22 Feb 17
The trend in indoor ranges today is the “Super Range” Three I’m familiar with are:
Nuxus Range, Davie, FL
The Range, Austin, TX
Liberty Firearms Institute (LFI), Loveland, CO
There are doubtless more that I haven’t yet visited, and I apologize in advance for not mentioning them by name.
These are upscale, modern indoor range complexes, combined with attractive retail sales areas, that are bright, well-staffed, well laid-out, and designed to attract upscale clients, particularly women.
Ranges themselves are bright and well ventilated, with individual controls at each booth. Booths are spacious. A host of pre-set training programs are available at a touch.
At the LFI Range in Colorado, there is a 100-yard indoor rifle range, with video cameras at distance, so shooters can see their bullet placement without having to retrieve the target itself.
At The Range in Austin, TX, Jeff Gonzales is head of the Training Division and lends considerable credibility to the facility.
All have a heavy emphasis on tactical guns and gear, so they can be seen as a resource for Operators and a local gathering point for serious practitioners of the Art.
The former business model for indoor ranges was similar to the old business model for casinos. Casino restaurants used to be little more than a concession. It was a way to get customers through the door and walking past slot machines. That has all changed! Today, casino restaurants are nice, but expensive. Casino restaurants are expected to be profitable, just like gaming operations.
Likewise, indoor ranges used to be merely a way to get people through the gunshop door and interested in buying guns and accessories. Ranges themselves were often dingy, cramped, dungeon-like, poorly-maintained, poorly supervised, and poorly venerated. Clearly little more than an afterthought. and unattractive to all but the heavily dedicated!
By contrast, these new ranges are bright, attractive, modern, and well-maintained, but shooting on one is expensive. Memberships are expensive. These facilities represent enormous investments by their owners, in addition to substantial overhead, and owners are trying to attract mostly upper, middle-class customers.
Accessories still have the highest mark-up. Mark-up on guns is a good deal less. Mark-up on range use is less than that, but everything still must be profitable, or the front door will not remain open for long!
These super-ranges are leading the way forward for our industry, and we all need to support them. They are attracting new people to our Art and thus protecting the cadre of American citizens who support our Second Amendment.
It a good thing!