There are a lot of great training schools and instructors out there. Long time readers of the blog know that I’ve never included Front Sight in that list, and there are good reasons for a lot of that. If Front Sight was just a training school using obsolete techniques, that would be one thing. But there are many, many problems with Front Sight that extend beyond just their training.
1. Doctrinal Weaver
Let us be honest for a moment: Weaver is obsolete. Modern Isosceles, as used by every top tier shooter on the planet, is better. Yes, you can absolutely prevail in a self-defense situation using Weaver, and a well trained Weaver shooter is very capable. However, Front Sight teaches Weaver as The Only Way, and still teaches it as close to the original Modern Technique as possible. Even Gunsite, the fountain of Weaver has adapted their stance over the years. That’s why I always tell people, if you want to learn how to shoot Weaver properly, go to Gunsite. They started it.
2. Their prices are insane
Front Sight’s 2 Day Handgun Course is $1,000.00. You read that correctly, that’s one thousand American dollars. Which doesn’t include lodging or travel. Their four day pistol class is two grand. $2,000 is a lot of money, and again it doesn’t cover travel. By contrast, InSights Training Center’s 2 Day General Defensive Handgun class is $450 per student, and is located in Bellevue, WA surrounded by decent hotels and restaurants instead of BFE, NV. Or if you want to take Gunsite’s 5-Day 250 Pistol course, it’s $1585. Which is cheaper than Front Sight’s two thousand dollar four day course.
3. Their instruction is mediocre at best
I’ve had students in my classes that are Front Sight graduates, and I’ve know shooters who were Front Sight instructors. The the students had to nearly be re-taught how to shoot, as their time at Front Sight had left them with dismal skills, to say the least. The instructor I knew was no better – the only thing he was actually good at shooting off was his mouth. This also matches up the AAR’s I’ve read from skilled shooters that have attended Front Sight.
4. Dr. Ignatius Piazza
The most important reason I’ll never go to Front Sight is their founder. I could ignore the six-sandwich condiment master certification, and I could ignore the terrible, spammy marketing that come out Front Sight. But I can’t ignore the Scientology and the fraud. I’ll have no truck with cultists or fraudsters. Going to Front Sight would directly put money in his pockets, and I’ll have no part of that.
We live in a golden age of training. You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a firearms instructor these days, and that’s a good thing. So why, in this glorious land of opportunity would you ever spend money
supporting Scientology going to Front Sight? For less money you could go to Gunsite or InSights, you could take a class from Chris Costa for less. Hell, for two grand you could fly me out to your range and I’d teach you 1 on 1 for three days.
Plese Caleb, don’t hold back and tell us how you REALLY feel..:D
Caleb, this attack on Front Sight was out of line. They are the premier educational site in the world for MANY reasons. First, they are … well they … then there is … but they … well, they … but … but … oh, never mind. I think I’ll head back to Xenu now.
Premier? I think not.
Golden Age of training is right. There are instructors with current, relevant experience in any field you want to learn. Want to learn gunfighting? There are recently retired Tier 1 assaulters who’ve been at war and shooting people for the past 15 years. Want to learn marksmanship? You can find those guys. Want to learn to be a better competitor? Classes are available in several categories of shooters from pros to top amateurs, and Caleb will fly to you if the price is right. With the Internet, finding and vetting these classes is pretty easy, to the point of it being willfully ignorant and negligent not to do that. Short story shorter, don’t be a dumbass and you’ll come out way ahead with just a bit of due diligence.
Hale Bop Comet + Amway + Firearms= Frontsight
The only comment that I take exception is the pricing point in item 2. In this day and age, paying full retail for pretty much anything is generally avoidable (particularly with Frontsight). However, if any reader goes through this entire article and then wants to pay retail for a course at Frontsight, well that might be a good place for them to take some training.
But… but… free XD!
I just completed General Defensive Shotgun with InSights Training Center. Like all of their 2-day classes it cost $450. It was my 5th training course with them in the past 3 years. If you can get to the Seattle area it’s a great resource.
Very true. Next up on the chopping block yeager?
He threatened to duel people to the death over youtube comments, and he puts photographers downrange between the targets. What more do you need to know?
