

  1. #1
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    I have also posted this on DefensiveCarry, I have been a member on this forum for a couple years but forgot my log in information and no longer use the email for it. So I did the quick route and made a new account.

    It feels good to be able to OC again in VA as being at school and working on campus OC was quite impossible, at least because I wanted to graduate.

    Let me first state that this will be a lengthy review about Front Sights 4-Day Defensive Handgun course I took during the May 16th weekend.

    First, the outline of the 4 days:

    Day 1:
    8am sign in, classroom from 8:15 to 9:30ish (basically watching the Front Sight video they send you in the mail), 9:30 first range time till lunch which is around 12:45. Range goes over range commands and safety, trigger control and sight picture, proper loading mags and unloading and how to verify your chamber is empty or loaded. You will also go over the three malfunction clearing procedures (for failure to fire, stove pipe, double feed). Then back to classroom for more lecture time and followed up with another 2 hours of range time.

    Day 2:
    8am range till lunch. At lunch you have the enjoyable video of the Front Sight First family membership. After the video you will have about a 2 hour lecture and back to the range. Range will cover drawing from open carried holster (OWB or IWB), reholstering and different types of mag reloads (speed reload, tactical reload).

    This is where your 2 day students will leave for their course certificates in lecture hall. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND YOU IF YOU CAN TO STICK AROUND FOR THE OPTIONAL 5:45 LECTURE ABOUT CHOOSING TACTICAL SHOTGUNS, TACTICAL RIFLES, AND PRECISION RIFLES. While I knew the information being covered the guy who does the lecture is very informative, allows Q&A, and cracks jokes the whole time. Only about 30 people showed for this lecture, so you can ask away about any questions you have. He covered caliber types, good loads for home defense, and everyone's favorite weapon accessories.

    Day 3:
    8am lecture about tactical movement down hallways, working corners (slicing the pie), opening doors, etc. You will then head to the range practice everything you have done the past two days. Groups will then head down to practice opening doors with red guns and you will also to a live fire scenario in a small outdoor shoot house. (This was a lot of fun but only has 3 targets to shoot, so it ends within a minute or so.) At lunch their is a lecture about good defensive handguns, this whole lecture is based on guns the instructors have seen come through the course with out failing, basically you will hear 1911 and Glock over an over again with some XD thrown in. Now for the 1911 they will talk about loose fitting parts being more tolerant to the desert weather. We 1911 owners are already aware you need to keep your tight fitted guns well oiled or they become picky. This is pretty much what they cover and state stock guns are better than anything else because all your modifications that are not from the manufacture make the gun failure prone (with the exception of Wilson mags and some Chip's for 1911s because all others are worthless). You will then sit around for 3 hours at 5pm while you wait for the sun to go down. They will cover the Harries flashlight technique and you will then have an hour range time shooting with a light. (the Harries technique is the flashlight hand comes underneath your strong hand and the back of your wrists lock together.)

    Day 4:
    8am till lunch is range time. Here we practice for your final test (which is the test instructors must also pass). You will also have a fun steel target competition with others in your group; winner goes on to see who does the "best in your group." (I will go into more detail about this later.) At lunch you will have a Q&A lecture to ask any questions you want. You can also sign up for your lifetime membership if you so wish. Range time after with some more practice for the final test. Around 4ish you will start your test.

    During your range time the first 2 days are stationary targets, come day three they have a remote to make them rotate towards or away from you. They use this instead of tell you verbally to fire. For your test you have a choice if you want a stationary target or rotating. If you choose stationary you are limited to what certificate you are allowed. Which I believe is just the basic "I survived Front Sight" type deal.

