Tag: gun range

You’ve Just Built A Shooting Range: Now What?


You’ve undertaken the multifaceted process of planning, designing, and building an indoor shooting range. You’ve discovered that creating a viable, ballistically-safe facility is no small feat. In fact, the process can challenge even the most stout-hearted, second-amendment-supporting, gun-crazed patriot. However, you persevered because the satisfaction and rewards of owning and operating a shooting range can be substantial.

It’s just important that you remember a “build it and they will come” philosophy does not apply to your gun range business. Persistent effort, strategic marketing, and awareness of industry trends is required to attract, engage, and maintain your customers.

ACTION TARGET’S BEST PRACTICES
Action Target has been the world leader in shooting range design, technology, supplies, and aftermarket services since 1986. With our time and standing in the industry, we have become experts in how to develop and manage a successful shooting range. Over the next few months, we will be collaborating with key individuals across our organization to share our best practices with you. Our expertise will help you excel in the business of running your range, while making you aware of potential pitfalls along the way.

So that you know what to expect, we have divided these best practices into the following 8 categories. Each category will be fully explored in a dedicated future post.


1. Memberships and Marketing
In this post, we will discuss the importance of branding your range and products. Other topics we will cover include growing your customer base and enhancing customer relationships through product promotions, giveaways, loyalty points, multi-member discounts, and corporate events. We will also delve into lesser used marketing strategies, such as cross-promotion with the assistance of other local business.


2. Training your Staff
We will demonstrate how to amplify your success through great customer service. We will show why it is important to find employees who not only have broad gun knowledge but are also experienced in retail sales. Learn how to build a loyal and happy sales staff through incentive programs, specialized training, and strategic staff meetings. Discover the importance of leading your grand opening with a soft opening and how neglecting to do so may have significant repercussions for your reputation.


3. Retail Sales
This post will be dedicated to helping you understand how much inventory you will need based on the size of your retail space. We will examine the importance of stocking retail items according to demand and local needs, as well as maximizing your gross profit through tracking retail turns. We will also walk you through analyzing data from your point of sale system.


4. Website and Social Media
Successful businesses are familiar with free advertising through social media platforms. We will provide pointers on how to think outside the box for marketing your shooting range via other businesses in the community. You will also have access to our experience on branding and creating a “personality” for your shooting range as well as pointers for your website and other range events.


5. Engaging Your Customers
Learn how to implement and structure memberships. We will dive into concepts for developing classes that reach all ages, genders, and lifestyles and will also provide ideas for home and personal defense training. Additionally, we will discuss how adding gun build options and services to your retail offerings drives revenue.


6. Security
It’s vital that you protect your range adequately from criminal activity. We will highlight security, closed circuit cameras, various types of alarm systems, locking cases, as well as offer suggestions about how to safely store excess inventory. You will learn how to implement emergency protocols in the event of injury or fatalities and how to deter tragedies of this nature from occurring in your range.


7. Other Revenue Streams
We will teach you how to capitalize on other revenue streams for your shooting range business, such as recycling your lead and brass and saving money through dealer pricing programs with Action Target and other vendors. We will also examine how you can share your knowledge and experience of planning and building a shooting range with other interested parties.


8. Range Maintenance
One of the most important aspects of your business is keeping your range clean and safe. We will show you how to do this through scheduled maintenance protocols along with a maintenance log sheet. We will discuss how to train employees on required maintenance procedures and performing minor range repairs. All methods we disclose are compliant with OSHA and EPA standards to ensure the protection of your employees, patrons, and range equipment.


The NSSF Gives Five-Star Range Rating To Shooters World of Florida

Florida’s Shooters World Earns
NSSF Five-Star Range Rating


NEWTOWN, Conn. – The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms industry, is pleased to announce that Shooters World has been recognized with the association’s Five-Star range rating. This is the first range in Florida to receive a star rating under NSSF’s revised evaluation system launched in 2016.

Shooters World is said to be the largest combination retail store, indoor firing range and firearms training center in the State of Florida with a footprint encompassing more than 62,000 square feet. Operating seven days a week, the shooting facility includes 27 pistol range lanes, and seven 100-yard rifle range lanes, all of which can handle .50-caliber fire and can be used for Shooters World’s many training programs. Customers can take advantage of everything from curriculums developed specifically for junior shooters and women to concealed carry, hunter safety and advanced skills classes. A generous rental gun program and an expansive retail center support the range and provide a complete shopping and entertainment experience to a steady stream of recreational firearms owners – from beginner to expert – serving the entire densely populated Tampa Bay metro area.

