Tag: sport shooting

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.

Help Shape the Changing Face of Shooting Sports

A young woman practices correct form at an Action Target shooting range.According to a recent study done by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), “the landscape of target shooters has shifted.” With 20% of current shooters having taken up the sport in just the last five years, a new generation has emerged with a completely different demographic profile.

The study compares established shooters (more than five years of experience) with new shooters and shows that this new wave of shooting enthusiasts is often younger, female, and urban. Here’s a breakdown of the numbers:

Younger: 66 percent of new shooters fall into the 18-to-34-year-old category compared to 31 percent in the same age category for established shooters.

Female: 37 percent of new target shooters are female compared to 22 percent of established target shooters.

Urban: 47 percent of new target shooters live in urban/suburban settings versus 34 percent of established target shooters.

Miles Hall poses with his wife at H&H Shooting Sports in Oklahoma City.
Miles Hall poses with his wife at H&H Shooting Sports.

For owners of shooting ranges and gun shops, this means that it is no longer “business as usual.” As customer demographics change, so must the industry.

Innovative shooting ranges and gun shops across the country have taken notice of the trend and are adjusting the way they do business. One such innovator is Miles Hall, owner of H&H Shooting Sports in Oklahoma City.

“Shooting is not a men’s only club anymore,” Hall said. “47 percent of our customer base is women.”

In response to the shift, Hall has made a concerted effort to upgrade his shooting range facilities and provide firearms training that meets the demands of the new generation of shooters.

“There’s a huge audience out there who want to shoot, and you’re going to have to have the right equipment to take care of them,” Hall said. “The shooting sport has changed, and you have to either be changing with it or you’re going to die in the past.”

How You Can Help

A young woman points a semi-automatic handgun downrange.
(Photo taken remotely with an unloaded gun)

As a company that not only manufactures shooting range equipment but also consults with range owners on every aspect of their businesses, we try to provide the most accurate information to help them succeed. In response to the industry’s shifting demographics, Action Target has created a survey to better understand the preferences of women when it comes to shooting range equipment, technology, and amenities.

Take the survey here.

Survey participants who qualify will receive a one-time use 20% discount to Action Target’s online store. The discount will be available through the end of the year.

Illinois Shooting Range Braces for New Concealed Carry Law with Huge Upgrade

As Illinois becomes the 50th state to allow the concealed carry of firearms, one shooting range a half hour out of Chicago is preparing for the influx of new shooters and turning heads in the process.

GAT Guns of East Dundee, Ill., recently added a monumental 39 new indoor lanes to its existing 24 making it one of the largest indoor shooting ranges in the country and the go-to destination for shooters near and far.GAT Guns 3

The new ranges, which were designed and installed by Action Target, include 50-yard and 75-yard bays with 14 lanes each as well as a 50-foot long tactical training range with 11 lanes. There is also a large classroom to accommodate the thousands of concealed carry permit applicants expected to come through the doors when the new law goes into effect on January 5.

“We foresaw a need for a full service training facility in the area,” GAT Guns General Manager Randy Potter said. “There’s nobody else around here that can take care of customers from A to Z as completely as we can. We have the training classes, the firearms inventory, the accessories, and now we have one of the most advanced firearms training facilities in the country.”

With the new Illinois concealed carry law requiring 16 hours of training (including live fire training on a shooting range), GAT Guns provides the ideal venue.

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The new shooting bays include steel funnel bullet traps which safely collect and contain lead debris, bullet proof shooting stalls, an advanced air filtration system and Mancom target retrievers that allow for complete control over target distance, lighting effects and 360 degree random edging from an LCD control screen in every booth.

“Customers are blown away by the quality of the ranges,” Potter said. “The technology on our ranges allows shooters to control every aspect of their training. It’s an entirely new shooting experience.”

GAT Guns, which was founded in 1979, is already known as the Illinois headquarters of all things firearms with more than 6,000 guns in stock on any given day and 2,500 unique pieces on display.

“We consistently have folks from 150 miles south of here to the Wisconsin border and even as far west as the Mississippi River,” Potter said. “I attribute that to us being as unique as we are in size and scope as well as our commitment to professional customer service.”

