Front Sight - My Experience

Discussion in 'XDTalk Chatter Box' started by scurtis_34471, Apr 18, 2008.

  1. scurtis_34471

    scurtis_34471 XDTalk 100 Member

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    Last year, my wife and I took advantage of Front Sight's offer of a free training certificate in exchange for posting their advertising on our blogs. We did not actually have blogs, so we each created a MySpace account with a blog entry and posted the advertising there. We received our training certificates shortly thereafter.

    Before I go any farther, I need to let you know that I've always been a bit turned off by Front Sight's marketing. Its a bit too late-night infomercial for my taste and comes off a bit smarmy. That impression, combined with some things I read on various forums made me wonder if the place was any good. With free training, I figured I had nothing to lose. My wife and I went for the Four-Day Defensive Handgun class last weekend.

    The first myth I need to lay to rest is the hard sell. The sales pitch for life memberships was a video shown during lunch one day, a hand-out and a QA session. There was no pressure, no pushing and no "hard sell." We did not hear much of anything about it outside of that presentation.

    The second myth I'd like to kill is the Scientology thing. It is completely untrue. We did not hear a single word about Scientology the entire time we were there or receive any literature that so much as mentioned it. Chalk another one up for the Internet rumor mill.

    Now to the important stuff. The training was fantastic. Most of the instructors had pretty impressive resumes in military, law enforcement and security contracting, but there was nothing para-military about the place or the program. The instructors were very professional, but also very patient and very nice. My wife is a complete newbie who really struggled and they gave her a TON of one-on-one help. They took what could have been an extremely frustrating experience for her and made it so positive that she wants to go back.

    The training was very technique intensive, especially for the first couple days. I've never performed so many chamber checks and magazine checks in my life. Safety was absolutely paramount, as it should be. Moving into the last couple days, we started shooting under time pressure, did a night shoot with flashlights, got put through a tactical simulator and worked a lot on presentation from concealment.

    By the time we took the final assessment test, I was able to consistently make thorasic cavity hits at 5, 7, 10 and 15 yards in under 1.5 seconds from a concealed holster. I've got some work to do on head shots. In order to count, the shot has to go in the 3x4 inch box that represents the area below the eyebrows and above the bottom of the nose. At 3, 5 and 7 yards, I was only able to make that shot from a concealed holster about half the time in the 1.5 seconds allocated. I scored well enough on the test to get a Graduate certificate, but nowhere near well enough to receive the Distinguished Graduate required to advance to the next class. Their standards are pretty tough, but I cannot argue with the results.

    I went from skeptical to unabashed fan in four days. I think the biggest problem with Front Sight is that they need to fire their marketing people. The image I had of the place before I went and the experience I had when I was there were completely different things.

    Oh, to keep things on topic, I shot the entire course with my XD-40 Service in a dusty, windy desert environment without ever cleaning the gun and had zero malfunctions.
     
  2. Bucc5207

    Bucc5207 XDTalk 5K Member

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    Thanks for that. I've been thinking about going there, and I'm thinking more seriously now.
     
  3. AZBill

    AZBill XDTalk 100 Member

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    I took the free machine gun class there a few years ago. We trained with and shot Uzis for about three hours for free, that part was great. However, we had to sit through about two hours of pitching their memberships in return. The place was pretty primative at the time, temp facilities mostly (tent buildings and porta potties). I know they have had problems with the real estate "sales" there and the membership prices have dropped quite a bit over the years.

    If I lived in Vegas, I may have been tempted to join at some level. They have nice ranges, and it's only 30-40 minute drive from the Strip. If you are going to go, think fall or spring, summer is too hot, winter is iffy.
     
  4. scurtis_34471

    scurtis_34471 XDTalk 100 Member

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    The ranges are excellent and there are a lot of them. The handgun ranges all have motorized target bases so the targets can flip to face the shooter and then flip away on a timer. Each range has a roofed class area with chairs and a table that has big coolers of water and Gatoraid. The toilets are still porta-poties, but they are the cleanest I've ever see, do not smell and have foot-pump sinks with soap and paper towels. The classroom building is air conditioned and reasonable nice. They are building the place out on cashflow, so they have no debt. It takes longer, but it makes good sense to me. My only real complaint is that there is nowhere nearby to stay and it took an hour to get there from our casino on the south end of the Strip in Vegas. There are no restaurants anywhere near the place, so you have to pack a lunch or deal with the small selection of microwaveable foods they sell in the Pro Shop.

