View Full Version : Front Sight Course

Tom B
July 3, 2001, 01:09 PM
Anyone taken the free one day submachine course? Opinions please.

July 8, 2001, 12:48 AM
Probably the best money that I never spent. Great time at little cost. Also you get an opportunity to buy your first class at Frontsight at a reasonable price. I am not really into SMG's, but it was a fun filled day with a couple of buddies and 35 or so other gun lovers. There was talk that it is getting to be too expensive and maybe this was the last chance to take the class for free. 3 of us are looking forward to taking the 4 day Tactical shotgun class for only $333.33 ea (the 3 class certificate costs $1000 and you only get to use them for you first paid class. The free class doesn't count as your first.). I would say go for it if it is still available. They have a nice continental breakfast, snacks at the line and pizza afterward. There is a sales pitch for the memberships and building lots, but you don't have to stay for that. No real pressure at all. Dr Piazza is very charismatic and a great salesman, but doesn't use any high pressure techniques like most of the other 'free' deals.

George Hill
July 9, 2001, 12:26 PM
Go ahead and take the free SMG class. Have fun.

But if your going to buy your training with your own money - Buy it from where Piazza got his. From Gunsite. Or go to Thunder Ranch.

July 12, 2001, 03:53 PM
Buy it from where Piazza got his. From Gunsite. Or go to Thunder Ranch.What the hell is your problem with Front Sight?

Brad Ackman, Front Sight's rangemaster, was an instructor under Jeff Cooper for nine years. Is there anyone left at Gunsite that worked with Cooper?

July 13, 2001, 01:31 AM
IMO, Dr. Piazza has taken the best from the hundreds of different courses that he has attended, and packed it all together for the BEST bang for your buck.

Any of the other schools have a Four Weapons Combat Master on site for private tutoring? I've seen Naish do this on MANY occasions, returning the student to the class line with renewed confidence.

Dr. Piazza has a LOT of class, and you get MORE than your money's worth out of every course that he offers. On that, he proudly offers a money-back guarantee.

July 13, 2001, 10:27 AM
Here is a discussion about the Front Sight sub-gun class. I have taken it, liked it, and returned for follow-on classes.

Here is the link:


George Hill
July 13, 2001, 10:49 AM
Gorthaur - I dont need to justify my opinion for you.

He hired some talent - yippie skippie - Front Sight's founder is still just the Apprentice when compaired to just about every other training school... even the new ones:
Mid South
Black Water
and others.
Piazza is more like Willy Wonka instead of a serious trainer.

July 13, 2001, 11:21 AM
Gorthaur - I dont need to justify my opinion for you.Fine, as long as everyone realizes that your comments are irrelevant.

George Hill
July 13, 2001, 03:12 PM
Gorthaur - What is your problem?
Are you offended because I dislike something that you like? Are you really that insecure and take my opinions so personally?

The whole internet is nothing more than people giving OPINIONS.
Some of them differ from yours and so they are irrelevant?

Why don't you calm down with your emotional reactions and try to make a more mature and logical arguement. Why do you think its so great?

Rich Lucibella
July 13, 2001, 04:00 PM
Jeff Cooper Instructors still at Gunsite:
Jeff Cooper, hisself
Colonel Bob Young (Director of Operations)
Louis Awerbuck
Walt Marshall

.....come to think of it, most of the rangemasters there have trained under Jeff.

I hardly think that Mr. Piazza's claim to training is with Gunsite....it's more with Chuck Taylor, where Mr. Piazza earned a 4 Gun Master Medal. I've heard rumors (which I seriously doubt) that Nate and Chuck pinned the Medals on each other. ;)

Lighten up people. Train where you wish.....but train.

July 13, 2001, 04:24 PM
I gotta go with George Hill on this one, all the way.

Dr. Iggy.
Prince Piazza.
New Age Guru of the Gun.
The Shirley McClaine of Shooting.

What else can one say but...

Still, free is free; but much like aggressively marketed time share condo deals, one must expect some quantity of crap shoveled on them if they want the "free" TV, vacation in beautiful Anaheim,or wherever.