Thanks for the article. Good info I was wondering about. Based on my own real experience and location I take a small exception to the availability of training unless one is willing to jump on a plane for the endeavor. Also, I’d get crucified if I starting laying out the names of top-tier trainers who have not returned my inquiries. But, overall, the point is noted, InSights sounds great and I love the PNW.
Dustyvarmint, there are some areas where good instruction may be unavailable. But there are some really good instructors who are willing to travel anywhere, as long as you can secure a suitable place to train, and ensure that there will be at least 3-4 others willing to take the class. This is an excellent solution. You can have a 2-3 day class small enough to have individual instruction, unlike the assembly line atmosphere of Front Sight. This can also provide for instruction tailored to help meet certain specific needs someone may have, such as being wheelchair bound, or having certain work restrictions. Get a couple of friends to pitch in, and this might be the best option.
Must be true, He read it on the internet. (egotistical fucktard) LOL
Know what the best restaurant in the world is? It’s McDonald’s. Now, hold your fire – I’ve eaten at Daniel in NYC and many other top-tier joints (expense accounts are great) and I know the difference.
But from a consumer perspective, consistency and predictability are key. You get the same hamburger at McD’s around the world. Reliable quality at scale is much more difficult to execute than exceptional quality at limited scale.
FS currently trains in a single weekend more students than the rest of the trainers in the US combined. You read that correctly. On a recent weekend, FS hosted close to 1000 students, “BFE, Nevada” notwithstanding. Is it “awesome, high speed low drag ninja Tier 1 assaulter MARSOC randomobscureacronym unit” level training? It can be in the advanced classes, where things get more individualized per instructor and student ability is demonstrably better.
If you’re an experienced shooter looking for an intimate training environment with a name-brand instructor, FS isn’t for you. But I’ve shared classes with pre- and post-deployment US Army and USMC infantry paying their own way, so it’s not just for newbies. The training standards are there to provide a challenge, depending on how hard you want to go.
However, for folks who may think they know shooting, but whose idea of tactics is “Rambo x Call of Duty”, and of self-defense somewhere between “Dirty Harry” and “Death Wish”, FS training provides a foundational baseline of knowledge and skills, plus a legal framework for the defensive use of force.
One common comment from FS students is that the curriculum is consistent no matter which instructor you draw at registration. For folks still ramping up the learning curve that’s a blessing. I would argue that any technique, Weaver, Iso, etc., is better than no technique during the early stages of learning. Safety is another component of consistency.
The facility is huge, underground tunnels for daytime low-vis training, rappel tower you can climb and shoot into the desert, 15 pistol ranges, 12 rifle ranges, 3 structured long ranges to 700m, steel in the desert out to 1500m, 360-degree shoot houses for live fire and FOF simunitions.
Now for the disclaimers: I have been to FS many times, working through entry level classes and testing high enough to attend their Advanced handgun, carbine, integrated pistol/rifle, and long range rifle courses. The classes cost nowhere near $2k/ea, but I did spring for a membership back in the day. It’s paid for itself rather quickly (I was training 2-3 times a year then.) Quality of the training was good to very good to excellent (e.g. long range course taught by a STA Marine scout/sniper).
For the shooting technique: Nobody breaks your stance unless you ask them to. FS does teach Weaver as the standard. You can shoot whatever you like, you might hear a suggestion from cadre, but that’s it. If you’re comfortable and safe, they leave you be. Instructors are shooting Weaver, and will demonstrate on demand a passing score at the Graduate level on any test stage.
It’s not Travis or Costa, and it’s not Yeager. If you’re looking to rub elbows with those guys, the option is yours. But consider the skills they teach and their applicability to your daily life. If you *honestly* see yourself having to fire under a vehicle in “urban prone” while your buddy leapfrogs to break contact – all on your next trip to Costco, no less – go for it. I’m sure you’ve got your full “tac kit” in the back of the minivan for all that, right? Maybe you’ll sign up for Travis’ paragliding course next?
FrontSight teaches defensive gun use as its bread and butter. Civilians, housewives (some very cute ones, too), kids, etc. It’s not a boot camp, nor is it trying to be. It’s quality, consistency, and structure. And this it does well.
