Training Simulator Q&A
NSSFâ€™s Magazine for Shooting Facilities
RALast Vol. 15 No. 2 TO NG Prin Spring 2012 GO E R t Edi DI EP tion GI OR TA T L
The Value of Certified Instructors New Products from The SHOT Show One Club Gets The Lead Out
The Range Report
The Range Report is going digital
National Shooting Sports Foundation®
What if you could receive all the information you need about shooting ranges, range management and interesting articles concerning all aspects of shooting ranges at the tip of your fingers?
Better yet, what if that information could be easily stored, retrieved and always in pristine condition? Now you can. Beginning this summer, the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s The Range Report will be totally digital. That means you can sit down at your computer and click through story after story. The acclaimed writers and content will be exactly the same, but now it will be automatically delivered to your inbox every quarter.
Make sure you don’t miss one issue of the NSSF The Range Report. Go to www.nssf.org/rangereport and register your email to ensure automatic delivery. Your range just got bigger.
www.nssf.org • www.wheretoshoot.org • www.rangeinfo.org Vol. 15 No. 2 Spring 2012
Target-Delivery Systems The “Options & Innovations” series presents a sampling of what’s available in today’s marketplace. By Carolee Anita Boyles
Getting the Lead Out
From the SHOT Show Floor
The Value of Certified Instructors
This “Real-life Scenario” of a shooting club in New York taking on a remediation effort could offer a lesson for others. By Sue Bookhout
Products for ranges that caught the eye at the 2012 SHOT Show By Carolee Anita Boyles
Hiring such personnel or helping current staff get certified is good business. By Tom Carpenter
Letter from the Editor
Range Report to go exclusively digital By Glenn Sapir
Scoping out news for the shooting range community By Glenn Sapir
6 24 26
Q&A Want to add a firearms-training simulator? Chuck Oblich and Brian Sisson
The Undercover Shooter The youth-friendly perspective
Home on the Range An event for the ages By Zach Snow
On the cover: A certified instructor can be a very valuable staff member Photo by Chip Gross
The Range Report
© 2012 National Shooting Sports Foundation, Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Range ReportSM, 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.
Letter from the Editor G l e n n
S a p i r
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.
Range Report to Go Exclusively Digital
he Range Report began as a small newsletter, mailed to NSSF member ranges. It grew as NSSF and its range membership grew, evolving into the best that 24 pages of a printed magazine could offer shooting facilities. NSSF continues to grow, with a total membership now exceeding 7,000, more than doubling in size over the last five years. To keep up with this growth, and with the advantages offered by modern technology, The Range Report is going digital. NSSF has been at the cutting edge of communications technology, exemplified by its outstanding website, electronic newsletters, in-house-produced video presentations and maximization of social media. By converting to a digital publication exclusively, delivered to you via email and accessible on the NSSF website, The Range Report can offer you even more than the magazine that you are holding in your hand. Probably, the greatest advantage you will see is the new interactive features we will be able to incorporate into the magazine. When reporting on a new video, for example, we not only can tell you how to access it, but we can provide a hyperlink that you can click on right then and there; in a moment you will be watching the video. Imagine you are reading the magazine on your laptop, iPad or even your handheld device. You are enjoying one of our “Options and Innovations” articles on a product you’ve been thinking of buying. One model mentioned particularly interests you, and the sidebar that lists resources includes the website for the manufacturer of that item. You click on the website and learn even more about the product. Who knows? Before you go on to the next article in that digital edition, you may have already filled your online shopping cart and purchased the piece of equipment you were just reading about seconds or minutes earlier. We also can expedite the preparation of the magazine, eliminating the time that it takes to print and mail the publication. That means that the final editorial in The
Range Report will be as current as the day that it was electronically distributed and that we—and not the United States Postal Service—will have control of how quickly you receive your magazine. Another potential advantage is increased coverage. Now the magazine is limited to 24 pages, but enlarging the content is a distinct possibility because we will not be limited by the capacity of a printing press or the cost of printing more pages. Incidentally, an estimate of the amount of paper saved is about 4.5 tons per year. There’s something to be said about the digital publication’s contribution to that aspect of the Original Green Movement that NSSF takes pride in being part of. Yet, we understand that some people prefer to read their publications on paper. For them, they have the option of printing the digital editions. Another hope that I have is that this new format will bring you even closer to us who produce the magazine. Perhaps we can have a page that invites your comments, and the immediacy of sending us an electronic communication while you are viewing the digital magazine will increase the exchange of views between The Range Report and its readers. And that’s what change is all about: trying to make the most of available resources to deliver the best and most useful product to its recipients. That’s what we expect the new, digital Range Report will accomplish. What do you have to do to ensure your continuing to receive The Range Report? Make sure we have your email address? Go to www.nssf.org/rangereport and click on “Subscribe.” We want to make sure you are there when the first exclusively digital edition of The Range Report makes its debut.
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: email@example.com We reserve the right to edit for clarity and space.
NSSF RANGE Advisory Committee Bill Kempffer, chairman of NSSF Range Advisory Committee Deep River Sporting Clays, Inc. Sanford, N.C. firstname.lastname@example.org Don Turner, president Don Turner Consultant, LLC North Las Vegas, Nev.
Robin Ball, owner Sharp Shooting Indoor Range and Gun Shop Spokane, Wash. Robin@sharpshooting.net Glenn Duncan, owner Duncan’s Outdoor Shop, Inc. Bay City, Mich.
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 John Monson, president Bill’s Gun Shop & Range Robbinsdale and Circle Pines, Minn.
Phil Murray, national sales manager White Flyer Houston, Texas
David O’Meara, vice president Meggitt Training Systems Suwanee, Ga. Stan Pate, president Oregon State Shooting Association Albany, Ore.
Doug VanderWoude, range program manager AcuSport Corporation Bellefontaine, Ohio dvanderwoude@AcuSport.com The Range Report
Scoping out news for the shooting range community
Industry Intelligence Reports
By Glenn Sapir, Editor
Helping Our Members Make Informed Decisions
National Range Survey
National Shooting Sports Foundation® 2011-2012 Edition
The last thing range managers want is to discover they are behind the curve when it comes to operating their facility. That is why it is so important for ranges to frequently gauge their performance and the amenities offered at their facilities and to readjust their business practices, if necessary, to meet the changing times. Business is always transforming to meet challenges and demands – and much has changed over the past decade. Range management is no exception. The NSSF understands the pace at which things change and has used its National Range Survey response data to provide guidance in helping range businesses keep on target. The range survey has a 10+ year trend line by which to compare important variables, such as the challenges ranges face and the opportunities they see for the future. This year’s edition provides detailed information by two facility categories, commercial and nonprofit. Regional detail is also provided in a number of subject areas.
www.NSSF.ORg IIR-2011 Range Survey-11/3/2011.indd 1
1/3/12 11:51 AM
Updated Range Survey Report Available
NSSF Awards Nearly $300,000 in Collegiate Shooting Sports InitiativeSM Grants
NSSF research has updated the National Range Survey Industry Intelligence Report. This report provides historical trend data from NSSF range surveys to help better understand current conditions and challenges of range operation. NSSF members that log in at www.nssf.org/members may access this and other reports.
Through its Collegiate Shooting Sports Initiative (CSSI) NSSF has awarded new grants to 41 colleges and universities to assist in the development and expansion of club and competitive shooting sports programs. Of those schools receiving assistance, 11 are in the process of developing new shooting clubs. Now in its third year, CSSI has awarded a total of nearly $600,000 to foster collegiate shooting programs. By visiting the NSSF web site, nssf.org, and then clicking on any of the four quadrants, you can access the “News Room” and then click on “View All News Releases” to access a Jan. 3, 2012, news release that gives more details on this program and the grants awarded.
