Jump to content
Brian Enos's Forums... Maku mozo!

Front Sight Academy


badlander
 Share

Recommended Posts

I received two certificates to the Front Sight Academy from the USMC and was wondering if anyone on the forum has any experience training at this facility. Looking over their curriculum for first timers it looks like they have a 4-day pistol course and a 4-day rifle course that would be interesting but I would like to know what folks that have actually been there would recommend.

thanks Mike

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 I attended the 4 day pistol course back in 2000. The facility was amazing and the instructors were very professional , however, what they were teaching in terms of technique was a bit dated, even almost 20 years ago. I went there a strong A class Limited shooter utilizing the modern technique (isosceles upper body with feet slightly offset), but was not allowed to shoot that way. They mandated I shoot using a Weaver Stance, and got on my case every time I went back to the modern technique, even going so far as to threaten to remove me from the course if I didn’t go utilize the techniques they were teaching.  I played along and then dryfired like a madman when I got home to get back to normal after four days of Weaver. All that being said, it was a fun course in that I got to shoot a ton, but if I had a choice to do it again ( I went on a free pass too) I would pass. It really did hurt my shooting for about a month after, which just isn’t worth it when I consider all the work that went into developing my shooting before attending the class.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, BillGarlandJr said:

 I attended the 4 day pistol course back in 2000. The facility was amazing and the instructors were very professional , however, what they were teaching in terms of technique was a bit dated, even almost 20 years ago. I went there a strong A class Limited shooter utilizing the modern technique (isosceles upper body with feet slightly offset), but was not allowed to shoot that way. They mandated I shoot using a Weaver Stance, and got on my case every time I went back to the modern technique, even going so far as to threaten to remove me from the course if I didn’t go utilize the techniques they were teaching.  I played along and then dryfired like a madman when I got home to get back to normal after four days of Weaver. All that being said, it was a fun course in that I got to shoot a ton, but if I had a choice to do it again ( I went on a free pass too) I would pass. It really did hurt my shooting for about a month after, which just isn’t worth it when I consider all the work that went into developing my shooting before attending the class.

I had a very similar experience at a Gunsite pistol class in 2013. Frontsight is an offshoot of Gunsite, a group of former Gunsite people who went on their own. The 'instruction' is similar between the two. Same 'old style Weaver stance'... must use Tactical reload (regardless of whether the gun was suited to it)... and other 30-year old dogma. I was an IDPA Master in 3 divisions when I went, and promptly forgot everything I was 'learned' at Gunsite when I left. It was a free trip, and I would eagerly pass on another one.

These two schools could be beneficial for new handgun shooters, but for anyone B Class or above IMHO it's a waste of time & ammo. I have not attended the rifle course and can't comment... but during my military days I did attend both the 9th Infantry Sniper School and the shooting portion of the USMC Scout/Sniper School, and might likely be disappointed.

They are there to make money with a simplified mandated course of instruction that spends little time addressing the individual shooter... bring 'em in, run 'em through, and get the next group started. Kinda like a McDonalds drive through.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, GOF said:

These two schools could be beneficial for new handgun shooters.

Disagree.  New shooters aren't served well by being taught decades-old obsolete techniques.  A look at their promo videos shows people with grips so bad that the guns barely stay in the hands while being congratulated on their performance by their "instructors" (who wear goofy ass uniforms).

 

 

Quote

They are there to make money with a simplified mandated course of instruction that spends little time addressing the individual shooter... bring 'em in, run 'em through, and get the next group started. Kinda like a McDonalds drive through.

 

Agree with that.  Look at the aerial shot in this video around 1:15

 

Edited by elguapo
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I went as a B Production shooter a year ago.  They didn`t demand i shoot Weaver. I learned some gun fighting things.  But it didn't make me a beyter shooter. It was fun.  

 

One of these days I will take a rifle class there. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I guess that if the courses will  be free and you don't live far enough that travel expenses really matter, go take one with the lowest round count.  If it sucks, you're not out much.  If you like it, guess you get to go again for a discount.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We took the 2 day handgun course. We too took advantage of a free certificate.

 

Our lead instructor was a blast....young but very experienced military with a fascinating portfolio of fairly recent deployments so he had a bunch of good stories to share. 

He was very cool, asked us to try the Weaver stance and keep an open mind.... that said i kept drifting back to isosceles and it really wasn't a big deal. A few times they suggested i try going back to Weaver and i did try.... It was kind on neat to try something different and new and i was able to shoot nice tight groups with both techniques. That said, I had absolutely no problem going back to isosceles, it just feels more natural to me now i guess.

 

Our class was a very mixed group of 24 persons with 3 instructors.... from couples, to one family with a very safe 13 year old girl, to a group of 30 something retired marines and a couple of professionals.