“We were certainly impressed with Shooters World when we awarded it our Five-Star rating under our original program,” said Zach Snow, NSSF Director, Range Services. “To say that we were wowed with what they’ve done since that first recognition under our previous rating program would be an understatement. This company’s team of professionals has demonstrated it is dedicated to providing a memorable customer experience to every person who walks through its doors. Combined with the high overall quality of the facility and the staff’s commitment to safety and education, Shooters World sets the bar for our elite Five-Star ranges.”

“All of us at Shooters World are humbled and grateful to receive the new Five-Star range certification and award,” said Bing Kearney, Shooters World owner. “Shooters World continuously strives to provide our customers, employees and vendors with the world’s best firearms experience in the exercise of our Second Amendment rights, while listening to our patrons and embracing change that improves our facility and services. This, along with our mandatory objective for providing outstanding customer service, makes for a very comfortable, family-oriented environment for all of our guests. The entire Shooters World Team here in Tampa is very honored to receive the new Five-Star rating and will always strive to exceed the new, more stringent criteria.” 

NSSF’s highly respected Star-Rating Range Program works to encourage ranges of all sizes and locations to excel. Applying for rating requires answering a comprehensive questionnaire and business owner self-evaluation of the facilities, staff, community outreach and other criteria. Ranges that appear to meet the criteria for Four- or Five-star rating receive an on-site evaluation by NSSF staff. NSSF member ranges that meet a Three-star rating are recognized for being a part of the Star-Rating range family and are provided guidance to improve their facilities and achieve the higher two ratings. For more information, including instructions on how to apply for NSSF’s Star-Rating Range Program, visit www.nssf.org/ranges or contact Zach Snow at zsnow@nssf.org.

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About NSSF The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of more than 12,000 manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers. For more information, visit www.nssf.org.

NRA’s American Rifleman Tests the AWD Pro

Training With the Action Target AWD Range System

Training With the Action Target AWD Range System

Although we spend a good deal of time discussing firearms and ammunition on this site, they wouldn’t be all that interesting to own without quality shooting ranges where we can exercise our rights. One company that’s often overlooked by the average shooter for its important contribution to the industry is Action Target of Provo, Utah.

 

Founded in 1986, Action Target started out by providing a pneumatic turning-target system for the Provo Police Department to use for training its officers. Over the years, this company has developed top-grade range technology favored by military and law enforcement around the world.

 

If you attend SHOT Show, you’ll find that Action Target takes up a section of floor space more like a city block than a booth slot. Today’s in-house options from Action Target include a variety of equipment such as portable interactive steel targets, eco-friendly bullet traps and entire training structures like the ALERRT shoot house. A tour of its production facility revealed just how much steel the company processes into range equipment.

   

As much as we can appreciate the services and facilities that help keep our country’s service personnel sharp, most of us will never get to use them. I wanted to learn more about how Action Target is tackling the training needs of John Q. Public. To answer this question, I was invited to company headquarters where I was introduced to the AWD Range System, one of the more advanced options currently installed at commercial indoor ranges.

The AWD, or All Wheel Drive target support (called a target retriever), was just one part of the complete set of furniture at the test range I visited. The shooting stalls, ceiling-mounted rails, noise abatement, bullet trap and ventilation were all selected from Action Target Offerings. These elements all came together to form a professional grade, clean-lined shooting environment that was comfortable and convenient to use.

Traditional square ranges, which wheel paper targets back and forth, are useful for developing important marksmanship skills such as forming a sight picture, trigger press and reloading. Paper targets also have the advantage of being fairly inexpensive. However, back-and-forth targets don’t offer much more than that. Even the most devoted shooting enthusiast can, at times, find traditional square ranges to be a little tedious.

The AWD system employs the rail-mounted target retriever paired with a programmable, wireless touch-screen control pad. The retriever is fast, smooth and quiet, traveling at up to four yards per second. It’s also accurate, consistently stopping along the rail within 0.5″ of its programmed position. The retriever’s paper-target clamp is motorized to rotate 360 degrees. This allows it to display the front, back and side edge of the target toward the shooter and present a variety of shoot/don’t shoot configurations as the target changes locations.

