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Frontsight Firearms Training Tips & Experiences

Discussion in 'Education & Training' started by sbmitt, Dec 26, 2011.

  1. sbmitt

    sbmitt North Snohomish County New Member

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    My wife and I attended Frontsight Firearms Training in Pahrump, NV twice in 2011 after a friend convinced us to buy lifetime memberships.

    Before buying I searched Google and found a wide variety of good and bad info and reports about Frontsight. Eventually my friend's first hand experience and eager recommendation trumped the variety of people I read about who were complaining about Frontsight for one reason or another. I've read about several other great firearms training schools, but I won't comment on them because I've only attended Frontsight.

    My experience with Frontsight has been very good, so I wanted to let people know as well as have a discussion about Frontsight and training and tips with other people who have attended.

    In addition to lots of shooting and very professional safe instruction, they provide in depth training about when and why to shoot or not to shoot someone who is threatening you, your family or an innocent. You'll learn how to clear your house deliver rounds accurately under stress. You will go home with techniques to continue to practice and refine your skills so they are there when you need them. The instructors are VERY careful, patient, kind, funny and helpful. There are no "drill sergeants" at Front Sight.

    There were 6-8 current/former cops or current/former military in our June class of 31 students. They were all completely impressed by the Front Sight student-coach training method. In addition to the experienced people there were families with sons and daughters from all walks of life.

    In October we attended with Will, a 25 year Marine. He trains marksmen and competitive shooting teams in the service. He's been deployed to Iraq 2X and Afghanistan 1x I think. He has attended the FBI training in VA as well as a few other private schools. On day 4 I grilled him to get his honest evaluation. He said it was some of the best training he has seen for new shooters and he was considering buying classes for his military instructors so they could see how Frontsight does their student-coach training. He said that you have to have a special MOS in the service to be able to be a line coach, but that he believes you never really learn something until you teach it to others. Will's feedback echoed the comments of the dozen or so active and former LEOs and another dozen current and former military with whom I've had the opportunity to train.

    One student, an MP being deployed to Afghanistan, said that if she ever got a type 3 malfunction at the range in the Army, she was supposed to put the gun down and let the range master clear the malfunction. I don't believe she will be able to bring the Range Master with her to Afghanistan so I don't quite understand the reasoning...her Beretta was giving her all sorts of trouble so she became very proficient and clearing malfunctions during drills.
    At Frontsight you're tested on your ability to clear malfunctions under time pressure. I occasionally find myself reciting the mother of all malfunction clearance for a type three so it get stuck in my head....Look (determine the problem = low brass) > Move (to cover) > Check (for new mag) > Lock back > Strip > Rack > Rack > Rack > Insert > Rack

    We flew Southwest from Seattle so checking bags with guns was free and basically hassle free. It costs about $1200 for both of us to travel there but you get a 4 day intensive class and a chance to be in the warm sun so it's a win-win.

    You need to pay attention to the weather in Pahrump when you schedule.
    We were there in mid June (100F +/-) and in October (90F +/-).
    Leaving Seattle for some heat doesn't bother me, but I guess it gets fairly cold in the winter. ...not nasty cold, but chilly so you need to keep your hands warm, dress warm and be prepared to shiver a bit all day, etc. I get plenty of that in Seattle so I'm planning on Mar, Apr, May, Sep, Oct, Nov.

    If you're thinking about attending Frontsight and/or buying a membership, PM me. As a member, I may be able to help you get a good deal on a class or one of the memberships available on the secondary market. It's a violation of the Frontsight Membership agreement to advertise memberships for sale.

    I'd love to hear what you thought of your Frontsight experience or answer any questions you may have about our experience and/or traveling there.

    I noticed a few other decent Frontsight threads here so feel free to link to the good ones so we can tie all the FS info together.

    PLEASE don't comment on this thread unless you've attended Frontsight in the last five years or you have sincere questions about Frontsight. I and other people who have attended will be glad to give our our first-hand feedback and answers to the best of our ability. If you think Frontsight is evil, please start a thread where you can air that stuff out and let people know what you think and link to it from here so people get both sides.

    What SUCKS about Frontsight?

    #1: MASSIVE SPAM and Marketing Assault
    Their marketing is effective but extremely annoying. I endure it because I don't want to miss the deals, but it is one of the main complaints people have. You can opt out of robo calling and spam if you want and/or set up an email filter to throw them all into a folder and check them once in a while. Sometimes the links to videos etc. are very cool.