 

The most common platform was glock but there were a couple of sigs and one or two 1911s. 2 people used red dot sights, the rest used conventional sights. They're pretty strict about a 4 lb trigger pull which was tough for me as the only pistol i had that might work was a glock 34 so i used that. They had the armorer look at it as it had an aftermarket trigger but it passed their inspection quickly, not sure what they check for, someone said it was a drop test but the gun looked pristine so i don't imagine they really drop test it?

 

The first day was pretty slow for an experienced shooter, especially the first couple of hours as the course had to accommodate all types of experience levels. Not bad at all but as is always the case we all wanted to shoot... a lot. The second day was a blast, more shooting and we got to do the shooting house which was great fun. If total round count is important to you then we shot perhaps 200 rounds over the 2 days.  Still somehow by the end of the second day we were a bit tired. i know it's hard to believe because 200 rounds doesn't sound like much but somehow it worked.

 

Most all recommended the skill builder class but you have to take the intro class first.

 

The grounds/facility is pretty nice, very big place. It was a very safe experience.

 

For first timers you have to sit through a few movies in a large auditorium that described safety, ccw issues and an awareness mindset....  2 of the 4 movies were during lunch time so you watched while you ate which was painless. I'm not a huge fan of that part of the curriculum but i understand why they incorporate some of this information.... i'm told that during subsequent or more advanced level classes movies play less of a role.

 

We stayed at the Silverton casino about 50 minutes away, the hotel is attached to a Bass Pro shop. It was fine, clean and comfortable. You could stay at a small neighboring town about 30 minutes away as well. We brought a cooler with us and picked up a huge premade sandwich at the supermarket for $6 which made a fine lunch for the 2 of us along with some bottled water. They have cold water available all the time and the bathrooms were big and clean. Basically we got out of the hotel about 5:30 am, went to a Dunkin Donuts, picked up some coffee and a breakfast sandwich and drove to the facility....we still ended up a bit early but we'd never been there before and didn't want to take a chance of being late.

 

I was surprised how many families attended, lots of people brought their kids and they have a day care of some sort i'm told. Interestingly we met a couple of people we knew from elsewhere. 

 

With an open mind and a free certificate i thought it was a nice experience and afforded us a pleasant time to bond with an old friend. I look forward to taking the skill builder class when i get a chance.

 

It's not a Bruce Gray class but still fun and worth it for us.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 7 months later...

I've been to a few front sight classes over the years. I've also been to Gunsite classes, both pistol and rifle. The Gunsite classes are clearly better, more individualized instruction, but at a much, much higher price. I find the FS classes to be a good "refresher" course for very little money, and for that, or for a new shooter, its a good deal. As for stance. I do recall them being a bit rigid about the stance of the shooters years ago, but that seems to have changed. If you are a beginner, and that's clear to them, then they will try to keep you in line with their choice of shooter stance. But, for any shooter with more experience, they are completely fine with "shooters choice". A much better balance, in my opinion.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have never been to Frontsight. But I did spend three miserable days at Gunsight on an "industry group" outing. On the very first morning the head instructor, Charlie McNeese, stood up in front of the assembled class and loudly proclaimed " We're not here to teach you how to win medals and trophies in competition! We're here to teach you how to win gunfights. Forget all that competition crap."

As the days progressed I was berated constantly for using the Power Isocoles stance that had gotten me to IDPA MA Class, and told I "must use the far superior Weaver stance",

even though my targets were the best of the 12 guns on the line (and there were only two instructors per that group... McNeese stayed back behind the line  and yelled, leaving the other line instructor to deal with the 12 shooters on the firing line.... commercial operation, keep personnel costs low!)  My experience as an instructor (military & LE) tells me that's a bad ratio.

Then they got into reloads. The only acceptable reload was the Tactical Reload (grab new mag, bring to gun, eject old mag into hand holding the new mag, insert new mag while juggling both, and then pocket old mag). The only problem was the "industry group" guns we were shooting did not have drop-free magazines. That didn't faze McNeese.... he insisted that we make the Gunsight reloading doctrine work with guns that it was obviously not suited for... no alternatives presented.

I choose to say Screw It (I wasn't paying for the trip) and use my shooting stance... and when a mid-magazine reload was called for I stripped the mag out, shoved it in a pocket, and slammed in a new one. McNeese immediately awarded me the keys to his dog house, and yelled at me constantly. But, I didn't care. This was 2013... and they were trying to cram 1970s doctrine down my throat.

You'd have to shove a pistol against my head to make me go back to Gunsight... although, in fairness, they did serve a decent lunch.

 

Edited by GOF
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, GOF said:

I have never been to Frontsight. But I did spend three miserable days at Gunsight on an "industry group" outing. On the very first morning the head instructor, Charlie McNeese, stood up in front of the assembled class and loudly proclaimed " We're not here to teach you how to win medals and trophies in competition! We're here to teach you how to win gunfights. Forget all that competition crap."

