Tag: new range construction

The 411 on Shooting Range Ventilation

Ventilation is one of the most important aspects of an indoor shooting range. However, many misconceptions and contradictory information exist on the topic. As a range owner, it can be difficult to know what information is accurate and what the most important aspects of range ventilation are. Here are a couple common misconceptions debunked:

Misconception #1: The type of rounds shot will change the ventilation design.

Truth: It does not matter what type of rounds are shot, what type of ammunition is used, or how much shooting occurs in a small arms range. There is a standard ventilation design that works great for all ranges regardless of what ammunition is shot.

Misconception #2: Air flow speed in a range can be anywhere between 50 feet per minute and 75 feet per minute at the firing line.

Truth: The range should be designed for 75 feet per minute at the firing line or lines. This should result in an air flow that is not below 50 feet per minute at any individual point.

Misconception #3: Air flow tests should be done with people or mannequins in shooting positions.

Truth: All air flow testing should be done on an empty range. The testing and commissioning procedure on an empty range has proven to meet Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) exposure levels.

Why Range Ventilation is Important

Along with understanding the misconceptions that exist about range ventilation, it is important to understand the various purposes behind vent3ventilation and why ventilation is so critical to a shooting range’s long-term success.

The first and primary purpose of ventilation is to remove contaminants created during the firing of a weapon from the respiratory zones of those occupying the range. Exploding primers containing lead styphnate and friction from the lead slug against the gun barrel create airborne lead. Carbon monoxide and other contaminants are also created during the firing of a weapon. The ventilation system removes all of these harmful particles.

The second and equally important reason for a properly designed and installed ventilation system is to keep the range at a negative pressure to the surrounding building space. Contaminants need to be contained in the range space. This will prevent the ingestion of these harmful particles, and also keep the non-range spaces and surfaces of the building free of contamination. This in turn will ensure the health and safety of all customers and employees.

The final purpose of the ventilation system is to remove the smoke from the range so visibility is high and the targets can be seen.

Ventilation Systems and How They Work

Many range owners are aware of the purposes of a ventilation system but may have questions when it comes to the system types and designs.
The suggested air flow for a small arms range is an average of 75 feet per minute at the firing line. This air flow must be even from floor to ceiling (known as laminar flow) and have minimal turbulence. There have been two general approaches to the distribution of air that have been used within the industry.

The first is a plenum wall. Although this approach can work and some have successfully tested to provide laminar flow, the plenum wall has also been prone to problems. The main issue is when the access door to the range and the window from the range safety office have been installed they tend to create turbulent areas. This can disrupt the laminar flow, which can prevent the contaminants from being properly contained. There have also been problems where the range officer standing in one position has caused a lane to fail the exposure test.

The second method that has proven successful is the radial diffuser. This method disperses air into the range in a 180 degree radial pattern. These diffusers are custom built and tested to provide proper air flow at the firing line. It is critical to only use proven products that have been tested to achieve the laminar or even air flow at the firing line. This will ensure the safety of range employees and customers and also keep the range compliant with health and safety regulations.

When deciding on the design of the ventilation system, negative air pressure is also important. Providing negative pressure in the range is accomplished by designing more exhaust than supply air. Creating laminar air flow at the firing line will protect a shooter’s respiratory zone, but it will not keep contaminants created in the range from entering other areas of the building. The industry standard for this design is 10% greater exhaust than supply. The tighter the range area of the building is constructed, the less differential is necessary to maintain the proper pressure differential. Some ranges have been designed with the 10% differential, but the exhaust is filtered and there was no method of modulation for the exhaust based on filter loading. This caused the range to go positive within a week of a filter change. It is very important to oversize the exhaust fan and use a variable frequency drive or an inlet vein vortex damper to regulate the fan. This will control the amount of exhaust that is filtered and keep the air at a negative pressure differential.

The most critical component to keeping the range negative is a control system that can start up, stop, and maintain a negative pressure in the range at all times. The control system must also monitor the range conditions as well as sound an alarm and shut down if unsafe conditions are present.

The Economics of Range Ventilation

Price may be another factor in considering a ventilation system as they can be expensive. A range owner might think about just using a local vent8heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) contractor to install the system. Unfortunately, most local HVAC contractors do not have the required experience with shooting ranges to make everything work properly, and standard HVAC equipment by itself is not sufficient for the task. There are specialized custom components that must be manufactured and installed to exacting standards. Experts in the industry handcraft these custom parts on a per-job basis to meet the specific needs of each individual range.

If the system is too difficult for the range staff to use, chances are the staff won’t use it, or it won’t be used properly. The top names in the industry have made usability a priority to ensure each ventilation system is easy for the end-user to understand and operate. For example, Action Target’s ventilation features a single control switch that activates the entire ventilation system and indicator lights that turn on when the system is ready for use. A convenient digital interface screen displays the status of the ventilation system at all times and displays any errors, alarms, or unsafe conditions that might arise. If something happens, Action Target can dial in to the ventilation system via a built-in modem to diagnose and make adjustments remotely.

Proper shooting range ventilation is essential. There are hazards and pitfalls that can be avoided only by companies with sufficient expertise and experience, so make sure to choose a team that can do the job right. The effects of poor ventilation in a shooting range are a serious matter, and potentially hazardous to the health of both range employees and customers. Lead poisoning in adults and children can cause digestive problems, high blood pressure, hearing problems, memory and concentration problems, and a host of other health issues. These hazards can be avoided if the range is ventilated properly. Without fail, an indoor range ventilation system must provide and maintain clean air for everyone in it. With a properly installed and functioning ventilation system, range owners can operate their range worry-free, assured the system is keeping the range, employees, and customers contaminant free and healthy.

Rely on the Experts for Help

There are hundreds of things to take into consideration when building a shooting range, but your top priority should always be safety. Before anything else, make sure your range is going to be safe for your customers, your employees, and the environment. If you are considering building a range, talk to the Action Target representative in your region and he will be happy to help you find the right equipment to fit your needs and budget. You can also use our Request a Quote form to get started on your range project today.

Please note, the tips included in this message have been found to be helpful for many clients throughout the years but may not apply in all situations. Please use judgment in determining which tips will be helpful in your particular situation.

Action Target Increases H&H Shooting Sports’ Lane Count

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PROVO, Utah – Aug. 15, 2013 – H&H Shooting Sports of Oklahoma City recently teamed up with Action Target, the world leader in shooting range development, equipment and services, to increase their shooting lane count from 55 to 61 making them one of the largest gun range and retail firearm stores in the nation.

Action Target’s six-lane addition to the H&H Shooting Sports Complex brings them to a total of 82,500 square feet and is the physical embodiment of their goal to grow the shooting sports. The 61 current lanes are not the typical shooting range variety, either. They have specific uses assigned to them from pistols to shotguns, archery, air guns and even black powder rifles.

“It wasn’t good enough to just do handguns, guests wanted to be able to shoot rifles, shotguns, black powder guns and bows too,” H&H founder Miles Hall said. “We really listen. Guests told us what they wanted and we kept adding lanes to meet those needs.”

For their guests (a term they use they use exclusively instead of customer), H&H is the mecca of the shooting sports world, a destination that attracted nearly 750,000 visitors in 2012 alone. H&H has also influenced the business side of the industry by becoming the model upon which many new ranges and stores are based.

“This complex shows the world that the gun industry still has validity, not just in Oklahoma, but everywhere,” Hall said. “These complexes are the new face of the industry and it is awesome that some folks want to duplicate what we have here back in their home states.”

The HallsWhile H&H Shooting Sports now boasts one of the largest commercial shooting ranges in the nation, it came from very modest beginnings. When Hall and his wife founded H&H in 1981 at the young ages of 20 and 18, it had a mere 10 50-foot shooting lanes. And it wasn’t until 15 years later, in 1996, that a retail store was added—a decision that set H&H on the path to becoming a hub of the shooting sports.

H&H now features a store with more than 2,000 firearms, a restaurant, virtual simulators, an online newswire and even the occasional wedding. Hall said he wishes he could take credit for the range’s success but that it all comes down to customer service and the simple act of listening.

“If you listen to people and watch who they are and do what they want you to do, they’re going to take good care of you,” Hall said. “They’ve taken good care of us here.”

H&H (which stands for “Hers and His”) is especially conscientious of women shooters who now make up nearly half of its customer base.

“Shooting is not a men’s only club anymore,” Hall said. “47 percent of our customer base is women, and ethnically, it is all over the board. We love that our guests are as diverse as they are.”

Even with the evolving landscape of new guests, technology and products, H&H stays true to their educational goal which includes training and teaching shooters how to safely use firearms while keeping it fun.

“We understand the entertainment factor, but its really all about education,” Hall said. “No one has to participate in shooting sports. They do it because they want to, and we try very hard to make it a fun and enjoyable time for them.”

H&H has plans to add more shop space to accommodate a larger selection of gun safes that will increase their size to 90,000 square feet. Plans are also being made to add another six shooting lanes after retrofitting some of the older ones.

2363A4E5-A751-4890-B362-D2A2413EF533[5] The grand opening of the new shooting lanes will be held Labor Day Weekend during normal business hours.

Three Keys to Getting Your Shooting Range Approved

In the process of building a shooting range, perhaps the most intimidating part is getting it approved by your local government. Even after you’ve done all the work, raised all the money, and planned everything out, the final say still comes down to a handful of elected officials. Don’t let that make you feel powerless, though. Even if the ultimate decision is in someone else’s hands, there are still things you can do to increase your chances of success.

1) Talk to the Right People

Your local government officials need to know as soon as possible that you’re planning to build a shooting range. They’ll appreciate it if you inform them early and often of your intentions, and that communication can open doors for you later on. You’ll have a much better chance of getting your range approved if you’ve established a relationship with local leaders from the beginning.

Early communication will also help you figure out zoning issues. In most cases, land has to be zoned as either commercial or industrial for a shooting range to be built on it. Find out first thing if the land you’re looking at is zoned appropriately. Zoning requirements for building a shooting range vary depending on where you live, and some places may not even have specific guidelines for ranges. Your local officials will have the most accurate information and can help you understand the requirements. Should you discover that the land you plan to build on is not zoned appropriately for a shooting range, ask the planning and zoning committee if it can be re-zoned. Often, city governments are willing to work with local businesses on zoning issues to keep potential commerce from going elsewhere.