New Industry Intelligence ReportSM on First Shots®
Read Latest NSSF Survey TrackerSM
2012_First Shots IIR:2012 2/23/12 2:59 PM Page 1
Helping Our Members Make Informed Decisions
National Shooting Sports Foundation® 2012 Edition
Follow-up surveys indicate that seminar participants return to the host range, continue shooting, introduce others and purchase related equipment.
First Shots®, a program of the National Shooting Sports Foundation® (NSSF®), is designed specifically to introduce newcomers to target shooting and reactivate former participants. Since the program’s inception in 2005, range operators across the country have embraced First Shots as a fresh approach to publicizing their services in their community. This program has brought remarkable results to many participating ranges.
The Range Report
Sourced By HunterSurvey.com
National Shooting Sports Foundation®
February 2012 Edition Market Snapshot
Of hunters and shooters whoHand guns purchased a firearm in December 2011, they bought: Shot
39.20% 39.2% Handguns
Smith & Wesson and Sturm, Ruger *
18.10% Shotguns 18.1%
Multiple choices allowed, will not equal 100%. n=516
6.4% Muzzleloaders 6.40%
Muzz leloa ders
Scopes for mounting on guns Scope accessories 0% 12.5%
Of hunters and shooters who purchased optics in December 2011, they bought:
In 2011, did you hunt? More
These questions vary each month. Mojo Less 16.50% In December,Primos participants were About14.10% what you expected the year began asked if theyGreenhead hunted in 2011 and when 9.80% Total 8.20% Flambeau if they plan to purchase specific Edge 5.10% n=5,436 types of hunting and shooting Montana 4.80% products. These are the results: 4.40% Carry-Lite Bass Pro Shops/Redhead
* Statistical tie
Scopes for mounting on guns 49.5% Scope accessories 21.9%
Multiple choices allowed, will not equal 100%. n=382
Questions for Hunters and Target Shooters
CVA and Thompson Center *
Top brands reported YTD January – December 2011:
The results keep getting better and better for NSSF member ranges hosting First Shots Industry Intelligence Reports events. NSSF’s introductory shooting program has an impressive track record of recruiting new customers and A program designed to increase traffic to your range and create safe and responsible new shooters. members to host facilities. NSSF research has updated the First Shots Industry Intelligence Report with the most recent figures from participant follow-up surveys. The report provides an overview of participant profiles and quantifies the value of developing WWW.NSSF.ORG new target shooters. NSSF members that log in at www. nssf.org/members may access this and other reports by clicking NSSF Industry Research and then Industry Intelligence Reports.
The NSSF Survey Tracker is a monthly monitoring service utilizing an online panel of active hunters and target shooters. Sourced by Southwick AssoNSSF® Survey Tracker ciates’ HunterSurvey.com, each report features: Market Snapshot—purchases made in the past month; Market Leaders—the top brands purchased in different retail categories; and Question of the Month—insight into opinions and attitudes of today’s recreational hunters and target shooters. NSSF members may view, in addition to this latest edition, historical Survey Tracker data by logging in to www.nssf.org/members and then clicking NSSF Industry WWW.NSSF.ORG RR Research. Weaver
In 2012, do you plan on purchasing any of the following hunting & shooting products?
Percent 24.0% 36.1% 39.9%
Handgun Rifle Scopes Other optics (binoculars, spotting scopes, range finders, laser or other sighting devices) Hand-loading equipment (presses & dies, tools, etc) Shotgun Bow (compound or traditional) Muzzleloader
Percent 42.4% 40.2% 31.9% 27.7% 23.6% 23.4% 17.2% 11.4%
Market Leaders. Top 8 brands of decoys purchased in 2011 n=552
Bass Pro Shops/Redhead
About HunterSurvey: HunterSurvey is a monthly industry monitoring service using an online panel of active hunters and target shooters. The information is provided by Southwick Associates, Inc. Note: The information contained in this report does not represent total industry performance. Results are based on what is captured via HunterSurvey.com and ShooterSurvey.com.
Need more detail? Detailed reports are available on a monthly subscription basis and include extensive brand market share, percentage of purchases per retail outlet, sales by price point, target shooting activities, species hunted, full demographics of consumers and much more. Over 200 pages in each monthly report!
NSSF members also receive a 15% discount off the subscription price!
Contact: NSSF at email@example.com or Southwick Associates at firstname.lastname@example.org for subscription information and a sample of a detailed monthly report.
NSSF Survey Tracker is a free monthly report available to members of the National Shooting Sports Foundation®. National Shooting Sports Foundation, Inc., 11 Mile Hill Road, Newtown, CT 06470-2359 T: (203) 426-1320, F: (203) 426-1087 Report provided by NSSF. For additional research materials, please visit www.nssf.org/research
One Industry. One Voice. National Shooting Sports Foundation®
or over 50 years, our mission has never wavered. Promote, protect and preserve our hunting and shooting sports. We are the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association of the firearms, ammunition and shooting industry. Whether it is in the field, on the range, in Washington, D.C. or 50 state capitals, we stand proudly as your voice.
elp us make your voice louder and stronger where it counts. Now more than ever, it’s time to become a NSSF member. To join contact Bettyjane Swann at (203) 426-1320 or email@example.com.
The future of your business depends on it.
Scan this QR code with your Smartphone for more information on NSSF membership
www.nssfmembership.com The Range Report
Summer 2012 2011 Spring 2011
Options & Innovations
Target-Delivery Systems A sampling of what’s available in today’s marketplace By Carolee Anita Boyles
Photos courtesy of manufacturers
reason to have a basic target-retrieval another manufacturer calls a target n a perfect shooting range, system on an indoor range is so carrier, so be sure you’re talking your guests could shoot people don’t have to walk down apples and apples when you open a all day without having to range to change their targets. change or reset targets. You “Having one of these would never have to declare systems allows people to your range “cold” for 10 The combination of continue to shoot while or 15 minutes at a time so technology and creativity other shooters are changing customers can safely walk their targets,” Turner said. downrange. in the industry today has “Each individual can shoot A good target-delivery or and change targets at his -presentation system won’t resulted in target-delivery own pace without affecting make your range perfect, but and -presentation systems other people.” it will enhance the shooting Turner explained experience for your guests. for every range and every the different types of simple Whether you have a basic retrieval systems. indoor range with half a situation. “There are those that dozen shooting lanes and are rigid rails and have a use a simple toggle-switch motorized carrier that rides along the retrieval system or have a state of the discussion about what you want for rail,” he said. “Some of the high-end art indoor/outdoor shooting facility, your range. units allow a target to turn. They go a good target-delivery and -presentafrom there all the way down to wire tion system will make your range Retrieval systems systems that use pulleys and little Don Turner is a shooting shine. One thing you should be electric motors to move the targets aware of, however, is that nomencla- range operations and manageback and forth.” ture in this area is somewhat fuzzy. ment consultant with more than 30 years’ experience operating shoot Almost every company that What one manufacturer calls a trolproduces target-delivery and -presening ranges. He said the primary ley may be the same type of system
The Range Report
tation equipment has its own version of a retrieval system. “We have our very popular Lynx system,” said Rick Grodecki, sales manager for Mancom Manufacturing. “It’s a toggle system that takes a target out and back. You just hold the switch and the target travels one way, and you hold the switch the other way and the target comes back home again.” Grodecki said the Mancom system runs on batteries, and replacement parts are readily available from local hardware stores. “Anything that’s on a range can and will be shot,” he said. “This is a very simple system that’s designed so that instead of having to come back to us for parts, the range owner can buy them very easily locally.” Savage Range Systems also has an overhead retrieval system. “Ours is a very basic system,” said Eoin Stafford, vice president and general manager of Savage Range Systems. “It’s simplicity itself; you push the switch forward, and the target goes downrange; you let go, and it stops. Nothing turns; it just goes forward and back.” Meggitt Training Systems offers several retrieval systems. Their Model CEE is a simple forwardand-back track system with no turning-target capability. Model CEB is a fixed-speed, electrically-powered trolley wired system. Model CTC is the most basic, with a manual handcrank retrieval system. Electronic systems This category overlaps with other target-presentation methods in that electronic keypads can be used to operate different types of targets and retrieval systems, including turning targets, Running Man systems and many other target types. Mancom offers its Touch Plus system. “It has a central processing unit, but we don’t use a computer or hard drive,” Grodecki said. “The screens are all touch screens; you don’t have to use a mouse or a keyboard. It’s all intuitive; you just touch the screen and tell the system what you want it The Range Report
to do.” The Touch Plus system can be used indoors or outdoors and integrates with a number of different target systems. The Touch Plus system also can be run from individual shooting stations or from a master-control screen. It allows the range master to program up to 100 training scenarios that can be used across the entire range or at specified shooting locations; it also can operate the range’s intercom, safety beams, lights, digital audio, range lighting and HVAC equipment. Savage Range Systems has the KMA overhead retrieval system, which is the newest product in the company’s line. “You can enter whatever distance you want, as well as tell the target to stop and turn,” Stafford said. “It’s a modular system with plug and play, so it’s easy to install and easy to maintain. It’s programmable with a self-diagnostic, and has blue and red flashing lights on it so you can simulate what police officers see in the field. It’s
The KMA overhead retrieval system is the newest product in Savage Range Systems’ line.
