Vol. 16 No. 1 Winter 2013
NSSFâ€™s Magazine for Shooting Facilities
Seen at the SHOT Show: New Products For Ranges Capitalize on Social Media
The Range Report Winter 2013
The Range Report Winter 2013
Vol. 16 No. 1 Winter 2013
Fore! Rifle Golf is a new concept for fun at the range.
Be prepared when situations arise.
Sighting In Scoping out news for the shooting range community By Glenn Sapir
By Kevin Reese
News is history from which we learn. By Glenn Sapir
By Jeff Davis
Shooting Range First-Aid Kits
Letter from the Editor
Spread the Word Social media tools create loyal communities for shooting ranges.
Q&A The consumer show option By John Monson and Rick Hansen
By Louis Dzierzak
Seen at the SHOT Show
The Undercover Shooter Sporting clays in central New York
The industry debut of new products did not ignore ranges. By Carolee Anita Boyles
Building Bridges Forging positive relationships with government agencies really pays. By Tom Carpenter
On the cover:
© 2013 National Shooting Sports Foundation, Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Range Report , SHOT Show® and all other trade names, trademarks and service marks of the National Shooting Sports Foundation appearing in this publication are the sole property of the Foundation and may not be used without the Foundation’s prior express written permission. All other company and product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners. SM
“Seen at the SHOT Show,” beginning on page 32, touches on many of the new products unveiled at this giant industry trade show that may have special interest to range owners and operators. Photo by Deb Moran
The Range Report Winter 2013
Letter from the Editor By Glenn Sapir
News Is History from Which to Learn
he new Internet home of the all-digital Range Report at www. rangereport.org provides you with a menu of potential benefits. For example, there you can find two versions of the electronic magazine: one as a flip-page edition; the other is a PDF edition that can be read on screen or printed as a hard copy. At the website you can call up and read past editions of the magazine, and you can also view the advertisements on the website, as well as in the magazine, of the companies that are supporting “NSSF’s magazine for shooting facilities.” There is another feature that brings fresh information to the website on a frequent, in fact, almost daily, basis. “Ranges in the News” lists the headline, source and link to newsmaking articles that are relevant to the shooting range community. If you’ve read the latest edition of The Range Report and hadn’t seen a reason to come back to the website until the next quarterly edition was posted, “Ranges in the News” has been overlooked. And that’s a mistake. When you were in school, you studied history of your state, your nation and the world. Perhaps the most important point you could have attained from all of those text books, lectures and, perhaps, even field trips is the often-referenced quote, “Those 4
who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.” As an adult you have likely come to realize that the content of today’s newspapers and other media vehicles is also the content of tomorrow’s history books. Compiling the items in “Ranges in the News” has not only been of benefit to the visitors to the website but to me as well. Creating a Google Search for “shooting ranges,” reviewing daily the articles that are cited in the search and reading each of those has made me even more informed about the subject area that The Range Report covers and about the newsworthy challenges, developments and issues shooting ranges face. Topics for future features are filed. Of course, some unexpected articles come up in a search for “shooting ranges,” such as a number of stories on one or another player in the National Basketball Association who is having trouble shooting from distant ranges, say beyond the three-point line. Among the relevant articles, however, what has struck me is how many entrepreneurs are applying for permits to establish commercial shooting ranges. At the same time, it is frightening to see how virtually every application is opposed by some members of the community. Another topic that frequently comes up is complaints from neighbors aimed at The Range Report Winter 2013
existing ranges concerning noise and safety. If you are an established range, especially an outdoor facility, you may have been subject to such complaints. If the saying “Misery loves company” is a comforting thought, then reading about other ranges being targeted by neighbors can offer therapy. Better than therapy, however, is the cure for what’s ailing you, and by reading how other ranges have The Range Report Winter 2013
addressed complaints, whether legitimate or not, you may find, for immediate or future reference, a satisfactory remedy. Accomplishing that is, of course, a big part of what The Range Report is all about. Our feature articles try to incorporate actual examples from existing shooting facilities to support advice offered. Our Real-life Scenario features are a case study from which readers can learn a valuable lesson. “Building Bridges” in this Winter 2013 issue is a perfect example of a study in cooperation between shooting facilities and official agencies. For all of its great attributes, however, The Range Report is a quarterly publication, meaning that it comes out only four times a year. “Ranges in the News,” however, is updated several times each week. That’s reason enough to make sure you come back often to www.rangereport.org, even after R R you’ve read this issue.
The Range Report, published four times per year by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, is dedicated to serving the needs and to helping meet the challenges of today’s shooting facilities. The Range Report encourages letters, comments, suggestions, questions and tips. Material to be returned should be accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed envelope. The Range Report does not assume responsibility for the loss of unsolicited graphic or written material.
Correspondence should be sent to: The Range Report c/o NSSF 11 Mile Hill Road, Newtown, CT 06470-2359 Fax: 203-426-1245 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org We reserve the right to edit for clarity and space. Bill Dunn Managing Director, Marketing Communications Glenn Sapir Director, Editorial Services Ann Siladi Administrative Assistant (advertising inquiries) Deb Moran Director, Creative Services
NSSF RANGE ADVISORY COMMITTEE Bill Kempffer, chairman of NSSF Range Advisory Committee Deep River Sporting Clays, Inc. Sanford, N.C. email@example.com Don Turner, president Don Turner Consultant, LLC North Las Vegas, Nev. firstname.lastname@example.org Robin Ball, owner Sharp Shooting Indoor Range and Gun Shop Spokane, Wash. Robin@sharpshooting.net Jay Cook, shooting ranges branch chief Arizona Game & Fish Department Phoenix, Ariz. email@example.com
Glenn Duncan, owner Duncan’s Outdoor Shop, Inc. Bay City, Mich. firstname.lastname@example.org Jon Green, director of education and training Gun Owners Action League (GOAL) Northborough, Mass. email@example.com Holden Kriss, director Indian River County Public Shooting Range Sebastian, Fla. firstname.lastname@example.org Brandy Liss, HR director & marketing coordinator The Arms Room League City, Texas email@example.com John Monson, president Bill’s Gun Shop & Range Robbinsdale & Circle Pines, Minn. firstname.lastname@example.org
Phil Murray, national sales manager White Flyer Houston, Texas Murray826@aol.com David O’Meara, vice president Meggitt Training Systems Suwanee, Ga. email@example.com Stan Pate, president Oregon State Shooting Association Albany, Ore. firstname.lastname@example.org Doug VanderWoude, range program manager AcuSport Corporation Bellefontaine, Ohio dvanderwoude@AcuSport.com
TheThe Range Range Report Report Winter Fall 2012 2013
The Range Report Winter 2013
Sighting In Scoping out news for the shooting range community
NSSF Offers DVD Package on Range and Retail Development The proceedings of the successful Indoor Range & Retail Development Workshop sponsored by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) is now available in a nine-disk DVD package. This package is an invaluable resource for anyone exploring the idea or currently in the planning stages of opening an indoor range/retail business. NSSF, of course, is the trade association of the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industry. The NSSF Indoor Range & Retail Development Workshop DVD Package includes all presentations, panel discussions and materials provided to seminar attendees in St. Louis in June. Included are answers to questions such as Where do I get started? To whom should I talk? How much does it cost? What rules and regulations do I need to follow? Knowledgeable industry representatives address not only these questions but also a variety of other important topics to better prepare those who are in the planning and decision-making
process. A wealth of insights is shared on choosing locations, demographics, public and community relations, planning and permitting, bank relations, profit margins vs. markup, business planning, architectural, general contracting, lead management, store infrastructure, operational expenditures, insurance, staffing and training, polices and procedures, marketing, return on investment and more. An essential educational resource, the nine-disc DVD package provides a roadmap of information and guidance from industry professionals whose years of experience as indoor range/ retail owners, manufacturers and veterans in other segments of the industry can help indoor-range/ retail developers and owners navigate around obstacles they may face. The NSSF Indoor Range and Retail Development Workshop DVD Package is priced as $350 for NSSF members and $695 for non-members. Learn more about this DVD package and order online.
