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Tantalum Tom’s Front Sight Extravaganza

About 250 people were there the recent week that I took the four day Defensive Handgun course at Front Sight [1]. I was the only bozo who slept in their car outside their gates the whole four days. I couldn’t afford a hotel. That budget item was a “make or break” issue for my trip. I learned that a zero degree rated sleeping bag might be an overly optimistic rating. But, there is basically unlimited unimproved camping space there on BLM [2] land. Bring your RV [3], or a much better sleeping bag for winter camping there. There is even a dirt airstrip on the charts a couple of miles away if you’re a pilot.

I’m not a professional pedagogist, but I can recognize extremely high quality teaching methods. This place has it. Technical vocabulary was not used unless defined and explained earlier. One step built on the preceding. Two steps forward, half step back to review, continue, unrelenting and informative. I believe I was mostly in the category of unintentionally incompetent. I knew a thing or two, but came to realize, there is more to learn than I realistically can foresee myself learning. I’ll try though. I believe they left out many basic firearms details for sake of time. (e.g., “This is a cartridge, primer, gun, etc…)
Two guns used by classmates broke while I was there. Both were M1911 [4] style. For one, they gracefully loaned him a gun to continue, as he had no backup. One other gun (Glock [5] .45) was malfunctioning often. I blame that squarely on the user though, as he was the only one who had mistakes during dry practice. Bang when there should be click.

The lectures were eye-opening, lively and fun! The lecturers have definitely “been there done that.” Imminently knowledgeable in all matters of handheld weaponry. Cops, Sheriff’s Deputies, EMT [6]s, Paramedics, etc. One rangemaster there had 30 years in Army special forces training. Not a single Mall Ninja [7].

I have never had a gun on my person for any extended length of time. I learned a great lesson, It feels great to be armed.

There were more women there than I’d ever seen at any weapons venue! (I haven’t been to many though.) My guess (not an estimate) about 30-to-40.

I met R. from Utah. I recognized the story they shared in a lecture to one that I’d read here at SurvivalBlog! [8] Their story will now be incorporated into the Front Sight lectures!

While there, malfunction drills are taught. Live rounds are discarded on the firing line during this procedure. Our range master said it was undesirable to re-use those rounds, but he wasn’t going to stop us from retrieving them. He called them “range carp” Good to fish for, but not to eat. [After the range closed, with permission] I was able to secure several hundred 9mm rounds, about one hundred .45s and about thirty.40 S&Ws, and I could have left with many many more had I been even a bit more aggressive in their collection and also scrounged at the other firing ranges. Great barter item, Great price.

Their claim to teach people how to shoot better than 95% of the people who carry guns may be outdated. The FBI [9] special agent in my class mentioned that the things they were teaching at Front Sight are now taught in many police academies. He could be wrong, I don’t know. [JWR Adds: Imitation has always been a high form of flattery. In fact, many of the techniques taught at Front Sight are derivations of what was taught by the late Col. Jeff Cooper, back in the days of Orange Gunsite [10]. Front Sight has refined and updated them, and has had the opportunity to teach them to a much larger audience, ]

Everyone in my class improved. The “ragged hole drill” with five rounds live fire, five clicks dry then five rounds live fire again really worked, for everyone. Dry practice is the way to go!

Count one through five, prrress! [11]

As they said, paraphrased and modified, “90% of shooting is getting the gun out and pointing in”

I graduated! After not visiting a shooting range in more than 1-1/2 years, I think that’s a decent achievement.

I have just purchased a Glock 22 in .40 S&W. This is due to the fact that I rented their gun, a Glock 17. These guns are almost identical, except their chambering. I now have muscle memory for that frame, and I don’t want to re-train! Also, because I just shot 600 rounds though a Glock with no malfunctions whatsoever. The Glock 22 .40 comes standard with a bigger boom than the Glock 17 9mm. Sadly, however, I still live in California, so I am limited to and 10 round magazines. [JWR Adds: I recommend that California residents go a step further and buy a Glock or XD pistol chambered in .45 ACP. As long as you are limited to 10 rounds, then you might as well have a more potent caliber. There is something just wrong about having a gun originally designed to hold 15 to 19 cartridges neutered into a 10-rounder, by legislative edict!]

I plan on prepping my resume to see if I’m up to the greater challenge to take their instructor development course. – Tantalum Tom