our state of the art system, and includes turning targets.” Also from Savage is the Nexgen Target Control System. Based on an Allen-Beadley/Rockwell Automations Compact Logix controller, this system provides versatility to pneumatic and Running Man systems. Range operators can program multiple “course of fire” exercises with up to 15 steps in each, and save them for future use. In order to give the Nexgen system the greatest functionality and easiest maintenance possible, Savage designed it from off-the-shelf components, so users can purchase repair
Mancom’s Touch Plus Portable Turning Target Stand is designed to be relocated within a range or transported in a vehicle. The system features targets randomly turning a full 360 degrees. Mancom offers its Touch Plus system with touch screens, foregoing a mouse or keyboard. 9
Resources for TargetDelivery Systems Action Target P. O. Box 636 Provo, UT 84603 801-377-8033 www.actiontarget.com
Don Turner LLC 7602 Lake Louise Ave Las Vegas, NV 89131 602-799-6466
Mancom Manufacturing Inc. 1335 Osprey Drive Ancaster, ON Canada L9G 4V5 905-304-6141 www.mancom.ca
Meggitt Training Systems 298 Brogdon Road Suwannee, GA 30024 763-568-7166 www.meggitttrainingsystems.com
Savage Range Systems, Inc. 100 Springdale Road Westfield, MA 01085 413-568-7001 www.snailtraps.com
Range Systems 5121 Winnetka Avenue North Suite 200A New Hope, MN 55428 www.range-systems.com
or replacement parts from any local computer store. The Nexgen system operates from a console that can be mounted on the wall, a desk or a pedestal, or it can be programmed into a dedicated laptop; it also can be controlled from a remote unit. Meggitt Training Systems RangeMaster 9000 is a menu-driven, Windows-based computer system that provides a state-of-the art rangecontrol system for targetry, security systems and range lighting. The RangeMaster 10K control system combines touch-screen technology and wireless communication to give range officers control from any location in the range, which allows range officers to leave the control room while still retaining complete control of the range. Individual targetcontrol units located at each firing position receive, store and execute programs sent from the master control of either system. Both Meggitt Training Systems control systems interface with multiple-target-presentation methods, including the company’s programmable Single Turning Target System with hit sensing. Meggitt Training Systems also offers a wireless, 360-degree turningtarget-retrieval system, the XWT. It moves along the rail using an internal, variable speed, DC motor-drive system. It’s operated by wireless communication through a touchscreen controller. Trolley and target carrier systems “Mancom invented the 360-degree random edging target,” Grodecki said. “It has onboard tactical lighting, so we can do strobes or dim-light shooting. The targets turn randomly 360 degrees.” Multiple carriers can be mounted on a single cross track. Another target type that moves laterally is the Running Man. “We have a dual Running Man system that can be mounted laterally overhead,” Grodecki said. “There are two nonturning targets that go across the range and can be controlled individually from a master control or a remote.”
Savage Range Systems has both an installed and a portable Running Man. The longest installed system they’ve ever built is 350 feet long, and they offer a standing challenge to ranges to build a longer one. The portable Running Man moves on a cable strung between two uprights. This system will handle up to three targets at a time. The Action Target Track Runner is another option for a moving-target system. Targets used with the Track Runner are mounted on a trolley that runs on a track that’s close to the ground; targets can move to different locations, change speed and direction and dart in and out of cover. All of the drive components are weatherproof and can be disassembled when not in use. Other target systems Another option for target presentation is a pneumatic target system. Like an electronic keypad, a pneumatic system can integrate with many different target types. “Our pneumatic system has many of the same features as our Touch Plus system,” Grodecki said. “It can be used outdoors also. We also have portable target stands with pneumatic and electric targets mounted on them. The electrics turn 360 degrees randomly, and the pneumatics turn 90 degrees.” Savage Range Systems offers both pneumatic steel-plate and target-board systems. Both are available as either installed or portable systems. “They can be set up in a Rogers Range-type setup,” Stafford said. Meggitt Training Systems offers a pop-up target system in both hardwire and battery-powered versions. This is just a sampling of the target-retrieval and -delivery systems that are available in today’s marketplace. The combination of technology and creativity in the industry today has resulted in targetdelivery and -presentation systems for every range and every situation. Do a little research and you’ll find something that’s right for your RR range and your customers. The Range Report
Your First Shot at New Shooters An introduction to shooting
inding new customers is always a challenge. If there ever was a sure shot at new business, this is it. Best of all, ranges that held seminars found a significant increase in range activity, traffic and profits! Shooting range-hosted and -managed seminars are free to participants, easy to run by even small ranges and, best of all, low cost to facilities. We have already done most of the work for you as an NSSF member and actually help fund advertising for your seminar, provide loaner equipment, ammunition, targets and safety literature. First Shots is a short, hands-on introduction to firearms covering safety, responsible ownership and shooting fundamentals. Why is the program so successful? First Shots provides a system for bringing target shooting to the general public in one complete package that makes it simple for nonshooters to: 1) Gain awareness of target shooting. 2) Build interest in learning more about target shooting. 3) Evaluate and try target shooting before investment.
Here’s what range owners have to say: “We started to do First Shots almost a year ago and continue to run one class a month. We do this for two reasons, one is to get more shooters involved in the shooting sport and the second being a great way for us to give back to the community. We have seen participants who have gone on to take almost every class we offer on personal protection and continue to want to learn more about shooting. We will continue to participate in the First Shots program and look forward to the new classes that they are working on.” Harry Misener, Special Events Coordinator, Shooter’s World
4) Access continued opportunities to participate. The program’s elements of cooperative funding for advertising, a simple agenda, short time frames, limited trials and safe environment all result in an increase of new shooters and new customers to your range.
Many have seen remarkable results. To learn more go to www.nssf.org/firstshots or contact Tisma Juett (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call 203426-1320. Taking that first shot is always the toughest and the most memorable.
