AAR from 4 Day Handgun Course at Front Sight Firearms Training Institute in Nev.

#1
I thought some of you may be interested in an after-action report from my recent attendance (with 36 y/o son--trained by yours truly) at the 4 Day Defensive Handgun Course at the Front Sight Firearms Training Institute located about an hour west of Las Vegas.

The course is normally $2000 per student but we managed to get severely discounted tuition so we bit the bullet (see what I did there) and decided to go. we arrived on a Sunday night before course start up early on Monday morning. Prerequisites included a criminal background check (I was greatly relieved to have passed). We were told to bring the pistol we relied on for personal defense and a back up.

Since my usual carry gun (the new Springfield Armory X-D-S .45acp single stack mini-gun) was at the smith getting night sights, I fell back on my old reliable HK .45acp USP Compact and my 1911 as a backup. My son is a .40 S&W guy and had his X-D40 subcompact with X-D40 Service model backup. Due to the ammo shortage we also brought 300 rounds each so as not to totally deplete the stocks on hand at the Institute that we purchased (actually at below market rates) there. Total round count for the 4 day course was 900 each.

We had 4 long days (0800-1700) days of moving and shooting on conventional ranges and in a shoot house scenario. Distances ranges from 3 yards to 20 yards and all shots were taken either from the low ready or strong side holster.

Each class (there were at least 3 I know of going on simultaneously) was comprised of 40 students of all levels of expertise (active duty military and LEOs to housewives on a shooting vacation with their spouses). I would say the average was a reasonably experienced handgun shooter with only a few scary ones who I tried to stay away from on the firing line due to their marginal gun-handling skills.

One fundamental of the instruction and philosophy there is the importance of dry firing. We did a lot of that during the day and were expected to do a lot in the evening. It really does make a huge difference and is cheap to boot, especially in this day of $.75-$1.00 per round ammo costs. One drill they did to underscore this is to have us shoot 5 rounds as fast as possible at a 1 inch square black dot from the 7 yard line---fire 5 shots, then fire 5 dry fires and then 5 more shots at a second square. there was ALWAYS improvement in the second groups.

The wider groups were the first strings and the tighter groups after the dry firing. Excuse the bad focus on some.

2013-03-20 16.23.30.jpg 2013-03-20 16.23.42.jpg 2013-03-20 16.23.30.jpg 2013-03-21 12.20.11.jpg 2013-03-21 12.20.16-2-resized.jpg

We also did hostage taker drills with steel and paper targets out to 20 yards (had to hit hostage taker head partly showing alongside hostage's head).

The course culminated in a single elimination shoot-off on a course involving a steel plate torso (hostage) with 4X4" hinged steel plate alongside head of hostage that was the target at 7 yards, then (if you did not hit hostage), 2 more steel torsos about 10 yards behind and to each side of the hostage plate. Fastest accurate shooter won the round. In all humility I would note that the last 2 standing in the final face off were my son and I. He beat me by about 1/2 second. :)

All in all it was a very well run course that I can commend to anyone wanting to up their game with a handgun. Here are a few other pics of the facility:

2013-03-20 11.51.49.jpg 2013-03-18 07.51.19.jpg 2013-03-20 08.19.18 re sized.jpg

To some Front Sight has a bad reputation due to the unbridled marketing by its founder who is a chiropractor by training but the facility itself was expertly run by former military and LEO operators.
 

Bouillabaisse

LE
Book Reviewer
#2
The owner must run a fleet of Bentleys. There's at least 50 people in that room. Even at half price that's $50,000 for a 2 day course. I am definitely in the wrong business.
 

Drivers_lag

On ROPS
On ROPs
#4
This post is frankly, terrifying. There's now another 80 big fat septics running around thinking that they can shoot hostage taker's heads off like Dirty Harry.

Did you practice shooting guns out of people's hands as well?
 