    #2: Questionable History
    The last time I ordered memberships I asked the guy I was speaking to about some of their bad press. He explained that he was member number 12 and that he was with FS since it was one berm in the middle of the desert. Like any company they go through growing pains, and the expectations of some of the original members were not met which resulted in lawsuits and issues. I believe that has been resolved. He asked me what my experience was when I attended. I said it safe, professional and fun. He said, "That's what you tell your friends and family."

    The bottom line...
    They have been in business a long time and train more than 50,000 people per year.
    The facility has a few dozen ranges including 400+yd rifle ranges, scenario houses, etc.
    People who have attended generally have a VERY positive experience.
    Most of the negative energy you'll find online has to do with their pushy nagging marketing process.

    Feel free to ask any question.
     
  2. billt

    billt Glendale, Arizona Active Member

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    Do you have any business affiliation, or financial stake in this outfit? I ask because your praise seems to go way above and beyond the simple, "I tried it and liked it", response of what most people deliver after attending these type of classes.
     
  3. sbmitt

    sbmitt North Snohomish County New Member

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    I'm not affiliated with FS at all. I have gleaned some of the key things from other forums and compiled them here for NWF members. I am a member of SeattleGuns.net, but we are considering moving elsewhere in the PNW so I wanted to start connecting with people outside the Puget Sound area. In the interest of full disclosure I do have some extra memberships I do plan to sell at a profit, but that's not the point of this thread. There are thousands of memberships available on the person-to-person market so most of us probably already know a guy at our gun club or a friend of a friend who has an extra Diamond membership they buy locally.

    This distillation of one of the threads on that board is why you are seeing a more in-depth review/post. I realize now that throw red flags for people who think it's some sort of sales letter. That is not my intent.

    I first heard about FS...maybe 2007, but their obnoxious SPAM and high list prices drove me away quick. In 2010 a close friend of mine went...then he convinced me to get in on a deal for a couple handgun classes. He then got in on some "super amazing deal" to buy memberships dirt cheap. I thought he was nuts, but I based my decision purely on his enthusiastic endorsement. I figured it would be a long time before I could justify spending $1200 +/- to travel from Seattle to Pahrump to do gun training. An unexpected turn of events put my in-laws in the area, and they were going to use 2 2-day handgun certs. Since they were hauling guns and ammo and we split some expenses we attended in June-2011. We really liked it. The buddy who sucked me into it was taking a group of friends in October so we drug someone with us to form up a group of 8. The whole trip, training and group experience was a lot of fun.

    Watching my strong-willed wife learn what I consider to be a very important skill set...without me being a part of the process was also a very big plus for me.

    Hopefully other people who have attended will chime in too.
    I'm sure some people who have been didn't like it, but so far we're 2 for 2 and headed back in April with 10 or more friends.
     
  4. borrowedsig

    borrowedsig Lincoln, Nebraska Active Member

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    My grandfather on my wifes side got a couple lifetime memberships for cheap as well and gave me one. id love to go but i cant afford it lol. Such is life though i guess. Thanks for your input on it. i cant really imagine any pistol course being "bad" or not learning anything from it.

    Matt
     
  5. parallax

    parallax eugene, or-gun Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I have been there twice. good classes, instructors were good, There were a couple of things i did not care for.. the instructor to sudent ratio was pretty high, 10 to 1, sometimes 20 to 1. at any given time of day.(fluctuated, different instructors would come and go.)..during the lunch break,came the hard sell in the main building, which was actually entertaining most of the time. piazza has some big plans for this place (and i hope it comes together for him)..long drive back to vegas, or pharump for hotel.. I think they are planning on building a hotel and/or an rv park there, but they are having water, and sewer issues at this point in time. a couple of guys i was training with were camping close by in the desert.. Last time i was there, a guy shot himself in the leg with his pistol, had to be life flighted out. Seemed like a handful of guys i was training with had no previous firearms experience, and at times was kinda frightening.( no muzzle control, playing with there guns even when asked by the instructors to stop.I feel that for the safety of the rest of us, they should have been asked to stop there training and leave.) If you go there, make sure your rifle and sidearm work flawlessly. there were a few weapons malfunctions that ruined it for a few students. who had to discontinue training.
     