Scan this QR code with your Smartphone for more information on First Shots
The Range Report Fall 2011 11Range The Report Spring 2012
The Range Report
11 Spring11 2012
Getting the Lead Out A shooting club in New York takes on a remediation effort By Sue Bookhout
make some money to put back into knew we could get the job done less he Pompey Rod & Gun Club expensively. But we also figured it was club-maintenance projects. The Pomis a private shooting club in central New York State, apbetter to get the range cleaned up on pey club had a history of good public relations, yet they were privy to the our own terms rather than to wait for proximately 20 miles southeast of potential for conflict if they weren’t Syracuse. The club, which is part of somebody to tell us we had to do it.” After 50 years of shooting at proactive about managing their range. the Central New York Trap League, the range, the board knew there was In the past, the hope for financial has nine outdoor trap houses and an active shooting membership gains was impetus to a lot of lead-reclamation projects, but of approximately 80. In the ...the single-best reason why a Dr. Richard Peddicord, presispring of 2011, there was a reputable lead-removal com- shooting range should plan a lead- dent of Environmental Range Protection, says these days pany scheduled to be at two removal project is to avoid the the single-best reason why a other local ranges, so the shooting range should plan a board of directors decided to liabilities of doing nothing. lead-removal project is to avoid also do a lead-reclamation the liabilities of doing nothand -recycling project. ing. Even if a club has to pay $10,000 a significant amount of lead to be “For us, the biggest reason we got to do a clean-up, it is still a better into this was because of the conremoved. If they scheduled the project to coincide with the other removal option than being forced into a costly venience factor,” commented club regulatory lead-remediation project, or projects in the area, then they stood to president Don Stroup. “En.Range was worse, getting shut down forever. already going to be in the area, so we at least break even or, perhaps, even 12
The Range Report
Real-Life Scenario Checklist for Choosing a Lead-Reclamation Company Unfortunately, the high price of lead has attracted less-experienced companies into the market. Ranges should be wary of companies that make promises of high profits. Instead, they should do their homework and focus on finding a company that has a reputation for safety and good service. Below are some things to look for in a reputable company. • References and an established operating history of at least five years. • Knowledge of state and federal environmental laws and guidelines recommended by the federal Environmental Protection Agency, the National Shooting Sports Foundation and the National Rifle Association of America. • Owns state-of-the-art lead-recovery and -separation equipment • Substantial size, including multiple crews and equipment • Written health and safety plan and workers have training certificates • Contract with range has liability-indemnification clause • Insurance certificate naming the range as additional insured • General-liability and lead-pollution-liability coverage • Workers’ compensation and auto insurance • Works with a licensed and certified lead recycler
Photos by the author
Dr. Peddicord is considered one of the most broadly experienced leaders in environmental evaluation and management of outdoor shooting ranges and has been involved in leadreclamation projects since 1986. According to Dr. Peddicord lead at shooting ranges is not considered a hazardous waste, subject to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), because at the time it is discharged from a firearm it is considered a legitimate use of a legitimate product that is being used for its intended purpose. Instead, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) compels shooting ranges to manage their range according to the Best Management Practices for Lead at Outdoor Shooting Ranges (BMP). This EPA manual, which was developed The Range Report
with the assistance of the National Shooting Sports Foundation® (NSSF®) and is available online, presents successful management practices that are proven to effectively reduce lead contamination. “Just as a business needs a good business plan,” said Peddicord, “a shooting range needs a well thoughtout Environmental Stewardship Plan that is in accordance with the EPA’s BMPs. This includes, among other things, testing soil acidity, managing vegetation, not shooting into water and maintaining a schedule to remove and recycle lead as best and as often as possible.” As long as shooting ranges manage their property according to the BMPs, the range won’t be considered abandoned, which is another factor that determines if the lead shot can be labeled a hazardous waste. Scott Kranz, senior project manager at AMEC Earth & Infrastructure and a consultant for the Range Action Specialist program offered by the NSSF, agreed that it is well worth it, in the long run, for ranges to have an Environmental Stewardship Plan that includes lead removal and recycling. Kranz pointed
out, however, that shooting ranges need to be aware that they are equally
Getting the Lead Out, Step by Step Removal companies use two main methods to separate the lead from the soil: single-pass units and fixed-screening units. Single-pass units pick up the soil, run it through a screening process and then drop it back down on the ground in the same place. A fixed-screening unit, on the other hand, uses a larger machine that stays in one place and requires that the soil be brought to it. The single-pass method is perhaps a quicker process, but, on the downside, single-pass units are less practical in uneven terrain or in soils with a high clay or moisture content. En.Range, Inc., the Florida-based company contracted by the Pompey Rod & Gun Club, uses a fixed dry-screening method that can, by contrast, process far more material than a single-pass unit. To begin, the company uses other smaller machinery to scrape away the top four to six inches of soil on a range. Selection of the area that is scraped depends on
a number of site-dependent factors. For example, if the shot string is up or downhill as little as five degrees, it can change the area of the shot fallout by as much as 100 feet. Also, the average size of the shot and whether it’s a skeet field or a trap field also determine the clean-up area. In general, En.Range scrapes approximately 325 to 575 feet from the shooting position at a typical trap range. A skeet range will tend to be a smaller area. The scraped soil is then transported to En.Range’s large, partially proprietary, high-speed screening plant. A multi-stage pneumatic separation system separates the shot from similar-sized stones, dirt and gravel. This multi-stage system allows En.Range to consistently refine the output to at least a 98 percent metal content or higher, which ensures they will get the highest price for the lead. The company typically works on a percentage basis, with the shooting club receiving 25 percent of the net value
after the first truckload. It is typical to get 200,000 to 300,000 pounds of lead out of a trap and skeet range. There are, however, no hard fast rules to this. Factors such as geography, layout of the range, soil type, soil moisture content and the weather all affect the outcome. “The economics definitely get more difficult for smaller ranges,” said Tom Taylor, CEO of En.Range. “We can do single trap ranges, but we typically plan them in conjunction with a clean-up at a larger range. Because we have big equipment, our mobilization costs are high. On the other hand, our system can process a lot of materials that other companies can’t process.” Taylor said that if they can recycle at least 50,000-100,000 pounds of lead, the project can typically be completed at cost. But if there isn’t at least 50,00060,000 pounds of documented lead on a range, then the clean-up would likely be at a loss.
accountable for any regulatory action, including criminal and civil penalties, that results from negligence on the part of the lead-removal contractors. Size of the club doesn’t matter; small, loosely organized shooting ranges are just as responsible as larger organizations. “Anytime you disturb the land, you are subject to the Clean Water Act,” stated Kranz. “The lead-removal contractors should have storm-water runoff- and erosion- and sediment-control plans in line with local regulations.” Responsibilities extend beyond environmental regulations to include worker health and safety. A reputable lead-removal company will follow OSHA safety standards and, at any time, will be able to easily provide a worker health and safety plan. Additionally, unexpected factors can greatly affect the outcome of
a project. For example, the Pompey Rod & Gun Club has thus far netted $10,000–an amount significantly less than it originally estimated. Heavy rains shut down the project early because the soils were too wet to remove the lead. Moreover, the price of lead was up to $.96/ pound when the club drew up the project contract; however, the price dropped back to the mid$.70s by the time the lead made it to the recycler. En.Range, Inc. has agreed to return to the Pompey club in the spring to finish the project, so they still stand to earn additional revenue. Before a range goes under contract with a company it should discuss what will happen if inclement weather interrupts the project. Will the lead-removal company be able to return later to finish the project? Who will cover the additional
costs of the project? Finally, according to regulation, the project is not over until the soil has been put back to its original place and the area has been revegetated. Typically the lead-removal company will put the soil back in place, but not all of them handle revegetation. Clubs will need to factor the cost of labor and seed to revegetate the property. Shooting ranges can optimize the success of a lead-removal project simply by doing their homework (see the Checklist for Choosing a LeadReclamation Company sidebar). A lot of variables affect whether a club will actually make money on a project, but, in short, a well planned lead-reclamation and -recycling project should be considered an inexpensive way to avoid the much more costly liability of RR doing nothing.
