Doing business in new and creative ways is the best means to compete in the future. In the past, fear has often been a driving force behind firearm sales, but while focusing on fear may create a gun buyer, it won’t create a firearm enthusiast. To truly build a solid customer base, dealers need to take the time to teach women about the shooting sports and turn shooting into a lifelong passion.
Point Blank Range in Mooresville, N.C., is a state-of-the-art shooting sports complex designed to be family-friendly, offering firearms education in a fun and safe environment. “The whole format for the range is designed to create a place you bring your daughters and wives,” said Mike Denney, Point Blank Range director of training. “Women shooters have grown to make up 40 percent of the gun owner population and almost everything we do is cognizant of that.”
At Point Blank Range, women learn gun-handling skills in a fun environment, which he notes is much better than a fearful one. “Fear sells and it’s easy to go down that road, but we believe in the words ‘shooting sports,’” Denney explained. “Fear works for a short time, but it doesn’t stick.”
The belief that there’s a shooting sport for everyone is a driving force behind Point Blank Range, and its staff is committed to taking the time to educate women about all options available.
Gateway programs to the shooting sports at Point Blank include NSSF’s First Shots program, which is free to the public, and the NRA’s “Women On Target” program, for which the range charges a nominal fee. They offer ladies-only and coed CCW classes, and a “Ladies Night” every Thursday. In addition, Point Blank Range provides one-on-one training sessions for individualized instruction to meet their clientele’s specific needs. “We had 1,500 one-on-one trainings in 2013, and over 50 percent of them were with women,” Denney said. “Of those, 70 percent begin classes for the purpose of self-defense.” From there, many go on to join a shooting league.
A social component to ladies’ programs is important, Denney noted. The “Women On Target” program is a version of the Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification program specifically designed for women. It’s an informal, self-paced, fun way for women to work on their shooting skills and earn a Distinguished Expert certificate. “Once they join the leagues, their confidence really goes up,” Denney said.
In order to help women purchase the right firearm, Point Blank has a program where customers can try every rental firearm for one price. “We try to give her the ability to make her own decision after trying several firearms,” Denney said. “People tend to be far more satisfied with their purchase and we think women appreciate the ‘try before you buy’ mentality.”
Point Blank Range caters to the whole family, with programs designed
for women and youth who want to participate in the shooting sports.
Commitment To Build And Keep Clientele
Point Blank Range’s “Teens On Target” program demonstrates their commitment to a fun and safe family atmosphere. This program is based on “Women On Target,” and is designed for teens aged 13-17. Offered only during the summer months, this self-paced program allows teens to try rifles and pistols while earning a Distinguished Expert certificate. Denney noted both the “Women On Target” and “Teen On Target” programs have been hugely successful with booked solid events.
The Point Blank Shooting Range membership program is another way they build and keep their clientele. Memberships include monthly and annual levels and the Patriot Gun Club. The Patriot Gun Club is their highest level of membership and includes 24-hour, seven-days-a-week access to the Club Lounge and range.
“The club is set up for families,” said Denney, “The lounge has a viewing area, Internet access and, for youngsters who are not old enough to shoot, there’s a Wii system and pool table.”
Other perks include special firearms pricing, annual locker rentals and access to the “Shooting After Dark” program, which allows after-hours access to the range.
Point Blank Range was one of four ranges nominated by the NSSF as Range of the Year, and the business will be opening a larger facility with the same format in a neighboring community.
Getting the word out about all of the programs and events Point Blank Range has to offer is one of the hardest jobs, Denney explained. “We use all types of media — radio, email, website and Facebook.” He said some of their staffers have excellent video-making skills, and posting those videos on their website, YouTube channel and in emails has been a good way to augment sales or publicize training events.
Point Blank Range’s dedication to community and its family-friendly shooting facility have created a solid women customer base that will only grow as the range expands in the future.
Command Arms Lady Jean
Items Catered To Women,Youth
Women looking for a non-lethal form of personal protection with the “feel” of a pistol may have found the perfect product in Command Arms Lady Jean, a handgun-styled pepper spray system. It’s bigger than most pepper spray canisters at 4.29 inches long and 2.75 inches tall, but the tilted barrel for aim improvement and a conical 9-foot effective spray pattern make up for its larger size.
The Lady Jean disperses up to five one-second bursts of spray on a single SABRE Red .22-gram cartridge, and an onboard safety prevents unintended discharges.
Constructed of high-impact, strength-engineered polymer, the Lady Jean is available in pink, black and blue and includes a training canister. Best of all, the sturdy frame is designed for multiple use and replacement canisters are available for the unit.
TriStar Arms recently expanded its popular Raptor semiauto shotgun line to include a youth model in Muddy Girl Camouflage. This gas-operated, 20-gauge shotgun sports a 24-inch barrel and comes with a fiber-optic front sight, swivel studs and three choke tubes. The Raptor also provides a 3-inch chamber to take 2.75-inch or 3-inch shells and allows shooters to use both light and heavy waterfowl loads.
Weighing in at just over 6 pounds, the Raptor in Muddy Girl is sure to be a hit with young lady hunters. There’s also a more traditional Vista Next Micro Print camouflage version available for those who are not into pink. 9
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