to do After Attending a Front Sight Course
Don't let your training go to waste!
Airsoft guns look and
feel very much like the real thing, and have realistic
actions too. They can be a convenient way to continue
practicing at home after completing your Front Sight course.
Part of a series on the
Front Sight Firearms Training Institute; what it does, how
it does it, and its relevance for you. Please click
the links on the right hand side for other parts of the
So there you are, happily
leaving Front Sight with your Certificate, with assorted aches,
pains, scratches and scrapes, and a huge amount of new knowledge
Be aware, as Churchill put it,
this is not the end of your training needs. Neither is it
the beginning of the end; it is merely the end of the beginning.
So now, and for ever after, you
will need to keep your skills current by doing drills yourself,
either in some form at home or at a local range (if they'll
allow it), and ideally supplemented with occasional visits back
to Front Sight too.
In this section of our series,
we look at how best to maintain and perhaps even continue to
build the competencies you've learned at your Front Sight
So Now You've Completed Your
Front Sight Course - What Next?
Congratulations on working
your way through the Front Sight course. Whether you
graduated with distinction, or merely got a certificate of
completion, two things are certain :
In turn, there are two
things you should consider for the future - protecting your new
skills in the form of some level of ongoing exercises, and
enhancing them in the form of additional training.
Any athlete or any other
person with any type of skill will tell you that their prowess
is not like 'riding a bike' - if they don't keep practicing,
their skill levels will diminish and their performance will drop
off. This is particularly true of shooting skills.
You need ongoing practice to maintain your new dexterity and
accuracy, particularly in terms of trigger control.
The good news is that your
intensive Front Sight course has helped you develop new skills,
and maintaining them is easier than originally developing them.
But maintain them you should
You could go to a local
range once a month or so, but you may find that few local ranges
allow for rapid presentation from a concealed holster, and few
ranges allow for rapid firing of two aimed shots. Indeed,
the design of many ranges, with some type of table/bench in
front of you makes it impossible/inadvisable to draw from a
Even if they allow all these
things, they probably don't have turning targets that can be
timed to match the Front Sight drill times.
There's still a lot to be
said for firing your pistol 'for real' on a regular basis so you
don't forget the weight of it, the layout of it, and the process
of squeezing the trigger to achieve a surprise break and not
flinching, but the rest of the process - being able to quickly
present when necessary, and being able to urgently clear
malfunctions - is also essential.
Fortunately, there are some
things you can also do at home. But before we talk about
such things, let's first consider some additional items of
equipment you should get.
Extra Gear to Help You Practice
There are three things in
particular that can be very helpful for your practice.
The first is some type of a
timer so that you can recreate the time pressure and track how
your speed improves.
The second is an Airsoft
pistol - something that closely mimics the look, feel, weight
and operation of your real pistol, and which you can use not
just for dry firing but for live firing.
The third is the relevant
Front Sight Practice Guide, available from their Pro Store or
You will find you have a
much better understanding of how well you are doing if you have
a timer that mimics the effect of the targets turning to you and
away from you at the Front Sight range. This requires a
timer with three functions - a random delay from when you turn
it on until when it gives the 'start' command, a programmable
period for shooting, and then an audible stop command.
It is difficult to find a
timer with all three of these functions. This appears to
be the best timer that does everything that I've found so far -
Competition Electronics Pocket Pro II. It has a
further very helpful feature - it detects the sound of your
shots, and tells you exactly when you fired each shot.
This unit lists for $130.
The cheapest I've found it online is at
Natchez Shooters Supplies, currently for $110.
There is also an app you can
buy for $10 to add to your iPhone - Shot Timer Pro. This
does everything except give you an end of shooting period
beep. But for only $10, it is perhaps an acceptable
In addition to getting a
non-working practice gun, there's an interesting mid-way
compromise between practice guns and real guns. These are
'Airsoft' guns - they look very closely like the real thing, and
fire plastic pellets, using compressed air (well, actually, more
commonly propane or CO2) as a power source. They will even
have slides that rack back, can fire multiple rounds the same as
a real pistol, and weigh and look very much like the real thing.
Airsoft guns range in price
from $50 and up; a half-way decent one costs about $100 and will
fire plastic 6mm BBs at about 300 - 350 feet per second, giving you
reasonable accuracy at 'conversational distance' targets.
Amazon has a huge collection, and there are also various
specialty stores that sell them too.
There are spring powered,
battery powered, and gas powered Airsoft guns. For our
purposes, the gas powered guns are probably the best. The
spring powered ones need to be manually re-cocked (ie spring
re-tensioned) for each round so there is no way you can fire a
controlled pair as we are trained to do. And the battery
powered ones don't work the slide and aren't as powerful as the
gas powered ones - not that you need a lot of power, but you
want something that will reasonably accurately and reasonably
quickly send a pellet downrange 15 - 20 feet or so.