The Range Report Winter 2013
Register Now for Lead Management & OSHA Compliance Workshops If you are looking to ensure that your business practices are in regulatory compliance while determining ways to improve your management practices, NSSF’s Lead Management & OSHA Compliance Workshop is for you. The presenters, each experts in their specialties, have hands-on experience in the fields of environmental law related to shooting ranges, OSHA compliance and inspection, and lead reclamation and range maintenance. Click on the links below to learn more about these workshops and register now! Overview | Speakers | Register | Agenda
Study Emphasizes Making It Fun When Introducing New Shooters
Armed with findings of a new study on what motivates people to participate, the National Shooting Sports Foundation reminds sportsmen and women to keep it “fun and social” when introducing newcomers to the shooting sports. “This is a great time of year to invite newcomers out to the range to learn about target shooting. Knowing to keep things ‘fun and social’ can help you as a mentor and instructor provide a great first-time experience--one that makes the newcomer eager to come back for more,” said Melissa Schilling, director of recruitment and retention for NSSF. The NSSF-supported study, “Understanding Activities That Compete With Hunting and Target Shooting,” was conducted by Southwick Associates and Responsive Management, two respected research firms focusing on outdoor participation and identifying challenges to growing hunting and shooting. The goal of the study is to better understand other outdoor activities that compete with hunting and target shooting so that the right promotional strategies can be used to
The Range Report Winter 2013
reach newcomers and lapsed participants. Among the other conclusions of the study was that electronic and indoor recreation are a threat to recruiting new hunters and target shooters, though using social media can be a powerful tool to recruit newcomers and keep current participants active, as a recent e-marketing program in Florida demonstrated by increasing hunting license renewals by 4.2 percent. Also, when promoting target shooting and hunting, think convenience and perception. “People will not always choose to participate in their favorite activity,” the report noted. “Often, activities that offer greater convenience will be chosen over favored pastimes.” NSSF encourages every individual, organization or company associated with the shooting sports to read the full study here. The Learn to Shoot section of NSSF’s website provides a number of resources to help individuals locate nearby shooting ranges, First Shots seminars, safety courses and firearms retailers. View the NSSF press release reporting on this study.
Q&A Your questions answered
The Consumer Show Option Q. Has participation in consumer shows worked for you? A. John Monson, Bill’s Gun Shop & Range We do a whole bunch of shows, and they are not only sportsmen’s shows. We do women’s shows, wedding shows and home and garden shows, as well as the boat, sports and travel show and the Minnesota Deer Classic. We look for shows that will pull between 35,000 and 50,000 people over the course of the show. I want to show 50,000 people what we are. I will take an old shotgun or bolt-action rifle from our stale inventory and bring it in as free raffle prize. All people have to do is fill out an entry card with their name, address, telephone number and email address, and by filling it out they are authorizing that we can add them to our mailing list. By that method we pick up 2,500 unique names to add to my list. No matter what you do when you exhibit, you must give something away to help attract attendees at the show and get their contact information. Not only do we meet a whole bunch of potential new customers, but we see a lot of regular customers. And both learn a lot about who we are and what we offer. We are not really trying to make money at the show. Instead, I look at 10
this as advertising, and that’s why I don’t have my hard-core sales people staff our booths, but, instead, I will have our promotions person—a woman— and another fellow, perhaps one fellow who is a veteran or maybe a young man on our staff. They all present very good images and are not hard selling. What they are dispensing is information about our facility, our amenities, our classes and our leagues. We wish to project the realistic image that Bill’s Gun Shop & Range is all about safety and education. The booth is a simple table with a drop cloth, loaded with our literature. If the booth is large enough, we’ll have a back wall with photos. The bridal shows actually are very productive. We promote our women’s classes and leagues, and we sell them pepper spray and mace, among other things. They learn about the bachelor and bachelorette parties that we host. And we promote it all in a very nonassertive manner. When we are at the Minnesota Deer Classic, we can’t promote deer hunting, obviously, because we don’t offer that, but the hunters can sight in their guns at our range. Our cost is typically between $1,250 and $1,500. It may cost about $750 for the booth space and another $500 for our staffing. The Range Report Winter 2013
JOHN MONSON Owner Bill’s Gun Shop & Range Twin Cities, Minn. www.billsgs.com
A. Rick Hansen, Silver Bullet Firearms & Training Center We attend several consumer shows annually and continue to find them effective business recruitment tools. Among the shows we have attended are Huntin’ Time Expo, which we have shown at for eight years; the West Michigan Home and Garden Show, where we’ve been for seven years; the Ultimate Sport Show (eight years); and the West Michigan Lake Front Living show and even the Ottawa County Fair, both of which we have been to once. Furthermore, we will be attending West Michigan Women’s Expo in 2013 Our typical booths consist of: a 20-x 4-foot professionally printed sign/header identifying us by name and logo that is suspended over our booth; a variety of Champion and Liberty residential safes; stacks of store brochures and sales flyers; a loop video of recent ads and/or a promotional video of Silver Bullet; one or more smiling, hand-shaking, well-versed, eager-to-serve team members standing attentively, asking show attendees if they are familiar with Silver Bullet Firearms and what we offer and inviting attendees into our booth. At both hunting and sport shows we bring out our LaserShot system operated by the local BSA Venture Crew that we sponsor. We charge a modest The Range Report Winter 2013
RICK HANSEN Manager Silver Bullet Firearms & Training Center Grand Rapids, Mich. www.silverbulletfirearms.com
In Q & A, The Range Report invites NSSF’s Range Advisory Committee members past and present, and others with special expertise, to provide their answers to questions of interest to our readers. If you have a question you’d like to see addressed, submit it to email@example.com. If you would like to comment on the answers given in this edition’s Q&A, or if you have related follow-up questions for these experts, please share your thoughts at the same e-mail address. fee, which we share with the Venture Crew, and we award prizes hourly to our Hot Shot participants. Obviously, we believe we benefit from our participation, and we do so in several ways. First, we are reaching demographics that our core advertising may not cover. Second, we are receiving repetitive exposure as West Michigan’s residential safe experts, as an indoor shooting range open to the public indoor shooting range and as the finest gun shop in the area – “the place to buy.” In addition to a few safe sales at the show we are “planting seeds” that generate store visits by RR motivated buyers. 11
