I have been to front sight.
here was my review from last december:
4-Day Defensive Handgun Course Review - Front Sight Nevada
Intro - I first came across someone selling the course gift certificates that usually range from $150-$200. Being that
Tuition normally ranges from $1300-$1400; it was an offer that I could not refuse. I bought all 3 certificates not knowing who was going with me or when I was going but I knew
I would use them. I bought these back in august and I knew that as a citizen who exercises his right to carry a concealed weapon I owed to myself, my loved ones, and literally 'society' to take the 4-day defensive hand-gun course. I found two friends to go with me and we were locked and cocked for the 4day defensive hand gun course back in September, we reserved 4 seats for the December 8-12 course. Booked our airfare, got our hotel, rented the car, and we were good to go.
Application Process - Simple and to the point 1 page document to fill out, I recommend you copy everything, especially if you are paying by gift certificate, copy that before sending it in. You pay $50 for a background check; I had no problem with this since I really do not want to train with felons. It took a little while for them to get back to us but for 2 of us things were good to go. My other buddy, they registered him for a different course for some reason, simple fix though. Mike called and got it changed, no problem.
Pre-Travel Literature - They will tell you everything that you need to bring for the course, FOLLOW IT TO THE WORD (except one part). More on Gear Later. They provide maps and travel directions, if you get lost going to the range and/or the city of Pahrump, good, you shouldn't be holding a gun anyway
NOW, here was my only real concern and possibly trip ruining event if it would have happened. My buddies that went with me, one works at Gander Mountain and the other is gunsmith, to sum it up, we get ammo VERY cheap. We had bought our lot of ammo a long time before the course had started; we each bought 900 rounds for our primary weapon. We found out through my travel agent (who is my mother) and our own research that delta airlines and along with other airlines only allow 11pounds of ammo PER person. Well, 4 boxes of .45acp weights over 11 pounds and that’s only 200 rounds. I am not going to disclose what we did, how we did it, or discuss more of the rationale of WHY we did it, but we brought ALL of our ammo on board without a problem. It was not violating any federal laws and ammo does not need to be declared, but we did violate delta's policy but for good reason. We had bought all this ammo (Winchester white box) at approx 6bucks per box, saving us ALOT of freaking money. Front Sight does not accept shipments of ammo or guns for liability reasons, which is fine. BUT, I called front sight and told them of the situation and asked them what their customers usually do when it comes to purchasing/bringing ammo. They told me everyone usually buys it in their pro shop if they are flying to the course. I asked them their prices, and they said it’s comparable to Wal-Mart (usually $20bucks for 100 rounds, not too bad). But when we paid $12 per 100 for WWB, it adds up to be financially stupid to buy from them still. Well, we were correct even more when we arrived. Front Sight ended up charging in the ball park of $19-20 for 50 ROUNDS of **PMC** .45acp. Which is absolutely a ****ing rip off for people who had to do that, so I will leave it at that.
Traveling and Lodging - HIGHLY recommend you get into town the night before with ample time to spare. My buddies and I flew in on Thursday night, the night before the first day of the course. Due to the drive, wanting to get a good nights sleep, and do a recon of the town and what it has to offer is always good. We got into vegas a little late due to airline hogwash, we rented the car and drove into pahrump, approx 64 miles away. Simple, easy, beautiful drive down State Route 160. You know when you get into pahrump, because you see lights. Not many hotels inside the city but I would recommend several based on what you want to do. If you want cheap, simple, quick, I would go with the saddle west or pahrump nuggest. If you want something a little higher class, I would go with the Best Western. Thats all I remember seeing I would NOT recommend staying in vegas, reasons are gas prices, boredom from the drive everyday, and I personally hated vegas.
Food and Subsidence - Front Sight does not provide food during the lunch period of the class, they only thing they provide is hot water, coffee, tea, sugar, and cream packets. There is no running water, cold water or even pop/vending machines. So, recon the walmart they have in town, stock up on food that you would like to have for lunch. Get a crappy little cooler and you should be good to go. There was only ONE day that you have a chance to get off the property and drive into town for lunch, and that will vary per person. My buddies and I did not need to stick around for a lecture they were giving during and after lunch, I think it was "picking your self-defense gun" and/or "bullet choice, stopping power". Not being snobs, but we all had long chosen the gun we wanted to carry and the caliber it shot, so we got off the property and got a chance to see pahrump/the desert which was actually really nice to do.
Check In/Registration - One of the more professionally done 'check-in' events I have been through. They recommend you be there early the first day, do it. So you do not have to wait in line. Have everything ready. Have your holster and mag pouches on your belt, have you magazines loaded (separated from your firearm), and have your firearm secured but readily accessible. When you arrive, they will spot-check everything and check your firearm for operational readiness and put it in your holster for you. From there, the class begins.
