Tag: rangemaster

7 Public Relations Tips for Shooting Ranges

Point Blank RangePublic relations can be difficult no matter what industry you’re in, but for those who own shooting ranges and gun shops, it can be absolutely terrifying. It seems the majority of news stories about shooting ranges are purely negative and focus on battles over zoning, environmental concerns, community opposition, or violent crime. The media may seem to have complete control over the conversation, but there are things you can do to shed some positive light on your range and the industry in general. If you own a shooting range, work at a shooting range, or you are planning to build one, here are seven tips that will help you overcome the preconceived notions, myths, and fears that surround them.

#1: Educate your neighbors.

People fear what they do not understand. The majority of the resistance you will experience in building your range is often the product of a lack of understanding from misinformation. A quick online search will show the majority news stories that talk about shooting ranges center on how they create dangerous environments for children and communities because of the presence of guns or the possibility of bullets escaping the confines of the range. Do not be afraid to attend local civic meetings and community events or even go door to door to educate the public about your project and how it will benefit the community as a whole. It is important to be visual and factual in your presentation. Use pictures and graphs to illustrate your points rather than relying solely upon words. Always exercise caution when speaking to the public and local government officials. Before you attempt to communicate openly about your shooting range project, you should conduct or find research to determine the political atmosphere of your community. Depending on potential resistance, keeping a low profile may be the best course of action rather than attacking public perception head on.

#2: Know what makes your range unique.

Red Dot Firearms 21When it comes to the media, it is not enough to say you’re building a “state-of-the-art” shooting range. You need to know what makes you unique from every other range that also claims to be “state-of-the-art.” Look closely at your equipment, business model, history, future plans, and services. Somewhere in those details is an angle that will draw the attention of the media. A great example of this is Eagle Gun Range in Lewisville, Texas. Owner David Prince contacted the media early and often but was met with complete indifference because several shooting ranges had already opened in the area in a fairly short amount of time. After a number of attempts, a reporter finally asked, “What makes you different from all the other ranges?” Prince began listing all the aspects that make Eagle Gun Range so great including safe equipment, training classes, inventory, and events like birthday parties. What caught the reporter’s attention were the events. “Birthday parties? Like, for children?”

What followed was a media frenzy. Not only did it catch the attention of the local news agencies, the story also found its way into the national limelight with coverage from ABC News, Yahoo News, Fox Business, U.S. News on NBC, The Blaze, and Guns.com. Even Jimmy Kimmel caught wind of it and featured a skit about the range called “Chuck E Norris” on his show. Obviously, not all of the coverage was positive, but it gave Prince a chance to talk about his range on a public stage and draw enormous attention before the range had even opened.

#3: Talk to the media early and often.

Red Dot Firearms 06The media does not have to be your enemy. If you help them by providing a story that is newsworthy, they will help you. It is important that you reach out to them early in the process and approach them often. Invite them out to visit your range during different stages of the building process. Explain to them how your bullet trap works and why it is impossible for bullets to escape the range. Show them what makes your range unique. Give them the opportunity to shoot on your range (include both the reporter and the camera operator). Talk about how your range will protect the environment with your lead collection and ventilation systems. The more you get the media to your range, the more you can influence the conversation and educate the public.

#4: Host a grand opening event.

Holding a grand opening event is one of the best ways to get the attention of your local community and media. Don’t jump the gun, though. It’s generally best to have an unannounced soft opening with your grand opening celebration taking place a few weeks or even a month later. Delaying the grand opening will give you time to make sure everything works properly, shelves are stocked, and employees are trained. Coordinate with one of the main firearm brands you will carry to be on site during the event to do demonstrations or even hold raffles (if charging for raffle tickets, make sure you follow your state’s gambling laws). You can also draw attention by offering discounts or sales on merchandise, range passes, memberships, etc. Invite notable community members like the mayor and the chief of police and include them in an official ceremony like a ribbon cutting (or ribbon shooting). Once plans have been made, get the word out to the media. Research reporters in your area who would possibly be interested and send them an official invitation two weeks in advance that quickly details what will happen, who will attend, and why it is important. Send the invitation early in the week to avoid traditional end-of-the-week deadlines, and keep it as short as possible.

Hire a professional photographer to be at the event. Photography is often one of the most overlooked aspects of opening a range. Too often, a new shooting range opens and the only available photos are dark and grainy and were taken before construction was even complete on whoever’s cell phone happened to be handy. Invest in a good photographer to document your range and provide you with attractive photos that you can use on your website, in social media, and in the news. The better you can portray your range through photos, the more people will want to come.

#5: Be an expert on all things firearms to the media.

Red Dot Firearms 12Your range doesn’t have to be the source of the news in order to get into the news. In today’s world, there is no shortage of news stories involving firearms in one way or another. Present yourself as a firearms expert to the media, and they will seek your opinion. Doug VanderWoude, OnTarget Range Manager for AcuSport and former owner of Silver Bullet Firearms, managed to get his range into Time Magazine. It wasn’t because his gun shop/shooting range did anything worthy of national attention but because VanderWoude actively contacted the media and presented himself as an expert in the field. So when Time Magazine began writing an article on booming gun sales, they came knocking at his door first. Merely owning a shooting range does not necessarily qualify you as an expert, however. Make sure you’re up to the task by reading as many publications about the firearms industry from as many different sources possible. Focus on politics, local firearms laws, trends, new products or innovations, and firearms makes and models. The more you can back up your personal experiences with trends and research, the better you will perform as an industry spokesman.

