Washington Business Journal

Article discusses the business basics behind a profitable shooting range


Range Owners: Take Aim at Business Plan First

On an average day, customers at a local shooting range included a software engineer, journalist, retiree, cable TV technician—and a congressman. Nationwide, men and women from all backgrounds are demonstrating an increased interest in shooting sports and firearm safety.

With area growth restricting options for safe outdoor ranges, indoor firing ranges fulfill an important role, says Gilbert Small Arms Range co-owner Ernie Lyles.

“The only safe, convenient place for an urban population to practice is at an indoor range,” he said.

Shooting range design experts say the potential range owner’s first consideration should not be the floor plan, but the business plan.

“You need to clarify your goals, identify your source of funding, and determine a marketing strategy,” said retired Marine Col. Dave Willis, range service manager of the National Rifle Association’s range development program, a six-year-old comprehensive seminar on building and managing shooting ranges.

“A range is like any other business,” Willis said. “So we suggest that you seek professional assistance—a marketing consultant, engineer, architect, attorney. We advise installing a pro shop to increase income, with ammunition that’s compatible with the range.”