Q&A: Tips for Tidiness Vol. 13 No. 2 Spring 2010
NSSFâ€™s Magazine for Club Officers & Managers of Shooting Facilities
Get Involved Community Groups Are Invaluable
Break-in! Security Tips from a Victim A LOUD Court Decision
HIT ALL YOUR TARGETS Increase range traffic. Convert beginners. Reactivate former participants. Turn first-time shooters into repeat customers.
An introduction to shooting
HOST A FIRST SHOTS EVENT Hosting a First ShotsÂŽ seminar is the sure-fire way to drive traffic to your range. It introduces newcomers to the sport. It reactivates former participants. And it turns first-time shooters into loyal repeat customers. Simply put, host a First Shots event and everybody wins. The National Shooting Sports Foundation will make it as easy as possible, just visit
www.firstshots.org/schedule or call 203-426-1320. Youâ€™ll receive a free Reference Guide and all the ammunition you need to drive more traffic.
www.nssf.org • www.wheretoshoot.org • www.rangeinfo.org Vol. 13 No. 2 Spring 2010
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Break-in! How good is your security system? By W.H. “Chip” Gross
A Loud Court Decision A neighbor’s complaint about noise has a rod and gun club reeling. By Dale Hardy Roberts, Esq.
Work with Community Organizations Visibility, sweat equity earn prominence, respect and support. By Carolee Anita Boyles
Openrange Earns Its Five Stars NSSF guidance and a unique approach have helped create satisfied customers in an exemplary operation. By Colin Moore
Letter from the Editor What do you want your magazine to be? By Glenn Sapir
Sighting In Scoping out news for the shooting range community By Glenn Sapir
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Q&A Tips to keep your range tidy By Holden Kriss, Bill Kempffer and Peter Boruchowski
The Undercover Shooter Two indoor ranges near 90210
Home on the Range Think collegiate By Zach Snow
On the cover: Involvement in community organizations can bring results in the form of both influence and new customers. Photo courtesy of Holden Kriss
The Range Report
© 2010 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.
Letterfrom the Editor G l e n n
S a p i r
What Do You Want Your Magazine to Be? What topics would you like to see included in future Range Reports? As “NSSF’s Magazine for Club Officers & Managers of Shooting Facilities,” The Range Report fills a special niche. This is THE magazine for club officers and managers of shooting facilities. It’s what we call a “trade magazine,” as opposed to the “consumer magazines” commonly found at newsstands. Consumer magazines are for the end users. “Sporting Clays” magazine, “Skeet Shooting Review,” “The American Rifleman” and many others are for your club members and customers. The Range Report is for you! You only get it four times a year, and it typically carries two-dozen or less pages. So, space is a prized commodity to those of us who create the magazine and hopefully, a prized commodity to you who read this. In fact, The Range Report is yours—the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s gift to you. With that in mind, let’s return to the original question: What would you like to see in The Range Report. We asked that question of more than 2,500 readers in spring 2005, and based on their answers, we responded with content to meet those desires and needs. At that time, the subscriber base was about 8,000 members of the range community. In the subsequent five years, the circulation has grown to more than 10,000. Interest is becoming more widespread, and we hope that is because we are hitting on what you and your counterparts want to read. Despite the strong endorsement we received from readers when we ran that survey, we continue to seek direction from range professionals. We recently drew up an editorial calendar for the remainder of this year’s issues and all four for 2011. In almost all issues, we have planned a “real scenario” type of article, so that you can read about challenges other ranges are facing, as well as how they are meeting those challenges. 4
We have also planned more productoriented articles than you may be accustomed to seeing in the magazine. No, we don’t plan to devote an entire article to review and publicize a specific trap machine or a bullet trap, but we do expect to give a helpful rundown on the types of products that clubs and ranges might consider incorporating into their operations, mentioning innovative features, and we envision providing helpful guidance on locating specific sources of those products. In fact, we have plans for a lineup of extremely valuable articles to help you make your facility more professional, more economically operated, more environmentally and legally sound and more enjoyable for your shooters, be they club members or walk-in customers. A hallmark of most articles is that they do incorporate “real scenarios.” Our authors have been instructed to track down, profile and in any other way bring into their articles the relevant experiences of ranges. In that editorial calendar we have left article slots open for additional topics. What would you like to see covered? Getting feedback from readers of The Range Report has always been a challenge, and there may not be much reason to expect a change in that response record. Perhaps, however, when you take seriously the realization that this magazine is yours and can be, to a great extent, what you want it to be, you’ll devote the time to let us know what you want to see in the magazine. It may be a message for a pull-out poster that you and other shooting facilities across the country might display, or it might be a topic for an article that will specifically help you solve a problem you are facing. Or it might be a complaint about an article we did run. It’s up to you to let us know. The e-mail address is email@example.com, and we’d like to hear from you. RR
Editorial and Advertising Offices Flintlock Ridge Office Center 11 Mile Hill Road Newtown, CT 06470-2359 Tel:203-426-1320 Fax: 203-426-1245 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Visit us on the Web www.nssf.org www.wheretoshoot.org www.rangeinfo.org The Range Report, the magazine for club officers and managers of shooting facilities, 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: email@example.com We reserve the right to edit for clarity and space. Editor Glenn Sapir Advertising Director Chris Dolnack Art Director Deb Moran
The Range Report
Sighting In Scoping out news for the shooting range community to smaller schools like Fort Hays State University in Kansas, with awards ranging from $4,000 to $7,500 per school. Some colleges will use their grants as seed funding to launch With an increasing number of college students taking up target shooting at competi- new shooting clubs and teams; other schools will use their funds to expand existing tive and club levels, the National Shooting programs and publicize them on campus by Sports Foundation is providing $109,500 in support to ensure that even more young men developing Web sites and hosting “fun shoots.” and women have the opportunity to give Colleges requested grants through an shooting a try. application process with NSSF, which evaluNSSF is awarding the grants through its ated the proposals and made the awards new Collegiate Shooting Sports Initiative, based on the proposals. which was launched earlier this year to raise Participation in college shotgun sports awareness about shotgun, rifle and handgun has grown remarkably in recent years. shooting at the college level and to provide Between 2006 and 2009, the annual ACUI assistance for the development of shooting Intercollegiate Clay Target Championships has clubs and varsity teams. “NSSF is making these grants available in seen a 40 percent increase in participation, response to a growing interest in the shooting with 37 schools and 337 clay target shooters competing in last spring’s championship. sports on campuses across the country,” said Much of the increase can be directly attributed Zach Snow, NSSF’s senior shooting promoto high school students graduating from tions coordinator. “Graduates of scholastic programs like the NSSF-developed Scholastic shooting programs like the NSSF-developed Clay Target Program and 4-H, and then continScholastic Clay Target Program want to uing to compete in college. continue participating in their favorite sport For more information about NSSF’s Collewhen they go off to college, and once there giate Shooting Sports Initiative visit they’re eager to introduce new friends, classwww.nssf.org/college or contact Zach Snow at mates and faculty to this lifetime activity. At firstname.lastname@example.org. For additional insights from the same time, collegiate shooting programs Snow on how ranges can encourage collegiate help create a positive image for the shooting shooting at their facilities, be sure to read his sports and firearms ownership.” “Home on the Range” article on page 22 of Grants were issued to 16 colleges and this issue. universities, from prominent Harvard and MIT
NSSF Awards Shooting Grants to Colleges
By Glenn Sapir, Editor
Curcuruto Takes on NSSF Research Post
