Technology + Range Management Solutions


Jacquelyn Clark (left) regularly seeks out innovative ideas from both inside and outside the industry.
She integrates the ones with the greatest potential into Bristlecone Shooting, Training & Retail
Center’s operations.

Just like technology in everyday life, technology on the range is changing almost daily. Whether this new tech involves hardware, programming of target systems or range management software, taking advantage of what will work for your specific range can improve the relationships with your customers and your profitability.

Do-All Systems Ease Business Burdens

At Bristlecone Shooting, Training & Retail Center in Lakewood, Colo., Owner Jacquelyn Clark looks for new technology in a number of places.

“Of course, we go to the SHOT Show,” she said, “but we also look in other recreational fields as well. We have looked into the restaurant industry to see how they solve scheduling problems. When we go skiing or to an escape room or another type of recreational activity, I’m always on the lookout for things we can use. I’ve heard people say there are no innovative ideas, just repurposed ones, and I definitely put that into practice.”

Over the past couple of years, one part of the range Clark has been working on is the check-in experience and the customer interface before the customer enters the range.

“We had been using Smartwaiver for our waiver platform,” she shared. “We’ve recently switched to CityGro, a Cloud-based solution that integrates a little better with our point-of-sale system. Once we started really looking at CityGro and brought it in, we found a whole lot of benefits we didn’t anticipate and we really like.”

One thing CityGro has done, according to Clark, was to take the range’s checkout function out of the hands of the staff and put it into the hands of the customer.

“This really reduces the bottleneck at the range check-in counter, especially if it’s a busy Saturday and people have to wait,” she said. “CityGro has tablets, and when customers come in the staff directs them to the table with the tablets. They enter their names, phone numbers, answer a couple of questions and then they’re checked in for the range. So instead of waiting in line and having human interaction, they do it on their own and then they watch a safety video, which is another piece of technology we implemented to reduce the bottleneck and increase customer satisfaction.”

This has made the entire process more streamlined — resulting in happier customers. 

CityGro also collects data Clark and her staff find useful from a marketing perspective. When a customer signs in for the range, he or she must enter a phone number, whether it’s the first time they’ve come or if they come every day. The system tracks the frequency of range use for every phone number and asks if the user is a member.

“The possible answers are ‘Yes, and I love it!’, ‘No, but I’m interested’ and just ‘No,’” Clark shared. “We filter customers by how they answer those questions to market to them. Once a month we pull a list of everyone who answered ‘No, but I’m interested,’ and we send them a deal on membership.”

Clark also can track how many times each person comes in and then she lets people who come in frequently know when it would be less expensive for them to have a membership than to just keep coming in one visit at a time without one.

“The way we can track things and then slice and dice the data has been extremely helpful,” she said. “It’s all stuff our point-of-sale system wasn’t able to do in the past.”

CityGro also has a text message marketing feature Clark has set up to send marketing messages according to what each user has done on the range; she can change the criteria and the messaging at any time.

“Its hands-off marketing is facilitated by the technology platform we brought in just to change the waiver situation,” Clark said.

On-The-Range Refinements

At Magnum Shooting Center’s south location in Colorado Springs, Colo., General Manager Dan Jaeger has stayed with tried-and-true technologies that work for his range.

“We personally like rubber bullet traps,” he said. “They seem to be cleaner than other systems. We can’t mine the lead ourselves; we have to have someone with the equipment do it, which means my employees stay healthier. The system we have is from Range Systems.”

Jaeger found the lower the tech carriers on the range are, the better they last.

“We had some pretty fancy robotic ones, but ended up going back to a cable style,” he observed. “Now we have a lot less maintenance and a lot less breakage.” 

Magnum Shooting Center did keep the LED touchscreen control system from Range Systems, however, and just integrated it with the old-style carriers.

Kevin Cutter is assistant manager at Centennial Gun Club in Centennial, Colo. He said the range is talking with Action Target right now about some of their new targets.

“One of the things we’re looking at is new methods of shot registration,” he relayed. “Action Target has a new carrier that — if it’s shot twice — will set off alarms and lock itself back at the ready area until a range safety officer unlocks it. This way, people aren’t shooting into the roof or things like that.”

“The way we can track things and then slice and dice the data has been extremely helpful.”

 Jacquelyn Clark, Owner
Bristlecone Shooting • Lakewood, Colo.

Looking Outside The Industry?

Nishan Campbell, CEO of Gunfighter Canyon (with three locations in Arizona), shared when he starts thinking about new technology, he looks outside the firearms industry.

“We go to the SHOT Show and do all the things everyone else does,” he said, “but what we pride ourselves on is looking outside the industry. I like to see what restaurants are doing, so we look at point-of-sale programs, logistics, supply chain and the ways big companies move products and people. We try to adopt what they adopt.”

As much as he loves the gun industry, Campbell thinks it lags a little behind on the tech side.

“I love seeing new vendors at the SHOT Show, and what NSSF does to bring in new technology,” he noted. “We like to get out in front of it and ask what the best practices are right now that are happening outside of our industry.”

One facet of this Campbell is looking at is how other facilities handle their wait lists. For instance, customers often have to wait to get onto the range, or they need to make reservations.

“We do a lot of online reservations,” Campbell confirmed. “We have groups from two people up to about 50, so we have to flex our staffing so we don’t drop the ball at the point of execution. We have three locations, and we need a way for both the customer and the staff to let customers select where they want to go so we have appropriate staffing for those staffing.”

Campbell shared that Gunfighter Canyon changes point-of-sale systems frequently.

“There are a lot of good systems in the market, but we haven’t found the one that’s quite the right solution for us yet,” he stated.

Campbell tries to stay away from paper altogether. Of course, his 4473s are all digital, but he also uses digital ways of staying in touch with and serving customers.

“We use Constant Contact, and we have a built-in digital waiver system that works with Constant Contact,” he shared. “This also allows us to market specifically to individuals.”

Although they have played around with some of the big, interactive range systems with self-healing screen systems, Campbell said they haven’t worked out for Gunfighter Canyon.

“They’ve got a ‘cool factor,’” he maintained, “but we’ve found they just don’t have the mass appeal in our market.”

Campbell sees Gunfighter Canyon as being more than just a shooting range; he considers what the range offers as being entertainment, as well.

“We are primarily in the experience-based business,” he said. “I’d say what we do is more tourism. It’s why we look at restaurant-style systems and technology more than traditional firearms industry technology.”

As we can see here, technology abounds when it comes to range management, scheduling, tracking consumer tendencies, marketing and more. Every store or range’s needs are unique — and as owners and managers, you know your market better than anyone. 

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