Todd's Review of Frontsight - Lectures

Here's some thoughts on lunch and lectures at Frontsight's Four Day Defensive Handgun class.

About lunch: it's not possible to go off-site to eat. There isn't enough time to get from "BF Nowhere" to "BF Somewhere" and back. So you need to make your own arrangements. Frontsight contracts with Beach Cafe in Las Vegas to bring in lunches each day for $13 each. I went that route. I can recommend the Ham & Cheese, the Roast Beef, the Chicken Supreme, and the SW Caesar Wrap. I also had the Fried Chicken, but that was so-so, and I wouldn't order it again. I ordered up the five days' worth of lunch the week before my trip. Upon checking in, I discovered that my motel, the Best Western Pahrump Station, also had a bag lunch deal, and as I recall, it was cheaper ($10). Or you can go to a grocery store and fill a lunchbox / cooler with whatever. April 2011 update: according to an email update, Frontsight now has food on site. I have no idea if they're still doing the Beach Cafe connection.

There is a lecture of some sort every day at lunch. Some are "sales oriented", telling you about Frontsight and showing promotional videos, talking about levels of membership. This is frankly about as much fun as sitting through a timeshare pitch. During a break in one of these, I turned to the guy next to me (we had not met) and asked him how he felt about the pitch. He shared a couple thoughts with me:

Many of the lectures talked about the legal issues of deadly force. Since the audience is from all over the country, they tended to keep the topics relevant to all jurisdictions (e.g., they didn't spend much time on "Castle Doctrine", as that's far from universal). There was also many sobering discussions on how taking another person's life, even if justified by law, is going to affect you forever. Not something to be taken lightly.

There were several role-playing scenarios involving students, where the situation is set up and the class is asked to react to various stimulus / steps: at what point do you draw your gun? Give a warning? Shoot? Thought-provoking stuff.

There was one lecture (maybe more than one) that basically covered, "OK, you shot somebody, what now?" There was a ton of thought / nuance in that series. I came away from it with an appreciation of how responding Law Enforcement will react (they have their own safety pretty much foremost, and they have very little patience for your 'adrenaline rush' comedown, particularly while you're still armed). There was a sequence that some might find controversial, where the Law Enforcement officers advised that you seek out the decision maker for the crime scene (might be a detective, a sergeant) and give a brief statement to him or her. Stick to the facts, particularly those that should be more or less self-evident from the scene. The advice that they're dispensing is designed to control the initial reaction to your best benefit. If you "lawyer up" immediately, they may hold you overnight and release to the media that you've been detained for questioning as either a suspect or "person of interest". By cooperating a little at the scene, you might be released on the spot while they investigate, and the PR is better. I am frankly still digesting this advice (did I mention I was the son of a lawyer?), but I'm sure there's a grain of truth in it.

The other thing they covered in these lectures is the emotional rush you're dealing with immediately afterwards, and how you need to manage it in order to manage your 'image':

One point that was drilled home quite a bit - if you have to shoot somebody in self-defense, there's a good probability you will end up in front of a jury. The instructor talked quite a bit about how a skilled prosecutor can and will 'spin' various 'facts' into persuasive argument. "The defendant, -

editor's note: these are not verbatim quotes from the instructor / prosecutor - they are illustrative of the tactic

Unfortunately the instructor also dwelled on the 'conventional wisdom' that the lauded 'jury of your peers' is more often composed of uneducated folks who were 'too stupid to get out of it'. The gentleman I had been chatting with got up and left at this point. There's a lot of coming and going during the lunchtime lecture, and I didn't think much about it at the time. I ran into him later that evening over a beer back in town. He shared with me that he found that point pretty insulting. He could 'see himself' in that characterization; he had little or no formal education, but he was rightfully proud of a lifetime of accumulated 'wisdom' from running his own farm and experiencing life. And of course he would not hesitate to serve on a jury. I shared with him that in the Seattle area, Boeing people are highly sought out for jury duty, as the company ensures that they won't lose any pay. Thus we are a pool of typically highly educated / trained people who aren't under a lot of stress to get out of jury duty.

I thought it was an interesting challenge for Frontsight. They are 'reaching' to try to show gun owners as something other than 'Bubbas' who shoot beer cans off the tailgates of pickup trucks. In this quest, they're going after folks the public will see as "opinion makers", mostly high profile celebrities and politicians, but also 'educated' people like doctors, lawyers, engineers and the like. In my opinion, Frontsight needs to be careful not to 'alienate their base' as they do this. Sure, celebrate all the higher-educated people you attract to train. Just don't piss off the 'salt of the earth' types who are more typically associated with gun ownership while you do it.....

I tried to share this point with the lecturer after class, but he's a popular guy. Whenever he's done speaking, there's a crowd of 10-12 folks wanting to follow up with him. I was going to drop him an email, but I never got around to it. What the hell, now it's on my webpage.

Back to the Frontsight Review Page

Back to the Guns Page

Back to the Home Page

Send e-mail to: Todd