Home | Founder's Message | Monthly Report | Expert Instruction | Courses | Application | Newsletter | Other Links

October 1, 1997

Dear Friends,

September was another great month for Front Sight and October looks to be the most well attended month on record so far. I would like to share some significant announcements with you to keep you up to date on the continued enhancements we are making at Front Sight and how our students are responding to the improvements. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments. I always have time to speak with you.

The next time you attend a class at Front Sight, you will see that we are using new targets of my own design. The overall dimensions and shapes are based on the body size measurements I recorded on over 3000 different patients before performing various x-ray studies. The thoracic area is now shaped anatomically correct and not quite a large as the previous target and the neck and head are now correct in shape and size. The internal dimensions reflect my findings during medical dissection of 20 cadavers. If you would like a sample set or would like to purchase any of the targets call me directly.

In the next few weeks Front Sight will begin carrying a complete line of the exact equipment students need for the courses we offer. This is due to repeated requests and phone calls from our students. We will provide it directly for you instead of telling you to call three or four different places to locate what you need and hoping that it arrives in time for your course. This will be especially helpful to the new students who often do not know what to bring or wish they had purchased better equipment once they arrive at the course.

I am pleased to report that our staff continues to grow and attract more outstanding instructors. Recent, full courses ran a ratio of one instructor for every 2 - 3 students on the firing line. To further develop and train more instructors, we are holding a special instructors course on October 18-19. The course will cover the entire teaching curriculum for the handgun. Each instructor will lecture and demonstrate (to the critical eye of all the other instructors) Front Sight’s on-range instructional blocks and then receive fine tuning of his teaching techniques. Similar instructor courses for shotgun and rifle will follow.

By the end of October or early November, a complete set of classroom lecture notes will be presented to our students at the beginning of each course with a dry practice outline provided at the end of the course. We continue to refine and streamline the lectures to give you more of what you want. Student questions and comments indicate a desire for more definitive information on the law and the use of deadly force as well as what to do immediately following the use of deadly force. Of course, the more training and knowledge you have on these issues, the more likely you will do everything possible to avoid the potential liability of a gun fight -- which is always the best tactic.

I am extremely proud to announce that Front Sight Firearms Training Institute has certified two Handgun Combat Masters. On September 21, 1997 Mark Flinn and Lawrence Bolton successfully completed the test on their first attempt during the course. The following day, Mark and Lawrence tested again and they passed it a second time, leaving no doubt in anyone's mind that they can perform on demand and under stress to the limits of their weapons. Truly the mark of a Master of any discipline.

To give you some perspective on the Handgun Combat Master Certification:

Prior to my development of Front Sight and the Handgun Combat Master Prep course, there were 12 Handgun Combat Masters. The first Handgun Combat Master successfully passed the test in 1981 and I was number 12 in 1993, after I became the second person to complete the Four Weapons Combat Master certification. As you can see, the test (appended below for your review) is extremely difficult to say the least. My goal in developing the Master Prep course was to provide students with the opportunity to experience the entire spectrum of handgun curriculum in one four day course instead of taking a four day basic course this year, then a four day intermediate course the next year, then a four day advanced course the following year then a master course the following year... then a repeat master course... you get the picture I'm sure. With a Master Prep course offered at Front Sight every month, a student can improve his skills to the highest levels possible, and do it faster and more economically than he could at any other training institute. I felt I could take a beginning student who was dedicated to dry practicing every day and produce a Handgun Combat Master in less than one year. You will see from the enclosed testimonials from Mark Flinn and Lawrence Bolton, that Front Sight’s program of courses have in fact accomplished the goal with two very dedicated and talented students. What would have taken them years under the previous structure of courses offered in the industry, was in fact accomplished in about six months!