The Range Report
The Range Report
From the SHOT Show Floor Eye-catching new products for ranges By Carolee Anita Boyles
t the SHOT Show in Las Vegas in January, manufacturers brought out all their new products for ranges for the year. The Range Report searched the aisles for a good cross section of targets, target-delivery systems, maintenance equipment and other products of value to shooting facilities. Targets From Action Target, look for Tactical Torso steel targets with the “hit zone” on the torso. When the bullet strikes the open “hit zone,” it also strikes a swinging paddle Photo of show floor by Deb Moran, others courtesy of manufacturers
on the back of the target, making it clear that the shooter has hit the center of the target. “We also have new self-healing targets,” said Robb Anderson, range design consultant for Action Target. “Indoor ranges like selfhealing targets because you can use them indoors without ricochets damaging anything on the range, which can happen with steel targets.” Bart Biedinger, manager of retail and rep services for ATK, said many of their range customers have been asking for “new and different” targets. “This year we came out with a series of Zombie targets,” he said. ATK’s Champion VisiColor Zombie targets change color when hit.
Action Target offers a “selfhealing” torso target.
The Range Report
“They’re reactive targets, which are part of our Champion VisiColor line; when you shoot one, it reacts with a color, and the color depends on where you hit it.” For young shooters, Champion has come up with “bug” targets. “The different-size bugs have points assigned to them,” Biedinger said. “They keep shooting more interesting for youngsters than just a bull’s-eye target.” Champion’s Re-Stick Targets are made using Post-It technology; in fact, ATK worked with 3M, the Post-It manufacturer, in developing them. “The shooter doesn’t have to have a stapler to put up targets,” Biedinger said. “On an indoor target, where the shooting lane typically has a cardboard back, they stick great. When the shooter is done, he can peel off the target and take it home with him.” All of these new targets are ideas that came from ranges that are ATK customers. For outdoor ranges, Champion has added to its DuraSeal targets. “Shooters can use anything from a .22 rimfire to a .50 BMG, and the target will seal right back up,” Biedinger said. “They’re reactive and they spin, so they’re a fun way to shoot something besides paper outdoors.” Shapes include a diamond and a crow. “One of the new shapes is a wobble target,” Biedinger said. “It’s weighted on the bottom so you can just sit it on the ground. When you shoot it, it wobbles back and forth; it’s great for pistol and rimfire shooting.” Battenfeld Technologies has expanded its line of Caldwell steel targets. “We’ve introduced four more AR550 steel targets including The Kill Zone gong, a magnum resetting popper, a spinner and a magnum speed plate with a manual reset,” said Brandon Butler, marketing manager The Range Report
for Battenfeld Technologies. The manual reset speed plate is the same size as the automatic one already in the line, but the manual reset makes it very affordable for smaller ranges or for ranges just starting to get into steel targets. Birchwood Casey has new
Birchwood Casey’s new “game targets” are colorful, creative and fun.
Battenfeld Technologies has expanded its line of Caldwell steel targets: top, Magnum Resetting Popper; middle, Magnum Dual Spinner Target, and bottom, Magnum Speed Plate.
targets they’re calling “game targets,” but this isn’t wild game. Rather, these targets are related to computer and other styles of gaming. “One is a battleship, one is a dart-board game we call Shot Board, one is a golf course, and one is a Western-style Saloon Shootout,” said Marketing Manager Todd Binsfeld. “They’re all colorful, and people like the creativity of them.” New to the SHOT Show this year, Custom Metal Products offers a line of AR500 steel targets for 17
handguns and rifles. “We have some that are autoreset and some that are manual reset,” said Vice President Jerry Eddens. “Others are static targets.” Styles include a centerfire plate rack, a .22 caliber plate rack that works like a horizontal dueling tree, and conventional dueling trees for both centerfire and rimfire. “The idea for our targets is that people can keep shooting without having to go downrange to reset their targets,” Eddens said. Do All Outdoors has expanded its line of polymer self-healing targets; expect to get between 2,000 and 10,000 hits—depending on caliber—before they need to be replaced. Styles include ground bouncers, spinners and a pigeon perch, as well as targets that go
Ammo-Up’s pistol-brass gathering machine is better than ever.
with the company’s shotgun catapult system. Do All Outdoors also has a line of colorful AR500 steel targets that start with rimfire targets and include pistol and centerfire targets as well. The company’s Big Gong for long-distance shooting continues to be popular with ranges. Maintenance equipment Ammo-Up has improved its
pistol-brass machine, which grabs brass casings off the floor and flips them into a basket at the front of the machine. “We’ve added a baffle on the front of the machine to prevent any shells from flying out,” said Marketing Manager Brent Frantz. “It’s made the equipment more efficient at picking up the pistol brass off the floor.” Frantz said the pistol-brass machine picks up every caliber
Target -Delivery Systems at the SHOT Show The Options & Innovations feature in this issue focuses on target-delivery systems. However, here that same author comments on a few target-delivery systems on display at the SHOT Show that caught her eye: Advanced Training Systems has introduced a robotic system that can be operated out to a distance of 600 meters by a range supervisor at the firing line. “This system includes reactive human-form mannequins for law enforcement and military use,” said the company’s Director of Engineering Dave Tomczyk. “The operator is able to set the ‘hit count’—the number of shots required to ‘kill’ the target—before the target drops or the system stops and resets itself. This allows shooters to see clearly when they’ve hit the target.” Advanced Training Systems also has added hit-reactive targets for shoot houses and Hogan’s Alley scenarios. The range master can place a target anywhere in the shoot house and set it for a specified number of hits. When the officers have hit the target the
programmed number of times, the target goes over just like an armed suspect would; that way the officers know the room has been adequately cleared. Also look for new Running Man systems from Advanced Training Systems. “These are variable speed systems for live-fire training that offer bi-directional targetry,” Tomczyk said. “They can present ‘friend or foe’ scenarios, which cause shooters to have to make decisions
before they shoot. These targets also have hit sensing and hit counting and are fully programmable for scenarios and timing and for how the target behaves when it resets.” Rick Grodecki, sales manager for Mancom Manufacturing, introduced the company’s new wireless target-delivery system. “It has an all-wheel drive and is completely battery operated,” he said. “As a result we’ve been able to add many
Mancom’s wireless target-delivery system has an all-wheel-drive and is completely battery operated.
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Midland Radio’s Personal Camera, mounted here on the brim of a shooter’s cap, offers high definition and point of view, allowing for a shooter to see his shooting style—and mistakes.
well except .22. “The machine works indoors
or outdoors,” he said. “This concept originated for picking up pecans and acorns, so it was made for an agricultural purpose originally. We just adapted it to picking up brass.” Tiger Vac offers an all-steel vacuum system for cleaning up unburned powder and lead particles from surfaces. “This vacuum is explosionproof for the gun powder and has a HEPA filter for the lead, both per OSHA’s handbook,” said Massimo De Pastena. “It comes in various configurations and price levels.” Other products Action Target has teamed up with TI simulators to offer realistic law enforcement training scenarios for TI facilities at ranges, says Anderson. “That’s something new for us,”
UniqueTek’s portable target stand, the Port-A-Stand, folds up easily for storage and sets up in seconds.
features to the carrier. Ranges that already have our Touch Plus system will be able to convert to this system by simply removing the target carrier, cable system and drive unit, and using the existing track. We deliberately designed this new system so we can retrofit our existing ranges with it.” Meggitt Training Systems exhibited an outdoor version of their existing wireless range system.
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“Now you can put a wireless target system outside without putting a building over it,” said Director of Sales Eric Perez. “With this system, outdoor ranges can operate like indoor ranges, where they don’t have to stop and wait for everyone to go downrange and put up new targets.” Shooters can replace targets individually and move targets out to whatever distance they would like. UniqueTek has a new portable target stand called the Port-A-Stand. “It’s very simple, and there are no parts to lose,” said UniqueTek’s Ron Linder. “It folds up easily for storage and transport, and sets up in seconds. It’s also very stable. I’ve had it out in 15 to 20 mile an hour winds and even with the target in the stand it didn’t blow over without me using any stakes.”