What makes the AWD system such an interesting and useful update to square-range shooting is software programmed into the wireless touch control. To keep folks engaged, it’s preloaded with more than two dozen different games and drills developed by professional instructors. Beginner, intermediate and advanced formats are available for pistols and rifles. The Pistol Qualification Drills can be used by civilians or law enforcement to practice using standardized qualification scenarios. The personal-defense programs provide self-guided training with charging, reload and decision-making drills, while the game programs keep things interesting.

One of the system’s programmed behaviors that was refreshing and challenging to work with is called a “tease” function. There are times that when the target is turned edgewise, it will twitch as if it’s about to turn, but then it doesn’t. In other words, it tries to fake you out once in a while! If you’re too quick on the trigger you’ll send a round hurdling downrange into empty space.

The AWD’s programmable controls and the option to use a wide variety of different paper targets make the system one of the most flexible indoor shooting experiences available. Using a duty-size Smith & Wesson M&P 9 mm pistol provided by the staff, I started off with a basic shoot/don’t shoot drill with the target stopping, turning to face me and then moving further away for the next series of shots. Simple exercises are a great place to start for the beginner or to get warmed up.

Then we switched over to an intermediate skills drill using a target with much smaller round strike zones. The target’s face times were much shorter, varied in length, and the target would tease me from time to time. This was much more challenging. For those ranges that choose to add it, the system includes advanced lighting features. Choose from a constant on “daylight” white light, or low-light situations that include simulated muzzle flashes or police-car strobe lights.

The shooting session wrapped up with self-defense scenarios, which can provide a real eye-opening experience. Unlike most ranges, where the targets usually rest a good ways out, the AWD can be programmed to drive a paper target straight toward the shooter at high speed to simulate the charge of an assailant. In my case, we used an image of an attacker wielding a knife. I caught myself “rubber necking” with this target a couple of times.

When drivers become focused on an accident at the side of the road, their hands will turn the steering wheel toward that spot, causing the car to drift out of its lane. As the target charged me from several yards away, I had a few shots drift from center to the left side of the target as it rushed up to me. That’s where the knife was, over on the left side. As the threat drew closer, I let my attention drift from center mass to the knife. As a result, the shot placement followed. Details like these can only be learned through personal experience.

 

The Action Target AWD system has been installed at commercial shooting ranges all around the country. Just follow this link and use the map at the bottom of the page to locate a facility near you. And as long as you’re on the site, take a few minutes to look over the top-notch selection of portable steel targets the company offers as well.

DUEL RUNNING MAN PRO

ACTION TARGET LAUNCHES THE DRM PRO, 

DELIVERING AN ADVANCED RUNNING MAN TRAINING SYSTEM.

PROVO, Utah – September 26, 2016 – Action Target INC., the leading manufacturer of modern shooting ranges, is pleased to announce the launch of the Dual Running Man Pro, the most powerful and feature-rich running man system ever designed.

The DRM Pro boasts 3HP motors, ultra-wear resistant pulleys, speeds up to 20 fps, realistic acceleration, and an easy to use control interface for use on tablets and mobile phones. The DRM Pro uses two lateral traveling, non-turning target carriers capable of moving independently from one another because they are mounted on two separate tracks that run parallel to each other.

The DRM Pro includes industry leading technology, with added features such as built-in Wi-Fi, easy to use control interface that runs on a tablet or smart phone. The DRM Pro integrates with our range control software for advanced features and functionality. All components of the DRM Pro are IP54 compliant for year-round outdoor and indoor use. The DRM Pro is capable of traveling at variable speeds, up to 20 feet per second, which allows for a more advanced target acquisition training. The DRM Pro boasts high precision encoders to ensure target positions are accurate to within 6 inches. The modular ratcheting mechanism on the DRM Pro make cable tensioning quick and easy.

The DRM Pro is the perfect running man training system because it allows users to advance their training by having duel targets moving independent of one another. This allows trainers to designate one as a non-shoot and the other as a target. This will add stress and reality to training scenarios, allowing the user to develop and improve their decision making skills.

For more information about the DRM Pro or to purchase yours today, call 801-377-8033

The Guardsman Shooting Stall

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


ACTION TARGET LAUNCHES THE GUARDSMAN SHOOTING STALL.
THE LOW-COST SOLUTION.