The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has appointed James Curcuruto as director, industry research and analysis. Curcuruto brings more than 15 years experience in the research, analysis, sales, marketing and advertising fields. He has done a substantial amount of research and analysis for a variety of industries, including the outdoor sports industry. “Jim’s thorough understanding of research and analysis will ensure that NSSF continues to produce market intelligence that helps our members to make more informed business decisions,” said Chris Dolnack, NSSF senior vice president. “His broad sales and marketing experience with industry companies will serve NSSF and its members well as we move forward in expanding our initiatives to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports.” Curcuruto holds a bachelor’s degree in business management from the Cameron School of Business at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. He is also a lifelong sportsman with a special interest in whitetail deer hunting. At NSSF, Curcuruto will direct the inhouse research and analysis staff while reporting to Randy Clark, managing director of business development. Among the services his department performs are Improved Web Site Launched ship and staff and turned this into a robust site Customized Market Reports, which many that will better serve our membership for the ranges, especially start-ups, depend upon in by NSSF near future.” their business plan. Basing its redesign efforts on Web metrics The National Shooting Sports Foundation “I am looking forward to building upon launched an improved, redesigned Web site -- and survey feedback from users, NSSF focused the solid foundation that exists within NSSF’s on key elements: coordinating the Web site the organization’s hub for providing timely research department,” said Curcuruto. with NSSF’s overall brand look and feel; unitnews and educational materials to industry ing all NSSF programs under the NSSF ground information on firearms issues that members and consumers. media can utilize in their stories. The site, www.nssf.org, underwent its first umbrella; improving navigation so that most information can be obtained in three clicks or NSSF reminds visitors that they can redesign in five years to improve navigation, less; allowing for increased multi-media accomplish the following on the new Web site: maximize multi-media offerings and integrate presentations produced in NSSF’s new video become an NSSF member; learn about the social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook studio; making it easier to stay connected with firearms and ammunition industry; view and and blogs. NSSF through social media tools and by signorder educational literature and videos; order “The Internet is a key messaging and ing up to receive newsletters, press releases, industry research; learn about locations where marketing tool in today’s world,” said Mark Thomas, NSSF’s managing director, marketing legislative alerts and blog posts via RSS and e- you can go shooting and hunting; contact your legislators about important firearms-related communications. “Our site had been perform- mail; and improving site search functionality. The site’s main categories are Industry, bills that affect the industry; find jobs in the ing extremely well. However, the site was long Shooting, Hunting and Safety, where all of NSSF’s industry; and read the latest news affecting the overdue for a redesign and needed to match many programs and services can be found. industry. our new branding initiative. I am extremely An improved Online Newsroom serves as Take a spin on the redesigned NSSF Web pleased with how our in-house new media staff site at www.nssf.org. took all the input from our research, member- an excellent source of story ideas and backThe Range Report
Q&A Your questions answered
Holden Kriss range manager, Indian River County Shooting Range
Bill Kempffer president, Deep River Sporting Clays & Shooting School
Peter Boruchowski manager, Smith & Wesson Shooting Sports Center
Tips to Keep Your Range Tidy Q. What tip can you pass along to help keep a range tidy? A. Holden Kriss, range manager, Indian River County Shooting Range: With fired brass reloadable cartridges worth money as scrap, cleanliness on your range can not only look nice, but it can be profitable also. We wanted an easy cleanup at the end of the shooting day, so we came up with a labor saver that helps us collect spent brass. This design can be used at just about any shooting range including both outdoor and indoor facilities. We started
In Q & A, The Range Report invites NSSF Association of Shooting Ranges 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 followup questions for this team of experts, please share your thoughts at the same email address. 6
with a frame that we made out of PVC pipes. We then added a metal screen that we tie-wrapped onto the frame. Next, we attached a metal clasp that worked as a hinge and attached a rope to the middle to pull up the frame from in front of the firing line. The result is an easy and simple aid for cleaning up most of the brass that is fired forward of the firing line. The only maintenance is a replacing a tie occasionally. It now takes us about 10 minutes to pick up the brass forward of the shooting lines on both the rifle and pistol ranges at the end of the day. A bonus is that these screens catch loose papers, cleaning patches and other trash, which further helps keep our range looking tidy.
magnets fixed to a short T-joint piece of PVC pipe material. The T-joint is attached to a 5-foot length of PVC pipe. This device allows our staff to pick the hulls off the ground and deposit them into the buckets during the course of the day and at closing time without having to bend over to pick them up by hand. This simple tool makes a difficult and time-consuming job much easier on the back and the clock. Each groundsman has his own “hull stick” with him to use as necessary. The cost of making up these sticks is only about $30.
A. Bill Kempffer, president, Deep River Sporting Clays & Shooting School: Operating a sporting clays range offers its own set of tidiness issues because the shooting fields are a distance from the clubhouse and, for that matter, from each other. Clays shooting produces our number one challenge: empty hulls that need to be picked up daily, if not multiple times each day. To facilitate this we place large “muck buckets” next to each shooting station to make it easy for the customers to deposit their empties. Even with such a large receptacle, however, empties will sometimes find their way to the ground around the station, as do the hulls ejected by semi-automatic or pump shotguns. Several devices are available for picking the empty hulls off the ground. What has worked best for us, especially since the shooting station locations are changed with regularity and the ground around them is not necessarily smooth and flat, is two industrial-strength
A. Peter Boruchowski, manager, Smith & Wesson Shooting Sports Center: Two years ago we wanted to reduce the damage to our target hangers. We were using a 22x35-inch cardboard backer that required the target to hang from the top. If you have a 5-foot 4-inch-tall shooter trying to hit a bull’s eye target at 10 yards, you know what the outcome is: damaged hangers and carrier systems. After experimenting with a few options it was decided to go with an 11x35-inch cardboard backer. The benefits of this change were some for which we planned (such as allowing the target to be adjusted up or down to match the height of the shooter; keeping the impact away from the target holders and carriers; and spreading the impact on our steel backstop over a larger area). One benefit we didn’t foresee was the 50 percent reduction in cardboard debris, along with a reduction in debris from targets and backers that, previously, were constantly being shot down. We were very pleased with the outcome, which reduced the cost for system maintenance and for backers RR while presenting a cleaner range. The Range Report
Your Future Is Our Business It’s Also Our Mission and Passion
National Shooting Sports Foundation® Join the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Help us attract, excite and inform new hunters and shooters – and turn them into your customers. All of us are a part of the lucky few who make a living pursuing our passion. We are the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association of the firearms, ammunition and shooting industry. By becoming a NSSF member, you enable us to attract, excite and inform new hunters and shooters in every state about the sport we love . . . new enthusiasts mean more business for everyone. Whether it is in the field, on the range, in Washington, D.C. or 50 state capitals, we stand proudly as your voice. Help us make your voice louder and stronger where it counts.
For almost 50 years, our mission has always been to promote, protect and preserve our hunting and shooting sports. Now more than ever, it’s time to shoot for more and become a NSSF member. To join, contact Bettyjane Swann at (203) 426-1320 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
© iStockphoto.com/Sami Photography
The future of your business depends on it.
