Dear Mr. Rawles:
As I write this, I am returning from the four day Defensive Handgun course at Front Sight. I would like to share my thoughts on the whole thing with you and your readers, plus maybe share some advice that others may find of value.
First off, if any of your readers are on the fence about signing up for the class, I strongly urge them to do so. When Front Sight says they will get you to a point where you can deliver two shots to the thoracic cavity from a concealed holster in 1.4 seconds, they aren’t kidding. You will see a marked improvement in your shooting skills in a remarkably short amount of time. Bad habits you may have developed over the years will start to fall away, and you’ll find yourself adapting to the “Front Sight way of shooting” relatively quickly. While I didn’t graduate with distinction (May I never see another Type III malfunction ever again!), I did finish the shooting portion of the exam just 11 down, and finished up second in the class shooting tournament. And no, I still can’t believe I shot the hostage in the finals.
If you do decide to sign up for the class, here’s some good advice for you to follow.
1. It’s okay to be overwhelmed at the end of the first day. They are going to throw a ton of new information at you on that first day. Everything from your stance to the way you do a chamber check will be under intense scrutiny, not to mention the fact that you’re fighting years of muscle memory that fly into the contrary of how they are trying to teach you. Don’t worry about it though, it will get easier. Just do your dry fire practice, do it correctly, and you will be good to go on the second day.
2. The Nevada desert is a harsh, inhospitable climate, even in March. It doesn’t matter if it is hot or cold, the desert will dehydrate you if you’re not careful. Believe me, I learned this the hard way and almost ended up in a hospital emergency room because of it. I didn’t take care of myself as I should have, and it ended up being a pretty painful four days as a result. Even now I wouldn’t say I am still not at 100%. Learn from my mistake and make sure you drink lots of water and Gatorade.
3. Do not expect to do much of anything but go the academy, shoot, clean your weapon, and sleep. You are going to be at the academy for anywhere from ten to twelve hours a day, a good chunk of it on the firing line. You will learn a lot, but it will be a very intense experience. I suggest you have all your logistics in place before the training starts so you don’t have to worry about it. Get your food, laundry, water, and everything else you may need taken care of before the training starts so you won’t be wasting valuable rest and relaxation time later. Also, if you can help it at all, buy your ammo, holsters, and anything else you may need before getting there. The pro shop is well stocked, but it is not cheap. Save yourself a lot of money and come fully prepared.
Remember, none of this is meant to scare anyone off. Believe me, even after my battles with dehydration and the like, I would take this course again in a heartbeat. It’s probably the best instruction you’ll ever get in the art of pistol shooting. I can’t recommend it enough! Sincerely, – Tim R.