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The Range Report Winter 2013
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The Range Report Winter 2013
Rifle Golf is a new
The Range Report Winter 2013
concept for fun at the range By Jeff Davis
The Range Report Winter 2013
Photo by author
f you put one shooter in an empty room, he will be convinced that he’s the best marksman there. And he’d be correct. The argument may start when you add a second shooter. Spirit Ridge Rifle Golf in northern Utah has developed Rifle Golf – a new concept in shooting range activity that has marksmen coming back and back— and back for more. After shooting a round of Rifle Golf, there will be no doubt who was the better marksman, at least on that day. Rifle Golf uses conventional golf as a model to create a standardized course, scoring system and set of rules, so that shooters of any skill level can compete, either against themselves or other shooters. The game has been a roaring success. “We were looking to build a shooting range on steroids,” said Jeff Peterson, Spirit Ridge’s director of marketing. He and his colleagues came up with the Rifle Golf concept in 2005, and range traffic has doubled every year since then. “It kept evolving and growing, and now we attract many outstanding shooters,” he said. Spirit Ridge hosts leagues, tournaments and other competitions, as well as many individuals and foursomes shooters. The level of competition ranges from single shooters who compete only against their own last round, to very intense contests, some recorded for television, with prizes worth thousands of dollars. A good walk, spoiled? The golf game everyone knows 16
has been famously described as, “A good walk, spoiled.” While I’m inclined to agree with that assessment for conventional golf, it does not apply to Rifle Golf. I shot the course with my friend Ron, and, along with three other shooters, we loaded our gear into rental ATVs. Our spotter/guide drove us out on the rugged trail. We were all firsttimers, and the spotter was invaluable, explaining
f Ridge Rifle Gol Courtesy Spirit
The Range Report Winter 2013
the rules, calling our misses, offering adjustment advice and keeping things safe, organized and moving along. We arrived at the first shooting station after a bumpy 20-minute drive. Four shooting stations ring a central mountain on the six-mile course. Three stations have three “holes” each, with 30 realistic targets at a variety of angles and eleva-
The Range Report Winter 2013
tions, ranging from 175 to 910 yards. Shooters can choose from the easier Classic course (targets from 175 to 535 yards) or the more challenging Master’s course (targets from 250 to 910 yards). The fourth station has a ‘bonus’ 1,000yard target. Two of us, including me, were using .300 Win. Mags. Two were shooting .30-06s, and Ron was using a .243. According to Peterson this was a fairly typical mix of rifles, although he said .223s seem to be the most popular. Most shooters use a single rifle for the entire course. Our group was bonding by the first hole, cheering each other’s hits and commiserating with the misses. Peterson said this was normal. “Most people are here to have a good time, and strangers get to know each other quickly when on the range,” he commented. We gathered under the shelter’s roof and listened as the spotter explained the scoring and target progression. He pointed out the first target on the first hole: a moose at 338 yards. You get two tries to hit a 6-x 8-inch steel plate in the full-size cutout. If you miss both shots you then move onto a closer target— a coyote cutout at 264 yards. If you hit the moose on your first shot you score an “eagle” for one point; if it takes you two shots, it’s a “birdie” for two points, and if you hit the second, closer target (the coyote), you get a “par” for three points. If you miss all three shots, you “bogey” and receive four points. Low score wins. Shooting rotates down the line, with one shooter finishing the hole before the next one starts. 17
There are three holes at each shooting station. For us, after the first hole a natural rhythm set in, and everything moved very smoothly. “Mule deer, straight ahead, facing left, 474 yards,” calls the spotter. The shooter lines up the shot and calls out, “Ready.” The spotter says, “Send it.” Bang! … Clang! … and the crowd goes wild! That is, if you can call five people a crowd. As for me, it was more like, “Ready.” “Send it.” Bang! … “Two inches high, and a foot right. Shoot again.” As the day went on, however, I learned a huge amount about long-range shooting, became more knowledgeable on how to better use my scope and worked on the basics of
shooting. My hit ratio got much better, and four hours later I had a sore shoulder, sunburned ears and a score of 26, which Peterson generously said was “Decent for a first-timer.” I wanted to shoot another round! A round costs $50, and there can be up to six in a group. ATV rental is additional. Peterson said they can normally accommodate singles or pairs, and also larger groups with no problem. “We work individuals in with other groups, and we host many larger groups, including corporate events, family reunions, sales people entertaining clients and even bachelor parties,” Peterson explained. “With advance notice we can offer catering and even lodging.” Peterson noted that there is a
Will Gun Golf Work At Your Range? Jeff Peterson, Spirit Ridge’s director of marketing, hopes that other ranges would take a look at what they’ve done in Utah and adapt it to their facilities. “We think this is like where sporting clays was when that started catching on some years ago,” said Petersen. “We’d love to see a series of Rifle Golf, or gun golf, ranges across the country. Conventional golf courses are all different, but have the same basic rules and scoring system. Gun golf courses can be customized to accommodate local terrain and conditions, but still offer a fun, safe and competitive environment. We have all the room in the world out here, but a small range could have a handgun course, or you could use .22s or put together a unique course that fits into your situation.” Petersen said that the staff at Spirit Ridge would be happy to talk to other range operators about developing the gun golf 18
concept. “We’ve got a playbook here on how to develop and promote gun golf. We’d like to see the concept take root across the country,” said Petersen. Contact Spirit Ridge, or Jeff Peterson directly at 801-725-9752, email jpetey23@ gmail.com. Some points to consider: • Safety is the overriding concern. “If something raises a safety issue, we don’t do it,” Peterson said. Whenever firearms are being moved Spirit Ridge requires them to be unloaded and cased. Eye and ear protection is mandatory, and no alcohol is allowed before or on the range. The spotter/guide assists shooters and helps them enjoy the course, but their primary responsibilities are to make sure everyone is safe and to handle any problems. The Range Report Winter 2013
Photo courtesy Spirit Ridge Rifle Golf
Rifle Golf has attracted not only shooters, but media, too, who are fascinated by this concept.