If their courses don’t cost $2,000, maybe they SHOULDN’T LIST THEM AT THAT PRICE on their actual website. Secondly, I’d be willing to bet that if you add up all the other weekend training classes in the country on any given weekend, it would be more than 1,000. So don’t give me that “Front Sight trains more than everyone” nonsense. There’s literally no empirical way to prove it, it’s just more nonsensical marketing BS.
Also, there’s the whole “giving money to a dude who’s been sued (and lost) for fraud and is a cultist.”
How can you possible speak of something that you have no experience about? Most people there have memberships that could be had for as low as $250 and provide lifetime of training. I have been there about 10 times and each time the classrooms are full of people. The main building holds 600+ students and there are no seats left. They have to use a secondary classroom.
Ever hear of MSRP? Maybe car dealers, electronics stores, furniture outlets, everybody-who-sells-anything-since-beginning-of-trade should just list the “real price”. Not really a valid argument.
FS list prices are high to drive membership signups. Nobody I know pays full price. There’s a healthy market for course certificates, obtainable for $130-150 apiece, $200 for “any course” ones.
Have you actually been to Front Sight or know anyone who has? Why the hatred? You read some blog about a lawsuit, some lady put something out about Xenu and friends? Oh my, color me outraged.
Just curious, do you do this much research before your trips to Walmart, Target, and Costo, too? How about when you get your gas? Unless you’re the world’s most educated consumer, the answer is no.
Do you like Kevlar? Doesn’t it make your kit looks oh-so-spiffy? I bet it does! Did you know the DuPont family, inventors and makers of Kevlar, were a bunch of degenerate pedophiles and murderers? Oh, snap, better start strapping steel plates on your vest.
See, ad hominem attacks against organizations’ leaders, whether fact or fantasy, have little bearing on the quality of the product. Now, you as the consumer, have the ultimate choice whether to spend your money or not. For some, personal or political factors matter. For some, the product/service quality or price are the only things that do.
If you feel that attending FS would “put money in the pocket of cultists”, don’t go. I tend to think of the dozens of instructors and staff whose livelihoods are supported by my course fees, not to mention the value of training I get.
To each its own.
It’s worth noting that Front Sight is the only training school that uses the bait-and-switch pricing method of “we say it’s $2,000, but with these coupons and a life membership, it’s really only $400!”
You do not understand the concept of “bait and switch”
Well, to be honest it’s more like a reverse bait-and-switch, and it’s a pretty common shady marketing tactic. Advertising something as ridiculously expensive, then offer “coupons” or “discounts” or “memberships” to bring the price down into the normal ranges. I will say that Front Sight would be absolutely qualified to teach classes on shady marketing.
Silly Caleb…its the “ol’ switcharoo” not bait and switch.
I don’t want to endure a timeshare pitch. I’m looking to get some gun training. Just tell me what the price is. There is no reputable trainer in the US that uses this hokey bullshit.
If all that is true, you shouldn’t have to worry about Front Sight much longer. I don’t mind that they bar-b-que their own children for lunch everyday, but who has THOUSANDS of dollars to blow on “Tactical *cough* Training” these days?
It seems like every time I see someone go out of their way to deride Front Sight on the internet, they have never taken a class there.
Hundreds and even thousands of people train at Front Sight every week. I would be surprised if any of them are paying the full retail price of $1000 for 2 days or $2000 for 4 days listed on the website. For a long time now there has been a “special price” advertised on the main page for 5 days of training for $200.
So I can understand why you think the pricing is too high if you thought you had to pay the full retail. But the fact is, it is the most affordable training out there. Especially if you buy a lifetime membership from a member and take more than one class.
You praise Gun Site in one breath and diss Front Sight in the next breath for teaching the Weaver Stance that Gun Site invented. Obviously isosceles works well and seems to be advantageous in the competition world. I know for a fact that Front Sight instructors are happy to let students shoot isosceles if they don’t want to learn the weaver stance. But the weaver stance does have advantages of its own too, and some of them have to do with situations where someone might be shooting back at you.
You are a little out on a limb to say the instruction is mediocre at best when you haven’t even been there to receive the instruction.