#6: Hold/support regular community events.

Continue to interact with your community regularly. Host various shooting groups (especially women shooting groups) at your range on specific days or nights. Hold IDPA, USPSA, Ruger Rimfire Challenge, or other competitions at your range if possible. Support local organizations like the Boy Scouts of America, law enforcement agencies, and veterans groups. Make sure you plan events well in advance to provide adequate time to advertise and plan them. If you do not give your community enough time to plan to attend or even the opportunity to find out about the events you hold, these will end up damaging you rather than benefiting you.

#7: Maintain Constant Contact.

Never stop building and strengthening your brand. Communicating with your customers, the community, and the gun industry outside of work will help build mutually beneficial relationships. There are too many ways you can do this to list all of them, but here are the ones we feel are most effective when used correctly:

  • Social media – Make good use of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and other platforms to provide an easy way for your customers and community to communicate with you. These are great places to talk about events, share pictures, and post how-tos. As the social media population continues to grow, it is ever more important to have an active presence.
  • Craft a newsletter – You do not have to publish a daily, weekly, or even monthly newsletter. It just needs to be consistent and expected. You and your staff are firearms experts, so share that knowledge as much and as often as you can. Newsletters are a great place to put a calendar of events to let people know what is happening at your range and when.
  • Spotlight your employees – You can do this in the newsletter, on social media, through the news, or in your business. If you have an employee that is a trained instructor, excellent with customer service, or anything else that is noteworthy, brag about them.
  • Listen to your customers – You have to listen to your customers and make changes based on what you hear. Your ability to adjust to the needs of customers will determine your success. Actively listen to their suggestions by providing a forum. Include a comments and suggestions section on your website, host surveys through social media, and ask every customer who comes through your doors what is most important to them.

No matter where you are at in your range project, it is never too late to take control of your public image. Remember that your reputation, image, and brand are all living things. The moment you stop feeding and putting effort into them is when they will start to work against you.

What Makes a Professional Firearms Instructor?

By Dave Staskievicz

Editor’s Note: Action Target has republished this article in its entirety with the permission of the author. Ideas, comments, practices, recommendations, etc. are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of Action Target.

LETC 2013 - 073There are so many different types of “firearms instructors” that it’s virtually impossible to give a standardized answer to this question. In no way do I think I have all the answers to this question. The purpose of this article is to simply get instructors thinking about possible answers.

Depending on the type of firearms instructor you are, your answers might be a little different. Just so we are all on the same page, a few examples of different types of instructors I’m referring to are hunter safety, trap, range safety, NRA, competition, defensive shooting, and tactical (law enforcement / military – life and death).

There are a wide variety of training doctrines and techniques to choose from – I won’t talk about any of them. This article will focus on the different attributes that make up a professional firearms instructor.

12-2 LETC 2013 - 174As I look at it, there are levels and stepping stones in your instructing career. Generally speaking, I would venture to say some of the best instructors have law enforcement (LE) and/or military backgrounds. However, I’m sure there are exceptions out there.

The majority of my experience as a firearms instructor comes from the LE / military arenas. However, I do occasionally help out with hunter safety and even coach some trap. Over the years, I have tried to listen and learn from many colleagues and instructors. One of the first lessons I learned was that I don’t know everything.

The first thing is to remember you can always learn something new. Never rest on your laurels, and always try to learn something that will make you a better instructor. Find a mentor or mentors and work on how you instruct. Every time I watch someone else teach, I’m trying to learn another way to communicate or relay information to the student. You can never stop learning and improving. I would never claim to be the best instructor, but looking back, I wasn’t a very strong instructor when I first started.

In my opinion, there are a few areas that make or break you as a good, professional instructor. I’m going to break down and discuss a few of these.

Professionalism

Standing barricadeSince we are trying to define what a professional firearms instructor is, it seems the first place to start would be to discuss professionalism. As I said earlier, there are many types of instructors which will alter some of the requirements. To begin with, we owe it to our students and our industry to have a clean professional appearance and attire. If you’re honest with yourself, it’s hard to disagree with the idea of showing a professional appearance. It’s not difficult to wear a polo or other collared shirt. Wearing some sort of T-shirt or an untucked shirt just tells your students you’re sloppy and unprofessional.

Professionalism also includes your documentation for the class. Every class needs a lesson plan and supporting documentation. Did you make a range safety plan and safety brief for your students and instructors? We can never afford to take safety for granted. Don’t cut corners or fall back on the “do what I say, not what I do” motto. Always set the example for your students.

Be courteous and respectful to your students and other instructors. Never bash another instructor or their techniques – that just shows that you are unprofessional. Never contradict another instructor in front of students unless it deals with an immediate safety issue. During a break, take the instructor aside and privately discuss any difference or suggestions.

Evaluate Yourself – Keep an Open Mind

IMG_0758I have already mentioned that you can always learn something new. To do that, you need to continually reevaluate yourself as a firearms instructor. I put a date on all of my police recruit / instructor manuals to require myself to reevaluate the techniques, tactics, and gear every two years. If you haven’t changed any of your curriculum in more than two years, you have most likely rested on your laurels and are now becoming a liability. Be open to evaluating different techniques.

Just because an instructor has the most years of service behind his name, it doesn’t mean he is the best firearms instructor. This is especially true if there isn’t an open mind to progress and change.