Interestingly, the Master Prep course did not start out in the form that it is now. I designed the original course in January 1997 and soon recognized, through observing and interviewing students who were taking the course, that it needed some changes in structure and instructional techniques. In fact, we ran several Master Prep courses from January to July of 1997 and did not produce a single Handgun Combat Master-- not even close. Due to Front Sight’s internal problems from January to July (previously shared with you in the letter of August 9) I was not able to make the needed changes and introduce the new instructional techniques to bring students up to the Master level. The Master Prep course in September was the first course with the needed curriculum changes and I personally delivered the new instructional techniques. The results are what I had envisioned all along and we now have paved a path that you too can follow.

I also cleaned up a problem in the administration of the test that I always felt cheapened the certification and left it open to criticism. Previously the test was administered by an instructor using a stop watch and whistle. This produced a variability in the times from instructor to instructor operating the watch and whistle, allowed human error and ego to play into the time frames, and opened up the potential for favoritism or discrimination. Front Sight has changed all that by administering the course and the test with an electronic shot timer. The times were set by Front Sight’s three Handgun Combat Masters (Ignatius Piazza, Mark Flinn, and Lawrence Bolton) completing the test using the electronic shot timer. Now you can be sure that there is no error, ego or favoritism. Also, anyone can now check their skills against the test with a timer. The other benefit is that the instructor(s) in the course can now watch the students and instruct, rather than watching the stop watch. Front Sight’s Handgun Combat Master certification through our Handgun Combat Master Prep course provides a higher standard of instruction and challenge than ever before. I hope you will take a serious look at climbing to the top of combat handgunning. It is well within your reach.

You will find a list of testimonials (below) from students who completed courses in September. I could have listed more than 50 different students who chose to share their positive comments. Instead, I have listed only those students who have taken multiple course with us or courses from other training facilities as they have a perspective to compare Front Sight now to their previous training experience.

With the exception of the Four Day Defensive Handgun course October 10-13, which is full (I can take your name for a stand by slot in case anyone reschedules at the last minute), we still have a few to several openings in each of our courses through the end of the year. If you do not have Front Sight’s 1997-98 Course brochure or need more for your friends, please call me and I will send you as many as you want.

If you or your family and friends have not yet attended a course in 1997 but want to be invited to our free submachine gun seminar in Las Vegas January 10-13, then please contact me to enroll and attend a course before the end of the year. I hope to hear from you soon and look forward to seeing you in a course at Front Sight.



Founder and Director
Front Sight Firearms Training Institute


"During my 17 years in Nuclear Security as an instructor of firearms, tactics, and self defense, I have attended many courses presented by the FBI, local law enforcement departments, California Specialized Training Institute and Orange Gunsite. So I feel that I have the perspective to judge a course.

The Advanced Tactical Handgun class at Front Sight was the best I have ever attended. The instructors are highly experienced, skilled, personable, and sincere. The schedule is tight, the curriculum is aggressive and jam packed with instruction. The down time was pretty much limited to reloading magazines and gulping water. I did not come for a vacation, but to increase my knowledge and skills. Both have increased beyond my expectations.

I have the highest praise that I can think of for this school. I'll be back!"

William Hay, Watch Commander, Nuclear Security

"What a great time! I came in very ignorant on how to use my shotgun but now feel very confident in my skills. I also had concerns about how the courses would be run after all the turnover, but I now feel that the courses, curriculum and instructors are even better than before."

George Skrivanek, Business Manager

"Piazza hasn't missed a step. Outstanding instruction from a high quality, professional staff--the best. The instructors are really great. They are genuinely interested in the progress of the students and really earn their money."

Ron Stacey, Executive

"The new instruction at Front Sight is fast paced and tactically oriented. The new and improved version definitely raised my adrenaline level! Front Sight continues to be the leader in innovation and advanced techniques that bring the student to even higher levels of skill. The new staff is excellent. Great knowledge and experience combined with a bit of humor and a willingness to give personal analysis and recommendations created quite a weekend. Thanks again."

Jim and Patrick Lobb

"I believe there have been some great changes since I took my last course. The additional work on the "Three Secrets" was a great improvement. I think that anyone owning a firearm owes it to themselves and their family to take a Front Sight course. The classes are designed to improve the novice as well as the experienced shooter so everyone benefits from the course. I highly recommend Front Sight."