Rex and Suzanne Gore are grinning for the camera, but they weren’t smiling when their shooting center was burglarized. The experience has taught them some valuable lessons from which all shooting facilities could profit. Photos courtesy of author
Break-in! How good is your security system? By W. H. “Chip” Gross
t’s one of a range owner/operator’s worst nightmares: burglary. Unfortunately, that nightmare came true last August 17 for Rex and Suzanne Gore, husband and wife owners of Black Wing Shooting Center (www.blackwingsc.com), a Five Star-rated shooting facility on the edge of Delaware, Ohio. “It was a Sunday evening about midnight when burglars cut the phone lines to our building, disabling the main, land-line-based security system,” said Rex. “They then entered by breaking out a glass backdoor, which set off the in-store alarms. The alarms chased the burglars away for about an hour—probably waiting in 8
nearby woods to see if anyone would show up in answer to the alarm. When no one did, our surveillance cameras show two guys coming back about 1 a.m.” The thieves spent almost an hour in the building, taking 35 firearms— shotguns, rifles and handguns—and other merchandise worth about $30,000. In the process, they damaged another $20,000 worth of property, for a total insurance claim of $50,000. However, most of the store’s more valuable firearms had been wisely locked in a vaulted, concrete, inner room, as they are each night. As a result, the suspects got away with only a small fraction of the facility’s $1.5 million
inventory. The Gores admit the breakin could have been much worse. Black Wing also had a cellularbased backup security system, not requiring a land-based phone line, but for some unknown reason it failed. “We’re not sure if the burglars were somehow able to scramble the system’s signal or it was simply not working for some other reason, such as a lightning strike,” said Rex. “All we know is that the backup system didn’t go off when it should have. When it was checked following the robbery, we were told the system was ‘fried.’” Of the three suspected perpetrators, one has already been arrested, convicted and sentenced on three felony counts. A second person, the driver of the vehicle, was arrested, pled guilty and, at press time, awaited sentencing while a third man, the believed brains behind the break-in, was still at large. The two men already apprehended were from Columbus, The Range Report
Ohio’s capital city, home to more than one million people and about a half-hour’s drive from Black Wing. The Gores do not believe any of their 25 employees were involved in the robbery. “We’re convinced it was not in an inside job,” they said.
Dealing with the Media Following the break-in at Black Wing Shooting Center last summer, one of the things owners Rex and Suzanne Gore were not prepared for was the crush of news-media attention. “It was like a feeding frenzy of sharks,” Rex remembers. “There were TV news crews in my store’s parking lot filing remote stories and reporters following me around inside the store wanting interviews…for several days it was just crazy.” Unfortunately, according to Gore, none of the news sources were totally accurate in their reporting. Gore said he is normally very friendly with the news media, believing, as a range owner and operator that it is his responsibility to educate reporters about recreational shooting and the shooting sports industry in general. “But it’s always a challenge,” said Gore. “For example, we can seldom get the media to respond when we are having a special shooting event or educational program, such as for veterans, women or kids. But let something unfortunate happen, such as the break-in, and the media seems to show up in droves. If I had it to do over again,” said Gore, “I probably would have declined all news interviews following the break-in and just issued a written press release.”
What have the Gores learned from their ordeal? “This incident has taught us one thing, and that is to test our main and back-up security systems on a regular basis,” they said. “We now test monthly. And since the breakin, we’ve added sirens and flashing strobe alarms to the outside of the building. We’ve also added additional video surveillance cameras, both inside and out.” The Gores also suggest hiring a professional security consultant to take a hard look at your facility. “If at all possible, have the power
The Range Report
and phone lines coming into your building totally underground, so they can’t be cut,” they warned. “And have a cellular backup to any land-linebased security system.” Also, alternative electrical power
is important, such as a generator that kicks on should your main power source fail — and don’t forget to have adequate surge protection on all power units. “Most important,” said the Gores,
“have a good insurance policy, and make sure it’s up to date.” Smoke, secured gun cases and sound deterrents The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) makes available to its members discounts on two shooting range/store security aids. One is a fogging system from FlashFog Security, and the other is a line of secured gun cases from Display Solutions of Topeka. Bettyjane Swann, member services director with the NSSF, explains the benefits of the systems. “FlashFog deters smash-and-grab burglaries, because when your store alarm goes off FlashFog sets off a thick, odorless fog that spreads throughout the building in about 30 seconds, greatly reducing visibility. And, obviously, burglars can’t steal what they can’t see,” Swann said. “The gun display cases from Display Solutions of Topeka have an aluminum, roll-down front that can be pulled down and locked at night—much like a roll-top desk—which also discourages smash-and-grab,” she added. Swann said that both security companies regularly display their products at the SHOT Show. FlashFog’s fog lasts about 45 minutes, is safe and harmless to breathe. The company claims there is no clean-up of any kind involved after
Display Solutions of Topeka P. O. Box 19151, 6700 SW Topeka Blvd., Bldg. #624 Topeka, KS 66619 Web site: www.dstopeka.com • Phone: 800-444-9685
the system activates. Each activation costs about $10, and six to eight activations can be expected from a typical bag of the system’s fluid. In addition, the fog deterrent is enhanced by a bright strobe light that pulsates 12 times per second, causing the fog to glow and disorienting intruders. For even more security protection, FlashFog also offers SoundWall, a noise system that projects 125 decibels of ear-piercing sound in a narrow beam. The SoundWall system is usually used to protect specific areas, such as safes, cash registers or highpriced inventory. Display Solutions of Topeka secured gun cases are made with a lockable, roll-formed aluminum door or individual locking slideFlashFog Security out drawers. Arias Tech Ltd. Available in 375 Brunel Rd., Mississauga, ON both handgun L4Z 1Z5 Canada and long-gun Web site: www.FlashFogSecurity.com sizes, the cases Phone: 888-282-7740 or 905-502-0249 solve the problem of having to remove firearms from display cases each night to be locked in more secure storage. The company says,
“…the savings in labor, less handling of the firearms, and the added security more than pays for the cases.” Custom orders, built to fit your store’s specific needs, are also available.
All’s well that ends well An interesting side note to the Black Wing Shooting Center break-in last summer was the reaction of the local community. “To my surprise, people really became angry at the thugs,” said Rex Gore. “Our employees, range members, customers, even people from the local community who are not necessarily shooters, were all upset. Everyone felt the thieves had not just stolen from us, but from them, as well.” The Gores said they received many phone calls and visits following the robbery, with people checking to see how they were doing and if they needed anything. Local restaurants even brought in food for the Gores and their staff. “It was all a very positive, touching show of caring and support,” said Rex “one that Suzanne, I and our family will never forget.” With unemployment in America hovering around 10 percent and the economy continuing to struggle, more and more people are getting desperate for money. As a result, break-ins are on the rise, and shooting ranges are not exempt. Is your shooting facility adequately protected? Don’t wait to RR find out. The Range Report
Photos courtesy of author
A Loud Court Decision A neighbor’s complaint about noise has a rod and gun club reeling By Dale Hardy Roberts, Esq.
