Tag: firearms

Firearm Maintenance: The Essential Guide to Cleaning and Safety After Range Time

Introduction

Firearms, akin to precision instruments, demand meticulous care and attention. Whether you’re an avid marksman or just starting your journey, mastering the art of firearm maintenance is paramount. This expanded guide delves deeper into the nuances of gun cleaning, safety, and the best practices to ensure your firearm remains in peak condition after every range outing.


Why is Firearm Maintenance Essential?

Beyond the apparent need for a functional firearm, regular maintenance is a testament to a gun owner’s commitment to safety and responsibility. Here’s why it’s non-negotiable:

Safety:

A well-maintained firearm minimizes the risk of jams, misfires, and other malfunctions that could lead to unintended consequences.

Performance:

A clean firearm ensures consistent bullet trajectory, reducing variables that might affect your shooting accuracy.

Longevity:

Just like a well-serviced car lasts longer, regular maintenance ensures your firearm stands the test of time, offering you reliability for years to come.

Value Preservation:

For those who view firearms as an investment, maintaining them can preserve or even increase their value over time.


Steps to Proper Firearm Maintenance

Step 1 – Safety First:

The cardinal rule before embarking on any firearm maintenance is to ensure it’s unloaded. Always remove the magazine, open the action, and visually inspect the chamber. This isn’t just a cursory glance; take a moment to be certain. Remember, most firearm accidents during cleaning occur because the gun was thought to be unloaded when it wasn’t. It’s a simple step, but it’s the bedrock of gun safety. For a more in-depth explanation of firearms safety and safe handling best practices, visit our friends at NSSF.

Step – 2 Disassemble with Care:

Every firearm is a masterpiece of engineering, with each part playing a crucial role. Before disassembling, always refer to the manufacturer’s manual specific to your firearm model. While a field strip or partial disassembly is usually sufficient for cleaning, it’s essential to know how to do it right. Missteps here can lead to reassembly challenges or even damage.

Step 3 – Deep Cleaning:

A firearm accumulates residues not just in the bore, but in many of its intricate parts. Using a quality bore cleaner, start with the barrel, ensuring all residues are removed. Specialized brushes and tools can help clean the action, slide, and other components. Remember, the residues left behind, especially from gunpowder, can be corrosive. Over time, if neglected, they can degrade the firearm’s metal parts, leading to functional and safety issues.

Step 4 – Lubrication:

After cleaning, it’s time to lubricate. Think of lubrication as the lifeblood of your firearm. Moving parts, when fired, experience intense friction. Proper lubrication reduces this friction, preventing wear and tear. However, it’s essential to strike a balance. Over-lubrication can make your firearm a magnet for dirt and debris, while under-lubrication can lead to increased friction. Always use firearm-specific lubricants, and apply them judiciously.

Step 5 – Reassemble and Function Check:

Once your firearm is cleaned and lubricated, reassemble it by following the manufacturer’s guidelines. But the process doesn’t end there. Conduct a comprehensive function check. This involves checking the safety, trigger function, slide or bolt operation, and other moving parts. It’s a final assurance that everything is in its rightful place and functioning as it should.

Step 6 – Storage Solutions:

Proper storage is as crucial as cleaning. Environmental factors, especially humidity, can be detrimental to firearms. When storing, ensure your firearm is in a cool, dry place. If you’re looking for advanced solutions, consider investing in gun safes or storage cases with built-in dehumidifiers. These not only protect against moisture but also offer added security.

Check out Action Target’s full selection of Gun Cleaning and Firearm Maintenance products HERE.


FAQs on Firearm Maintenance

Should I clean my gun even if I haven’t fired it?

Absolutely. Over time, dust and environmental contaminants can accumulate. Even without firing, oils can degrade, and metals can oxidize. Regular check-ups ensure your firearm remains in optimal condition.

Can I use household oils for lubrication?

It’s advisable to use firearm-specific lubricants. Household oils might not offer the same protection, and their viscosity might not be suitable. Some can even gum up, attracting more dirt and debris.

Is there a ‘best’ cleaning product?

While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, always opt for reputable brands. Research and reviews can guide your choice. Shop.actiontarget.com curates a selection of top-tier maintenance products.

How often should I replace my cleaning tools?

Cleaning tools, like brushes and patches, wear out over time. It’s essential to replace them when they show signs of wear or no longer effectively clean. Using worn-out tools can be counterproductive and might not provide the thorough cleaning your firearm needs.

Do different firearms require different maintenance routines?