    The test:
    25 shots, then you will be tested on different reloads and all 3 malfunction drills. You will do each reload and drill two times, you can not earn points for doing them correctly but you can lose points. Each shot is worth 5 points, their is a designated shot area on your target that you have been trained to shoot at as well as a head area. You start with 125 points and they mark you down for misses. Hit within this box and you earn full 5 points/ lose nothing, hit the target body out side the box and you lose 3 points, miss the body and hit the white area you lose 5. Same deal when required to do follow up shots to the head. The targets are timed to turn towards you and then away within I think about 3-4 seconds or so. If you are slow off the draw you will have very little time to fire your two shots. Some of the head shots are untimed and some will be timed to rotate away. They will tell you which ones you are doing.

    So if I remember correctly,
    -3 yards, draw from concealment shoot controlled pair
    -5 yards, shoot from at the ready (already drawn) controlled pair, then again
    -7 yards, draw from concealment shoot controlled pair, then again controlled pair and I believe their were 2 untimed failure to stop head shots.
    -10 yards, draw from concealment shoot controlled pair, then again
    -15 yards, draw from concealment shoot controlled pair
    -5 yards, timed head shots, I think it was 2 total.
    -7 yards, timed head shots, I think this time it was 3.
    (and I am missing 2 shots somewhere, but I can't remember.)
    After this you then do your reloads and malfunction drills these are timed with a CED 7000 timer, you lose 3 points if you do not make the time. The highest certificate is Distinguished Graduate which if I remember is 112 points or higher. You need 60 points or higher to earn the basic certificate. Those who earn Distinguished are given their certificates in the lecture hall in front of those who stay for the closing ceremony/ thank you speeches.

    Now that I covered everything I did I will give you a full review from my OPINION of my 4 day course.

    First the GOOD:

    -The instructors know what they are talking about, they are there to teach you and keep you safe. They will pull you off the line if they feel you are dehydrated or are unsafe with the firearm. If you are unsafe they will give you a "red gun" to do all the drills with until further notice. I did not see anyone in our group use one however, they did warn a few people about fingers on the trigger when reloading or checking your chamber.

    -The night shoot is very helpful, honestly how often do you shoot in pitch black with just a flash light.

    -Range time is very good, you will have about 40 people in your group, on day 1 they will ask 20 people to stand on the line who feel they are great shooters, the remaining will stand behind a person on the line and they will be your partner. For those who are shooting with friends or family, this is when you would feel you need to have one jump on the line and your buddy stand behind you. Problem is, on day two we changed partners, by cycling five people down. I ended up staying the same line as my father and we were able to shoot next to each other. A quick word, be honest with your self when they ask if you think you are a great shooter. A good portion of the guys on line 1 were no where close to as good as I believe they think they were (did that make sense?) I shot on line 2, it does not matter which line you are on, you shoot the same thing. I feel I am a good shooter, but no need to blow my ego by jumping on the first line to show off. Now, with your partner when line 1 is shooting, line 2 are coaching them and vice versa. You watch to make sure they do the drill right, stay safe and do not muzzle themselves or anyone else. The instructors will walk around and help those in need as well. For the first 2 days we were on a cold range. You loaded when on the line and unloaded before stepping off. On day three we moved to a hot range, however you are not allowed to leave the range with a loaded chamber. If you needed to use the bathroom then you have an instructor unload you before leaving.

    -Bring at least 3 if not 4 magazines for you double stack guys. Keep them all loaded and carry them on you. I brought 4 comp-tac mag carriers and kept 4 of my glock 22 mags loaded and on me. For you 1911/ other single stack guys, 10 round mags if you can, and bring 5 of them or more if you can. Bringing 2, 8 round mags will have you dry firing during live fire drills till your line is cleared. To remedy this, I HIGHLY suggest a mag loader; I love my UpLULA mag loader. Any of them will do, stick that in your pocket and stash 15-20 rounds loosely in your pocket. This way you can reload a mag if you happen to run dry. You will only be allowed to leave to reload during a live fire drill if you are coaching, like I said, once on the line you can not leave until the instructors allow you to.