Lastly, you attack Ignatius Piazza. This is a man who has arguably done more for the cause of the 2nd Amendment than any other person in the last 20 years. And you attack him. Do you have any idea how many people Front Sight has introduced to shooting? Do you have any idea how many people have gone from being afraid of guns to knowing they can handle one safely and competently and efficiently because of the work he has done at Front Sight? These people then go home and help dispel the myths about how bad guns are and educate people about the importance of the second amendment, and importantly, they get armed and they get trained.
But you want him out of business because you heard a rumor that he is a Scientologist and you don’t want to have any part of putting money in his pockets. That is pretty weak, Caleb.
I don’t want him out of business. Don’t put words in my mouth.
Ok, you don’t want him out of business. You just don’t think it is a good idea to put money in his pocket. Got it.
Correct. There is a considerable difference.
I did my beginning training at FS (four 4-day classes) and have since taken courses with Combat Focus Shooting (Pincus) and Tactical Response (Yeager) as well as competed in IDPA. I think FS is GREAT for a brand new shooter. I got a very thorough foundation in defensive use of handgun, rifle and shotgun and have adjusted techniques as I’ve learned better ways to do things. Yes, the marketing is relentless, but as others have said, just about no one pays the full listed prices. You can take a 2 or 4-day course for $100-$200. I got a full lifetime membership (all classes for the rest of your life) for $250. As to the Scientology link, I know he was involved in the 90’s, but I don’t know about the last decade. Bottom line is I think the training is good, especially for a beginner, and worth it if you get a cheap membership. If you’re an experienced shooter, then there’s probably not a lot to learn there. In my rifle class there was a group of CHP guys there on their own dime. I want to take the rifle and shotgun classes again, and if I take the pistol class again I would use the isosceles I’m now comfortable with. They won’t force you to use their method. I have witnessed this. Your four points are weak to me. Yes, you start with Weaver but you can do what you want. Prices are ultimately cheaper than any other school if you utilize them. Instruction is very thorough, professional and consistent. The last point is a personal choice whether if you want to support him or not. I know people who won’t go to WalMart or Starbucks on principle. How about we first confirm if he’s even still involved?
Okay, I’ll take the clickbait. I’m not butthurt by criticism of Front Sight, but I’ll dissent a little. I took a 2-day FS class back around 2004 with a couple of friends. Granted, it was a long time ago, but I *have* been to FS.
(1) Yeah, FS teaches Weaver and I like Isosceles, but I don’t think that’s a big issue for the mainly new/casual shooters FS seems to attract. Gunsite teaches Weaver, as you note, and just about everyone loves Gunsite. Weaver works fine for people who don’t have the desire to be A-class USPSA shooters, and who just want a basic grounding in defensive shooting fundamentals.
(2) Back in ’04 I bought a FS training certificate on eBay for $99, good for two shooters to take a 2-day class or one shooter to take the 4-day class. I suspect most people don’t pay “MSRP” for FS, but if they do I agree they’re overpaying.
(3) The instructors at my FS class were perfectly adequate. While I’m not exactly a training junkie, I’ve also trained with Gunsite, Mas Ayoob, Chuck Taylor, James Yeager and a few others, on the private side. The FS instructors transmitted information with enough clarity that all but one student in the class seemed to “get it” pretty quickly, and the standout was an elderly man with some deeply ingrained bad habits.
(4) I don’t know Piazza, but I frankly don’t care if he’s a Scientologist as long as he’s pro-gun. Some people consider Catholicism or Mormonism to be “cults,” too, but I know a lot of very fine Catholics and Mormons. The fraud thing is more of a cause for concern, but apparently various lawsuits haven’t managed to put FS out of business. Does the FS marketing model come across as a little shady and reminiscent of selling time shares? Sure, but you can’t deny that it’s been successful, and FS *is* a business.
To all the Pro-Front Sight guys: Be like Mike. Mike knows how to disagree.
OK, I will try to be like Mike. I have been to both FS and GS. No question in my mind that GS is better. I would agree with you that GS is top five and FS isn’t. It doesn’t follow, however, that FS is worse than useless. Things at FS are very much by the numbers and the instructors teach to a system. This is good and bad. FS will never break new ground but they train an awful lot of people to a level better than they were at a low price. FS will never have the high end innovators that GS does but I found their instructors to be able to help me as I try to recover from a serious injury to my gun arm.