Although getting to shoot subguns for free is quite a lot of fun, the rest of the attendant marketing hype, desert land offfers, and quasi cultist crap that go along with it at Front Sight are big detractions.

Gorthaur has also sullied Tactical Forums with his emotional stylings in support of Front Sight and Piazza.
One wonders what their relatonship is.

Before one signs up for any of their offerings that are NOT free, I strongly recommend taking a look at the history of Front Sight and Piazza'a dealings with stockholders, former instructors, clients, vendors, and others.

In the meantime, I strongly recommend getting training at Blackwater, Thunder Ranch, or one of the other reputably established schools in the US.

July 14, 2001, 12:39 AM
Those of us who HAVE a justifiable opinion...
...usually don't mind stating that which justifies it.

"yippie skippie"? "Willy Wonka"?
Sounds like the ramblings of an insecure child who's been left out of the game on the playground.

I happen to be privy to the REAL story about Dr. Piazza's 4 Weapons Combat Master Degree. If there is ANY question of his honesty, integrity, and credibility, it's put to rest with the knowledge therein. (And no, I'm NOT going to "share" the story. If Naish wanted to get on a podium and tell the world about it, he can certainly afford to do so. Fact is, he doesn't have the personal insecurities that some of the posters on this thread do.)

"Dr. Iggy.
Prince Piazza.
New Age Guru of the Gun.
The Shirley McClaine of Shooting. "

Sounds like the ramblings of another cry-baby wannabe. There ARE NO "aggressively marketed time shares", and there is no "CRAP", either. I have NEVER heard ANYONE who possesses ANY measurable degree of credibility put Front Sight down in ANY way.

If you've taken a course at Front Sight and didn't feel that you got double your money's worth, why didn't you have the balls to take them up on the money-back guarantee?

Personal insecurity and emotional immaturity are the roots of most, if not all backstabbing. There IS a cure for it though....

....grow up

July 14, 2001, 10:08 AM
Well guys, although the pissing contest in entertaining and everyone is welcome to their opinion, I would be interested in what actual training you have attended.

What would be great is if you could list the course you have attended and where. Then compare and contrast the training. I know I would find that much more useful. Based on that, I could understand your positions and actually might learn something.

Or, piss away.

Rich Lucibella
July 14, 2001, 10:55 AM
- Gunsite...6 or 7 times. You'll never be disappopinted.
- Louis Awerbuck...twice. He always amazes.
- Thunder Ranch...once. Absolutely top drawer. I'll return
- GSGI..Twice. Niche operators who truly know their stuff and present it well. No BS; No hype...just High Speed/Low Drag solid training.
- Harry Humphries and Jack Furr for a four day personal tutorial...I learned more there than I could possible absorb.

I have no desire to go to FrontSite because of the controversy that surrounds it. Generally, in the training industry, where there's smoke there's fire. OTOH, the three I mention above seem to carry no controversy...what's that tell us? YMMV

Other possibles:
BlackWater Lodge.
Rich Lucibella

George Hill
July 14, 2001, 12:04 PM
Fastforty - I urge caution in your tone. Your getting very close to making personal attacks.

July 14, 2001, 12:04 PM
Thanks Rich. I appreciate the information.

In your post you mention the three above but listed five. Were you talking about the first three?

If you have a chance, I would be very interested in the key differences between the schools regarding instruction.

July 14, 2001, 12:29 PM
My opinion, justified and stated as succinctly and gently as possible, under the circumstances:
Opinions are like rectums, everybody has one, yourself included.
Keeping one's opinion generator and rectum separated are up to the individual user. You need to work on this.

Having seen Iggy shoot (and do so poorly) as well as having had business dealings with him in the past, I have no desire to give him any money, or take any firearms training from him.
If however, I needed instruction in selecting a tailor, screwing business partners or blame shifting, he would be high on my list of accomplished masters.

If achieving the dubious title of "Four weapons COMBAT master" actually involved any COMBAT, it would, perhaps, be another story altogether.... :D

As it is, Iggy is an arch poseur, and has no combat experience.
Hell, he doesn't even have any top drawer competition bones to brag about.
Personally, I want to learn from folks that have actually been there and done that, rather than those that are regurgitating second and third hand info.