  6. billt

    billt Glendale, Arizona Active Member

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    [video]http://www.everydaynodaysoff.com/2011/08/22/tactical-response-training-try-not-to-shoot-the-photographer/[/video]
     
  7. sbmitt

    sbmitt North Snohomish County New Member

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    Depending on your transportation costs, it can be reasonable to be there. i.e. Saddle West during the week is $45+tx/night or around $200 for 4 for FS members which includes a big buffet breakfast. 600 rounds of 9mm can be had for about $130. "how much will the trip cost?" Is on of the first questions my friends ask, so I cooked up a spreadsheet that shows equipment and travel costs. We're also very frugal people so we buy groceries and bring our lunch, etc. ...it costs...but it can be done cheaply.

    What month did you attend? We were there Jun and Oct and we had a Range Master, 2 other experienced guys and 3 line coaches for our classes of 40. Floaters would come through the classes one at a time in addition to that.
    I'm wondering if some times of the year it's tougher to get instructors.

    20 min to Pahrump and 40-ish to Vegas...I wouldn't tack on a commute to and from Las Vegas on top of these 10 hour days. That's a lot of driving. Camping in the super hot or cold months sounds nasty unless you're geared for it.

    We were fortunate to have two very good classes that were idiot deficient, but I did hear of a class while we were there in June where this family of 11 thought they owned the place and were real jerks...still muzzling people on day 3 and generally not teachable. I asked our RM about that sort of thing...what do they do if they get dumb-asses in their class...he said he typically assigns someone to work with them on the side until they can play nice with others...but that they are "stuck" with them. I think they should be able to punt them... I guess it's the luck of the draw. We were on sight with 600 people the first time and 300 the second time.

    This is very good advice. I gave my wife my heaver Astra (Sig copy) the first time. The double action created more work for her, but she made the best of it. At the end of day 2 the instructors looked over her gun. It was about 3-4 inches out of alignment at 10 yards and the slide lock lever broke some time during that day. The pro shop comped her a Glock for the last 2 days (surprised me) and she started to have fun.

    My KelTech P-11 would expose the dis-assembly pin when it locked back on an empty mag. MAJOR design flaw because the the pin slide out the side a couple times and the gun dis-assembled itself in my hand. That was very useful information. I rented a Glock for day 3-4.

    We both carry Glock 19s now.
     
  8. sbmitt

    sbmitt North Snohomish County New Member

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    Holy crap...using the "life is dangerous" and "stress inoculation" in defense of putting a camera man or any person in front of a bunch of amateurs (or anyone) shooting.
    Maybe...with a full ballistic suit and combat pay. Darwin awards future star.

    There are safe ways to train in 360 degree scenarios with 1 instructor clipped to 1 student and surrounded by berms on all sides....this guy is a fatality in the making.
    And training people to point the gun up in the air and spin around? I thought that was just for the movies so the intense close-ups have the face and the gun in the shot. I was taught that the gun goes down to the ready position after shooting with your finger straight. Am I missing some thing?

    In risk-related lawsuits, a gross violation of industry standards is a great way to guarantee a loss as I understand it.
     
  9. billt

    billt Glendale, Arizona Active Member

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  10. Kevatc

    Kevatc Oregon Well-Known Member

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    That is freaking amazing in an incredibly bad way. I can't believe the guy spent 9+ minutes trying to justify it.
     
  11. Kevatc

    Kevatc Oregon Well-Known Member

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  12. billt

    billt Glendale, Arizona Active Member

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    Why does it seem like most every time you turn around, one of these “professional firearms trainers” is having, or appears to be having, issues regarding their professionalism, their past, or their credentials? It’s an all but never ending saga. Suarez has been convicted of fraud, and served time for receiving phony disability compensation. And in the process has been all but barred from law enforcement as a result. Ignatius Piazza has been on the receiving end of all types of suits and accusations resulting from his failed Front Sight development and subsequent money allegedly lost by investors. More recently Pat Rogers has come under attack for his credentials, or lack of same. Others like Yeager have also received negative criticism in regards to their past trials and tribulations.

    Then you have complete morons the likes of Chris Collins, along with his bunch of ninjas at “G-1 Tactical Solutions”. About all these guys are going to succeed at is getting someone killed with all of their foolishness they have the audacity to call “training”. The fact of the matter is none of these guys are anyone who I would like to make friends with, or trust with the keys to my house. So why would I want to take the risk of giving them my hard earned money in exchange for “training” that might be real, half assed, or outright bogus? And unfortunately like any other business that provides a service, you have no choice but to sign on in good faith, and won’t know the quality of same until after the fact.

    Firearms training can be a very lucrative business. The lure of the dollar, along with having your own business has always been, and will continue to be an attractive proposition to many people. Unfortunately this attractiveness will bring in people with less than stellar reputations. We see this today in most any type of service related business offered. Why would firearms training be any different?