While the basics of firearm maintenance remain consistent, different firearms, especially between rifles, handguns, and shotguns, might have specific needs. Always consult the manufacturer’s manual and consider the firearm’s design and purpose when establishing a maintenance routine.

Is there a risk in over-cleaning my firearm?

While regular cleaning is essential, over-cleaning, especially with abrasive tools or solvents, can wear down the firearm’s parts. It’s crucial to strike a balance. Clean to remove residues and contaminants, but avoid excessive scrubbing or using overly harsh chemicals.

What’s the difference between cleaning and maintenance?

Cleaning primarily focuses on removing dirt, residues, and contaminants. Maintenance encompasses cleaning but also includes lubrication, inspection, and potential part replacements. Think of cleaning as a subset of the broader maintenance process.

Can old ammunition affect my firearm’s cleanliness?

Yes, older ammunition, especially if stored in less-than-ideal conditions, can leave behind more residues or even corrode the firearm’s chamber and barrel. Always inspect old ammunition before use and be prepared for a more thorough cleaning session afterward.


Conclusion

Being a firearm owner is a responsibility. It’s not just about hitting the target but ensuring the journey to that perfect shot is safe and reliable. Regular maintenance is a ritual, a commitment to the craft, and a nod to the legacy of marksmanship. Dive deeper, learn continuously, and always prioritize safety.

For a treasure trove of information and top-notch shooting range products, Action Target’s blog and Posted in Range Supplies & Accessories, UncategorizedTagged , ,

The Best of the Best: What Makes an NSSF 5-Star Rated Shooting Range?

Introduction

For more than 60 years, the National Shooting Sports Foundation has been the standard-bearer for those in the firearms industry. Created in 1961 to promote, protect, and preserve hunting and shooting sports, the NSSF is a trade association with more than 12,000 members across the industry. As part of their mission to promote shooting sports, the NSSF has established a program to recognize shooting ranges that provide outstanding facilities for firearms enthusiasts, known as the NSSF 5-Star Rating System.

According to Star Rating System Guide released by the NSSF in 2018, the rating system serves the following purpose:

“The rating system is based on our vision of a safe, well managed, customer-oriented facility that is a strong promoter in the recreational shooting sports market. NSSF’s new Star Rating Range Program will hold facilities to a higher standard. These 5 Star-rated ranges will be the gold standard for our industry, those ranges having earned that rating through their focus on advancing best business practices.”

With 68 ranges currently qualifying for a 5-Star Rating, Action Target is proud to have partnered with 29 ranges who have earned an NSSF 5-Star rating. Below is a list of qualifying ranges associated with Action Target.

Action Target Partners with NSSF 5-Star Ratings

RangeLocationWebsite
Gunfighter Canyon – WilliamsWilliams, Arizonawww.gunfighter.com
Kings Gun Center LLCHanford, Californiawww.kingguncenter.com
Centennial Gun ClubCentennial, Coloradowww.centennialgunclub.com
Nexus ShootingDavie, Floridawww.nexusshooting.com
Shooters World, LLCOrlando, Floridawww.shootersworld.com
Shooters World, LLCTamp, Floridawww.shootersworld.com
Shooters World, LLCThe Villages, Floridawww.shootersworld.com
Guns-n-Gear Sports LLCIdaho Falls, Idahowww.gngsports.com
Maxon Shooter’s Supplies and Indoor RangeDes Plaines, Illinoiswww.maxonshooters.com
On Target Range & Tactical Training CenterCrystal Lake, Illinoiswww.ontargetsite.com
Smokin’ Gun WorxForreston, Illinoiswww.smokingunworx.com
Firearms Range and Clothing, Inc.Baton Rouge, Louisianawww.frcbr.com
Cape Gun WorksHyannis, Massachusetts https://capegunworks.com/
Ann Arbor Arms LLCAnn Arbor, Michiganwww.annarborarms.com
Top Gun Shooting Sports, Inc.Taylor, Michiganwww.tgssinc.com
Heartland Gun Club & RangeRochester, Minnesotawww.heartlandgunclubs.com
White Birch ArmoryDover, New Hampshirewww.wbarmory.com
RTSP, LLCRandolph, New Jerseywww.rtsponline.com
Reloaderz NJWayne, New Jerseywww.reloaderznj.com
Carolina Sporting ArmsCharlotte, North Carolinawww.csaguns.com
Heritage Guild of Easton, LLCEaston, Pennsylvaniawww.heritageguild.com
Keystone Shooting CenterMars, Pennsylvaniawww.keystoneshootingcenter.com
Nashville ArmoryNashville, Tennesseewww.nashvillearmory.com
Nardis Gun Club at Alamo RanchSan Antonio, Texaswww.nardisgunclub.com
Nardis Gun Club at Rolling OaksSan Antonio, Texaswww.nardisgunclub.com
Nardis Gun Club – San AntonioSan Antonio, Texaswww.nardisgunclub.com
Bellevue Gun ClubBellevue, Washingtonhttp://www.westcoastarmory.com
The Range LLCYakima, Washingtonwww.therangellc.com
Lehigh Valley Sporting ClaysCoplay, Pennsylvaniawww.lvsclays.com

