Front Sight Resorts Interviews Student Ben Slater
July 2nd, 2006
Interviewed by Jim McMahon
Ben Slater has owned and handled firearms for over fifty years, including some use of automatic weapons with the Marines. He is one staunch supporter of the Second Amendment. Having found Front Sight just a few years ago, Ben is very much at home with Front Sight’s training, and actions to safeguard our rights to own and bear arms. So much so that Ben has secured not only one First Family Membership, but four more for himself, for a total of five memberships – one Gold, two Bronze and two Copper.
What is even more amazing is that Ben has only been to Front Sight once, for a one-day course in submachine gun. But for Ben Slater, that’s all it took for him to see that Front Sight was the organization that could really make a difference in securing our Second Amendment rights.
I caught Ben while at his home in Southern California, between his frequent trips he and his wife make to their cabin in the wilderness of Mt. Shasta. He was gracious enough to give me part of his afternoon for this interview.
FSR: What event or reason prompted you to search out firearms training?
Ben: I hadn’t thought a lot about gun training before Front Sight. I was doing so many other things. Pretty involved with real estate. I got an email from JPFO (Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership) back in November of 2002. They gave me information on a submachine gun course at this place called Front Sight. I thought about it a little bit, and finally decided to put in for it. I’ve handled submachine guns before, but I thought this was great, and it was a free course besides that, and all I had to do was get there. So I decided to do it.
FSR: Did you have any previous firearms training experience prior to attending Front Sight?
Ben: Not formally, other than the Marine Corps. I joined the Marines in 1952, and we fired 30 and 50 caliber machine guns. When I went to Korea they issued me the M1 Garand and the 30 caliber M1 Carbine, and 45 caliber pistol. I carried all the 45’s, the Carbine and the Garand. All three were issued to me.
My unit was Air and Naval Gun Fire Liaison Company (ANGLICO), attached to the 1st Marine Division. That’s voice and code radio transmission for spotting targets for air and Naval gunfire. I was three years in the Marine Corps, got out in 1955.
I was into firearms for another couple of years. I had a number of firearms, but it wasn’t until the early 80’s that I started doing any shooting at all. Basically shooting at our cabin, then later shooting at a local Sheriff’s range in Orange County, California.
FSR: How did you find out about Front Sight?
Ben: I had heard of Front Sight two years before I took the submachine gun course, at the Costa Mesa Gun Show. There was a guy who had a one-page little flyer, about storing your firearms at Front Sight. Bringing your assault weapons, I think it was, and storing them free for a year. But you had to take one of their courses to do that. That was the first time I had heard about Front Sight.
FSR: What made you choose Front Sight over all the other choices in the firearms training industry?
Ben: I didn’t look at anyone else.
FSR: What course did you first attend?
Ben: One-Day submachine gun Course. I haven’t taken any courses since then. There have been time constraints on me, I have had to wrap up some business before I retired last summer. I have it on my plans now to spend considerable time at Front Sight.
FSR: What was your impression of your first course?
Ben: Fantastic! It was tremendous. I had a ball. Everyone that was in our class seemed to thoroughly enjoy it. Then, when my wife and I went to the July 4th, 2003 party put on by Doctor Piazza at Front Sight, she shot the Uzi machine gun and seemed to enjoy it, and that’s only the second time I’ve been able to get a gun in her hands. That, and the talks that Doc gave is why I thoroughly got interested in Front Sight. The professionalism of the instructors I thought was exemplary.
I was very impressed with Doc’s talk on the Second Amendment, and what he said about it, and about getting training out to people. In fact, I asked him after the day was over if he ever gave speeches to organizations. I think Doc would just be super fantastic speaking to large groups.
FSR: How did the initial training impact your life?
Ben: It made me much more aware of what good training can do for you in a very short period of time. I had never fired an Uzi before. And naturally there are differences with the AR. But I was impressed with the manner in which the instruction was given, and how actually easy it was to apply what they were teaching.
FSR: What aspect of the training have you found most valuable?
Ben: Just knowing I can be certain if something happens, or something is going on, that I can much better take care of it, or handle the situation.