L. J. Vaccher, Vice President, Orvac Electronics, Inc.

"Excellent instructor to student ratio and really excellent instructors. I have attended a lot of training and have never had instructors which made me feel better about learning than the instructors at Front Sight. They just seemed to want to be there. It was more than a job to them!"

Robert May, U.S. Postal Manager

"Another great experience! I thought it would be everything I learned in the pistol course, applied to the shotgun, but it was so much more than I expected. Learning the shotgun's strengths and weaknesses along with its tactical flexibility made a big difference. Your instructors are great teachers! Very informative and very nice people. Having four, live-fire simulator runs was great too."

Farley Magadia, Graphic Artist / Photographer

"This is my third time at Front Sight and I am definitely coming back for more courses and I am referring as many friends, family, and business associates as I can. The personalized instruction is outstanding. I find the current Range Masters and instructors to be much better than the previous crew. I am super impressed with the number of great instructors you had on the range for each relay of students. It is truly personalized training and worth three times the cost!"

Randy Sefrioui, CEO

"I attended the Four Day Defensive Handgun course at Front Sight for the first time back in March of this year. I was so impressed with the dedication of Ignatius Piazza (Front Sight’s Founder) and the quality of his course curriculum and instructional staff, that I decided to take every course offered by Front Sight. On September 19, 1997 I attended Front Sight’s Handgun Combat Master Prep course for the second time with my shooting partner Mark Flinn. This time, Ignatius Piazza himself instructed the four day course. I have attended many training courses in the racing industry and martial arts and to date have attended every handgun course offered by Front Sight. The level of instruction given by Ignatius can only be described as second to none! By the third day of the Master Prep course, which was packed with extensive range drills, diagnostic drills, and dry practice drills (some of which I had never experienced before) Mark and I both passed Front Sight’s extremely demanding Handgun Combat Master Test on the first attempt. We then passed it again, just for good measure, the following day! From the first handgun course to Handgun Combat Master in just six months. It is hard to believe.

I am now ready to enroll in Shotgun, Rifle, and Submachine Gun courses. There is no doubt that Front Sight will be able to train me to a level of competence with these weapons that I never thought possible. I highly recommend Front Sight to anyone looking for the best in firearms training."

Lawrence Bolton, Design Engineer

"As I settle into my work schedule again, I can't help reflecting on this past weekend's Handgun Combat Master Prep course at Front Sight Firearms Training Institute. This course, now personally instructed by Dr. Ignatius Piazza (students call him Naish) was a wonderfully exciting experience. Naish's expert, personalized instruction included gun handling tips, additional insight into the "Three Secrets," rapid assumption of position shooting, natural point of aim drills, and other special attention that was not previously offered. I could not believe when 15 minutes of his teaching me the 'eyes closed' drill resulted in my ability to keep BOTH eyes closed, draw from the holster and place a head shot in the X-box from five meters away in 1.3 seconds and do it three consecutive times! His response was, 'Now just imagine how certain you will be of your shot with a clear focus on the Front Sight.' He was right, because on the third day, with my first attempt, I passed the very demanding HANDGUN COMBAT MASTER exam and so did my good friend and shooting partner Lawrence Bolton. The next day we passed it again and my score was even better!

Front Sight has trained us to the pinnacle of speed and accuracy with a full powered handgun and accomplished it in about six months. I attended the Defensive Handgun, Advanced Tactical Handgun and Two Master Prep courses since March of this year. I also attended Front Sight’s free Student Appreciation, Submachine Gun Seminar. If you want to rapidly improve your skills with any weapon, attend a course a Front Sight. You won't be disappointed. Naish and ALL the instructors go out of their way to make each class a remarkable experience. Not only will you vastly improve your weaponcraft skills, it is just plain fun!"

Mark Flinn, Desert Electric, Inc.


