From: Dr. Ignatius Piazza
This is a transcript of the live Course Introduction I have provided at Front Sight hundreds of times over the last ten years.
I share it with you now for three reasons:
Five Levels of Tactical Competence
Before getting into the transcript, here is an interesting side note that will make even more sense after reading the entire transcript:
The most common communication we hear from students on the First Day of a course is, “I can’t believe how much I didn’t know!” This even comes from people who have been shooting for 20 years!
The most common communication we hear from students on the Second Day of a course is, “I can’t believe how much I am learning!” This also comes from people who have been shooting for 20 years!
The most common communication we hear from students on the Third Day of a course is, “I can’t believe how much more there is to learn!” Yes, even from the people who have been shooting for 20 years!
The most common communication we hear from students on the Last Day of the course is, “I can’t wait to come back and bring my whole family!” Everyone says this!
But don’t take my word for it. To watch a businessman from New York City tell you why he travels across the country, bypassing every other firearms instructor and school in his path to attend courses at Front Sight click on: I Thought I Knew Something about Handguns.
Plus at the end of this transcript, I have arranged for another Hollywood Celebrity (you Star Trek fans will love it) to share the change in his attitude about firearms and demonstrate some of the skills he has learned after taking courses at Front Sight.
Here is the transcript of Front Sight’s Purpose and the Five Levels of Competence:
Welcome to Front Sight. We believe that in order to distinguish ourselves above all others in this industry, we must be driven by a purpose that is greater than just making money or a name for ourselves. This purpose must always remain bigger than the organization otherwise the reason for existing can become rather self-centered or egotistic.
Now those of you who are new to Front Sight and are not familiar with the term Purpose Based Organization, you’ll know when you’re in the presence of such an organization when you witness the individuals working with you, performing their tasks with an enthusiastic sense of duty and a moral obligation to those the purpose is meant to serve. By Those I mean You— our students.
I believe you will find this weekend that Front Sight is such an organization with a group of highly dedicated instructors and support staff who are all brought here for the same reason— To Serve You and To Make You As Good As We Possibly Can during the time that you spend with us.
With that said, what is our Purpose? Well it is a large one and the easiest way to explain it is to review something we call the Five Levels Of Competence…
(WARNING: This topic is honest, candid, and blunt. No offense is intended, especially to the good people who serve in law enforcement and the military. Please understand as you are reading this transcript that these Five Levels of Tactical Competence have been observed through the process of training thousands upon thousands of Front Sight students to levels that far exceed 99% of the gun owning population and as long as you want to improve, we will work with you to elevate your skills to the highest levels in the firearms training industry.)
The lowest level of competence is what we refer to as the I I, which stands for Intentionally Incompetent. These are the people who know they need training but they lack the courage and the motivation to get it. They actually avoid training because in exposing themselves to training, they expose their inadequacies to their peers and they fear THAT greater than death itself.
Fortunately we don’t see the I I at Front Sight very often. I can count on one hand the number of times we have in the last 10 years. In each case, they were sent to us— by their department or by someone who was concerned that this person needed training and just wasn’t getting it.
The I I does not want to be here. They waste our time, they waste your time. I tell you about them simply because they are out there and you should avoid them like the plague! Because if you count on the I I when the chips are down, they will take you right to the grave with them.
Then, for no fault of their own there is the U I, which stands for Unconsciously Incompetent. These are the people, (again, for no fault of their own) Who Do Not Know…That They Do Not Know. Unfortunately U I’s make up about 99% of the gun owning population!
Now I realize that’s a shockingly high figure for many of you to comprehend. Understand that the vast majority of the gun-owning population have never been in a lethal encounter of any kind. If they had, then they would know that in a real gunfight, you are going to be about Half As Good as you are on your best day on the range, simply from the stress of someone trying to take your life.