2) Educate Yourself

AT Builds Indoor Firing Range for OrlandoThe more you know about what’s required to get your range approved, the better. Become familiar with local noise and firearms regulations as well as environmental restrictions that will apply to your shooting range. How will you handle noise abatement? How will you dispose of lead? How will you keep customers and employees safe? All of these issues will come up when presenting to the city council. If you already know what their concerns are by asking questions and doing research, you can adequately prepare to answer them.

Once you know what standards you’re shooting range will be required to meet, talk to an Action Target territory manager to find out what options are available. Action Target specializes in building state-of-the-art shooting ranges and offers several technologies to meet the stringent requirements of government regulations. For example, Action Target’s Total Containment Trap (TCT) is the most environmentally-friendly bullet trap in the industry and makes lead containment safe and easy. With the addition of a Screw Conveyor System (SCS), all bullets and range debris are safely collected and deposited into a sealed barrel for convenient disposal. Action Target also provides sound-abating safety baffles, acoustically-rated wall systems that reduce reverberation by 98%, bullet-proof transparent lane dividers, and ventilation systems that filter air and protect customers from lead exposure. No matter what regulation your shooting range is under, chances are Action Target has a patented technology to meet it.

3) Prepare to Present

Once you’ve talked to your local government officials and learned everything you need to know about regulations and restrictions, all that’s left to do is present your plan to the city council. For those inexperienced in public speaking, this may be the scariest part of the whole process. To make the experience smoother, ask a city council member in advance what information they want from you, write down a list of questions they may ask you, and prepare all of your answers ahead of time so you don’t forget in the heat of the moment.

If you feel like you need additional backup, Action Target representatives are more than willing to attend the city council meeting with you no matter where you live. That way you can have a shooting range expert standing next to you to answer any questions about the technology and safety features of your future range.

The sales team at Action Target is willing to do whatever it can to make the approval process as seamless and successful as possible for you. If you have any questions or concerns about getting your shooting range approved, call Action Target at (801) 377-8033 and ask to speak with your area representative.

And be sure to check out our Build Your Range tool by clicking here.

Please note, the tips included in this message have been found to be helpful for many clients throughout the years, but may not apply in all situations. Please use judgment in determining which tips will be helpful in your particular situation.

This article was originally published in the Action Target Journal on June 14, 2012.

Between The Berms: Athena, Goddess Of Gun Ranges

Editors Note: This article was originally published in The Shooting Wire on December 5, 2012. It is being republished here with permission from Editor Paul Erhardt.

The Athena Gun Club is the range your range hopes to be when it grows up.

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Houston’s Athena Gun Club is setting the bar very, very high. Photo: P. Erhardt

Located in Houston, Texas, with something like 100,000 oil industry execs within a few minutes drive, the Athena Gun Club is 39,000+ square feet of ranges, retails space, classrooms, and amenities that sets it far apart from other ranges you’ve visited.

The design and layout of Athena is the brainchild of CEO John Boyert, and his wife (and CFO) Susan Cho, who worked with Houston-based firm Acumen Design to create an overall space and flow – along with a non-traditional firearms shopping experience – that gives the club its very upscale feel.

Upon entering the club the first thing you notice is the front desk, which is more akin to one you’d find in a hotel lobby than at any gun club you’ve seen. It’s located in a huge, open foyer that’s brightly lit, inviting, quiet and immaculate.

It’s at that front desk where you are immediately greeted by one of the club’s 49 uniformed employees who project both professionalism and warm hospitality – again, more akin to that of a hotel than a range – and leave you with the feeling that this is the place you want to come and shoot.

And that first impression, the importance of it on you as a potential member, is something Boyert borrowed from Conrad Hilton’s book. Hilton, of the Hilton Hotels empire, knew a thing or two about the value of first impressions, and considering that the Athena Gun Club sits next door to one of the richest zip codes in the country, Boyert understands how valuable that first impression is to the success of his business.

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The front desk looks like it came straight out of a high-end hotel. Photo: P. Erhardt

To put it simply, everything about the Athena Gun Club is geared towards creating a high-end experience for the visitor – regardless if you are a multi-millionaire executive in the oil industry or the clerk from the mailroom.

Great attention to detail has gone into giving each and every visitor a world-class experience. And why not? They want you to come back.

Boyert has pored over all the available data from the National Shooting Sports Foundation that they’ve compiled to help firearms retailers and ranges. With that data in hand, and Conrad Hilton’s expert observations, Boyert has envisioned the club to be the place you don’t visit just once a month to shoot, but every week.

He explained that the Athena Gun Club is going after “a demographic that other ranges aren’t even targeting” and probably never considered.

For instance, because of the oil industry and corporate rules they have established about firearms on their property, Athena Gun Club will store firearms for its Executive and VIP members. These are individuals who pay a hefty membership fee and a regular monthly fee which provides them access to seven private VIP shooting lanes, on-site firearms storage, a cigar room with fully stocked humidor, private entrance and gun valet services, on top of other amenities and Athena’s always attentive staff.

Athena
To the right of the front desk is the fully computerized rental counter. Photo courtesy of Athena Gun Club

A tour through the VIP area was like walking through the clubhouse or members locker room at a private country club.

In addition to luring in Houston’s business executives, Boyert is also targeting the corporations themselves by providing them a unique off-site meeting place where a sales team can easily have their meeting thanks to standard business tools like WiFi, AV systems, a conference room, and catering (of course).

Though a brand new business that just had it’s grand opening this past weekend, the Athena Gun Club has reached out to build relationships with other local businesses. Not only has Boyert sought out the advise of local restauranteurs – again stealing from the hospitality industry – but he has also lined them up to help cater Athena’s special events and the range’s soon-to-be-opened cafe.

I know what you’re thinking, “Will they have that fried baloney you keep mentioning?”

No, you’ll have to make do with food from the likes of Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches and Carrabba’s Italian Grill, as well as other local venues Boyert is reaching out to in order to better service the Athena Gun Club members.

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If we told you it was a fine jewelry store you couldn’t tell the difference. Photo: P. Erhardt

Building partnerships is a key element of the business philosophy employed by Boyert and Cho to help them deliver on the Athena promise. One of those relationships, and perhaps the most important one after that with Acumen Design, is with Action Target.

You can’t have a gun club without a range and Boyert literally met with every major shooting range company before settling on Action Target and putting his faith in them to deliver the best shooting experience possible.

And that faith paid off big time as contractor issues put the gun club build-out behind schedule, forcing Boyert to turn a 12-week range install into a 4-week rush job for Action Target.

For those familiar with the Utah-based Action Target, a company with one of if not the best reputations in the industry, it will hardly come as a surprise that not only did the Action Target team get the new state-of-the-art ranges – 26 lanes in all – installed in the 4-week window, but they did it without additional staff or going over budget.

Boyert’s appreciation for Action Target is apparent in the way he speaks about their work as one of their customers, and it reflects the way he sees Athena Gun Club’s members speaking of the club.

In picking other industry partners whose work and reputation reflects the appropriate image for the club, Boyert chose carefully when selecting the brands he’d carry in Athena Gun Club’s store.

When you decide to back everything you sell to your customers with a lifetime warranty you had better pick the right brands. In a retail space laid out more like an Apple Store with gun kiosks reminiscent of SHOT Show displays (instead of those dreary standard glass gun cases), you’ll find Glock, Smith & Wesson, HK, Sig Sauer, Wilson Combat, Kimber, SureFire, Magpul, Galco and others.

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This is what retail product merchandising should be. Photo: P. Erhardt

And all of it at prices competitive in an area serviced by numerous firearms retails, including no less than 20 Academy locations.

It’s difficult to fully capture the essence of the Athena Gun Club experience but it’s one that is totally different than what most shooters have come to expect from their local indoor range. It is refreshing and hopefully inspires other range owners to up their game.

Of course, the obvious question is can an upscale shooting club of this nature survive as a going business concern. I asked Boyert directly how long he thought it would take to reach profitability considering the tremendous investment made in the facility by him and his shareholders. While I fully expected a three, four, or even five year response, I was delighted to hear not only does he see it taking one year, but that expansion to new locations is part of the vision for the future of the Athena Gun Club.

With something like 4,000 people visiting the facility during its grand opening, it looks like the Athena Gun Club is well on its way. And I won’t be surprised if more than a few industry execs find their way to the new club next year when they gather in Houston for the annual NRA Show.

….Hmmm, what an interesting place to hold a new product introduction and media event during the NRA Show.

– Paul Erhardt, Editor, the Outdoor Wire Digital Network

New Miami Gun Range Promises a Unique Experience

Stone Hart’s Gun Club & Indoor Range focuses on being clean and friendly

Stone Hart’s Gun Club & Indoor Range has teamed with Action Target to build a progressive shooting range families can enjoy. Located near the Kendall-Tamiami Executive Airport, the new facilities include a firearm and ammo retail store, two indoor shooting ranges and classrooms for in-depth instruction.

The idea for the range came in 2010 when three friends started playing with the idea of building a test range for their growing ammunition company. The idea soon evolved into something bigger, however, when they realized how few resources were available to shooters in the Miami area. Instead of building a range like all the others they had seen, they decided to create something that would have a positive impact on the shooting community.

“Our main goal is not to sell guns or ammo or memberships, but to offer people entertainment, training and therapy,” managing partner Adolfo Vivas said. “I wanted to make the best range in South Florida, and I think we’re finally going to get it.”

Stone Hart’s features two eight-lane 75’ ranges (one for handgun shooting and one for rifle shooting) equipped with the latest technology like target retrievers from Action Target with digital distance control and a Carey’s ventilation system that removes 99.7 percent of contaminates and lead dust from the air to keep shooters and the environment safe. But the owners believe the most unique aspect of their range is the family friendly environment.

“Our approach is family-oriented. It’s not like a men’s club,” Vivas’ business partner Augusto Luna said. “We want to make it welcoming to families. We want people to be comfortable bringing their kids so they’re aware of firearms at an early age and can learn how to handle them safely.”

Stone Hart’s managing partners have gone out of their way to provide firearms education by hiring three professional trainers including former Top Shot contestant Gabby Franco to teach classes on self defense, concealed carry and shooting safety. Free seminars for children on gun safety will also be offered.

In addition to educational classes, future activities will also include competitions, contest, games and ladies’ nights.

“We want to be a 5-star range, so we’re working toward that right now,” Luna said. “We’re just scratching the surface right now for what we want to do. We have big plans for this place.”

Among their big plans are a deli sandwich counter in the pro shop, free cable and wireless Internet and future ranges for archery and tactical training.