Explanation of Scoring: 80 Shots. Each shot worth possible 5 points in thoracic area and cranio-occipital box of head (when head shot is called for) 2 points (major .40 or larger) or 1 point (minor) for hits in all other areas of target. Equipment must be standard issue. No compensators, optics, low powered ammunition, competition speed holsters, etc.

5 point penalty for overtime when shooting or manipulating weapons.
5 point penalty for improper procedure. TIMING ADMINISTERED WITH AN ELECTRONIC SHOT TIMER.

80 shots total. 400 points possible. 90% or 360 points (or down 40 points or less) is cut off for Pass/Fail.

Handgun Combat Master Skills Test from Holster under time pressure as follows:
(Start position: Both arms at rest at sides. No contact with weapon or holster.)

Range Holster Two Shots Each Presentation
Speed Rock 1-meter 1.0 sec. 16 total shots
P/S Step Back 1-meter 1.3 sec.
3-meters 1.3 sec.
7-meters 1.5 sec.
10-meters 1.8 sec.
15-meters 2.1 sec.
25-meters 2.7 sec.
50-meters 6.0 sec.

7-meter line. Weapon Presentation Test. From Holster present weapon and fire single shot to the center of mass in 1.2 seconds.
Perform five times. 5 shots total

7-meter line. Response to Support Side. Present weapon from holster, fire single shot to center of mass in 1.2 seconds.
Perform five times. 5 shots total

7-meter line. Response to Firing Side. Present weapon from holster, fire single shot to center of mass in 1.3 seconds.
Perform five times. 5 shots total

7-meter line. Response Rear. Present weapon from holster, fire single shot to center of mass in 1.4 seconds.
Perform five times. 5 shots total

5-meter line. Multiple Targets. Targets one meter apart center to center. Present weapon from the holster, fire a single shot on each of:

Two targets 1.5 sec.
Three targets 1.8 sec.
Four targets 2.1 sec.
9 shots total

5-meter line. HEAD SHOTS. Present weapon from holster, fire single shot to head in 1.3 second.
Perform four times. 4 shots total

7-meter line. HEAD SHOTS. Present weapon from holster, fire single shot to head in 1.5 second.
Perform five times. 5 shots total

7-meter line. Ambidextrous Shooting. Three targets each one meter apart, center to center. Present weapon holding three rounds, from the holster and engage each target, firing a single shot per target to slide lock back -- then speed reload, transfer weapon to support hand and engage target, support hand only, firing one more shot on each target. Time limit:

6 seconds for autos,
8 seconds for revolvers.

6 shots total

7-meter line. Hostage Situation. Present weapon from Holster for single target engagement to LEFT Hostage Taker in 1.5 seconds.
Perform 5 times. 5 shots total

7-meter line. Hostage Situation. Present weapon from Holster for single target engagement to RIGHT Hostage Taker in 1.5 seconds.
Perform 5 times. 5 shots total

7-meter line. BARRICADE LEFT. Present weapon from Holster for single target engagement to Target looking around LEFT side of cover in 1.5 seconds.
Perform 5 times. 5 shots total

7-meter line. BARRICADE RIGHT. Present weapon from Holster for single target engagement to Target looking around RIGHT side of cover in 1.5 seconds.
Perform 5 times. 5 shots total

Emergency Reload. 7-meter line. 1.8 seconds auto-loader, 5.0 seconds revolver.
Perform five times. No shooting.

Tactical Reload. 7-meter line. 3.0 seconds auto-loader, 5.0 seconds revolver.
Perform five times. No shooting.

Malfunction Clearance #1. 7-meter line. 1.0 second. Perform five times.

Malfunction Clearance #2. 7-meter line. 1.2 second. Perform five times.

Malfunction Clearance #3. 7-meter line. 4.0 second. Perform five times.

Copyright Front Sight Firearms Training Institute,1997. All right reserved.

Home | Founder's Message | Monthly Report | Expert Instruction | Courses | Application | Newsletter | Other Links

Heeled | Memberships | Miscellaneous | Newsletter | Press | Student prep | Training Reports | Website | Search