• The course must fit both novice and expert shooters. Experts can shoot at longer ranges or smaller targets or have handicaps on time or equipment. Everyone needs to have a good time, but also be challenged. • Rules must be simple, and a “go/no go” scoring system makes things easy. Spirit Ridge uses steel targets, where a hit is easy to see and hear, and there is no ambiguity. • Create an outrageously difficult stage that can serve as a bonus point or tiebreaker. At Spirit Ridge it is a 1,000yard target that helps your score if you hit it, but does not count against you if you miss. • Create a course that does not require anyone to go downrange. Closing the The Range Report Winter 2013
range to go reset targets takes too much time and creates a safety problem. Use targets that need no maintenance or can be reset remotely. Too much maintenance time can kill your profit margin and slow down all shooters. Design targets that are durable and easy to repair. Have a backup target in case the main one is damaged. • Marketing is essential. Start with your current members or customers and make full use of social media. • Listen to your customers, test the course thoroughly and don’t be afraid to make modifications if you discover something isn’t working. • Create leagues and tournaments and offer other incentives to build your customer base. 19
Photo courtesy Spirit Ridge Rifle Golf
strictly enforced alcohol ban prior to shooting and on the course. It takes about three to four hours to shoot the course — and about 30 rounds of ammo for a typical shooter. The range is open from sunup to sundown. Each shooting station has overhead cover on a concrete base with tables and chairs; six individual shooting benches face the range. “Safety is paramount,” said Peterson. “When moving between stations all firearms must be unloaded and cased. Anyone who is unsafe will be removed from the range.” As the range and Rifle Golf has evolved and matured new activities and shooting challenges have been developed. For example, last July Spirit Ridge hosted the second annual Vortex extreme tournament, where 50 teams of two shooters ran the course, literally. Scores were based on 20
both shooting and the time it took to complete the seven-mile course on foot. Each team, paying a $500 entry fee, carried all their gear over the rugged, hilly terrain. This event is increasing in popularity, for entrants, sponsors and spectators. The range sits on 10,000 acres of family land about 90 miles north of Salt Lake City. In addition to the Rifle Golf course there is also a practice “driving range,” situated in a canyon near the clubhouse, with targets in hundredyard increments from 100 to 1,200 yards. I have to admit it: I’m hooked. This was a blast to shoot but at the same time very humbling, demonstrating the limits of my ability. My only problem is this Rifle Golf range is about 1,500 miles from my house, one way. But it’s so much fun, I’m planRR ning to go back. The Range Report Winter 2013
Preventative Medicine The benefits of Being an NSSF Retail Member National Shooting Sports Foundation®
irearms and ammunition retailers have it tougher than ever and their issues vary. Unfriendly laws. Aggressive competition. But retailers have a partner in the business. The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the voice of the firearms industry and a trusted resource for outdoor sporting goods retailers. By becoming a NSSF member, you are never alone. Some key benefits designed specifically for retailers include: • Comprehensive materials and guidance to maintain ATF/legal compliance with everything from a 4473 overlay to a new legal hotline just for retailers. • Discounts to help retailers grow from national brands such as Federal Express® and Staples® to cost savings for services such as credit card processing, employee background checks and telecommunications offerings. • Customized services and amenities at the industry’s leading trade event, the SHOT Show®. • Programs and partnerships to help recruit new customers such as First Shots®, Hunting Heritage Partnership® and the NSSF Range Grant Program. • Discounts on the industry’s benchmark research that gives retailers a competitive edge During this year when our industry will be challenged more than ever, your NSSF membership helps you grow your business and adds one more strong voice to our chorus. Contact Bettyjane Swann at 203-426-1320 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Winter 20122013 The Range Report Fall
Shooting Range First-Aid Be prepared when situations arise By Kevin Reese
tatistics show how safe shooting ranges are; yet, when someone is injured at a range, you must have first-aid components on hand. Everette Lasiter, rangemaster at 69 Clays, a skeet, trap and 5-Stand shooting range in Miami, Okla., said, “Our first priority is to make sure our range is safe for visitors.” He says his range strives to prevent accidents, but is prepared to react to one. Owner of Dark Angel Medical, Kerry Davis, a certified emergency medical technician and expert on shooting range emergency response, believes that first-aid kits “add simplicity to stress.” Several levels of first-aid kits are found in the market place: • Basic First-Aid Kit – These are the most common and can include adhesive bandages, standard gauze pads, antiseptic, aspirin, tape, scissors, gloves, sun screen, mole skin, lip balm, antibacterial ointment, sling and other items to treat minor injuries. • Personal Trauma Kit – Consists of items geared for treating traumatic injuries such as a tourniquet, nasal air way (keep airway open), chest seals, hemostatic gauze, regular gauze, 4-inch pressure dressing, gloves, scissors and other items. • First Responder Kit– Generally consists of items to treat victims of injuries and other emergency medical conditions. Though these kits may include some elements of a basic first-aid kit, the primary purpose of this kit is to equip the responder to aggressively treat major medical emergencies and traumatic injuries. First Responder Kits may be found on the firing lines or in the range office and are most often used to satisfy the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) requirement for a first-aid kit. An increasing number of shooting ranges include a defibrillator in this first responder kit. 22
The Range Report Winter 2013
d Kits An inventory list should be created for any first-aid kit and monitored closely. Use of contents means replacing them at a rate that does not compromise the effectiveness of the kit. Responsibility for kit contents should fall on the kit owners and those employees who are trained and primarily responsible for giving first response treatment. For shooting ranges, it is recommended that an employee certified in first aid should be on duty at any time the shooting range is open. Training can be attained through many avenues. The American Red Cross offers comprehensive first-aid training and is likely the most recognized means of obtaining certification. Dark Angel Medical also offers a Direct Action Response Course (DARC). DARC is a two-day clinic focused on training participants in the effective use of firstaid kits with an emphasis on shooting-related injuries. SigSauer Academy also offers a Bullets and Bandages (B & B) training program. B & B is comprised of three days of comprehensive firstaid training. Both DARC and B & B equip shooting enthusiasts, firearm trainers and shooting-range employees to effectively manage medical emergencies through proper first-aid techniques. These training courses also are a great way to ensure that trained responders take the initiative to build and maintain RR suitable first responder kits. The Range Report Winter 2013
The Range Report Winter 2013
The Range Report Winter 2013
ocial media tools like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have captured the attention of literally billions of people. Pick a way to spend leisure time, and you are certain to find hundreds of Facebook pages, YouTube channels and Twitter threads dedicated to those pursuits. Small businesses like shooting ranges now realize these tools can be an effective way to build communities of loyal customers. After launching social media pages dedicated to promoting their businesses, facility managers can watch followers post comments about their experiences. Tapping into these online conversations can have a significant impact. “Some companies have no idea their customers are already out on the Internet talking about their companies,” noted Tim Shoopman, director of social media, H&H Shooting Sports, Oklahoma City, Okla. “Getting out there and leading the conversation with social media tools puts you out in front so you can deal with anything that comes up.” Sara Lingafelter, director of digital and social strategy for Verde PR & Consulting, agrees. “People are talking about your business whether you are listening to them or not,” Lingafelter said. “At 26
a minimum you need to be listening to what people are saying about you. Listening and responding in a thoughtful way is no longer optional.” Social media tools have made access to consumers far simpler than traditional marketing methods. “Small businesses are now able to see the impacts of their actions in almost real time,” reported Eric Berto, who works in social media communications at Waggener Edstrom Worldwide, a public relations firm. “If folks come into your business and have either a positive or poor experience, the owner of the business can respond to their feedback in almost real time.” Brad Paul, owner, Sounds of Freedom in Ozark Mo., has used social media to introduce local shooters to his range’s services. “When people get online and want to find a place to shoot, our name comes up and they find positive reviews, great photos and videos,” said Paul. “They will see that I’m legitimate. They will be able to find me and contact me.” Andrew Whitehead, marketing coordinator for Black Wing Shooting Center in Delaware, Ohio, has seen tangible results from the company’s social media efforts. “We are constantly growing our audiences,” Whitehead said. “People The Range Report Winter 2013
H&H Shooting Sports in Oklahoma City uses a variety of social media to deliver its message and keep its finger on the pulse of public comment. “Getting out there and leading the conversation with social media tools,” said Tim Shoopman, director of social media for H&H, “puts you out in front so you can deal with anything that comes up.”
come into the facility telling us they’ve seen our posts and tweets. We are able to connect with our customers in a way that didn’t exist 10 years ago. It’s a huge part of how people communicate today. Having an active presence on social media is a must for us.” Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other tools such as Tumblr and Pinterest attract different audiences and require unique approaches. “Each medium has a different audience associated with it,” explained The Range Report Winter 2013
Shoopman. “Facebook attracts a broader audience. You can get more tailored with tools like Twitter, Tumblr or Foursquare. You can deliver a message more exact to those audiences. We have developed an online community and have seen those people come into the store and become repeat customers.” Lingafelter said “Think about who your dream customer is and then think about what that customer wants from your business in terms of social 27
outreach. It’s more about setting your goals and building a community that reflects those goals than chasing specific demographics.” Black Wing Shooting Center tailors messages by audience to promote the variety of services offered. “We vary our posts to match our various customers’ needs,” Whitehead said. “Our posts include industry topics and consumer polls. It’s a great way to see what the customers like and what they want to see.” Berto reported, “Audience segmentation is vital. You have to be aware of the kinds of people you want to come through your doors. There is no stereotypical shooting sports person.