#5
This post is frankly, terrifying. There's now another 80 big fat septics running around thinking that they can shoot hostage taker's heads off like Dirty Harry.

Did you practice shooting guns out of people's hands as well?
My dear fellow, not all there were fat and the entire course philosophy is the gun is the LAST RESORT for self defense and that of your family. It is not a Dirty Harry type thing. I had assumed the reader would understand that but apologize for not making it clear in my original post. As many of the LEOs present admitted, their marksmanship, especially under time and scenario pressure is not what it should be. The upshot of this is that depending on one's particular situation (for example I live in a very remote location where it will take a minimum of 30 minutes for a Barney Fife-like deputy to arrive if I need help), if you cannot defend yourself and your family you are going to be the next bad statistic.

I am truly sorry to have terrified you.
 
#9
I scan read that and I was not at all surprised when it turned out that JJH normally carries a minigun.
 
#11
...................

To some Front Sight has a bad reputation due to the unbridled marketing by its founder who is a chiropractor by training but the facility itself was expertly run by former military and LEO operators.
Very bad reputation. As much a marketing operation as a shooting operation from what I hear and read.

Personally I think that there are better schools and better courses. Frontsight is like Gunsite since the Colonel passed, bums on seats, maximising through put and profit which means minimal instructor salaries and maximum student attendance, which = minimal learning.

JJH, you have one of the two premier shooting schools in the USA located on your doorstep in Ellijay, GA. Drop an email to Bill Rogers, attend his school like so many SEAL's, DELTA's and Feds have.........you will not be sorry. The other school is also down south, but they will not let you in unless your application comes on an official purchase order from the DoD. But contact Bill:

Rogers Shooting School - Reactive Shooting Training

My advice, first visit do the basic course, not slapping your shooting ability, just that it takes a while to get your head around the targetting. Do Bill's course and you will confidently perform the trick shot of hitting a head at 20 yards in 1.5 seconds from the holster.
 
#12
Very bad reputation. As much a marketing operation as a shooting operation from what I hear and read.

Personally I think that there are better schools and better courses. Frontsight is like Gunsite since the Colonel passed, bums on seats, maximising through put and profit which means minimal instructor salaries and maximum student attendance, which = minimal learning.

JJH, you have one of the two premier shooting schools in the USA located on your doorstep in Ellijay, GA. Drop an email to Bill Rogers, attend his school like so many SEAL's, DELTA's and Feds have.........you will not be sorry. The other school is also down south, but they will not let you in unless your application comes on an official purchase order from the DoD. But contact Bill:

Rogers Shooting School - Reactive Shooting Training

My advice, first visit do the basic course, not slapping your shooting ability, just that it takes a while to get your head around the targetting. Do Bill's course and you will confidently perform the trick shot of hitting a head at 20 yards in 1.5 seconds from the holster.
I have been to HK, SIG/SAUER, GLOCK, Thunder Ranch, Gunsite (during the Colonel's tenure) and Xe (now Academi) among others and would rate Front Sight on par in terms of the facilities and training. As I said, one needs to separate the marketing end from the shooting end. I am familiar with the Rogers operation and find it too pricey for me.

P.S. I can do that pony trick of the head shot in 1.3 seconds (on my last outing) :)
 
#13
I've done the rounds of a few schools and instructors and have only returned to Rogers as a repeat customer. Rogers basic course is all in at around $1600 which includes ammo, guns, food, accomodation and a coach stood behind you everytime you shoot. The advanced works out at about $2500 for everything ...... which equates to a dollar for every round you throw down range in the week.

The thing I like about Rogers is that he and all his instructors will demo a drill before they get you to shoot a drill. Which shows me that it can be done at the speeds required. The other instructors I have met tend to talk an awful lot and not actually shoot, I spent 3 days with one tosser who is allegedly a top man with him constantly telling us how good he was. He put 3 rounds down range over three days, honest.
 