Be sure to get a propane
adapter for any Airsoft gun you buy, so you can refill it from
cheap propane cans (the type you use to power portable camp
stoves) rather than needing to use expensive dedicated 'green
With a reasonably powerful
Airsoft gun, you should probably use the 0.25 gram pellets.
They seem to give the best compromise/combination of speed and
accuracy at the ranges you'll typically be practicing at.
You can safely use an
Airsoft gun inside. They are not very noisy, and as long
as you use some sense in terms of where and what you shoot at,
their pellets aren't likely to do much damage. You might
want to consider eye protection though in case of ricochets back
in your direction.
Front Sight Practice Guide
These spiral bound manuals
are not cheap - they list for $40 each, but they are also close
to essential if you want to have a detailed set of
instructions/reminders for how to present, how to re-holster,
how to weapon-check and clear malfunctions, etc.
They also have essential
sections on safety, and at the end, give the details of the
testing and qualification process so you can test yourself to
see how close you're getting to passing their end of course
I guess Front Sight priced
these on the basis of their value to you rather than their cost
to them. You should get one to remind you and guide you
through your ongoing practice drills.
Most of what you need to
learn and practice can also be practiced through 'dry firing' -
ie, where you do everything with your pistol unloaded, and when
it comes to shooting, you are pulling the trigger, but with an
empty chamber and no ammunition in the weapon, getting only a
click rather than a bang.
Two additional comments
First, if you choose to do
any type of dry firing drills, it is essential you follow very
carefully and completely the steps outlined in Front Sight's Dry
Firing Procedures sheet. Anything else runs the risk of a
terrible accident when somehow Mr Murphy puts in an appearance
and causes what you were sure was a safe dry firing scenario to
suddenly end tragically with a live round being fired.
Second, you might want to
consider buying some 'snap cap' type dummy/inert rounds so you
can practice even more realistically your dry firing routines.
But if you do this, you'll have to be even more alert for two
The first new danger is that
somehow a live round gets mixed up with your snap cap rounds.
The second new danger is
that somehow a snap cap round gets mixed up with your live
rounds, so that when you most desperately need your gun to go
bang when protecting yourself against a deadly adversary, it
instead goes click.
Most of the time when you're
practicing at home you'll not have a Front Sight instructor, or
even your student coach, alongside you, noticing errors and
pointing them out to you. Furthermore, most of the time
you'll be unaware of any errors you are making.
So we recommend videotaping
your practice. Set the video-camera off to one side so it
gets a good view of your presentation and firing technique, and
play back your practice and analyze it yourself. This way,
you get to be your own instructor.
Don't Practice Too Much Before
Your First Front Sight Class
Here's an interesting issue
that might surprise you. Don't do too much practice of any
sort before attending your first Front Sight course.
Why not? Because you
might be forming bad habits rather than good habits, without
even realizing you are doing so. Even if you videotape
yourself and carefully play it back, without having had an
instructor alongside you, and both critiquing your actions and
telling you how to improve them, you'll be an example of the
blind leading the blind prior to going on a course.
Attend More Front Sight Courses
This should go without
saying. If you've signed up as a First Family member,
you'll be able to attend unlimited courses into the future at no
further cost - take advantage of this.
If you haven't done that, be
aware that most of the certificates out there for free courses
are for first time attendees only. There are some
certificates that can be used by anyone, and they are sometimes
sold on eBay, but if you can't get a discount certificate to
reduce the cost of future attendance, then you've exhausted one
of your three options.
The other two options are to
reconsider a First Family membership, and to subscribe to Front
Sight's newsletters and be on the lookout for the special deals
that Dr Piazza often extends to people.
Which leads to -
Make Sure You're Signed Up for
the Front Sight Newsletters
Strangely, the email address
I used to sign up for my first course at Front Sight has not
received any additional mailings from Front Sight either before
or after attending the course.
On the other hand, the
different email address I used to sign up for the free
newsletters gets regular mailings, pretty much every day.
So make sure you are on
their mailing list and keep an eye out for bargains - either on
courses or on First Family memberships. It seems that Dr
Piazza is continually experimenting with different types of
win-win offers that allows him to encourage and enable people to
become more active participants in ongoing Front Sight training.
Part of a multi-part series
Please click the links at
the top right of this page to read through
other parts of this extensive series on Front Sight and the
training they offer.
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11 Sep 2010, last update
30 May 2021
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