Front Sight Resorts Interviews Student John Holbrook
June 19th, 2006
Interviewed by Jim McMahon.
John Holbrook recently retired from the U.S. Naval Reserve, as well as from the City of Stockton, California, where he was a construction inspector for the city, and held a position on the School Board for the past seventeen years.
John is a Front Sight Silver First Family Member, and so is his wife. Together, they have done something for local law enforcement that is quite different. They have set up The Holbrook Family Law Enforcement Scholarship Fund, which donates Front Sight courses to law enforcement agencies in central California.
Come join me in this interview with John, who was gracious enough to give us the time to interview him.
FSR: What event or reason prompted you to search out firearms training?
John: I’ve always trained. I have a range in my backyard and I shoot all the time. But I always figure that I don’t know enough. I’m one of those that the more I can learn the happier I am, because I feel I’m a safer person and can better protect myself and my family. I have always been around firearms, and we love to shoot. My wife is an avid hunter and shooter as well, and so are all my kids.
FSR: Did you have any previous firearms training experience prior to attending Front Sight?
John: I took the NRA course when I was young, in hunter safety, because it was required to get a license. Then in the military I was trained in the .45, the M16, the M1 Grand, the 30-caliber machine gun and the M60 machine gun. I was also in the forward gun mount on a destroyer.
I started shooting when I was 5 years old. We had .22’s and shotguns and my dad taught us how to shoot. So we would hunt cottontails and quail. A
nd I’ve never stopped shooting since I’ve been 5 years old.
For a while I did firearms instruction for my 4H group. I taught them how to shoot shotguns, pistols, and gun safety.
FSR: How did you find out about Front Sight?
John: My friend had found out about Front Sight, and was just as excited as heck about learning how to shoot, he told me how terrific it was. I was excited, but I could never find the time to go. I was holding down three jobs, working for the city of Stockton, I was on the school board the
re, and I was in the Naval Reserves. So, I didn’t have much time left. Three times I had signed for this One-Day Sub-Machine Gun Course in Nevada. And finally, on the third try I made it.
FSR: What made you choose Front Sight over all the other choices in the firearms training industry?
John: The recommendation from my friend, Michael Gutierres.
FSR: What course did you first attend?
Free One-Day Sub-Machine Gun Course.
FSR: What was your impression of your first course?
John: It was just a terrific course. It was great. The one thing that we both really liked was the instructors. Everybody really was intelligent, they knew what they were doing. They didn’t cut anyone down and they gave very professional training.
FSR: How did the initial training impact your life?
John: I was one of those who didn’t know what I didn’t know, and now I know what I don’t know. I learned a lot. You always want to try to get better because you know that the better you are, the safer you are, and the better you are able to protect yourself.
My wife and I have done a lot of dry practice since we started with Front Sight, and that has really helped. If you really want to get good, do what they tell you on dry practice. And do it every day, if possible.
FSR: What aspect of the training have you found most valuable?
John: The handling of the weapon. The ability to handle firearms in a more professional manner. For me, to be able to clear malfunctions, and the ability to shoot straighter. Learning the proper presentation of the weapon so that you are able to be on target. One of the really important things that I have learned is to be able to take the shot if you have to, when someone is holding a hostage, for example. Front Sight has given me the confidence to take that shot if I have to.
FSR: Have you used any of the training to protect yourself, family or friends in a real life situation?
John: I can tell you one instance where the Color Code of Awareness training helped me protect someone else who was never aware that they were being followed. I was with my wife and another couple in Las Vegas, and we were sight seeing like everybody else. All of a sudden I noticed this guy come up behind these women who were walking in front of us. No matter where the women would go, he was following them. The guy was acting strange, continually looking around, as if to see if anyone was watching him.
So, I told my wife to watch that guy. The women went to this spot where there was a parking lot, and I knew this was where he was going to make his move. So, instead of waiting for him to do something, I walked up within five feet of him and looked him in the eye, and I just stood there and looked at him. He turned and saw me watching him, and then he took off. They never knew that he was there.
Being aware of what’s going on around you is critical. The Color Code helps you do that. I do this all the time, because I think it’s important. It will save your life and keep you out of trouble.