Evaluate Techniques, Tactics, and Gear

This area is critically important, especially for defensive and tactical firearms instructors. Realizing we need to keep an open mind about ourselves, we also need to keep an open mind about our techniques, tactics, and gear. As we look at new tactics, we always have to remember that some look really cool on a flat, sterile range when the students’ heart rates are low. Always evaluate the validity of a new tactic or piece of gear before you introduce it into the classroom. Will the technique work when the student performs it with an elevated heart rate? Far too often, I’ve seen an instructor show students a “cool” technique that doesn’t pass the common sense test.

Position #2 shooting _ Cover BlockThe worst thing a professional firearms instructor can do is to fail to vet a new technique, tactic, or piece of gear. Many times, I’ve watched an instructor go to a school or seminar, learn some new tactic, and come back to start teaching it as the “new coolest thing” in the world of shooting. Usually, within a few weeks or months, the instructor realizes the technique isn’t sound and may only work on flat, sterile ranges as opposed to real world situations. The problem is that the damage is already done. Every instructor is liable for what they have taught the students that have already completed the class. Good, professional instructors will vet any new technique before they go out and teach it to students. Consequently, they need to incorporate any changes into their lesson plans and stay consistent.

Think about this: if you’re with a group of instructors evaluating different techniques or gear and you’re always the one talking or you’re never wrong, you just figured out the issue – it’s YOU! If you run the training, you have to remember a good leader always depends on others to make you look good. Once you think you know everything, you are doomed. It’s impossible for one person to know everything, and if you think you do and you’re always right, you are the liability for your training program. Most of this comes down to leaving your ego at home. Remember, story time reduces training time.

As you update your curriculum, remember to have integrity. don’t take credit for other people’s work. Simply changing the name of a technique doesn’t make it yours, so don’t try to make a name for yourself that way. If you change the name of a technique, you will typically end up confusing your students anyway. This comes back to the ego again. The more you have to tell people how great you are, the more you are covering up your inabilities as an instructor or person.

Learning Environment

The most important thing a good firearms instructor can do is to help a student learn. Always remember, we must walk before we run. Breaking everything down into small tasks (modules) will go a long way to accomplish this goal.

  1. Explain what you are going to do
  2. Show them what you want them to do
  3. Demonstrate what you want them to do
  4. Have the student replicate what you want them to do in small parts (modules)

IMG_1040I still live by the old military adage we learned: KISS (Keep It Simple). We can drop off the last S. Trying to impress your students with big words only confuses the students and makes learning harder. There is no need to carry a dictionary on the range. It comes right back to the ego again.

Students always need to have a positive learning experience. For example, when teaching some of the basic fundamentals of firearms, we need to understand why a student’s rounds are going to a certain location. A good instructor has learned how to break down the drills to help students learn why their rounds are always going to a certain place. Until a new instructor understands this, a simple shot analysis card can be an easy first step for learning.

Do I have all the answers? Absolutely not. If I ever thought I did, I would be a liability to myself and others around me. Remember, the purpose of this article is simply to get instructors to think about what a professional firearms instructor is and then take the time to evaluate themselves and their curriculum.

As for the idea of coming up with standards for firearms instructors, I don’t think it’s a very easy or feasible task. The biggest problem with this would be that there doesn’t seem to be a good clearinghouse to standardize a professional firearms instructor.

Remember, as firearms instructors, our goals need to revolve around providing the best possible real world learning environment for our students. Teaching a student to shoot a firearm has a great deal of liability surrounding it. Having students use what they have learned from you in defense of their lives or another person’s life is forever rewarding.

StaskiewiczAbout Dave Staskiewicz

Officer Dave Staskiewicz is Range Master of the Omaha, Nebraska Police Department. He serves as the lead firearms instructor as well as the lead Taser instructor. Dave can be reached at dstaskiewicz@ci.omaha.ne.us.

Omaha Law Enforcement Trainer Recognized For Exceptional Performance

Officer David Staskiewicz receives Range Master of the Year Award from Action Target

PROVO, Utah – Officer David Staskiewicz was recognized by Action Target as the 2012 Range Master of the Year for his continued excellence in law enforcement training.  Action Target founder Addison Sovine presented Staskiewicz with the award at a ceremony held in his honor on December 13th.

“Officer Staskiewicz has done an incredible job in with the Omaha Police Department,” Sovine said. “Action Target has had the pleasure of working with him on several projects in the past, and we hope to continue our relationship in the future.”

For the past ten years, Officer Staskiewicz has been the Omaha Police Department’s range master. During that time, he has overseen the closing of the department’s 30-year-old indoor range and was instrumental in the opening of the new Public Safety Training Center ranges four years ago.

The new center includes a firearms simulator room, rooms for weapon, ammo and target storage, a room with 20 stations for weapon cleaning and two indoor shooting ranges equipped by Action Target with advanced tactical training technology.

“Coordinating the fair use of all three ranges can keep you busy, but these facilities are an incredible training tool,” Staskiewicz said. “We have up to 25 local and federal agencies that train on one of our ranges throughout the year.”

According to Staskiewicz, the last thing a police officer wants to do is discharge his or her firearm, but training for those occasions where force is necessary is extremely important.

“Shooting is a perishable skill that needs to be practiced on a regular basis”, Staskiewicz said. “It’s extremely important to train our officers under similar conditions, especially elevated heart rate shooting.  It’s our job to prepare our officers to react to a situation so they can go home to their family at night.”