What Does It Take?

The process of becoming a 5-Star Rated Range with NSSF is one a new—or existing—range owner can complete with their existing business. The NSSF qualifies ranges for a 3-5 Rating based on the following criteria:

  1. Appearance and Maintenance: The range must be clean, well-maintained, and visually appealing to shooters and visitors.
  2. Management: This includes integration of technology, general business management, and marketing tactics together ensure a quality customer experience.
  3. Shooting Sports Development: This evaluation looks at the procedures and policies in your business that support the promotion and development of shooting sports for the public. This includes public events and range availability, community engagement, and environmental practices to ensure safe range operation for the facility and staff.
  4. Amenities: This evaluation considers the offerings of your business to the public, including restrooms, stocked pro shop or retail spaces, and compliance with ADA accessibility and other requirements.

Benefits of Being a 5-Star Range

Now that we know what it takes to be a 5-Star Rated Range, what are the benefits of being rated so highly? There are several benefits, some of which include:

  1. Increased customer satisfaction and loyalty: The 5-star rating is a recognition of excellence in the industry, and customers are likely to be attracted to ranges with this rating.
  2. Improved reputation and visibility: Being recognized as a 5-star range can help to establish a positive reputation in the industry and increase visibility among shooting sports enthusiasts.
  3. Potential for increased revenue: Customers are willing to pay more for a superior experience and being a 5-star rated range can lead to increased revenue from range fees, merchandise sales, and other services.
  4. Access to NSSF resources: 5-star rated ranges have access to resources provided by the NSSF, such as training programs and marketing materials, which can help improve operations and attract more customers.
  5. Networking opportunities: The NSSF hosts events and conferences that provide opportunities for range owners to network with other industry professionals and learn about best practices in the industry.

Being rated 5 stars from the NSSF is mark of excellence that can help attract new business and other range owners to follow your example.

Action Target’s Role

At Action Target, we specialize in engineering range solutions that are expertly planned and installed, so you can be confident in the product you receive. This leads to high reviews from customers, more profitable ranges, better training options, and a safer experience for shooters and staff at your range.

Because of our commitment to excellence, 42% of NSSF 5-Star Ranges partnered with Action Target. Our projects and experience from around the globe has made Action Target a leader in the firearms industry, and NSSF’s rating system shows that Action Target continues to confidently provide quality service to both new and existing ranges.

“At Action Target, we are proud to have built many of the NSSF 5-star rated shooting ranges across the country” says Mike Birch, Action Target CEO. “We take great pride in designing and building state-of-the-art facilities that meet the highest standards of safety, comfort, and performance. Being a part of the process that helps ranges earn this prestigious rating is a testament to the quality of work and dedication of our team. We look forward to continuing to build and improve shooting range solutions for the benefit of the industry and its customers.”

Conclusion

Action Target has played a significant role in establishing many of the NSSF 5-star rated shooting ranges across the country. Our dedication to designing and building state-of-the-art facilities and range product solutions that meet the highest standards of safety, comfort, and performance has helped many ranges earn this prestigious rating. As a result, customers can enjoy an exceptional shooting experience while range owners benefit from increased customer satisfaction, improved reputation, and potential for increased revenue. By continuing to build and improve shooting ranges, Action Target is helping to promote and preserve hunting and shooting sports and ensuring that customers have access to the best facilities in the industry.

The creation of the NSSF’s 5-Star rating system was put in place to recognize “safe, well managed, customer-oriented” facilities for their excellence in preparing and training shooters across the country. Action Target’s mission to “build the safest and most advanced shooting ranges possible” aligns perfectly with this goal, which is only emphasized by the large amount of Action Target ranges who have earned a 5-Star Rating.          