To echo some of the other responders I offer the following. I live in Pahrump (no affiliation with FS) and have yet to discover anyone who has paid anything like list for a class. Pricing is designed to sell memberships which are also not sold at list. This is not a secret. The instructors are not anywhere near as doctrinaire as Piazza seems to be and will work with you to find a stance that works for you. The non-shooting portions of the classes are quite similar to GS. Four rules, four elements of gunfighting (though FS has different names for a couple), color code. A dash of Ayoob thrown in about avoiding fights and legal issues. Beginning courses are mostly about gun handling- safety, presenting, manipulation, grip, sight picture, trigger press, etc. This is a good thing I think because most gun owners really suck at this -including me before I took the GS course and after my injury. I think that FS places too much emphasis on malf drills given the increasing reliability of pistols. Piazza is a PITA but so are lots of people I buy things from. There are Piazza fanboys around but I am not one of them. The lawsuits for fraud were about real estate, I think, not the school. Not sure of the outcome but the school is still there. Less on tactics at FS than at GS. Mainly, I think because they are working more with beginners. The instructors I encountered at GS had more qualifications to teach tactics than the ones at FS which shouldn’t be a huge surprise. No experience with the higher level courses so can’t comment on that.
The guy was advertising a firearms training “resort” when all he had was a few port a potties in the desert. If I had taken my wife to a “resort” with port a potties, I would not still have a wife…
I get emails from front sight all the time. As a firearms instructor I was thinking about taking the courses however the prices that I was seeing was high so I never really pursued the training. If it was $200 I would probably go & give them a shot because you can always learn no matter how long you been shooting. So I might look deeper to see if I can find there training for $200 without buying a membership and I’ll give them a try
Contact me and I can hook you up. You will be amazed at what you can get for training at Frontsight.
I know nothing about the training methods at Front Sight–however, firearms school is a place where I want integrity and trust. Front Sight’s sales schemes remind me of a bad used car lot.
A lot of people like the Yankees. A lot of people drink Budweiser. A lot of people wear UFC/Tap Out shirts. Just because a lot of people do something, does not mean that thing is good!
You see, I’m NOT a High Speed, Low Drag, Tac-Mall Ninja kinda guy. I want to get rid of bad habits, improve my classifications in both USPSA and IDPA and have fun!!
A couple of weeks ago, I took a half day class with this Virtual Unknown shooter here in Mesa, Rob Leatham, Half Day and I think it was Under $200, semi Private, 5 Students and lots of Stages and Stage Management. THAT is what I like to do!!
Even though Front Sight’s advertising, ah, “strategy” makes the place seem like the unholy bastard child of a used car dealership and a world-class Ponzi scheme, it’s pretty decent.
Is it the same level of instruction I’d expect from a top-5 institution? No, not really. But it’s certainly solid. I’ve only taken the 4-Day Defensive Handgun course, so that’s all I can speak for.
Regarding your four points:
1) Yeah, they teach new shooters Weaver and a really weird grip. If you want to shoot in Iso, though, the instructors are okay with it– mine were, at least. And from what they told me, in everything other than the beginner classes, they encourage shooters to use whatever stance works best. Don’t get me wrong, I think teaching Weaver is dumb, too. But it’s not like the instructors harangue shooters who know better and want to shoot in Isosceles.
2) Those artificially high prices are ridiculous, sure. But, like plenty of others in this thread have already said, nobody with two spare brain cells to rub together pays the list price. I want to say I got into my course for fifty bucks. Shady marketing? Yes. Bad value? Maybe not.
3) I haven’t taken any advanced courses from FS, so I couldn’t speak to the quality of those. The instruction in my course was solid, if not great, but it was really neat to see other students who came in with very little experience running a gun. They were safe, sure, but had that new-shooter awkwardness. Four days later, they were handling their guns quickly and confidently– that was pretty cool. FS seems to attract a lot of people from the non-serious-shooter crowd, and if only because of that, I think they’re a valuable outfit. And who knows? Maybe these folks will be encouraged to go out and take courses with Gunsite, Costa, TPOG, or whoever else.