“Now that people have options,” Luna said, “it’s opening people’s eyes as to what a range should be.

Find out more about Stone Hart’s Gun Club & Indoor Range or register for classes by visiting www.stonehartsgunclub.co.

About Action Target Inc.

Action Target Inc. is a privately owned business headquartered in Provo, Utah. As a world leader in shooting range technology with more than 4,000 products and 40 patents for the systems it designs and manufacturers, Action Target has installed thousands of shooting ranges across the United States and in 25 other countries around the world. Action Target also designs systems and conducts firearms training for law enforcement and various military divisions. For more information on Action Target, visit www.ActionTarget.com. To learn more about Action Target products or to purchase items online, visit www.ActionTarget.com/store.

Myths About Rubber Berm Traps

ATI_evsAt its most basic level, a rubber berm trap is approximately two feet of chopped rubber laid on top of an angled support structure to create a backstop or “berm” to catch bullets fired into it. There are several different approaches to this fundamental idea, but the same basic principles apply to them all. When you shoot into a dirt berm, the friction of passing through the dirt is what ultimately stops the bullet. A rubber berm trap works exactly the same way, with the obvious difference being the use of chopped rubber instead of dirt or sand.

Because the rubber is a softer collection medium, ricochet and lead dust can be significantly reduced in some applications. Cross-range firing is safer, as is firing at extremely close distances. Such benefits make this trap an excellent choice for certain indoor ranges and other low-volume ranges where lead dust is a concern.

Rubber berms aren’t perfect in every circumstance, however, no matter what you may read. In our experience, we’ve encountered several myths about what rubber berm traps and their accompanying accessories are capable of doing. Before you make any decisions on your range, make sure you know the facts.

CLAIM #1: Action Target disapproves of rubber traps because all they make are steel traps.

Not only does Action Target approve of rubber traps for certain shooting range applications, we have been manufacturing our own for more than a decade and have patents covering our unique berm trap technology. The hassle-free design of Action Target’s rubber berm trap takes advantage of the practical and beneficial properties of rubber, while eliminating the weaknesses and unnecessary elements of other designs.

We recognize steel traps and rubber traps have very different benefits and limitations. It is important for the range operator to understand these issues clearly before choosing one technology over the other.

CLAIM #2: Rubber berm traps capture all bullets whole and eliminate splatter and ricochet.

Chopped rubber is obviously softer than steel, so some bullets can indeed be captured whole. However, that is not the whole story. After multiple rounds have been fired into the same concentrated area of the trap, newly fired bullets can begin impacting other bullets previously suspended in the rubber. As one bullet impacts another, both can begin to break into small pieces. These “hot spots” of concentrated lead can form behind turning targets, indoor range target retrievers, and other fixed-position targets on your range and can pose a significant ricochet hazard if not managed properly.

When cleaning rubber berm traps, it is not unusual to find masses of small bullet fragments that are nearly indistinguishable from bullet fragments taken from a steel bullet trap. Just because you are shooting into a soft substance does not mean the bullets won’t fracture and break up. There is still the chance for the bullet to strike another bullet, and that chance increases with every day of range use.

Because rubber berm traps have no hard surfaces or obstacles to interfere with cross-lane shooting, they can be particularly effective in tactical applications where shooters move from one position to another and engage targets that are not directly in front of them. As long as hot spots are effectively managed, a rubber berm trap can also be a good choice for very close range shooting.

CLAIM #3: Rubber berm traps are specially treated so they will not catch fire.

Fire Concern with Rubber Berm Trap
NOT an Action Target Rubber Berm Trap

There are many documented cases of rubber bullet traps catching fire. Most manufacturers, including Action Target, treat their rubber with some kind of fire-retardant substance to reduce the risk of fire, but without taking additional precautions, it is still possible to have a serious problem.

You may see a demonstration where a piece of fire-treated rubber is held to a direct flame without burning, or you might read reports about tracer rounds being fired into rubber berm traps without igniting the rubber. These are unrealistic scenarios. A full size trap on an actual shooting range can collect large quantities of unspent gunpowder and flammable debris from paper and cardboard targets. Also, bullets fired into the trap can break open chunks of treated rubber exposing the untreated surfaces inside. These issues alone may pose a considerable risk of fire, but the risk can increase dramatically if tracers or other incendiary rounds are fired into the trap – a practice that Action Target strongly discourages.

A recent attempt to decrease the potential fire hazard of rubber berm traps involves mixing the chunks of chopped rubber with hydrated gel beads. The theory is that as bullets are absorbed into the rubber, they will be cooled by the gel to reduce heat build-up. Because no long term data seems to exist to support this theory, it is unclear whether the gel can keep a fire from starting or keep the fire from spreading after it has already started. It is also unclear what difficulty such a gel may cause when it comes time to clean the trap and separate the lead from the rubber.

Rely on the Experts for Help

There are hundreds of things to take into consideration when building a shooting range, but your top priority should always be safety. Before anything else, make sure your range is going to be safe for your customers, your employees, and the environment. If you are considering building a range, talk to the Action Target representative in your region and he will be happy to help you find the right equipment to fit your needs and budget. You can also use our Request a Quote form to get started on your range upgrades today.

Please note: the information included in this article has come from both documented studies and the personal experience of Action Target shooting range specialists. This information has been found to be helpful for many clients throughout the years but may not apply in all situations. Please use judgment in determining which tips will be helpful in your particular situation.

 

3 Marketing Strategies to Get People in Your Shooting Range

Executive Video SummaryBy Mike Stilwell, Action Target Range Consultant and owner of Range Masters indoor shooting range in Springville, Utah.

Orlando Police shot at indoor RangeWhen I bought my first handgun 20 years ago, there wasn’t a place to shoot it. There were hardly any shooting ranges in the area, and the ones that did exist required expensive long-term memberships. That really bothered me, so when my midlife crisis hit, I decided to build my own shooting range. I wanted to build a place where anyone could feel comfortable and enjoy the fun of target shooting. I wanted to build the kind of range I would have wanted to go to 20 years ago.

In building and managing that range, however, I didn’t always make the best business decisions. I already had a good job, so I wasn’t in it for the money. I was in it for the love of the industry. Owning my own shooting range was a dream come true, but to be successful, I needed to combine my passion with a little business sense. Over the years, I’ve learned a thing or two through trial and error and by watching what successful range managers do. Based on my own experiences, these are three marketing strategies I would recommend to any shooting range trying to pay the bills.

#1: Constantly look for new customers

The truth of the industry is if you don’t market to get new customers, your customer pool will quickly dry up. People lose interest, they move away, they get more demanding jobs, and sometimes they just find a shooting range they like better than yours. No matter the reason, your customers won’t be around forever, and that is why you need to constantly work to get new people in your range every day. Think of it as a funnel. The more people you get to come through your door, the more people are going to come back. The more people you get to come back, the more money they will spend. The more money they spend, the more likely they are to buy a membership and become a long-term customer. Obviously, not everyone that comes in your door is going to buy a membership, but some of them will. The key is to constantly add customers to the funnel so it can siphon down to the few who are going to be loyal for months and years to come.

One of the great ways to get new customers is through free range passes. I know it can be painful to watch someone use your range without paying a dime, but maybe that person didn’t even know your range existed until now, and after a day of shooting, he/she plans to come back again and again. Giving someone a freebie can sometimes mean more money for you down the road. For example, I send free range passes to Sportsman’s Warehouse and Cabela’s. When people walk into one of those stores and buy a Glock 17 or some other gun, they get a free pass to shoot it on my range. All of a sudden, they have a great excuse to visit me, and when they do, they may find a new weekend pastime. Additionally, they may realize that I sell the same gun for a little cheaper which means they’re likely to come to me for their next firearm purchase. So instead of spending a ton of money on mass advertising, I target the customers I really want by handing out a few freebies to new gun owners.

Another good way to get people in your range is to do games and contests. I call this the “bowling league philosophy.” Often, bowling alleys rely on bowling leagues to stay open. Why? Because it’s a lot more fun to go bowling with a group of people that love it as much as you do, and that is what gets people in the bowling alley. Shooting ranges have a lesson or two they can learn from that. Shooting is quickly becoming more and more of a social activity and the industry needs to adjust. I’m not talking about professional target shooting competitions, though. I’m talking about fun contests and games that anyone can participate in. Every other week, I have a “fun shoot” at my range. We shoot bowling pins, we do trick shots, we do playing card targets where whoever shoots the best hand can win a cash prize. The purpose is to be safe and fun while getting new people in my shooting range. It’s not strictly regulated so more people can participate without feeling they have to be professional or even good, for that matter. Every time, I get 40 to 50 shooters who participate and 10 to 12 of those are new shooters. We hold a new shooter orientation with those 10 or 12 so they can be familiar with the rules of safe shooting, and then we have a great time. The people that participate are hooked and come back again and again.

Once you get someone hooked on your range, the next hurdle is to get him/her to buy a membership. For the majority of shooting ranges, memberships are what pay the bills. They provide consistent revenue and are likely to carry over from year to year. But convincing a new customer to drop a wad of money on a long-term commitment can be a little difficult. Sometimes you need to give them a little taste of what having a membership would be like so they can convince themselves it’s something they want to do. I sell 10-time discount punch cards that essentially give customers benefits similar to owning a membership. They get discounts on range use and ammo, and after they use the card up, they can roll it over into a membership. Many customers shy away from buying a membership at the start, but after using up a discount punch card, nearly every one of them end up becoming a member.

#2: Use classes to build a faithful following

Classes and firearms education are a great way to bring new customers into your range and build rapport with the community. For new shooters, walking into a shooting range can be a little intimidating. They’re not familiar with the procedure, and the ex-marine behind the counter with a concealed Uzi isn’t likely to give much encouragement. Instead of making extensive experience a prerequisite to using the range (or at least making newcomers feel that way), take advantage of this teaching opportunity to create loyal customers. Introductory classes and other training courses are a great way to help people gain the confidence they need to become shooting range regulars.

At my shooting range, I personally teach all of the concealed carry classes we hold each week. I have never advertised the class, but I get several people to sign up every time. It’s all word of mouth. If you make it enjoyable for people, make it informative and entertaining, people will share it with who they know, and you’ll never have an empty class. Of the people who attend my classes, many of them have never been to my range before, but after a day of shooting and having fun, you can bet they’re going to come back.

