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Front Sight: A review. (Part one)

I recently completed the four day defensive handgun class at the Front Sight Training Institute in Pahrump, Nevada. If you are like me, you have seen many advertisements for Front Sight and may have been curious as to how effective the training actually is. This is the first part of a review of my experience.

First, let me tell you a little bit about my shooting background. I have been shooting for over 25 years, with minimal formal training. On average, I shoot around 150 rounds per week at my local range, and have shot IDPA matches and qualifiers. I am definitely not someone who shoots and practices as much as they would like to, but it is what it is.

Next, let me tell you why I was a little bit skeptical about going to Front Sight (FS) I have received numerous advertisements for their discounted training plans and free gun offers over the past 10 years or so. I came close to purchasing one training membership several years ago, but really did not have the funds available at the time. I was always leery of a training plan that seemed to offer unlimited courses at a low price. I mean, with that model, how good could the training actually be – regardless of if they were actually underwritten by a ‘millionaire patriot.’ The advertisements also seem a bit, pardon my words, sleazy and slick. I had also heard tales of tie-ins with Scientology and expected that any trip to FS would include a big sales pitch similar to what you might receive at a timeshare presentation.

With those assumptions, I received (yet another) email from Front Sight in late 2017 offering a free four-day defensive handgun class. Free was just the right price for me, so I accepted the offer just to see what a class would be like. After I accepted the offer, I was “presented” with the opportunity to purchase a training video that would prepare me for the first day for just one dollar. I purchased that video upon which I was presented with another “opportunity” to purchase a patriot membership at an extremely discounted price. This was similar to the membership I almost purchased several years ago, so that peaked my interest. Paired with some free front sight credits, as well with the offer go a “free” shotgun, I did purchase the membership. After I purchased that, I was presented with another “opportunity” to purchase a gift membership for a friend at an even lower price. Because I really didn’t want to go to the class alone, I did purchase a membership for a good friend. And of course, after that offer, I was invited to purchase yet another, higher level of membership for myself. That option was way too expensive for me so I declined. So after spending around $350, for my “free” class I think I understand how the front sight marketing works. Get you in at a lower price and then keep offering more and more options. Similar to a timeshare model.

I live in Alabama, so I needed to make travel arrangements. I was able to get a relatively cheap ($350) round trip flight on Southwest Airlines to Las Vegas, and my parents were kind enough to let my buddy and I use some of their timeshare points for a place to stay in Vegas. Staying in Vegas meant that we would have about a 45 minute trip one-way to FS, so the trade-off was that we would be leaving early each day. I cashed in some Hertz points to cover a free rental car, so with That last detail I place, I was all set.

There were a few other items that I needed to buy for the trip. I needed a hard shell case and locks, which I picked up at Harbor Freight. I had ordered one from Amazon, but decided to send it back and buy a larger case to hold 2 Glock 19s – 1 to shoot and a reserve in case of malfunction – 2 is 1, and 1 is none, right? I already had the other gear that I needed – belt, holster, magazines, mag pouches, cover garment, electronic hearing protection, and eye protection.

We also had to decide what to do about ammo. The course guideline said that we needed 600 rounds for the class, which was more than we could carry in our checked luggage, from a weight perspective. My buddy, MSM, found a place online that we could order from, Ammo Supply Warehouse. They had competitive pricing, and we could pick the ammo up the day before class, so MSM placed an order with them for 1200 rounds. In hindsight, we should have ordered from somewhere in Las Vegas, so we didn’t have to make an extra trip to Pahrump, but they were very friendly, answered some newbie questions for us about FS, and were very easy to work with. I highly recommend ordering ammo from them.

Our flight to Las Vegas was uneventful. I had printed out rules and regulations about flying with firearms, just in case we ran into any issues. We had no problems at all. Maybe that’s because we flew out of Birmingham, because we followed the rules to the letter, because people really do fly with weapons all the time, or because Southwest trains their people well, but our agent at the baggage counter was completely nonplussed about the weapons.

Up next: the course itself.

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