You have to be able to appeal to a cross section of people. “The strongest new business will come from people who are already customers,” he added. “You can’t take them seriously enough.” Positive comments have a way of spreading themselves across social media communities. “When you post, if someone likes something, then all their friends get to see that as well,” said Paul. “A gun 28
range needs to do this because of the way the world works now and how people seek information online.” Not every social media tool is appropriate or needed to build an online community. Brandy Liss, director of human resources and advertising for The Arms Room, in League City, Texas, has found local customers prefer Facebook. “I haven’t had people say we need to be on Twitter,” noted Liss. “We are always looking at what people are talking about, and we go out and investigate. Pinterest attracts women, but after looking at what they were doing on the site we weren’t sure how we would present in that media. We are picking and choosing what works best.” Managing the Conversation Posting information about the range is just half the job. Monitoring posts from followers is equally important. “If someone had a good experience with your business, they will tell their family and friends,” said Lingafelter. “Social media has amplified that. The real change is handling the more difficult or negative consumer experiences. If someone has a negative experience with your business, then where that used to be something that would be shared with friends and family or a letter to the editor, now these folks have mouthpieces to share with a much broader audience.” When those types of comments appear, responding strategically and quickly is important. “We have had that problem in the The Range Report Winter 2013
past and have had to learn how to deal with it,” explained Shoopman. “The beauty of the Internet is that it creates a sense of confidence. You can be anyone you want to be behind a keyboard.” Facebook posts on H&H Shooting Sports social media sites go through moderation before they are posted for public reading. “When our guests have a legitimate complaint we try to address that, but if they are trolling and trying to cause a problem out of nothing, that’s when we have to interact and monitor our posts and boards,” said Shoopman. Because shooting ranges may have to address larger and potentially
controversial issues such as gun control, having a formal plan in place to respond to negative posts can help the range respond to such messages from social media followers. “Simply be prepared,” said Berto. “The best crisis communication strategy is to have a plan in place. Even if the message is ‘We’re investigating; we will comment shortly,’ a short message like that is helpful.” Berto recommends creating a style guide that addresses various scenarios. “In most cases those crisis scenarios are relatively predictable problems, such as poor service,” he said. Lingafelter added,” There are
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sensitive subjects, and there are customers who can’t be made happy. That’s all part of the practice of this work. Spell out what to do in the case of a 9-1-1. When one of those controversial topics comes up your staff will know how best to handle it in a way that’s true to the brand.” Responding quickly can turn a follower with a problem into a future ambassador. Followers watching the interaction may also be impressed. When appropriate Liss responds in person to make sure the complaint is handled professionally and ends with a positive outcome. “I will take the lead on any responses and delegate as appropriate,” said Liss. “This is my family’s business. If there is a controversy or hurt feelings, I will address it and respond with my name on it. Go out there and be diplomatic. Communicate with people with whom you may not otherwise get the opportunity to redeem the business. I’ve had people come to our defense.” Whitehead said, “We want to make sure we aren’t alienating any customers. I don’t let a comment sit there. I will address it.” Learning to use social media effectively takes time, talent and a willingness to experiment with tools and messages. Once started, staying involved with the growing number of followers is key to success. Though no hard and fast rules on frequency exist, Lingafelter suggests watching how the audience responds. “Is the audience growing and engaged or are people abandoning you 30
in droves? Keeping an eye on what’s happening with your following will help you know how you are doing in terms of frequency and whether what you are doing is resonating with your audience,” she explained. “When a company is setting a precedent of how they are going to use a digital channel such as Facebook, Twitter or YouTube, then they need to be aware that any community they create as a result of that action is going to expect that
level of interaction going forward,” reported Berto. “There will be folks who are asking questions via Twitter. Is the person you’ve hired addressing those questions, or is the channel going silent? You are going to lose that audience and in turn lose any business coming from them if you do remain silent.” Shooting ranges across the country have used social media tools to build committed, involved and loyal customer bases. You should do the same. “Be willing to try and be genuine,” advised Lingafelter. “Don’t be afraid to tell your story. The rewards for R doing that far outweigh the risks.” R The Range Report Winter 2013
OPEN THE DOOR TO NEW FACES An introduction to shooting
Haven’t held a First Shots event yet at your range?
Already held a First Shots event at your range?
An introduction to shooting
2nd Round — Moving Forward
Help introduce first-time shooters in
Bring those new shooters back for a
your community to firearms safety and the shooting sports — and grow your business in the process. The National Shooting Sports Foundation is here to help with your event. We’ll provide assistance with:
Second Round. This new segment of the First Shots program gives those newly introduced shooters a chance to try one of the shooting sports in a friendly and fun environment.
• Co-op Advertising • Targets • Ammunition
• Did they try shotgun shooting? Give them an intro to skeet this time. • Did they try handgun shooting? Give them an intro to steel targets.
• Reference Guide • Presentation Materials
Schedule a seminar at nssf.org/firstshots
Interested? Contact email@example.com
Seen at the
Photo by Deb Moran 32
The Range Report Winter 2013
OPTIONS & INNOVATIONS
industry debut of new products didnâ€™t ignore shooting ranges By Carolee Anita Boyles The Range Report Winter 2013
Photo courtesy of AmmoUp
he SHOT Show in January is the time for everything new. That’s when manufacturers bring out all their new products for the year. The Range Report searched the aisles for a good cross-section of targets, target-delivery systems, gun safes, maintenance equipment and other products to help ranges make money and stay in business.
Maintenance Ammo Broom was back for only its second year at the SHOT Show. This wire “roller on a stick” picks up spent brass. Designed after a similar device to pick up nuts, it lets the user collect the brass and then dump it into a bucket, all without bending over.
Photo courtesy of Ammo Broom
Also from Ammo Broom is the Gunsmith Clear, which allows a gunsmith or range operator to clear a firearm without going onto the range to do so. It safely handles pistol and rifle rounds up to .300 Win Mag. Ammo-Up has tweaked the technology of its brass-collecting equipment very slightly to prevent jams. Based on the design of the Bag-A-Nut—which is 34
Photo courtesy of Tetra Gun Care
owned by the same parent company— the Ammo-Up machine picks up brass over a large area and deposits it into a hopper for easy removal. It works for rifle and pistol ammo, shotgun shells and paintballs. If your range repairs your rental guns or offers on-site gunsmithing, Brownell’s is a one-stop shop for tools, parts, accessories and a wide array of gun-cleaning supplies. Tetra Gun Care has a professional gun vise that provides stability when working on a firearm. The feet and all the gripping surfaces are rubberized to prevent marring or scratching of the working surface or the firearm.
Tetra Gun Care
Range management ARS Business Solutions has a complete range-management program that allows the range operator to enter The Range Report Winter 2013
Safety equipment E. A. R. has introduced a filtered ear plug called the HearDefender that’s a variable attenuator; as the noise level rises, the sound suppression increases. The Hear Defender is available in three sizes and two colors. For range operators who wish to add an educational
Champion ballistic-grade half-frame
Photo courtesy of E.A.R.
component about hearing and hearing protection, E. A. R. has developed a music video called “Acoustical Confusion: Talking Hearing Loss Blues,” available on CD or viewable on the company’s website. The newest thing from Howard Leight is the Impact Pro ear muff. It has all the same electronic capabilities and features of the Impact Sport model, but has a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of 30. It runs on two AAA batteries and has an MP3 player interface. Radians has a new licensed Bone Collector line of hearing protectors and safety glasses that will become available in March. The company also has signed a license with Smith & Wesson for both the Smith & Wesson and M&P brands that will involve glasses, hearing protection, gloves and high-visibility and reflective wear. A number of other
Photo courtesy of Champion
all the lanes, track customers who come onto the range, track firearm rentals and see how long each lane has been in use; color coding shows when a customer is over his time limit on a lane. It’s useful for both indoor and outdoor ranges, and provides full inventory management and point of sale functions. By linking it to the range’s website, the range operator can allow customers to make lane reservations online. Business Control Systems’ range management program offers membership tracking (including membership expiration dates) and tracks rental guns and flags them for service, allows customers to “run a tab” and tracks training sessions. Range operators can set up mailings and e-mailings to their membership, file photo IDs in the system, set up membership IDs or use driver’s licenses for identification.