One range that does a wonderful job of utilizing firearms education is the Range at Lake Norman in Cornelius, North Carolina. As one of only 25 ranges in the country to be given a five star rating by the NSSF, this range is a great place to get ideas from. Designed and installed by Action Target, their state-of-the-art facilities allow for 16 different classes including advanced concealed carry, mother/daughter self defense, build your own AR, and a zombie survival class. With four or five different introductory courses, they constantly get new shooters into the range with NRA certified instructors who can help them gain confidence and become more comfortable in that setting. In addition, two of their classes, the mother/daughter self defense class and the parent teen intro class, encourage family shooting which brings more foot traffic and encourages the trend of social shooting.

#3: Make your range as comfortable as possible

You can have the best range in the world, but if you don’t have good customer service and an inviting atmosphere, you don’t have anything. Scowling Scott may be able to build an AR-15 from scratch out of raw jungle materials, but he’s not going to be a benefit to your shooting range if he doesn’t leave people with a positive impression. Unfortunately, the world of shooting seems to be dominated by hyper-masculinity and the notion that you have to know everything before you can set foot in a gun store.

Having been on both sides of the experience barrier, I do my best to consider the people who may not have a clue about what they’re doing. I remember just starting out and how much I would have liked someone to show me the ropes without making me feel like less of a man for not knowing what to do. The reality is, gun ownership is increasing and not everyone belongs to the good ol’ boys club. That’s why your employees not only need to be knowledgeable about guns and shooting, they need to have customer service backgrounds. In the end, it’s not the products you sell, it’s not how many lanes you have, and it’s not even how great your prices are. Your shooting range’s biggest asset is the people behind the counter. Hire the right people and you will get more customers coming back.

Another way to get more customers coming back on a consistent basis is to make your range as comfortable as possible. Again, customer service is probably the biggest aspect of this, but your facilities also play a huge part. Ranges that are comfortable and inviting attract customers. You would be amazed at what a little extra lighting and proper ventilation can do to the atmosphere of a shooting range. Gone are the days of hot, smoky indoor ranges where you can barely even see your target. People want to feel comfortable and safe. That’s where Action Target comes in. We design and install shooting ranges with your customers in mind. Action Target ranges are known for being clean, easy to maintain, and comfortable. Whether you’re considering building a new range or if you would like to upgrade your existing range, we can help. This isn’t an easy industry, but with a little extra help, you can definitely succeed. We’re all in this together.

Rely on the Experts for Help

There are hundreds of things to take into consideration when building a shooting range, but your top priority should always be safety. Before anything else, make sure your range is going to be safe for your customers, your employees, and the environment. If you are considering building a range, talk to the Action Target representative in your region and he will be happy to help you find the right equipment to fit your needs and budget. You can also use our Request a Quote form to get started on your range upgrades today.

Please note, the tips included in this message have been found to be helpful for many clients throughout the years but may not apply in all situations. Please use judgment in determining which tips will be helpful in your particular situation.

Action Target Implements International Shipping Option on its Online Store

PROVO, Utah – Action Target Inc. executives announced a recent partnership with international sales facilitator iGlobal Stores which will allow the company to begin selling and shipping internationally via the Action Target online store.

“The new partnership is the result of increasing international inquiries about Action Target products and a push to expand into a growing world market,” Action Target co-founder Addison Sovine said. “Through the systems provided by iGlobal Stores we were able to add an international option to the online store so we can sell to customers outside the U.S.”

Prior to the recent partnership with iGlobal Stores, transactions involving international sales of portable targets took place via email and special shipping arrangements had to be made.

The new international sales option now allows customers outside the U.S. to order items online. Once products have been added to the shopping cart on the online store, a button appears below “Proceed to Checkout” labeled “iGlobal checkout for all customers outside the U.S.” International customers can then enter their country and address before choosing shipping and payment methods

This new feature is effective immediately and can be found at http://www.ActionTarget.com/store.

About Action Target Inc

Action Target Inc. is a privately owned business headquartered in Provo, Utah. As a world leader in shooting range technology with more than 4,000 products and 40 patents for the systems it designs and manufacturers, Action Target has installed thousands of shooting ranges across the United States and in 25 other countries around the world. Action Target also designs systems and conducts firearms training for law enforcement and various military divisions. For more information on Action Target, visit www.ActionTarget.com. To learn more about Action Target products or to purchase items online, visit www.ActionTarget.com/store.

The Equipment You Need to Make a Good Shooting Range Great: Pt. 2

By Matt Brinkerhoff, Action Target Range Consultant

When it comes to shooting ranges, bullet containment is the paramount concern. As we discussed in our last article, the appropriate bullet traps and safety baffles need to be in place in order to keep your customers and employees safe. That means bullet traps that reliably collect and store bullets and allow for safe disposal of collected lead. That also means ballistic paneling on the walls and ceilings to ensure any shot that misses the bullet trap has no chance of exiting the building. But once you’ve established a strong foundation with the help of Action Target, you can move on to the more glamorous aspects of building a shooting range, like target retrieval systems and computer controlled reactive targets.

Here at Action Target, we provide a wide array of shooting range equipment from moving targets and shooting stalls to sound abatement and ventilation. With the help of our many corporate partners, we do our best to give you the most complete shooting range package on the market.

Target Systems

With the assistance of our business partner Mancom, Action Target has worked to provide several different target retrieval systems to meet the specific needs of customers. Our Standard Smart Target Retriever eliminated the problem with sag and sway that are inherent in many cable guide designs with the use of a rigid steel track and armored trolley system. Distance control is also made easier with two different operation options. With our toggle option, a simple flip of a switch send the target back to a pre-determined distance, while our Smart Pad gives the shooter complete control over distance and movement. With the addition of our Deluxe Smart Retriever, which allows 180 degree turning action, the shooter or range master also has the ability to program and replay a series of target positions and turning actions.

If your shooting range needs to facilitate tactical training, however, you may want more than just a static position in a stall. Proper tactical training requires realistic scenarios, which means shooter movement and target movement. Training on moving targets hasbecome mandatory for law enforcement agencies across the country. Because running seems to be a part of most gunfights, the ability to fire safely and accurately at moving threats can be one of an officer’s greatest assets. To better facilitate quality tactical training, Action Target provides two types of running man systems: the portable Runner family and the more permanent Track Runner. The portable Runner systems not only simulate horizontal running scenarios, but armed charging scenarios as well. With two AT Builds New Shooting Range and Storedifferent portable systems to meet your budget and needs, running targets can easily be incorporated into your training program. The Track Runner provides the tools for a wide variety of situation with single or double track configurations, cardboard and steel target compatibility, variable speed and electric braking, and remote hand held control of movement.

Action Target also provides turning targets to foster quick and accurate reactions with good guy / bad guy threat identification. Drawing and firing at a target you already know is a threat is fairly easy, but real life scenarios aren’t always so simple. To eliminate the inaccuracy of this scenario, law enforcement demanded targets that turn toward and away from the shooter at specific time intervals. Turning targets allow trainees to practice evaluating the target quickly while performing tactical maneuvers. With six different turning target systems, Action Target can design the perfect system to fit your needs.

Ventilation

Ventilation is extremely important on indoor shooting ranges. Lead and other airborne toxins are introduced to the environment during shooting and can be hazardous to the health or your employees and customers if inhaled. Any enclosed area where shooting is done must be properly ventilated in order to meet NIOSH, EPA, and OSHA standards. Installing a ventilation system for your range may be beyond the abilities of your friend George who does air conditioning. Improperly designed systems may just stir up the air rather than replace it.

Action Target provides you with the best and safest ventilation system. Our ventilation systems are the best-performing and most efficient systems available on the market today and are designed to exceed NIOSH, EPA, and OSHA air quality standards. Through the use of a ceiling-mounted 180 degree air delivery system as well as digital and analog control systems which adapt to changing environmental conditions to maintain the required air velocities and building pressures, Action Target’s ventilation systems push and pull air downrange at a rate fast enough to completely replace the air within a large range in less than two minutes. The air then goes through preliminary filters to remove large impurities before passing through a HEPA filter to eliminate 99.97% of remaining contaminants, making the exhausted air even cleaner than the air outside.

Sound Abatement

Sound abatement is one of those things many shooting range owners ignore initially and then wish they hadn’t when neighbor relations begin to decline. If your shooting range is near residential areas or if housing begins to develop around your range, proper sound abatement is absolutely vital to your future success. If too many people begin to complain about the noise level, you could be shut down permanently.

But sound abatement is not only important for the people outside the range, but for people inside the range as well. Gunshots have an extremely high decibel level which is only compounded on an indoor range when the sound waves bounce off the hard floor, walls, and ceiling. Ear protection is absolutely necessary on any range, but it may not be enough to protect your employees who spend hours and hours in the range every day. The constant reverberation of gunshots within an enclosed area can actually produce negative physical effects on the body other than just hearing loss. Prolonged exposure to high decibel percussive noise such as gunshots can cause nausea or fatigue if the reverberation isn’t properly dissipated.

These problems can be easily avoided by limiting the length of shifts for employees working in the range and by installing proper sound abatement material. All ceiling and wall baffles installed by Action Target are covered with acoustic tiling to help reduce the amount of reverberation within the range. We’ve also teamed up with Troy Sound Wall Systems, the creator of the highest acoustically rated wall systems in the world, to bring you one of the most viable options on the market. By installing the Troy Sound Wall System in ranges, we have managed to reduce reverberation by 98%. That’s 98% percent of reverberation you don’t have to worry about threatening the health of your employees and customers.

Rely on the Experts for Help

Action Target LogoThere are hundreds of things to take into consideration when building a shooting range, but your top priority should always be safety. Before anything else, make sure your range is going to be safe for your customers, your employees, and the environment. If you are considering building a range, talk to the Action Target representative in your region and he will be happy to help you find the right equipment to fit your needs and budget.

Please note, the tips included in this message have been found to be helpful for many clients throughout the years but may not apply in all situations. Please use judgment in determining which tips will be helpful in your particular situation.

Action Target Listed Among Utah’s Fastest Growing Companies

PROVO, Utah – Action Target Inc., a world leader in shooting range technology and tactical training systems, has been named to the Utah Business 2012 Fast 50 list, which ranks the 50 fastest-growing companies in the state of Utah.

The Utah Fast 50 award program, founded by Utah Business magazine, annually recognizes Utah companies for exceptional growth, entrepreneurial spirit and consistent innovation in the business community. Action Target Inc. was ranked #45 at a banquet held Wednesday in Salt Lake City. The rankings are based on total revenue and revenue growth over the last five years.

