I have been a believer in the right to keep and bear arms for as long as I can remember. I recently got back into firearms after a lengthy period of inactivity. I remember taking a couple of classes as a kid and my father also taught me all the safety rules, but I realized that I needed to practice to develop and maintain my skills. I like so may others went to my local firing range to discover that I could only stand at the line and shoot my gun at a paper target. What I could not do was learn how to get my gun out from a concealed holster and fire it at a target. I could not move around after the shots to simulate moving to cover. I was not allowed to re-holster my loaded gun. No I could not really learn what it takes to defend myself with a concealed weapon! Since I don’t own a large private ranch where I can go to practice, I decided that if I was going to exercise my rights, I needed to get formal training. Any and all citizens that have a gun need to take responsibility for knowing how and when to use their gun. They also need to regularly practice using that gun to keep their skills up. Since I needed to have a place to do all this, I decided to signup for a class with Frontsight in Nevada. I had been following them online and they seemed to have the training I was looking for. I opted in to one of their promotions and got the 4 Day Defensive Handgun Course. I figured if it was half a good as they advertised I would be more than happy. Well I got 100% of what they advertised and more! Here is a quick overview of my training.
Day 1 –
I arrived at Frontsight at 6:30am and got in line. When the gates opened we were quickly guided to our parking areas and instructed how to check in for the safety check. I presented my equipment and they made sure it was all up to required specifications. I discovered my semi rigid leather IWB holster would not be a good fit for the training as we would be in and out of it so much. I needed a better holster so they arranged a rental for me. The rental prices were very reasonable. (After the class I can say that they were right, I needed a better holster.) They have rentals available for almost everything so if you need something they most likely can provide it.
After inspection I got a range assignment and was then sent over to get the ammo that I had reserved. Again the price on the ammo was very competitive and I did not need to carry it with me on the plane. I then went to the lecture room to find a seat and relax until the start time arrived. The lecture room was huge and at the far end was the Pro Shop where I could find many common gun accessories as well as books and cloths etc… I would estimate that 800 people were there for different trainings. The opening lecture started right on time and gave us the basic rules and other information needed, then we were sent to our separate ranges to meet the instructors we would be with for the rest of the week. There were 38 students on my range and 3 instructors minimum at all times.
The instructors were professional, respectful, helpful, and knew their stuff. They started us out with a short lecture on our first exercise, demonstrated it step by step, then showed us at normal speed. Once we knew what we were going to do they paired us up in teams of 2 and had the 1st line get ready for the drill and the 2nd line acting as safety spotters. We were also learning how to teach what we were learning by watching to make sure the person doing the drill was doing it properly and pointing out any adjustments needed. The real trainers were also watching and helping of course. We went thru the lecture, demonstration, and practice process for each new skill as we learned the correct way to do things. It started at the basics so advanced knowledge is not a requirement to attend this class. They kept adding more skills thru out the day and as they were added they expected you to continue doing the previous skills as well so you go a lot of practice.
Day 2 –
On day 2 I arrived at 7:20 and drove right in and parked. I went to my assigned range where my class was doing some dry practice of the skills we had learned the first day. The instructor was guiding them thru the exercises. I got ready and joined them. Dry practice is a big part of improving your skills and that was what I was there for. At 8:00 we started the official class. We picked up where we left off the day before and it was getting more challenging now. I was actually learning new material that I did not already know. Not only that but I could already see big improvements on many of my skills.
Day 3 –
Arrived at 7:20 but we were on a new range today. We continued our training same as day 2 but we all knew something was different. For starters we were doing our skills from concealed today and then we also had seen a bunch of door frames sitting in one of the ranges we had passed. Sure enough! We were picked up a few at a time and taken over to the Doors. We learned some basic techniques on how to move thru a doorway by slicing the pie. Then we got to do the exercise. Once finished we were taken back to our range where our instructors were still working with the remaining students. This rotation continued until we got everyone to the doors. That same afternoon we found out we were in for a treat. I had always wanted to learn and try to clear a house and we were taken a few at a time to a simulated house with a couple of rooms filled with good guys and bad guys! We learned the basics of moving thru a house and then go to try it. We got to shoot at the bad guys and apply all the things we had learned about during the first 2-1/2 day of training. I must say I did not get a perfect score but I did learn a lot. Then back to the Training where we were working on the head shot and hostage situations and …
Day 4 –
Arrived at usual time and headed to our range. New student were arriving for the start of their classes but I was allowed to pass to my range. Today was test day but that would not be for a while. The instructor promised this would be a fun day and he was right. They brought out new targets with different real life photos on them. Not the usual plain targets we were used to. We learned that not every person is the same size at the same angle etc… we needed to adjust our shots to fit the situation. Not something I had given much thought to but now I do. We also had a fun competition that afternoon. They setup 6 metal targets at different distances. They then had 2 participants at a time come up to the shooting line. They instructed us that we needed to shoot the bad guys in a specific order but if we hit the hostage on the first target we would be out of the competition. They also told us that we would be competing against the person we were shooting with. First one to get all 3 of his targets without hitting the hostage of course would win that round and could come back up to compete again. They used a loud Tone to start the competition. This added the stress of time into the game making it more real. I made it to # 3 in my class before I lost. Unfortunately I hit my hostage ): Time pressure got to me. I knew the person I was up against and he was a good shot and fast. Not too bad for my first class.
I opted to take the test at the end of the day. This is not required but if you wish to take some of the advanced classes you need to first test out of this class with a Distinguished Graduate score. This is one of 3 possible levels in the course. I made it to Graduate level so just a few points short of Distinguished. I will need to take the course again or perhaps the 2 day skills builder class which is the 4 day class on steroids so I can finish getting all my skills to the required levels to take the Tactical Class.
So was the class worth the money? Without reservation I say Hell YES!!! I will be going back! I liked it so much I even became a Guardian Member so I could get memberships to offer to my friends and family.