That is why I have been tutored by:
Louis Awerbuck
Harry Humphries
Bill Maugham
Monte Gould
Jeff Cooper
Del Miller
Ron Avery
Bob Young
Dave Hall
and many others that have competed, trained and fought in the real world....

I am currently a part time SWAT and CQB instructor, as well as an Officer Edged Weapon Survival Instructor.
In four days I leave for the East Coast to instruct US and Italian Naval Special Warfare personel in CQB/Knife Fighting.

So, who's the crybaby wannabe?

July 14, 2001, 01:30 PM
I choose my words VERY carefully George, but thanx for the warning. Seems that you, and at least one other could benefit in it's heed.

"Keeping one's opinion generator and rectum separated are up to the individual user. "

Maddog: As stated above, my words are chosen very carefully, so as to NOT smell like what yours do. You need to heed your OWN advise, everyone can smell you a mile away. If you in fact DID see Dr. Piazza "do so poorly" (which I seriously doubt, you've lost any complimentary credibility with your previous posts), I'm sure that most can agree that everyone has a bad day once in a while. I've seen him shoot hundreds of times, the man is truely a master of every weapons system. Everything that you've stated smells of slander & liable.

"So, who's the crybaby wannabe?"

Judging soley by your continued attacks and demeanor....
....I think that everyone gets the picture.
If Dr. Piaza is to be condemned on his training record, looks like you're gonna burn right beside him.

Now, before I post MY list, I'll say this:
I haven't trained at Thunder Ranch, Gunsite, or any of the others mentioned, so I don't put them down out of pure ignorance of their regimen. I've read numerous reviews on them, looks like they offer good training. They sure have a lotta neat toys, anyway. But toys don't make you good at weapons handling, dedicated students and experienced instructors do.

Do I hafta tell you where these courses were taken?

4 times- 4 Day Defensive Handgun
After 30 years of serious shooting, I learned more the first time I took this course than I could ever have imagined that there was to know.

3 times- Advanced Handgun Tactics
This is the course that gets you off of the line & moving. Moving while shooting, a novel idea, huh?

Numerous times- Handgun Skillbuilder
This is a fast paced, all shooting course. Lectures are few, concentration is on speed & accuracy using The Four Secrets.

Handgun Combat Master Prep
Did I say "fast paced" up there? Ok, NOW I know what "fast paced" means. We're getting down to the nitty gritty here, for SERIOUS shooters only. By the time this course was completed, we were drawing and firing COM HITS with our eyes closed the whole way. How's THAT for "muscle memory", Darrel? (I know that you're lurking in the shadows)

2 & 4 Day Practical Rifle
Only took these courses once each, can't wait to do it again. Our instructor was one of the top rated sharpshooters in the US, the man was an AWSOME instructor.

4 Day Tactical Shotgun
This was an AWSOME course, can't wait to do it again. Most shooters don't have a clue what their shotgun is capable of, until they attend a course like this.

I could list off all of the names of instructors, and hours spent in private lessons, but who really cares? Name dropping is just another form of "hey, look who I am". I never believed in it, the proof is in the pudding. Rich listed off some pretty good compliments of the ranges that he's been to, I can say the same about Front Sight & all of it's instructors.

Dr. Piazza has a pretty unique approach to the whole firearms training industry. 99.9% of the people that attend his courses firmly believe that it is a GOOD approach. But, there will always be that 0.01% that have more anal fortitude than open mindedness. It is that 0.01% that I sincerely pity. I'm not here to offend any of TFL's members, but some of them DO offend me. To that, I will most likely offer rebuttal, until it starts looking like a squabble during 1st grade recess. I think that it reached that point at the end of the post just before this one.

Good day gentlemen;)

July 14, 2001, 02:06 PM
Nevertheless, you have ignored the substance of my post, in favor of attacking me personally yet again. Fine.
Quid pro quo, but directed at the Iggster, not you, unless you are he... :p

You wrote:
"IMO, Dr. Piazza has taken the best from the hundreds of different courses that he has attended, and packed it all together for the BEST bang for your buck. "

I say again: Iggy has no combat/real world experience.
He "borrows" from those that do (and many who don't), and regurgitates :barf: the info in whatever form he feels is expedient.