GAT Guns 2

GAT Guns originally began in nearby Hanover Park and moved to the current location in 1989 where owner Greg A. Tropino (and thus the acronym “GAT”) bought an old restaurant and retrofitted it into the two-story gun supercenter it is today.

“Greg’s told me in the past that when he originally bought the building, he had no idea what he was going to put upstairs in the original footprint,” Potter said. “We’ve outgrown that by 10 times now.”

With 63 total lanes and shooting bays located on both floors, GAT Guns has quickly become one of the most talked about ranges in the country. It’s even attracted the attention of R. Lee “The Gunny” Ermey from Glock who spent a day there in May to promote the range and sign autographs.

“We had over 1,200 people wait to meet The Gunny that day he was here. It was a very fun event,” Potter said.

GAT Guns 1

Even more than entertainment and retail, however, the mission of GAT Guns is to provide a central location for firearms education and quality training.

Training courses provided at the range currently include NRA First Steps, women only classes taught by women instructors, five phases of tactical pistol, five phases of tactical carbine, introductory handgun, practical holster and soon, Illinois concealed carry classes.

The new shooting bays recently opened up to the public and are also available for law enforcement qualification as well.

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.

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.

Athena 4
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.

Athena 5
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

Myths About Rubber Berm Traps: Part II

As we discussed in the first part of this article, rubber berms are a fantastic way to contain rounds on ranges that see limited use, but they aren’t perfect in every circumstance. Rubber berms have their limitations no matter what you may read. If you are considering installing a rubber berm on your indoor or outdoor range, make sure you have a clear understanding of the facts about what rubber berm are realistically capable of handling. Here are three more myths you may encounter in your research of rubber berm technology.

CLAIM #4: Rubber berm traps are easy to clean. You can even do it yourself with a special vacuum or with doors on the back of the trap.

When too many bullets are suspended in the trap for it to function safely, they should be mined from the rubber and disposed of properly. Some early claims stated that a million rounds per lane could be fired before cleaning was required, but our real-world experience and documented accounts reveal that a rubber berm trap should be cleaned after about 80,000 rounds per lane.

The process of separating the lead from the rubber can be a very specialized and time-consuming task. The top 8 to 12 inches of rubber are typically taken off the entire trap and then separated to remove the bullet fragments. The lead fragments can be classified as a recyclable material, but may require complicated permits to transport and dispose of legally. After the lead has been properly dealt with, the remaining rubber is placed back on the trap. Even with the best industrial equipment, it can take an experienced crew nearly seven full days to clean a 20 lane trap. Because of the extensive lead exposure inherent in the process, everyone involved should be outfitted with the proper safety equipment including complete hazardous-material suits and certified respirators.

Another claim states that bullets will travel all the way through the rubber to the rear of the trap where they can easily be removed through doors mounted in the back of the steel support structure. Our experience shows that handgun rounds typically penetrate only 6 to 10 inches into the usual 24 inches of rubber, and most rifle rounds only penetrate 12 to 16 inches. Even as newly fired bullets impact other bullets already in the rubber, we have not seen fragments even come close to the rear of the trap. We have never found these “cleaning” doors to do anything more than add unnecessary expense and difficulty to the trap.

CLAIM #5: Rubber berm traps greatly reduce the noise levels on your range.

Sound problems on shooting ranges are caused by the noise generate when firing a gun and the interaction of that noise with the walls, floors, and other surfaces of your range. When you compare the surface area of a bullet trap with that of the floor, walls, and ceiling of a typical range, the trap typically makes up only about 5% of the total surface area. This small percentage combined with the fact that rubber is only a fair sound absorbing material means a rubber berm trap may have minimal impact on the sound levels on your range. We have found that using proper sound absorbing materials and techniques on your walls and ceiling baffles can give far better results.

CLAIM #6: Adding more technology and additional devices to your trap will improve its performance.

There is only so much you can do to “technologically enhance” chopped rubber. That being said, let’s look at some of the most common add-ons to rubber berm traps.

The first device is a large collection bin or “hopper” that spans the top of the trap. In certain cases, the chopped rubber has been found to migrate and flow toward the bottom of the trap leaving undesirably thin coverage near the top. When this happens, the extra rubber that accumulates at the bottom of the trap should be periodically collected and returned to the hopper. This process can be very labor intensive, and you should employ the same safety equipment and procedures used when cleaning the trap.