Summary of Instruction - I must first say, the instruction is top notch. They introduce all the instructors and they all give their biographies, some impressive, some VERY impressive. You can tell everyone has been around firearms a long time, which is a good thing and bad thing. The course is definitely based off of a well known principle of "crawl,walk,run". You get to shoot the first day, not alot, but they get you peaked for the rest of the course. What is great about the teaching is, they intro the concept, demonstrate it, then you go do it for real. Which helps out alot, then they sit you down and start all over. Building, and building, and building. Great stuff. We had about 40 people on my range, and another 40 people on the adjoining range. 20 lanes per range, with 20 revolving targets. Concrete walls surrounding the flanks with a massive dirt/sand berm as the backdrop. 20 lanes, 40 people, that meant 2 on a lane. Which is great, while you were shooting, you had a buddy who was your coach and safety. Worked out to the best, because you do get into some pretty fluid movements and you cannot tell what you are doing right or wrong sometimes. With this coaching system, they slowly introduced you to the range and how to be safe, how to coach, how to be a safety, and how to move on the range. It’s hard to talk about everything and remember everything, but they walk you A-Z when it comes to defensive hand gunning. From slowly practicing presenting your weapon to the ready from the holster, all the way from practicing cranial-ocular cavity shot placements from concealment in under 1.9seconds. You also were trained on how to clear buildings/enter doorways for a considerable amount of time. Their rationale behind this was very solid, not going to get into this extensively, but to be defensive; you sometimes have to be on the offensive if the situation calls for it. You did two 'tactical' shoot houses, first time for me, so I had a hard time shooting with the massive erection during the whole course . Top notch though, you do the shoot house, and then they critique your decision making. If that gives you an idea of the things they cover, well, if you want more detail, I can give more. The low-light/night shoot was awesome. Not many people can attest that they have actually USED their night sights for shooting. We shot in no light, using the 'harrys' method with a flash light, that was awesome yet very hard. Definitely adds a different dynamic to shooting. The shooting instruction was simply amazing, it concluded with a skills test that tested you on timed shoots from certain distances, malfunction clearing drills, and reloading drills. Do NOT worry about this test and try not to be the alpha personality like I was gunning to out shoot everyone. No matter who you were, you left front sight a 200% better shooter.
Summary of Lectures - This is something I am going to keep simple and brief; the lectures are great if you are COMPLETELY new to firearms. If you have been shooting for awhile, have your CCW, been in the military, and/or taken other intro handgun courses....*YAWN*. And it does get somewhat annoying with some of the questions being asked, but not that they are stupid questions, but when you hear this...."if I was walking in a liberal neighborhood, I mean liberal, and a dog is running at me about to attack me, can I shoot it?" And discuss....for 30 minutes. So, as you can see, the lectures can get off topic but 2 or 3 of them were REALLY good about the lethality of force, door/room clearing, and another I forgot.
Gear - Going to try to break this up into sections to make it easier. I will also break it up so that you can read what 'worked' and 'what didn't work' below.
Firearms: List says 2 firearms, bring them. And not just any two firearms that you find in the safe or any two firearms you bought the night before the course. Bring the handgun THAT YOU PLAN ON CONCEALING/DEFENDING YOUR LIFE with. The second gun should be the other HANDGUN YOU PLAN ON CONEALING/DEFENDING YOUR LIFE WITH if you first gun is at the shop or not useable for some reason. It was interesting in the class to see what guns people brought, and I am not going to criticize anyone's choices since there are so many variables that go into gun ownership, but bring a reliable, accurate, easily operated (dependent on the operator) firearm. Caliber, size, whatever doesn't matter. You bring what you strap on your hip every day. For example, my buddy conceals his stainless kahr, 40cal. It is one of the most easily concealed semis out there, reliable, accurate, and so on. BUT, with that little barrel, and the punch of the 40 cal, his hand was bleeding every day from the recoil of the slide. And, his first two days, he shot like utter **** because with the courses of fire we shot, it does not favor a long double action trigger. But he had the foresight to bring the gun that he is going to strap on everyday, while his backup gun was a HK USP-c in .45, alot easy to handle and manipulate, he knew what he had to learn and he knew what he had to do.
Ammo: Serviceable, reliable, 'right caliber'. Not much else to cover here?
Magazines: The pre-travel literature recommends 3 mags I believe? The logic behind this is somewhat flawed because it doesn't take into consideration of what type of gun you are shooting. You could be shooting a double stack 9mm that can hold 16-17rounds, or my buddies kahr that held 7rounds of .40SW. So, what’s the answer? Bring alot of magazines. I brought 4 mags for my 1911, 8 round Wilson’s. I would bring as many 6-7magazines or however many as you can afford. Make sure they have been shot 7-8 times each (so that means approx a couple boxes of ammo through each magazine) to break in that spring and make sure it feeds your weapon right.