We the jury find in favor of the Plaintiffs and against the Defendant in the amount of $700,000. “In addition, the court hereby enters a permanent injunction limiting the days and hours of operation and orders Cedar Creek Rod and Gun Club to comply with the terms of the injunction.” We were speechless. Cedar Creek Rod and Gun Club never thought it would come to this, especially after such an auspicious beginning… The history In the spring of 1993, Cedar Creek, a non-profit corporation, began its operations. From the beginning, the neighbors were friendly, if not outright supportive. Cedar Creek was a shotgun-only club and provided opportunities for trap, skeet and sporting clays. The range opened its
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facilities, at no cost, to the Boy Scouts, 4-H, groups hosting fundraisers, and numerous other community activities. Cedar Creek, by all accounts, was a good neighbor. When Cedar Creek first began operations, it hosted a public meeting at the nearby Stephens, Mo., town hall. All of the neighbors received an invitation, and the meeting was open to the general public. The founding members of Cedar Creek explained the plans for the range and entertained any questions or concerns that arose. No one voiced any opposition to the plans for the shotgun range. After all, this was in a rural setting, about 17 miles from Columbia. The area was comprised of small family farms, and virtually all of land in the area was used by local hunters. Many of the neighbors joined or used the range, and one neighbor became a member of Cedar Creek Rod and Gun
Club’s board of directors. In fact, one neighbor even asked permission to enter the land to hunt deer, squirrels and rabbits. Danny Brown’s land was across the road, and his driveway was less than a mile west of Cedar Creek’s entrance. Cedar Creek was happy to allow Brown the recreational use of its land and felt that in doing so, Cedar Creek was maintaining its status as a good neighbor. Brown, however, did not return the favor. Around 1997, some 3½ years after the range opened, Danny Brown married, and his wife, Donna, moved into his home. Evidently, Donna began to complain to Danny about the noise, and, as they say around those parts, “If Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!” Before long, Donna’s attitude had become so hostile that any time the club was in operation, she would 11
stand at the edge of her property with works. The judge discounted the testipart-owner and employee of a local a bullhorn and broadcast obscenities, mortgage company, and that company mony of other neighbors--a even toward 4-H kids when they were couple--because their teenage son had had made loans for many of the there, because of the noise they were worked as a part-time trapper for neighbors. making. She also began calling the two Cedar Creek. The judge did accept as The Browns claimed the noise local sheriff’s departments (the range from the shotgun range, which was credible, however, all the testimony straddles the border of Boone and Call- approximately 600 yards from their offered by the relatives of the Browns. away counties) to complain. The home, was so great that it rattled their sheriffs repeatedly advised her that the windows, caused their lungs to vibrate The verdict range was engaged in lawful activity, As indicated above, the jury and made it impossible to watch televiand, therefore, no violation was occurawarded $700,000 in damages to the sion or carry on a conversation inside ring. their home. Browns. In a subsequent hearing the The situation continued until the judge issued an injunction, which Every other neighbor, without Browns asked Cedar Creek, as well as restricted the hours of operation to the exception, testified in favor of Cedar the people who actually owned the period from noon until 6 p.m., TuesCreek and stated the noise was not as land and leased it to Cedar Creek (the days, Thursdays and Saturdays. The loud as the barking of the local dogs, if Gates family), to buy the Browns’ injunction also permitted up to six noticeable at all. However, the judge home (at an inflated value) so they who presided over the trial determined special events per year and allowed a could leave the area. The Browns that those witnesses were not credible few other days for shooting. apparently hoped to use their verbal When the verdict was published, because many of them had, at one time attacks upon the youth shooting many thought it might be the largest or another, received loans from the leagues and their constant calls to law such verdict in U.S. history. No one mortgage company where Mr. Gates enforcement as leverhas spent any time age to force someone researching that, but it is Lessons to Be Learned to buy them out. certainly a noteworthy 1. At the first hint of trouble, contact the National Shooting Sports When the club, and result. At the time of Foundation, the Second Amendment Foundation or the National the landowners, the lawsuit, Missouri Rifle Association for referral to legal counsel. These associations refused, the Brown’s had a Range Protection may be able to offer resources on the law, working with the media resorted to litigation. Act that offered differand community relations. ent levels of protection Before trouble arises, investigate the range protection available The trial to firearms ranges, under your state statutes. If necessary, ask your elected represenOn Jan. 9, 2004, depending upon when tatives to bring your range protection act up to date. the Browns filed their they began operations. 2. Find an attorney who understands the nuances of firearms law. lawsuit against Cedar Under that law, the Again, you may rely on national firearms associations to assist you Creek, alleging protection afforded in finding a firearms friendly and firearms knowledgeable attorney. nuisance violations Cedar Creek was 3. Recognize the view that the public in your community holds toward arising from the noise. limited. firearms. With the initiation of Although he U.S. Supreme Court settled the D.C. v Heller case by litigation, Cedar Missouri’s new Range holding that the Second Amendment is not a right restricted to Creek hired one of the Protection Act members of a militia, but it is an individual right, not everyone has best corporate lawyers As a result of this case, accepted the Supreme Court’s decision, or the facts and logic which in the community. and the threat it posed supported that decision. Hiring a public relations representative might In December for any other shooting be necessary; during the four years of litigation, the local media never published a fair or accurate report on the Cedar Creek case. 2007, four full years range in Missouri, state 4. Do not allow the attorneys to personalize the case and attack the after it was filed, the Rep. Munzlinger offered individuals. Brown’s case against an amendment to At trial, the Brown’s attorney argued that the Browns were just Cedar Creek went to Missouri’s Range Protecpoor folks and the Gates family, who owns the land and leased it to trial. In a nutshell, tion Act, which was Cedar Creek, were wealthy. Whether the landowner (in your case it here’s what came out: later adopted. Prior to might be the club president or the club members) is wealthy is The Gates family Munzlinger’s amendirrelevant. The lawsuit was against the gun club. In the case of owns the land upon ment, Missouri law Cedar Creek, the gun club had no assets. The plaintiff’s attorney which Cedar Creek provided limited immuwill invariably try to attack the party who has the most money and operated. They leased nity from criminal not the not-for-profit-community organization. the land to Cedar liability for noise or 5. Good records are critical. It would be well worth the small investCreek and were, in sound emissions resultment in attorney’s fees required to ensure that your corporate some instances, offiing from the “normal documents, your minutes and all other proceedings are in order. cers of the non-profit use” of a shooting range. —Dale Roberts Missouri’s new law club. Mr. Gates is also 12
The Range Report
eliminated the normal use requirement and broadened the immunity to any civil or criminal liability arising from noise or sound emissions at a range. Under Missouri’s new law, all ranges are absolutely immune from any liability for nuisance complaints arising from noise. The legislature added another provision to that statute, which states, “Any actions by a court in this state to enjoin the use or operation of such firearm ranges and any damages awarded or imposed by a court, or assessed by a jury, in this state against any owner or user of such firearm ranges for nuisance or trespass are null and void.” Though the ex post facto doctrine prevents new legislation for criminal acts from affecting past acts, it does not have the same prohibition on civil matters. Interestingly, this bill passed Missouri’s House of Representatives by a vote of 143 to 1.
the Browns. general will be required by Missouri As of Dec. 29, 2009, the $700,000 law to defend the Missouri statute. In judgment stands. However, Cedar other words, Missouri’s attorney Creek Rod and Gun Club is a not-forgeneral will be arguing on the same profit corporation, which probably side as Cedar Creek. has assets of less than $1,000. The Range Report will attempt to Furthermore, even if assets were keep Range Report readers up to available to satisfy the judgment, that date on developments in this case. judgment was declared null and void On the other hand, any clubs that by the new amendment to the Range have had experience in such matters Protection Act. may wish to contact the club. Please It appears the Browns are now direct any such relevant communicaattempting to collect from the Gates tions to Dale H. Roberts, 308A family, who leased the land to the club. Douglas Dr., Ashland, MO 65010Due to the costs of litigation and 2005, fax 202-280-1035, e-mail RR other legal pressures, Cedar Creek email@example.com. went out of business in Aug. 2008. By Sept. 1, About the Author 2008, a new not-for-profit group called Prairie Grove Dale Hardy Roberts is a semi-retired attorney and Shooting Sports was former Missouri judge, who teaches law at the formed, and Prairie Grove University of Missouri. Though he was a member leased the land where and officer of the Cedar Creek Rod and Gun Club Cedar Creek formerly operand is a current member of Prairie Grove Shootated. Prairie Grove began ing Sports, he was not one of the attorneys operations after Missouri’s defending Cedar Creek in its court case. Where is the club now? new Range Protection Act This case was argued before the went into effect, and it Missouri Court of Appeals for the would seem to be immune from noise Western District, and the court ruled complaints from the Browns. against Cedar Creek. A request to Furthermore, because Prairie Grove have this case heard by the Missouri came into being long after the Supreme Court was denied on Dec. lawsuit, and also because of the 29, 2009. Even though this case has protective prohibition in the new been “to the Supreme Court and Range Protection Act, the injunction back,” it is far from over. does not limit the days or hours of Neither the parties nor their operation for Prairie Grove. attorneys can discuss the details, but However, undeterred, the Browns are attempting to collect the judgUnintended Consequence ment from the new club, Prairie At the same time state Rep. Munzlinger was proposing Grove. The improvements to Missouri’s Range Protection Act, state Browns are also Sen., Stouffer filed a bill to remove Missouri’s absolute arguing that the ban on suppressors (“silencers”). The logic of moving injunction against these two bills together was inescapable. In order to Cedar Creek ameliorate the sounds from gun ranges, that bill was should be enforced combined with the Range Protection Act and, as a result, against Prairie Missouri’s ban on suppressors was successfully removed. Grove. These two issues have yet to based upon what has been said, and a be litigated. That day likely will review of the results, it would seem come, and the parties appear to be that perhaps the Browns’ legal prepared to fight this to the Supreme complaint was so ludicrous that, Court again. This time, however, perhaps, Cedar Creek’s attorneys let because the Browns are arguing the down their guard. Everyone thought Missouri Range Protection Act is no rational jury would find in favor of unconstitutional, Missouri’s attorney The Range Report
Miles Hall, president of H&H Gun Range in Oklahoma City, speaks to a group of Rotarians at the organization’s annual Vocational Day. H&H is involved with a wide variety of organizations in its community.