Another add-on uses large sheets of rubber that act as a skin over the entire surface of the trap. This cover is designed to help keep the small rubber granules in place and to keep small bullet fragments from escaping back toward the shooter. As shots are fired into concentrated areas, the cover can quickly develop larger and larger holes, requiring time and money to maintain. Another downside to a cover like this can be heat retention. In hot conditions, the membrane may reduce the ability of the granules to “breathe” building up heat and increasing the chance of fire when other ignition events are present.

You have Options

The equipment you install in your shooting range can have a significant effect on your range’s future success. 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 than ideal solution. After evaluating the benefits and limitations of a berm trap design, you may conclude that this technology is the best overall choice for your needs. If not, know you have other options.

The Action Target Total Containment Trap (TCT) can be a great solution if you are going to run a lot of people through your 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.

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.

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.

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.

10 Ways to Prevent Wildfires While Target Shooting

More than 20 wildfires have been started by target shooting this year in Utah alone with dozens more started in Idaho, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and Washington. Many of those fires could have been prevented or stopped had the shooters been prepared. Here is a list of 10 things shooters can do to prevent wildfires while target shooting:

  1. Bring a bucket of water – This may seem obvious, but often, shooters fail to bring enough water to put a fire out. A five gallon bucket of water at the ready while shooting could prevent a disaster if a fire does start. We recommend placing the bucket near the targets you’ll be shooting. That way, if a fire starts, you won’t have to waste precious time carrying a heavy bucket all the way to where your targets are set up.
  2. Shoot on quality steel targets – Action Target’s steel targets are designed to minimize risks to both the shooter and the environment. The flat target surface with no exposed clamps or brackets allows for a predictable bullet splatter, and the 30 degree angle of the target plate forces bullet fragments down toward the feet of the target. Uneven shooting surfaces produce unpredictable splatter and ricochet which increases the surface area exposed to sparks and hot bullet fragments.
  3. Place your targets on dirt or gravel – Make sure your target is placed on a level, unvegetated surface of dirt or small grained gravel. Placing a target in tall grass increases the risk of fire.
  4. Don’t shoot trash – Trash like old couches and TVs can often be found on public land but are dangerous fire hazards when shot. Because there is no hard surface to cause the bullet to break up, hot rounds can build up inside and create enough heat to cause a fire.
  5. Don’t shoot with steel core ammo – Ammo that contains a steel core will spark when it hits a rock or a steel target. To avoid any chance of sparking, do not use steel ammunition and avoid shooting in rocky areas.
  6. Bring a shovel and an old blanket – Use the shovel to dig a trench around your targets before shooting to ensure that any fire caused by sparks can be easily contained. Place the blanket near the targets you’ll be shooting so it’s easily available if needed. A blanket is one of the best ways to smother a fire and can be even more effective than water.
  7. Never shoot exploding targets – Binary exploding targets made of ammonium nitrate and aluminum powder (commonly known as Tannerite when combined) are popular among recreational shooters, but can be highly destructive. Never use exploding targets in flammable areas. Exploding targets (listed as “other pyrotechnic devices”) are outlawed on public lands by the Bureau of Land Management’s Fire Prevention Order.
  8. Don’t use incendiary or tracer ammo – Incendiary and tracer ammo are also outlawed on public lands by the BLM’s Fire Prevention Order. Any ammo that “burns” can easily ignite grass and brush and should not be used in flammable areas.
  9. Don’t smoke – Even if you’re following all safety precautions in regard to shooting, you can still easily start a wildfire by smoking. If you’re shooting in a dry location, make sure that all cigarette butts are properly extinguished or avoid smoking at all.
  10. Park your vehicle away from dry grass – Several fires this year have been started by vehicles parked over grass. Many people don’t think about it, but the hot undercarriage of a car or truck can easily create enough heat to ignite dry grass.

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 .

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.

New Addition to The Action Target Journal

To Our Action Target Journal Readers:

We want to thank each of you for making 2011 a great year for Action Target. Over the last 26 years, Action Target has been proud to provide training equipment for the police, for the military, and for the sport shooting industry as a whole. We are thrilled by the success of our weekly newsletter, The Action Target Journal, which has now kept our law enforcement, military, and the general shooting industry informed for more than a year.

