Sunday, December 14, 2008

Handgun Training in the Desert

Front Sight Trained

There's nothing like a little 4-hour drive out to the middle of the desert to do some handgun training. And thanks to my tom tom gps I got to go through death valley for the first time. It was a beautiful drive with hardly any traffic. Translation: pedal to the floor and a happy inner speed demon!

Yes, I'm still sick with a cold, and probably quite nutz for spending the last two days in the freezing cold outside. But I was invited to this thing a couple weeks ago and I didn't want to NOT go. So even though I'm coughing up green phlegm now, I can say it was totally worth it.

Located just 40 minutes outside of Las Vegas, and occupying a spectacular 550 acres in the Nevada desert, Front Sight Training Institute is the first choice for those interested in the highest quality self defense and personal safety training. They train more students each year than all the other shooting schools in the US combined...Men and women, teens, families, firefighters, police officers, paramedics, teachers, military personnel, persons from all walks of life and all ages. And I can see why. The staff have the most impressive credentials I've ever heard of and instruct with consistency to the Front Sight method.

Front Sight's method is based on safety and drilling the fundamentals. With that, you gain the certainty that you can keep yourself, your family and others safe. It reminded me a lot of the crossfit method and its attention to form.

I learned a lot in the past 2 days, and even though I don't own a gun, when I do get one I'll have confidence in handling and operating it. The training was pretty intense and included loading and unloading; grip, stance, sight alignment, and trigger control; presentation; target engagement under time pressure; malfunction clearing; speed and tactical reloading.

In addition, important topics were covered like use of deadly force and the law; mental awareness; stopping power; and civil liability. It was extremely interesting to learn that if you use deadly force even if you are defending yourself, certain actions can land you in jail. Hopefully it will never come to that, but at least I know if I had to, I can take someone down.

The only thing I'd do different for next time, is to go a different time of year. I was freezing my ass off up there, despite my multiple layers! It brought back memories of my life on the road working outside in Chicago in December. Painful. Saturday was a little less cold, but we had these crazy hurricane-like winds. It was hard to stand up let alone shoot a gun! Our targets kept flying away which was quite amusing, but eating sand for hours was not. And, it took me almost an hour to brush my hair that night! Ouch!

On the way home I snapped some photos of the moon because it was so beautiful. And what do you know, I learned that it was the biggest and brightest full moon to be seen for 15 years. Each month the moon makes a full orbit around the earth in a slightly oval-shaped path, and last night it swung by the Earth at its closest distance, or perigee. It will pass by 356,613km (221,595 miles) away, which is about 28,000km closer than average.

The unusual feature was that the perigee also coincides with a full moon, which made it appear 14 per cent bigger and some 30 per cent brighter than most full moons this year. Cool, eh?

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