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4-Day Defensive Handgun

Front Sight Course Review

Gary G.

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

  • Student: Gary G.
  • Occupation: Firefighter
  • Weapon: 1911 45 Caliber
  • Rounds Fired: 620 rounds (I ended up winning the "Last Man Standing" competition with the steel targets, so that's why I went through extra ammo.)
  • Number Course Taken: 1st time
  • Student Rating: 10/10
  • Course: Front Sight
What were your reasons for taking this specific course?

Actually, my wife had purchased a certificate about 5 years ago, and I've just been waiting to use it. A friend of mine recently bought a membership, so we went together.

General Comments

I always thought I was kind of a good shooter, but I learned through the course how to shoot and how to correct common mistakes when shooting to improve accuracy, which made me a significantly better shot. I always knew that I was shooting incorrectly, but now I know why I'm shooting incorrectly and how to fix it.

I've been carrying concealed for quite a few years, but I had never taken a class that practiced drawing from concealed. I found that there were a lot of issues that I hadn't contemplated, as far as the clothes that I wear and how that will affect my draw. Also, how the placement of the gun on my body will affect my draw. I learned a lot of things in this class that I thought I already knew, but I hadn't practiced enough to realize that I didn't know them well at all.

I was really, really impressed with our instructors. We initially had four, but one of them left the second day to go help with another course. Senior Range Master Walker was extremely knowledgeable and incredibly patient. I was surprised at how many varying levels of students there were, from young to old and from people who had never shot to people who had shot in the military. Nobody felt left out or put off by the instructors' tone. They try not to be like a boot camp, and they really aren't. The instructor to student ratio wasn't nearly as high as I thought it was going to be; but when you worked with a shooting partner, it gave you the confidence that someone was always watching for you and was there to help you with the little things. Your coach would help remind you of things you forgot or keep you from being sloppy, as you got tired.

The one thing that really surprised me, as a fireman who works with a lot of police officers, was that all of the officers had bad things to say, but none of them had actually gone to Front Sight. Now, that I've actually gone myself, I haven't found anyone who has attended and has anything bad to say. There are a lot people who haven't attended and have misnomers or preconceived notions of what happens there; but having been there myself, I can say the training is phenomenal. I hope I keep going and advance to some of the more advanced training. I missed distinguished graduate by 2 points! I had 15 points off, and you can only miss 13. So, I only got graduate. I only ended up getting 9 points deducted from my shooting score. When we got to the tactical reload drill, I couldn't get my magazine in my pocket, so I just dropped it to make the time. I ended up getting a deduction for doing it incorrectly and for being late. If I would have just taken my time and been late, I would have only missed 3 points, instead of 6 for doing it wrong. I was still pretty impressed even so. We didn't have any DGs in the course, but a couple of us were very close.

You could kind of see, throughout the course, people improving and starting to understand the concepts. You kind of feel overloaded the first couple of days, and then all of the sudden it just clicks and makes sense. There were multiple times as a group that we felt overloaded and our shooting degraded, and the instructors would stop us and have us do some dry practice and some untimed drills. Within an hour, everyone was back up to shooting even better than we were previously. The instructors were paying attention to everyone's peaks and valleys and adjusted the curriculum accordingly. As they did this, our peaks and valleys just got higher and higher.

Did you go through the shoot house? What were your thoughts about it?

Yes, I really liked it. The instructor asked me what my wife's and my kids' names were. So, when we came around the corner, he used my kid's name, which kind of threw me for a loop. For the hostage, he used my wife's name. I didn't feel stressed at all until he used the names. It definitely changed my stress level quite a bit.

How would you improve this course?

The one thing that was a problem was that Stockpile would only sell you what was perceived to be necessary for the class. We had three or four students who ran out of ammo and couldn't get more. They had set aside what was needed for the test but were unable to do all the stuff on the last day.

What you do differently next time you go to Front Sight?

I was very happy with the experience there. The ProShop was well stocked. I had a magazine pouch break while I was out there, and I was able to replace it. On day three, I had my rear sight come loose, and the armory on site was able to fix it in about ten minutes. I had expected to do all repairs on my own, but there was quite a bit of support there. I'm very happy with that. In that sense, no, I wouldn't do anything differently.

Would you suggest this course to others?

Yes, I would.

How did you get there?

I'm also a pilot and had hoped to fly down there, but I found that I couldn't fly my own plane down there. Apparently, the Pahrump airport is now private. We ended up driving from Reno, which took about 6.5 hours. We looked into flying into Las Vegas, but it would only have saved us about 1.5 hours once it was all said and done. I've traveled a lot with weapons in the past. With everything going with the ammo right now, I figured if I drove, I would at least know I had enough ammo for myself.

Where did you stay?

We stayed at Saddle West. I probably wouldn't stay there again. It became kind of a hassle, when you couldn't do any dry practice. There wasn't anything wrong with the building itself. It was nice having breakfast, and the accommodations were adequate. If you stay there, get an upgraded room with a refrigerator, if you plan to bring your own lunches. I was being respectful of the rule about no dry practice in the room. We ended up going to Front Sight early to dry practice and staying later to get some more practice in.

Did you go with family or friends?

If so, what did they think about the course? I went with a coworker. He bought a lifetime membership and will be attending Front Sight again soon. He did significantly better but was still unable to DG. We are actually going to take another 4-Day Defensive Handgun Course in June of this year.

What other courses do you plan on taking in the future?

Yeah, I am looking forward to taking both the shotgun courses and the rifle courses.