GunVote Campaign

As a voting member of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), Action Target supports the Gun Vote campaign. This campaign encourages citizens across the nation to vote for those who support gun rights. The NSSF provides up-to-date news and information on political races and politicians looking to impact the Second Amendment. The website also features RSS feeds to Senate, House, and Governor races, as well as links for voter registration, absentee voting information, news on the latest polls, and more. Everything you need to know about the Second Amendment and gun rights is in one place for Election Day. Visit the site for more information.

The Gun Vault

Gun Vault Exterior BestThe Gun Vault, a 25,000 square foot facility based in the suburbs of Salt Lake City, says it sets the standard for what Utah residents can expect in an indoor shooting range. The Gun Vault owners designed their range to be not only one of the largest in Utah, but one of the most upscale and high-end, providing a quality experience for anyone who visits the range. The Gun Vault was created with the idea to provide Utah residents a great shooting environment no matter a shooter’s individual skill level.

 

Gun Vault Lobby 3The facility hosts a 7,000 sq. ft. retail space. The exposed rock architecture and high ceilings with skylights give the area an open atmosphere with plenty of light. Friendly and knowledgeable staff members are on hand to answer questions and provide information. One of the goals of The Gun Vault is to create a non-threatening environment where anyone from the first time to professional shooter can come and enjoy an indoor shooting experience.the idea to provide Utah residents a great shooting environment no matter a shooter’s individual skill level.

 

Gun Vault Stalls 2The shooting range features 15 lanes at a 25-yard distance with a viewing area behind the range. The range features Action Target equipment including a Total Containment Trap, overhead safety baffles, wall baffle system, target retrieval system, shooting stalls, and sound abatement material to help contain noise within the range. A Carey’s ventilation system provides top air quality and protects consumers from lead and other harmful air contaminants. Regarding the range equipment the staff says, “We have chosen the best in the industry to make sure our customers have the best experience possible when they come see us.”

Gun Vault Members Lounge 2

But The Gun Vault doesn’t stop with an impressive retail area and quality range equipment. It also houses two simulators, classrooms and a lounge. The simulators provide an opportunity for training, target shooting, and just a chance to become familiar with a gun in a non-threatening environment. The simulators feature a variety of conceal carry, target and home defense scenarios. The Gun Vault also offers classes ranging from basic handgun to CFP to private seminars.

 

The lounge area tops off the facility with leather couches, poker tables, pool tables and six large televisions. Strategically placed skylights throughout the lounge add natural light and an inviting atmosphere. The lounge, simulators, and classrooms are all available for rent to the general public. Corporate events, training sessions, or company parties can all be hosted at The Gun Vault.

The Gun Vault offers Utah what more and more ranges are trying to offer to shooting sports consumers across the nation: a premier environment where anyone can come and enjoy a high-quality shooting experience.

Thinking about Building a Shooting Range?

Building a shooting range can be an overwhelming process. Your time and resources deserve a partner who will listen to your ideas and turn your dreams and plans into a successful, thriving business. If you are considering building a range, talk to the Action Target Range Consultant in your region, and he will be happy to help you find the right equipment to fit your needs and budget. You can also use our Request a Quote form to get started on your range project today.

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

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.

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.

Crowdfunding and Shooting Ranges: Odd Couple or Perfect Match?

Shooting Range

 

In the old days, if you wanted money to finance a project or new business (like a shooting range), there were only a few ways to do it. You could talk to local business investors, obtain a small business loan, or beg a rich uncle. And if none of those worked, then you put the project on the back burner and waited to win the lottery.

It didn’t matter that there were tons of people who wanted whatever product or service you had to offer. If the people with the money weren’t convinced, then you really didn’t have any other options.

In 1997, fans of the British rock band Marillion broke that norm. They wanted to see the band go on tour despite the untimely bankruptcy of their record label, so the fans paid for it themselves. They set up an online campaign where people could donate whatever amount of money they could afford, and within a short period of time, they had raised enough money to send Marillion on a 21-date tour.

It wasn’t long before others caught on and started websites to fund bands, albums, movies, and art projects. Inventions and games soon followed with the introduction of gadgets like the Pebble Watch ($10.3 million raised) and an online video game called Star Citizen which raised more than $14 million through crowdfunding campaigns on its own website as well as Kickstarter. Thousands of other campaigns have been successful in the few short years crowdfunding has existed with a total of $2.7 billion being raised in 2012 alone.

But it wasn’t until the JOBS (Jumpstart Our Business Startups) Act was signed in April 2012 that all of this meant much to small businesses. This new legislation opened the doors for startups to solicit equity financing from the general public pending implementation of regulations by the SEC. While that piece of the JOBS Act has yet to go into effect, small businesses are still finding ways to get their ventures off the ground through crowdfunding sites.