The goal of our weekly newsletter is to inform our loyal readers about the happenings and developments within the firearms industry. Due to the enormous success and participation in our newsletter and to better fulfill the needs of our readers, Action Target is proud to announce that starting March 2012, we will begin publishing two separate Action Target Journal newsletters each week.

Because our readership has grown to cover a diverse group of readers, having two weekly articles allows us to better meet the different needs of a greater number of our readers. One newsletter will focus on law enforcement news and events while the other focuses more on the sport shooting community. Both newsletters will continue to offer Steel Deals and readers are more than welcome to participate in both newsletters. We are confident the additional newsletter will continue to be beneficial in delivering timely and relevant articles to readers.

Again, thank you to everyone who has participated in the newsletter and has offered suggestions and input. We want you to know that we do listen and value your needs and opinions. If you have any comments or feedback regarding our exciting new newsletter addition, please contact us or post your comment to this article.

Sincerely,

Addison Sovine
Co-Founder
Action Target, Inc.

Action Target Becomes an NSSF Voting Member

Action Target is proud to announce its recent acceptance as a voting member of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF).

Founded over 25 years ago, Action Target began with two high school friends working out of their garage. Today, Action Target has become the world’s largest shooting range equipment manufacturer.

Holding more than 40 patents, Action Target has steadily increased its inventory to include over 4,000 products. In addition to manufacturing, Action Target also designs, delivers, and installs indoor and outdoor range equipment throughout the world. Action Target is the preferred choice for the firearms training programs of US & international commercial/sport shooters, law enforcement, military, Special Forces groups, and tactical training schools.

Action Target is honored to be accepted as a voting member by the NSSF’s Board of Directors. It is our pledge to assist in the NSSF’s ongoing mission to promote, protect, and preserve both the shooting industry and the heritage we all share. As private ownership of firearms increases, the need for safe facilities to practice shooting has become crucial. Action Target and the NSSF will work together to enhance the presence of commercial shooting ranges in the USA while supporting the many programs they offer.

About the NSSF

Following a series of industry meetings in the late 1950’s—sponsored by Field & Stream Magazine—the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) was chartered in 1961 to promote a better understanding of and a greater participation in hunting and shooting sports.

In 1963, the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI) merged its promotional arm into the NSSF enabling the foundation to expand its efforts and establish its own headquarters in Riverside, CT.

Recognizing the growing urbanization of America, NSSF first sought to build public awareness of the sportsman’s role in conservation and their contributions to wildlife management through landmark efforts such as the annual National Hunting and Fishing Day, established in 1973.

Over the years, the foundation has continued its public outreach efforts while also developing a wide array of programs to encourage new and added participation in hunting and target shooting sports. In the early 1980’s, NSSF was at the forefront of promoting the then-new sport of sporting clays and generating widespread publicity for shooting games of all kinds. An example was the 1988 “Sportsman’s Team Challenge”—the first made-for-TV shooting competition appearing on ESPN, which continued through the 1990’s.

Over the past several decades, NSSF has greatly expanded its efforts to strengthen hunting and shooting sports traditions through nationally based efforts such as STEP OUTSIDE, the Families Afield initiative, First Shots, and the Hunting Heritage Partnership, which provides grants to state wildlife agencies for programs that improve access and opportunity.

Since its inception, NSSF has been a leader in building opportunities so future generations can continue to enjoy hunting and shooting sports. NSSF is a major supporter of the nation’s youth shooting programs and has created its own programs such as the Scholastic Clay Target Program along with other similar efforts at the collegiate level.

Firearms safety education has also been a fundamental mission of NSSF throughout its history. Over the years, the foundation has distributed millions of safety brochures and delivered safety messages through television, radio, and print media outlets. Initiated in 1999, NSSF’s Project ChildSafe has distributed more than 35 million firearm safety kits throughout all 50 states.

The NSSF is actively engaged in representing its members in respect to key legal, regulatory, and legislative issues through its Government Relations division.

Since 1979, critical funding for NSSF’s many programs and activities has come from the NSSF-owned industry trade show, SHOT Show. From an inaugural event of only 50,000 square feet of exhibit space, the show has grown to some 700,000 square feet of exhibit space today and is the largest trade exposition of its kind in the world.

