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4-Day Defensive Handgun Couple's Edition

Front Sight Course Review

Todd and Ariella G. (Taken November 2010)

Editor's Note: This is a review for the 4 Day Defensive Handgun Couple's Edition class offered at Front Sight.
  • 4 Day Defensive Hangun

  • Student: Todd and Ariella G.
  • Occupation: Ariella – Healthcare Executive & Todd – Home Schooling Dad
  • Weapon: His – H&K 45 cal USP Compact & Hers – Springfield XD 40 cal
  • Rounds Fired: Approximately 500 each
  • Number Course Taken: 1st Time
  • Student Rating: 8.5/10
  • Course: Front Sight
What were your reasons for taking this specific course?

"Our main reason was that we were new to firearms and wanted to buy one for home protection.  Once we had kids, we realized that our self-defense and the protection of our children were of paramount importance to us.  We thought that if we were going to buy a weapon, we should learn how to use it properly and safely."

"Ariella had done some research online and found Front Sight.  We also had a friend who was a member and recommended it, as well.  He goes once or twice a year and really enjoys it.  The primary reason, though, was to get the skill and knowledge to be able to use a firearm properly." - Todd

Do you shoot together as a couple often?

"Not as often as we would like." – Ariella

"When we came back, we were pretty good about it. I was shooting a lot, but Ariella wasn't as much. We haven't found a range that we like to go to, but we are going to a find a gun club that we can join and go to regularly. It is on our priority list." – Todd

Do you both carry?

"No, not in California. We both followed up and got our Utah CCWs. We used a travel a lot between Illinois and California, as our family is out here. We would drive out to CA and back probably twice a year. When we were on the road, we wanted to be able to protect ourselves. The only two states that we couldn't carry on our route were California and Illinois." - Todd

Did you go on the trip by yourselves, or did you bring some friends?

"I think we planned to go on the trip by ourselves, but either I or Ariella mentioned it to our friends, who ended up attending with us." – Todd

"We didn't realize that we would have to walk up to the front all together to be in the same group and end up on the same range. We were in our separate cars and thought we'd just see each other there. So, we ended up being on different ranges, which was not fabulous. The ranges filled up so quickly that the instructors were unable to switch us, so that we could be together." – Ariella

"Our friends had already been to Front Sight and knew the routine, so that's another reason we wanted to be together." – Todd

"I, as a female, was a little intimidated the first day. It was a little overwhelming, and I didn't know what to expect. I had some hot brass go down my shirt, it was crowded, and the whole course was a little more tactical than I had originally anticipated. It would have been nice to have another female there to go through it with me. We definitely would like to go back with some friends next time that haven't been previously." – Ariella

"We actually made some friends out here in California who also have the same philosophy as we do when it comes to self defense and firearms. We both have talked to them about Front Sight. In fact, one of them was given a membership for her birthday. So, we are talking to her and her husband and arranging a time in the very near future to take a trip to Front Sight.

Then, we have another couple who has never been who is likeminded. They have never had any training at all. We recommended Front Sight to them and told how much we had learned and how much we enjoyed it. So, they are interested in attending, as well.

We really like Front Sight. We wouldn't recommend it to people if we didn't. We tell anyone who will listen to us or has expressed an interest in firearms about it. It is imperative that you learn how to properly handle a firearm, especially when you have kids. We sing Front Sight's praises just about everywhere that we go. We hope to be able to take a trip out there with some of our new friends soon." – Todd

Had either of you shot a gun before attending Front Sight?

"I had. My mother competed in the world games for trapshooting, so I grew up around guns. However, I was not comfortable with having a firearm on my own person. Our objective in going to Front Sight was to help me to be more open to handling a firearm. Looking back on growing up, we had loaded firearms pretty much everywhere. I realized how lucky we were that nothing happened. My parents just made us aware of guns. Now that I have my own kids, I realize how dangerous it is to leave loaded firearms around. Obviously, they need to be accessible, if you're going to use them. Otherwise, they will do you no good.