Business partners Rob Krop and Matthew Jones are doing just that with a campaign to build an indoor shooting range in Frederick, Maryland, called The Machine Gun Nest. The pair started the project with two goals in mind: build an indoor range in a neglected area and create responsible gun owners one experience at a time. To meet those goals, they decided to reach out to the community through crowdfunding.The Machine Gun Nest

“Right off the bat, there were really only two crowdfunding sites that would allow us to do what we wanted to do. It was Indiegogo and GoFundMe,” Krop said. “One of the big reasons we chose Indiegogo was because they had better reviews, we saw better products, we saw more activity, and we also saw larger donations.”

Indiegogo allows people to donate to The Machine Gun Nest’s campaign by purchasing one of several perks including pistol and machine gun rentals, one year memberships, family memberships, and lifetime memberships. They also offer more extensive perks for larger donations of $5,000 and $10,000 like premier access to new machine guns and having a shooting lane named after you for sponsor donations.

The Machine Gun Nest has seen initial success with nearly $22,000 raised in the first 24 hours of the campaign being launched, but beyond donations, their campaign through Indiegogo has increased the project’s visibility and built awareness among their future customers.

“This provides a venue where we can not only raise capital, but we can raise awareness and reward people for believing in us before the project is created by giving them discounts for their donations,” Jones said. “It creates awareness. It creates a buzz. And everyone can see it happen right there on our campaign. They see dollars that are going toward something that they also care about.”

Other shooting ranges have attempted to finance themselves through Indiegogo in the past, but only one managed to raise more than $195 after a full 60-day campaign. The difference with The Machine Gun Nest campaign, Krop says, is that they’re hitting the pavement and talking to people about it in person as well as online.

“One of the things that has really helped us is just getting out in front of people. We got a booth at the local gun show and that was huge. We got a great response. People seeing that we’re moving forward and that we’re out there in person gave a lot more validity to what we’re doing, and people felt more comfortable donating,” Krop said. “The more we get out in front of people and talk to them, the more they see that it’s a real thing and not just something online.”

For both men, that determination comes from more than just a desire to own a profitable business.

“This is a cause as well as a business, and it matters to us,” Jones said. “We want to create an environment where we can show safe and proper use and training for firearms so the public can see that firearms do have a place in the hands of responsible citizens.”

Only 43 days are left in the campaign, and Krop and Jones both plan to continue face-to-face and online efforts to reach their campaign goal of $500,000 – a very tall order in the world of crowdfunding – but whether they reach their goal or not, they still plan to open the shooting range with the help of community investors.

Opening the range may not be their biggest achievement, however. The Machine Gun Nest has the chance to become the first shooting range ever to be successfully financed through crowdfunding and may pave the way for other ranges like it. With crowdfunding expected to explode in the next year and with the implementation of public equity financing coming soon, the shooting range industry has a unique opportunity to bypass traditional financing options and get direct support from the shooting community itself. While there are likely to be many failed campaigns along the way, there will also be those who rise to the top and pioneer a new business model for shooting ranges everywhere.

Quick Ways to Supplement Your Law Enforcement Budget at Year’s End

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Proper training begins with proper facilities and equipment. For law enforcement agencies, the fiscal year is coming to a close – making now a great time to use that extra budget for needed range equipment, upgrades, and services.

For agencies looking to upgrade while still saving money, Action Target | Law Enforcement Targets offers a number of programs to help law enforcement departments supplement their budgets without skimping on their ranges.

Recycling brass is a great way to reduce costs without cutting into budgets – and if done right, can mean more money for the range. The Law Enforcement Target Brass Program allows departments to recover money on their spent brass by applying credit to their account. The department then receives credit that can be used toward any Action Target or Law Enforcement Targets product or service including portable targetsrange services, spare parts, or even range upgrades. Credit earned through the program never expires and can be accumulated over time for larger purchases. One agency accrued over $60,000 through brass trade-in alone.
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The process is simple: a range master collects the spent brass and securely fastens the containers to a pallet. The range master then contacts Law Enforcement Targets at 800-779-0182 and schedules a time for the brass to be picked up. The brass is picked up and sent to a local recycler, sorted, inspected and weighed. The freight cost will be taken out of the credit received. The range master is then contacted by Law Enforcement Targets with the credit amount based on the net weight of the brass which is competitively priced based on current commodity pricing.