Photos courtesy of author
Work with Community Organizations Visibility, sweat equity earn prominence, respect and support By Carolee Anita Boyles
ne challenge facing many ranges is community acceptance. This is particularly true in suburban areas, where neighbors—particularly new neighbors— may not appreciate the gunfire next door. Developing relationships with community organizations can demonstrate that shooting ranges make good neighbors; and in a few areas, ranges are so popular that they’re able to promote other community organizations. Zach Snow, senior shooting promotions coordinator for the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), said that the more avenues of communication a range has within its community, and the more organizations with which the range is affiliated, the more allies that range will have. “The more allies you have, the 14
more people you have standing behind you and what you provide to the community,” he said. Snow used as an example a small private gun club in Connecticut. “This gun club is surrounded by homes that have been built over the years, and it has a very small buffer zone,” he said. “Several years ago the gun club established a ‘community foundation’ and hosts an annual event to raise money for the foundation. The foundation donates that money to organizations such as the fire department and the school system. That has created strong relationships within the community.” As a result, when new neighbors complain about having a gun club in the area, they receive a letter pointing out that the gun club is a long-term
and vital member of the community. “That’s the kind of value that tying in with organizations in your community can provide,” Snow said. “It gives you a solid foundation.” A believer in community involvement Miles Hall, president of H&H Gun Range in Oklahoma City, Okla., is a great believer in involvement with community organizations. He is a Rotarian as well as a past president of the West Area Chamber of Commerce of Oklahoma City. In addition, one of Hall’s employees, Will Andrews, has been Rotarian of the Year at the Rotary chapter to which he belongs. “Being involved in the community is simply what we do,” Hall said. “It’s really hard to demonize someone The Range Report
who’s involved and who puts a face on shooting.” H&H Gun Range hosts many charity shoots for a number of organizations; he’s hosted so many, Hall said, that he’s lost track of them. The range is involved with the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, Junior Achievement, the Oklahoma County Foster Care Review Board, Rotary Club, Oklahoma Cities “Adopt a Street,” Boy Scouts of America and the Downtown College Consortium on behalf of Oklahoma State University at Oklahoma City, to name just a few. “From the beginning, we’ve believed that community and business are one in the same,” Hall said. “We don’t believe in ‘giving back’ to the community because that implies we’re taking something away from the community in the first place. We believe that a successful business should be involved in as many aspects of the community as possible. This helps us by keeping us in touch with our customers, and in turn making us more valuable to the community.” Each year Hall participates in Rotary Vocational Day. “I’m from a big club, and we break up into small groups of 35 or 40 Rotarians who go to different venues to learn more about what some of us do,” Hall said. “We’re one of those venues, and we’re the only venue that books out every year on the day the Vocational Day is announced. We hold a lunch, give them a talk about firearms and firearm safety and then let them shoot.” H&H Gun Range also hosts many church groups, sororities, fraternities and other organizations who do fundraisers. “In addition, we participate in Toys for Tots every year,” Hall said. “We get so many toys that the Marines can’t believe it.”
Invite industry and community leaders to a shooting event, present awards and offer due recognition, and you and your facility have earned a position of respect and appreciation. Here, from left, Robert Morrison and David Blenker of Taurus International join with Boy Scouts of America executives Jeff Hunt and Jim Hammel at a Boy Scout charity shoot at Quail Creek Plantation
held a sporting clays shoot at Quail Creek to raise funds for the South Florida Council of the Boy Scouts of America,” said Robert Morrison, president of Taurus International. Holding the shoot at Quail Creek has greatly increased the range’s business, Morrison said. Many of the shooters who have participated in the Boy Scout charity shoot have become regular customers of Quail Creek, despite its distance from major metropolitan areas. “They aren’t in the most accessible place, but shooters who have come there keep coming back,” Morrison
said. “Some of them drive 2½ hours from Miami to shoot there because it’s such a pleasant place to shoot.”