PROVO, Utah – October 26, 2016, Action Target Inc., the leading manufacturer of modern shooting ranges, is pleased to announce the launch of its newest shooting stall – The Guardsman Shooting Stall. The Guardsman Shooting Stall is geared towards providing a lower-cost option for gun ranges looking for a more economical stall partition solution. The Guardsman Shooting Stall features a rugged, yet simple design that retains the industry-leading ballistic standards to which Action Target proudly holds itself.

The Guardsman Shooting Stall boasts a rugged ABS protective skin that resists brass impacts for long life and low maintenance and also features a stainless Steel trim that protects all of the edges of the Guardsman from damage. The Guardsman Shooting Stall consists of a standard Action Target stall table with a non-slip rubber top and an optional lower shelf that adds a functionality for shooters that is unmatched in the industry.

“The new Guardsman shooting stall allows the most budget-conscious facility to upgrade to the superior quality and unmatched ballistic standards of Action Target’s industry leading products.” – Jesse Nelson, Product Marketing Manager at Action Target.

The quick and easy installation of the Guardsman cuts down the cost and time of installation. The Guardsman is a low-cost option for gun ranges that are looking for a more economical stall partition solution. The Guardsman retains Action Target’s industry-leading standards and is compatible with all Action Target retrievers.

The Guardsman Shooting Stall is available for order today and may easily be retrofitted into any existing ranges. For more information visit https://www.actiontarget.com/Guardsman or to purchase the Guardsman, call 801-377-8033.

ALL WHEEL DRIVE PRO

Action Target Elevates Shooting with New Retriever 


PROVO, Utah – Action Target Inc., the leading manufacturer of shooting ranges, today announced its release of the All Wheel Drive (AWD) Pro: a new target retriever proven to take ranges to the next level.

The wireless AWD Pro retriever is the most engaging and robust retriever on the market. It features a modern, easy to use interface with 27 addicting games and training scenarios for all skill levels. These programs offer shooters an unparalleled experience, improving both novice and expert shooters and keeping them at the range longer.

“Shooting at a static target is no longer sufficient to engage this new generation of shooters. They expect more from their equipment and are looking for an entertaining experience. The AWD Pro engages shooters like never before, with its intuitive interface, self-guided shooting scenarios and easy-to-setup drills. Not only will shooters benefit from this new equipment, but the range will as well,” said Jesse Nelson an Action Target Product Marketing Manager.

The AWD Pro was recently installed at Nashville Armory in Nashville, Tennessee, where shooters were ecstatic with the update. After the installation, ammunition consumption increased over 23% and 89% of shooters said they enjoyed the new retriever over traditional range equipment. Another interesting statistic was that over 80% of shooters interviewed said they would drive farther and pay more to use the new equipment over traditional range equipment.

These numbers can be attributed to the addicting shooting scenarios the AWD Pro offers. These preloaded games and drills were developed by leading firearms trainers and challenge every shooter no matter their skill level.  Whether shooters are trying to improve their previous score on a drill or are competing with their friends with one of the games, shooters will find themselves using more ammunition and feeling more satisfied when they leave the range. Plus, the fun environment of competing with friends on challenging drills adds an element that shooting ranges have lacked in the past and will keep shooters coming back for more.

The AWD Pro’s friendly touch screen user interface also plays a part in the new shooter experience. With its intuitive and engaging design, users are able to control more including: shooting distance, stall lighting, target lighting, target behavior, time drills and more. All of these features give the shooters more freedom, putting them in charge of their experience at the range.

“This product is just one of many future developments that testifies of Action Target’s long-term commitment to developing the shooter’s experience as well as breathing new technology and innovation into the shooting range industry. We are convinced the AWD Pro will meet the needs of today’s shooters by promoting skill building, competition and an overall higher engagement with the shooting sports,” said Kevin Tomaszewski, Action Target’s Vice President of Marketing and Engineering.

The AWD Pro gives shooters a whole new experience of improving their shooting skills while having a good time, making it the reason ranges with the AWD Pro will become the go to destination. To learn more about the AWD Pro visit link: www.actiontarget.com/products/awd_pro.

