About Family and Self-Defense – And Then Some

I don’t know how many times I have been asked the question over the past few decades, but here it was again. Local friend Gary Brown and I were talking about the Front Sight Firearms Training Institute outside Las Vegas. “So,” he asked, “do you have a carry permit?”

I allowed as how I may have the firearms which could justify a concealed carry permit, but I don’t generally answer such questions.

Then followed a bit of a history lesson and reminder about concealed carry of a handgun. “Vermont Carry,” of course, refers to Vermont’s hands-off policy allowing anyone who might legally own a handgun to carry it as he or she wishes – without a permit. A handful of states are Vermont Carry. Somewhere around three dozen states are “shall issue” (barring a criminal record, you get the permit) and most of the remainder are “may issue” (maybe you get it). Gary reminded me of the too-seldom-noted statistics (from the US Department of Justice, Bureau of Crime Statistics) which showed a significant and immediate drop in crime rates right after Florida (and then Virginia) pioneered “shall issue.” That got us into the discussion of proper training, and Front Sight.

Founder Dr. Ignatius Piazza tells of finding himself in a 1988 shooting situation. Gun enthusiast that he was, he realized he lacked the skills to defend a life or family. It became his mission. By early 1996, he had trained with well-known experts in the field and had ten students in the first Front Sight Institute two-day defensive handgun course. Today, Front Sight claims to train more students each year than all other shooting schools in the US combined. No one argues the numbers or the highest quality of the instructors. On a given day, there may be 1,000 students on the 550 acre site west of Las Vegas. They will be in special pistol, shotgun, carbine and rifle shooting classes, or hand to hand and bladed weapons self-defense courses.

Dr. Piazza is up front about the Second Amendment – our right to bear arms. He won’t discuss “defending our right to bear arms,” because no one gains ground by defending. Instead, he and Front Sight focus on regaining the rights which have been whittled away over the last century. Front Sight folks welcome media attention; they simply require all reporters to complete one or another two day course and then let them report as they wish. You may have seen one of those reports on network news, cable broadcasts or in a national newspaper.

Front Sight is now in the process of creating a destination shooter’s resort, if you will. On that 550 acres will soon be a 300 room hotel, a 300 unit condo/time share, and a 300 space RV park.  Along with that, of course, will be laundromat, fast food, family dining, a convenience store and all the other things you would expect to find at a resort. This is a big deal.

At some level it is almost mind boggling – a huge and growing movement to return gun and firearms ownership to a level of respect we haven’t seen in most of my lifetime. Who are the folks who come to learn to take care of themselves and families in dicey times? Policemen, stockbrokers, military servicemen, secretaries, actors, ditch diggers, economists, physicians, truckers, teachers, airline pilots and your neighbors – about a third of them women. Interestingly, on the blogs I searched, I found no mention of carelessness or bubbas. Carelessness is handled immediately. Every member and student goes through an annual background check.

The courses and training go beyond handling weapons. They are about developing the attitudes and thought processes necessary to properly handle weapons in a self- or family-defense situation.

I checked blogs for grumbling. There were rumors about Front Sight being somehow tied to Scientology – and it all seemed to stem from Dr. Piazza having studied (as have many successful business owners around the world) L. Ron Hubbard’s business model. Some noted that, once you become part of that community, you get frequent, regular, emails about higher level courses, self-defense issues and news, and encouragement for membership. (So? I get plenty of emails from my membership and purchases at KOA, Amazon, Cabela’s and any other place I ever bought anything online. It comes with the territory.)

See for yourself. Get a free DVD at You will likely be as fascinated as I was at the Front Sight story and insightful look at the history and erosion of our right to keep and bear arms. Near the end you will find a pitch for you to become a member at some level, for benefits and classes at no additional cost. At you will find information about instructors, the courses, scheduling, FAQs and offers for home study courses. Surf the web to find out more about people’s experiences with Front Sight.

You can go to the headquarters – the near-Vegas location for training classes and site of the new Front Sight Resort – and take one or more of the two- or four-day self-defense courses, and be finished. Or you can join at one or another membership level for multiple family and course benefits. You could also just call Ellensburg’s Gary Brown at 509-607-0084, and see what he has in terms of training certificates and information.

Will I go do one or another of the courses? I haven’t decided. Would I encourage my sons and daughters to do one or another of the courses? You bet.

Front Sight is an organization – and a Second Amendment mission – about which every firearm owner among us should know.

Written by Jim Huckabay. Posted in Uncategorized

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