#14
I've done the rounds of a few schools and instructors and have only returned to Rogers as a repeat customer. Rogers basic course is all in at around $1600 which includes ammo, guns, food, accomodation and a coach stood behind you everytime you shoot. The advanced works out at about $2500 for everything ...... which equates to a dollar for every round you throw down range in the week.

The thing I like about Rogers is that he and all his instructors will demo a drill before they get you to shoot a drill. Which shows me that it can be done at the speeds required. The other instructors I have met tend to talk an awful lot and not actually shoot, I spent 3 days with one tosser who is allegedly a top man with him constantly telling us how good he was. He put 3 rounds down range over three days, honest.
I will look further as I initially saw $12000 for a week. I only go to these courses when I get a substantial discount. FWIIW, the instructors at FS all demonstrated every movement and drill we were expected to do and were superb in their own right. I find that every one of these places gets mixed reviews on the various shooting listservs for a wide variety of reasons most I think having to do with a disconnect between student expectations and what a given school/course offers. As far as FS is concerned I know I came back a much better shooter from the holster under time/scenario pressure than before I went so for me it was worth it. I am sure others in the very same class went away with the opposite view for their own reasons--many I think because they did not master the techniques to "graduate" but merely got "attendance" certificates. Of the 40 in our class there were 3 distinguished graduates (my son and I and one other) and 12 "graduates" so a goodly number went home dissatisfied by their own performance.
 
#15
I scan read that and I was not at all surprised when it turned out that JJH normally carries a minigun.
You should have seen the fun and games we had at the Aquarium.

"Do you have any lighters or sharp objects?"

"No, but I've got a pistol"!
 
#17
My thoughts exactly.
Frontsight, while a shooting range, is in my opinion, a huge marketing opportunity.

I shot with a bloke who instructed there for a while, informative. Yes you do shoot, however you get wheeled in and out of a classroom at times where subtle and discreet marketing is directed at you. The owner is a follower of scientology, allegedly, further the complex is in the business of selling memberships to generate more revenue. There was once talk of a the entire thing becoming a community with people buying building plots and having a house built there so they could arrive and shoot whenever they wanted - I don't know how that went.

No one pays full price for a Frontsight course. If you look on US Fleabay you will find courses offered for $50. Thats why they run McDonalds level of attendance courses with 50 people running around........because otherwise it would not pay for itself.

There are plenty of schools here that offer good instruction and will charge you around $200 a day plus ammo with around 12 - 18 students in attendance and one instructor between 3 or 4 students.

The best places for shooting instruction, not tactics, not fire and movement, just damn good shooting instruction are:

- MidSouth Institute of Self Defense Shooting - Weapons Training, Firearms Training, Pistol, Shotgun, Carbine You will only get in here with an official purchase order. The only people I have met/shot with that have been here are ST6, Nightstalkers and a couple of high level swat teams.

Rogers Shooting School - Reactive Shooting Training The original SF shooting course he's been teaching THEIRS for 30 years and opens his doors to civvies. However the civvies tend to be military and plods paying for the courses themselves. He gets a fair bit of take up from euro SF units. If anyone here is interested he will supply all the gear and ammo, you just present yourself. I go once a year for a beasting. The qualification shoot is rated as the hardest in the world and to start with you shoot like a spastic doing the tango.

Other than those I have met Bill from TacPro and and have hime on my list of courses to attend. Bill is a former shaky with a huge level of experience that is delivered to students in a Skill at Arms like manner, no gum or coca cola in evidence.

Tac Pro Shooting Center - The future of firearms training

Personally other than those 3 unless it was for a shotgun or long range rifle course I would not bother going anywhere else.
 
#18
Frontsight, while a shooting range, is in my opinion, a huge marketing opportunity.