Anderson added. Midland Radio Corporation has introduced a new wearable action camera that’s useful for ranges that teach shooting, particularly clays shooting. “It’s a high-definition, pointof-view camera that lets the shooter see what his eye should see through the camera,” said National Accounts Sales Manager Dan Callen. “It has a wide-angle lens on it and takes up to a 32-gigabyte card, so you have plenty of time and plenty of storage space. It has about a four-hour battery life and a rechargeable battery. “The most important thing is that it’s really simple to use,” Callan continued. “It has one button for on and off that you can press with or without a glove being worn. The shooting instructor can mount the camera so it faces the student to look at eye and head movement, or use it in other applications so the student can see where he’s shooting. It’s another set of eyes that lets you, for example, give a lesson and then review what the student has done.” Range Systems has a new highcapacity, portable bullet trap that’s rated for .50 BMG. “It will stop and safely contain a .50 BMG round,” said Range Systems’ Mike Pingel. “In addition, it will hold thousands of rounds between cleanings.” Range Systems also has a new line of training furniture that’s particularly applicable to the law enforcement market. “This foam training furniture allows ranges to create a realistic training scenario,” Pingel said. “It includes couches, a bed and a desk that lets you set up different room arrangements. Bullets pass right through it so there’s no ricochet danger, and nothing is going to fragment off the furniture and be dangerous. If someone falls on it,
Range Systems showed a new line of foam training furniture for law enforcement.
it’s a foam product, so he doesn’t get hurt.” The newest thing from Savage Range Systems is the All Clear Shooting Booth. “It offers Level 3 protection for each shooting lane,” said Eoin Stafford, vice president of Savage
Range Systems. Radians has new offerings in both hearing and eye protection. “We’ve introduced a lot of new anti-fog glasses,” said Hope Warner-
Peterson, sporting goods inside sales rep. Both ranges and shooters have been asking for anti-fog glasses, she said, because most shooting glasses tend to fog up, particularly on warm and humid days. Radians has a reputation for producing quality ear muffs, and this year they have added features that allow ranges to use them as part of an integrated communication system during competition and training scenarios. An input jack allows range officers to give instructions to shooters up and down the line, and to coordinate shooters’ moves during training, competition and other range RR activities. Radians introduced anti-fog glasses.
Contact Information for the Products Mentioned Action Target P. O. Box 636 Provo, UT 84603 801-377-8033 www.actiontarget.com Advanced Training Systems 4524 Hwy 61 N St. Paul, MN 55110 651-429-8091 www.atsusa.biz Ammo-Up 10601 Theresa Dr Jacksonville, FL 32246 904-641-3934 www.ammoupusa.com ATK/Champion Target 900 Ehlen Dr Anoka, MN 55303 763-323-3819 www.championtarget.com
Range Systems 5121 Winnetka Ave N New Hope, MN 55428 763-533-9200 www.range-systems.com
Battenfeld Technologies 5885 West Van Horn Tavern Rd Columbia, MO 65203 573-445-6606 www.battenfeldtechnologies. com/caldwell/
Mancom Manufacturing Inc. 1335 Osprey Dr Ancaster, Ontario Canada L9G 4V5 905-304-6141 www.mancom.ca
Birchwood Casey 7900 Fuller Rd Eden Prairie, MN 55344 952-937-7933 www.birchwoodcasey.com
Meggitt Training Systems 296 Brogdon Rd Suwanee, GA 30024 678-288-1090 www.meggitttrainingsystems.com
Custom Metal Products 5781 Westwood Dr Weldon Spring, MO 63304 636-329-0142 www.custommetalprod.com
Midland Radio Corp. 5900 Parretta Dr Kansas City, MO 64120 816-241-8500 www.midlandradio.com
Tiger-Vac, Inc. 73 S. W. 12 Ave, Bldg 1, Ste 7 Dania, FL 33004 954-925-3625 800-668-4437 www.tiger-vac.com
Do All Outdoors 216-19th Avenue N Nashville, TN 37203 615-269-4889 www.do-alltraps.com
Radians, Inc. 5305 Distriplex Farm Dr Memphis, TN 38141 901-388-7776 www.radians.com
UniqueTek, Inc 574 Alamo Dr, Ste 60 Chandler, AZ 85225 480-507-0866 www.uniquetek.com
Savage Range Systems, Inc. 100 Springdale Rd Westfield, MA 01085 413-568-7001 www.savagerangesystems.com
The Range Report
Photo by Chip Gross
The Value of Certified Instructors Certified shooting instruction is good for your customers and your range By Tom Carpenter
the shooting industry and president established market of experienced hen it’s time to consider investing in your shooting shooters. But those folks are the and chief shooting instructor at Deep range’s future, certified minority out there. To make a go of it River Sporting Clays near Raleigh, instructors are probably not the first with a shooting business, you need to N.C., said “This applies to for-profit item on your list of considerations. attract new customers.” operations such as Deep River, as well However, you may want to push the You don’t just hand customers as nonprofits. If you don’t provide idea up your ladder of priorities, a gun, however, and let them start certified instruction, it’s probably time because certified instruction can pulling the trigger. to change your thinking.” substantially increase customers’ “You need to create the right No matter what kind of facility satisfaction—and experience,” emphasized your range’s bottom Kempffer, “and you A safe, successful and comfortable line. Hiring certified want that experience instructors or investing to be safe, successful session should result in a hooked in helping current staff and comfortable, for the customer and return business. become certified can be shooter. Those are the a wise business decision. direct and simple goals of certified instruction.” you manage, be it sporting clays, Why offer certified instruction? A safe, successful and comfortable trap and skeet, rifle, indoor shooting “Every range can do better at session should result in a hooked or some combination, certified providing shooting instruction,” customer and return business. instruction is good for business. said Bill Kempffer, chairman of the “The only way to learn how to properly teach shooting fundamentals National Shooting Sports Foundation’s “When we looked at our market to see what customers wanted,” to beginners, and to coach established Range Advisory Committee. shooters on improving their shooting, Kempffer, a 23-year veteran of said Kempffer, “we saw a small but The Range Report
A Degree in Shooting Complex/Game Preserve Management Southeastern Illinois College offers an associate degree program that trains students for managing shooting complexes and game preserves. “It’s a combined degree,” said Bruce Hering, who heads the program and also coaches the school’s shooting teams. “Students spend two years on their classwork, then a third year interning. The program has been in place for 30 years, and we enroll up to 18 students per year.” Obviously, this is much more than shooting instruction, but it’s a great way for a young person to get hands-on training in the shooting sports industry. For more information, contact Hering at email@example.com.
is to gain the knowledge and become a certified instructor,” said Kempffer. “I first taught in 1987. In 1989 I started taking the certification courses and became certified for Levels I and II, then later Level III, in sporting clays. The idea is the same with any kind of shooting: The rigors of becoming certified make you a better instructor.” Being a good instructor “Dealing with newcomers to any shooting sport is important,” said Kempffer. “New customers expand your client base and assure shooting’s future.
