Innovative Ranges
& Revenue Streams


As much as retail gun shops have changed the past few years, ranges have changed even more. Today’s successful ranges are brightly lit destinations spots with catering or food available, large spaces for events and even cigar bars where patrons can spend time together and have a sip of brandy after they’re done on the range.

Let’s look at three facilities that are transforming the blueprint of what makes a successful range today.

Wilshire Gun

Oklahoma City

Jeff Swanson, a partner in NexGen Range Consulting, shared the impetus behind his entrance into the firearms industry.

“Here in gun-loving Oklahoma, when I tried to purchase a handgun and walked into a gun shop, I didn’t have a good experience. It was intimidating, and I didn’t get to try the gun before I purchased it,” Swanson recalled.

Swanson was annoyed enough by the experience he started developing his own range: Wilshire Gun in Oklahoma City, which opened in 2014.

“I wanted it to be light and bright,” he shared. “I wanted someone to walk in and have an Apple store-type experience.”

Swanson put pistols on display on round tables so customers could look at them easily. He removed the firing pins to make them safe and wired and tethered them to the tables, very much like electronics on display in an Apple store.

Swanson also installed additional amenities for customers to enjoy.

“We have a full restaurant,” he said. “As a business consultant and attorney, I had developed several restaurants over the years, so I loved the idea of food and beverage.”

Wilshire Gun members are privy to modern accommodations in the members’ lounge.
The addition of a Range Café extends a patron’s range visit.

Wilshire Gun’s Range Café serves as a place for members to bring guests, which can lead to repeat visits.
“It’s the idea of having multiple profit centers so it’s not just one draw,” lends Owner Jeff Swanson.

“When there’s a lot to do, it entices them to come back and to want to become a member, because there’s more to do than just come in, shoot and leave.”

Jeff Swanson, NexGen Range Consulting

The Snowball Effect

What Swanson found was activities that reach out to growing demographics — whether those activities are cigar bars, axe-throwing or other non-shooting events — get customers into the shooting range, as well. This became particularly crucial after the start of COVID, when many new gun buyers needed places to shoot and to learn about their guns.

“These activities bring customers in for the first time, in a safe, non-intimidating place,” Swanson noted.

This effect snowballs as customers partake in what ranges of this type have to offer.

“A member will come in for lunch and bring in three friends who aren’t members,” he shared. “They come in and have a great lunch, and see how different this place is, and then they come back and bring someone else. The draw is the restaurant or the event to get them in, and once they’re in we find they stay. When there’s a lot to do, it entices them to come back and to want to become a member, because there’s more to do than just come in, shoot and leave. It’s the idea of having multiple profit centers so it’s not just one draw.”

Hot Rods & Handguns

Huntington Beach, Calif.

Tim Miller was able to realize his dream when he developed and built Hot Rods & Handguns Shooting & Social Club in Huntington Beach, Calif. After a career as an engineer and designer and general contractor, 15 years ago Miller helped found a bank. When the bank was acquired by a larger bank, he decided to turn two of his hobbies — working on hot rods and shooting — into a business. Miller loved the location and layout of the property where his corporate offices were located in Huntington Beach, so he repurposed the property into a social club.

“I have a car collection, and it was already in the building,” he said. “That’s the hot rod part. I’ve also been shooting my entire life. So, I combined the two.”

He did a lot of research on non-traditional shooting facilities to see what worked (and didn’t) for other ranges.

“I saw a lot of great places, but they all had a common theme,” he noted. “They were all shooting places, and I didn’t want to be known as a shooting place. So we called it the Hot Rods & Handguns Shooting & Social Club; we’re essentially a social club that happens to have a shooting range in it.”

“We wanted to create a place that was inviting with a safe, higher-end atmosphere.”

Tim Miller, Hot Rods & Handguns

Boasting a two-story range with 16 lanes, Hot Rod & Handguns’ facility has several
state-of-the-art features — including sound-dampening technology to reduce dB levels,
a user-friendly touch-screen control panel, a target system that rotates 360 degrees
and programmable target movement.

Providing a social element to its business, Hot Rod & Handguns regularly hosts car
shows to expand its reach in the community.

Living Up To Its “Social Club” Namesake

About 60% of Hot Rods & Handguns’ membership are avid shooters and about 40% are non-shooters, although some of them have started shooting since they joined the social club, according to Miller.

“People come here for business meetings or a nice dinner with the family. It’s a socializing place,” he added.

The shooting range features 16 lanes with state-of-the-art technology.