Holsters: Here is where the philosophy changes a little bit, for safety reasons, do NOT bring IWB holsters (even if that is what you plan on concealing with). With the amount of times you holster/reholster/present, OWB is the only way to go on this course of fire.
Mag Pouches: The course recommends 2 magazine holders, I would come with 4. It WILL make things a **** LOAD EASIER.
Lights: This is not too important, but necessary if you do not want to rent. You can buy a simple one from walmart or go to the other end of the spectrum and get a nice surefire or equivalent. The night shoot is only 2 hours long, so as long as you have a light that can light up a target 10meters away you are good to go. Bring a spare set of batteries just incase murphy decides to show up. DO NOT, DO NOT buy a dedicated weapon light that attaches to any rails, you will need an independent hand carried light.
Belts: Thick sturdy belt for the course, bring two. I wouldn't go as far as buying one of those massive duty belts, but get a good belt that can fit your holster and modify the holster to fit the belt.
Clothing: Depending on when you go, dress for the season. December in the desert is cold, and I am sure it is hot in the summer. Use common sense, bring sun lotion and be ready to get burnt a little. Also, make sure you wear clothing that tucks in and STAYS tucked in for the duration of the day. I was annoyed a little bit because I brought a pair of jeans that I wore on 2 days that I usually carry concealed IWB in, and they were couple sizes to big. Well, the belt can only tighten down so far, and my shirt kept on coming untucked on the firing line. This is a bad deal, do not have this happen. it is unsafe and very ****ing annoying. So, make sure you can get everything tucked in.
Hats/Sun Glasses: Get them.
Ear Protection: Whatever you shoot with most easily and is the most comfortable.
What DID NOT WORK AND/OR DID NOT LOOK FUN AND/OR WENT TITS UP
Firearms: It was good to see some diversity in this class, but it was dominated by 1911s and glocks, hands down. There were a couple of XDs, berrettas, sigs, karhs, kel-tecs, HKs, and so on. Disclaimer right now, BRING THE WEAPON YOU PLAN ON DEFENDING YOUR LIFE WITH, I CANNOT STRESS THAT ENOUGH. BUT, this course was neither friendly nor forgiving to DA/SA guns, or simply long double action firearms. If you are brining a berretta, SIG, Kahr, HK (LEM trigger or shooting the first shot DA), kel-tec, I would become VERY intimate with how to properly squeeze your triggers. There was no disadvantage for these gun owners, but I since that some were upset that they could not perform as well as others who shot the 1911s/glocks/XDs in the arena of speed due to that long first DA pull.
I personally shot an ed brown kobra carry (commander, bobtailed 1911(, and absolutely loved it and it performed FLAWLESSLY. I saw a berretta go tits up and start to have type 3 malfunctions consistently, I saw a double stack para 1911 find its way back to the trunk for having type 3 malfunctions. The glocks I shot next to performed flawlessly. There were a couple of high end 1911s, fullsize down to commander, that all shot flawlessly from when I was next to them.
Also, I never saw or heard of any revolvers being used during the weekend.
Holsters: DO NOT COME TO THIS CLASS WITH A FABRIC/NYLON/FOBUS/PIECE OF **** HOLSTER. Invest in a quality holster, blade-tech, desantis, get a decent quality holster or your class will be miserable. If you read above, do not get an IWB holster for this class, and I highly recommend a strong KYDEX holster. People with leather holsters didn't lose anytime drawing from concealment, but it does become a little iffy when they reholster, and I think it would be worth to get a nice kydex for the 4 day course.
magazines: Make sure they are quality mags, all the guys running 1911s were using Wilson and/or chip McCormick mags. And most of the other brand name guns were using the OEM mags. Do not go third party with magazine purchases, you will regret it.
Magazine Pouches: Never really saw any problems with these, I would recommend a good kydex once again, leather is nice though.
lights: not a big deal, get something that you can hold in your hand and that shines on the target.
belts: If you want to get one of those real thick duty belts that you wear over your regular belt and be "that guy" thats fine, but remember, you are not going to be wearing that on a daily basis (hope not) so you want to mimic what you are going to wear on an average day of concealment.
Clothing: If you want to be that guy who is decked out in BDUs, UnderArmor, and desert boots with a tactical thigh drop leg magazine holder that allows you to carry everything, thats fine. But remember, like the above, wear clothes that you normally conceal with.
End All Be All Summary - I left this class feeling like my 1911 has become an extension of my body. I feel like I can make it do ANYTHING i want it to do (within reason of course). I am proud i took this class and that I feel within real certainty I could defend myself with lethal force if necessary. My only question after leaving this course is, "how come you were not there?"