(September 30, 2008) After four days, over 700 rounds fired and at least 2,000 presentations from the holster, the folks at Front Sight Firearms Training Institute outside Las Vegas asked me what I thought of their four-day Defensive Handgun course. I told them that I was impressed. I have been shooting for over 40 years. I've shot and trained with some of the most prominent firearms experts in the world, and I've been carrying and competing with the same Colt Combat Commander for over 24 years, but even with all of that experience, I learned a lot in 4-Days at Front Sight.
I attended the course along with my brother Chris and my best friend Danny Tope. We all experienced dramatic improvement in our shooting skills and learned techniques for continued improvement. We found value in the classroom time as well. The lectures on the use of deadly force helped to give structure to what was previously a somewhat ambiguous thought process regarding when, where, and why I might use a gun. I found that the careful analysis of the moral, ethical, and legal issues surrounding the use of deadly force helped to crystallize my own philosophy and give me a better understanding of some of the emotional and legal pitfalls that are involved. Those lectures and that clearer understanding were worth the price of admission.
I don't ever want to end the life of another person. I understand that the objective of firearms self-defense is never to kill an opponent, but to stop an attacker before an innocent is seriously hurt or killed. Unfortunately, the only sure ways to quickly and effectively stop a determined attacker are also very likely to result in the attacker’s death. When that happens the emotional and spiritual toll is typically a heavy burden filled with self-doubt and second guessing, even when there is no question that the shooting was justified and unavoidable. Some handle these effects better than others, but even those rare individuals who are at personal peace with themselves and their decision, still could face serious life-altering consequences from criminal or civil courts.
One of the issues that need to be considered in advance by anyone who chooses to carry a gun for defense of self or others is exactly when and why they might use the gun. Capturing criminals, stopping thieves, or exacting revenge are all bad reasons for using a gun. Deadly force should only be employed to stop an immediate threat of death or serious bodily injury to an innocent. Who that innocent is and whether you are willing to risk your life or possibly take another’s on their behalf are important questions. Some people have a stronger sense of public obligation than others and are more inclined to take risks for strangers while others are not so inclined, drawing the line at close family only, and that might be the best plan. Imagine the tragedy of intervening with deadly force on a stranger’s behalf only to find that you've harmed or killed the wrong person or an innocent pulling a stupid prank. While such mistakes are incredibly rare, it is important to have the possibility in your mind before the mistake is made and thereby hopefully avoid it altogether.
Front Sight teaches that the best gun fight is always the one that is avoided and they are absolutely right. The better a person understands the issues involved in deploying deadly force the less likely they are to go for a gun in a circumstance which might not warrant it. Like many, Chris and I were skeptical about taking a course at Front Sight. Their aggressive marketing tactics reminded us of the hype of late night infomercials and suggested to us that, like the products sold on late night TV, Front Sight’s products might be of a lower quality than implied and of less value.
After spending four intensive days there, I can tell you that nothing could be farther from the truth. Not having attended other schools, I cannot make a fair comparison, but I can tell you that we found the instructors and the training to be absolutely first rate and we're looking forward to the next opportunity we might have to attend a course to further hone our skills. Chris and I still have a few questions about the broader business aspects of Front Sight and whether we might be willing to become more deeply involved, but our experience there has convinced us to add a Front Sight banner ad to our web sites which will generate a small payment each time someone enrolls for a course through our site. So if you are interested in learning more about Front Sight, we encourage you to click on the banner ad at www.FirearmsCoalition.org since any revenue realized from the ad placement is earmarked to go toward our next Front Sight experience.
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©Copyright 2008 Neal Knox Associates