Front Sight Training Highlights - Part 2
January 1, 2001

The sport shooter’s place on the web!

A variety of things stood out in our minds and in our experience that are worth sharing outside the confines of the general review.

As we discussed in the general review of our Front Sight experience, they clearly think hard about how to improve what they do, even the things they do well. That showed through in some of the ways they described things and in some of the things we did on the range. This article is a recap of those items with no particular organization beyond that.

Better terminology

When you think about something carefully enough, some times you think of better ways to describe it. The Front Sight folks used two terms we hadn't heard used consistently before: dry practice and firing side/support side. What they mean is pretty obvious, but the distinction from the customary term is valuable. Dry firing is an oxymoron — you can't fire dry. It’s not firing if you are dry. Dry practice is simply the correct term.

And since the Front Sight focus is on self-defense (more on that in a moment), they don't like the mental effect of discussing weak side firing. If you need to defend yourself, no point in admitting weakness. Their terminology is firing side and support side. It’s a good pair of terms that works better than any of their counterparts. If you are right-handed but shooting like a leftie on purpose, strong and weak doesn't work. Left and right never really work unless the entire class is one way. Front Sight saw a problem and fixed it.

Self-defense focus

There are no firearms at Front Sight, just weapons. As a sport shooting web site, we rarely think of our firearms as weapons. The t-shirt you receive at the end of the class even says You are the weapon. Your {handgun/shotgun/rifle} is just a tool. Front Sight’s take is that self-defense is the only viable reason for private ownership of firearms. The number of hunters and sport shooters is dwindling according to them and that argument won't save the 2nd amendment. They might be right about that (though we'll continue competing anyway).

In the lecture material discussing the color codes of mental awareness, the intent is to develop in the students behaviors and an attitude that will keep them from being targets of crime. Some of this is based on work by Col. Jeff Cooper (who was thanked in the lecture notes). Barring permission to reproduce the lecture notes, we did find a discussion of the color codes elsewhere on the Web. The bottom line is the most important: The best gun fight is the one that you avoid.

Shotgun Class

We had a blast at the class and we have a few pictures worth sharing.

Front Sight Shotgun Line
You are really going to want your hearing protection when a line of shotguns goes off at once. Well, almost at once. That’s us on the far end leading the pack.

Front Sight Shotgun Steel Targets
We're big fans of steel targets because they're just more fun than paper. Besides, with shotguns, you'd have to change the targets after almost every shot.

Front Sight Simulator

The simulator canyon was about the last thing we did and was very instructive. You begin about 20 yards from the mouth of the canyon with the instructor setting up the scenario for you, explaining what sort of bad guys are up there and what your mission is. In our case, there were a couple of hostages to rescue. One instructor guides and assists you — he actually controls your movement by hanging on to a piton that has been attached to a belt loop.

The other instructor helps simulate the scenario by yelling things at you. Sometimes it’s taunts from the bad guys, sometimes it is your hostage friends yelling for help, but it is always something to keep you moving and thinking and under some stress.

The far target in the picture at left was a lookout that had to be taken with a slug. The next guy down clearly has a gun. The lowest guy behind the ridge might be a good guy or bad guy. You were encouraged to call to the targets in question just as you would to unknowns in an actual situation. I want to do this again!