4) Piazza may have the market cornered on “weird and annoying,” but I’m not sure if he’s crazy-cultist-weird.
Is FS firearms training Mecca? Nope. But the four-day pistol course is solid, and it’s hard to beat a price ranging from $50-200, which is what everybody there seemed to have paid. Overall, it was a very solid (if unexceptional) experience.
I have been to Front Sight many times. I have provided many people with certificates or lifetime memberships at ridiculously low prices. Never had one complaint. Always praised the training and what they learned.
Caleb, I will give you a certificate for any 4 day class you want. Then write an honest review. How about that?
My 2 cents-
1-The modified Weaver that they teach suits most people for many reasons. Isosceles is better in certain circumstances, sure, but not all. But the stance isn’t even the most important part of the instruction. Safety, presentation, law, awareness and trigger control are just some of the things they teach. They also teach to every level and every type of person. They teach in a way that makes students comfortable, not feel that they are in a hard core unit. They try to make it enjoyable.
2-I have never found anyone that paid “retail” for a class. It is all marketing. You can find a lifetime membership for all classes for $250. There is no better pricing anywhere than that.
3-I have found the instruction to be excellent. The better you get, the more advanced classes you can take. FS may have the best beginning instruction anywhere.
4-I don’t care for the marketing by Piazza. But as a side effect, up to 50 thousand students per year attend their classes. And those same people become avid 2nd Amendment proponents. For that fact alone you should be supporting FS, not dumping on it.
So, you have my email address. Let me know if you want to experience something first hand instead of going by hearsay.
“The modified Weaver that they teach suits most people for many reasons. Isosceles is better in certain circumstances, sure, but not all.”
….like what? This is the Weaver stance that advanced shooters not only don’t use, but the one where research has shown that people under stress _don’t use it_, even if they were intensely trained in it. So—-how does this suit people? And what circumstances exist wherein Weaver is better?
I’m just trying to understand the utility of making the choice to teach _Weaver_ to beginning students.
Really? You don’t know how to use Google?
Caleb Sir; methinks you might have been a bit misinformed about Front Sight when you wrote this op-ed. There is no question Gunsite is the premier training center in the Southwest. The Secret Service personnel have been going there for years for advanced training. Not sure if they still are.
However; for about $99 for the 4 day beginner course it really is a good deal. I had been shooting, just plinking really, for several decades but never had any formal training so I decided to try FS. One of the first things they say is most folks will already have different ideas on how things should be done. Your Weaver stance example is a perfect example of that. They only ask that the students try to do it their way while they are there and in training. If they find your prior training is too ingrained to change; they will more often than not let the student do it the way they were previously trained.
Most students taking the basic 4 day course were like me though. Never had any prior formal training so were more than willing to give their way a shot. Sure, there were some minor pistol specific things that went against the grain for me, but I bucked up and did it their way for those days even if it worked against me.
I can say there were two things I would have rather avoided. One was not going there with a friend to be partnered with to alternate with because the guy I got assigned with was a real pain in the butt because he stayed 2 inches from my ass which blocked the electronic ear muffs from working right so I could hear the commands and the other was an over bearing heavy set woman who seemed to have a serious attitude problem for reasons unknown to this day. I would rather go home than take another course with her on the field. Not that she didn’t have an impressive resume and knew what she was doing; but it was just her attitude that put me off. She seemed to treat the women normally. Go figure.
One other thing worth mentioning even with the life membership or a discounted 2 or 4 day course; every student must pay $50 a year for a background check to make sure they are not a felon and are legally able to hold a firearm. I don’t begrudge them for checking but we all know a basic background check is nowhere near $50 so this is a scam to make more money. I can accept $20 a year but $50 is way over the top and the year always ends on Dec. 31 so if you get your background check done in November it’s only good for 2 months.
Carry on though friend. Methinks you have learned more about Front Sight due to the responses from this op-ed than you bargained for which means others did as well which is a good thing. Yes?