    -They are sticklers for drinking water and Gatorade. They will have a few sports jugs filled with water at all times as well as Gatorade powder. For food, there is no on site eating place. You must either bring your own or order from Beach Cafe (Beach Cafe : Home ). My father and I ordered boxed lunches from Beach Cafe for each day and ordered an extra sandwich for dinner with the night shoot . Their sandwiches are very good and they give you quite a filling meal. They are $12.95, when you order online there is a drop down menu to select which day you are ordering for. When you come in for lunch they will have all the boxed lunches set up with names on them to pick yours up. I am also aware that Saddle West will make you boxed lunches for $10 if you are staying their as well.

    -Pahrump (about an hour drive from Las Vegas)
    This town is basically built for you to come flush your money down the toilet. Casinos, bars, strip clubs is about all you see, all the normal stores shut down at 7pm. They actually have some food places to eat at for dinner besides McDs, Burger King etc. Their is a small bar/burger joint behind Best Western, it is on the corner of the mini strip mall. They close at 8pm but have good burgers. I can not remember what they are called but it is NOT the Lounge which is right beside the car wash. ( I know this sounds confusing but if you stay at the Best Western you will see a car wash attached to the parking lot behind the building, if you drive up the road beside this you will see a strip mall type deal on your right and an RV lodging on your left.)

    -Hotels. I stayed at the Best Western, which about 50% of the other guests were also Front Sight people. Saddle West is also an option both of which should give you a room discount if you tell them you are their for Front Sight. From these two hotels you are about a 20 minute drive from Front Sight. It is all high way driving and you can not get lost.

    -Rental Car
    Get what ever you want, all the roads are paved and the Front Sight parking lot is hard packed dirt, no 4WD needed.


    Now for the juicy part.....


    -The BAD
    -You think you can eat out side and not have to watch the boring Front Sight videos about being a member and their Tree of Freedom as they call it. Honestly, look at it again and you will see it is a giant Pyramid scheme of Freedom. You join, we give you class stuff to bring another member so they join and you get bonuses for it. And we all make off in the deal. Sadly, I think they could better market their company. If you want to eat outside good luck, when it is 100 degrees out and you have been outside for the better part of 4.5 hours, you will not want to sit outside. I suggest eating, taking a nap and awaking when the actual lecture starts.

    -They will tell you how all these condos, hotels, welcome center and other items are on their way. But yet you wonder how come in the past 8 years not even one of these things has appeared. During the Q&A someone brought up the Pahrump newspaper article about their assets being seized. They said the same thing as previously posted, we are operating at full capacity as normal. But they are still in Phase 1 of building, phase 2 which is condos will be done in a record 54 months.

    -Day 1, basically if you are on this website you already know everything they cover, both in lecture and range. Day 2 is when you get into heavy shooting, you can start learning new stuff here, but lecture is nothing a CCW carrier should not already know. Most of the tactical information you learn is very very very basic. This is designed so you come back next month to take that particular tactical movement class.

    -Ammo
    For the love of all things Holy, DO NOT buy ammo from Front Sight. 40 S&W was $38 for a box of 50. The .45 guys were paying $42, almost a dollar per round. Buy ammo from home and ship it to your hotel or one of the gun stores, OR buy ammo in Vegas or Pahrump. You need to call around to the stores, some will charge $30 a box, I found a few stores who were reasonable with $23 per box. You do not want to pay almost $160 for 4 boxes of ammo. You will shoot close to 800-900 rounds. Remember you can fly with 11lbs of ammo as well.

