The Front Sight 4 Day Defensive Handgun class was a mixture of lectures and range exercises. The first day you spend about half your time on the range, the next three days you spend most of your time on the range.
Every day starts early at 8:00. Take into account that the Front Sight facility is a 30 minute drive from the nearest town, this means you are up at 6:00 AM every day. For us Friday was very early because we didn’t get to the hotel until after midnight. Then I went to the Purhump Wal-Mart to get my ammo, which took about an hour because it took awhile to find some one who could get it for me. So I was going on 4 hours sleep day one.
(I’ve got pictures, which I’ll post and intersperse in this entry, but Flickr is giving me problems so they aren’t ready now.)
Sign In and Weapon Inspection
The first day you are expect to arrive half an hour early so they can inspect your gear and sign you in. It was bitterly cold in the middle of the desert. You go up to a table and they check your name off the sign up list. Then you write your name on white duct tape and tape one to the front of you and one to the back. In our case, we just put them on the front and back of our hats, that way we didn’t have to do it over every morning.
You are to arrive with your holsters on and your empty weapon in them with the action open. You go to one table and the inspect your holsters, both gun and magazine holsters. They said the Mrs’s was canted too far forward, so we made a note and I went to get the tool to adjust it. They didn’t say anything about mine which is also canted forward, but can’t be adjusted.
Then you go to a second table and they take your weapon out of the holster and inspect it, including dry firing it. Then they put it back in your holster. This was the rule for the whole course: The only time your weapon was to be out of its holster was on the firing line. If a range master or instructor needed to do something to it, they would remove it from your holster and put it back when they were done.
From then on you were carrying your weapon, usually unloaded, at all times. It was pretty cool to see everyone armed. Kind of weird – in a good way – having the pretty 13 year old redhead and her 14 year old brother with Glocks on their hips walking around.
We went into the main hall for our first lecture and some warmth. It was so cold that Brad, the guy who runs the facility, moved our first range time to the afternoon, and brought a second lecture to the morning to give it time to warm up.
Welcome and Releases
The first talk was from 8:00 to 9:15 and started with a welcome, and the signing of releases. They had a general liability release and a dry practice release. The Dry Practice release detailed what you would do for your own dry practice drills, which included making sure there was no ammo even in the same room. This went with a number of stories of people having negligent discharges. There are no accidental discharges, if you followed procedures, it would be impossible to have a discharge, therefore it wasn’t an accident.
First Lectures: The Purpose of Front Sight
Then they talked about the Five Levels of Competence. This is covered in their email gun reports, so I won’t rehash it. You can look it up yourself.
There was also a lecture on the purpose of Front Sight, and a lunch time video that covered it in a more dramatic way. Front Sight doesn’t see it self just as a training center, but as a new kind of movement to forward second amendment rights. They aren’t trying to be a lobbying group, but instead to target opinion leaders and regular citizens. They feel that if you can get a lot of people to understand how useful and interesting weapons are, they will not react out of fear of guns. They target celebrities for this reason. Whatever you think of celebrities, they do influence people. If you can have actors with the mindset that guns are useful and you don’t have to be afraid of them, they will communicate that to others and change public opinion.
On The Range
After lunch we finally got onto the range.
The first range lecture was of course on safety. We went over the 4 Rules of Firearm Safety. I know all you gunners know this but its so important I’ll reiterate them.
- Always treat a firearm as if it were loaded
- Never point a weapon as anything you aren’t willing to destroy
- Never put your finger on the trigger until you are ready to fire
- Always be sure of your target and what is beyond it
Front Sight teachs using a buddy system. There were 40 people in the class. You are divided into two relays. One relay is on the firing line and another stands right behind them watching them. There are two purposes to this watching. The first is to catch safety violations. We were trained how to stop people doing stupid stuff, liking starting to turn around, as well as watch for rule 4 violations. The other thing you watch for is form, giving tips to each other. The instructors walk around as well pointing things out.
We spent almost the whole time on this stuff and on range commands. We also did dry practice on the firing line. I’m not even sure we fired at all that first day. For sure not in the first session.
The day ended with a lecture on Moral and Ethical Decisions Associated with the Use of Deadly Force. I’ll do a specific blog post on this very important and interesting lecture in the next couple of days.
I was thinking I’d get through the whole course in this post, but its too long already. More in the future.