    One piece of advice I have for anyone who decides to give it a try is not to buy ammo at the Pro Shop. It is outrageously expensive. I called ahead to one of the Walmart Super Centers in Vegas and reserved enough ammo for the entire class. That half-hour errand saved us about $400, because the ammo cost half what they charged on site. Members get a 40% discount in the store, so its not quite as bad for them. The rest of the merchandise in the store was really no worse than most small gun shops I've been in and they do have a very nice selection of Blade Tek stuff on hand.
     
  5. Mercmar

    Mercmar XDTalk 5K Member

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    Do a Google for "Front Sight Litigation" and "Front Sight and Scientology". If you still want to give money to clowns like that, then,.....well, it's your money!
     
  6. dyferant

    dyferant XDTalk 100 Member

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    if anyone is interested I have a four day cert F/S. Just drop me a PM.
     
  7. jlpskydive

    jlpskydive XDTalk 100 Member

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    Thanks for the post. I have a 4 day Cert sitting in the safe waiting on me. As far as the guys religion..... I couldn't give a rat's a$$.
     
  8. scurtis_34471

    scurtis_34471 XDTalk 100 Member

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    Because EVERYTHING you find online is always true. Obviously.

    The Scientology rumor was started by a former employee who went off to start his own training school and was trying to gain students at the expense of his former employer. It has no basis in fact. In fact, Front Sight sued the guy for libel and won a settlement. I have been to Front Sight and I am convinced that the Scientology claim is exactly what my research indicates: complete B.S.

    The litigation stems from the fact that Front Sight's development plan is taking so long to implement. This is not because people are being ripped off, but because they are building things out entirely with cashflow. The people who filed the suit was angry because they bought house plots in a development that is part of the last phase of the build-out and nothing has happened yet. I don't entirely blame them, but it seems that they are as much to blame as Front Sight. The people at the school were very up-front with us on how long they expect the remainder of development to take and it was around 2 to 3 more years.

    I researched this stuff before I went. It really bugs me that all it takes on the Internet these days is the mere accusation of wrong-doing and a conviction in the court of forum opinion is almost immediate. Why don't people talk about all the money Front Sight has donated to JPFO, GOA and the NRA? Why don't people talk about the fact that Front Sight offered to train pilots for free the day after 9/11 or the fact that they will give free training to any teacher allowed to carry in the classroom. These guys are doing a lot for the gun-rights community and really don't diserve the crap they are taking from certain quarters.
     
  9. boardsurfer

    boardsurfer XDTalk 100 Member Founding Member

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    It is so tough to nail down the Scientology thing. The account I read "quoted" him as admitting to partaking of their services, and having dealings with that organization.

    umm, who cares? The litigation thing, about the membership money and promises not delivered - well, they obviously mishandled that money, or outright lied. either way, I dont intend on spending that kind of money there.

    Just take them for what you need, and that is (by all accounts) fantastic firearm training.
     
  10. Mercmar

    Mercmar XDTalk 5K Member

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    Nope, everything you read on the internet isn't true. The litigation is certainly real, and it's damning. The "Scientology rumor" isn't just a rumor. The little quackopractor uses EXACTLY the same techniques of attacking his critics as do other Scientologists...threatening law suites, etc., etc.

    It's a scam, I say, a scam! The development isn't "just taking too long," it's not happening.
     
  11. scurtis_34471

    scurtis_34471 XDTalk 100 Member

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    I need to clarify. There is some evidence that Piazza may be or have been involved in the Church of Scientology at some point. Who cares? The school is not affiliated and is not being used as a recruiting platform. I did not hear a single word about it the entire time I was there. The fact that the owner of Kahr is a Moony didn't stop me from buying a gun, why would Piazza's religion keep me from using his excellent product.

    The development IS happening. I've been there and I've seen some of the work that's been done and is being done. They are currently negotiating with some real estate developers to get the housing stuff done. One of the big set-backs is that fact that they have to build a sewage treatment facility before they can do any of the rest of the stuff they want and that is very expensive.

    I personally think that anyone who would buy an expensive house lot on completely undeveloped land at a shooting range in the middle of the desert is a bit of an idiot, but that's just me.

    The training is excellent. The instructors are excellent. The facility is nice. Where is the downside? My current plan is to wait for another of their ridiculous 7 for 1 promotions and buy life memberships with a few friends to split the cost. Its not a bad deal if you wait for the right deal. My gripe is that their "regular" prices are so laughably inflated. I find their marketing tactics smarmy and an insult to my intelligence, but I'll play the game because the product is top-notch.
     

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