    Now, the fact may be that some of this criticism is underserved, or perhaps not. But regardless of either, I personally have never had my resume unnecessarily scrutinized, or been accused of, or much less charged with any type of wrong doing. More importantly I’ve never claimed to have done anything beyond the scope of my abilities. Why is it these guys appear to be such a magnet for so much of it?

    I know there are many people out there who do this sort of thing, who are good, honest, well qualified individuals. But as far as I’m concerned it just isn’t worth navigating through such a snake pit to find them.
     
    borrowedsig and (deleted member) like this.
  13. gearsource

    gearsource WA Member

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    Does Frontsight have any plumbing yet? In recent photos, I still see the Porta-Potties. I went there a couple of times in the late 1990s, and they said back then that proper bathrooms were just a year or so away.

    Did any of the building projects get done? They used to show a neat table top model of the planned "community" that was to be built on the property with a housing development, condos, a school, shopping center, etc. Did any of that happen?

    Thanks.
     
  14. borrowedsig

    borrowedsig Lincoln, Nebraska Active Member

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    LOL after seeing these videos i stand corrected.

    Matt
     
  15. sbmitt

    sbmitt North Snohomish County New Member

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    I think they've scaled back their plans. Though I saw houses on the model I don't remember a school or shopping center. No matter. I'm sure that's in the distant future. As I understand it, they are planning to double from 25 to 50 ranges next.

    There is a comfort station about 300 feet from the main facility. The Range 10+ and rifle ranges that are around the corner past the simulation bays still have brown rooms. Brownrooms for everyone would really stink. ;)
     
  16. sbmitt

    sbmitt North Snohomish County New Member

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    I don't know if I'd take a class directly from Piazza, but so far I like the people he has hired. The RMs we've had were cool and appeared to be very experienced and safety minded.
     
  17. billt

    billt Glendale, Arizona Active Member

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    Here is the big problem with guys like Piazza. He operates on the pretense of "Promise them everything, and deliver $h!t." Take his "Front Sight Master Planned Community", for example. If he were an above board guy, this kind of thing could be easily made to happen, assuming he had the people and money behind him to make it happen. He did not.

    1.) Get a bunch of people together who have money, like guns, and would like to live in a community where others like to engage in much the same thing. A bit like the place where John Travolta lives. "Jumbolair", or some such aviation community that has hangers and a runway so you can keep your plane, or planes, right where you live, taxi out, and take off.

    JohnTravoltasHouse.jpg

    2.) Sell off the lots to affluent individuals who can afford these type of lifestyles, and who will agree to build in accordance to set rules and size constrictions.

    3.) Sell and supervise construction until all avaliable lots and home sites are sold, and all promised amenities are provided for as in all of the the original signed contracts.

    Piazza did none of the above. Much like a common thief who deals in deception, he did not have the money or investors secured to make any, let alone all of his "Master Planned Community" happen. The result was class action law suits, expensive judgements, (Most of which he cannot pay), and a whole bunch of pissed off people who were screwed over by this total a$$hat, who had no intentions of delivering as promised, WHAT HE HAD PROMISED. In this regard he is nothing more than a miniature Bernie Madoff. What prevented him from attaining Madoff's status was his own stupidity. He simply wasn't as good of a crook. This guy is simply a walking screw job waiting to strike at the first avaliable victim who is dumb enough to go for his "bait".

    You just might make out on one of his "Firearms Training Deals". But trust me if you do you will have to sit through a high pressure sales seminar to do it. There will most certainly be someone else down the road, like in the past, who will get financially raped by this POS. He simply doesn't have an honest bone in his body. His track record proves that. You can swim with the sharks, and get a hell of a rush if you succeed. That rush however, is provided by the people who get eaten.
     
  18. sbmitt

    sbmitt North Snohomish County New Member

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    BillT,
    Were you one of the original investors who got hosed?
     
  19. billt

    billt Glendale, Arizona Active Member

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    No, much like you I'm not affiliated with FS at all.
     
  20. sbmitt

    sbmitt North Snohomish County New Member

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    You seem very passionate about Piazza. Would you be willing to send links to some documentation you used to form your opinions about his history? I found some stuff in WikiPedia, but I've been trying to find something official or news reports that that is not just someone airing their opinions. I am interested in getting as much of the whole story as possible.

    Which class(es) did you attend at Frontsight?

    Have you attended other shooting schools in the Western US that impressed you?