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Sight alignment and sight picture are constantly emphasized. Each range is equipped with the appropriate training aids to help students visualize what the instructor is presenting. Front Sight targets are split into the head and body regions with each having a 5 and 2 point scoring zone. For the body, shots falling within the dome shaped thoracic cavity are scored as 5 points while shots outside the thoracic cavity result in 2 points. The head is similar with the 4"x5" cranial ocular cavity netting a 5 point hit and 2 points for the remainder of the head. In the above photo, you can see the instructor's front and rear sight training aid used to show proper sight alignment and picture.
Here is Clayton, a fellow shooter that I partnered with while our relays took turns on the firing line. I believe this was his first time at Front Sight and I'm pretty sure he was enjoying the training.
Aside from shooting, day #1 of the course also includes two classroom lectures, totaling about 75 minutes. They include "Code of Mental Awareness and Combat Mindset" and "Moral and Ethical Decision Associated with the Use of Deadly Force".
Day #2 is more time on the range along with two more classroom presentations. "Problem 2 and 3: Criminal and Civil Liability" is 45 minutes long and is presented in the main classroom right after lunch. Near the end of the day, "Tactical Movement" uses up the last portion of the training day. The classroom presentations are designed so that rifle, shotgun, and handgun students all receive the same lecture. Any information unique to a specific type of firearm is delivered by the range instructor when the student returns to the range.
During day #1 and #2, both 2 and 4 day defensive handgun students share the same range. Class sized drops a bit for days 3 and 4 since the two day course students are finished. The last classroom lecture at the end of day #2 is the final classroom session for the course. The final two days are all spent on the range.
During our breaks, many of the folks spend time reloading their magazines. Having taken the defensive handgun course before, I came equipped with more mags than most students. I had 8 magazines for my Springfield XD 9mm. Each magazine holds 16 rounds although I typically load them to 14 or 15 during a training session. The mags seat easier when not topped off and the slide is in battery, such as when performing a tactical reload (which we did very often).
The morning of day #3 had us spending some time in one of the tactical simulators (shoot houses). With the information gained from the previous day's tactical movement lecture, you and an instructor clear a house. Actually, you clear the house and the instructor follows behind with a large carabineer attached to the back of your shooting belt, which is done to help ensure the safety of everyone. After you access the first door, you won't even know you have a "shadow" back there.
During day #3 lunch, a supplemental lecture is offered in the main classroom , which is "How to Select a Defensive Handgun, Tactical Shotgun, Practical Rifle, and Weapons Modifications". For a person new to firearms, or one looking to get a different type of firearm, this is a good presentation. Right after lunch, we received a short range presentation regarding holsters and shooting from concealment. From that point on, all shooting was performed using a jacket, vest, or some other type of cover garment. The rest of day #3 was spent practicing for the next day's skills test.
As the drills and practice continued, we were always reminded about site alignment and site picture. Here Vicki, one of our instructors, reminds Lisa about the proper placement of the front sight in relationship to the rear sight. Keeping the top of the front sight even with the top of the rear sight is paramount for making hits on target, especially when performing head shots. Lisa was another one of my range partners. We shot together during the morning of day #4.
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