NSSF’s foundation represents the broad scope of the hunting and shooting sports industry. Members include manufacturers of sporting firearms, ammunition, a wide array of accessories, and equipment manufacturers as well as distributors, retailers, shooting ranges, and many other companies and organizations in the hunting and shooting sports community. Today’s membership includes more than 5,500 companies and organizations.

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.

YouTube Training Videos with Rob Leatham

Action Target has recently released the first of five training videos on YouTube featuring world champion shooter Rob Leatham. The videos feature instruction from Rob and the drills he uses in his own training. Each video showcases a different type of steel target in Action Target’s Portable Target line.

The first video includes drills and skill demonstrations as Rob practices on the PT Plate Rack . The remaining four videos, to be released in the upcoming weeks, will emphasize how to train on other steel targets like the PT Static and PT Dueling Tree . This group of training videos was filmed at Rob’s home range located at the Rio Salado Sportsman’s Club in Mesa, AZ.Screen shot of Action Target's YouTube Channel

“The cool thing about these videos is that they are real training videos and not some promotional piece where we only talk about Action Target,” said David Mathis, Marketing Director at Action Target. “Rob shows you some of the drills he uses in his own practice, and explains the purpose and relevance of each one.”

Rob’s resume proves that these drills work. Rob began shooting in the late 70’s and soon became one of the top shooters to watch at local and national competitions. He currently holds 24 national titles, including five world titles and 16 consecutive years as the Single-Stack National Champion. A professional shooter for over 20 years, Rob currently shoots for Springfield Armory and Safariland. When Rob is not competing, he is a sought after firearms instructor for both law enforcement and military.

“Working with Rob on this was a great experience and it really showed his level of skill,” added Mathis. “Except for one or two drills later in the day when we were all hot and tired, each of the drills you see was shot in one take. Rob is just that good. And his level of understanding of the mechanics and what is going on while you are shooting matches his shooting ability.”

We are excited to bring this form of virtual firearms training to shooters around the world through the Action Target YouTube page. Whether viewed by a law enforcement officer, a casual shooter, or a serious competition shooter, these training videos are designed to help all shooters increase their skills when using a pistol.

Go to www.youtube.com/actiontarget to view the first training video with Rob. To receive updates on when other videos are released, visit the sign-up page for the free Action Target Journal newsletter or subscribe to the Action Target YouTube channel.

Action Target Named Official Target of the Scholastic Steel Challenge

For the past two years, Action Target has been the official target supplier for the youth shooting program, Scholastic Steel Challenge (SSC). “We’re very pleased to have Action Target as our official target. Not only have they provided us with an excellent promotional target package that clubs can manage, they are also bringing their 20-plus years of range and target expertise to the aid of coaches and clubs to make sure our kids are competing in a safe and fun environment,” said Scott Moore, director of SSC.

We are one of many companies that play an active role in the success of the Scholastic Steel Challenge event. Other supporters include The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), Smith & Wesson, and the Outdoor Wire Digital Network—all have provided significant amounts of funding and shooting products in support of this event.

“Action Target is very excited about the Scholastic Steel Challenge and the expansion of the pistol shooting sports it represents. We’re proud to be part of this growing, industry-wide effort to bring new shooters into the world of competition shooting and we look forward to working with ranges and teams all across the country,” said Chad Burdette, Portable Target consultant for Action Target.

Scholastic Steel Challenge Logo

The Scholastic Steel Challenge is a national team-oriented youth shooting program developed by the Steel Challenge Shooting Association (SCSA) and is partly funded by a grant from the National Shooting Sports Foundation. This program is open to young men and women ages 12 to 20 and offers the opportunity for a four person team to compete for the national title in the Action Pistol Discipline of Speed Shooting. The SSC competition is a family sport of “speed steel” designed with an supportive environment taught by trained adult coaches who focus on the safe handling and use of handguns.

The SSC competitive format is based on the Steel Challenge, the nation’s most successful handgun competition. We adapted the competition format to provide an enjoyable, safe, and action packed competition for both beginner and experienced shooters.

Click each link below to view the Scholastic Steel Challenge stage diagrams:

This year, Action Target is offering a discounted steel target package for teams and ranges participating in the program and will provide technical support during the question and answer section of the program’s website. This allows the opportunity for company experts to assist ranges and teams in their efforts to expand shooting opportunities.