world and helps the student improve. “Sometimes when you go to a Certification gives you the tools to do range, there’s a guy with an official that.” vest on, but he may not be a certified instructor,” Kempffer continued. “But Teaching safety and success as a new shooter, or a shooter looking Firearms safety is an important part to get better, you need professional of any instruction, of course, but helping insight and instruction. Many expert a shooter find success creates a customer shooters can show you what works for them. But a certified instructor can who wants to come back for more. “Teaching safety is one reason for help the shooter find his or her own having certified instruction,” said Gary style, then work with it.” Greenway, chief instructor for both the Every shooter is different, and National Sporting Clays Association certification means you learn how to play off the student’s needs, challenges (NSCA) and National Skeet Shooting Association (NSSA). “That is the basis and strong points. for everything in shooting.” “The bottom line,” said Kempffer, “But a second and equally “is that what works for you in your important skill to be taught is what I shooting may not work for others. call the ‘bust-it factor,’” Greenway said Certification, and the work involved with a laugh. “If you’re not breaking with getting there, means that an things when you shoot, you’re not instructor has learned how to evaluate having fun.” shooters and help them based on their Greenway’s bust-it factor applies to needs, strengths and weaknesses.” all types of shooting, not just sporting That’s much different—and clays, skeet or trap. Rifle and pistol infinitely better—than just showing shooters want to punch holes in paper somebody how you do it. bull’s-eyes “I and badalways look “Success is important. People guy posters, at it like silhouette this when never get bored breaking shooters evaluating if someone targets. But they sure do get want to clank over is ready to tired of missing them.” metal instruct targets and other plinkers want to send cans spinning shooters. I ask them, ‘Would you and tumbling. teach somebody a technique that “Success is important,” agreed you wouldn’t use?’ It’s not a trick Kempffer. “People never get bored question,” Kempffer said, “but the breaking targets. But they sure do get answer should be ‘Yes.’ A good tired of missing them.” instructor knows shooting technique Certified instruction is the beyond his or her own successful solution. How certification works Every shooting discipline has a different certification process, but they are all relatively similar (see sidebar). As an example, here’s how the sporting clays and skeet programs work. “At the NSCA and NSSA, we look at Level I as sort of a learner’s permit for instructing shooters. It’s perfect for being able to teach safety and shooting basics,” said Greenway. “On the other hand, Level II (intermediate) and III (advanced) certifications provide the knowledge to teach advanced shooting
The Range Report
Shooting Instruction Certification Programs National Sporting Clays Association (NSCA) Levels I, II and III Instructor Certification www.nssa-nsca.org (see NSCA site and Shooting Instruction tab)
USA Shooting Coach Education programs for rifle, pistol, shotgun, high-powered rifle www.usashooting.org/membership/ coaches
National Skeet Association (NSSA) Levels I, II and III Instructor Certification www.nssa-nsca.org (see NSSA site and Instruction and Referees tab)
Civilian Marksmanship Program Instructor, Master Instructor and Marksmanship Instructor training www.odcmp.com/Training.htm
National Rifle Association NRA Certified Instructor Training Courses for pistol, rifle, shotgun, range safety officer, firearm safety and more www.nrahq.org/education/training/ instructor.asp
American Trapshooting Association (ATA) Coaches training www.shootata.com/aim/content/ coaching.html
Photo by Steve Wagner
skills – to help students work on their form and ability, and to help them become better shooters. “The certification courses are about 10 to 20 percent classroom work,” said Greenway. “The real action happens out on the range. Level I has a written exam that instructors must pass for certification. At Levels II and III,” he continued, “we have shooters come in, and we actually evaluate the instructor-intraining as he or she works with them.” This hands-on, live-situation approach is very effective, as it replicates real life and assures that the instructor is ready for the next level. “These courses are small and focused,” said Greenway, “with only six students per instructor at most. That attention is important when you’re training instructors.” NSCA and NSSA courses are offered all around the country for Level I and at a smaller selection of places for Level II, Greenway reported. Level III students come to the shooting sports complex at the NSCA/NSSA headquarters in San Antonio, Texas, for what is usually only one class per year. “Some shooters start shooting, stay involved, gain experience, get proficient and decide they want to help other people,” said Kempffer. “That’s great, and it’s the right motivation for being an instructor. I tell them the best The Range Report
way to get there is to get certified.” It helps a prospective instructor build on the knowledge and skills he or she has developed on their own. A final pitch for certification “Think about the general public,” said Kempffer. “Not many people have ever shot something out of the air or handled a handgun or rifle, and increased traffic at your facility is going to come from the influx of new shooters. If you can offer certified instruction, you are going to help the
beginners find success. You are also going to help current shooters get better. Imagine how your business and the shooting sports can grow. “A range that uses certified instructors delivers an important image of high standards and professionalism,” concluded Kempffer. “It also adds value. The public will pay for, and appreciate, professional instruction. Your customers want to be treated well, be successful and be encouraged. That’s what they deserve, and certified RR instruction can provide that.”
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undercover shooter The Youth-Friendly Perspective Two Ohio facilities are visited by young shooters
or this Undercover Shooter assignment, I took two shooters who were a niece and nephew of a colleague—a female, age 12, and a male, age 14—to two facilities in suburban Ohio communities, and let the beginning shooters ask questions, make purchases of accessories and access the ranges under my supervision. Young customers definitely see things differently, and the counter clerks and range staff also treat them differently. Some ranges miss opportunities to gain repeat customers who could even become lifelong patrons. One of the ranges offers indoor shooting only. The other offers shooters the opportunities for skeet, trap, 5-Stand and a sporting clays course. By law anyone under 18 or 21 years of age must be supervised by a responsible adult when shooting long guns and handguns, respectively.
Addressed like military recruits This range is located about 15 minutes from Columbus. The facility specializes in classes for the required permit to carry concealed firearms in Ohio. These popular classes fill quickly, so shooters wanting this permit must check the website regularly to get an available spot. The range has two types of indoor shooting lanes—a six-lane, 50-foot pistol range that will accommodate handguns up to the .50 Desert Eagle, and a six-position, 25-yard range that can handle long guns—and pistols—up to the powerhouse .460 Weatherby Magnum. Before shooting, new shooters must watch a brief video about range and firearms safety. Several legal forms are also required along with an I.D. We found a very small waiting area, or lounge. This facility offers several types of firearmstraining courses, range memberships, popular gift certificates and complete gunsmithing services. Additionally, you can sell firearms here through an auction service, or the shop will buy 24
your firearms. Several large, well-lit glass counters display a large number of new and used handguns for sale. We also found a small selection of long guns. It is apparent that this shooting range caters predominately to law enforcement, security and military personnel. Many regional security companies send students here for the range’s specialized Private Security Academy. In addition to the concealed-carry classes, the business offers instructional classes with females in mind. The ladies-only classes provide first-time shooters a chance to try .22 caliber handguns for $50. No items—other than safety glasses and ear muffs—would fit the young teenage shooters. The female shooter did find pink ear muffs to purchase. The young male shooter was excited about discovering zombie posters as targets here. Firearms were available for rent, and the young shooters did express interest, but we could not determine the full details from the signs located by the firearms. When I accompanied the two young shooters to the counter to purchase muffs and targets, the staff treated them professionally. When the young shooters were told about range use, fees and regulations, they were addressed somewhat like new military recruits in a commanding, snappy voice. The person at the counter seemed to be talking down to them. There were many signs around the range area telling you what not to do. No one at any counter made an effort to welcome the young shooters or see if they had questions—or experience. I accompanied the minors to the counter several times to ask questions or make purchases, and though it was the young shooters making the purchases, the range employee often overlooked them and engaged me in conversation. During our time at the range, I did see one other minor—approximate age 10—shooting with an adult. It was a busy time of the year for the range, but nevertheless both young shooters and I were
disappointed in the organization of the business. We had to make five trips to the counter to complete forms, sign papers, get information and make purchases before we entered the range and began shooting. Sometimes this meant standing in long lines. The teenage shooters agreed this range was “small, cramped and noisy.” Both also agreed things were disorganized at every counter and, at times, staff members were trying to yell customer names over the noise in the showroom area. One of the young shooters said, “This place was not very friendly, and I would not particularly want to come here again.”
