Front Sight Resorts Interviews Student Gary Graham
June 27th, 2006
Interviewed by Jim McMahon
Gary Graham has been a professional actor for 26 years. Remember Alien Nation from Fox Television? Gary was the human cop. Or recently on Jag, Captain Ingles, the captain of the aircraft carrier? That was Gary again. And even more recently, Soval, the Vulcan Ambassador from Star Trek Enterprise? Yes that is Gary too. In fact, Gary has appeared in a bunch of TV movies, in guest starring roles.
But Gary is also an avid Front Sight supporter, and a Silver First Family Member. Fact is, Gary has taken approximately 16 courses at Front Sight over the past three years, and there is no sign of him slowing down.
Come join me in this interview, and delve into the refreshing and lighthearted life of Gary Graham, and what he has to say about self defense, firearms training, Front Sight, and the Second Amendment.
FSR: What event or reason prompted you to search out firearms training?
Gary: My buddy called up and said, “You won’t believe this, I’m faxing you something I came across”. It was a Free, One-Day Sub-Machine Gun Course, out in the desert. He said, “Gary, you’re one of the few people that are crazy enough to do this with me, so let’s go.” I read the flier and said, “I’m in!”
I’m from California, how often am I going to get to fire full auto? So, I came out, just for the experience, not knowing what to expect. Before we came out we called up and said, “Ok guys, what’s the catch, there has got to be a catch? You know, you guys supply the guns, the ammo, even feed us, what’s the catch?” And Dr. Piazza, who had picked up the phone said, “There’s no catch, we ask you to listen to a short presentation about our facility, and that’s it.” That sounded fair enough, so we went to check out Front Sight.
FSR: Did you have any previous firearms training experience prior to attending Front Sight?
Gary: None. Just going to the range a couple times. My dad gave me an old Army 38 a long, long time ago, that just sat in the back of the closet, loaded and ready to go should I ever need it. But I didn’t really know what to do with it. Then came the riots of ’92 in L.A., and they prompted me to actually get a decent handgun, and start going to the range and firing it. I got so that I thought I was pretty proficient with it at that point. If called upon to defend the family, I thought I was just Rambo, ready to go.
FSR: What made you choose Front Sight over all the other choices in the firearms training industry?
Gary: I looked at a couple places early on, on the Internet, that just sort of looked to me like gun-nut city. They looked like Bubba and his militia buddies, and most of them looked pretty ugly. They didn’t look like they were coming from where I wanted to come from, which is safe, responsible firearms use, you know – how to protect your family.
FSR: What course did you first attend?
Gary: Took the Free, One-Day Sub-Machine Gun Course, about three years ago.
FSR: What was your impression of your first course?
Gary: When I first came to Front Sight, I quickly realized I knew nothing. If I had to pick up a gun for self defense, I was more likely to blow my foot off than I was to actually stop an attacker. And, I was just amazed at how good the training was, how professional it was, and how consistent it was, and how my skills improved. But also, how enjoyable it all was, how much fun it was. How the staff were polite and funny, and encouraging.
Basically, my buddy and I had the time of our lives! You guys made it so enjoyable we stuck around and heard about Front Sight.
It just became so obvious that if I was going to have a firearm in the house, I definitely needed training, and I definitely wanted my wife to have training as well.
We were so impressed we bought a couple of classes to come back out, a Two-Day Handgun Class, and took that. Then I brought my wife out, dragged her kicking and screaming, really. The last thing she wanted to do was spend her weekend out in the desert firing guns. But I kept saying, “Trust me, you’ve got to come and see this.”
And wouldn’t you know it, once she started in the class, she liked it so much, she started talking to me about buying a membership! And then (Here’s the actor coming out), I hung back, seemingly only semi-interested, and said, “Gee honey…are you sure?” And let her talk me into it. Husbands take note: Get your wife out to take a class with you, and then let her discover the idea of a membership. Ah, the tricks of married life…
FSR: How did the initial training impact your life?
Gary: I remember how I was struck early on, listening to the lectures. I remember coming out of the lecture on the ethical and civil ramifications of getting in a gunfight, and more particularly, the color code of mental awareness. I was just so impressed with that one. This lecture alone was worth the entire price of the class. I figured everything else was just icing. It had so much impact in getting me to become aware of my surroundings, becoming safe – developing the mental attitude that will keep me, and my family, safe.
I began to see what Naish meant when he said, “The comfort of skill at arms.” I began to see what that meant. And it really is a comfort to know. Not only do you know how to shoot and put rounds on-target in stressful situations, but you know the ramifications, legally and ethically, of ever choosing to use lethal force.
You get a good foundation of an understanding about what’s involved should you have to do it, so that if that decision ever arises, it’s one of responsibility, and would only be used in the gravest extreme.
FSR: What aspect of the training have you found most valuable?
Gary: That is it. That is paramount. That one lecture. All the other ancillary effects of the training, They’re so much fun, it’s a ball. And I really enjoy the camaraderie. It’s funny, I can just hop in the car, come out and take a Two-Day or Four-Day Class.
And it’s quick how everybody just bonds, like in a couple hours – best friends with everybody. We’re all rooting each other on, and just having a great time. People from all walks of life, that’s what amazes me. It’s not just one particular mind-set or one particular section of society. It’s people from all over the country, and from all walks of life. Doctors, lawyers, accountants, cops, military people, everybody training alongside each other.
FSR: Have you used any of the training to protect yourself, family or friends in a real life situation?