I shot with a bloke who instructed there for a while, informative. Yes you do shoot, however you get wheeled in and out of a classroom at times where subtle and discreet marketing is directed at you. The owner is a follower of scientology, allegedly, further the complex is in the business of selling memberships to generate more revenue. There was once talk of a the entire thing becoming a community with people buying building plots and having a house built there so they could arrive and shoot whenever they wanted - I don't know how that went.

No one pays full price for a Frontsight course. If you look on US Fleabay you will find courses offered for $50. Thats why they run McDonalds level of attendance courses with 50 people running around........because otherwise it would not pay for itself.

There are plenty of schools here that offer good instruction and will charge you around $200 a day plus ammo with around 12 - 18 students in attendance and one instructor between 3 or 4 students.

The best places for shooting instruction, not tactics, not fire and movement, just damn good shooting instruction are:

- MidSouth Institute of Self Defense Shooting - Weapons Training, Firearms Training, Pistol, Shotgun, Carbine You will only get in here with an official purchase order. The only people I have met/shot with that have been here are ST6, Nightstalkers and a couple of high level swat teams.

Rogers Shooting School - Reactive Shooting Training The original SF shooting course he's been teaching THEIRS for 30 years and opens his doors to civvies. However the civvies tend to be military and plods paying for the courses themselves. He gets a fair bit of take up from euro SF units. If anyone here is interested he will supply all the gear and ammo, you just present yourself. I go once a year for a beasting. The qualification shoot is rated as the hardest in the world and to start with you shoot like a spastic doing the tango.

Other than those I have met Bill from TacPro and and have hime on my list of courses to attend. Bill is a former shaky with a huge level of experience that is delivered to students in a Skill at Arms like manner, no gum or coca cola in evidence.

Tac Pro Shooting Center - The future of firearms training

Personally other than those 3 unless it was for a shotgun or long range rifle course I would not bother going anywhere else.
Many thanks for the info!


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D

Davetheclown

Guest
#19
JJH, those courses are not exactly cheap, if you are the type of person that can afford the course, you are the type of demographic that criminals will target. Its a vicious circle, good shooting by the way. I love pistol firing, and apart from ACMT and build up for deployment very rarely get the opportunity to fire. In the army its still seen as a officer sport, and it saddens me that on the pistol range that you see a overwhelming presence of officers firing. To get my skills up to a reasonable level I have often considered doing one of the courses in the states.

You will be shocked at the standard of pistol marksmanship in the UK, it is awful.

Very good AAR, I have recently started using a technique much to the amusement of range staff in the uk of Driving my weapon the L85A2 by having left hand practically forward of the front site, and locking the weapon down. My groupings instantly changed. Really tight groupings.

You guys in the states are years ahead of markmanship, things are slowly improving on CQM here but a little too slowly for my liking. Our guys are good at markmanship in the prone position, any other position however results are really bad.

Good report, did spill my coffee at the minigun part,

BOHICA

Dave
 
#20
JJH, those courses are not exactly cheap, if you are the type of person that can afford the course, you are the type of demographic that criminals will target. Its a vicious circle, good shooting by the way. I love pistol firing, and apart from ACMT and build up for deployment very rarely get the opportunity to fire. In the army its still seen as a officer sport, and it saddens me that on the pistol range that you see a overwhelming presence of officers firing. To get my skills up to a reasonable level I have often considered doing one of the courses in the states.

You will be shocked at the standard of pistol marksmanship in the UK, it is awful.

Very good AAR, I have recently started using a technique much to the amusement of range staff in the uk of Driving my weapon the L85A2 by having left hand practically forward of the front site, and locking the weapon down. My groupings instantly changed. Really tight groupings.

You guys in the states are years ahead of markmanship, things are slowly improving on CQM here but a little too slowly for my liking. Our guys are good at markmanship in the prone position, any other position however results are really bad.

Good report, did spill my coffee at the minigun part,

BOHICA

Dave
Thanks for the input. If you ever get the chance to come stateside, make a point of stopping by and we will crank up the range. Sorry about the coffee--I couldn't resist.
 

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