If you have questions regarding the target packages offered at discounted rates for SSC affiliates, please contact Chad Burdette at chadb@actiontarget.com for more information.

For more information about the Scholastic Steel Challenge, please visit their website.

Action Target at the 2011 Bianchi Cup

2011 Bianchi Cup Logo

Action Target is proud to support and sponsor this year’s 2011 MidwayUSA/NRA Bianchi Cup. For the past 25 years, Action Target has sponsored and provided target equipment for firearms competitions across the U.S. and throughout the world. Action Target equipment has been used at the Bianchi Cup for over 20 years and we are proud to be expanding that role and are pleased to continue to support this event.

The Bianchi Cup began as a law enforcement training match in 1979. It was created by former police officer John Bianchi of Bianchi International, the holster manufacturing company. Ray Chapman worked with John and developed this world-class event. Action Target worked with Ray at his facility to provide a target system fit to meet the needs of the cup in the late 80’s. Over the years, this event has brought together shooters from all over the world. Last year’s competitors came from Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Netherlands, Switzerland, and the United States.

The 2011 Bianchi Cup is a competition of speed and accuracy. This year’s awards include the World Famous Silver Bianchi Cup and Division Champion Trophy Cups for the Metallic and Production Division. Class awards are awarded to various categories including High Law Enforcement, High Woman, High Junior, High International, High Newcomer, High Senior, High Grand Senior, High Service, High Semi-Auto, High Revolver, and Aggregate.

The Course of Fire consists of four separate matches:

  • The Practical Event: From the appropriate shooting line, the shooter fires at distances of 10 to 50 yards under varying time limits.
  • The Barricade Event: From within shooting boxes and behind barricades, a shooter fires at targets on either side of the barricade under varying time limits and distances.
  • The Falling Plate Event: From the appropriate shooting line, the shooter fires at 8 inch round steel plates arranged in banks of six at distances of 10 to 25 yards under varying time limits.
  • The Moving Target Event: From within shooting boxes at distances ranging from 10 to 25 yards, the shooter fires at a target moving from left to right, with the target being exposed for only six seconds.

Throughout all matches, competitors shoot from standing and prone positions and are required to shoot with both strong and weak hands at various stages.

The 2011 competition runs from May 25th through May 28th in Columbia, MO. To assist new shooters in their first attempt for the Bianchi Cup, a Newcomer Orientation will be held at the Competitors’ Meeting, also attended by former and current champions and the Match Staff.

To help during these tough economic times, we have instituted a lower entry cost and a “bring a buddy” option. If a competitor brings a friend who has never competed in the Bianchi Cup before, each competitor receives a reduced entry fee. We have also reduced fees for juniors, production firearms, active duty military, and those who register early.

For more information about the 2011 MidwayUSA/NRA Bianchi Cup or to compete, please visit the NRAhq website.

Action Target Selling Paper/Cardboard Targets and Backers at Discounted Price

Action Target is selling its existing inventory of all paper, cardboard, plastic and foam targets and backers at a discounted rate for newsletter subscribers, available through the online store. This offer will run the entire month of May. After the sale is over, we will be moving our inventory to Law Enforcement Targets.

Here are the items that are available:

Type Product Description MSRP/ea Liquidation Price/ea
Cardboard Targets B21 E – White Perforated Silhouette (23”wide x 34” tall) $0.80 $0.59
B27 E – Black (23”wide x 35” tall) $0.75 $0.63
FBI-Q – Die Cut for Turning Target Systems (19”wide x 39” tall) $0.65 $0.50
Transtar II – Blue Color Image; Die Cut for Turning Target Systems (24”wide x 39”tall) $0.95 $0.70
Paper Targets B21 E – Black (23”wide x 35” tall) $0.35 $0.29
B21 E – Blue (23”wide x 35” tall) $0.35 $0.29
B27 E – Black (23”wide x 35” tall) $0.35 $0.29
Plastic Backers Vertically Fluted Backer – White; (24” wide x 36” tall x 4mm thick) $2.75 $2.00
Vertically Fluted Backer – White; (24” wide x 36” tall x 8mm thick) $7.50 $4.75
Foam Backers Foam Backer – Cut for Turning Target Systems; White (24” wide x 48” tall x 3” thick) $40.00 $30.00

These prices are ONLY available through the Action Target Online store . If orders are placed with Law Enforcement Targets, you will be charged full retail price. No coupon code required; discount automatically given upon checkout.