I do wish I could afford Gunsite. It’s only a 1.5 hour drive from where I currently live. Till I can; Front Sight will do to keep my basic firearm training intact. Oh, one other thing, they really pound in basic firearm safety. I can’t pick or be handed any firearm without first checking to see if it’s loaded. Even if I just laid it down on my own table ten minutes ago. I can’t help but think Front Sight has save many lives using this technique in their curriculum.
The common refrain from a Front Sighter: “how would you know how lame it is if you’ve never gone”? I’ve never tried heroin or vacationed in North Korea, but I know that’s stuff I don’t want any part of.
Front Sighters do this weird thing when they make ready. They load, chamber check, then drop the magazine and look at it. We ask them why, and they don’t know. If there’s a round in your chamber, that means the magazine is firmly seated and feeding the chamber. So then why drop the mag and risk it not seating?
Do you wonder why Front Sighters get so upset when you question Xenu? Front Sight has an “Ambassador” membership. These member sells memberships. Isn’t that genius? Xenu has turned members into defacto employees with a financial incentive to talk up Front Sight.
Do you know what’s sad? People were sold $100,000 memberships that included promised plots of land of a never built private community. Then members were sold timeshares in condos for thousands of dollars that were never built. Now they’re being sold guarantees of free stays in the soon to be built (yeah sure) Front Sight hotel. You think people would learn after awhile.
When you take a Front Sight class, there’s 40 students, being taught by some guy. He’s teaching a curriculum he didn’t write. And the guy who wrote the curriculum? His background is a chiropractor who took a bunch of Gunsite classes. When I train with Louis Awerbuck I pay him, he teaches me his curriculum, then I go home. He doesn’t try to sell me timeshares
The only good thing I can say about Front Sight is that their students are usually less likely to ND into you than the average range commando with no training background.
I’ve never been to Front Sight and recently gave away a Four day certificate to someone who needed it more than me. So, I’m not a Front Sighter.
However, his points of contention are: Weaver v. Isosceles, unusual pricing structure, doesn’t produce a Master class shooter, and doesn’t like the Founder’s religion. Non-compelling arguments, IMO. Of course, the “My school(s) is(are) best” concept has been around for hundreds of years, all around the world. Blah, blah, blah.
Once again, the definitional things arise. By a few schools’ standards, many schools, including some very well known and established ones, turn out fairly mediocre shooters in five days. Front Sight is a long way from being the only one. It’s hard to teach someone to shoot well with only 1,000 rounds of ammo.
Rather than niggling over minor points, it’s much more useful to think about what all the major schools, including Front Sight, DO give their students.
* A structured method of how to shoot, which is something almost no self-taught shooter has.
* A concept of firearms safety procedures, which is something almost no self-taught shooter has.
* Confidence in the student’s ability to prevail in a confrontation.
* Education in Mindset appropriate to confrontation.
* A check on functionality of the student’s equipment, which is something almost no self-taught shooter gets on their own.
* A sense of camaraderie with other practitioners, which is becoming increasingly hard to obtain.
The list is actually quite a bit longer than that but long enough for discussion purposes.
To me, the W v. I issue is a lot less important than the sighted fire v. point/hip shooting discussion. Given the periodic ‘bad penny’ resurgence of the ‘sights will get you killed’ philosophy, that’s what we ought to be working on stamping out like a brush fire in a dry forest.
I am irretrievably turned off by a few things about Front Sight:
The marketing is written in the style of scams, cons, and rip-offs.
A whole bunch of my friends and training partners went down there several years ago as members of a ‘birthday party’/4 day handgun course for a FS member who actually spent $10,000 for a membership – don’t tell me that no one pays retail – I know someone who did. They came back feeling lucky to be alive.
They related that it was not a safely run range:
Gunhandling was undisciplined and disorganized – some of these new, clueless students were handling guns behind the line. Instructors were either not present or didn’t care, but it was not corrected. My friends now refer to a ballistic vest as a ‘Front Sight t-shirt’. The multitudes of other (brand new) students there thought it was just great though, as new students typically do of any training.
I think the practice of using brand new students to act as coaches to partner students is stupid. This is the blind leading the blind. A good friend of mine, who at that point had been an instructor himself for maybe a decade, had to endure a brand new, clueless student coaching him all wrong. When he had to coach her, she wouldn’t engage in correct trigger finger discipline despite coaching to the contrary. Eventually, in frustration, she told my friend ‘the instructor doesn’t care, so what’s your problem?’
