Front Sight, a firearms training Institute, is not your typical tourist attraction. Ruth and I learned about it right before we left for Las Vegas, and we also learned that it provides 2 tours for outsiders on week days at 10am and 3pm. Always on the lookout for unusual attractions, we decided to include a tour in our itinerary.
Front Sight’s founder Dr. Ignatius Piazza is self-effacing. He says he is not a competitive shooter. On Front Sight’s website I read this comment from him, “Although I owned firearms and shot them regularly at the range, I was never taught the skills required to use a gun when it is needed most–to defend one’s life.” Feeling this need, he started Front Sight in 1996. Its facility has been in the desert west of Las Vegas for 20 years. It’s actually closer to Pahrump than Las Vegas.
I must admit that I thought of Front Sight every time Ruth and I passed Mandalay Bay and I recalled the deadliest mass murder attack in US History there in October, 2017. It resulted in 59 deaths and more than 850 injuries. I was startled to see how much there is about the shooter, Stephen Paddock, on the internet. I do not know whether there is a connection between Front Sight and this horrific event, but I do know that Front Sight is thriving.
Our personal tour of this facility was conducted by Robyn, who really likes her job. She has been there for the past 2 years and lives in Pahrump. She told us that Front Sight currently has 260 students and 100 staff members. Apparently, Front Sight recruits staff constantly. Its brochure, “How Do You Get Started”, notes that it had over 35,000 students at its Nevada Facility in 2016, which is, I suppose, when the brochure was released. The brochure mentions that 2016 was Front Sight’s best year to date. It’s currently building a new administration facility, getting a food truck and new pro shop, and adding 25 firing ranges to bring its total to 50.
Robyn told us that 11-year-olds can get training if they have a parent who has taken a course on Front Sight’s 550 acres. I wanted to visit a firing range, but this was not provided on the tour. The closest we got to real info about training was when Robyn told me that my wrap-around sunglasses were appropriate but Ruth’s were not. When you’re on a course for training, you are accompanied by 5 staff members. The closest we got to seeing any actual training facility was a visit to a clearly challenging obstacle course. But there was no one using it on Friday morning.
Ruth vigorously entered the conversation when she learned that 25% of the people receiving weapons training are female. At one point Robyn spoke of her father. He suffers from PTSD as the result of being a career police officer. I asked about background checks for course enrollees, and Robyn assured me that these are both required and in depth. She also told us that Bass Pro Shops, Big 5, and Cabella’s were excellent places to get equipped.
Front Sight’s courses, which begin at $1,000, include Empty Hand Defense, Edged Weapons, and Tactical Shotgun. Complete descriptions of each available course and more are on Front Sight’s full-disclosure website that has many student testimonials. Visiting Front Sight is a sobering experience.