He has acquired some skills perhaps, but no practical experience to leaven them with.
Crikey, my wife has more combative experience than Iggy...
(She's a redhead, draw you own conclusions)
I know that everyone that spends their hard earned money on training wants desperately to feel that have not wasted their money, so you are to be commended for fiercely defending your investment, regardless of its intrinsically low value.
You can continue to bang your bucks however you like, but I will save mine for training with men (or women) that have the real deal.

BTW, I am a fifteen weapon combat master, so I outrank Iggy. :D

July 15, 2001, 02:46 AM
"Nevertheless, you have ignored the substance of my post..... blah, blah....blah"

I'll let it die, hypocracy is obviously accompanied by a deaf ear. :barf:

Dr. Piazza has literally tens of thousands of more-than-satisfied customers, so any time he is slandered you can bet that someone will pop up in his defense.

I've been off of this board for many months, so pardon me for taking the bait when it trolled by. My appologies to any whom I might have offended, it surely wasn't my intent to do so.

Rich, the comment about "name dropping" really wasn't a cheap shot at your reply to the question asked, please don't take it that way. I respect you.

.....but , in this case, "where there's smoke, there's fire" sounds a little on the side of "guilty until proven innocent". The fact is, there is a guy hiding in the bushes frantically rubbing two sticks together with the hopes of making it seem like there is fire ;)

Tom B
July 15, 2001, 05:01 AM
Hey guys.......All I wanted to know was if anyone had taken the free one day subgun course and if they liked it? :eek:

July 15, 2001, 09:31 AM
A free course? What's not to like? :D

Some of you might be interested in how this thread looks to a novice. I have taken exactly ONE course. That from John Farnam and Dennis Tueller. So I'm NOT an expert at all. The following is solely based on the information in this thread:

I won't be taking any courses from Dr. Piazza. I have known many people who are good students and master teachers. Some just have a talent for teaching. I do in my field. (But I have the experience, too.) Some people can absorb information and thurn around and teach it well. But when it comes to combat shooting, I want an instructor who has seen the dog. I'll save my money for someone who's been shot at and has successfully shot back, preferably more than once. If I master all they have to teach at Thunder Ranch, Gunsite, etc. I may see what I can learn from the Dr. But I don't have money for all the undeniably good training that is available, so I don't see any time soon when I'll spend money on questionable training.

I also get very concerned when a follower (student, whatever term you like) defends their guru in the manner that FF does. It smells a bit cultic. This is from my sitting back and watching perspective, with no axe to grind in this debate. FF, you might want to think about that.

July 15, 2001, 10:46 AM
Well Caption, although I don't like the tone of this discussion, I must align with fastforty on this.

I have attended classes at Front Sight and been impressed with the quality of instruction, the instructors, the attention to detail and overall experience. Since I don't have extensive experience with the other schools, I am not in a position to comment about which school is "the best". However, I do develop and deliver training as part of my position (not in the firearms industry) and I feel qualified to judge well-organized, well-delivered training.

I will say that my experiences with Dr. Piazza has been professional. He has operated with integrity and runs a professional organization. Finally, I don't know if Dr. Piazza has "seen the dog" or not. I do, however, know that many of the instructors have "seen the dog" and many are LEOs who may have. For me, this is not a requirement for an instructor; however, I understand where it might be desired.

The bottom line is that I am advocate for all high-quality training programs. I believe Front Sight to be one. I would encourage you to reconsider them as a training alternative. I believe they have something for you to learn, as do the other high quality schools. I, for one, want to train at several high quality schools and be taught be the best in the industry. Finally, as far as the best, I believe that to be very individual, highly dependant on your stage of development and change over time.

George Hill
July 15, 2001, 11:58 AM
The Term is "The Elephant".
You have either "Seen the elephant" or you have not.

If you were prepairing to climb Mt. Everest - wouldn't you want to learn from those that already have or are you going to learn from those that have never even been near Mt. Everest?
There is a very big difference there. On one hand you got a man that has made that climb - and another that is just regurgitating bits of info from what he remembered when he talked to the guy that a made the climb.
You guys might not grip that because you have never Seen the Elephant either... so you dont understand... you dont
Thats fine.