This is why all our courses at Front Sight involve a live-fire tactical training simulator. A simulator that’s as close to a real gun fight as we can make it without anybody getting physically hurt. And it’s in those simulators that you will gain a full understanding of the Five Levels of Competence and know you need to train twice as much— so when faced with a lethal encounter, your being only “half as good as your best day on the range” is still more than enough to win! Sadly, 99% of the gun owning population does not know what I just shared with you.
Let me give you some examples of the U I:
The police officer, who only fires his weapon for mandatory range qualification 2 or 3 times a year is Unconsciously Incompetent.
Military personnel, especially the Reserve Units and National Guard Units, who have not had the opportunity to train with their weapons or live ammunition in the last six months or year, yet are quickly called up and sent off to battle. They too are Unconsciously Incompetent.
The hunter, who buys the brand new high powered rifle, books the African safari and when the hunting guide places him within 75 yards of a trophy animal, he misses the shot— or worse wounds the animal and now you spend the rest of the day tracking large, dangerous, wounded game. He too, is Unconsciously Incompetent.
Then there’s the gun owner, who thinks— without having any type of training like we offer here at Front Sight— that simply having a pistol and a box of ammunition is all he needs for protection should he hear breaking glass in the middle of the night. He is also Unconsciously Incompetent.
This even extends to all those people who have a Concealed Weapon Permit, but have only taken that mandatory eight hours course that the County required. Six of those hours spent talking about where and when they can legally carry a gun, a few hours with some minimal training and a very minimal skills test. Now they’re out there on the street; carrying a gun; thinking that should someone step up to try to take their life, they have all the tools they need to protect it. They, too, do not know what they do not know…
Now Why Is It…That I Know So Much…About The U I?
Well it’s because I was the biggest U I.
I was the gun shop owner’s best friend. If a new gun came out on the cover of Guns and Ammo, I would immediately run down to my local gun shop and buy two; complete with all the accessories they could sell me. I viewed these guns as collectables and art objects, not as tools or weapons.
Then one day, a relatively minor incident made me aware of my incompetence and I immediately graduated to the next level of competence! I was now Consciously Incompetent. I Knew I Did Not Know And I Knew I Needed Training!
Well not everyone is as lucky as I was. Sometimes, that sudden realization that you do not know is quickly followed by your opponent’s attack. And if that attack involves lethal force, the only reason you’ll survive is because on that day, at that time, your opponent is a bigger U I than you are! Who wants to bet their life on those odds? I certainly did not.
So Front Sight’s Senior Purpose; the reason we exist; the reason we’re building this facility; the reason we invite you all to come out and train with us is because We Want To Reach this 99% of the gun owning population and bring them here to Front Sight where they can safely and immediately reach the level of knowing that they need training.
Because here at Front Sight everyone is a student and this is where we can help them.
Now when students arrive at Front Sight our next purpose is to validate their awareness that they need and want training and provide them with a curriculum that will quickly bring them up to the level of Consciously Competent because at this level they are now better than 99% of the gun owning population but must consciously think about everything that they do with their weapon.
Further practice and training will elevate their skills to the next level— the highest level…And for those of you in the room here who are the ultimate achievers; Front Sight’s purpose extends to assist you in reaching your highest level of competence. That would be Unconsciously Competent.
At the Unconsciously Competent level your weapon craft skills, your tactics, your mindset all become reflexive.
Now please realize that even at the Unconsciously Competent level— in a real gunfight— you’re still only going to be half as good as you are in your best day on the training range simply from the stress of someone trying to take your life. But half as good at the Unconsciously Competent level is miles above that U I that you’re likely to meet on the street. That not only ensures you’ll survive; it ensures that you’ll win and that’s why we’re here: To make sure that our students, should they ever need to use a weapon to defend their lives or the lives of their loved ones, will in fact win.
Now If Any Of You Are Sitting There Wondering Or Worrying that I’m speaking of you when I describe the U I, don’t worry. Whatever level you are presently at, I have been there... In fact I tell the story of my first handgun training course to illustrate this point.
