By Massad Ayoob
Blending firearms training and a CrossFit facility with a retail store, Crossfire has the ability to attract a
wide variety of customers.
Flower Mound, Texas, is unique in the fact — with a population of some 50,000 — it’s the only community of its size in the state still listed as a town instead of a city. It also stands out because it contains Crossfire Defense Academy, a business combining a gun shop, shooting range, firearms training school and a dedicated physical fitness center.
Crossfire is the brainchild of Dave Vaught, 46, who told SI, “I was a Navy Gunner’s Mate. I got out in 1994, went through a police academy and then used the GI Bill to go through college. Later I changed my career path and went into advertising, but stayed close to my military and L.E. friends — and trained with some local police and SWAT teams.” Vaught’s passions for physical fitness and shooting, he realized, could be intertwined in a business model, and Crossfire was born.
When Crossfire opened for business on Black Friday in November 2017, it was the culmination of four years of careful planning, including the construction of a building encompassing 42,000 square feet. Initial cost was $10.6 million with 12 investors.
“We have four different business models in one building,” Vaught informed. “There’s a full retail gun store, two indoor ranges, a full CrossFit gym and a martial arts studio. Folks can do them individually or combine. Membership to the range can be daily, monthly or yearly. With CrossFit, it’s the same thing. Combining two, customers get a discount.”
The “Fusion” Concept In Action
Vaught is particularly proud of what he calls his Crossfire Core program. “We wanted multi-disciplinary training — Crossfire Core is, all by itself, the foundation of what we’re about,” he said.
The facility runs these particular classes daily (12:00 and 6:00 p.m.). Students start with a five-round baseline on the range, and then head to the gym. There, they’ll perform their workout of the day at five different workout stations. The final station will involve shooting on the range. There’s a 500-meter row to warm up, along with full intensity interval training.
“As students get to Station 5, they’ll have 30 seconds to enter the airlock to our dynamic range, where they’re met by a dedicated RSO, one on one,” Vaught shared. “Their pre-determined shooting skill and experience will dictate how challenging the course of fire will be at that point.”
Those in Level One will go through five rounds in a minute, but by Level Five they’ll be facing more stress as target blades are presented for four seconds, and then out of sight. Vaught lends students may even find themselves at 15 yards with only two seconds and loading/unloading magazines within a certain time limit.
He continued, “We will usually have five people cycling through at a time. A workout is three laps, total expenditure of ammo is 20 rounds and a passing score is 200. We debrief each shooter on deficiencies after the activity is complete. A cycle takes about 45 minutes per student.”
Crossfire’s state-of-the-art indoor range has 20 lanes across two bays. A static and
dynamic range provide ample opportunities for visitors of all interest/skill levels.
Customers find costs affordable at Crossfire. Instead of a per hour charge for range access, Crossfire offers a day use option. Vaught explained, “Crossfire Core is $35 per day. Use of our standard target range is $20 per day, and our dynamic range is $25 per day. We have a staff of 24, full and part time.”
Top-grade equipment is a selling point. Crossfire boasts an Action Target total containment trap made of AR500 steel, rated for both pistol and high-powered rifle, and a lead containment deceleration chamber that captures lead into a drum in back.
“About 40 percent of those who come in rent guns from us to try different ones,” Vaught relayed. “We have a large selection. Fifty percent or more bring their own guns all the time. Thanks to our range system we don’t have to require frangible bullets or lead-free primers. Our customers generally use conventional ammo. We sell large quantities of Federal RTP (Range Target Practice) ammo. It is clean-burning and affordable, and we’ve been very pleased with its reliability.”
Located approximately four miles north of DFW International Airport, Crossfire draws from the entire Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, with a population of more than 7 million. Positive response was immediate.
“Before we opened we released discounted annual memberships,” Vaught noted. “We expected to sell a hundred in a year; we sold that many in eight hours. This enabled us to begin turning a profit before we opened the doors.”
Over Crossfire’s first few months in business, he added, “Projections have been close to what we ended up with.”
Crossfire also hosts a weekly Ladies’ Night (Wednesdays), along with regular gun safety and concealed carry classes, date nights and other community events.
Customer feedback has been positive for Crossfire. A quick perusal of crowd-sourced review websites, like Yelp and Trip Advisor, reveals promising reviews of the facility.
At this writing, Google lists Crossfire Defense Academy at an average of 4.7 on a scale topping out at 5. Said one reviewer, “Visited the range today for the first time. Nice new modern facility. Very helpful and friendly staff. Reasonable prices. They charge a day rate so you can stay as long as you like. Their RSOs were friendly, knowledgeable and helpful. It was an all-around great experience and I’ll definitely be back.”
A Trip Advisor reviewer wrote, “What can you say about a facility that combines weapons training, marksmanship, self defense and personal physical fitness all into one location? It’s the closest thing to a Special Forces academy you’ll see. My son and I visited and it was his first time with his first-ever firearm. Chris greeted us and checked us in, making sure we were safe and equipped for the range. The process was very easy and intuitive. We had a minor issue with a new rifle, which the onsite armorers safely and promptly fixed up for us. Next door they have the CrossFit Patriot Way training center, where there are lots of classes and equipment for getting physically prepared to defend yourself. We’ll be back for certain.”
There’s no confusion about this “gun fusion.” Crossfire’s multidimensional mix of products and services is a hit, and a classic example of business ingenuity in action.