Visibility, participation are key Don Turner is manager of the Clark County Shooting Park in Las Vegas, Nev., but for many years he was the manager at Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix, Ariz. “Many ranges take care of their membership and become internal, but never go external,” Turner said. “Because they don’t go external, they don’t have networks and friends and relationships. Then when someone wants to close them down, they have nobody to champion them.” Because the Ben Avery Shooting Facility is owned by the State of
Reaching out to the Scouts Involvement with the Boy Scouts of America has helped put Quail Creek Plantation near Fort Drum, Fla., on the map. “For the past two years we’ve The Range Report
Arizona, Turner was a state Additional Resources employee, which meant he didn’t have as much latitude The NSSF’s Association as the manager of a private of Shooting Ranges (NASR) shooting range. However, has available a number of he joined the local Chamber publications that can help of Commerce so the range with community involvecould participate in Chamment. Go to the NASR Web ber of Commerce activities. site at www.rangeinfo.org “We did a lot of charity and click on “Range shoots,” he said. “We also Resources.” held events for different Scroll down to “Commuparts of the community.” nity Relations” and click on In other words, Turner the “General” link. It will went into the community take you to a list of instead of waiting for the published resources that community to come to the includes a number of docurange. ments on community “By the end of 10 years, relations and community not only were we an partnering. NASR/NSSF Five Star facility, but we also were voted in as a Point of Pride by the City range into an outdoor resort with of Phoenix,” Turner said. “You don’t do sporting clays and a 5-Stand shooting that by hiding under a rock.” area. Simmons attributes the success In Smith Valley, Nev., Leia of their Walker River Resort over the Simmons and her husband Stanley past 25 years to involvement with turned a working sheep and cattle community organizations. “We’re a member of the Chamber of Commerce, and we participate in all its charitable events,” she said. “Being involved has helped get the word out about us.” For a number of years the Simmons put on an annual sporting clays shoot to benefit the local emergency medical technician organization. “Before we were fully automatic, the EMTs would come out and even throw the targets,” Simmons said. This year, the Walker River Resort will host a sporting clays charity shoot for the Relay for Life. “The woman who runs the local Relay for Life is a friend of ours, so we want to help with that event,” she said. Turning the tables At the Indian River Public Shooting Range in Sebastian, Fla., manager Holden Kriss doesn’t use the Chamber of Commerce to promote the shooting range; he uses the range to promote the Chamber of Commerce. “Being involved in community organizations is very important, because it helps people understand 16
that firearms are for recreation like golf or tennis is,” Kriss said. “In this community, shooting is a very large draw. Our range has 55,000 registered shooters; we’re the largest draw in the community as far as recreational facilities are concerned. Therefore, we do a lot of charity events, and we promote the Chamber of Commerce and other events in the community through the shooting range. We have people come from a distance of more than 100 miles in every direction to shoot here, so we bring a lot of business into the community. The situation here is very unusual, with a totally different perspective.” Earn a respected place in the community At the end of the day, Hall said, when you participate in community organizations and events, you become an integral part of the community. “We’ve been told that we’re as important as the utility company,” Hall said. “The person who said that was a politician, and you know about politicians, but it was still a great quote.” Turner agreed. “When you become part of the community, you become part of the family,” he said. “When you become a part of that family, then the community wants to help take care of you.” RR The Range Report
Openrange Earns Its Five Stars NSSF guidance and a unique approach have helped create satisfied customers By Colin Moore
n any given day, Dennis Lubeley drives the 10-odd-miles between his home in a bedroom community of Louisville, Ky., to engage in his passion for target shooting at Openrange. Once there, he gathers up his guns and shooting accessories, pays for an hour on the facility’s indoor pistol range and begins his routine shooting session. He’s likely to be accompanied by a friend or family member, and he’ll probably spend more than he originally planned before he went through the front door. If Barry Laws could invent the perfect customer, it would be Dennis Lubeley or somebody very much like The Range Report
him. In a sense, Lubeley is Laws’ creation, because he developed Openrange (www.openrangesports.com) to cater to the Dennis Lubeleys that live in and around Louisville. Openrange, with its user-friendly staff and boutique atmosphere, has converted Lubely into one of its staunchest advocates. Not only is he a good and steady patron, but Lubeley also coaxed his four daughters into taking gun safety and shooting classes at the facility. He’s bought firearms there, participated in a couple of gun leagues and encouraged his friends to join as well. “Openrange is unique in my experience,” said Lubeley. “It’s got pretty much everything a shooter would
want, but it also maintains the sort of clean, wholesome atmosphere that is appealing to families. I’ve joined a couple of gun leagues there and been able to talk some of my friends into becoming members. It’s the kind of place most recreational shooters look for, but rarely find.” Mission accomplished for Barry Laws, who’s as unconventional as his range. Laws doesn’t talk gun talk, per se. He can’t spout off Using NSSF research and ballistic native business acumen, information the Laws turned a dilapi- for the Russdated skating rink into an ian Gs18 inviting shooting facility semi-autoand a successful business. matic pistol, isn’t in to such words as “ogive” and “headspace” and can’t take apart and reassemble a Glock blindfolded. In fact, Laws looks and sounds like Photos courtesy of Openrange what he is, a retired actor and male model from California who, with his wife Cynthia, settled in Louisville a few years ago because they liked its “feel.” To support themselves, and recapture something of Barry’s youthful zest for recreational shooting in the process, they opened an indoor range that now ranks among the best in the country. The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) awarded Openrange its pinnacle Five Star rating and counted the money that it granted the Laws to develop the range three years ago as money well spent. “Openrange provides a warm, welcoming and enjoyable environment for the newcomer or the active shooter and that requires a balanced, deft touch,” said Zach Snow, the NSSF’s senior shooting promotions coordinator, in explaining the facility’s primary attributes. “You feel at home as soon as you walk through the front door of the store at Openrange. Everything 17
How Openrange Earned Its Stars In winning accreditation as a Five Star shooting range, Openrange aced virtually every scoring category established by the NSSF’s Association of Shooting Ranges (NASR). The NASR (www.rangeinfo.org/PDF/ NASR_rating_system.pdf) awards shooting ranges points on a sliding scale that takes into account such features as signage, lighting, amenities, interior and exterior upkeep, general management and corporate citizenship. The heaviest emphasis is placed on how aggressively a range seeks to become involved in the community, the lengths to which it goes to establish and maintain good customer relations, how well it trains its staff, its overall appearance and the quality of customer service that is provided. “Openrange really hits a home run with its customer service,” said Zach Snow, the NSSF’s senior shooting promotions. “I recognized this upon calling the range and hearing the voice message providing me with full details on what Openrange offers. What sold me most, though, was tone of voice and the enthusiasm being relayed in the message. It could not sound more inviting, especially if someone had no prior experience in the shooting sports. That first impression proved to be correct. As soon as I entered the range I was greeted by a very friendly staff that was ready to get me started and outfitted.” Likewise, Openrange scored high marks for customer/member focus and development, as well as community relations. Though such attributes are treated as separate entities, they are part of the marketing process that every range engages as soon as it opens its doors to the public.
“An indoor range with different venues to engage all ages and shooting types is a big plus in Openrange’s favor,” added Snow. “Because it has an indoor paintball arena, as well as a 100-yard indoor rifle range and a 25-yard interactive indoor pistol range, Openrange has everybody covered, from established shooters and hunters to young people. The paintball/Reball arena provides a fun and entertaining introduction for people that might be skeptical at first about shooting a firearm. “After playing a couple of games of paintball with other newcomers, novices are often eager to step out onto the pistol or rifle range and give other forms of sport shooting a try,” continued Snow. “In essence, the paintball arena is a gateway to getting more and new people involved in the shooting sports. It was definitely a good move, and typical of the thought that went into the basic game plan.” For Barry Laws, the development of Openrange was part inspiration, part recollection of the things that he liked best about target shooting when he was a youngster, and a healthy dose of NSSF guidance. Beside a CMR (see accompanying sidebar), Laws availed himself of the literature available on the NASR Web site (www.rangeinfo.org/resources.cfm). There, visitors will find a plethora of useful literature with such headings as “Designing a Custom Care Program,” “Newsletters Provide Vital Membership Link,” “Low Cost Advertising Solutions” and “Target Your Marketing.” “Though my original goal was to
open the best range in the Louisville area, using the Five Star Rating System as a guide really helped me define what that ‘best’ should incorporate,” noted Laws. “Frankly, the rating system pointed out a number of things that I hadn’t considered, even simple things such as putting our phone number on the sign out front, or putting up ‘welcome’ and ‘thanks for coming’ signs.” The Five Star designation is the epitome of the NASR rating system, but not all range operators have the resources to reach that lofty status as quickly as did Openrange. The program rewards other stages of excellence, however, and at any level of achievement the guidelines provide range operators with something to aspire to as they build their businesses. “The Five Star program gave us a target to set our sights on,” said Barry Laws. “It’s a really good blueprint for those who might be unfamiliar with the qualities that make a range stand out, and I’m glad that we had it to use as a guide. Because we did, it helped us get the top rating, and that gave us bragging rights and validated all the hard work that we put into Openrange.”
about the facility is clean and kept up, which makes it that much more inviting to the type of people that the Laws are trying to attract.” Housed in what originally had been a dilapidated skating rink 20 minutes east of downtown Louisville, Openrange is a 55,000-square-foot indoor facility that includes a pistol range, a 100-yard-long rifle range and a dry paintball venue (more than a quarter of paintball aficionados ultimately become avid fans of firearms sports shooting). Though it has everything the avid
shooter would want, Openrange wasn’t designed with “gun guys” in mind. During the process of setting up the business, Laws relied on the NSSF for more than funding. The group provided him with demographical information that was critical in the planning stages (see sidebar). For starters, Laws acquired every piece of literature that the NSSF has to offer on shooting ranges, then pored over it until he began to dovetail the information with the business plan that he was formulating.