“Made in the USA” products are available from Radians; some are new this year, and some already are well known. Champion has added two new pairs of shooting glasses to its lineup, one full-frame pair and one half-frame pair. Both are ballistic-grade glasses with smoke mirror lenses; both wrap around for safety. Firearms storage For ranges with high-end guns they need to secure, Stack-On has a line of tactical gun safes designed for modern
The Range Report Winter 2013
Targeting systems Portability has come to Laser Shot, with the Portable Small Arms Training Simulator (PSATS). The unit is small enough for one person to carry and is capable of using laser inserts for commonly available firearms. It’s a “plug and play” system that can turn any room into a virtual shooting range, with a number of hunting and target
Meggitt Training System
Photo courtesy of Meggitt Training Systems
sporting rifles (MSRs) but suitable for any collection of long guns. These safes have slots specifically for guns with different barrel lengths and AR-style stocks, with adjustable barrel rests to accommodate any rifles. The cabinet interiors can be adapted to house two racks of long guns or one rack of long guns and one of handguns, extended magazines and ammo or accessories. Liberty Safe & Security also went tactical this year, with the introduction of two new safes for MSRs. One holds 24 firearms, and one holds 48; both have flexible interiors and a Velcro door panel for storage of a shotgun on the interior of the door. Extra tactical and utility cases, ammo cans and accessory trays add to the functionality and flexibility. Browning has added new lighting and storage options to the company’s existing safe line. The new Axis Shelving System turns each safe into a customizable storage system; shelves
Photo courtesy of Liberty Safe & Security
48 firearm safe by Liberty
can be adjusted for maximum storage space. Standard on the Platinum Plus, Gold and Select Series Safes and optional on the Medallion and Silver Safes, new interior LED lighting makes finding items in safes easy.
games available. The law enforcement version of PSATS includes skill drills, judgmental training software with 50 scenarios and a pro shooting challenge. Meggitt Training Systems is integrating the simulation experience with traditional range time. Its simulator provides both hunting scenarios and judgmental scenarios for law enforcement and home defense. The system works with Bluetooth The Range Report Winter 2013
Photo courtesy of Custom Metal Products
wireless technology; laser inserts in commonly available firearms provide shot analysis and show shooters how to improve their performance.
Targets Brownell’s is carrying more targets, including Action Target, ZMB EnterCustom Metal prises, Birchwood Casey, Challenge Products Targets, National Target, LaserLyte, cowboy-themed MGM Targets and many others. silhouette At Custom Metal Products, the targets emphasis this year is on Cowboy Action Shooting. The .22 helicopter spinPhoto courtesy of Do-All Outdoors company has ner. The company also developed a line has some new Impactof Cowboy Action Seal ground-bouncing targets including a targets for outdoor cowboy plate rack, ranges, including the a sequential tombShooting Star, the stone plate rack Great Pyramid and with successively a new skull-shaped smaller targets, target called the Boneresettable cowboy head. poppers and The Impact Seal Deer various cowboyCrossing Target from themed silhouette Do-All Outdoors allows targets. Shotgun shooters to indulge targets include the whim to shoot at a bird-thrower a “deer crossing” sign. popper. The company also has Do-All Outdoors Do-All Outdoors Impact Seal two new Impact Seal has a new .17 to silhouettes, one of which has a handgun-rated metal Photo courtesy of MGM Targets plate behind the main target area so shooters can hear the “ding” when the bullet hits the target. Rimfire targets are hot at MGM Targets this year. New targets include resetting poppers, a dueling tree, a plate rack, a spinner and a whirligig that resembles a Texas Star. Birchwood Casey has a new Pregame MGM rimfire series of photo-quality wildlife targets targets, including duck, turkey, deer and coyote targets. The company The Range Report Winter 2013
RESOURCE DIRECTORY Ammo Broom (No More Bending) 1111 Desert Lane, Suite 2286 Las Vegas, NV 89102 702-475-5373 www.ammobroom.com
Champion Traps & Targets (ATK Sporting) 1 ATK Way Anoka, MN 55303 800-831-0850 www.championtarget.com
Meggitt Training Systems 296 Brogdon Road Suwannee, GA 30024 678-288-1090 www.meggitttrainingsystems.com
Ammo-Up 10601 Theresa Drive Jacksonville, FL 32246 904-641-3934 www.ammoupusa.com
Custom Metal Product (CMP) 5781 Westwood Drive Weldon Spring, MO 63304 636-329-0142 www.custommetalprod.com
MGM Targets/Mike Gibson Manufacturing 17891 Karcher Road Caldwell, ID 83607 208-454-0555 www.mgmtargets.com
ARS Business Solutions 940 Industrial Drive, Suite 107 Sauk Rapids, MN 56379 320-252-5355 www.arss.com
Do-All Traps (Do-All Outdoors) 216 19th Avenue North Nashville, TN 37203 615-260-4889 www.doalloutdoors.com
Radians 5305 Distriplex Farms Drive Memphis, TN 38141 901-388-7776 www.radians.com
E. A. R. P. O. Box 18888 Boulder, CO 80303 303-447-2619 www.earinc.com
Savage Range Systems 100 Springdale Road Westfield, MA 01085 413-568-7001 www.savagerangesystems.com
Howard Leight (Honeywell) 900 Douglas Pike Smithfield, RI 02917 866-786-2353 www.howardleightshootingsports.com
Stack-On Products Company 1360 North Old Rand Road P. O. Box 489 Wauconda, IL 60084 www.stack-on.com
Birchwood Casey 7900 Fuller Road Eden Prairie, MN 55344 952-937-7933 www.birchwoodcasey.com Brownellâ€™s 200 South Front Street Montezuma, IA 50171 641-623-5401 www.brownells.com Browning 1 Browning Place Morgan, UT 84050 801-876-2711 www.browning.com
Laser Shot 4214 Bluebonnet Drive Stafford, TX 77477 281-240-1122 www.lasershot.com
Business Control Systems 1173 Green Street Iselin, NJ 08830 732-283-1301 www.businesscontrol.com
Liberty Safe & Security 1199 West Utah Avenue Payson, UT 84651 801-925-1000 www.libertysafe.com
Tetra Gun Care 8 Vreeland Road Florham Park, NJ 07932 973-443-0004 www.tetraguncare.com
The Range Report Winter 2013
Birchwood Casey wildlife and game targets Photo courtesy of Birchwood Casey
also has some new “game” targets (shooting games, not game for hunting) such as the Starburst and the Checkered Flag; both of these allow shooters to compete with one another in “fun” matches. Birchwood Casey also has added to its line of zombie targets for 2013. Champion Targets has added several new zombies to its already long list of targets. Their six pack of zombie targets includes two each of “Crazy Clown Takedown,” “Wild Turkey Terror” and “Brain Starved Buck;” the “Grizzly Bear Scare” comes in a 50-count bulk pack. Champion also has a number of new Dura-Seal Champion Dura-Seal targets, including a bowling pin wobble target, a Bowling Pin Target zombie-head target, a hanging ball swinging target, and two ground-bouncing targets. Two interlocking swinging targets round out the company’s new Dura-Seal Photos courtesy of Champion Targets products. Look for four new steel targets from Savage Range Systems. All are riflerated; the lineup includes a windmill or Texas star, a dueling tree, a dual spinner and a self-setting target for longR distance shooters. R Champion zombie targets The Range Report Winter 2013
Forging positive relationships with government agencies really pays
By Tom Carpenter
t is said that there are only two certainties in life: death and taxes. When you’re in the shooting range business, however, there’s one more absolute: regulations. There’s no way around them, and there’s no way around having to deal with the agencies that monitor and enforce them. You can choose to bristle and balk at these agencies and their rules, or you can take a positive-minded approach and work closely with them. Here’s why and how one shooting organization – the Oregon Association of Shooting Ranges (OASR) – took the high road. Their building bridges approach has really paid off. Advantages of a state range organization “We’ve organized our state’s shooting ranges in such a way that 40