In addition to running his agencies three ranges, Staskiewicz oversees the firearms curriculum for his 800 officer department.  He has always been willing to share his lesson plans and training tips with other agencies and trainers over the years.   Some drills they conduct on the indoor tactical range include split-second threat identification, accuracy and speed training, as well as ambush drills in a patrol car with the windshield removed, drop targets and flashing lights to add to the stress.

“Along with providing common sense firearms training, our goal is to provide a safe training environment,” Staskiewicz said. “I’m honored to have won Range Master of the Year, but the best reward is seeing our officers go home at night after a situation.”

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.

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.

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.

Which System is Better for the Total Containment Trap: Conveyor or Bucket?

The goal of every range should be to increase facility revenue. In order to achieve this goal, all range products and features should be carefully evaluated to ensure they maximize revenue and are aligned with the volume of range use. While the bucket system is the ideal solution for some ranges, Action Target recommends that all facilities with a Total Containment Trap engaged at a rate of 70% or greater should use the conveyor system. In these ranges, the conveyor system is the best solution to increase range revenue.

Action Target Total Containment Trap with CanistersTime is money. The more time the range is shut down for service, the less money the range is making. In other words, each time a range has to shut down should be viewed as a potential loss of revenue. A range using a conveyor belt doesn’t have to shut down in order to service the trap because the conveyor is constantly collecting the fired rounds. When the range does shuts down for general maintenance, the workers don’t have to deal with clearing buckets and can better spend their time elsewhere.

It’s important to remember that labor is not free. Using buckets or canisters is seldom a viable solution because of the high amount of manual labor that is required, which greatly increases the cost of a bucket system beyond initial construction. Each of the canisters underneath the trap, when full, can weigh over 100 pounds. Due to the heaviness and awkwardness of these canisters, lead is often spilled and the canisters often become damaged. Workers then have to spend more time cleaning up the spilled contents. On a standard 10-lane range, there are more than 30 canisters to remove. If each of these canisters weighs about 100 pounds, there will be more than 1.5 tons of lead. By design, the canisters are meant to have a lid hammered on before removal. However too often, range operators choose to dump each of these buckets into a larger barrel or bin for removal. This creates an undue risk and safety issue as well as the potential threat of lead spillage, which again, requires additional cleanup and special handling. In short, while a bucket or canister system is less expensive initially, the cost of labor and upkeep quickly piles up.

Contrarily, a screw conveyor removes the spent rounds and lead to a single location to be removed. The movement of the lead and spent bullets in the screw conveyor is hands-free; the only engagement is removing and replacing the large barrel after it is full. This can be done easily with a small forklift or a pallet jack and requires far less time and effort than that required with a bucket system.

A final reason why the conveyor system is recommended in Total Containment Traps is safety. If a canister is allowed to overfill, the rounds will remain in the bullet trap and can potentially cause ricochet and/or clogging. Barrels can become filled with lead in as little as two weeks. The more the lead piles up, the bigger the safety issue. Range safety is critical and the screw conveyor system is the best choice for optimal safety.

To learn more about Actions Target’s Total Containment Trap, its bucket system, or its conveyor belt system, visit the Bullet Traps page.

Should I Shoot On Paper or Steel Targets?

There seems to be an ongoing industry-wide debate about which targets are best—paper or steel. While neither one will ever be crowned the ultimate victor, Action Target’s Steel Target Resource Guide gives meaningful insight to outline the strengths and weaknesses of each target type.

Paper

Action Target HoldShooting on paper is a great way to sight-in rifles and score trainings, and is great for qualifications held by law enforcement agencies. Paper allows a shooter to see where shots land, illustrating how tight groups are. The NRA and other leading organizations use a lot of paper targets precisely for this reason. Another benefit of paper targets is that they provide a bigger variety of shapes, sizes, pictures, and scenarios (there are even a lot of zombie targets out now to add an extra element of fun to training). Each organization has its own types of score zones, stages, and qualification targets, so the wide variety of paper targets allows for greater flexibility between events. Many competitions use paper targets because of this flexibility.

Steel

One of the greatest benefits of using steel targets is the instant feedback they provide. Shooters can usually see and hear when they’ve hit a steel target and this is something that cannot be done when using a paper target. Whether the range is training civilians or law enforcement officials, steel targets help shooters know whether their intended target was hit or not. Hearing and reacting to the sound of a shot hitting a target helps program muscle memory, which reinforces positive behavior. Up Close View of Static PackageJust like in all athletic training, the body subconsciously remembers how to repeat or orchestrate all the different variables required for a successful movement, or in this case, shot. The ability that steel targets offer in regards to instantaneous feedback can actually enhance training, speed, and accuracy. This is especially important for tactical shooting scenarios with movement, such as moving plates and targets. Having multiple senses invoked during this training process conditions the shooter to become a more powerful and effective shooter.

Another benefit of reactive steel targets is the pure entertainment factor. It may seem frivolous at first, but it can provide an enormous benefit to a training program. The fall, spin, bounce, and dodge of a target all lead to a fun and enjoyable experience for shooters of all skill levels. This will eventually lead to an increase in range use and therefore, an increase in profitability for the range.