I'm just glad that I went, because I think that every member of the family should know about firearms and how to handle them safely. I thought that the instructors really spoke well about child safety during the lectures. They presented the information very well, and I am very glad that I went" – Ariella

"I guess that I just expected a bunch of gun enthusiasts getting together to shoot. The one thing that impressed me the most during the lectures was the emphasis they put on what happens when you do need to use deadly force and what the consequences will be. They taught us what to expect and what to say or not say. I thought that this was very helpful. Their mentality wasn't "just go out there and shoot everybody!" They, instead, were very responsible and ethical. This made me feel like it wasn't just about guns. It was about what happens, God forbid, should you ever need to use deadly force. We all hope that never happens; we aren't looking for a fight. We just want to be prepared for: one, how to use the firearm and two, what to do after the incident. I thought that Front Sight does a really good job with that." – Todd

Do you have any recommendations for other couples?

"When we first got there, I think the instructors were a little concerned about the fact that we were husband and wife and wanted to be paired together for the duration of the course. Apparently, some times it doesn't work out very well for other couples. I got the feeling that they didn't want us to partner up. We work together and spend almost twenty-four hours a day together, and we are perfectly fine. By the end of the course, the instructors were going off on how they thought that we were such a cool couple and that they wished that all of the couples would work together like we did. Ariella was struggling the first two days, but I didn't put any pressure on her. I just listened to what she had to say and encouraged her to try to stick it out a little bit longer. Slowly but surely she got more and more comfortable. Never once did we get into an argument. To be honest, it was really a bonding experience for us. My recommendation to other couples is to not pressure one another. It's kind of like being with a kid who is trying to jump off of the high dive for the first time. You can't scream at him to jump; it will only scare him more. Just be encouraging, helpful, sensitive, and a good listener; just be there for them." – Todd

"I don't know why they don't want couples to partner up, because for me, it was already an intimidating experience. I didn't really want to be put into another awkward social situation. I wasn't comfortable with partnering up with a stranger and building trust with him or her in an environment that was already a little overwhelming." – Ariella

"By the third day, Ariella was a completely different person. She was comfortable with her surroundings and her weapon, and then she just started kicking butt. She actually won the one-on-one contest with the steel targets, as well. I was very proud of her. It was fun to watch the learning process that she went through over the four days." – Todd

"I truthfully almost left after the first day. For some reason, we wound up being with a group that took a militaristic approach. There was one instructor in particular who took this approach. I believe a few people complained about him, and they asked him to leave. Wayne, on the other hand, was fabulous. He took me to the end of the line and worked with me one-on-one. I attribute my success to the personal attention that he gave me. He was very sensitive to my being a female shooter. I believe he has shot many years with his wife. Darren was also excellent. There was a female instructor there, as well, who was great. I can't recall her name, though. They helped me push through the feeling of being overwhelmed by everything, and I believe that it created a life-changing feeling of empowerment for myself.

The caliber of people there was outstanding. There was one gentleman there who had climbed Mount Everest! When you go out and are social situations, you can't find a group of people with such character and integrity as you find at Front Sight. I felt perfectly comfortable leaving my purse unattended. I would never do that normally. I just felt like there was a different level of social structure and respect." – Ariella

Would you suggest this course to others?


Did you drive or fly to Front Sight?

We drove from Illinois.

Where did you stay?

A hotel in Las Vegas. I can't remember the name of it.

Where did you purchase your ammunition?

Cabelas in Illinois

What did you do for lunches?

We passed an Albertson's on our way to Front Sight every morning, so we would just pick up a couple of pre-made sandwiches for lunch.

Do you have any dinner suggestions?

We were so tired by the end of the day. I think we just stopped by In n Out almost every night. We usually try to eat very healthy, but we were so tired that we just wanted something fast.

We went to Ellis Island the last night. They have fabulous, really cheap meals and inexpensive microbrews. We celebrated our accomplishment. It was a really big thing for us to go to Front Sight, and we really enjoyed it!

Do you plan on taking any other courses in the future?

"I would like to find out more about the Youth Safety courses for our kids for the future." – Ariella

"I would be interested in the Empty Hand Defense course and the Shotgun course. Really, I think we would do just about any course offered at Front Sight, as long as we both wanted to take the course." – Todd