What an awesome week! I just got back from Frontsight Firearms Training Institute. This time I went with all “my boys,” my husband, brother-in-law, and 17 year old nephew. My husband took the four day tactical shotgun class, and my brother-in-law, nephew, and I took the four day defensive handgun class. If you’ve followed my blog before, you’ll know that I’ve already taken the two day defensive handgun class from Frontsight. The four day class goes above and beyond the two day class, and I was excited to review the skills I learned from the two day class, and to learn more advanced skills.
The neat part about this trip to Frontsight was that I was able to experience how easy it is to travel with guns. We had 3 pistols and a tactical shotgun with us. We were traveling with a lot of gear, so we were quite a spectacle! We had the shotgun and my Glock in a (very heavy) rifle case. Each of us had a suitcase, and we also had two carry-ons. We had the other two pistols in a hard sided case in one of our suitcases. You must have the guns in a hard sided case, and they must be padlocked, not TSA locks. So all we had to do was go up to the airline’s ticket counter and let them know we were traveling with firearms. The ticket counter lady’s reaction was the same as if we’d told her we were traveling with clothing. All we had to do was fill out a form that went into the cases, and the lady just wanted to see that the actions were open and the guns were unloaded. Then TSA takes them and x-rays the cases, and then they take the guns and put them in the belly of the plane. The only slight restriction is that you can only have eleven pounds of ammunition per piece of luggage. That’s it! We decided to buy the ammo in Las Vegas so we didn’t have the extra weight, since we needed 600 rounds each, and my husband needed 500 shotgun shells.
The class itself was intense. Our days started at 5:30am. We stayed in Las Vegas, so we had to drive about 45 minutes to get out to Frontsight, which is near Pahrump. We had to be at the range at 8am, except on the first day, we had to be there at 6:30am for check-in. We were on the range from 8am to about 5pm. There were forty students in our class, and we were divided up into two relays. One relay would be shooting, while the second relay lined up behind them acting as coaches. This made the range very safe, with twenty sets of eyes plus our instructors and our rangemaster. The only time someone got hurt was if their gun bit them, so a Band-Aid fixed that right up. Or, if it was me, I was in a hurry doing a tactical reload, and my magazine bit me, and I have a nice blood blister on my thumb.
Out of the forty students in our class, there were about ten women. Not to brag, but the women were out-shooting the men most of the time! At one point, we had a steel target competition. This included a hostage target, and two other “bad guys” behind him, all made of steel. Steel is extremely fun to shoot, because it moves when you hit it, and makes a very satisfying “tink” sound when you hit it. Most of the women in our class out-shot the men in the steel competition. Our rangemaster’s best quote for the entire class was “Shoot like a girl if you can!” Unfortunately I didn’t do as well in the competition, but I only lost because my opponent shot the bad guys faster, but I didn’t shoot the hostage, like a lot of people did!
The best part of this trip to Frontsight was going with my family. Even though my husband wasn’t on the range with me, I got to spend time with my brother-in-law and my nephew. It made our class so much more enjoyable, because we all get along really well. We had a great time on the 45 minute drive back to Vegas because that was our “debrief” time. We would talk about “that guy” on the range, or the funny things our rangemaster said. We also heard about what happened in the shotgun class from my husband. I was so proud of how much my nephew took in all the information and improved his shooting in four days. My brother-in-law wasn’t too shabby either, the last drill we did, he shot five shots within the size of a quarter. This is my biggest tip about going to Frontsight. If you can go with family or friends, it makes the experience more fun.
If you are planning a trip to Frontsight, here are my best tips:
Frontsight is in the middle of nowhere. During lunch, you do not have time to get lunch anywhere except right there. You can order lunch from their food company, but if you are with a large group and are there for four days, it can get expensive. We bought a $6 Styrofoam cooler, and every morning we hit Von’s (aka Safeway) and stocked up on bread, lunch meats, cheese, fruit, chips, drinks, and ice. It was so easy, and much cheaper. Now if you’re by yourself or with one other person, and just want to buy lunch, order it ahead of time; it’s very tasty.
Make sure you bring a lot of high SPF sunscreen. I used 70 SPF. You will be in the desert sun almost constantly. You need to apply in the morning, and reapply often. So have the sunscreen with you in your range bag, along with nail clippers and a nail file. Whether you are a man or woman, you WILL break a nail, if not a couple. Have the nail clippers so you can cut it down so you’re not scratching yourself or catching it on clothing.
Pay close attention to what clothing you bring. Wear high neckline, close-fitting shirts. A couple of women on our range were wearing V-neck blouses. Needless to say, they caught a lot of very hot brass down their shirts. I wore a high necked shirt, and I still caught a piece of brass down my shirt. It will probably still happen, but you’ll lessen your chances. In terms of pants, I suggest tactical pants. I bought 5.11 tactical pants because they are sturdy, and they have lots of pockets, which you will need in the class for storing extra magazines and loose ammo. Check out www.lapolicegear.com, they have lots of styles and sizes, including pants specifically for women. If you don’t want to spend the money on tactical pants, at least get cargo pants. Make sure to wear sturdy, comfortable shoes. You will be on your feet for eight hours a day and they will get dirty. I wore my combat boots, and they worked out great.
My biggest tip to anyone who is going to attend any class at Frontsight for the first time: Go there as a blank slate. I don’t care if you were Army Special Forces for 25 years, go there open to all of their training, and try their way first. If it doesn’t work for you, fine, you can switch back to your training after you leave. If you go there closed minded and don’t want to try any new techniques, there is no reason for you to go, so save your money. Frontsight is the best firearms training you can get in the civilian world, no matter if you are brand new to shooting, or if you have several decades’ worth of experience.
If you’d like to see the pictures from our Frontsight trip, head over to my Facebook page and “like” Women With Firepower.