So, should you shoot on paper or steel targets? In short, it depends on the purpose of the shooting exercise. As already discussed, if the purpose is for scoring, a paper target is best. However, if the shooter wants immediate feedback and would like to train on a more tactical level, steel targets are recommended. For more information on making the best decision, download Action Target’s Steel Resource Guide.

Action Target Holds Successful LETC 2011

Law Enforcement Training Camp (LETC) 2011 was a recent success for Action Target and we’d like to thank all who helped and attended this unique training experience. Here’s what some of the attendees had to say about it:

Dear Rick,

Please accept this letter of appreciation to all of the Action Target staff and instructors for their efforts in making LETC 2011 a huge success. This was the second LETC that I have attended and I was equally impressed with this one as much as I was with the first one I attended in 2010. The professionalism of the instructors, the level of instruction, the use of state of the art target systems, the coordination of training, and events made for a superior training and networking environment. I highly recommend LETC for a unique and truly outstanding training experience.

Sincerely,

Robert Kelly Wells
Training Sergeant
Teton County Sheriff’s Office, WY

Dear Action Target,

In September, I had the opportunity to attend the best firearms training of my Law Enforcement career. I participated in the 2011 Law Enforcement Training Camp at Action Target in Provo, Utah. I found the entire process, from registration to range time, was put together by a very professionally run organization. Each and every time I sent an email or made a phone call, I received a quick and informative answer. If the person I needed to contact was not available, I was put in touch with another person who was ready and able to answer my questions.

I was provided with all the maps and directions I needed to find my way to Action Target, the hotel, and the range. I called Action Target to advise them I was running late for registration and was told not to worry—someone would be there. I can say I was truly impressed with the high level of professionalism exhibited by all of the Action Target staff I encountered. Your company is an organization which treats its customers like family. I will never forget the warm, friendly service I received from Action Target.

The firearms training and range were excellent. I have been a firearms instructor since 1984 and trained with some outstanding trainers. I felt that we as shooters were treated as equals to the instructors and not as trainees. I can say because of Action Target’s LETC, I became a better and more confident shooter as well as a better firearms instructor. In less than a month I was back on the range with my officers teaching them some of the skills I learned at LETC. Overall their scores came up and I could see a difference between this shoot and their last shoot. I will continue to use the skills I learned from LETC to bring up the skill level of those I instruct. I recommend LETC to all of the shooters in my Department. I am already making plans to attend LETC 2012. I am in the process of getting approval for the purchase of Action Target steel targets to improve the firearms instruction I provide to my Department.

In closing, I would like to thank the Action Target family for all of the things you do to assist our Nation’s Police and Military in their chosen profession. The training and equipment you provide us is first rate. You may never know, but I can tell you that your training and equipment will and has saved the lives of our American heroes. In doing so, you have made yourselves heroes as well. Thank you again for your products and training; you help keep us safe.

Respectfully Submitted,

J. C. Boylan #26
Range Master
Maricopa County Community College District, AZ

Dear Mr. Matthews,

My name is Juan Lopez and I have been a law enforcement officer for 15 years. During my tenure as a police officer, I have carried the position of range instructor and department armorer. I recently had the pleasure of attending the September 2011 LETC Conference in Provo, Utah. I would like to take a moment to personally thank you and the Action Target staff for hosting such a phenomenal conference. This was my first time to your facility and I commend your staff for their dedication and passion. One of the things that impressed me was how your staff’s operating skills added to their expertise. Their commitment was very visible. The intensity of the conference was welcomed and it was a true privilege to be amongst the world’s best instructors in the business. I can see why your reputation of being one of very few companies out there to teach one of the most comprehensive training camps in the United States holds to be very true. The training was beyond thorough, your staff’s hospitality was over the top, and this training was hands down the most bang for your buck! The detailed lesson plans helped me to document and remember what I learned at the conference so I can continue to develop my skills as well as pass this training on to our officers who were unable to go. This was nothing less than the ultimate training experience and every range instructor’s dream. My only question to you is when and how early can I register for attending the 2012 LETC?

Sincerely,

Juan Lopez
Detective
Commerce City, CO

Rick Matthews,

I’m writing to commend Action Target on the outstanding experience provided at the 2011 LETC.

Action Target has created an outstanding training environment supported by the commitment, energy, and skills of both the instructors and students. As a student and instructor in 2011, LETC is the training highlight of my 26-year policing career.

Congratulations and well done.

S/Sgt. Mark Horsley
Patrol District 2

Vancouver, WA

911 Commemorative Logo for LETCThanks again to everyone who participated in and helped make LETC 2011 a success! It is sincerely our privilege and honor to be able to work with the most dedicated, selfless, and hard-working members of the law enforcement community each year.

LETC 2012 will be held again in Provo, UT from September 10-14, 2012. Visit our Action Target Academy Calendar page to learn more about next year’s event, download our information brochure with more information, and read about the other types of trainings and seminars that the Action Target Academy will be holding throughout the country in 2012.

Shooting Steel Targets (Part I)

*Note: This is the first of a three-part series entitled “Shooting Steel Targets.”  Part Two and Part Three were published in October.

As the world’s leader for shooting range development, Action Target has a diverse line of products to meet the needs of all its customers. If there is ever a request for a target system not currently offered, we have a full team of Research & Development personnel to explore the creation of a new target solution. Many times, however, the training need can be met with some of the simplest targets.