When I showed up for my first handgun course, I was wearing my newly purchased and pressed desert camouflage fatigues… I had a Miami Vice shoulder holster on, just like the one Don Johnson wore in the television show… because up to that point HE was my firearms training mentor! And I had a high capacity 9mm pistol up under my arm and enough magazines on my belt to last the entire 2 days of the class without even thinking about reloading! Yes, I was quite a sight!
The instructor walked into the classroom. There were about 20 students in the class and he looked at me and he said, “You, man, stand up!” I thought, “Man this is going to be a great day. Here I am fifteen minutes into the class and the top instructor is already recognizing me…He must like my uniform!” The instructor then looked at his assistant and commanded, “Take that man outside. Get him squared away!” So there I was… standing up feeling rather foolish— exited the room— and spent the better part of the morning getting “squared away.”
Well don’t worry. That won’t happen to you here at Front Sight because it does not matter to us—I’ll Say It Again— it does not matter to us where you are at the start of the class. What matters to us is where you are at the end of the course.
And Front Sight staff and curriculum will take you from whatever level you’re presently at and significantly improve you during the time that you spend with us.
I know some of you are questioning how can I be so confident to make that statement not knowing your individual abilities? Well again, it does not matter.
In any class that we offer whether there are 20 or 200, there are students who have never shot a gun before. There are students who have been shooting for 20 years. There are returning students. There are firearms instructors. There are law enforcement officers and military personnel. Everyone improves significantly!
The reason for this is having attended the other schools in this country multiple times, I became acutely aware of not only what makes a great curriculum, but more important, what makes a great instructor.
I’m quite proud to tell you that Front Sight has the finest instructional program in the industry. We maintain the highest standards in the industry and we achieve amazing results with each and every student at every course, and we will achieve amazing results with you as well this weekend.
You see, we have a very important business philosophy here at Front Sight, and that is that YOU, the students are the product of Front Sight. Not the facility that we’re building. Not the curriculum. Not the instructional staff. Not anything that we might sell in our pro shop. You! You are the product.
When you leave us at the end of this course, you will take with you the gun handling, the marksmanship, the mindset, and the tactics that we teach. We look at you now as a representative of Front Sight.
So when you walk into a gun shop and ask the clerk to see a gun and he hands it over, you keep it pointed at the deck. You chamber check it. You clear it before you begin manipulating it. You keep your finger off the trigger. You don’t cover yourself with the muzzle. You don’t cover the clerk with the muzzle. You don’t cover everyone in the store with a muzzle. He looks at you and says, “Wow, there’s something different about this person! He’s not like everybody else that comes in here.”
(Students in class respond) “Front Sight!”
Front Sight. Absolutely. We take this very seriously and that’s why we do everything we possibly can to make you as good as we possibly can during the time that you spend with us in any course you attend!
So with that said I would like to introduce the range masters that will be working with you this weekend…. End of Transcript.
I hope you have enjoyed taking a look at the first 15 minutes of a Front Sight course by reading a transcript of my Course Introduction.
What is your current Level of Competence?
Remember, it does not matter to us where you are at the start of the class, what matters to us is where you are at the end of the course and Front Sight will significantly improve your skills during the time you spend with us. I am sure of it. In fact, Front Sight will more than satisfy your expectations or I will pay for your training. You have my personal guarantee.
But again, don’t take my word for it, to watch another Hollywood celebrity share and demonstrate how a Front Sight course took him from Unconsciously Incompetent to Unconsciously Competent click on: Star Trek, Enterprise!
Feel free to share this report with your family and friends. To receive their own reports, our brochure, and 90 minute award winning DVD then please direct them to: www.frontsight.com
I look forward to seeing you at Front Sight!
Dr. Ignatius Piazza
E-mail Dr. Piazza any comments you would like to share with him regarding this report.
If you missed the links above to watch a businessman from New York City tell you why he travels across the country, bypassing every other firearms instructor and school in his path to attend courses at Front Sight click on: I Thought I Knew Something about Handguns.
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