Front Sight Firearms Training Institute sits on a large piece of desert just outside Pahrump, a town in the southern portion of Nye County, Nevada. Some 35,000 people come to Front Sight each year to receive instruction on carrying and deploying a firearm. Though several students of the Four Day Defensive Handgun course shown here were active-duty military personnel or law enforcement officers, the majority were civilians. The courses were geared towards those who carry a weapon daily -- openly, as is legal in Nevada and 25 other states, or concealed, as 11 states allow one to do without a license.
Students practiced with their weapons in the grueling heat for ten hours a day, first learning to draw their weapon, and eventually graduating to live-fire room-clearing exercises. The classes, which range in skill level from beginner to "combat master," can cost upwards of $2,000, not including the price of ammunition, travel and lodging.
These photographs were made in September 2015, on assignment for The Nation and in concert with author Patrick Blanchfield, whose article can be found here.