Free Sub-Gun Shoot

By Jeff John
Guns & Ammo
February 2000

We scribes get to do a lot of things free that are expensive or impossible for the general public. We get to test and shoot all manner of firearms and use cool gear on the cuff, so to speak. A recent week ending October was a good example of this. I got to take a free submachine class from the world-class instructors at Front Sight Firearms Training Institute in Nevada. Free use of a Front Sight-supplied fully auto Cobray M-1 1 9mmsubmachine gun with a two-stage suppressor—and all I had to provide were eye and ear protection and a hat. Spares of those items were on hand for those who left home without. Even the copious quantity of ammunition necessary to feed a gun with a 1,200 rpm cyclic rate was provided free as well, and, boy, did we shoot — all under the watchful eyes of the dedicated Front Sight range staff. What makes this event unique—and interesting to you—is that the same deal I got is being offered to the Guns & Ammo reader.

Yes, finally you can get to do something unique that few others will ever get the chance to do—learn how to employ and shoot a submachine gun. There is no better fun than shooting submachine guns (except maybe shooting full-size machine guns) except getting to shoot submachine guns free.

Three SMG students
Students are drawn to Front Sight from all over the nation. Sidney Davis of Bergenfield, New Jersey shoots along side Jeanne Cecchi of Pleasant Hill, California at the free sub-machine gun course.

That’s right—free. Front Sight will provide the guns, ammo, food and water for the G&A readers who apply for the Introduction to the Submachine Gun course at Front Sight. All you have to do is get yourself there and find a place to stay. Front Sight is about 45 minutes from Las Vegas, so there are plenty of hotels, motels and other fun ways to make a weekend out of it.

Normally, only members of police or military organizations get to take sub-gun courses, but at Front Sight, any upstanding citizen with a clean record and a willingness to learn can take advantage of the various Front Sight training courses in the practical use of handguns, shotguns, rifles and submachine guns. Front Sight pulls pupils from all walks of life. Students in the class I attended came from all points of the compass with some from as far away as New Jersey The class was filled with a mix of blue-and white-collar people, pretty much the kind of Joes and Janes you find in your local shooting club. Students are encouraged to bring their own legally owned firearms, although anyone wishing to take a course will be supplied with the appropriate range firearm if the student doesn't possess a suitable one. Since nobody in this class had a sub-gun, Front Sight supplied the 40-odd guns used that day

Brad Ackman speaks.
In this part of the class, Front Sight’s Range Master Brad Ackman gives pupils a lesson on sight alignment.

This is a one-day class. You will not learn everything there is to know about sub-guns, but you will know how to handle one safely and learn how to hit with a sub-gun should that occasion ever arise. There is a four-day course for those who wish or need to employ a sub-gun tactically After a lecture on the design and features of the Cobray M-1 1 (open-bolt guns have their own safety rules in addition to ones we already know and respect) as well as how to employ it by Front Sight’s range master, Brad Ackman, the students repair to the range and are taught to fire with discipline and accuracy Front Sight maintains a 4-to-1 ratio of students to instructors so that each student gets plenty of individual attention. The high ratio also makes for a safe and orderly range. Dr. Ignatius Piazza, founder of Front Sight, demonstrated why discipline in using the sights is important even in machine gun use and pops the myth of "spray and pray" quite effectively during his live fire portion of the lecture.

Ron Danielowski helps a student.Students graduate by firing two full magazines from the Cobrays. Jeanne Cecchi of Pleasant Hill, California fires her first magazine into the old target with the assistance of instructor Ron Danielowski. While no means unpleasant, the recoil of even the 9mm at 1,200 rpm tends to move one back a step. A new, fresh target will go up for the final magazine and the" keeper" target.

Don't think this course is just a dry three-round-burst-is-all-you-can-do sort of day As a graduation exercise, students get to rip a full magazine of 9mm into a fresh target and keep the target as a souvenir of the day In between, how to employ the gun from various positions and the how and why of Morro drills is covered. Capping it all is a free pizza lunch with sodas in the main tent. After that, any who wish to stay will get to talk with Dr. Piazza about the various levels of membership at Front Sight and the benefits you will derive from joining.

Sometimes it’s what we don't know that will hurt us, and at Front Sight, the instructors want you to be prepared for any defensive event that comes your way I like to think I'm up on the theory and practice of the tactical employment of firearms, but these guys offered fresh insights and — better still — I got to use a firearm I'd always yearned to employ yet figured I'd never get a chance to use. All in all, it was a fun day and worth every minute. Be sure and peruse the application on the following pages!

SMG firing line
Front Sight maintains a ratio of 4-to-1 students to instructors. This way, each student gets individual attention.