Line-up of AT Portable Targets

Action Target has been hailed as the #1 steel shooting target manufacturer based on our unique designs, which have been developed and modified over 26 years. Our steel targets have been influenced, tested, designed, and used extensively by law enforcement, the military, and Special Forces groups around the world. These groups prefer our steel targets since they do not allow any exposed bolts or brackets on the shooting surfaces. This is a limitation to many designs, but the result is the safest possible steel target available.

When using any of our portable steel shooting targets, please remember these safety guidelines to ensure that your experience of shooting targets is a fun and safe one:

STEEL TARGET SAFETY RULES

1.         Always obey the Firearms Safety Rules listed belowMan shooting with PT Swinger

2.         Always wear hearing protection and wrap-around shatter resistant eye protection

3.         Always stand at least 10 yards from the target when using handgun calibers

4.         Always stand at least 100 yards from the target when using shotgun slugs

5.         Always stand at least 100 yards from the target when using rifle calibers like .223 and .308

6.         Never use rifle calibers on handgun rated targets

7.         Never use ammunition that exceeds 3,000 feet per second at the muzzle

8.         Never use ammunition that travels below 750 feet per second

9.         Never shoot BB’s, steel shot, or air gun pellets at steel targetsMan Shooting Bobbers Over Shoulder

10.       Never use more powerful ammunition than the target is rated for (green tip, armor piercing, etc.)

11.        Never shoot on steel that is cratered, pitted, or damaged in any way

12.        Hard ground surfaces under the target should be covered with plywood or boxed pea gravel

13.        Targets should be placed with a 3-foot lateral and deep offset from the adjacent target

14.        If shooting multiple targets, the angle of engagement should not exceed 20 degrees

15.        Use only non-toxic paint on steel targets

16.        Inspect all targets before use for damage, functionality, etc.

17.       Shooters and observers must wear long pants (no shorts), long sleeve shirts, a cap or hat with a brim, and closed toed shoes

18.        Instructors and observers should stand behind the shooter and observe all safety rules

19.        If using frangible ammunition, it is the responsibility of the Rangemaster to test fire all frangible rounds to determine the following:

  • That the projectile pulverizes completely on contact
  • That the projectile does not damage the steel target at the distances you intend to shoot from

For more information about our steel targets or the importance of safety while shooting targets, visit our Portable Targets page on the Action Target website.

Rangemaster of the Quarter – Nicholas Roberts

We were astonished at the number of submissions we received for our Rangemaster of the Quarter award. After careful consideration, Action Target is pleased to announce that Nicholas Roberts of the Unified Police Department of Greater Salt Lake, UT has been selected as Action Target’s National Rangemaster of the Quarter for Q2-2011.

The National Rangemaster of the Quarter program obtains feedback about individuals worthy of consideration from the Action Target staff, but most importantly, from other Rangemasters. These peers have a deep knowledge of the individuals being considered and play a significant role in Action Target’s selection process.

Rangemaster Roberts has been an active member of law enforcement for over 32 years and currently serves as Rangemaster for the Office of the Sheriff of Salt Lake County and the Unified Police Department of Greater Salt Lake, UT. He oversees all firearms-related training for the following organizations:

  • Unified Police
  • Protective Services Officers of Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office
  • All the weapons-certified Corrections Officers for the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office

He has also provided instruction to the following:

  • 3rd District Court Judges and Juvenile Court Judges
  • Salt Lake County Fire Department
  • Salt Lake City Division of the F.B.I.
  • Union Pacific Railroad Police
  • Salt Lake City Airport Authority Police
  • 625th Military Police Company of the Utah National Guard
  • West Valley City Police SWAT team
  • U.S. Army Special Forces
  • Weber County Sheriff’s Office
  • U.S. Coast Guard Unit small arms training program.
  • Firearm instructors and armorers for other outside law enforcement agencies

Captain Kendra L. Herlin of the Unified Police Department and the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office stated, “Rangemaster Roberts is a very proud member of the Unified Police Department and the office of the Sheriff of Salt Lake County. He represents the departments well and is a fine example of a member who has dedicated his career to public service. His passion for safety and exceptional ability for all those who train under his direction is unmatched anywhere.”

Rangemaster Roberts began his service in this field as an armorer and firearms instructor in 1978 for the Riverton City Police Department. In 1989 he was transferred to the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office Firearms unit. In 1990 through 1993 Roberts was promoted to Corporal of the Firearms Unit and served as the Firearms Unit Supervisor from 1993 to 1996. He has served as the director of the Firearms Unit and Rangemaster since September of 1996. He graduated from Session 192 of the F.B.I. National Academy in March of 1998 and is a Master Instructor for Colt LLC, Sig Sauer, Pepper Ball Tec., and Security Equipment Corp. (Sabre). As such, he protects officers throughout the country by teaching all over the United States to increase the knowledge of armorers and instructors. Roberts is also a certified NRA Instructor and was invited to Israel where he trained with I.M.I. and Sturm Ruger to develop a new police carbine.

Rangemaster Roberts also serves on the National Institute of Justice TWG regarding body armor. He was selected to sit on this board when the failure of soft body armor occurred in 2002. Rangemaster Roberts was influential in the new standards for the NIJ 06 Body armor standard throughout the law enforcement community.

Rangemaster Roberts has benefited the Office, community and surrounding states by designing and building the first environmentally safe firearms range in Utah, and has been invited to teach at both the state and federal levels. He is responsible for donations of land and continued construction of new range facilities in Salt Lake County. Furthermore, he instituted new non-lethal weapons systems for the 2002 Winter Olympics that were later used in patrol functions.

