Front Sight Course Critique: 1-day Armorer’s Course (February 23, 2022)

Front Sight Trained
Course date
February 23, 2022
Course type (handgun, shotgun, rifle, etc.)
1-day Armorer’s Course
Range Master’s name
Chris Kaufmann
Range number
Classroom

Please let us know of anyone who was exceptional in the delivery of service to you and certainly do not hesitate to inform us of anyone who failed to treat you in a manner that aligned with our stated purpose to positively change the image of gun ownership by training responsible citizens to levels that exceed law enforcement and military standards — without any boot camp mentality or drill instructor attitudes.

This visit got off to a rocky start because the confirmation letter contained at least two errors. First, it told me to be at the gate at 6:30 a.m. when the gate did not open until 7:15 a.m. that day. Second, it said I could buy Front Sight merchandise at FrontSightStore.com, a site that seems never to have been online in its four years of existence. The classroom was dark when I arrived because the power was off and the generators had yet to start up. When I tried to buy merchandise at the Pro Shop, the computers were not connected so I could not use my Front Sight credits. The generators eventually got us lighting, but to the best of my knowledge the computers never came back online.

At a minimum, please rate the following on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the best:

Professionalism and friendliness of the staff — 9
Everyone seemed friendly, although some of the helper instructors seemed a bit at-sea in terms of the ins and outs of Glocks, let alone armorer’s techniques.
Comments about specific instructors or staff members

(Please forgive any spelling errors of instructor names.)

Chris Kaufmann: Kaufman seems to have an interesting work history. I’d bet we would have a lot in common in a social setting. He struggled a bit with presenting the information, though, in part because the overhead projector is poor quality. There were also no prepared information materials for him to project onto the big screen. Neither was there a course curriculum, so we had no idea about the day’s schedule. Most of the time, Kaufmann presented information well, although I got the impression that there were limits to his knowledge base, despite having a ton of experience in keeping Glocks clean, maintained, and running, because he deflected most questions about Glock aftermarket parts and cheat codes. I did not mind his general bias toward stock Glocks and stock Glock parts, especially in this setting.

Chris Dickson: Seemed eager to help, although perhaps not as knowledgeable in armorer-specific information and experience.

Eric Beames: Seem shy, as well as perhaps not fully up-to-speed with armorer-specific information and experience.

Instructor Hirschi: I didn’t see him at the start of the class, so either I missed him or he joined us later. Seemed like what Canadians call a keener. My impression was that he was holding back some of his enthusiasm for the topic out of fear of being off-putting. Had a great conversation with him about his unusual (to me) Gen4 Glock, and he seemed interested in trying out a widely different connector I brought along. I observed him disassembling guns to check if they exhibited any of the characteristics of other guns about which questions were being raised.

Afternoon Instructor Matt: Seemed cocky, which is OK if you know your stuff. His distain of Glocks and promotion of CZ was off-putting, and were out-of-place in a Glock-specific environment. Not only was his demeanor different than Kaufmann’s but he contradicted Kaufmann about: using grease to lube between the trigger bar and the connector, the cleanliness of American ammo vs. that from other countries, and parts polishing. Virtually no structure to his half of the day: Those who didn’t ask questions probably didn’t get much out of his presence. My impression is that Matt would have been a better person than Kaufmann to extend the class into discussions of what Front Sight armorer’s do on a Glock trigger job, what aftermarket parts to seek, which ones to avoid, reputable Glock aftermarket suppliers, Glock aftermarket suppliers to avoid, etc.

