What Front Sight Firearms Training Institute Means to Me
by Randy Shaw
What Front Sight Firearms Training Institute means to me can be summarized in four words: Competence, Confidence, Change and Caring. Let me explain what each of these means.
Competence essentially means being able to perform at a high level. Being able to perform the skills you may need in a defensive situation at a high level is what Front Sight training is all about. Before I attended my first Front Sight course, I thought I was fairly competent with a handgun. After all, I had taken several courses at the local range and I practiced fairly regularly. Shortly after arriving at Front Sight, that perception changed. I realized that I was not competent in all the skills required to effectively handle a defensive situation. However, as the course progressed, I began to feel more and more competent as my skill set grew and my shooting improved. By the end of the course, I could shoot smaller groups than I ever had in my life. I could shoot faster and more accurately than I ever had before. I could diagnose and clear any malfunction of my firearm properly and quickly. Not only could I perform better, but I now had the tools to build and maintain that competence. I knew how to practice, both at the range and using dry fire drills at home. My mind was thinking in a totally different way about shooting and what to do in a defensive situation. In other words, I became a much more competent user of the handgun as a defensive tool.
When you demonstrate competence, confidence will follow.
Confidence, when it is based in demonstrated competence and not self deception, is an invaluable asset. We have all seen those people who have incredible confidence in themselves. One example is athletes who always want the ball in their hands at the end of the game. They want the ball because they know they can perform when the pressure is on. Confidence allows you to remain “cool under pressure” and perform your best when others start to panic. You definitely want that same kind of confidence in a defensive situation. Front Sight training forces you to visualize what you would do in various defensive situations. You learn to use the information and techniques from your training to start to develop a plan of action for situations you might face at home, at work, or anywhere else you may find yourself when things go wrong. Having a plan of action and believing in your abilities because you have demonstrated them on the range gives you confidence. This confidence, coupled with the competence developed from your training, is the way I interpret what they refer to at Front Sight as “the Comfort of Skill at Arms”.
The third thing that Front Sight training means to me is change.
We often hear people on the news talking about “changing hearts and minds”. In the battle here at home for our right to defend our home, life, and liberty, changing hearts and minds is vital to our success. My father, who is in his sixties, reluctantly went with me to my first Front Sight training course. Before the course, he really seemed to not have any strong opinions about the assault weapons ban. He didn’t see the need for high capacity magazines and “assault weapons” in civilian hands. After that first course, he bought himself a high capacity handgun and he is now planning to join me for the 4-Day Practical Rifle course! On the other side of that same coin, there were a few people in the group that initially seemed a little too “Gung-ho”. I saw these individuals mellow considerably after the lectures on the legal ramifications of having to defend yourself. Suddenly something that had looked glamorous to them at the start of the course became serious business. This kind of change in mindset is just as important as the first. It makes those individuals better ambassadors of our second amendment rights and therefore, they convey a better message to the public, which helps improve the public image of gun owners. A lot of the people in my first Front Sight training course were also there for the first time and I don’t think any of us left unchanged.
So how does “Caring” fit into all of this? Simply put, training at Front Sight forced me to think hard about what I really care about. What you care about is what you are willing to defend. My Family, My Friends, My Life, My Liberty, My Country; all these things come to mind when I think about what I would be willing to defend or fight for. And if you care enough about something to defend it and fight for it, even to die for it, isn’t that what you should be living for as well? My Front Sight experience helped me not only refocus my training, but also to refocus my priorities on what really matters. That is what my Front Sight Firearms Training Institute experience has meant to me.