Rangemaster Roberts has been recognized for his service and training by many citizen groups. Some of these groups and individuals include U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch, the Utah Law Enforcement Olympics, the Salt Lake City YWCA Battered Women’s Shelter, the Murray City Civil Service Commission, the Salt Lake City Downtown Alliance Board, and the Salt Lake Community Advisory Board.

Responsible for instituting training that exceeds the required legal standards of POST, Rangemaster Roberts also directs all personalized training not only on firearms, but other weapons as well. Recently, Rangemaster Roberts supervised the implementation of the training of additional firearms instructors to increase the number of instructors to trainee ratio.

With Rangemaster Robert’s extensive experience and training, he is commonly called upon as an expert witness in numerous firearms, OC, and Taser incidents involving police agencies. He has testified in front of city, county, state and federal courts. He is also considered an expert in these areas for development of new and better firearms and related products to increase the safety of officers in the field.

With such an impressive career, we want to congratulate Nicholas J. Roberts for being selected as the Q2-2011 Action Target National Rangemaster of the Quarter!

About the Rangemaster of the Quarter Program: Prior to launching this award program, Action Target spoke with many industry professionals to help establish aspects a nominee must have to qualify. Each nominee should have at least several of the following:

  • Lifetime of service/years of Service
  • Contributions to their department’s firearms training
  • Contributions to their region, state, and industry in firearms training
  • Changes to POST requirements
  • New/innovative training standards
  • New/innovative tactics
  • Expert witness testimony
  • Subject Matter Expert for firearms and/or training
  • Active resource for feedback on training, tactics, equipment, and standards
  • Partner to develop/modify equipment to enhance training effectiveness

This recognition program is not exclusive to law enforcement or Action Target customers. It is for Rangemasters of U.S. Military and Law Enforcement organizations in the U.S. Those selected for the award receive recognition in the Action Target weekly newsletter, the Action Target website, and travel to the Action Target main office to receive a personalized award.

If you would like to nominate a peer, first provide some preliminary information located at the Action Target Program Page. Second, send a letter written on your organization’s letterhead via email to Action Target’s National Rangemaster of the Quarter detailing your nomination’s qualifications and accomplishments. We look forward to getting more nominations for Quarter 3.

End of the Fiscal Year Drawing Near

With the end of this fiscal year right around the corner, now is the best time to obtain one of our innovative training solutions with your remaining budget. At Action Target, we understand that each company’s internal dynamics have different needs and time lines. That is why weapons training units, Rangemasters, firearm instructors, and others associated with their organization’s training division continually reach out to us during this critical time of year.

Action Target Conducts Firearms Training

Spending your remaining training budget at the end of a fiscal year – to minimize the risk of losing it next year – sometimes takes creativity. Last year, we worked with an agency whose training budget consisted of five different accounts. Each account had varying levels of funds still available requiring an invoice for each one. With a little strategic planning, this agency placed five different orders with Action Target that were shipped at same time but charged to their different training accounts. Our dedicated sales staff helped this agency with their complex purchase and provided them with the equipment they needed. We are ready to do the same for you.

Whatever your training needs, we have the solution. If you are under a significant time constraint, we can help. Call us today and let our sales staff help you maximize your remaining budgets by providing the best training solutions available.

For an immediate purchase, visit our online store: www.shopactiontarget.com

Our current online specials:

For product requests not available through our online store, please contact the Range Consultant for your geographic territory. They will work with you to stretch those last few budget dollars into your training solution.

Go online or call today!

AT Presents First 2011 National Rangemaster of the Quarter Award

Eric Clapsaddle of the Orlando Police Department recently made the journey with his wife to Action Target’s corporate offices located in Provo, Utah. During his visit, Clapsaddle attended an award ceremony where he received the first 2011 Action Target National Rangemaster of the Quarter Award for Quarter-1, 2011.

This event was one that Provo City Mayor John Curtis was not going to miss. As a public official, Mayor Curtis has a vested interest in the safety of his constituents. Following the announcement of this award ceremony, he cleared his busy schedule to attend and present the award to Clapsaddle.

There was standing room only in our Action Target main hall as Mr. Clapsaddle received his award. Other distinguished guest that attended this event included Action Target’s President, Tom Wright and the Co-Founder / Executive Vice President, Addison Sovine.

AT Presents First 2011 AT Rangemaster Award of the Quarter

From Left to Right: Mrs. Clapsaddle, Eric Clapsaddle, Addison Sovine,
Mayor John Curtis, Tom Wright

This award ceremony marks the first of four that Action Target will present this year as part of their recognition program. At Action Target, we are deeply involved with many Rangemasters and want to your feedback about which types of individuals should be considered for these awards in the future. Nominations from peers and a deep knowledge of the individuals being considered play a significant role in our selection process.

Prior to launching this year’s award, we spoke with many industry professionals to help establish some aspects a nominee must have to qualify for this award. Listed below are a few aspects that will be considered during the nominating process.

