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first hand experience on intense firearm training

Discussion in 'Education & Training' started by ZombieAssassin, Mar 23, 2009.

  1. ZombieAssassin

    ZombieAssassin Oregon Member

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    https://www.frontsight.com

    From everything I've read, Front Sight sounds pretty intense and well worth it. I also know that it's internet, so I'm looking for people that have received training from them.

    OFADAN, what do you know about their training? What does OFA offer that is intense, realistic, and useable instruction?
     
  2. OFADAN

    OFADAN Brownsville, OR Well-Known Member

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    Zombie, it isn't right for me to comment on Front Sight because they are a competitor and we share some of the same students but I can comment on OFA. The best way for me to articulate how we train and what we train and "why" we do what we do is to give me a call or PM your number and I'll call on my dime. I'm a more effective talker than typer. Honestly asking our students is going to be the best intel you can gather. Please take a look at wichaka's DH1 write up to get an idea of how we run our basic level courses. Nice write up I might add!

    wichaka's article: http://www.northwestfirearms.com/forum/showthread.php?p=46045#post46045

    What I would suggest for you and your wife as decision making criteria before choosing to train anywhere is the following:

    1. Safety, Safety, Safety - I'd check out a school's safety record. If you call OFA we'll tell you we have insurance and we'll tell you exactly our safety record. I'm confident FS will do the same if you ask. Safety should be the highest priority for one who wants to train. Questions you should ask of a school is how many instructors to students? What kind of insurance do you have (shows commitment to the student)? How many accidents have you had? What emergency response plan do you have in place?

    2. Philosophy - do they teach the way you can learn best (each school is going to be different) and do they use methods that work best for my wife and I? Schools have a teaching and student philosophy. Some obviously care deeply about their students and will relate with them on a human and personal level - others are more cold and 'stand offish'...some schools insist instructors operate off a 'script' even to the point of memorizing their instructional script while others have an outline to follow but the school allows the instructors to be themselves. Some schools are more military-like and others are more laid back. You need to figure out which is best for you and your spouse.

    3. Cost - you must consider all the costs associated with training including the cost of the course(s) because attending one course is never enough. First they're addictive and fun, second you cannot possible learn it all in one class regardless of how long it is, third you'll probably want to re-take the class over again (using different guns/different hands @ each class, use your right hand one time, left hand the next, primary gun one time, back up gun from ankle holster then next...) Also, ammo - ammo is expensive and hard to come by so which courses are going to use my ammo effectively. Third is travel, where can I go that will minimize travel and related expenses?

    What I can tell you about OFA's philosophy is this: Safety is our Number 1 concern - period! Second is student experience and value, third is taking care of the staff and facility. With that I can tell you we have an impeccable safety record - so even though we do 'realistic' training we do it in a safe manner.

    Our staff is comprised of unique individuals from various survival backgrounds - we bring a different perspective to the same problem. We have instructors who have BTDT in various survival situation so reality rather than entertainment is important to us. I can tell you we look at survival/self defense from as holistic and realistic perspective as we can.

    In our intermediate level courses (the next course above the one wichaka took) we use as close to real life fighting that is humanly possible with force-on-force scenario based simulations which includes dealing with the problem AFTER shots have been fired - what do say to responding LEO, how to handle the fight in court etc. We also fully integrated empty hands, edged weapons, improvised weapons and firearms into one fluid system which I'm unaware of anyone doing exactly the same thing. Please start talking to our intermediate level to advanced level students and ask about their experiences.

    We do offer week long courses but not as often as our student feedback keeps telling us the one and two day formats are better for learning and more affordable. We like the week-long formats but people get fatigued later in the week and learning starts to suffer as a result.

    I don't know if I added much - wichaka wrote an article on our DH1 course recently and this other LEO wrote an article for the Portland Police Bureau regarding our Advanced Handgun Tactics course - perhaps these two can share some insight on how we do things. http://www.oregonfirearmsacademy.com/rapsheet.pdf
     
  3. Bend

    Bend Central OR Member

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    OFADAN- Good post!

    ZA-

    I have yet to go to OFA. I have been to FS. I do know of one thing you will get at FS that you will not get at OFA and that is a repeated did I say repeated sales pitch to buy memberships and real estate. Its very distracting. YMMV.
     
  4. greenLED

    greenLED Beaver Nation expat Member

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    Being an OFA graduate, maybe I can give you an idea of what they offer. Overall, I would say all their classes beyond Basic Handgun Safety (BHS) pass those three requirements with flying colors (and then some more). BHS is also a great class, but you're looking for their intermediate and advanced classes, so...

    One thing that was impressed upon me while at OFA was that they don't teach you how to shoot; they teach you how to fight with a firearm. That may sound like a cliché, but it stuck in my head because any old monkey can do the former, but mastering the latter is a completely different ballgame. Plus, you get to fully understand the legal, social, personal, and financial implications and consequences of carrying.

    There's no ninja skills or macho-ism in OFA's instruction. Going through "The Adjudicator" (their Force on Force simulator) will give you an entirely new perspective on what it *really* means to have carry (and possibly use) a handgun for self protection. IMO, there's no better way of really testing and interiorizing a lot of the lessons you may have read, hear, or thought about until you go through their scenarios. Nothing like having to talk (or maybe shoot?) your way through a life-or-death scenario to really put things into perspective. If that weren't enough, you get to dissect your scenario after the fact and reinforce your learning that way (what did you do right/wrong, what could you have done differently, why did you turn a no-shoot into a shoot situation, how can you avoid, avoid, avoid, communicate with police, innocent citizens, other legally armed citizens, that sweet old lady that seems to want to shoot you while you're trying to get to your car??). Doesn't get much more intense, realistic, and useable than that!

