Front Sight Firearms Training Institute is a Nevada-based company that teaches self-defense gun training courses to law enforcement, military personnel, and private citizens from around the United States. The company was founded and is owned by Dr. Ignatius Piazza.
Members of Front Sight who had previously purchased lifetime memberships had the terms of those memberships changed substantially on January 22, 2022, when the organization announced a controversial “restructuring” that instituted monthly and daily charges on members who had already paid for lifetime memberships. Members were very unhappy with the changes, and eventually purported to walk back the changes, although it seems like many of the changes did indeed go into effect. In addition, some members’ memberships are being revoked altogether and being banned from the facility arbitrarily.
After vaguely foreshadowing “big and positive news” for more than a month, on May 24, 2022, Front Sight filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In a May 24 press release explaining the bankruptcy filing (and spinning it as a positive development), Dr. Piazza explained the membership revocations and bans as being for “legitimate reasons, including some very egregious conduct” and alleged that those banned members had joined forces with other enemies bent on destroying Front Sight. In this same press release, Dr. Piazza indicates that he plans to continue business at Front Sight and views the bankruptcy filing as a business reorganization strategy, in addition to soliciting additional donations.
As of the reorganization, given that members have to pay $100 per day for time on the range, it is unclear whether their membership gives them any value over non-members. Some members were given “Front Sight Bucks” (FS$) as compensation during the reorganization, and were informed that they would be able to use that money for course fees and to purchase ammunition. However, customers report being unable to use these credits for course fees at all, and only being able to use the credits for a small portion of the ammunition available at the shop, effectively rendering the credits useless. Additionally, Front Sight appears to still be accepting payment in advance for reservations multiple months out, despite the company’s financial situation being highly volatile.
Former members who paid for lifetime memberships that were later revoked may have claims for damages related to the amount paid for the memberships. In addition, active members who paid for lifetime memberships but were charged additional fees may have claims for breach of contract. Front Sight members generally may have claims for fraud related to Dr. Piazza’s far-flung explanations for the financial situation of the business.
A similar lawsuit was filed against SiriusXM in 2016 when they enacted a similar policy of telling customers that had bought lifetime licenses that their licenses were good for the lifetime of the product, not the customer’s lifetime.