    (now, this may be different for others but this is how my instructors handled this)
    -You are taught to shoot a modified Weaver, with thumbs crossing each other by having support thumb on top of strong thumb. If you do not shoot weaver, they will tell you "just try our way, if it does not work shoot your way." WHICH IS A LOAD OF BS, what they really mean is shoot our way the whole time and then go back to your way once you fly home. I shoot what I consider a modified isosceles, by modified I mean instead of squaring up my legs I have a bit of an angle with strong side leg to the rear (sort of like a weaver). Now, I tried their weaver stance and grip for the first day and shot like crap. I have never liked the weaver stance since it was first taught to me a few years ago. So I reverted back to my stance with thumbs in a line (todd jarett video if you need reference). This caught me flack from every direction, even though they said they would not care. Lots of, it is the wrong way and not our way the "best way." (subjective is the word you will find used in your vocab while attending) On day 3 they finally backed off and would make jokes asking if I wanted grip or stance help. Which is fine in my book, you shoot your way and I will shoot mine. Now, if I was completely unsafe then by all means pound me to the ground to shoot your way. On day 4 they finally stopped their bickering and for good reason (more to come later)

    They stick to the, "we tried every way and this is the best way." If you trained with a flash light using the lanyard they will tell you it is wrong and will overly exaggerate how it can be wrapped up on your slide. If you do not use their 5 step drawing process they will ATTEMPT to show you how you are slower. (makes for a good laugh)

    -This brings me to: If you shoot IDPA and use a weaver stance AND do everything their way NO PROBLEMS. If you shoot IPSC, Steel, or IDPA, train for it constantly, shoot in isosceles stance, can tactical reload/ speed reload with your eyes closed in quick time then you will be as pissed off as I was. I caught crap all day about how competitive shooting does nothing good for you, it's not like being on the streets, and this and that. I blew it off, now there were a couple other older guys, by older I mean 40's and up who either shot IDPA or used to, shot weaver and did not catch crap. Now, to paint this picture, I am 23, instructors had at least 8 years each on me. I am sure they gave me more crap because they figured I was trying to be a "hot shot", do my own thing type deal. But remember, I am shooting on Line 2 because I felt I can learn a great deal from them, at least that's what I figured from reading all the reviews on line from previous students. To give you more detail, I have never even shot IDPA, IPSC or Steel at a range. All I have done is shot my own paper target courses on our property, sure I have wanted to shoot IDPA/IPSC, I just have never had the time from work to make it out to a shoot. So I practice on my own MOSTLY because I have my CCW.

    So back to Front Sight, on Day 4 we had a steel target competition. 2 shooters side by side, you have a silhouette target around 10 yards with a flag over the shoulder. Flag is the target, make it rotate to the other side, silhouette is the hostage. Hit the hostage and you lose no matter what. After you flip the flag you have a 15-17 yard silhouette target on the right/outside to drop, then another 15-17 yard silhouette target on the left/ inside to drop. Winner moves on, hit the hostage and the other guy wins unless they hit the hostage as well. Sure enough, my turn comes. Buzzer sounds, draw, shoot the flag, no spin, shoot again, no spin, shoot again it flips. Hit outside silhouette, it drops, hit inside silhouette it drops, meanwhile my competitor is still trying to shoot the flag. I took all of maybe 7-8 seconds to shoot the course, your feet do not move, just need different front sight pictures. My first three shots were each about a second apart, honestly, I was amazed I shot so fast and accurately. Smooth is fast, and it came out pretty. Other guy finishes, we unload and turn around to face everyone. Instructor says since I do competitive shooting I am disqualified, because this is to train for real life and is not a game. (That makes a lot of sense doesn't it? Because I train to be proficient in firearms I am disqualified.) Then receive some more IDPA/IPSC bashing. Apparently, if they were in a gun fight, they would prefer the guy who muzzles his hand every time he reholsters and hits the no shoot targets, or maybe I am still angry about the whole ordeal.

    Image for understanding how the competition is set up.



    Lastly,

    There were 428 people attending Front Sight that weekend, I know this because Front Sight spammed my email box about it and telling me how my time is running out for the 2 for 1 membership deal.

    My last laugh: Myself and 6 others out of the 428 earned Distinguished Graduate. I lost points on the 15 yard shots as I was just outside the hit box but still had solid hits on the silhouette. Yes, I qualified as an instructor.