“We’re honored to be recognized among some of the greatest companies Utah has to offer,” Action Target co-founder Addison Sovine said. “Our team here at Action Target works hard to produce the greatest shooting products on the market, and it feels great to bring home this award for them.”

Action Target’s Vice President of Sales Randal Graham accepted the award certificate at the banquet held at The Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City where Utah’s 50 fastest-growing companies as well as eight emerging companies were recognized. Combined, the 58 companies were responsible for$7.3 billion in revenue last year.

“We feel very blessed to be in the position we are,” Graham said. “We’ve been around for 26 years, and despite a national recession, we’re still recording consistent growth which allows us to create more jobs in the community.”

Action Target will be featured in Utah Business magazine’s September issue among the other Utah Fast 50 award winners.

About Action Target, Inc.

Action Target Inc. is a privately owned business headquartered in Provo, Utah. As a world leader in shooting range technology with more than 4,000 products and 40 patents for the systems it designs and manufacturers, Action Target has installed thousands of shooting ranges across the United States and in 25 other countries around the world. Action Target also designs systems and conducts firearms training for law enforcement and various military divisions. For more information on Action Target, visit www.ActionTarget.com. To learn more about Action Target products or to purchase items online, visit www.ActionTarget.com/store.

 

The Equipment You Need to Make a Good Shooting Range Great: Pt. 1

By Matt Brinkerhoff, Action Target Range Consultant

Anyone who has been to a quality shooting range knows it requires much more than a line drawn in the dirt and a few paper targets. Great shooting ranges are designed to protect customers, employees, and the environment. Here at Action Target, we specialize in designing, manufacturing, and installing superior shooting range equipment to meet all of your ballistic needs from bullet containment to target retrieval systems. Quality matters when the safety of your customers and employees are in question, so don’t settle for good when your shooting range could be great with the help of Action Target.

Bullet containment is the number one concern on any shooting range, and without the proper designs and equipment, it can be nearly impossible to ensure the safety of those inside and outside the range. Bullet containment basically comes down to two elements: bullet traps and baffles. The bullet trap should be designed to stop any high powered round and handle the level of traffic expected at your range while safely collecting all projectiles for proper disposal. Any shot downrange should be stopped by the bullet trap, but safety baffles are also needed to keep bullets from exiting the ceiling of your range or ricocheting off the walls in the event of an errant shot. With the right combination of bullet trap and baffles, you can rest easy knowing no matter where a shot is fired on your range, it won’t have a chance to escape.

Bullet Traps

Action Target offers two different kinds of bullet traps, the Rubber Berm Trap (RBT) and the Action Target Total Containment Trap (TCT). A rubber berm trap consists of an angled metal plate covered in chopped rubber two feet thick. Action Target’s rubber berms utilize a patented combination of fire retardant and nonflammable adhesive to minimize fire danger and prevent migration. Being a softer collection medium, rubber significantly reduces ricochet and lead dust in some applications which makes it a great option for ranges that don’t see excessive everyday use. Due to the simplicity and relatively low cost of the materials used, a rubber berm can be extremely economical. But if you start having more shooters than you originally planned for, it can also become a wrench in your wallet. Rubber berms have to be cleaned and the bullets lodged in them mined every 80,000 rounds. Not only does it cost money to clean the rubber berm and replenish the chopped rubber periodically, but the more days you have to close your range for maintenance, the more money you lose.

Action Target's Total Containment Bulle TrapThe Action Target Total Containment Trap can be a great solution to this problem if your daily foot traffic is able to balance the expense of installing and maintaining it. With two different types of lead removal systems, the TCT allows for varying levels of use and greatly diminishes the time you have to spend maintaining your shooting range. Essentially, the TCT is a giant armor steel funnel that directs every shot fired into a small gap at the rear of the trap. Once a bullet passes through that gap, it enters an elliptical deceleration chamber where it spins until it loses energy and falls into the collection trough through the bottom of the chamber. All of the lead is then collected and stored using one of two systems, the hands-free Screw Conveyor System or the Canister System. These two systems are designed to prevent lead exposure and make disposing of hazardous range debris as simple and easy as possible. The TCT is perfect for high traffic ranges, and when combined with our unique Dust Collection Unit, it is the safest and most environmentally friendly bullet trap on the market.

Safety Baffles

Safety baffles are often one of the most neglected areas of shooting range design, but they are absolutely crucial to the ballistic security of your range. In addition to keeping fired bullets from exiting the range, baffles offer protection for overhead lights, pipes, ventilation ducts, and other structures. As much as you would like them to, shooters at your range are not always going to shoot perfectly straight, and when they inevitably hit the ceiling, you’ll be glad you had them installed.

Action Target Safety Baffles used in LAAction Target’s patented wall and ceiling baffles are designed to reduce noise, eliminate ricochet, and ensure complete bullet containment. Our baffles are composed of four layers: acoustic paneling, plywood, an air gap, and steel. Acoustic panels are placed on the outside of our baffles to minimize gunshot reverberation within the range and prevent sound transmission beyond the range. Plywood is then used to contain shots fired into the baffle. Bullets can easily pass through these two layers, but once a bullet hits the steel and shatters, the plywood effectively contains the fragments. The air gap works as a buffer to allow the bullet room for fragmentation before bouncing back against the plywood. The most important part of the baffle is the steel plate. Action Target offers four grades of safety baffles ranging from 10 gauge steel to abrasion resistant armor steel to meet your range’s ballistic specifications and budget. If you know what ammunition and firearms will be allowed on your range, we can help you find the right baffles to complete it.

The type of training your range is expected to accommodate will dictate the configuration of your safety baffles. Action Target offers both static and tactical configurations based on the “no blue sky” principle. According to this principle, a shooter who is facing downrange on an outdoor range (though, this principle also applies to indoor ranges as well) should not be able to see any blue sky. If shooting on your range will only be from a static point on the firing line, the ceiling baffles are placed in a static configuration meaning they are spaced closer together near the firing line and further apart near the bullet trap. Even though there are large gaps between the baffles at the end of the range, no blue sky can be seen from the static shooting position at the firing line which means it’s impossible for a bullet to escape vertically.

If your range is expected to accommodate tactical training where shooters will be moving downrange, having gaps in the ceiling baffles anywhere on the range isn’t acceptable. With a tactical baffle configuration, baffles are place close together and overlap one another so even if a bullet is fired straight up, a baffle will be there to stop it no matter where it is on the range. This tactical configuration allows shooters to move freely without any danger of rounds exiting the ceiling. Wall baffles are also highly recommended if tactical training will be conducted on your range. While hardened concrete is balistically sound, wall baffles add an additional level of protection and completely eliminate ricochet while also decreasing reverberation within the range.

Rely on the Experts for Help

There are hundreds of things to take into consideration when building a shooting range, but your top priority should always be safety. Before anything else, make sure your range is going to be safe for your customers, your employees, and the environment. If you are considering building a range, talk to the Action Target representative in your region and he will be happy to help you find the right equipment to fit your needs and budget.

Please note, the tips included in this message have been found to be helpful for many clients throughout the years but may not apply in all situations. Please use judgment in determining which tips will be helpful in your particular situation.

New Local Shooting Range Promises a Clean Environment

Field Time Target and Training in Stanton, CA, has teamed with Action Target to create a state-of-the-art shooting range for firearms training. The new facilities include a firearms and ammo retail store, two indoor shooting ranges, and classrooms for in-depth instruction.

“Orange County is range deprived,” said Field Time owner Greg Caringella. “There was a great need for another range in the Orange County area and I think our range is going to have an extremely positive effect on the community.”

Field Time Target and Training includes two 25-yard indoor ranges with 14 lanes each. One side was specifically designed for civilian use and utilizes digital target retrieval systems for fast results. The other side was designed with local law enforcement in mind and includes a pneumatic target system from Action Target capable of turning 180 degrees. In the future, police departments will be able to use this system to test officers’ decision-making abilities in tactical situations with hostile and friendly turning targets.

The tactical shooting range also includes ballistic doors that open to the outside to allow the use of police cars in vehicle training situations. With the option to have a vehicle actually in the shooting range, police officers can practice drawing their weapons while exiting a car and firing from protected positions.

With the help of Action Target, the world’s largest manufacturer of shooting range equipment and technology, Caringella made sure that his range is up to par with law enforcement standards as well as safe and comfortable for all of his customers.

“I’ve been inside shooting ranges my whole life, and I would always come out feeling like I breathed in half of all the debris that went down range,” Caringella said. “I wanted to create a shooting range where you could leave without feeling like you needed to take five showers.”

Caringella said he feels like he has accomplished his goal through the use of quality materials and safety technology. Both ranges are equipped with Carey’s air ventilation systems to protect shooters from lead dust contamination and debris.

“The air coming out of our range is much cleaner than the air you breathe outside,” Caringella said. “Our range presents itself as something you would find in your living room.”

Field Time Target and Training officially opened to the public on May 26. For more information about memberships, hours, and classes, visit their website at www.fieldtimetargetandtraining.com.

Three Keys to Getting Your Shooting Range Approved

In the process of building a shooting range, perhaps the most intimidating part is getting it approved by your local government. Even after you’ve done all the work, raised all the money, and planned everything out, the final say still comes down to a handful of elected officials. Don’t let that make you feel powerless, though. Even if the ultimate decision is in someone else’s hands, there are still things you can do to increase your chances of success.

1) Talk to the Right People

Your local government officials need to know as soon as possible that you’re planning to build a shooting range. They’ll appreciate it if you inform them early and often of your intentions, and that communication can open doors for you later on. You’ll have a much better chance of getting your range approved if you’ve established a relationship with local leaders from the beginning.

Early communication will also help you figure out zoning issues. In most cases, land has to be zoned as either commercial or industrial for a shooting range to be built on it. Find out first thing if the land you’re looking at is zoned appropriately. Zoning requirements for building a shooting range vary depending on where you live, and some places may not even have specific guidelines for ranges. Your local officials will have the most accurate information and can help you understand the requirements. Should you discover that the land you plan to build on is not zoned appropriately for a shooting range, ask the planning and zoning committee if it can be re-zoned. Often, city governments are willing to work with local businesses on zoning issues to keep potential commerce from going elsewhere.

2) Educate Yourself

AT Builds Indoor Firing Range for OrlandoThe more you know about what’s required to get your range approved, the better. Become familiar with local noise and firearms regulations as well as environmental restrictions that will apply to your shooting range. How will you handle noise abatement? How will you dispose of lead? How will you keep customers and employees safe? All of these issues will come up when presenting to the city council. If you already know what their concerns are by asking questions and doing research, you can adequately prepare to answer them.