After Action Target sells the inventory set aside for the sale, they will move their inventory to Law Enforcement Targets. After May, you can continue to place all future paper and cardboard target/backer orders by visiting the Law Enforcement Target website or by calling the following individuals at (888) 489-7830:

  • Federal & Military – Kara Hale
  • International – Dan Swanson
  • Western US – Kathy Dube
  • Texas to Southeast US – Louanne Slattery
  • Midwest to Northeast US – Jennifer Deelstra

Please note: Action Target will continue to inventory and sell the 3D cardboard targets and the cardboard target holder used for indoor shooting range retrievers, even after May.

Action Target Introduces New Sport Rack

The Sport Rack is a new training option that provides a ‘shooting gallery’ type of design and application. The Sport Rack is another bolt-on head option to the AT Static and Evil Roy stands and can be applied to various organizations and levels of training. Similar in design to the Plate Rack , these plates do not need to be reset once struck.

Here are some things you need to know about the Sport Rack:

Target design:

  • Bolt-on option
  • Mounts onto Static and Evil Roy stands
  • No welds on moving plates – welds on front protective plate
  • Auto-reset & reactive
  • Does not affect the safety of the shooter at appropriate distances

Specifications:

  • Four (4) 4” round plates in 3/8” AR550
  • Total weight of option is 20 lbs. (4 plates, mounting bracket, bolt kit)

How do I order?

Since the Sport Rack is currently a prototype, they are not for sale yet; however, we are putting names on our wait list for when they become available:

Person Information
First Name *
Last Name *
Email *
Options
Please select one:
Yes, I am interested in the Sport Rack and would like to be added to the list so I will be sent more information about the final products price and release date when it becomes available.
Yes, this looks like a product that I would buy when it is released, but I do not want to be sent more information about it.
No, I don’t imagine ever purchasing this product and would prefer not to receive any more information about it.

We are always creating new innovative products and we want your feedback and ideas. If you have a design or concept that would assist your training needs that is not available on the market, let us know. Email Chad Burdette at chadb@actiontarget.com with your product ideas.

New Action Target Website

Action Target is pleased to announce the launch of the new Action Target website. The new website will continue to be a key source of information for firearms training, addressing the specific needs of our major customer segments: Military, Law Enforcement, Commercial/Sport Shooting, and Planners/Architects. In addition to the great information and product descriptions that were already present on our old website, we have also added some great new features and will continue to add more throughout the year:

Online Store: Our online store is now more fully integrated with the main ActionTarget.com website. In addition to selling all of our Portable Targets online, you can also purchase other important shooting accessories such as cardboard targets, clearing traps, and Action Target apparel. The shopping experience is now easier than ever with a streamlined shopping cart, product recommendations, and expanded product descriptions. → Visit the store

The @ Report: Our weekly newsletter, officially known as The @ Report, now works together with its online counterpart to create a socially interactive atmosphere. After reading an article, you will have the ability to post a comment, share the article through social media buttons, and find other related articles by through article tags. The @ Report is a vibrant and interactive resource to stay up-to-date on industry news, recent builds, and informational articles that will help you and your organization create the perfect firearms training. → Visit The @ Report

Media: Our Media page now consolidates important industry news and Action Target press releases so you can stay current on changes that are important to your organization. We also pull the most recent articles from PoliceOne.com and Officer.com for your convenience. → Visit the Media Page

Action Target Academy: Starting in 2011, we will offer online registration and payment for our Action Target Academy events. Offering online registration will allow you to quickly register whenever is convenient for you, also allowing registration for your whole department or organization at once. → Visit the Action Target Academy Page

Online Project and Proposal Builder: One of our most exciting features to be added in 2011 will be our online Project and Proposal Builder. This new feature will allow you to build and design your dream range online by selecting the parts and features you want. After defining the scope of your project, the builder will give you an approximate bid and put you in contact with your area representative for further information and counseling before building your site.

We’re excited to have these great new features and look forward to hearing your feedback and working with you in the future!