Royal Range: From Flooded Metroplex To 5-Star Facility


Noted instructor Tom Givens (far left), runs a line of shooters
at a match on one of the three pristine indoor ranges at Royal Range.

All of us shooter folk have probably heard the line Jeff Cooper made famous: “A golf course is a waste of a perfectly good rifle range.” But did you ever walk through a multiplex movie theater and think, “Ya know, with backstops where the movie screens are, this could be a helluva set of indoor shooting ranges”?

In 2010, this thought occurred to three men who made the concept a reality in Nashville, Tenn. The co-owners of what is now named Royal Range are Joshua Winter (president); Scott McWilliams; and Art Cason (general manager). 

My introduction to the place came in early December of 2023, when I arrived there as one of the lecturers at Tom Givens’ Professional Trainers Seminar.

“The GPS has to be wrong,” I thought as I approached. “The damn thing took me to a movie theater!”

Which is precisely what it was designed to be, and once was.

Worth The Gamble

General Manager Art Cason explained, “This place started out as the Regal Cinema. Then came the ‘1,000-year flood’ that hit Nashville in 2010. The floodwater was 10′ deep in the lobby, which is now our retail sales area. The original owners gave up on fixing it, and the place languished empty for half a decade. We bought it in 2015 and turned it into the range complex you see here.”

Art continued, “We have about 48,000 sq. ft., encompassing two floors, three indoor ranges, one 1,600 sq. ft. force-on-force scenario training area and multiple classrooms that seat up to 70 people, including an amphitheater setting. Of our three indoor ranges, one can take .50 BMG on full-auto, while the other two are rated for .308 Winchester full-auto. We have complete state-of-the-art audiovisual teaching equipment in all the classrooms and the meeting room. The force-on-force area has two floors with multiple staircase arrangements and movable walls.”

Royal Range employs over 60 people, with a mix of full- and part-time. About a third of them are instructors.

The general manager estimates the cost of refurbishing and repurposing the theater at approximately $4 million. The gamble paid off: The estimated value of Royal Range today is set conservatively at $12 million. Gamble may not be the word. When careful, well-informed planning is involved, it’s less a matter of luck and more a case of business acumen.

When I was there on a Friday, Royal Range was packed — the sales floor, ranges and classrooms alike. When I was there on a Saturday, it was really packed. Metropolitan Nashville is the most densely populated area in Tennessee with some 2 million people. And even in the bluer parts of the state, there’s no question: Tennessee is Gun Country.

Range Rental & Training

The public range is constantly busy at the Royal facility, and training is a huge part of the services they offer. Cason estimates in 2023, more than 25,000 people were trained under their auspices. 

“We have 18 instructors teaching 20 private classes a week, and half a dozen or more classes we host with outside instructors,” he shared. “We’re a Gunsite class provider, hosting some of their specialty classes and their signature API 250 class.”

He continued, “In addition to open-enrollment classes for law-abiding armed citizens, we hold a lot of government classes here — municipal, federal and state. We offer many POST-approved classes. We have the largest armed guard and active-shooter training programs in the state of Tennessee.” 

Cason adds some of those classes, such as the active-shooter programs, are taught off-premises by Royal Range personnel.

He noted, “We’ve had several active-shooter seminars where we taught audiences of 500 or more.”

I had the opportunity to share some of this training thanks to Tom Givens. Givens ( is world-famous and teaches regularly at Royal Range. He gives his hosts top marks for their professionalism.

Retail Profit Centers

The retail area was absolutely bustling whenever I walked through over a couple of days. I left with my wallet a little lighter: They had lots of hard-to-find merchandise on display, and at good prices.

Sub-sections of the retail space include The Silencer Shop with a vast array of sound suppressors, and a custom shop offering in-house builds on AR-15 and polymer pistol platforms. 

Gun rental for the range is another profit center. Royal Range maintains some 350 fully automatic weapons, including belt-fed as well as magazine-fed. The customers shoot those under the strict and capable tutelage of the company’s trained range officers.

Floating around in the background I watched several interactions between sales staff and customers. Without exception, the folks behind the counter were friendly and patient. Another obvious key to commercial success.

How many guns do they move? Art told SI, “We’ve been open since 2016, and sold over 800,000 firearms as of April 2023.”

Royal Range’s annual gross is several million dollars per year. It is a classic example of innovative thinking combined with knowledge of product and focus on service resulting in spectacular success. 

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