I just got back a couple of days ago from attending the Front Sight 4 Day Defensive Hand Gun course and followed it with their 1 Day CCW course. After the four days, and another day of lecture and paperwork to apply for permits, I am extremely happy and exhausted.
I am going to break my thoughts down into two sections.
- Section 1: Front Sight as a Business
- Section 2. Front Sight as a Training Organization
I felt that breaking down the review into these two sections makes the most sense when it comes to addressing my experiences and when it comes to addressing some of the information that is out there on the Internet. I think my personal take is very close to what others have said when it comes to Front Sight.
Section 1: Front Sight as a Business
Anyone that has had any dealings with Front Sight can attest to their relentless telemarking and email marketing. They hit hard and often with a variety of deals that always start with huge benefits and large prices and slowing reducing the benefits and the prices a bit at a time over several weeks. They really understand how to skim the market, and that is just pure intelligence. However, it can be painful sorting through their newsletters and their marketing.
Also, if you do some research, you will find that there have been many articles and blogs written about the organization and its founder that are both negative and positive. Here are a few of the negative ones:
At first glance, the financing of Front Sight looks like a pyramid scheme. They sells lots of life time memberships, and they get lots of those members to upgrade to better life time memberships. This is pretty clear. However, I don’t pretend to know the ins and outs of the money other than from my experience when it comes to any training organizations. Very few people will take classes over and over for several years as they get bored and they either learn or they decide it is beyond their abilities. Life time members don’t attend for life in most cases. Even with that in mind, the additional costs of training returning students is pretty small. What is the costs to a training center to training 30 students in comparison to training 40 students at a time in one class? Assuming that those returning students bring all of their own ammo (many will buy from the ammo shed on site), bring their own food (many of them buy meals on site), and don’t buy anything from the pro shop, all the additional students cost the center is potential instructor time. From my experience, Front Sight brings in revenue from the returning students along with the friends of the returning students that become potential new customers.
What I absolutely loved was the first morning of class when they showed the videos of news organizations talking about how Front Sight charged hundreds of thousands of dollars from its original members for lifetime memberships as well as an acre of property. They don’t hide from the bad press. In fact, I think the most amazing thing they do as a business is require anyone that wants inside access to do stories and to film on site to attend a course. By the time that anyone attends a class and sees the professionalism of the trainers, the range masters, and everyone involved, and once they gain the skills that Front Sight wants everyone in the world to have with a pistol or rifle, their stories are properly balanced or just don’t happen because there isn’t anything negative to say.
BTW, I walked into my first class hoping that I would get enough out of it to justify my lifetime membership cost. Believe me, I did, with just the one class.
Section 2: Front Sight as a Training Organization
This brings me to this section. When it came to the training, I can’t say enough good things about my experiences. I had a great time, learned more than I thought I would learn, and am sure that I have much more to learn that I can get from attending this course again and attending other courses that build upon this course.
OK, I have two negative things to say. First, they need to do something about the horrible heat. Yes, it is in the deserts of Nevada, but they should run shade cloth over the ranges and provide water sprayers to help protect students from becoming heat casualties. The heat was from 96 to 101 F while I was there. I know it gets way hotter than that. The second negative thing that I have is that they need to remove the time in the course where students stand out in the direct sun watching demonstrations. There isn’t much of it, but either let students have more breaks to hydrate and rest in the shade, or use the time for more instruction and lecture in the shaded areas.
The first day was a bit boring, but the need to start everyone off at the same level is required so that the class can be attended by all sorts of students from those that have never held a gun to some people that have been shooting for years. They establish baselines for safety in that first day before firing live weapons.
I not only had a great deal of fun, but I learned way more than I could have possibly expected. While I was underwhelmed in day one, I was certainly blown away by the rest of the class. My gains are pretty clear to me:
- I cleaned up my stance.
- I cleaned up my grip.
- I improved my holster draw speed and safety.
- I improved my trigger pull.
- I learned how to properly use the reset of my trigger to improve the accuracy of all rounds after my first trigger pull.
- I greatly improved my response to all types of failures.
- I learned the proper way to clear a house in a live fire shoot-house.
Overall, I am faster and way more accurate than I ever thought I would be after just four days of training. Of course, I am also more confident than every before.
However, I think that the best reference for Front Sight training would come from a couple of the other students that had never shot a pistol before this class and left there able to place two deadly shots that would stop an assailant within 1.5 seconds from a holster. One was a 14 year old girl and one was a 28 year old school teacher that was all of 105 pounds with all of her gear on. They were both very successful in that they were very competent and very confident upon course completion. The 14 year old girl went all the way through the semi-finals of the shooting competition that was part of the class, which demonstrated the quality of the training.
I am absolutely certain that I got my money’s worth.