“Without a doubt, the most important information that I got from the NSSF had to do with demographics and trends in recreational shooting,” recalled Laws. “The demographical information was wonderful — very thorough and useful. I can’t imagine spending less than $10,000 to get the same kind of service from other sources. It helped guide me in developing a facility that would appeal to the kind of affluent clientele I needed to make it work.” The rest of the process between
The Range Report
turning an idea into a reality involved pure inspiration on Laws’ part. He was raised in a family where recreational shooting was just that — relaxing, safe recreation. Laws set out to create the same sort of environment at Openrange where shooters could develop or maintain their skills, or just plink away for the fun of it. “As I thought about the kind of customer we would go after, I recalled the gun shops and ranges that I had had experience with,” noted Laws. “To me, the majority of them are intimidating both to new and not-so-new shooters. I witnessed this on a personal level; a lot of times I felt the environment was alien to my middle-of-the-road background. It essentially ‘closed’ my wallet and didn’t encourage my interest in the shooting sports.” Avoiding such pitfalls, Laws managed to develop a shooting venue that appeals to enthusiastic, non-traditional recreational shooters who aren’t particularly interested in serious competition and who don’t quibble about the cost of range time. They get a kick out of shooting at targets, and they’ll pay any price of admission within reason. At Openrange, the experience for Lubeley and others like him begins at the pro shop — which Laws describes as “industrial chic” — that’s stocked with the hottest handguns, shooting accessories, associated gear and clothing. Once attended to by an employee who has been trained to provide patient, attentive customer service, the shooter then goes to his assigned range and makes ready under the watchful eyes of at least one range safety officer. The Laws don’t miss many opportunities to market their range. Even the telephone answering machine is programmed to give potential customers a pitch on all the available services, before instructing them to dial “9” if they want to speak to an employee. Special events and group rates are among the menu items. Novices are offered free training and, in the process, schooled on the tenets of safe gun handling. Because Laws doesn’t ignore any potential customer, Openrange might be hosting a paintball birthday party one The Range Report
Zero in on Potential Customers with a CMR As Barry Laws discovered when he was in the planning stages of Openrange, a Customized Market Report (CMR) is the best tool offered by the NSSF to assist shooting range developers with local market information. A CMR is an amalgam of demographic information compiled from established sources, and it provides a detailed perspective of the customer’s target area. The report covers a 75-mile radius and/or a 60-minute drive time and includes demographic information, household trends, effective buying income in the area, an executive summary report, an overview of the types of shooters in the area and a market synopsis. “Many of the members that purchase the Customized Market Report incorporate it into their business plan, particularly when seeking financing,” noted Dianne Vrablic, the NSSF’s research coordinator. “The report could prove helpful in determining the type of inventory or services a business would want to include or even in deciding where and what to advertise for the business, as well as what types of planned ‘events’ would be the most likely to be successful. Ultimately, it provides the business owner with a more detailed understanding of the potential local market.” Beyond demographical information gleaned from Claritas IXPRESS and Nielsen Company projects of 2009 U.S. Census data, as well as detailed shooting sports participation statistics from various NSSF sources, a CMR provides maps and lists of: • Ranges, shooting facilities and shooting preserves listed in the Where-to-Shoot and WingshootingUSA databases (NSSF) • Shooting sports-related retail businesses (list is purchased specifically for the order area from InfoUSA.com) • FFL holders in the area, Types 1 and 2 (ATF list) • As an option, law enforcement and law enforcement supplier locations (list is purchased specifically for the order area from InfoUSA.com, at no additional cost to the client) To begin the process of obtaining a Customized Market Report, which costs NSSF members $150, range operators are invited to use the online order template accessible through www.nssf.org/research/CMR/, or use the downloadable order form posted under the same link. If the form is employed, the requestor may specify multiple radii and/or drive times for comparison. CMR orders can also be placed at the time of membership registration or by contacting Diane Vrablic, NSSF research coordinator, telephone 203-426-1320 ext. 263, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about becoming a member of NSSF, contact Bettyjane Swann, director, member services, 203-426-1320, e-mail email@example.com.
day and a friendly handgun competition among soccer moms the next. The array of attractions is limited only by his imagination, and so far, Laws hasn’t run out of ideas to engage current customers and win new friends. “Ranges should look at creating a community within their customer base that encourages active customers to help with growing the sport and the
business,” observed Snow. “The Laws have followed that script in a lot of positive ways. At Openrange, for example, there’s the ‘Special Ops Program’ that rewards customers who recruit new shooters with items from the pro shop. That’s very creative marketing and it reflects the kind of thinking that has helped OpenRR range thrive.” 19
Indoor Handgunning Around Los Angeles Shooting ranges are freeway close
hen looking at major metropolitan areas of the country, the Los Angeles basin ranks as one of the largest in area and population. More than half of California’s 36 million inhabitants live in Southern California, or So Cal. Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside counties comprise a large part of So Cal and provide a home for more than 17 million So Cal residents. Using a zip code familiar to most television viewers, 90210, I used the “find a range” option on the NSSF Web site to look for ranges within a 60-mile drive. I located more than 70 shooting ranges both indoor and outdoor. My goal was to find two indoor ranges to shoot my handguns.
Range A The Firing Line in Northridge The Firing Line, 11.5 miles from 90210, is just south and within walking distance of California State University Northridge. Located in an industrial area and on a dead-end street it is definitely off the beaten path. The building in which the range is located is set back off the road and offers limited parking. I counted eight parking spaces in front of the building. With two employees on duty, that left six for shooters. I was there in the early afternoon, and there was no street parking available. The employees of the other industrial businesses on Eddy Street use all of the street parking. It was not easy sliding my ¾-ton pickup into one of the two still-available parking spots in front of the building. There were no signs except the one on the building, which you’d have to be right in front and look to your right to be able to see. The range building looked neat and well maintained. As I entered the facility I saw a neat area that had glass 20
display cases loaded with rental handguns. The wall space is used to display retail products—a lot of gun cases and lock boxes along with eye and ear protection. A large selection of targets was available. The two employees on duty were very friendly and greeted me with a smile and a “Can I help you?” When I told them this was my first visit to this range I was asked to fill out an information form, and then they went over their safety rules for the range. I purchased both .44 mag and 9mm ammunition. The shop had a good selection of ammo. The range offers catalogue sales for new handguns The range featured 12- and 50-foot lanes. They were well lit and were equipped with a very good ventilation system. According to the employees the range had been open for 32 years, but it was so well maintained that, to me, it had a new look. I even noted that the restroom was very clean and fully stocked. I noticed that safety information was clearly posted. One problem, however, occurred when I was reloading in my lane and had the ejected cartridge cases from the shooter to my left hit my upper body after they slipped through a gap in an extension added to the side panels. I would not want a hot brass to go down my shirt! The facility provides weekly firearms classes led by NRA-certified instructors. Firing Line is open to the public Monday-Friday, noon-10 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.. You can buy a membership for $150 that would include ammo discounts and unlimited range time.