I know the difference... Rich knows, Mad Dog knows... and others that take this subject very seriously know too. I don't care how impressive an establishment Dr Pizza has - because in my opinion it doesnt matter. Its hollow.

You guys can get all pissy in objection to my opinions... but at least I have my opinions based on something other than what a nice guy Dr Pizza is and what a nice place he has.

July 15, 2001, 12:01 PM
George just originally opined to spend your money elsewhere. Big deal.

I am a bit concerned at the intensely emotional responses that followed.

When I was in Ohio, I took some training from a guy named Busey, or Bussey, think it was. He claimed to be one of only a handful of "combat masters". I don't know about that, but he test shot everyone's sidearm before training started.

He put both rounds from my Glock 21 into the same hole from 10 yards, with a rapid draw and controlled pair. Wow. About 7 years later, I still remember a lot of information from that class. I have carefully compared things I learned there (for instance, legal requirements for using lethal force) with training and information I have since received. I don't recall having learned anything false in that class, even down to "1911's are great, but Glocks are better." ;)

He was obviously good, right? But the same group he was involved with- and I liked them all, incidentally- kinda screwed me on some business dealings. I also found that some things at least one of the major trainers claimed were false, as I was also training with a martial arts group in which he claimed multi-level dan ranking.

Maybe Mr. Busse (Busey? Bussey? dunno) was entirely innocent. Sometimes we're judged by the company we keep. I pay careful attention to the folks who've seen a lot of training, and I don't contradict them.

So, you pays your money, and you takes your chances. For me, when someone I know who has no ulterior motivation, and who has a long history of working hard for all firearm owners- and extensive experience- gives his opinion, I pay attention.


Rich Lucibella
July 15, 2001, 12:35 PM
I took no personal offense to your words. We simply have a disagreement. As concerns my "smoke and fire" analogy, yes, this is a case of guilt before innocence. But I don't have Nate on trial here...we're talking about where we choose to spend our money. In that regard, we each have a right (and often exercise it) to vote based on things we've heard and things that concern us. Dr. Piazza's reputation causes me enough concern that, given a choice of where I'll spend my training dollars/time, he fails to make the cut. YMMV

In response to your questions, the "three" was a typo. You asked about my sense of these schools:

Gunsite: http://gunsite.net/
Buz Mills has done a simply phenomenal job with facilities development. The curriculum is very well developed and uniform from class to class, thanks to Ops Director Colonel Bob Young. The instructors are top notch. From Beginner Handgun to Tac Rifle, you simply will not be sorry....training is stepwise and by the numbers. A great place for foundational training. Finally, this is the only place available to train under Jeff Cooper....consider doing so before 2025, as I don't expect him to make it much past his 110th birthday.

Thunder Ranch: http://www.thunderranchinc.com/
It has been said that Gunsite will teach you to shoot, while Thunder Ranch will teach you to fight and I think this is true in a lot of ways. Clint Smith keeps his classes and yearly student roster small, though he could easily accomodate 3X the business. This is due to his insistence on providing training thru a very small, hand picked group of trainers (now including Jack Furr mentioned above). The curriculum pays due allegiance to the Modern Technique, but is hardly a Cooper copy. Clint knows his stuff, has "been there and done that" and has developed a teaching curriculum that is based on his own perceptions, priorities and observations. Even Cooper grants Clint his due. Again, you simply cannot loose.

GSGI/Harry Humphries: http://www.gsgi.org/
Harry's a bit out of the reach of most civilians. While SEAL trained (and I mean Real Deal, Marcinko/ VietNam and points unknown, SEAL), Harry has come to embrace the Modern Technique as made famous by Cooper as the basis for his training, but also moves beyond it in specific areas. Harry's focus has been on Police/Operator training for the past couple of years, and finding a civilian class is always a gem. His training is fast paced and loaded with content. If you ever have a chance to beg/borrow or steal your way into a GSGI AFCQC Class, don't miss it....that seems to be Harry's first love. However, I've had the honor of attending a GSGI "Precision Rifle" course for LEO's and a Dynamic Entry Class for the same market....He need take his hat off to no other group in this regard, either. He painstakingly develops his stuff and teaches it well.