    Not having been to FrontSight, I can't comment on their instruction in detail. However, from the reviews and opinions I've read, I don't see what I would learn from them that I wouldn't learn from OFA (and then some more, at a lower price, and closer to home).
     
  5. ZombieAssassin

    ZombieAssassin Oregon Member

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    I'd rather support local businesses, so it's encouraging to read first hand experience about OFA. I should have used the search function to come across wichaka's review.
     
  6. greenLED

    greenLED Beaver Nation expat Member

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    Zombie, I went'a searching for my old reviews of OFA classes (posted elsewhere on the net). I couldn't find my review for BH1, but here are the ones for the Low Light/Night Fire classes:


    Low Light

    continued...
     
  7. greenLED

    greenLED Beaver Nation expat Member

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    ...continued review of Low Light:

     
  8. greenLED

    greenLED Beaver Nation expat Member

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    Here's my review of Advanced Low Light:


    continued...
     
  9. greenLED

    greenLED Beaver Nation expat Member

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    Please, bear with me, this is the last bit - Advanced Low Light review:

    Something explicitly mentioned in those reviews, and I'd like to reinforce is how much they reinforce safety in *each*and *every*single*thing*you*do*out*there. OFA's safety track record is impressive. Actually, I wouldn't've trained there if I felt unsafe or if any of the instructors would've given me "the rogue gunslinger attitude".
     
  10. Ocanada

    Ocanada Way North Member

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    Now, I haven't been to Front Sight, although I have checked out the web site to look at what they have to offer and scheduling.

    I come from North of the border about three times a year for training. I do a lot of research on training and schools, as usually it is my Canadian peso, and not my agencies that I am forking out for fees, travel, gas, hotels and ammo. On top of that, I must apply early to meet the government requirements to bring firearms south.

    I have attended, among others, F.A.S., O.F.A., Valhalla(now I.C.E.), Glock, N.R.A. civilian and police instructor courses. All good training and schools.

    But, O.F.A. is a stand out. Training content, realism, safety and cost are all factors that I look at.

    Cost is a big one for all of us. Having said that, if I think that I am going to get superb training, the budget, as my wife knows, goes out the window. O.F.A. staff have gone to the other big name schools for training. I am very happy to let them pay the costs to learn from the best, and then teach any learned tips and tactics it to me at lower cost.

    Safety factors. When you attend O.F.A. courses, you notice that you become a team with the instructors right away. You are made to be responsible for everyone on the range. Instead of only the instructors being "safety officers", the whole class is involved. Makes for a very safe, yet relaxed way to learn. After two days, whether you know any of the other students or not, you are a team.

    Realism. Valhalla was a fantastic place to learn. Huge buildings and 1000s of acres. Out of this world. What O.F.A. gets done with the range, land, shoot house and classroom are very effective, realistic and well thought out. I have been there a few times and never been in the same scenario, force on force, or drills. They are constantly learning, evolving and passing along what works. There is no one O.F.A. way doctrine. Safe, repeatable, defensible and universal is what works for you in your situation. And no secret ninja turtle crap that won't work for you to be able to protect yourself and your family.
    A point made above about week long courses. I would agree that two intense days, maybe three, are better for the average person than week long. Fatigue and remembering all you have been shown come to play if you are totally worn out.

    Student to instructor ratio is important. I think it is around 3/1-4/1 at O.F.A.. That means more help for you, allowing more time to practice and move on to other drills and scenarios. There is hardly any down time at all.

    Instructor backgrounds are varied. Attorney, paramedic, security specialist, sheriff, gunsmith, and various adjunct instructors from all walks of life. They have all been to lots of schools to keep themselves current. The nice thing, no wasted time on b.s. or war stories taking away from your range time. Without asking, and they don't offer it up, you would never know the been there done that, got the medal backgrounds. It's about you and your training, not about them.

    By all means do your research well and ask around for reviews before you throw down you hard earned money. But, for local to you, you would be well served by checking out O.F.A.. And by the way. Training. It's an education, fun and becomes addictive.

    Peter
     
  11. Dutchy556

    Dutchy556 Bend, OR Member

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    No FrontSight experience here either, but I'll throw in a HUGE +1 for OFA.

    The facility is great, the instructors are great guys and very knowledgeable. The force-on-force and live-fire scenarios they run are the best part of the experience, IMO. Running through The Adjudicator changes your perspective completely, as GreenLED mentioned.

    I would consider the training at OFA to be intense, realistic and usable (your criteria). I just took the GLOCK defensive handgun class and did several force-on-force exercises with airsoft and a live-fire simulation of an active-shooter scenario in addition to sending about 850 rounds down range from a variety of ranges and positions, while moving, while utilizing cover, at moving targets, with no-shoot targets down range as well, etc... Lots of focus on team building...


    Like I said I cant speak for FrontSight, but I am MORE than satisfied with OFA, and I would strongly encourage you take some classes there.
     
  12. tionico

    tionico Thurston County Well-Known Member

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    GreenLED, and Canada.... thanks SO MUCH for taking the time to write your "feedback" on OFA. Making me seriously reconsider my statements above..... I can tell by your reports that their "style" is precisely the sort in which I know I do best. Relational, practical, hands ON, dynamic. I may well go and take their basic class and see how that goes.