Gary: Situations where the alarm goes off in the middle of the night – which has happened a few times. Not knowing if somebody is trying to break into the house or whatnot. And I’ve got my Glock Model 22, with the M3 light on, and I’m ready.”
It’s funny how you revert to training at times like these. I’m just concentrating on the training, doing everything by the numbers.
Never had to present my weapon in public, or to stop any threat. But I have had to approach these late-night situations as if they were real. I didn’t know. I didn’t know if they were or they weren’t at those times. Turned out they were just false alarms.
FSR: How many courses have you attended at Front Sight to date?
Gary: Let’s see, I’m taken Two-Day Tactical Shotgun, Shotgun Skillbuilder. I’ve taken the rifle courses probably six times. I’ve taken Advanced Rifle. Have taken several handgun courses, the Two-Day, Four-Day, and the Skillbuilders. My last class was the Advanced Tactical Handgun Course. And I’ve taken the Four-Day M-16 Course. I’ve taken about 16 classes. I wish I had more time to take all the classes I would like.
My wife and I bought the Family Safe Forever Program. And my daughter comes up and takes the Children’s Awareness Course, and she just loves it. I was hoping she would, because it’s so great to come out with the whole family. Not knowing anybody, she came out with me, made friends really quickly with the other kids, and is just having the time of her life. It was so great to see her in her little harness and helmet, on the cable bridge making her way across. and she looked up to me and said as casual as can be, “Hi daddy…I’m overcoming my fears.” It cracked me up, I was in awe.
FSR: How many other students have you directly or indirectly referred to Front Sight?
Gary: A bunch of people. I talk about Front Sight all the time.
FSR: What is the biggest challenge you find in trying to encourage friends to attend a course at Front Sight?
Gary: Initially, I always get a positive response. People say, “Yea, I really want to do that.” It’s just getting them to commit to a weekend. No other objections particularly, especially since 9-11.
You know, I work in the film industry, which tends to be highly liberal. Actors I bump into, directors, producers, lot of liberal folks out there, and liberals tend to be anti-gun and support gun control. A lot of attitudes have changed since 9-11. I think people really got fed up with being victims. You know, the touchy, feely, let’s negotiate and hug and get our karma right, kind of got blown out the water with 9-11.
People are realizing, we’re going to get our asses kicked if we don’t do something and fight back. And I think that rebounded through the personal responsibility bracket. I think people suddenly saw the need for taking on the responsibility of protecting their family. People took it to heart, took it seriously, maybe for the first time in their lives. And they started looking around. So, it’s a much easier thing to approach these days, when you talk to people about guns.
FSR: When did you become a Front Sight First Family Member?
Gary: After the Two-Day Defensive Handgun Class.
FSR: What level membership did you purchase?
Gary: Copper. Then, when an upgrade became available, I jumped on it, and upgraded to a Bronze, which I’ve enjoyed for a year or two. And then, my mind was blown, really, when that got upgraded by Naish’s goodwill, to a Silver. So, yeah, I couldn’t be happier with my initial investment in Front Sight.
And, as I alluded to earlier, I’m a smart husband. I know that the best way to get something that you really, really want is to somehow engineer it so that it’s your wife’s idea. And she’s a smart lady. So, I just shut up and positioned her so that she would suggest it. And, of course, like a good, smart guy, I played dumb and said, “Hmm, you think so! Maybe.” When the whole time I’m saying to myself, “Yes, please, let me do this!”
FSR: Why did you choose to become a First Family member?
Gary: I was impressed with Naish’s trust level. His whole philosophy on exchange in abundance.
I made the decision to be a First Family Member before the Handgun Course. I’ll tell you, right off the bat, it was at the Free, One-Day Sub-Machine Gun Class. After I heard about Front Sight, what Naish was doing, his whole concept for a resort that offered all these classes, I decided that even though I wasn’t in any shape financially at the time, I decided that I wanted to get on board with this whole thing. I wanted to be taking all of these classes. And after the two-day handgun class, I said, “Wow, this is really great. I definitely want to do this.” The memberships were pricey, but I could see the value there, especially given that you can take the courses as many times as you want.
FSR: What is the purpose of the Front Sight Organization?
Gary: Well first and foremost, the purpose of any corporation should be profitability, and to make money for its shareholders, so it can grow and expand, and that certainly is Front Sight. But there is a higher purpose that I noticed is behind it all, that I’m really onboard with, and that is protecting our Second Amendment rights. Changing the general gun control philosophy of the Left that is getting more and more pervasive. Especially in California. Protecting our gun rights. Protecting our rights to defend ourselves and our homes.
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?
Gary: I would guarantee them, first of all, that they would have the time of their life. Just a wonderful time. They will get proficiency at arms quicker than they could imagine. The level of training is just so professional and so enjoyable that they will have a difficult time believing that it could be so much fun to learn how to defend themselves in all situations.
I’m an old ex-Hippie from the sixties. We talked about being in Condition White. I, for the most part of my life, have been in Condition Paisley. I have not just been unaware, I’ve been dancing around, so to speak. It’s been nice to settle out to a comfortable Condition Yellow. And for that I have Front Sight to thank.
FSR: What course are you going to attend next?
Gary: I can’t wait to take another course. I love the rifle courses. Or maybe a handgun class with my buddies that I bring out. I’m just excited about Front Sight’s development, and the training that I’ve gotten is just so quality. I’m trying to make time to get out there. Soon I hope.
FSR: Thank you Gary, we’ll see you at Front Sight!