FSR: How many courses have you attended at Front Sight to date?
John: We have taken five courses in addition to the One-Day Sub-Gun Course. The Two-Day Defensive Handgun Course twice, and the Four-Day Defensive Handgun Course twice. And with our grandchildren, the Family Safe Forever Course. They loved it! They taught the kids how to shoot a rifle, shoot a bow, do the tunnel search, go on the ropes, climb the tower, empty hands defense, edged weapon defense. It is some of the best training in the world they can get. I think the training is so good, the whole instruction staff is excellent.
FSR: How many other students have you directly or indirectly referred to Front Sight?
John: We’ve sent our kids, who have become Bronze First Family members. My wife and I also started the Holbrook Family Law Enforcement Scholarship Fund. The purpose of the fund is to give police departments scholarships, or certificates, to attend Front Sight. Two Four-Day courses, or four Two-Day courses are given per department. We have offered it to different cities and the Sheriffs Department where we live in central California near Stockton.
The City of Mantica took advantage of it, and they are sending officers. The City of Grippen is sending officers. The City of Lathrop is sending officers. And the San Joaquin Sheriffs Department is sending some of their deputy sheriffs. This is the second year that it has been in existence. We’ve talked with some of the officers with the Sheriffs Department from Grippen, and they were real excited, couldn’t wait to go. We felt the level of training at Front Sight was so great that we figured the better trained our law enforcement officers are, the safer they will be, and the safer we are as citizens will be also.
FSR: What is the biggest challenge you find in trying to encourage friends to attend a course at Front Sight?
John: They don’t understand the value of what they are paying for. Some are kind of afraid, they don’t know if they can measure up to the training.
In one of the courses I was in, there was a gal in her late 50’s, and she had never shot a gun. Just with encouragement and training at the end of the course she was hitting the target almost every time. And that’s the type of caliber of training it is. She learned how to handle the gun, she learned how to load the gun, she learned how to check the gun to make sure it’s either loaded or unloaded, she learned how to insert the magazine, take it out, holster the weapon. And she was just as excited as heck. But before she started I am sure she had no idea what she was in for.
FSR: When did you become a Front Sight First Family Member?
John: This was in June 2001, during the One-Day Sub-Machine Gun Course.
FSR: What level membership did you purchase?
John: We started out with a Bronze Membership on Saturday. And we went back to the hotel, my wife and I talked. On Sunday I told Naish I didn’t want the Bronze membership. I wanted the Silver. So I purchased it. Naish then awarded my wife a Copper Membership.
I am now a Gold Member. My wife was upgraded to a Bronze, and then upgraded again to a Silver.
FSR: Why did you choose to become a First Family member?
John: I was more impressed with Doctor Piazza and his vision. It meant more to me than the actual range did, and the training. He had a vision. I though this guy knew what he was doing. So my wife and I both agreed that we wanted to invest in him and Front Sight.
FSR: What is the purpose of the Front Sight Organization?
John: To me the main purpose would be to provide the best possible training under the best circumstances for an individual, to better be able to defend themselves, their family and whoever else is with them. And do it with confidence.
FSR: What does Front Sight, and your participation with it, really mean to you and the future of firearms ownership in this country?
John: I think that if people can see and understand what is being taught at Front Sight in knowing how to operate a firearm, in being alert of their environment, in learning how to handle firearms safely, and the responsibility that goes with all that, I believe this is what will make firearms eventually acceptable to the entire community.
FSR: If you were standing at the speaker’s podium in a large stadium, addressing 100,000 people, and you only had one minute to tell them why they should attend a course at Front Sight, what would you say?
John: I would say that if you want to better be able to protect yourself, your family and your friends from unwarranted attacks by anyone, be it in your home, on the street, or in an automobile, Front Sight courses will train you to protect yourself and your loved ones with a high degree of proficiency, and provide you with a legal standing as far as your actions go.
FSR: What course are you going to attend next?
John: We are looking at doing the unarmed self defense courses in September. We though we’d take the Empty Hand Defense Courses first, and then maybe go to the Edged Weapons Course. We are looking forward to that. Then start taking some of the Skillbuilder Courses.
FSR: Thank you John, we’ll see you at Front Sight!