More to their liking North of Columbus is a shooting center offering a 20,000-square-foot clubhouse/ store/range complex. The center’s website reports more than 1,000 firearms are in stock and available for sale. A large fine-gun room features many long guns and collector firearms. This shooting complex also sells hunting gear, a wide assortment of shooting accessories, reloading supplies, gifts, furniture and other items of interest to shooters. The indoor-range section for firearms includes six 50- and six 75-foot lanes. Up to two shooters may occupy a single lane. Handgun shooters under 21 years of age and long gun shooters under 18 years of age must have approval and be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times while on the range. People must be age 10 or older to shoot. Shooters can rent several types of firearms for use at the indoor range or on the outdoor shotgun ranges. Group and individual shooting instruction for handgunners is offered. This business buys and sells used firearms. This shooting facility offers many leagues for many types of shooting enthusiasts. The available shotgunning facilities The Range Report
include sporting clays, 5-Stand, trap and skeet. Most ranges are located a short walk from the clubhouse. There’s also an outdoor archery range. To accommodate more shooting enthusiasts, the shooting center also has recreational vehicle hook-ups and campsites on the property. The young shooters were excited to learn that this range offers a Summer Youth Shooting Sports Camp. Students have two to three hours of instruction, then lunch, and then go to the ranges to practice. Students can learn to shoot handguns, rifles, shotguns and bows at the four-day-long camp. Four camps were scheduled for 2012. This shooting facility offers four
membership categories, including family memberships. The facility features a small café and a large gathering room, complete with fireplace, that’s available for special events. The young shooters were immediately “wowed” by the entrance displays, gear, large clothing and hat selection, game mounts and firearms. The young female shooter, taking in all that the facility offered, said, “This place is AWESOME!” The staff talked to the young shooters as customers. When we discovered the summer shooting-camp program and asked questions, the woman organizing the camps came out of her office and discussed the camps, activities,
costs, hours and other details with us. Counter clerks treated both young shooters as valued customers. When the shooters made numerous trips to the counters to ask range details or about items for sale, everyone treated them respectfully talking to them and not down to them. Both young shooters gave the range a definite thumbs-up, commented that the lanes and building were big, bright, and had an inviting atmosphere. Both shooters expressed interest in shooting at this range again based on this positive first experience. I have learned that the young shooters posted information about their day at the gun ranges on Facebook and have asked family RR members to take them shooting again.
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 ................................................................. 2 • Located along a high-traffic highway in a residential neighborhood, and you must pay very close attention to see the small white sign by the road. If oncoming traffic is big trucks, the sign and the front of the business (with a larger sign) can easily be missed. No other noted direction signs.
Layout and Appeal ..................................................................... 3 • You must walk through a maze of gun vaults (all for sale or sold) before you come to one of several customer counters. It’s hard to determine which counter has a cash register and where you should go for service or questions. • A small room is available where guests must sit and watch a safety video. You can purchase a card at the range to use on future visits confirming you have watched the video. • The facility features a modern air-exchange system.
Retail Products Availability ......................................................... 3
Range B Customer Satisfaction Rating Signage and Visibility .................................................................. 4 • When you reach this shooting center, you know you have arrived with many signs and a large roadside entrance sign. There were, however, no directional signs noted.
Layout and Appeal ...................................................................... 5 • This range makes a great first impression upon entry.
Retail Products Available ............................................................ 5 • A wide selection of everything from hunting gear and Bowie knives to Under Armour clothing, plus many firearms.
Rental Firearms .......................................................................... 5 • There were signs and posters about many firearms that were available for rent, plus firearms with tags indicating costs for hourly rentals.
• Large number of new and used guns for sale. • Some reloading items, holsters, ammunition and other shooting accessories. • Prices for some merchandise, however, were not available until check-out at the cash register.
Staff Friendliness ....................................................................... 5
Rental Firearms .......................................................................... 3
Range Safety .............................................................................. 4
• Many types can be rented, including MSRs that you’d only see in an action hero movie.
Staff Friendliness ....................................................................... 2 • Most employees behind the counter gave us that “you’re just another customer” bland service—no smiles, expression or genuine interest.
Range Safety .............................................................................. 2 • Though many forms had to be signed and ID had to be provided, once we watched the video and paid for services and targets, we were pretty much on our own. If there were a range safety officer in the crowded range area, I did not spot him or her.
Programs and Membership .......................................................... 3 • This range offers memberships, but no youth-focused programs were noted, such as a shooting camp or hunter or beginning firearms safety education. The courses offered here are concealed carry and handgun focused.
Organization ............................................................................... 2 • Disappointing
• The staff here was friendly—and helpful. They spoke to, and not down at, the young shooters, and the camp director took the time to explain the camp program. • A large poster explained range rules, and some of the rules were printed on the sign-in forms. I discussed those written rules with the young shooters.
Programs and Membership .......................................................... 5 • This range sells family memberships and offers the Summer Youth Shooting Camp.
Organization ............................................................................... 5 • This building and the services were well organized. We were given a pager to let us know when our range lane would be open.
Preferred Range Range B: Black Wing Shooting Center, 3722 Marysville Road, Delaware, OH 43015 740-363-7555 • www.blackwingsc.com
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
Home on the Range Views from NSSF staffers and guest contributors
An Event for the Ages Plan to attend the 2013 Shooting Sports Summit and Shooting Range Symposium
n June 2008, the National Shooting Sports Foundation hosted its Shooting Sports Summit in Colorado Springs. Its purpose was to bring the industry together to discuss challenges we faced and to identify ways to overcome them. Manufacturers, state agencies and shooting sports organizations, shooting ranges and firearms retailers were among those in attendance. There, we addressed a growing trend—the steady decline in participation, not just in the field, but at shooting ranges, too. Access and opportunity are two primary reasons for this decline. Because of this challenge, the summit produced a new goal for us as an industry: Increase hunting and shooting sports participation by 20 percent by 2014. Since 2008, NSSF has hosted two more Shooting Sports Summits, in June of 2009 and 2011. As we begin to prepare for our next Shooting Sports Summit, scheduled for June of 2013, we plan to add new components to attract the shooting range audience. Who should attend? Everyone that plays a key role in the operations and management of a shooting facility. This includes range owners, managers, gun club representatives and shooting instructors. You all will take something away from this special gathering. We recognize the importance of further educating shooting ranges, which is what we plan to do at the 2013 summit. The range symposium segment will provide valuable resources to help promote, protect and preserve all types of shooting 26
ranges. As a potential attendee, you might be asking yourself, “What will I and my range get out of my attending this event?” As those that attended any of the National Shooting Range Symposiums during the 1990s and in 2000 know, this is one event you can’t miss. Our plan is to put together an agenda that will provide you with a variety of tools to help sustain and grow your business and your operation. A sampling of possible topics might include marketing and promotions strategies, range improvement and maintenance techniques, environmental management and community relations. You will gain knowledge from attending the 2013 Shooting Sports Summit in the following ways. Educational opportunities – Find out more about how to address noise and lead issues from professionals working with ranges. Effective lead-management programs and the implementation of environmental stewardship plans are just two keys to survival. Learn about how regulatory laws apply specifically to shooting ranges and how to deal with issues to protect yourself, your employees and your range business. The more support, the stronger we stand. Discover new ways to build on your existing community- and public-relations efforts. Gather insight on how to improve your range to accommodate the dynamic shooting sports that are attracting new audiences and reactivating lapsed participants. Gain knowledge to build on your range’s marketing strategies. Explore new angles of
By Zach Snow
Manager, Shooting Promotions
Zach Snow is the manager of shooting promotions for the National Shooting Sports Foundation. His responsibilities include servicing the needs of range members of NSSF.
advertising to bring fresh traffic to your range. Networking – Everyone within the shooting range community has faced unique obstacles and challenges needing prompt attention. Other ranges likely already have overcome the challenges your range is now facing. The Shooting Sports Summit will provide you with opportunities to discuss your situation with other range owners, managers and gun club representatives who can help you come up with solutions. By sharing our ideas and experiences we are forming a stronger network—an alliance—that brightens the future for all shooting ranges throughout the United States of America. Case studies – Your range will learn of successful models that your facility can adopt and modify to fit your needs; it is much easier than re-inventing the wheel. Hear from range owners who have been successful with efforts covering all aspects of shooting range management—from advertising campaigns, recruitment and retention efforts, and successful programs geared toward specific audiences, to best management practices. We are still mapping out the details to meet our goal of serving the shooting range community by providing you with resources to promote, protect and preserve shooting facilities for generations to come. Stay tuned to all NSSF communication vehicles, including Bullet Points and NSSF Member RR News, for updated information. The Range Report
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The Range Report
Winter Spring 2011 2012
Published on Apr 16, 2012