SHOT Show 2017 New Products

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

ACTION TARGET ANNOUNCES INNOVATIVE NEW PRODUCTS TO BE DISPLAYED AT SHOT SHOW 2017

PROVO, UTAH – January 2, 2017 – Action Target INC., the leading manufacturer of modern shooting ranges, has announced the launch of new innovative shooting range technology, including: The Dual Running Man Pro, The AWD Pro, The Guardsman Shooting Stall, The American Series Shooting Stall, the PT Gong Series and the PT Twist Rimfire steel targets. Visit the Action Target booth #14568 at SHOT Show 2017 for live, hands-on demonstrations.

Duel Running Man Pro

Created to exceed the standards of Law Enforcement training and professional shooters, DRM Pro provides first-of-its-kind precision control, acceleration, speed, and programmability. These features have the unique simplicity of being controllable from your own tablet, smart phone or PC. The DRM Pro offers instructors the ability to train for and replicate real-worlds scenarios. Within the new user’s interface, instructors can input the speed of each runner independently from 2-20 feet per second, move the target along the track by sliding the on-screen target indicator to any positon, and receive real-time validation on the screen for speed and track position.

Action Target’s Product Marketing Manager Chris Hess explains, “Developing the DRM Pro has been exciting. The more time we spent with top Law Enforcement trainers and professional shooters, the more we realized there was an opportunity to fill the technology void in training. This product is the perfect upgrade to any range looking to modernize their equipment and outfit their instructors with the ability to provide world-class training.”

Tempe PD firearms instructor and competitive shooter Kyle Schmidt said, “This is most versatile moving target system I have ever used. Instantly making changes on my device screen gives me more time with trainees and allows me to customize the training on the fly for any need without changing equipment.”

All Wheel Drive Pro Target Retriever

The wireless AWD Pro retriever is the most engaging and robust retriever on the market. It features a modern, easy to use interface with 27 addicting games and training scenarios for all skill levels. These programs offer shooters an unparalleled experience, improving both novice and expert shooters and keeping them at the range longer.

“Shooting at a static target is no longer sufficient to engage this new generation of shooters. They expect more from their equipment and are looking for an entertaining experience. The AWD Pro engages shooters like never before, with its intuitive interface, self-guided shooting scenarios and easy-to-setup drills.” – Jesse Nelson, Action Target Product Marketing Manager.

The Guardsman Shooting Stall

The Guardsman Shooting Stall boasts a rugged ABS protective skin that resists brass impacts for long life and low maintenance and also features a stainless Steel trim that protects all of the edges of the Guardsman from damage. The Guardsman Shooting Stall consists of a standard Action Target stall table or extended rifle table with a non-slip rubber top and an optional lower shelf that adds functionality for shooters that is unmatched in the industry.

“The new Guardsman shooting stall allows the most budget-conscious facility to upgrade to the superior quality and unmatched ballistic standards of Action Target’s industry leading products.” – Jesse Nelson, Product Marketing Manager at Action Target.

PT Twist

The patent pending PT Twist Rimfire interactive target may be the most effective way to burn through your stock pile of 22lr. Made from 3/16 inch A514B steel, it combines rugged impact resistance with supreme reactivity on the range. Uniquely formed from a single piece of steel, there are no welds or bolts to break or ricochet providing a safe and long lasting target.

“Using the PT Twist shooters can develop their accuracy and acquisition skills as each shot walks the target further away. With two PT Twists side by side, shooters can challenge one another in an engaging duel that will quickly determine the best shot.” – Chris Hess, Product Marketing Manager

The PT Twist Rimfire will be available February 2017 at the new Store.ActionTarget.com with an MSRP of only $25. Stop by Action Target booth #14568 at SHOT Show 2017 to sign up as a dealer.

PT Gong Series Steel Target

Hanging a piece of steel down range isn’t new, but it has never been more affordably or of higher quality. Action Target is proud to offer more than 30 new target shapes and thicknesses to hang from any chain, rope or the innovative The Last Stand target hanging system.

Precision shooters will enjoy circles from 4-18 inches. IDPA and IPSC Torsos for training and sportsmen will love shooting our life-size animal shapes including: Boar, Coyote and Prairie Dog. .25 inch, .375 inch and .500 inch are available.
“Action Target prides itself in the highest possible quality AR500 Steel. As one of the largest buyers in the world we are able to pass on our quality and low cost to our loyal customers.” – Chris Hess, Product Marketing Manager.