 

Action Target | Law Enforcement Targets is a turnkey provider for Gun ranges and training facilities. With the Brass Program, departments can use the credit for range parts/services/range consumables including de-Lead products, eye and hearing protection, general use products or products for resale.

Guns and ammunition can also be converted to credit. Action Target works with PoliceTrades.com to help agencies receive revenue from ammunition, duty firearms, confiscated guns, and even restricted Class 3 weapons.

PoliceTrades.com works through a bidding process. An agency sends a list of firearms it is looking to remove, and PoliceTrades.com sends it to a bid network of Federal Firearms Licensed Dealers (FFLs). FFLs then bid, and the highest bid is presented to the agency for review. Once accepted, the agency ships to the FFL and receives credit toward Action Target products and services. This process works for both duty and confiscated firearms. A similar process is available for Class 3 firearms (select-fire and short barrel rifles and shotguns). PoliceTrades.com handles all of the ATF Form 5 transfer paperwork, so departments don’t have to worry about trudging through all of the red tape.Cut_4006_2

PoliceTrades.com also has a parts stripping and destruction program. Agencies can receive revenue through having old or confiscated firearms destroyed. Guns are stripped of valuable parts such as the slide, recoil springs, grips, and magazines while the serialized frame of the firearm is destroyed. The agency receives revenue from the parts as well as a certified letter detailing the serial numbers of the firearms and the date they were destroyed.

For more information on the brass trade-in program, the PoliceTrades.com programs, or any of Action Target’s products and services, call 801-705-9113.

SHOT Show Media Day’s 2013 ATI Safety Award Presented to EOTech

Executive Video Summary

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EOTech presented with award during SHOT Show for exceptional firearms safety practices during media event

LAS VEGAS – February 4, 2013 – SHOT Show Media Day at the Range announces EOTech as the recipient of the Action Target 2013 Media Day Safety award. This award is given to the media day exhibitor that holds to the highest standards of safety during the shooting event on January 14, 2013. Each exhibitor was judged by a panel of safety auditors who scored each exhibitor on firearms safety practices during the event.

EOTech had a perfect score on criteria such as eye and ear protection, ammunition and firearms control, etc. But EOTech went above the scored criteria by having their own range officer at the shooting station and first aid supplies ready for use in case of an emergency.

EOTech was awarded the trophy at the Action Target booth during SHOT Show by representatives of SHOT Show Media Day at the Range and Action Target.

“We consider range safety an essential part of every live fire event,” said Amy Miller, Media Relations Manager at EOTech. “It is our goal to be industry leaders in every aspect of our professional execution, and the range safety standards we practice are not exempt from that mindset. We make plans well in advance and review them to make sure we have eliminated any unsafe practices before we reach the line of fire.”

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From left: EOTech Customer Service Manager Mike Kroll, EOTech Pro. Staff Roric Padgett, Action Target Co-Founder Addison Sovine, Media Day at the Range Representative Kelsey Williams, Action Target Portable Target Manager Chad Burdette

Action Target, the sponsor of the award, is a leading global supplier of superior shooting range products, equipment, design, manufacturing and training for law enforcement, military, and commercial ranges. Action Target is recognized for developing innovative new firearms training technology and for having the experience to properly apply that technology to solve today’s safety issues on firing ranges all over the world.

“We have been a major supporter of Media Day at the Range for many years, and being the sponsor of the 2013 safety award is an honor for us,” said Chad Burdette, Portable Target Manager for Action Target.

In its seventh year, SHOT Show Media Day at the Range hosted more 120 exhibitors and 1,000 media members of the hunting and shooting industry. This award gave recognition to EOTech as an example of the importance of safely demonstrating products to the media on a live fire range.

“Live fire demonstrations are an essential part of explaining our products and technology,” Miller said, “and Media Day offers us the ability to put our products in the hands of over 1,000 of the industry’s leading writers and media personalities in an eight-hour period of time.”

EOTech was awarded a plaque for its exceptional firearms safety practices and given a free booth at next year’s SHOT Show Media Day at the Range.

For additional information concerning SHOT Show Media Day at the Range, contact Cory Cannon at ccannon@triplecurl.com or Cathy Williams at cathy@cmgmarketingandevents.com.

About Action Target Inc.

Action Target Inc. is a privately owned business headquartered in Provo, Utah. As the 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.

Between The Berms: Athena, Goddess Of Gun Ranges

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Paul Erhardt, Editor, the Outdoor Wire Digital Network