As the days progressed I was berated constantly for using the Power Isocoles stance that had gotten me to IDPA MA Class, and told I "must use the far superior Weaver stance",

even though my targets were the best of the 12 guns on the line (and there were only two instructors per that group... McNeese stayed back behind the line  and yelled, leaving the other line instructor to deal with the 12 shooters on the firing line.... commercial operation, keep personnel costs low!)  My experience as an instructor (military & LE) tells me that's a bad ratio.

Then they got into reloads. The only acceptable reload was the Tactical Reload (grab new mag, bring to gun, eject old mag into hand holding the new mag, insert new mag while juggling both, and then pocket old mag). The only problem was the "industry group" guns we were shooting did not have drop-free magazines. That didn't faze McNeese.... he insisted that we make the Gunsight reloading doctrine work with guns that it was obviously not suited for... no alternatives presented.

I choose to say Screw It (I wasn't paying for the trip) and use my shooting stance... and when a mid-magazine reload was called for I stripped the mag out, shoved it in a pocket, and slammed in a new one. McNeese immediately awarded me the keys to his dog house, and yelled at me constantly. But, I didn't care. This was 2013... and they were trying to cram 1970s doctrine down my throat.

You'd have to shove a pistol against my head to make me go back to Gunsight... although, in fairness, they did serve a decent lunch.

 

I have heard many of your comments from others who have attended. It’s just going along on it’s history, original creator’s reputation, and hype.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I went to Gunsite in 2009 and found it to be a whole bunch of nothin'. No instruction of any type  going on. Instructors unable to answer basic questions from students. Silly student:instructor ratio. 

 

Both classroom sessions were not prepped at all; powerpoint projector was not working. 

 

Two of the instructors were nice enough guys. The third one was a disaster....total disaster. 

 

I think they are riding on reputation, hype,  AND the fact that many of their customers quite simply don't know any better. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 hours ago, Smitty79 said:

I took MAG40 last summer from Mas Ayoob.  He teaches isosceles and Weaver. 

I know Mas well and have served as a line instructor at a couple of his classes in Live Oak. He teaches Power Isosceles, plain Isosceles, Weaver, Chapman... as well as weak & strong hand... and lets the shooter decide what works best for them. He also strives to have one line instructor per three students. Gunsite could learn from Mas.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

21 hours ago, GOF said:

I have never been to Frontsight. But I did spend three miserable days at Gunsight on an "industry group" outing. On the very first morning the head instructor, Charlie McNeese, stood up in front of the assembled class and loudly proclaimed " We're not here to teach you how to win medals and trophies in competition! We're here to teach you how to win gunfights. Forget all that competition crap."

As the days progressed I was berated constantly for using the Power Isocoles stance that had gotten me to IDPA MA Class, and told I "must use the far superior Weaver stance",

even though my targets were the best of the 12 guns on the line (and there were only two instructors per that group... McNeese stayed back behind the line  and yelled, leaving the other line instructor to deal with the 12 shooters on the firing line.... commercial operation, keep personnel costs low!)  My experience as an instructor (military & LE) tells me that's a bad ratio.

Then they got into reloads. The only acceptable reload was the Tactical Reload (grab new mag, bring to gun, eject old mag into hand holding the new mag, insert new mag while juggling both, and then pocket old mag). The only problem was the "industry group" guns we were shooting did not have drop-free magazines. That didn't faze McNeese.... he insisted that we make the Gunsight reloading doctrine work with guns that it was obviously not suited for... no alternatives presented.

I choose to say Screw It (I wasn't paying for the trip) and use my shooting stance... and when a mid-magazine reload was called for I stripped the mag out, shoved it in a pocket, and slammed in a new one. McNeese immediately awarded me the keys to his dog house, and yelled at me constantly. But, I didn't care. This was 2013... and they were trying to cram 1970s doctrine down my throat.

You'd have to shove a pistol against my head to make me go back to Gunsight... although, in fairness, they did serve a decent lunch.

 

 

You should have invited that McNeese guy to a shootoff

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I went to a 4 day pistol course in 2002.  FS spent more time trying to sell us memberships than teaching. Content was aimed more at self defense than competition.  We were told to bring 1000 rounds, I came home with about 400. No food available for lunch, and only pit toilets were available.  The course was free, but I spent over $1000 for travel, factory ammo, and lodging. I would not recommend them based on my experience. YMMV

Maybe they've changed since then.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 6 months later...
  • 5 months later...

Front sight’ s reputation is not a good one, but I have no experience there.  Enough said.

 

As for Gunsite, I have considerable experience there, and my experience is quite different from the stories told above.

 

Let it be said up front, Gunsite is not a school dedicated to making regular people into USPSA A/B/GM’s.  It is there to make responsible citizens into effective defenders, and to make military/law enforcement professionals better at their jobs.