FSR: Have you used any of the training to protect yourself, family or friends in a real life situation?
Ben: Nope. Not yet. But I spend a lot of time out at my cabin, out near Mt. Shasta in northern California. No electricity. No telephone. Nothing for fourteen miles to the nearest anything. It’s totally pristine. I like the idea of being prepared.
FSR: How many courses have you attended at Front Sight to date?
Ben: Just one. The subgun course.
FSR: How many other students have you directly or indirectly referred to Front Sight?
Ben: Oh heavens, I have told all kinds of people.
FSR: What is the biggest challenge you find in trying to encourage friends to attend a course at Front Sight?
Ben: Logistics. Time constraints.
FSR: When did you become a Front Sight First Family Member?
Ben: In January, 2003. Just shortly after I went to the subgun course.
FSR: What level membership did you purchase?
Ben: At that time, it was the Copper Membership. I bought two of them. Then in the summer I bought two more memberships, two Pewters. Then I bought another Pewter after that. Five memberships in total. Those have all been upgraded. I now have one Gold, two Bronze and two Copper. I have all those myself.
FSR: Why did you choose to become a First Family member?
Ben: Because of my belief in it, and what Doc is doing. His outlook and view on the Second Amendment is unique. And his approach to saving it, that I don’t believe I have heard anywhere else, you know. His whole philosophy of training, and bringing in, getting the entire family involved. And because I know the quality of training, the instructors I saw, their professionalism, and I wanted to be able to take advantage of it myself.
To me, obviously I didn’t buy five memberships on a lark. I believe in Front Sight. I believe in Doc. I wanted to do what little bit I did that has apparently helped out. You have to keep it in mind that the reason I have five memberships is because Doc gave so much more than what he asked for. Simply put, Doc’s attitude, what he is willing to offer for what you get. What I have seen him do and what he has offered to members.
The only reason I am Gold is because Doc made it possible. The Gold is a $240,000 membership, and for a very small, and I mean really small dollar amount, I got one Pewter with Alaska designation upgraded to Gold. He gives and gives and gives. His philosophy is like that. Now, my Copper Memberships are Bronze, and my other two Pewter Memberships are Copper. That’s all Doc’s doing.
There’s no one else, there’s no other organization that I have been involved in, and I’m involved in quite a number of them, that goes about it the way Doc does. I am impressed with the organization he has grown. You can say it is trust in him as a human being, and as a patriot of the United States. That’s why I’m a First Family Member.
FSR: What is the purpose of the Front Sight Organization?
Ben: Preservation of our Constitutional rights, which include the Second Amendment. Which is the one that protects all the rest of them. And to make people, young to old, self-sufficient in being able to protect themselves, and take care of themselves, and those around them. Front Sight does this in a manner unlike any other training that I know of, and I’ve talked to quite a few people who have training schools. They don’t seem to come even close to what I have seen with Doc and Front Sight.
FSR: What does Front Sight, and your participation with it, really mean to you and the future of firearms ownership in this country?
Ben: What it means to me is that if we can get enough people involved, and to experience the whole thing that Front Sight offers, then we can build and build until we get more people who believe in our Bill of Rights, our Second Amendment, and hopefully get rid of a lot of the nay sayers, and those who just think that guns are a ridiculous thing.
It is Doc’s whole philosophy to not only get people who particularly like guns to come to Front Sight, but to get people that do not like guns, and they find out that guns really aren’t this scary instrument.
I think he has done a phenomenal job right now. It’s the only business that I know of in this ball park.
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?
Ben: I think I would have to say to anyone, take a look at why there is a Second Amendment. Whether you like firearms, or you hate firearms, go see what they have to offer. Take a look at the instruction, and see the professionalism. Handle the firearms yourself in a completely safe surrounding, and then come away and tell your friends about your experience.
FSR: What course are you going to attend next?
Ben: This summer I would like to drive to Alaska when that opens, if I can work the time schedules for my wife and I. I’ll probably take the two-day pistol course to start. I do want to take some courses and really get into it much deeper. I’m seventy years old, I still have some good years left. I would like to really see how good I could get.
FSR: Thank you Ben, we will see you at Front Sight!