Once you know what standards you’re shooting range will be required to meet, talk to an Action Target territory manager to find out what options are available. Action Target specializes in building state-of-the-art shooting ranges and offers several technologies to meet the stringent requirements of government regulations. For example, Action Target’s Total Containment Trap (TCT) is the most environmentally-friendly bullet trap in the industry and makes lead containment safe and easy. With the addition of a Screw Conveyor System (SCS), all bullets and range debris are safely collected and deposited into a sealed barrel for convenient disposal. Action Target also provides sound-abating safety baffles, acoustically-rated wall systems that reduce reverberation by 98%, bullet-proof transparent lane dividers, and ventilation systems that filter air and protect customers from lead exposure. No matter what regulation your shooting range is under, chances are Action Target has a patented technology to meet it.

3) Prepare to Present

Once you’ve talked to your local government officials and learned everything you need to know about regulations and restrictions, all that’s left to do is present your plan to the city council. For those inexperienced in public speaking, this may be the scariest part of the whole process. To make the experience smoother, ask a city council member in advance what information they want from you, write down a list of questions they may ask you, and prepare all of your answers ahead of time so you don’t forget in the heat of the moment.

If you feel like you need additional backup, Action Target representatives are more than willing to attend the city council meeting with you no matter where you live. That way you can have a shooting range expert standing next to you to answer any questions about the technology and safety features of your future range.

The sales team at Action Target is willing to do whatever it can to make the approval process as seamless and successful as possible for you. If you have any questions or concerns about getting your shooting range approved, call Action Target at (801) 377-8033 and ask to speak with your area representative.

Please note, the tips included in this message have been found to be helpful for many clients throughout the years, but may not apply in all situations. Please use judgment in determining which tips will be helpful in your particular situation.

The Top 3 Things to Consider When Building a Shooting Range

Building a shooting range is a huge endeavor that should be approached cautiously and systematically. There are many things to consider and potential issues you may have to deal with; however, don’t let that deter you. Building a shooting range is a perfectly attainable goal if you start things right. Even if you already own a shooting range, or if it’s just a future dream, the three steps in this week’s newsletter can help you smooth out the process and keep you on the road to success.

1) Know Your Purpose

Figure out exactly what you want to do with your shooting range and then design it. Don’t get caught up in the excitement of building a range and then try to figure out how to use it afterward. Paying for and maintaining a bunch of functions that you don’t need or want is almost as bad as not meeting your needs in the first place. We offer custom and turn-key designs for ranges of all shapes and sizes, so instead of just picking the flashiest range in the catalog, decide independently what you need to get the job done. If we don’t offer a range that matches your unique requirements, we’ll design one that does.

Make sure you know who you’ll be serving. Your customers should be the deciding factor in many of the considerations you’ll come across in the planning stage. If you don’t offer what they want, they’ll go elsewhere to find it. Do some research on your potential customers and ask yourself some of these important questions.

For commercial ranges, ask yourself:

  • Will my patrons be more comfortable at an outdoor or an indoor range?
  • How many shooters need to be accommodated at the same time?
  • Will there be unsupervised shooting on the range?
  • Are my customers more concerned with hunting or self-defense?
  • What types of guns and ammo am I going to allow?
  • Will my range be appropriate for family use?

For law enforcement ranges, ask yourself:

  • Will my emphasis be on training, qualification, or both?
  • Will my range consist of a single firing line only, or does it need to allow close-range tactical training?
  • Does my range need to accommodate the use of vehicles in tactical situations?
  • Will the SWAT team use the range?
  • What weapons and ammo will be used and at what distances?
  • Will citizens be allowed to use the range on designated days?

2) Involve the Right People

Action Target may be able to provide you with the best shooting range technology in the world, but it’s going to be the people you know that will make your range a success. The key to a smooth process is communication. As they say in the field of public relations, “Don’t bulldoze the neighborhood without talking to the tenants first.” The point is, there are people you need to communicate with before you ever start building your range.

If you plan on having resident firearms trainers, make sure they are involved from the beginning. Your trainers will be using the range the most and should have a say in the way it’s designed. Often, they are going to have the best ideas when it comes to the practical uses of shooting range technology and functions.

Local government officials play a crucial role in the future of your range. In the end, they are going to have the final say in whether you can build it or not, so establish rapport as early as possible. Talk to the county commissioner and the city council to figure out exactly what you need to do to get your shooting range approved. This may include figuring out zoning issues, environmental regulations, and local statutes involving noise and firearms. Your local officials will have the most accurate information on regulations affecting you and will appreciate being informed of your intentions early and often.

Unfortunately, not everyone is going to like the idea of a shooting range moving into the neighborhood. Their main concerns will probably be noise, lead contamination, and gun safety. This is where your public relations comes in. Talk to your neighbors and find out what their specific concerns are, if any. Then create a message to let people know exactly what you’re doing, what safety precautions you’re taking, and how the range is going to benefit the community. This can be done through public service announcements, town hall meetings, fliers, press releases, or even going door to door. No matter how you do it, make sure the people around you are adequately informed because problems will inevitably arise if you keep them in the dark.

3) Plan for Success

Obviously, no one builds a shooting range anticipating to fail, but too often people build ranges without planning to be successful either. When designing your range, leave room for future growth. You don’t want to find yourself limited when things go better than expected. You can prepare for this with careful planning and a little foresight.

Shooting ranges can get crowded when demand exceeds supply. Make sure you have enough lanes so people don’t have to wait for hours to shoot. Consider your customers when deciding how many and what kind of lanes to install. Go back to the question of whether your customers are more concerned with hunting or self defense. Perhaps a hunter shooting a rifle will occupy a lane longer than someone practicing self-defense with a handgun. If you expect or even allow rifle shooters on your range, consider building a separate area designed specifically for rifles. By separating shooters based on firearm type or purpose, you may be able to alleviate some congestion. Other suggestions for keeping the flow of customers unimpeded are to allow online scheduling of lanes, to install a webcam that allows customers to go to your website and see in real time how busy the shooting range is, and to limit how long shooters can occupy a lane.

Angel View of the Total Containment TrapThe equipment you install in your shooting range can also have a significant effect on your future success. If you anticipate a large number of shooters on your range every day, you may want to reconsider the bullet containment system you use. Rubber berms work great on ranges that don’t see excessive everyday use, but if you start having more customers than you originally planned for, it quickly becomes a less ideal solution. Rubber berms have to be cleaned and the bullets lodged in them mined after so many shots fired. Not only does it cost money to clean the rubber berm, but the more days you have to close your range for maintenance, the more money you lose.

The Action Target Total Containment Trap (TCT) can be a great solution if you are going to run a lot of people through the range. With three different types of hands-free lead removal systems, the TCT allows for varying levels of use and greatly diminishes the time you have to spend maintaining your shooting range. If your range’s anticipated level of use is on the border of being too much for a rubber berm, plan on being successful and install a TCT. Don’t limit your long-term success based on short-term finances.

No matter where you are in the process of building your dream shooting range, we are here to support you. We are only successful when you’re successful; so let us know what we can do to help. For more information on what systems will work best for you and your customers, contact one of Action Target’s shooting range consultants by calling our office at (801) 377-8033.

The Timeless Debate: Law Enforcement Use of Range Facilities?

Range owners who are preparing for a new build must consider every possible revenue stream since it is their responsibility to ensure the range is profitable. During this process, many range owners believe they will be able to entice local law enforcement into using their training facilities and have this be a major source of revenue. This timeless debate–whether or not a relationship with the local law enforcement should be a major part of a range’s business plan–should be carefully considered before embarking on range construction.

AT Firearms ProficiencyThe main thing to remember when considering whether or not to form an engagement with law enforcement is “don’t assume anything.” While developing a business plan, if it is assumed that law enforcement will participate in the range’s program and will, therefore, help the financial plan of the facility, firm commitments must be made. Even if an owner has a good relationship with the local law enforcement, commitments should be put in writing so they become binding. Keep in mind that typically, a law enforcement agency cannot give a firm commitment to a facility that is in the process of construction, so range owners must understand that they take upon themselves this risk until a written agreement can be met.

However, if for some reason a range is lucky enough to be an exception to these common procedures and a binding engagement with law enforcement is formed, the build must include the installation of turning target systems. Turning target systems are imperative due to the fact that most law enforcement agencies require officers to qualify on a timed course that has the ability to turn targets from edge to face in a set amount of time.

Another consideration while planning should be the total cost of the range facility. Range owners must take into account the maintenance, service, utilities, and other expenses that are associated with the upkeep of the facility. Experience shows that these many expenses, in addition to the increased expense required to enable law enforcement to use the range, often render it unprofitable for the range to contract with law enforcement. Now, this is not to say that a range shouldn’t support local law enforcement, but what a range owner must realize from the very beginning is that the business plan should not be structured around an agency. Generally speaking, law enforcement use is not a viable solution in a business model.

Lastly, always remember that there is a crossover point on the return on investment compared to the operating costs and the potential income. One of the greatest values of the range is when it is used as a marketing and sales tool for a quality store. Both need to work as a team in order for them to reach their maximum potential. Range operations can seldom stand on their own on an indoor range complex and law enforcement can seldom be included as a key contributor in the range’s business plan.

Before beginning your next project, speak with one of Action Target’s Territory Managers to ensure that your range is optimized for maximum performance and results.

Raising Returns on the Range

A range is a business. Despite the fact that many people end up turning range operation into a humanitarian effort by working more than 90 hours a week, it must be remembered that most people chose to run a range for the purpose of financial gain. Similarly, the goal for most facilities is to be profitable. However, this is always more difficult to execute than it initially seems. This causes us to ask the question: how can a range raise more of a return on investment?

Action Targe Indoor Firing Range ProductsFirst off, it must be remembered that the range exists as the profit center to the business. Secondly, a decision needs to be made in regards to the operations of the range. In regard to the commercial value of a range, there are typically two lines of thought in the industry: one is to combine the range with the store, and the second is to not.

If one were to do the simple math of operating a range, the numbers would not point to a viable business plan with the proper rate of return. In contrast, an indoor range working in conjunction with a properly operated store has the ability to produce a significant return on investment and be of great value.