MSRP $10 – $150 Available February 2017

Visit booth #14568 at SHOT Show 2017 to become a dealer.

The American Series Shooting Stall

The American Series Shooting Stalls provide ranges an unparalleled ability to customize their range.  The extra deep stalls, built in muzzle blast barriers, integrated lighting and floor to ceiling walls provide shooters a comfortable atmosphere unrivaled in the industry.  Ranges will love the ability to make their stalls truly unique.

Customers may choose from one of our standard designs or customize literally every element of the stall to match their range’s design and needs.  An on-staff interior decorator is available to assist ranges with their selections.

“Ranges are constantly looking for ways to set them apart in today’s competitive market.  With the American Series Shooting Stalls, ranges now have the ability to customize every aspect of their stalls, providing shooters the most unique, luxurious and comfortable environment possible.” – Jesse Nelson, Product Marketing Manager, Action Target.

Range Security

Action Target now combines all security solutions into one easy-to-use system. Video confirmation and two-way audio prevent incidents and reduce false alarms to less than 1%. Trained security professionals review alerts 24/7. The advanced video analytics offer a number of reliable alerts to provide accurate threat assessment. Stay connected, arm/disarm your security system and view live video from anywhere.

“Our security solutions provide ranges the highest level of confidence.  By integrating cutting edge technology and industry leading hardware we are able to provide a tailored solution unmatched in the industry.” – Jesse Nelson, Product Marketing Manager, Action Target.

LE Targets Rebrand to Action Target

Action Target is excited to announce the successful rebrand of Law Enforcement Targets. All of the paper targets, cardboard targets and range supplies sold by www.letargets.com can now be found on the new Action Target store: Shop.ActionTarget.com

SHOT Show attendees looking for Law Enforcement Targets will find them at Action Target’s booth #14568 near the “Dealer Services” section. New and current dealers are encouraged to visit the booth to take advantage of special pricing and SHOT Show specials.

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.

New Firearms Retailer Provides an Indoor Shooting Range for an Area Long Neglected

Red Dot Firearms of Layton, Utah, joins the short list of gun ranges in Davis CountyRed Dot Firearms 21

PROVO, Utah – May 22, 2013 – Davis County, Utah, recently welcomed a new kind of business to one of its largest shopping districts. Now you can get all of your grocery shopping done and hit the indoor shooting range all in the same place.

Red Dot Firearms, located just off I-15 exit 331 in Layton, recently opened its retail gun store and a 25 yard indoor shooting range capable of handling both handgun and rifle rounds including .5o BMG.

“We are the only retail firearms store in the area besides some of the big box stores, and we were the first place ever to apply for an indoor range license in the county,” owner Denny Wanlass said. “We felt like it was time people in the area had another option.”

According to Wanlass, many shooters in Utah have started moving their weekend shooting ventures away from public lands due to wildfires and other concerns, which means a higher demand for indoor ranges like Red Dot Firearms.

Red Dot Firearms 02
The ventilation system blows refrigerated air from the rear of the range to the bullet trap where it is filtered to prevent shooters from being exposed to hazardous lead dust.

“A lot of people just drive out to the desert to shoot, but last summer, several wildfires were blamed on target shooting. Whether true or not, it’s still driving many shooters away from the wilderness areas and indoors,” Wanlass said. “That combined with the closures of public land and the increase in gas prices make our indoor range the perfect alternative.”

Shooters transitioning from the outdoors also get the added benefit of a climate controlled environment and a ventilation system installed by Carey’s Small Arms Range Systems that exceeds NIOSH, EPA and OSHA standards.

“We wanted a good ventilation system because we take our customers’ health very seriously,” Wanlass said. “Just about every person who has come out of there has said, ‘I love being in a range where I can breathe!’”

Fellow Utah business Action Target was contracted to install the range equipment at Red Dot Firearms including a 48-foot wide steel funnel bullet trap, armor steel ceiling and wall baffles to prevent rounds from escaping, and shooting stalls capable of stopping rifle rounds from point blank range.

Red Dot Firearms 01
The Total Containment Trap is capable of handling handgun and rifle rounds including .50 BMG.

“Throughout the course of our research, it was clear that there really isn’t anyone else besides Action Target that is worth using,” Wanlass said. “The equipment on our range is second to none, and that means our customers can shoot with complete confidence that their safety is never going to be jeopardized.”