we’re not fighting the agencies,” said George Pitts, chairman of the Oregon Association of Shooting Ranges (OASR). “Rather, the range association makes sure all members comply with all regulations. It’s what we want to do, and it’s the right thing to do. When you work hand-in-hand with the agencies, and when potential issues come up, you have a track record of good performance. “Ranges can’t look at themselves as competitors,” Pitts continued. “We all have similar interests, and now smaller clubs, ranges and shooting organizations can join, contribute to and enjoy the clout that a larger association offers.” An association can represent ranges, maintain key relationships with the regulatory agencies, help ranges comply with rules and be an advocate. “The NSSF provided the seed money The Range Report Winter 2013
it took to get our organization going 10 years ago,” says Pitts. “We’ve been proud to go to different states and talk to their folks to tell them how we got organized and how their ranges can benefit. Washington and Wisconsin are two examples.” Why agency relationships matter It is counter-productive to “fight” state agencies or view them as enemies. Their job is to regulate safety and safeguard the environment. “We explain to our ranges why it’s so important to maintain good relationships and be proactive about complying,” explained Pitts. “Sometime you’re going to need that agency backing you up. The alternative is to have environmental groups or anti-gun groups take down your local ranges one at a time. “We developed our organization as a result of people using the state agencies to try to do just that. It can bankrupt you in terms of money— lawyer fees—and time—your own—to fight it. “But if you’ve established a relationship with your state agencies, claims and suits never may never really get off the ground,” Pitts added. “You can actually work yourself into a relationship such that a regulatory department might call you first, before even investigating a claim.” That’s one reward for openly working hard to comply with all rules and regulations: the agencies become your allies. “Here’s the key,” summarized Pitts. “Maintaining a relationship with your agencies is critical. It says, ‘We’re serious, we’re credible, we have the same goals as you do and we’re not trying to sneak anything The Range Report Winter 2013
by. We do everything with you, and by the book.’ This means that other groups and organizations can’t use the environmental or regulatory agencies against you. You’ve got the working relationship on your side. Then when there’s a claim against a range, you’re the good guy. “These people have the latitude to make your life miserable, or less miserable,” Pitts laughed. But it’s true. “Be cooperative,” is his advice in a nutshell. “Their jobs, at times, can’t be much fun. You can make it better. Be a
Agencies with Which to Work The actual names of agencies with which to work may change from state to state. Here’s the Oregon Association of Shooting Ranges’ list: • State Department of Lands: Involved with anything concerning wetlands and moving earth • Department of Environmental Quality: Monitors and enforces environmental quality standards, such as lead levels. Enforces EPA regulations • State Justice Department: Reviews your nonprofit status and books • Department of Fish and Wildlife: Your state wildlife management or natural resources agency—a valuable collaboration opportunity • Local Chambers of Commerce: Encourage business in your community • City / Local Governments: Local ordinances such as noise and hours • Police Organizations: Important allies. Get them shooting at your range!
How to Build Relationships with Agencies It’s easy to talk a good plan. Here, however, are some specific ideas for starting to build relationships with your state agencies. Invite Them to Speak. “Bring in a guest speaker from an agency,” advised George Pitts, chairman of the Oregon Association of Shooting Ranges (OASR). “That’s the perfect way to show you’re serious as a group, meet key folks, get them to talk about what they see as important and give your members a chance to ask questions. We [OASR] did this with state lands. The speaker, now our friend, actually said, ‘Give us a call and have us out when you’re thinking about a project or plans. We can help you figure out the best way, show you how to do it efficiently and stay in line with the law.’ It doesn’t get any better than that.” Set Up Environmental Stewardship Plans. “We want every range in our association to have an
positive force, and that will pay off.” Real-life examples Stan Pate, vice chair of OASR, gives a couple of examples of how building great agency relationships can pay dividends. “Our range, the Douglas Ridge Rifle Club, had mistakenly pushed some soil into a wetland,” Pate said, “so we called the Department of State Lands (DSL). Their representative was on her guard,
Environmental Stewardship Plan (ESP),” said Pitts. “It shows you have a plan and documentation, went through channels and that you are working to do the right thing. Your agency reviews become short and relatively inexpensive.” It’s also a great defense against suits. Ask Questions. “Be specific and ask questions that show you want to do right,” said Stan Pate, vice chairman of OASR. “Recognize them as experts, get to know them and their rules, and build a positive
but when we had our meeting, we asked how to fix it. She about fell out of her chair, then smiled. “We collaborated, made a work plan and said we would work with them. We followed the plan and timeline. When the inspector came out, we had exceeded requirements. They were already of the mindset that we were good guys.” Here’s what the inspector said that
It is counter-productive to “fight” state agencies, or view them as enemies. Their job is to regulate safety and safeguard the environment.
The Range Report Winter 2013
relationship.” Do your homework. Make sure your range is up to date and compliant before inviting an agency representative to review your operation. “Their job is to shut you down if things aren’t right,” said Pate. “A better first step is to know the rules and get yourself compliant. Then I think the agency would be flattered to come look and help.”
day: “I like working with people like you. You’re willing to do what’s reasonable. I just came from a guy (in a different business) that doesn’t see it like you, and he’s going to jail.” All that is due to the relationship built with the agency. “We’re at the point that when a member range wants to move soil,” added Pate, “DSL is there to help us find the easy route to approval. They want us to do it right, but they’re more than happy to help us do it The Range Report Winter 2013
efficiently.” Another example involved the Tri-County Gun Club, next to the Sherman, Ore., city line. The range could have been grandfathered in under older, lessstringent noise rules. The range, however, chose to comply with the new rules. They told the city manager so. Now the city manager is on the range’s side, and when a few complaints did come from citizens, the city manager told them everything was under code. The city became the range’s new defender. One final and important example that both Pitts and Pate describe involved a disgruntled former member of a range who, according to Pitts, “brought us in on frivolous charges” to every organization and agency possible. But because of the association’s fine record and documentation with state agencies, all charges were dismissed by summary judgment at all levels. That’s good insurance. Building relationships with key agencies is key to long-term success in the shooting range business. This approach works especially well when your state has a shooting association, such as OASR, to represent ranges. The agencies can make or break you. If, however, you’ve been working with them, following the rules, asking their advice and striving to adhere to regulations, that track record is only going to help you. Pitts said it best: “Show that you’re interested in doing the right things for the right reasons. That’s what it’s all about.” It’s simple. It’s positive. And it RR builds a bridge to success. 43
undercover shooter Sporting Clays in Central New York
The The Empire Empire State State shows shows its its rural rural side side to to two two shotgunners shotgunners
ew York state offers abundant opportunities for shotgun enthusiasts. For this assignment, a friend and I picked out two comparable sporting clays courses in central New York we had never visited. In the spirit of this great game, both of these sportsmen’s clubs were friendly, welcoming, fun and safe. In the end, it was difficult to choose one club that we preferred over the other.