    IN THE END:
    Would I take a course at Front Sight again. Yes, but under 1 circumstance. I would do it for free again. Both my father and my courses were free from the online deal a few years back for hosting Front Sight information online. Would I pay full price for the course? heck no. Those $200 certificates are perfectly fine in my book. But I will not be going back to Front Sight, there are plenty of other reasonably priced training grounds to attend.





    If you have any questions I will freely answer them.

  2. #2
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    I have a question, what PR company do you work for?

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    FunkTrooper wrote:
    I have a question, what PR company do you work for?
    As in what training site do I work for? If so, you just derailed your train, I am a marketing distribution manager for a city event company. Which does not deal with weapons what so ever.

    I understand the issue of me having a first post relate to this course. But as I stated before, I have been a member here for a while with my old account, am a member of the VCDL and have attended a few OC dinner and picnic meets.

    I had been waiting almost 2 years to go to Front Sight, it was my first actual training school and I could not be more unhappy with how it is handled. The biggest positive note was the fact I shot over 800 rounds.

  4. #4
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    I apologize, I browsed through your post too quickly and missed your ending statements buried between your pictures.

    PR is public relations a PR company handles press releases and in some sense advertising and its become common form to use viral marketing wherein they spam sites pretending to be everyday posters.

  5. #5
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    I signed up for some info and was spammed to death by FS. I backed up and signed for them to QUIT contacting me.:X

  6. #6
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    If you didn`t even try their techniques during the duration of the class why did you even go ? If you not open to new techniques and giving them a chance you are probably wasting your time and money on training.

    I have not been to Front Sight so I do not claim to know the whole story on the place but trying the techniques a school teaches during at least the duration of the class shows an open mind and not a " I already know it all " attitude. They stopped correcting you to their techniques later in class not because you knew what you were doing but because they thought you closed minded and not teachable.

    The object of a training class is not to "win" the class but to try new and hopefully better skills. Sometimes they are better and sometimes they are not but to not even try them during the class is narrow minded.

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    This class sounds ok, but I can do without the desert heat... What little formal training I have had went well, not because I was particularly receptive andstudious, but because I had already developed something close to the Weaver/Cooper/"modern" technique by default, justbecause I found it comfortable and effective. I don't think there is one "right" way - you need to be comfortable with your technique, and much of that is simply practice and familiarity. For example, I don't do the targeting in the prescribed "modern" way. I focus more on the target than just my front sight, and I've been able to perform satisfactorily. So - whatever works/to each his (her) own.

    -ljp

  8. #8
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    is this the same place?