Red Dot Firearms is now open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Classes in concealed carry, personal defense, hunter’s safety and more will be held regularly.

Action Target Hits the Beach with a Record-Breaking Bullet Trap

Action Target engineers are doing more on the beaches of Florida this spring than just surfing or getting a tan: they are designing the biggest bullet trap ever built.Outside

Lotus Gunworks of Jensen Beach, Fla., will be opening its doors next week and inviting shooters to try out its new double-decker shooting range featuring a two-story steel funnel bullet trap. Nicknamed the Lotus 8/11 for the number of steel panels used to create it (eight panels on the bottom slope and 11 panels on the top slope), this version of Action Target’s Total Containment Trap is the first of its kind.

“No one has ever seen a range like this before,” Lotus Gunworks’ Director of Operations Robbie Abell said. “We’re truly making industry history.”

Abell stumbled into the gun industry a few years back when he and a family member decided to go in on a gun store. It seemed like a crazy idea, he said, but with a little bit of luck and ingenuity, they just might be able to make it work.

“We spent about eight months riding around different areas and looking at gun ranges,” Abell said. “After some research, we ran into Action Target and were introduced to the local shooting range consultant Robb Anderson. After that it was a no-brainer, so we freight trained forward.”

They found an existing building in Jensen Beach that met their needs but quickly ran into issues when it became apparent there would not be enough room for two adjacent ranges and a gun store. Abell did not want to cut back on the number of ranges, so the only option was to make a double-decker range where both levels shot into the same bullet trap.

“It hasn’t ever been done before, and at first, the answer was that it couldn’t be done,” Abell said. “I believed there had to be a way, and after three weeks of pushing, I got a call from Robb at Action Target saying, ‘We think we might be able to do this.’”

The answer was to extend the Total Containment Trap (usually just 8 feet tall) to a whopping 19 feet and to mount steel cross beams to support the Mancom Touch ‘N’ Go target retriever system.Upper level stall view

With the equipment issues resolved, the next hurdle was proper ventilation to prevent customers and employees from being exposed to hazardous lead dust. The sheer size of the room presented a unique challenge, so Lotus Gunworks enlisted the help of industry ventilation specialists Carey’s Small Arms Range Ventilation.

Despite doubts that a range that tall could be ventilated at all, Carey’s managed to create a system that not only met environmental standards, but exceeded ventilation standards for even federal shooting ranges.

“The air flow in the upper level was the best I have seen on any range, and the airflow on the bottom was also very good,” Carey’s controls and commissioning tech Mark Hanson said. “This was one of the easiest range ventilation systems we’ve installed.”

Aside from being environmentally safe by completely replacing range air every 80 seconds, all of the filtered air pumped into the range is refrigerated, which, according to Abell, is a pretty big deal in Florida.

“We want this to be the most comfortable range possible,” Abell said, “and we’re doing that with refrigerated air, great lighting, great service and friendly employees. We want people to come and stay. We want this to be a destination point where you hang out for the day.”

Lotus Gunworks is especially friendly to new shooters with a Ti Training simulation system that allows those completely new to shooting to try it out on a real gun equipped with a laser before hitting the range. Friday night fun shoots will also allow people to try out a variety of firearms including fully automatic rifles.

The range is expected to open for business the first week of April and will be holding a grand opening celebration April 20.

Myths About Wet Steel Traps

Wet Steel Trap 1As with anything else in life, the ability to make an informed decision is based on the quality of the information you receive. The purpose of this article is to explore some of the claims associated with using water on steel funnel traps.

This information represents the opinions of Action Target based on the experience and observations of our range consultants and engineers. We encourage you to conduct your own research and speak with other users about their experiences with the various bullet trap technologies presented before drawing your own conclusions.

CLAIM #1: You can use any type of ammunition on a wet steel trap.

It has been reported that frangible ammunition may cause problems with wet funnel traps because the powder created by certain types of disintegrating bullets can mix with the water and harden into a cement-like substance resulting in an extremely difficult cleaning process.

CLAIM #2: Wet steel traps eliminate lead dust on your range.

