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Completing your Front Sight Course is merely 'the end of the beginning' of your new life as a competent master of firearms.

You need to continue practicing, albeit at a lower level, to maintain and hopefully continue to improve the skills you learned at Front Sight.

 
 
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What 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 series.

 

 

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 and skill.

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 course.

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 :

  • You are very much better at weapons handling than when you attended the course

  • There is still a lot more you could learn

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 (must!).

Range drills

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 holster anyway.

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 website.

Timer

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 - the 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 compromise.

Airsoft Pistol

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 gas' cylinders.

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 test.

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.

Dry Firing

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 about this.

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 possible dangers.

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.

Videotape Yourself

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.

 

If so, please donate to keep the website free and fund the addition of more articles like this. Any help is most appreciated - simply click below to securely send a contribution through a credit card and Paypal.

 

Originally published 11 Sep 2010, last update 08 Jul 2017

You may freely reproduce or distribute this article for noncommercial purposes as long as you give credit to me as original writer.

 
 
Related Articles
Front Sight Firearms Training Institute - an Introduction to this Series
About the Front Sight Firearms Training Institute
Front Sight Update 2011
Gun Safety Issues
Discounted Front Sight Course Certificates - too good to be true?
Front Sight Lifetime Memberships
Join the Travel Insider at Front Sight, November 2011
The Instructors and Instruction
Front Sight's Ranges and Training Scenarios
When to use Lethal Force
What to Bring to a Front Sight Course - Pistol
What to Bring to a Front Sight Course - Essential Extras
What to Bring to a Front Sight Course - Other Valuable Equipment
What to do After Attending a Front Sight Course
Where to Stay and What to Eat in Pahrump, NV
Weather Issues in the NV desert
Traveling and Flying with Firearms and Ammunition
All About Body Armor and Bullet Proof Vests
 
 
 

 


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