    At 11 a.m. Monday, Front Sight Firearms Training Institute and its president, Ignatius Piazza, went into receivership.
    All financial transactions involving the firearms training facility -- from accepting payment for classes to paying staff and vendors -- must take place through a court-appointed administrator.
    The facility and all assets have been seized by the court, down to the hundreds of firearms included as part of new members' benefits.
    However, despite the ruling, this weekend at Front Sight everything was "business as usual," according to Operations Manager Rick Morello.
    He said he knew nothing about the legal proceedings. "We have a big weekend coming up with a full schedule of classes," Morello said. "Business is booming."
    The ruling, handed down by U.S. District Judge James Ware in San Jose, Calif., had its beginning in November 2005 when Stacy James, Bill Haag and Michael Schriber filed a class action suit against Piazza on behalf of themselves and other qualified Front Sight members.
    The suit mentions "violations of RICO, unfair advertising and competition, Nevada Sale of Subdivided Land Act, fraudulent conveyances, Consumer Legal Remedies Act, Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act, breach of contract and fraud," all based on Piazza's sale of lifetime memberships.
    RICO is the acronym for the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, originally used to target the Mafia and similar organizations.
    The three men allege the price of the memberships they and the members of the class purchased were artificially inflated as a result of misrepresentations and non-disclosures.
    On October 15, 2007, a settlement was reached and Ware dismissed the suit with the stipulation Front Sight live up to the negotiated terms. A settlement fund of $8,050,000 secured by a lien on Front Sight's assets would let the class foreclose if the fund was not fully funded by October 15, 2008.
    Piazza was ordered to put 10 percent of Front Sight's monthly gross revenues into the settlement fund and provide financial documentation showing he was meeting his obligation. He complied, although according to the plaintiff's court filings, the payments were not timely, which comes as no surprise to former employees and suppliers in Pahrump.
    The settlement also said Piazza had to allow members who were part of the suit to use their Front Sight memberships until the settlement fund was fully paid. Further, he was ordered by the court not to retaliate or make derogatory remarks against James, Haag and Schriber.
    According to C. Keith Greer, attorney for the class, Piazza violated all the agreed upon terms.
    At the end of the prescribed year, the fund was short by more than $5.4 million.
    The day after the fund came up short, Piazza send a letter to everyone involved in the suit, saying Front Sight was no longer obligated to make additional monthly payments because the class action had forced the first mortgage holder on the property to foreclose.
    "This is a lie as no one foreclosed on the property on that day or any day since," said Greer.
    Piazza's letter also said Front Sight offered to increase its monthly contribution to the settlement fund from 10 to 20 percent.
    Greer said bluntly, "That was also a lie."
    But Piazza didn't stop there. He told class members they were "forever banned from Front Sight," which was another violation of the terms.
    The same day Piazza sent a letter to non-class members, declaring:
    "After they attended over 200 Front Sight Courses and pocketed $830,000 out of the first million dollars I paid timely into the Class Action Settlement Fund, the three malcontents and their ambulance-chasing attorney tried to kill Front Sight and terminate your membership by forcing us into foreclosure. So I cut them (and their followers) off at the knees!
    "In this letter I reveal all the gory details and show you how the new Front Sight turned the tables on these back-stabbing saboteurs."
    According to Greer, "Defendant Piazza also boasts that, in violation of the court order against encumbering the property, he created Front Sight Management II and signed a 99-year lease with the old Front Sight entity, leasing the land, water rights, entitlements, equipment, weapons, licenses, trademarks, copyrights, intellectual property, Internet sites, accounts, etc. Every asset the old Front Sight had is now leased by the new Front Sight entity."
    Greer said it is clear Front Sight "violated every aspect of the court order and settlement agreement."
    He added that Piazza did so "notoriously" and "in a manner that flaunts disrespect for the law and the judicial system."
    Piazza's gorilla marketing technique of sending frequent e-mails with special price offers to prospective members give Greer and his clients easy access to information. They used Piazza's own words as evidence to show the court Piazza and Front Sight have the money to satisfy the settlement obligation.
    On December 30, 2008, Piazza e-mailed members saying Front Sight had doubled in students, members and net worth each year for 12 years. He said, "While others are laying off people, we are hiring." He also said Front Sight had been offered a $25 million letter of credit.
    Taking Piazza at his printed word, in March, the class asked to have Piazza appear in court with financial documentation Piazza agreed to supply in the settlement agreement.
    In fact, Greer asked Piazza to live up to all the stipulations in the settlement, including paying the claims administrator and stopping interference with the membership rights of class members.
    Greer also asked the court to order Piazza to stop publishing disparaging remarks about class members.
    Ware granted the request, setting the hearing date for date for March 23.
    Piazza did not appear, nor did he send any representative to appear on Front Sight's behalf. He did, however, fire his attorney at the last minute, which the judge called an "eleventh-hour dismissal" when he issued an order for Piazza to show cause why he should not be held in contempt of court and subject to sanctions for failing to appear.
    That hearing to show cause was held Monday, resulting in Ware's decision that Front Sight had defaulted on its agreement with the class. All assets belonging to Front Sight and Piazza were seized by the court.
    An administrator was appointed to run the organization.

  9. #9
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    Yup, same place.

    Have to wait and see what the results are, I guess.

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