A challenging woods course
Located in the rural rolling hills of central New York dairy farm country, a 1930s cut-stone club house is home to this historic sportsmen’s club, which was originally founded in 1907. The club facilities include fields for skeet, trap, black powder, sporting clays, 5-Stand, rifle, archery, pistol and 3-D archery. Shooting instruction, as well as hunter education courses, is offered at the club house. A specific staff person was not in charge, but we were greeted by a friendly 44
and welcoming club member who helped us get signed in. The gentleman was patient and informative. We saw that the club house had a full dining hall and bar facilities; however, they weren’t open for service on the morning we were there. The clubhouse did offer the basic necessities, however, and the bathrooms were clean. The cost of a round of clays included a complimentary shuttle in a pick-up truck, custom fitted with bench seats in the bed, to the summer “Woods Course,” which lies at the bottom of a steep, wooded ravine. The short ride to the first station was fun and definitely would be welcome for seniors or other shooters with somewhat limited mobility. Once down the hill, shooters are on their own to walk from station to station. Most of the stations were set with manual traps that were operated by a trapper who guided us through the course. The woods course was challenging with many realistic field shooting scenarios and some deceiving shots over the ravine. I would have liked to have been offered a little more variety in the types of targets presented, but the course was exciting nonetheless. The Range Report Winter 2013
In the winter months, the sporting clays course is moved out of the woods to the top of the hill, next to the clubhouse, where it is more easily maintained. The other shooters in our group had positive things to say about the relatively more open “Top of the Hill,” course, but I can’t comment on it from experience. The staff, club members and our fellow shooters were all very friendly and helpful. Before we left, a staff member went out of his way to come over to us and thank us for coming and welcome us back anytime. I was impressed by the level of courtesy at this shooting club. Range B
A fun course with a variety of targets
The second sportsmen’s club I visited was located in the rural countryside, just south of Auburn. We arrived on this weekend morning to find a small crowd of shooters gathered in front of the clubhouse socializing and watching fellow shooters. The porch of the clubhouse offered a good view of the 5-Stand and skeet ranges. There are also two trap fields, one of which has a new wobble trap. I noticed that flood lights would allow evening shooting in the fall and winter months. Another feature was a 40-foot-high tower for practicing high overhead or crossing targets. The aroma of hot coffee wafted from the clubhouse, which was serving hot breakfast from the The Range Report Winter 2013
kitchen. A friendly staff member helped us sign-in for the sporting clays course and explained that there would be a short wait before we could get on the course. While we waited I used the restroom, which was clean and tidy, but unfortunately the toilets were having some septic problems. I suspect this could be a common problem at many of these longestablished clubhouses as their infrastructure gets older, but it was only a little bothersome. Without too much delay, we met our shooting squad partners, another man and woman who were also new to the course. As a female shooter, I appreciated the opportunity to shoot with another woman. That was a welcome surprise. The sporting clays course was set with a 50-bird menu and 20 possible stations. However I think we shot only a dozen of those stations. I found the course exceptionally fun to shoot, and I appreciated the variety of targets thrown both manually and some mechanically. There was a good mix of quartering and crossing targets, as well as rabbits, springing teals, chandelles and midis. There was even a station where the clays were bounced off a trampoline, creating a fun, arcing target. The course offered a variety of challenging shots, yet I felt that novice to intermediate shooters would still find it very doable. 45
undercover shooter scorecard Each category is rated on a scale of 1-5 with 5 being the highest score. Editor’s note: The Undercover Shooter is an experienced recreational shooter but is not trained in technical aspects of range design and operation. Range A Customer Satisfaction Rating Signage and Visibility ....................................4 • Those traveling from Rt. 20 or other points south should print directions from Google maps, as the rural farm roads can be confusing and the sign is a little difficult to see from that direction.
Safety ...........................................................4 • The sporting clays course and fellow shooters all appeared safe. • Safety information was posted; however, no additional safety instructions were presented to us.
Layout and Setting ........................................5 • Set in rural farm country • The summer sporting clays course is set in a beautiful, wooded ravine. The course requires some easy to moderate walking in uneven terrain. • The winter sporting clays is in a more open setting, close to the clubhouse.
Programs and Membership ............................5 • Annual individual membership $40/ year. Youth and seniors are $10/ $20, respectively. • Members save an average of $1 per game of skeet, trap or clays. • The club holds several benefit and fun shoots throughout the year, open to members and nonmembers.
Retail Product Availability ............................3 • Retail is mainly limited to ammunition.
Cleanliness ...................................................4 • Clean and generally tidy clubhouse. • The indoor restrooms were clean and adequate. • I’d recommend the club encourage shooters to dispose of their empty shells at each station.
Rental Availability .........................................5 • Club guns available. Contact in advance to confirm availability. Staff Friendliness ..........................................5 • Staff and club members were very friendly and welcoming. • Customer service was excellent. • As a female shooter, I felt comfortable and welcome.
Comments/Impressions: • I would have liked more variety in the types of targets presented, but overall it was a fun and challenging course. • A very positive experience. This course was my overall favorite due to the very friendly atmosphere and a high level of customer service.
The Range Report Winter 2013
Range B Customer Satisfaction Rating Signage and Visibility ....................................4 • There is a sign on the highway, but the thick foliage of the trees made it a little difficult to see. Shooters may want to keep an eye on their odometer to find the club. Layout and Setting ........................................5 • Set in rural farm country • The course is set in a semi-open, semi-wooded setting. Some walking is required, but the path is flat and the walking is easy. Retail Product Availability ............................3 • Retail is mainly limited to ammunition. Rental Availability .........................................1 • Rental shotguns are not available. Staff Friendliness ..........................................5 • Staff was friendly and helpful. • As a female shooter, I felt comfortable and welcome. Safety ...........................................................4 • The sporting clays course and fellow shooters all appeared safe. • Safety information was posted; however, no additional safety instructions were presented to us.
Programs and Membership ............................5 • Annual individual membership $30, family membership $40. Discounted memberships available for youths and life members. • Members save an average of $1 per 25 clays thrown. • The club holds several benefit and fun shoots throughout the year, open to members and nonmembers.
Cleanliness ...................................................4 • Clubhouse and the kitchen were clean and tidy. • The restrooms were having some septic problems while we were there, which may have been a one-time problem or an ongoing problem due to the age of the clubhouse.
Comments/Impressions • Also a very positive experience, and I would, without hesitation, recommend it to shooters. • There seemed to be a greater variety of targets thrown, which made the course a lot of fun.
Preferred Range The Undercover Shooter would recommend both ranges to beginners, as well as more advanced shooters, but based on the level of customer service, the choice is: Range A: Ilion Fish & Game Club, 1276 Barringer Rd., Ilion, NY 13357 315-894-2938 • www.ilionfishandgameclub.com • email: firstname.lastname@example.org All reports, comments, impressions, opinions or advice expressed in the Undercover Shooter column are solely those of independent, recreational shooting range consumers and do not necessarily represent those of the National Shooting Sports Foundation or its affiliates. Neither the NSSF nor its affiliates make any warranty or assume any liability with respect to the accuracy or reliability of any information provided by Undercover Shooter contributors. Readers are encouraged to and should perform their own investigation of the information provided herein.
The Range Report Winter 2013
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The Range Report Winter 2013