Range B Magnum Range in Rancho Cucamonga The Magnum Range in Rancho Cucamonga is 47.6 miles from 90210. This actual location is easily seen and
features good signage as well. I saw one large sign on the street side of the building and two more at curbside. The wide drive made it easy to maneuver and park my truck. Entering the building I first noticed the dirty carpet. Only six years old the facility could use a little TLC. The one employee behind the counter at first didn’t greet me, although he did make eye contact. After looking around a bit I approached the counter where I was greeted by the luke-warm staff. I purchased .44 magnum ammunition, but was disappointed they did not have 9mm ammo in stock. The retail selection of guns and gear was good. The rental handguns were also in good supply. Eye and ear protection was available to use for free, and a good selection was available for sale as well. Safety instructions were clearly posted. The range has 12 lanes of 45-foot length. I was one of three shooters using the range. The range had a lot of brass piled up just inside the shooting lanes, but the standing areas of the stations were free of loose brass. Lighting was fair, and the ventilation was good. The target controls needed to have some sort of signage as they had two controls but no directions as to what each did. The restroom was clean and stocked. Range hours are Monday 2-8 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m.-8 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Fees are $15 for two hours, with a discount to $12 if a second shooter shares a lane. Discounts also are offered for seniors over 65 and law enforcement, military and firemen. Regular membership is $35 and will reduce your range fees to $10. The Range Report
Magnum Range also offers a Gold Membership for $250, which eliminates range fees and shooting time limits. The ammo rule is no hollow points, no black powder and no USSR-made Wolf loads. Shotguns up to 12 gauge are allowed if birdshot is used.
Gun rental requires you to already have your own gun, or you must have a FIRING LINE 18348 Eddy Street Northridge, CA 91324 818-349-1420 www.firingline.net
second person with you, and one person must be 21 years or older. MAGNUM RANGE 9049 9th Street Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730 909-987-1299 www.ranchomagnumrange.com
Editor’s note: The Undercover Shooter is an experienced recreational shooter but is not trained in technical aspects of range design and operation.
Each category is rated on a scale of 1-5 with 5 being the highest score.
Firing Line Customer Satisfaction Rating Signage, Visibility
• My only red flag is the spent cases that found their way into my shooting lane. One hot brass down your shirt, and things could go bad. • Safety signs were posted, and safety was stressed by employees.
• Only one sign, which could not be seen unless you were in front of it.
Exterior Appeal • Very neat and clean. After 32 years this place looks well maintained.
Retail Product Availability
• Very neat displays of retail gear. Handgun sales are catalogue order.
• Good Job. They greeted me and took the time to answer all of my questions.
• Target retrieval system worked flawlessly. • Air conditioning caused some target movement. Staff provided clips to attach to bottom of targets, which helped
• Range is very neat and clean.
• Clean and organized
• • • •
Basic firearms class offered Classroom and advanced classes. Open seven days $150 annual membership; $250 family membership • Unlimited shooting time and 10 percent off all ammo at all three locations
Comments, Impressions • Although this is an older facility, it has it all. Very clean and well run. My only gripe is the poor parking during the day. At night when all the other area business employees leave, you probably can find street parking.
Magnum Range Customer Satisfaction Rating Signage, Visibility
• Good signs that are easy to see; you won’t miss this range when you drive up the street.
sale. I was disappointed in the fact they did not have the 9mm ammo, which is a common caliber.
ships $35. • Safety classes and CDC qualification
Range Mechanization Exterior Appeal
• Range presents good curb appeal and ample parking.
• Dirty carpet made a bad first impression. Retail section of the range needed some paint and a little cleaning. • Although there were empty shell cases on the shooting lanes they were not in the walking areas or lane station
Retail Product Availability • Range had a good selection of guns for
• The staff is where the rubber meets the road in the retail business. I didn’t want to be added to their Christmas card list, but I did expect a more open and engaging greeting and helpful attitude. Because of this my first visit might be my last.
• All safety regulations are posted and easy to read.
• Target controls needed to be labeled. • All equipment worked well.
• This area needs work. A little paint and an appointment with the “carpet doctor” would help.
Comments, Impressions • The Magnum Range is in a good location and has excellent parking. After six years in business, however, it’s time to spend a weekend cleaning up the place.
• Gold memberships $250, regular member-
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
Think Collegiate Help create or strengthen local college’s shooting programs—for your benefit and theirs
ith the rising interest in the shooting sports among young people, shooting ranges have a great opportunity to accommodate this growing audience. Many shooting ranges across the country have been successful with introducing elementary- through high school-aged students to the shooting sports through youth programs like the Scholastic Clay Target Program, Boy Scouts of America and 4-H Shooting Sports. The shooting range community, however, needs to do more to attract college students. It’s time to establish a game plan for how your range is going to jump on the bandwagon of the Collegiate Shooting Sports Initiative (CSSI), which helps colleges with financial and technical support to begin new or strengthen existing shooting programs. Getting started To get started, determine the person to spearhead this effort at the club. Have them act as the liaison between the shooting range and the colleges/universities. If there is an individual at your club that is a certified shooting instructor or coach, recruit him or her. This person will play an important role in ensuring that the college students and faculty are being introduced by a positive experience, which engages them to come back for more. Find out if any club members work at or know someone who works at a college in your area. That person can help to build a relationship between your shooting facility and the college. Also, don’t forget to reach out to the current youth shooters at your range that either attend or soon will enroll in college. Let them know that now it’s time to give back to a lifetime sport they were fortunately introduced to at a young age. They need to be 22
ambassadors by promoting the shooting sports to fellow students and faculty at their college. Encourage them to start up a shooting club if one is not in place and utilize the resources NSSF is providing through CSSI. You and they can learn more about the grant program at www.nssf.org/college. Next, schedule an educational clinic where you can introduce students and faculty to the shooting sports in an entertaining, fun and safe way. Take advantage of the resources offered through NSSF’s First Shots introductory program by setting up First Shots events for the college(s) that have expressed an interest. If you
Hank Garvey of the Minute Man Sportsman’s Club stands with six Harvard co-eds who were new to the shooting sports but have become regulars as they build a shooting program.
have not had success finding a couple of students on campus that have an interest in starting a club, establish a relationship with the school officials in charge of club sports and activities. Invite them to the range. Give them a tour of your facility and the opportunity to experience the shooting sports to which you wish to introduce the students and faculty. Use on-campus communication vehicles to promote your event. Publicize your event by posting flyers on the campus and at the Student Activities Fairs. Success story One of the greatest range success
By Zach Snow Zach Snow is the senior shooting promotions coordinator for the National Shooting Sports Foundation. His responsibilities include servicing the needs of range members of NSSF, who comprise NSSF’s Association of Shooting Ranges (NASR). His former responsibilities included management of NSSF’s tremendously successful Scholastic Clay Target Program, which in eight years recruited more than 30,000 individual young shooters to a competitive shooting program that has helped develop character, leadership, sportsmanship and a love of the shooting sports.
stories since the inception of CSSI has occurred in Burlington, Mass., at Minute Man Sportsman’s Club. Hank Garvey, a club member who is also a certified coach and a member of the National Coach Development Staff through the NRA and USA Shooting, recognized the opportunity that was blooming as college students began to express an interest in learning more about clay target shooting. Garvey’s enthusiastic approach has sparked the interest of many students from colleges throughout the state of Massachusetts. Minute Man Sportsman’s Club is now the home of shotgun programs for Harvard, Harvard Law School, Northeastern University, MIT and the Fletcher School at Tufts University. Other colleges are inquiring about getting programs started. To help create more competitive opportunities Minute Man Sportsman’s Club plans to host a New England Intercollegiate Clay Target Championship this spring where it hopes to have 10 to 15 colleges represented. The obvious benefits to you How might your range or club benefit from such a program? For one, you’ll score points big time in community relations, probably even receiving local media coverage. Consequently, you’ll gain greater recognition of your facility and its offerings. Most importantly, you’ll provide the opportunity for individuals to try something new. You will be helping to provide a better understanding of what the shooting sports are all about to those that may have misperceptions. And when it comes to the bottom line, you are gaining new customers and building a strong foundation for RR your future customer base. The Range Report