Quality of the course curriculum — 5
I was expecting more than disassembly and assembly instruction, perhaps more in the line of troubleshooting and problem-solving, and definitely more the way of tuning and optimizing. Virtually every piece of new information I got was due to asking questions, but at least I was able to ask (and get an answer most of the time). I was surprised, however, that there was no live-fire function-testing after the course.
Efficiency, logistics, and administration of the course — 5
It would have been nice to get a course curriculum with the other paperwork. I brought everything on the list of required tools and materials, and it turned out that not all of them were used (or even mentioned). Conversely, I brought a box of Q-Tips, which was not on the list, and shared them with grateful classmates. This is the first Front Sight course I’ve ever taken where items were supplied: work pad, roll of masking tape, latex gloves, microfiber cloth, paper towels, and even a little lube after the end of the class.
Welcome, Sign-In, and Weapons Inspection on the first morning — 10
Smooth as always, after the staff had scraped all the morning’s snow off of the tables.
Classroom lectures and video presentations — n/a
Pro Shop staff, inventory, and efficiency - 7
The staff was good and the inventory sufficient, but with the computers inoperable the efficiency was down.
Physical facility (classroom, ranges, simulators, parking, toilets, etc.) — 10
Good as always
Overall course rating (1-10) — 5
I understand that the morning session had to be basic to get beginners up to speed, but the afternoon session could have gone much more in depth.

We would also appreciate seeing what you would say to a friend or family member, if you were trying to convince them to attend a course at Front Sight. In a separate paragraph please write what you will tell your family and friends about your Front Sight Experience and let us know if we can share your comments with others.

For this course specifically, interesting but not compelling. If you already know how to disassemble and reassemble your Glock, there is little to be gained from this course aside from getting to spend a pleasant day in the desert. For the shooting courses, absolutely, assuming Front Sight policies and practices are able ever to settle down again after the recent upheaval of the restructuring debacle.

Other notes

Interesting tidbits

  • They said that the Glock has four safeties (no explanation of what those safeties are).
  • Demonstrated how to use a Delrin rod in the barrel with the muzzle pointing up to check the operation of the firing pin, but no information about when to get a Delrin rod. They said that the reason we brought a pencil was to do this test, but the rubber eraser on the end of the pencil gives a very unsatisfactory result in this test.
  • Mention of the Snap-On PET screwdriver for removing / replacing the magazine release spring, but this item seems not to be in the Snap-On catalog.
  • They recommended using cardboard polishing wheels, but there was no mention of where to get them, or if they are available in bench-grinder size or Dremel size or neither or both.
  • Recommended Ameriglo i-Dot Night Sights.
  • Mentioned that recoil springs could be checked using the Johnny Glocks recoil spring tester, but no such item seems to be on his website. However, they indicated that even this method was not reliable. Apparently, there is no reliable way to check the recoil spring other than shooting it until it fails.
  • If you use too-long screws for the right side of the mounting plate of your red-dot optic, it will interfere with the operation and even removal of the extractor plunger.
  • They say that trigger springs (Gen1-4) are the ones that they see break most often, so have spares on hand.
  • They recommend not mixing parts from various after-market sources because they don’t always play well with each other.
  • They recommend using red thread locker when installing a new front sight. No mention that you might need to use heat to remove a sight installed this way.
  • Matt redefined what the wall is. Most of us think that the wall is what you feel after you remove all the take-up slack from the Glock trigger. Matt says that this is not the wall, and that the wall comes much later in the rearward movement of the trigger. He drew a diagram, but this did not make clear to me what he was talking about.
  • If you can’t get the trigger pin out, remove the locking block pin first.
  • If the plating is coming off of your firing pin safety, replace it.

Missing information

  • No removal / replacement of the striker channel liner.
  • No removal / replacement of front or rear sights.
  • No removal / replacement of the slide lock or slide lock spring.
  • Removed and replaced a magazine release and magazine release spring without really sharing it with the whole class.
  • No instruction on how to check each of the built-in Glock safeties.
  • No information on how to check the contact between the trigger bar cruciform and the beak of the striker.
  • No mention of the armorer’s backplate, or how to use one.
  • Not much help on how to install recalcitrant back-straps on Gen4 and Gen5 Glocks.
  • Not many suggestions about which Glock aftermarket suppliers are best and/or reputable.
  • Not much help on fixing fretting marks on the striker beak due to long-term carry.

Greg Raven, Apple Valley, CA