These days, Harry splits his time between training/protection and Hollywood Technical Advisor, where he has done more to single-handedly bring proper weapons handling to the Big Screen than any indivisual I know...witness Armageddon, Gi Jane, The Rock, the first year of the Soldier of Fortune series and look for his hand prominently in the upcoming Blackhawk Down.

Louis Awerbuck: http://yfainc.com/
Best known for his Combat Shotgun courses, Louis can teach it all....and does. Also an early Cooper Disciple, Louis Awerbuck may be the single most self-effacing and the single most dangerous man with a firearm that I've met. (God, he'll kill me for saying that.)

Described by some as "Yoda", it's been said that Louie can tell what you had for breakfast based on your noon-time shot group...and I believe it may well be true. Whether it's rifle, pistol or shotgun, with Louis, you'll be assured of personal instruction and insight. He has an ability to walk down a line of shooters, make one or two spot-on comments to each and change their scores dramatically....assuming they listen, believe and execute. Louie is on the road teaching constantly and likely to be in your area sometime soon....he's also available at Gunsite.

To get a sense of the man, read his column in S.W.A.T. magazine. I say this, not only because of my involvement, but because his articles are simply priceless. No one will ever accuse Louie of "thinking inside the box.....or of political corrctness!

Walt Marshall: http://www.awt-co.com/
Last but certainly not least, I shall never forgive myself for leaving Walt Marshall off the list!
I trained with Walt at Gunsite twice and would do so so again in a heartbeat. Like Louie, you can expect plenty of personal attention in Walt's classes. He has an ability to make his students really want to push their limits and has no problem teaching advanced techniques to a class, if it completes the current curriculum ahead of time. We saw this at Gunsite 6 years ago and were treated to almost two days of the 350 course after completing the 250 curriculum....no extra charge! Walt's student following is among the most loyal I know...and for good reason.

That's the rundown of my opinions. However, each of the persons I've mentioned has developed and or tested their approaches in battle; most far more than once. This is by no means the "Who's Who in training....just my personal experience. There's another topic here on Farnam, who's rep is inpeccable; I've heard great things about BlackWater Lodge, but have no personal experience. While I take issue with the magazine persona(s) of Mas Ayoob, I've yet to hear a bad word spoken of his courses by anyone who's attended...though I sense his strengths are more in the areas of surviving the after battle legal war.

With choices like that, and a host of courses that I've yet to take, it becomes obvious why Front Site is not on my list of priorities. Again YMMV.

Rich Lucibella
July 15, 2001, 12:53 PM
Some pertinent excerpts from Louie Awerbuck's Tactics Column in July S.W.A.T. on this very issue:
Unless one has received a “doctorate” from years of performing the task in law enforcement and military circles, there is no university degree in weaponcraft. If you fork over the green stuff to somebody whose résumé consists solely of having attended other school’s classes, there’s a clue. All he’s done is taught a course from someone else’s lesson-plan, and if it weren’t such a serious subject it would be laughable.

The problem is obvious. Once Mr. Pseudo-Sensei runs out of ideas and/or loses information in second-hand translation, you don’t get the full benefit of the originator’s intent and ideas. Let alone his ability. A classic case of this is the many bastardized versions of Clint Smith’s Urban Rifle program that this author has seen in the past few years

The only eventual justice is, to quote President Eisenhower, “Fake reputations, habits of glib and clever speech, and glittering surface performance will be discovered.” You can’t fake it in this game and get away with it forever. The bad news is how many people will be killed, wounded or raped before Jungle Justice is exercised from above? If we don’t have the intestinal fortitude to admit that most of us don’t know a tenth of what we thought we knew twenty years ago, at least get into something honest like prostitution.

Point Blank
July 15, 2001, 02:06 PM
Can it really be that hard to grasp an Uzi or M16 firmly,aim in the general area of a watermellon sitting on a post and empty the mag "tactically"??? I think a monkey could master a fully auto weapon after a few mags,guess i could be wrong since i never shot one.:cool:

George Hill
July 15, 2001, 02:16 PM
Yup - your wrong.

Anyways - I think this thread is about done.

Closing before someone loses an eye.