“They’re Action Target lanes with the latest and greatest equipment in them,” Miller said. “It’s high tech and all computer controlled. We’ve spent time, engineering and dollars on our HVAC system, so it’s a really safe atmosphere.”

Two restaurants offer food and full beverage service. One restaurant is called The Flight Deck, and has an aviation theme.

“The Flight Deck is on the second floor, a white tablecloth restaurant,” Miller shared. “Downstairs is the American Grill, which is more lunch-type fare for a lighter dining experience.” An award-winning chef creates unique and spectacular dishes for each restaurant.

Hot Rods & Handguns also has two bars. One is a replica of an 1880s saloon; many groups rent it for bachelor parties and other events. Three conference rooms are available for members to use, and firearms classes are held in a classroom dedicated to the purpose; classes range from very basic to advanced tactical training. A pro shop has full firearms-related inventory.

“We wanted to create a place that was inviting with a safe, higher-end atmosphere,” Miller stated. “Our biggest target in design was to make it a place my granddaughters could come to if they were of age. We’re proud of it, and we’re proud we have almost as many female members as we have men. They come on their own, they come with their spouses and we have women’s events. We have a group here called the Sister Society, which is a club of about 100 women who meet once a month.”

Taking Safety A Step Further

Alcohol sales in a facility with a shooting component presented some challenges. Miller shared the California Alcohol Beverage Control Board, the Department of Justice and the city only required they separate alcohol and firearms.
Miller and his partners weren’t satisfied and hired software engineers to create a proprietary program to better control the separation between the two.

“When you come indoors, you have to swipe your membership card, so we know you’re here, and when you leave,” Miller said of the check-in process. “If you come here to shoot and to have a drink, you must do it in that order. If you sit down at a table or one of the bars at the restaurant and order an alcoholic beverage, you must swipe your card. It automatically interlocks with our range software, where you also must swipe your card to get into the range. If you’ve purchased alcohol within the last 24 hours, your picture pops up on the screen and you’re locked out.”

Heartland Gun Club & Range

Rochester, Minn.

Pat Egan, one of the owners of Heartland Gun Club & Range in Rochester, Minn., has taken a different approach to bringing in new and different clientele. Although Heartland Gun Club & Range still focuses on shooters, they have developed an outstanding private-event business.

Egan is a real estate investor and developer, as well as a lifelong bird hunter. He was involved in the development of another high-end range in the Twin Cities and realized there was an opportunity for a membership-type facility with an event space component in the Rochester area. He and his partners set out to develop a range to cater to everyone from the novice shooter to the experienced firearms enthusiast.

“We have a range, and we have event space and training space,” Egan shared. “We have two levels of membership, a basic level and a VIP level we call Refuge Club. Refuge Club members have their own space they can get into 24/7. They can’t shoot 24/7, but they can get into the space, which is like a private club. You can go there and use the business center if you want to do some work.”

One of the goals Egan and his partners had in the development of Heartland Gun Club & Range was to create a range with a welcoming environment to attract customers of all backgrounds — which is reflected in its diverse staff.

“Our manager is a 20-something female who is a rock star,” Egan said. “We have an RSO who is more of an old retriever RO than an attack dog RO. We’ve also made our stalls a little wider than normal, so if there’s a male instructor in with a female student or vice versa, they’re not in each other’s personal space. And we know not all women want a pink gun.”

Heartland Gun Club & Range has developed a unique business, while catering
to shooters, it also hosts a variety of private events at its pristine facility. It’s a
model Owner Pat Egan is looking to replicate in other areas.

Return Of Events Key

Although Heartland Gun Club & Range doesn’t have a restaurant in their facility, they do have the capability of working with caterers for events.

“We have two kitchens with ovens, and we built an area next to an exit from the building where caterers can come in without going through public space,” Egan noted. “We also have outdoor space where we can do a big barbeque.”
The range has worked with a couple of caterers who now know the facility and what’s available there, which has increased the efficiency of catered events.

Egan and his partners are not content to have just one range with this model. Between them they have enough capital to build multiple ranges in the Midwest and Upper Midwest. They’re looking as far as Iowa and Wisconsin for possible locations to build other ranges similar to Heartland.

“We lost all our events and became an online business for a year because of COVID,” Egan shared. “But now the event portion of our business is coming back, and we’re approved for our new facility in the White Bear Lake in the Twin Cities area.”

Our industry’s new demographics need a new kind of shooting range. These ranges, and others around the country, are showing what can be done to cater to shooters for whom “We’ve always done it that way,” just doesn’t work.

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