A quick example might be helpful to understand this line of thought. A client comes into the range store and has a desire to purchase a gun for self-defense. Not being familiar with different firearms, the employee in the store can offer consultation and recommendations as to what might be the best choice. Now, if the store were equipped with a shooting range, it would be very easy to take this client onto the range with two or three different guns and to let them have some practical experience to aid in the sale. After the client has first-hand experience with each of the choices, it is much easier to properly guide the clients to make the best choice for their set of circumstances and needs.

Using this small example above, it is easy to see how a range really does have the ability to turn a good store into a great store. This is not a question of price—this is a question of service. The ability to serve the client does matter. While true that today’s marketplace faces the challenge of customers being able to access a limitless amount of information online, in this market, the store that provides a quality service will always prevail.

“If you build it, they will come.” It is always the hope that this adage will prove to be true, and oftentimes ranges are built under that assumption. However, those who run the range must remember that the business plan is the most important thing to take care of because it is what makes sure there is money coming into the register when people visit their range. Whatever programs are initiated for the facility, remember: there must always be a return on investment.

For more help in making your range economically viable and to increase your return on investment, contact your Action Target Territory Manager.

Law and Order (Part One)

Written by Keith Mehlin

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on August 26, 2010. Due to the popularity of the article and the number of new subscribers since it originally went out, Action Target has decided to republish this two part series.

The Council Bluffs Police Department had an outdoor 50 yard range for 30 years plus located near the Council Bluffs Airport. This range was built in a large depression which was protected by dirt berms on all sides, including a wall of dirt approximately 20 feet high behind the target area. Approximately 5 years before the range was closed we had added computer controlled turning targets from Action Target and a two story control tower. The tower was built with the help of the FBI. Our range was built in such a way that we could easily place vehicles, both cruisers and simulated suspect vehicles, and other types of items to simulate cover and concealment on the range, quite easily. We also had a small structure in one corner of the range that we could use as a shooting house.

The Department scheduled four firearms training sessions yearly for all sworn officers, which were integrated with defensive tactics training. Our tactical team would shoot once a month. Having been a firearms instructor and defensive tactics instructor myself, I know that we were consistently providing for our officers realistic training that would mimic as best we could combat situations on the street.

Once we added the computer controlled target system and the control tower, we did not feel that we were lacking anything. At that time we had no patrol rifle policy so the 50 yard range was adequate for our needs. Nor did we have any safety issues for the officers using the range, which at the time was being used by 24 different agencies in the Omaha metro area. We were not getting any rounds coming back at the officers from the berm behind the target area. We had mined the lead some years before and it appeared to us that it did not need to be done again. We also had no liability issues on the range as far as officers using the range. We had not had an accident or serious injury on the range for the 32 years that I have been a police officer here. The only injury that I can recall came from a top strap blowing on a revolver several years ago, and fortunately that injury was not serious. We were under the impression that with the improvements that we had made, we were good to go for at least another 30 years on the range. Little did we know that was about to change very quickly.

Our troubles began in mid summer of 2002. One of the tenants at a hangar claimed that he had heard a deflected round hit the roof of the metal hangar when he was working on his airplane. He went to the city and the police department and demanded that we immediately close the range. We did not close the range but did an investigation and concluded that a deflected round did leave the range and land on the roof. We contacted Action Target, who immediately flew out and inspected the range. They made some recommendations, which were implemented, and we continued to use the range, believing that was an isolated incident and that we had fixed the problem. This did not please the individual whose roof the spent round landed on.

A few months after that, this same individual made another complaint outlining the same circumstances; however, this time he had the spent round as evidence. After a very brief investigation, we were able to determine that the rounds that were being fired on the range that day were not of the same caliber of the spent round that this person offered up as evidence. Again, we thought we were safe and continued to operate the range.

Action Target Law and Order

That all changed a few weeks later when several construction workers, who were working on a building project near the range, reported hearing deflected rounds going over their heads while they were working. I immediately closed the range because of safety concerns. While we will never know exactly how long rounds had been leaving our range, we feel that we became aware of it because of the encroachment upon the range by an airport expansion project and other building projects near the range. Before those projects, we were isolated enough that spent rounds leaving the range was not a recognized problem.

It was at that point we knew that we needed a new range. Not only were we suddenly without a place to train with our firearms, so was 23 other federal, state, and local agencies. I will always remember the feeling of despair when I realized that my officers and many other officers were suddenly without an adequate place to train to defend their lives and the lives of the people they were sworn to defend. We had to build a range.

The questions that we had when we faced up to the task was where to find the money, where to put the range, how big to build it, and what type of range equipment did we want to use. I knew that I wanted to build the best training facility possible for the officers, but I had no idea how to go about it.

Because the city had been caught flat footed with the range suddenly closing without warning, money was definitely the biggest problem. I decided to attack the problem on three fronts: local money, federal money because several federal agencies used the range, and through a local foundation. Early on in the process I came to realize that without more local involvement, the federal and foundation money would not come into play. I contacted Sheriff Jeff Danker, Pottawattamie County Sheriff, the county in which Council Bluffs is located, and we agreed to make this training facility a joint city county venture. After that decision, and jumping through a lot of political and bureaucratic hoops, local, federal and foundation money was obtained for the building of the training facility.

The research and planning stage actually went quicker than I anticipated. We already had a history with Action Target and were pleased with their target equipment and level of service. I had no knowledge of Action Target bullet traps, or any other traps on the market, but I knew that my biggest concern beyond safety was ease and cost of maintenance. After a short amount of research, I thought that Action Target had the corner on the market on ease of maintaining and simplicity of a bullet trap. The decision was made to go with that company for range equipment.

(This article continues in next week’s newsletter)

Action Target Renovates Ohio Indoor Range

Action Target first worked with Ohio State Highway Patrol back in 1999 when we installed our “state of the art” Total Containment Trap. When it was determined the Highway Patrol would renovate the rest of their existing facility in 2011, we were contacted directly by the architect for specifications on the new equipment that would be provided. Because of the quality, performance, and robust nature of our Total Containment Trap, it was the only piece of equipment not removed and replaced in the 2011 renovation. Due to the heavy use of the range, the project was to be completed on an extremely tight time-line with only six weeks of manufacturing time. Action Target acted as a sub-contractor to Williamson Builders Inc. and together completed the tremendous facility in the time required.

This 24 lane, 25 yard indoor range now provides officers a variety of training options, including timed training qualification courses and decision making drills. In addition, the total containment trap system, and tactical baffle layout allow for dynamic cross lane firing and moving and shooting drills, accomplished under the watchful eye of the RSO through our clear ballistic glass stalls. Such dependability, quality, and versatility are completely unique to Action Target’s design. We thank Ohio State Highway Patrol for their continued business and support!

Action Target Gears Up for Shot Show 2011

ATTENTION LAW ENFORCEMENT:

Shot Show 2012 is in a month and Action Target still has meeting times available! The show is going to be held at the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas, NV and runs from January 17-20, 2012. If you, a member of your department, or other law enforcement professional you know will be attending, it is imperative that we meet! Action Target has two separate booths and meeting rooms for the show. Have us show you some of the latest technology that will help raise the level, quality, and throughput with your firearms training programs.

Action Target at Shot Show 2011We will have our entire sales staff available to discuss our vast product line with you. Our team of sales representatives wants to work with you to understand your training needs. They can quickly discuss our products that will meet your requirements and possibly provide you with a demonstration if the product is in our booth.

Whether you are looking to build a state of the art indoor shooting range, live-fire shoothouse, or simply need some portable steel targets, come see us at the show. Our booths (#10562 & #10564) are located on the 2nd Level of the Sands Expo Center.

To secure a date and time to meet with a member of our team, please make an appointment today. If you do not know your regional representative, please see below to contact a representative today.

Military Contact

Action Target's Military Contact Clay Smith

CLAY SMITH
Managing Director: Military Division
888-377-8033 ext. 142
801-705-9142 Direct
clays@actiontarget.com

Law Enforcement Contacts

ROBB ANDERSON
801-377-8033 ext. 124
801-319-0977 cell
robba@actiontarget.comContact Info for AT Robb Anderson
LAYNE ASHBY
801-377-8033 ext. 143
801-376-3773 cell
laynea@actiontarget.comContact Info for AT Layne Ashby
CHRIS HART
801-377-8033 ext. 149
801-319-1314 cell
chrish@actiontarget.comContact Info for AT Chris Hart
AARON LUDWIG
801-377-8033 ext. 132
801-592-6613 cell
aaronl@actiontarget.comContact Info for AT Aaron Ludwig
MATT BRINKERHOFF
801-377-8033 ext. 130
801-380-8973 cell
mbrink@actiontarget.com
MIKE STILWELL
801-377-8033 ext. 144
801-602-9776 cell
mikes@actiontarget.comContact Info for AT Mike Stilwell
SCOTT DESANTI
509-396-7177
801-854-8863 cell
scottd@actarg.comContact Info for AT Scott Desanti
JASON SNELL
801-377-8033 ext. 158
801-809-6966 cell
jasons@actiontarget.comContact Info for AT Jason Snell
CHAD BURDETTE
(Portable Target and Specialty Sales)

801-377-8033 ext. 113
801-380-9634 cell
chadb@actiontarget.com

Contact Info for AT Chad Burdette

Action Target Completes Build for Jay Henges Range in MO

In 1937, the Missouri Constitutional Amendment created the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) to “restore, conserve, and regulate Missouri’s over-stressed fisheries, forests, and wildlife populations.” The MDC administers more than 975,000 acres and maintains five staffed shooting ranges, along with more than 70 unstaffed ranges. These ranges experience tremendous use from Missouri locals, many who are active sportsmen and hunters.

One of the most visited of these staffed ranges is the Jay Henges range in High Ridge, MO, located outside St. Louis. Range Supervisor Jake Hindman estimates that the range, which opened in 1994, receives 20,000 shooters each year. This continual high volume of fire led to maintenance and containment concerns regarding the inevitable lead remediation on the dirt berms. These concerns caused the Department of Conservation to decide it was time to invest in a “Total Containment Range” to eliminate costly lead clean up and maintenance while ensuring that no fired bullets left the shooing range.

The solution was Action Target’s Total Containment Trap (TCT) – Version 4. Some features of the TCT include:

  • Complete access into deceleration chamber
  • Modular chamber plates which require no cutting or welding – all parts bolt together.
  • All rounds fired are captured and guided into the deceleration chamber to expend their remaining energy as they harmlessly drop into a sealed collection system for recycling.