 

I did the Gunsite 250-350-499 pistol classes in 2001, 2003 and 2004.  I was an IDPA MA in CDP in those years as well.  At no time did Gunsite instructors in the more advanced classes try to change my shooting form in any way that slowed me down or decrease accuracy- the focus was on avoiding problems, and learning to effectively fight with a pistol when given no options, including force on force, night shooting, and much more.  I was a much faster and better shooter after those courses.

 

I did the 499 (advanced pistol) class again, in October of this year.

 

There were 9 students, four instructors, and one provost instructor in the class.  The instructors included Erick Gelhaus, a well-known law enforcement professional who has developed the Gunsite red dot pistol instruction package, and Walt Wilkinson, a former US SOF SGM and world champion .50 cal shooter.   Something like 120 years experience among the instructor group. 

 

Two students (including myself) used dots, everyone else (a few law enforcement instructors, a few cops, a couple military guys, and one other civilian besides myself) shot irons.

 

Shooting a VP9-L-OR with an SRO,  I had practically one-on-one instruction the entire week, specifically tailored to the effective use of the dot, as did the other dot shooter in the class.

 

Engaging targets at up to 120 yards and more, night shooting, force on force and much more are included in the curriculum.

 

The instructors specifically encouraged shooting IDPA and USPSA competition for skill development, and did not try to impose a change to shooter form except when it was of benefit to speed and accuracy.  

 

The class drill standards start with two shots to two targets from the holster at three yards in under two seconds with fighting guns and holsters, with proportionally increased time as distances increase, and stretch to 50 yards.   Speed and accuracy are paramount.  COM zones on Gunsite targets are much smaller than IPSC A zones and all shots must be completely inside the lines.

 

There’s nothing there that will make a good shooter worse.  Speed loads are absolutely a part of the drills.  It’s true, they don’t otherwise want you shooting pistols dry outside of speed reloading drills and malfunction drills, and big boy rules prevail- safety is paramount and the range is always hot.

 

If you’re a USPSA GM/A/B class shooter with absolutely zero interest in learning to actually fight with a pistol... No, Gunsite is probably not for you.  

 

But, if you want to really learn to handle your pistol (and other tools) under pressure, and a great deal more about controlling your fate in an uncertain world, then yes, it might be for you.

 

 

Edited by Archer
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I guess that is a fair question.

 

Buz Mills has owned Gunsite since 1999, and as far as I am aware he has always had the finest of staff there.  It’s true that he has installed major physical upgrades over the years as well.

 

Ret. Sheriff Ken Campbell has been in charge of operations for several years now.  Although there was a 16 year gap in my taking formal classes there, I kept in touch with my instructors and a few students who became true friends (including a very respected federal instructor/agent) from my various classes, many of whom continued at least semi-annual training there, and I went back most years for the annual Alumni Shoot.  I never saw or heard about any decrease in quality or course offerings in the intervening years.

 

You never know the motivations some people might have in writing about a place or an experience.  I hope mine were clear- I have no financial interest in Gunsite, except paying my bills there.  Which I would not be in a position to have to have done, if I did not respect the institution and its management and instructors, and felt that I got true value from the experiences.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 11/8/2020 at 10:02 AM, Archer said:

I guess that is a fair question.

 

Buz Mills has owned Gunsite since 1999, and as far as I am aware he has always had the finest of staff there.  It’s true that he has installed major physical upgrades over the years as well.

 

Ret. Sheriff Ken Campbell has been in charge of operations for several years now.  Although there was a 16 year gap in my taking formal classes there, I kept in touch with my instructors and a few students who became true friends (including a very respected federal instructor/agent) from my various classes, many of whom continued at least semi-annual training there, and I went back most years for the annual Alumni Shoot.  I never saw or heard about any decrease in quality or course offerings in the intervening years.

 

You never know the motivations some people might have in writing about a place or an experience.  I hope mine were clear- I have no financial interest in Gunsite, except paying my bills there.  Which I would not be in a position to have to have done, if I did not respect the institution and its management and instructors, and felt that I got true value from the experiences.

Maybe... like any good business... they have learned from their mistakes of the past and taken corrective action. Based upon my experiences in 2013, I would hope so. And if so, view that as a positve for them. I also heard via 'grapevine' that McNeese is no longer an instructor there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Taken classes, pistol and scout rifle at Gunsite within the past 5 years. I would not pay that price again for what I received.

 

Spoken with two good friends who are A class USPSA shooters who went to Frontsight early on in their competitive shooting. One loved it and still goes, one will not return.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...
1 hour ago, hoodhazard said:

Having been in the shooting community for 40 years I am disappointed to hear such reviews about a fine training facility. The key words are Training Facility not Grand Master producing Facility. Go bad mouth something else.

The negative comments are from highly respected members of this forum. Go bad mouth someone else.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...