That same friend of mine got muzzled by another student while on the line. Having no faith by that point in the ability of the instructors to administrate a range safely, holstered and stepped off the line to get out of the way of the muzzle. A FS instructor admonished him for stepping off the line. When my friend explained what had happened, the FS instructor said, ‘ok, fair enough’ but did not remediate or eject the student who muzzled my friend.
On a separate occasion, one man was killed in a zip line incident while attending FS.
Before someone levels the criticism that none of that is firsthand knowledge, save it. Those reports come from people I personally know, have trained with extensively, and trust with my life. They have the knowledge and perspective to properly evaluate what they saw and experienced, unlike the many brand new people who don’t know what they don’t know and don’t know how a range is run when it’s run safely (hint: you need a higher instructor:student ratio than ~3:40.) They also found some of the classroom and range instruction worthwhile; they are not just FS haters.
Those are the reasons I am not going to go to Front Sight or recommend it to anyone, ever.
Yes, over 70,000 people became members because they enjoy the danger of FS being so unsafe. Get real.
Read the comments by people that have been to Front Sight.
FWIW, my last post here. I have wasted too much time trying to dispel bulls**t.
I did better than reading the comments from unknown people who have been to Front Sight. I heard the reports directly from the mouths of people I personally know and trust who attended Front Sight. And I’m not going to take the risk of going to find out for myself.
You can read about every accidental shooting and the zip line incident on Front Sight’s website.
I will not attend FS either, but for different reasons. They are not teaching anything I cannot get close to home.
Caleb did nothing to improve his reputation with this article. Front Sight does not care and will not change their ways. The article does put Caleb in a bad light with this negative article about a gun school he has never attended.
Several of my friends teach firearms classes. They never criticize other schools. All they do is teach their way and point to the results. They have found this avoids the screaming matches/flame wars that made Suarez International so obnoxious.
In other words, act like a gentleman.
I haven’t been to Front Sight, and asked to be (and was) removed from their email list merely because my inbox was getting too cluttered with things not necessary. I have a physician co-worker (ER) who has a lifetime membership, flies out in his plane to their strip, spend a 3-day weekend rotating between long-range precision, up-close pistol, and carbine classes about 5-6 times per year for the past 5 years. He has invited me; it’s not in my time or financial budget (2 kids in private colleges) but I’d not shy away from going otherwise; I’ve seen this doctor work, would trust him with my own life as much as I do with those of our patients, and he can afford to go where he pleases. I trust him, he trusts them, I’m an open-minded nurse.
As someone who has been to Front Sight and trained there for 20+ days, I will add my 2 cents in 4 statements.
#1. WEAVER. I prefer iso but when shooting around cover or pie-ing a room, Weaver seems to be a good idea.
#2. COST. I have trained there for over 20 days and I can take all of their classes (over 50 of them) for the rest of my life. I paid $400 for my membership, and $50 per year (if I train in that year) I think it’s a bargin.
#3. INSTRUCTION. Is the instruction state of the art? NO. Is it good training in fundamentals and a chance to practice defensive shooting? YES.
#4. IGGY Is he an over the top marketing machine? Yes. Is he a Scientologist? Don’t care as long as he doesn’t try to baptize me. Does he always send a bunch of emails with new offers. Yes, all the time. I have a delete icon on my email for that.
Take a look at all the classes Front Sight has to offer. Why don’t we focus on pluses of a training facility instead of bashing it to make one look good? Yes, I have taken 30+ classes there, including most of the classes offered by Front Sight. Each more advanced classes require students to qualify through skills test. In the last two 4-Weapons classes (offered once a year), there were only 4 students. How can you top that when the cost of the tuition is nil? The class includes shooting handgun, shotgun, rifle, and sub-machine gun (Front Sight provides Uzis or you can bring your own) under various conditions/scenarios. That is the most advanced class Front Sight has to offer that includes multiple platforms. You are guaranteed a spot when you register any Front Sight classes two weeks in advance, you can’t say that for other big name schools.
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