Each nominee should have several of the following:

  • Lifetime of Service / Years of Service
  • Contributions to their department’s firearms training
  • Contributions to their region, state and industry in firearms training
  • Changes to POST requirements
  • New / innovative training standards
  • New / innovative tactics
  • Expert witness testimony
  • Subject Matter Expert for firearms and/or training
  • Active resource for feedback on training, tactics, equipment and standards
  • Partner to develop / modify equipment to enhance training effectiveness

As stated, these are only some of the characteristics we consider prior to deciding upon a recipient. This recognition program includes our clients, all Commercial Ranges and US Military and law enforcement organizations in the US. Those selected for the award will receive recognition in our weekly newsletter, on our website, in our main office and will receive a personalized award.

If you would like to nominate a peer, please write a letter using your organizations letterhead and send the letter via email to ATNewsletter@actiontarget.com detailing why we should consider the person you are nominating, or visit our Programs page for more information and to fill out a nomination form online. Upon receipt, our marketing department will do their due diligence regarding each nomination before making a decision.

We want everyone to help spread the word that at Action Target, we fully support firearms training programs and the individuals who have had a profound impact within this industry.

This customized award is only a small token of gratitude, recognition and appreciation we have for Eric’s contributions to law enforcement firearms training.

Congratulations Eric Clapsaddle for being selected as the first 2011 Action Target National Rangemaster of the Quarter.

Rangemaster: Behind the Scenes in Firearms Training

Those of us who have either worked in law enforcement or closely with public safety personnel know there are many other positions that support a first responder.  Courts have bailiffs, the jails and prisons have correctional deputies/officers, all of which are sometimes the “forgotten cops” since they are not always in the public’s view.  There are a host of supporting positions as well.  Some of these are detectives, gang, drug, multi-jurisdictional task forces, air units and SWAT.  Action Target recognizes and respects public safety personnel at all levels, whether in a highly visible position or not.

One of the segments of public safety that is vital to a first responder’s success is training.  When a peace officer is on or off duty, they are usually carrying a firearm.  Therefore, firearms training is paramount to their surviving a critical incident.  The training program designed for most agency is specific to the threats they encounter.  These programs are developed within the state Police Officer Standards and Training (POST) requirements, but are still unique to the agency.  Most of the time, the coursework is established by the Rangemaster.

What is a Rangemaster?  What do they do?  If you are Orlando Police Departments Rangemaster, your work never ends.  You are responsible for  training and qualifying 750 officers with handguns, shotguns, and rifles, specialized weapons training, less lethal weapons, as well as maintenance, repair and armorer inspection of over  1800 weapons. You are responsible for all daily and long term operations of one of the largest indoor gun ranges in the country, coordinating training with local, state, federal and military organizations, and the list goes on and on.  The ultimate goal with this title though, is to help prepare officers with the skills they need, to survive the challenges they face in today’s world.

Eric Clapsaddle is Action Targets “Rangemaster of the Quarter” because he does just that.  The efforts made by him, and ultimate results of those efforts,  have far exceeded national averages in a positive way.  He has gone above and beyond, and continues to constantly re-evaluate and improve.  Who benefits…..the Citizens of Orlando and the Officers who serve that community.

Why is his Training so good?

Because he prepares his officers for “REAL WORLD” situations.  The National averages show that about 90% of police gun fights occur at night.  Therefore, Orlando does about 90% of their training in “low light to no light” conditions.   Why…..because it is what they will face.

This training includes “Multiple Adversaries” because again, in the real world, 67% of all gun fights have 2 or more bad guys.

Additionally, officers training and qualifications include live fire combined with decision making under significant stress. This helps prepare them for real life shoot/ no shoot incidents. Is that a cell phone or a gun?  Remember, the time to make these decisions is about 1/4 of a second. Realistic training helps prepare them too make the right decision.

The scenario’s used are replica’s of real life situations re-created.  They include moving adversaries, because the bad guys don’t just stand still.  Innocent bystanders get in the way, and have to be worked into the scenario’s as well.  You have to work and look for cover, and the scenario’s include these props as well.

Eric, who has an Engineering degree,  designed several unique features in the equipment used at the facility that help make the training more real, and better fit the training needs of today’s officers.

The training that is done becomes very real and recreates the stress felt in a real gunfight.  It thereby prepares the officers so they can deal with adrenaline dumps, tunnel vision, and hearing issues, to better defend themselves and the public they serve.

The bottom line to all of this is…..Officers return home at the end of their shift, and the Public is better protected from criminals.

The Ultimate compliment a Rangemaster can receive is when his training efforts have paid off…..and an officer knows it, saving his life or the life of a citizen.  The results of Eric and his staff, will never know the unspoken “thank-you’s” for those they have saved.

At the recent Chiefs of Police convention held in Orlando, many Top Notch Trainers were able to see first hand some of the techniques and scenarios used by the Orlando Training Department on their Tactical range.  Now, months later, I am still getting phone calls about how fantastic that was.

Agencies from not only the United States were blown away, but representative’s from Taiwan, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Brazil, New Zealand, England, Spain, and the list continues, were impressed as well.  They were impressed with the Facility, but more importantly, how the facility was used with real world scenario’s.  This was where the rubber met the road, and this is where we have seen no finer training anywhere.

An example of the results are this…..

The National average for misses in gunfights (at a distance of about 9 yards or less) is approximately 80% based upon statistics from the FBI’s study on gunfights.  For the Orlando Police Department, their hit percentage is around 86%.  This is a result of the efforts of Eric and his staff.  What a fantastic job!  Our hats are off to him and that is why we recognize “Eric Clapsaddle” from the Orlando Police Department as Action Targets ” Rangemaster of the Quarter.”