If a bullet strikes an area on a wet steel trap where the water and oil mixture is flowing (like on the bottom plates), the amount of lead dust generated at the trap on initial impact may be reduced. But if the bullet hits on the upper plates where no water is present, lead dust can be generated much the same as on a trap where no water system is in use. Also, lead dust containment systems such as water are meant to deal with lead on the bullet trap itself. They typically have little or nothing to do with emissions at the firing line or other areas of the range.

CLAIM #3: Wet steel traps capture all pullets whole and eliminate splatter and ricochet.Wet Steel Trap 7

The gently sloping angles of steel funnel plates do help prevent bullet breakup on initial impact, but bullets can also fragment into small pieces once they enter the rear chamber and strike more steel surfaces inside. Also, many designs include a vertical edge at every seam where two chambers meet and are attached to each other. Deflectors are typically used to protect these vertical edges, and bullets can fragment more significantly if they strike these deflectors. Our observations would indicate that the degree of bullet fragmentation is mostly related to the velocity of the bullet. Slower pistol rounds may be able to be captured more whole when using a primary decelerant or lubricant such as water, but faster rifle rounds tend to disintegrate whether the water is present or not.

CLAIM #4: Wet steel traps are more environmentally friendly.

A doctor’s first and fundamental responsibility is to do no harm and to not make a difficult situation worse than it already may be. The same can be said for a bullet trap. Because lead disposal is already difficult enough for most shooting ranges, the last thing we thing a bullet trap should do is to complicate the matter by mixing the lead with other substances such as water, oil, chlorine, or antifreeze.

CLAIM #5: Wet steel traps function equally well indoors and outdoors.Wet Steel Trap 9

Referring back to claim #4, it can be much more difficult to contain all potential contaminants generated by a wet steel trap on an outdoor range. Rain, snow, ice, wildlife, leaves, twigs, and other clogging debris can complicate matters when operating outdoors.

CLAIM #6: One piece welded funnel plates are better than modular funnel plates.

If everything is welded together on site, you can end up with a bullet trap that is much more difficult to service or repair should anything go wrong. Long, continuous sheets of plate steel can be more prone to stress fractures and cracking than shorter, modular plates. That is one reason why bridges and overpasses are often formed by bolting together multiple modular pieces. When modular funnel plates and joint systems are properly designed, you get a strong and maintenance-friendly bullet trap that requires no sacrifice of safety or performance.

CLAIM #7: Funnel plates mounted at a 12 or 13 degree angle function significantly better than funnel plates mounted at a 15 degree angle.Wet Steel Trap 6

If a 12 or 13 degree slope is better than a 15 degree slope, then isn’t 11 better than 12? Why not drop to 9 degrees? Or 7? Since every degree you go down can increase the cost and the front-to-back size of the trap, there is a point at which you can reach the point of diminishing returns. All other factors being equal (steel hardness, bullet trajectory, etc.), our high speed video tests do not reveal any significant difference between impacts at 12 or 15 degrees. Although it is possible to install an Action Target trap with plates mounted at either 12 or 13 degrees, we believe 15 degrees to be optimal for most uses.

CLAIM #8: A 30-inch diameter in the circular deceleration chamber is better than a 26-inch diameter.

Following the same logic, why not use a 40-inch diameter? Why not 50? Again, it is important to weigh multiple factors such as performance, cost, and space. Action Target believes that the most important thing about a chamber is that it effectively contain rounds, that it have a good service life, and that it can be easily serviced if and when the need arises. We believe our chamber design achieves these values in an optimal way.

CLAIM #9: Wet steel traps don’t require much maintenance.Wet Steel Trap 8

Regular maintenance should be expected with any bullet trap, regardless of the materials used. Just like anything else, range equipment must be properly cared for to keep it working.

The wet steel trap designs we have seen include a water pump, spray nozzle, and filter systems that should be regularly maintained. Potential debris like cardboard, paper, wood, and shotgun wads can certainly be a problem if they are introduced into these systems. Lead should be removed from the collection system and disposed of properly. And we recommend you account for any exposure the lead may have had to water, oil, chlorine, or antifreeze. Water sources should be maintained and you should deal with any potential sources of flooding or leaking. In some cases, an external settling pond or a drainage tank with a waste trap may be needed to keep contaminated water from entering the sewer system. Finally, you should consider any additional effect the potentially higher humidity may have on your ventilation system and any HEPA filters.

 

NOTE: None of the photos used in this article are of Action Target bullet traps.