The Jay Henges Total Containment Trap measures 160 ft. wide with 20 shooting positions designed for heavy rifle use from the 100 yard firing line. The trap also features a unique self-supported engineered boom system that integrates into the frame of the bullet trap chambers, creating a support to the upper bullet trap plates without the need for a stand-alone truss system.

In late 2010, the Jay Henges range reopened, showcasing their new look with full concrete walkways, target holders, a bullet trap, and overhead baffles. Action Target would like to congratulate MDC on completing 75 years of public service and for their example in leading the way towards safe outdoor education by providing top notch facilities for citizens throughout the State of Missouri. Many thanks also to Action Target Midwest Range Consultant Chris Hart and Project Manager Brian Sanders for a seamless transition to the new bullet trap.

To read more about the Jay Henges Shooting Range visit http://mdc.mo.gov/regions/st-louis/jay-henges-shooting-range.

Range Project Spotlight: New Range In Pinellas County, Florida

The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office will soon train in their new state-of-the-art outdoor baffled firing range. This new range includes Action Target’s high quality outdoor Total Containment Trap with a Screw Conveyor collection method. Both innovative systems make recycling much easier by catching all fired bullets in one 55 gallon barrel.

The new outdoor baffled firing range has a variety of tactical target systems, creating a multitude of training scenarios and environments that increase the range’s ability to do more than simply “qualifying” police officers.

Both ranges at the Pinellas County Sherriff’s Office include the follow training equipment and scenarios:

  • Running Targets—Essential for training since real-life threats do not stand still
  • Turning Targets—Used to create training environments promoting quick decision-making on how and when to take the shot
  • Multiple Threats—Programming “multiple adversaries” into gun fights and combat courses enhances training beyond single threat scenarios

Each training technique and target system is controlled by SmartRange—a computer software system that allows replication of “real world” scenarios. When engaging in a gun fight, officers experience several physiological changes to their bodies. Training in these realistic scenarios replicates this type of stress to help the officers learn how to handle it in a way that is safe and successful. When the moment does arise to put their training into action, they will have already learned how to more effectively manage their stress during action.

The range design includes input from Lt. Pupke (Pinellas County Sheriff), Lt. Littlejohn, Sgt. Chaisson, and Action Target. Everyone involved is pleased with the results of this fine training center. Action Target hopes to hold a training seminar at the range this coming spring, inviting local agencies to come and enjoy some great training on some great equipment.

We are proud of the foresight and planning done by Pinellas County, their leadership, their officers, and the citizens they serve. Thanks to the efforts of this agency, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office is now ready for anything the future holds for their department, putting the Action Target motto into action: “Better Equipped, Better Prepared.”

Self-Funding Shooting Ranges

A New Way of Looking at Shooting Range Viability

By Addison Sovine

While the top-level view of a commercial indoor shooting range may appear simple and direct, the economic reality is often the opposite. If one were to take the cost of a range based on today’s market value and implement a state-of-the-art range featuring approximately ten lanes, the initial investment would be well into the millions. A range costing a million dollars would require $50,000 in range fees just to cover the interest payment alone. If a range yields $10 per participant for each hour of range time, five hundred shooters would be necessary to simply cover that interest. In addition to start-up fees, heating and cooling of the facility can be substantial when variables like airflow and heat are factored in.

Expenses that add up quickly

Another five hundred shooters—if not a full additional thousand—would be necessary to cover the cumulative cost of operations and physical utility bills. This does not include costs associated with labor, maintenance, or any other expenses, causing the cost of an operation range to accumulate.

Making Your Good Range Great

Over the past 26 years of leading the industry, the men and women of Action Target have learned that an indoor range in and of itself is not as viable a solution as an indoor range used in conjunction with a retail store. However, a guiding principle sometimes forgotten is that a good range validates a good store. A good range makes it possible for a store to perform a service that dealers and stores without a range cannot perform. Clients can test firearms prior to making their purchase. AT Constructs Indoor Shooting Range for OrlandoRental or lease programs are realistic possibilities, allowing for more informed decisions to be made. A singular offering like an on-site range provides a service unavailable elsewhere, meaning you are selling not only the firearms, but also a rare service–your expertise.

Your ability to provide a critical service as an expert in the shooting industry, in conjunction with the services of a range, allows you to train and demonstrate that which you sell. A range also gives the opportunity for relevant, adjacent offerings, such as personal protection classes, concealed carry classes, and other things not available from people who would need to rent or borrow a range. With this in mind, reconsider the economic validity of building or purchasing a range.

A Model of Economic Viability

Supposing your range will consist of ten lanes, the last thing that you want to worry about it is the required maintenance. Any mechanical device follows a single objective rule—the more complex the device, the more expertise necessary in its service and maintenance. Just a few years ago, having an automobile with a motor, a carburetor, and a little common sense may have been the only necessary tool in order to adjust the carburetor. Today, however, the proliferation of computer controlled, microchip-fueled components makes it incredibly difficult to do so. Accidents or problems can necessitate repairs that are far more expensive now than they may have been ten or fifteen years ago.

The laws of physics hold domain over any space, including ranges where bullets are being fired. Combined with constant historical trends of human innovation, we can see that whenever someone builds something to stop a bullet, someone else will build a bullet strong enough to go through it. Thus, it is only a matter of time before an equipment failure or breakdown on a range occurs.

AT Builds New Shooting Range and StoreThe value of simplicity, then, is clearly demonstrated. On a typical commercial range, there is no need for fancy, high-end target retrieval systems. The most cost-effective system on a range is a simple toggle switch on a track and a motor that takes the target down to a distance—this distance determined perhaps by a line painted on the wall or a line painted on the floor. This distance is determined and used as the operator runs the target down by holding the switch. As the operator brings the target back, they will run the switch until the target returns. While this may not sound like sufficient technology for training law enforcement, it truly is the only necessary mechanism for target retrieval.

If you are going to donate your commercial range to local law enforcement, understand what that could entail. Even with donations of use, local law enforcement agencies’ use of your range will be a small fraction of its cumulative use. You will not be able to properly maintain your range or even break even based upon the rental of that range with your law enforcement under typical circumstances.

*NOTE: This has been the first section of many Action Target White Papers being released to the public. All white papers can be accessed through our website. To read the rest of the Self-Funding Shooting Ranges White Paper, you can download the entire PDF document by clicking on the link provided. You can also watch the full video presentation.

About Addison Sovine

Addison is the Executive Vice-President and Co-Founder of Action Target. He has over 26 years industry experience and has personally designed, built, and maintained thousands of shooting ranges.

Range Project Spotlight: Junction City, KS Commercial Range

Action Target is widely known for constructing the toughest and most challenging shooting range projects in the world. Working together as a team allows us to overcome various obstacles we face as we design, build, and create ranges for our clients. For example, Action Target was approached by the Federal Reserve Bank to design and build a shooting range on the 17th floor of a major office building in Chicago, Illinois. When considering the noise, ventilation, and other items associated with a range, constructing a range in a skyscraper surrounded by offices was a challenge, but not an impossible task for Action Target. Through careful planning and execution, we created a .50 BMG rated shooting range complete with three lanes, stalls, and retrievers.

Action Target Builds New Commerical Range in Junction City, KSAction Target’s challenging builds don’t end there. When Chris Hart, Action Target Range Consultant of the South Central Territory, was approached with an equally challenging range project, he welcomed the opportunity by stating, “It’s not every day that you install a modern shooting range in a building from the 1800’s.”

Every commercial shooting range project requires two key elements to get it off the ground- passion and hard work. When it comes to Godfrey’s Indoor Range, Todd Godfrey had plenty of both in reserve when he embarked on this project. Todd, an officer with the Junction City Police Department, envisioned opening a commercial indoor shooting range to serve not only the citizens of Junction City and his fellow police officers, but also the soldiers stationed at neighboring Fort Riley.

In 2008, Todd toured Kansas City PD’s 30 lane tactical indoor range with ATI Midwest Range Consultant Chris Hart and Bill Provencher from Carey’s Heating and Air Conditioning, as the two companies worked together to build this range several years earlier. After viewing the range, Todd decided that Action Target was the partner to have. With a visitor’s pass from Action Target, Todd attended this year’s SHOT Show where he secured everything he needed to run his range business, from firearm distributors to inventory software (we are also happy to help all of our future range clients attend the SHOT Show with us).

Junction City, KS Commercial Range Build by ATIFor this commercial range, Todd secured some prime real estate in downtown Junction City–three vacant buildings totaling 20,000 sq-ft. on a main thoroughfare. However, this perfect location came with one catch–the building dates from the 1800’s. Building a range in a building this old would be challenging, but not impossible, for Action Target. Using ATI’s detailed range drawings, Todd began building out the structure to accept the modern range equipment. His company (yes, Todd has three jobs!), Godfrey Construction and Renovation, LLC, installed new ceiling trusses and concrete work. He also remodeled the building with a new store front that includes a luxurious lounge area for those waiting to shoot.

To accommodate the expected high volume of shooters, Todd chose Action Target’s Total Containment Trap with Dust Collection Unit, Rifle Rated Ceiling Baffles, Digital Smart Target Retrievers with SmartRange Master Control System and Level III clear Ballistic Glass Shooting Stalls. To enhance the realistic training environment, he connected the SmartRange system to his P/A system so he can broadcast sound effects such as gunfire, screaming, and sirens. The range also has police light bars to simulate felony vehicle stops. Carey’s provided a fully automated range ventilation system guaranteed to meet all OSHA and EPA regulations.

Junction City, KS Commercial Range Built by Action TargetGodfrey’s Indoor Range opened to the public on July 31, 2010 and was named Junction City’s 2010 Business of the Year within five months of opening. However, that wasn’t enough for Todd–he then got creative with his extra space and installed a state of the art 6,000 sq-ft. 3D archery range. To further service his range customers, Todd leases 4,000 sq-ft. of retail space to Quantico Tactical.

If you’re ever near exit 296 on I-70 west of Kansas City, do yourself a favor and stop by to meet Todd and his great staff and send a few rounds downrange while you’re there. Todd is currently available for consulting on range franchise opportunities and the construction of range facilities.

www.godfreysranges.com
Godfrey’s Shooting and Indoor Archery Ranges Facebook Page

Other recently completed projects include:

  • Smith & Wesson Range – Houlton, ME
  • Watts Bar Nuclear Range – TN
  • Triad Gun Source Range – NC
  • Denton County Sheriff’s Department Range – TX
  • Atlanta State Penitentiary Range – GA