My first encounter with American Shooters was in the summer of 2004 when a group of about 70 of us went there for a corporate event. Although I had a good time, I remember not being very impressed with the staff and the overall customer experience. Because of this, I did not return to the store for 5 years. My second time there was about a year ago when I went in to look for a specific holster. Not only did I find exactly what I was looking for, but I was treated a heck of a lot better than I was on my first visit. Little did I know that in 2008, American Shooters was bought out and immediately started making the right kind of changes.
In my lifetime I’ve been to a number of gun stores and shooting ranges. However, after the recently implemented changes, this one is at the top of the list when it comes to product selection, facility, and customer service. What we intended to be a 30 minute “in and out” for a few photos a maybe some video turned into almost 5 hours of 1 on 1 time with Ernie Beckwith, Director of Education for American Shooters.
Mr. Beckwith gave us a complete tour of the facility and made numerous stops along the way to introduce us to people as well as discuss several of the products they carry and how those products stack up against the competition. He also gave us a great overview of the history of American Shooters as well as the American Heroes Challenge which we wrote about late last year. Be sure to watch the video at the end of this write up where Ernie covers the basics for you.
The retail side of things features an impressive selection of quality firearms and accessories. Their goal here is to not only stock the right guns but also to stock whatever accessory you might want for your new purchase. Remember the holster I mentioned previously? I’ve looked for that holster in no less than 8 gun stores in 3 different states as well as multiple gun shows in 2 states. Although nobody had one, most were willing to order it for me but if you’re like me, you want to see it, touch it, and then take it home that day. Nobody likes to wait. This brings me to the next example of outstanding customer service, the Alterations Department. Being able to find whatever clothing you need to suit your tactical needs is one thing, finding a place to make your new jacket fit comfortably around your level 4 body armor is another. Besides, the Asian ladies around the corner on Spring Mountain are likely to give you a strange look if you walk in with a bullet proof vest.
Gun safes, boots, eyewear, range bags, hard cases, and a large selection of tactical weapons are just the beginning. Need a SureFire light for that new Daniel Defense upper you just bought? No problem. Magazines, ammo, scope mounts…..It’s all here.
Let’s move on to the shooting ranges. They have three ranges here but at the current time, only two are available to the general public. The pistol range features 14 positions at 25 yards each while the rifle range has 9 shooting lanes at 50 yards with the ability to turn the 3rd range into 3 more lanes. These 3 ranges have been MASSIVELY overhauled under the new ownership. They have state of the art air filtration systems and target systems that have the ability to be programmed by computers to move targets forward, backward, and even turn them sideways. If you are a security company with shooting qualifications, this system can be custom tuned to run your officers through the qualifications based on your specific wants/needs. Another great benefit to this indoor range is the ability to bring your own ammunition rather than being forced to buy ammo directly from the range.
The 3rd range is a 50 yard 3 lane range which incorporates an AIS Prism Firearms Simulator. What does that mean? Well, in layman terms it means they project movies on the wall and you can fire live ammo at it which is tracked by laser. It beats the hell out of Duck Hunt AND you get to use real guns. Right now this range is limited to Law Enforcement for training and so forth but there are plans to open it to the public in the near future.
While we were sitting in the control room learning about this range from Ernie, we started discussing the gun rental counter which has a selection that mirrors what is available for sale in the retail store. Pretty much any gun they sell there, you can try before you buy. Of course, they also have full auto “machine guns” that you can rent as well. This got us talking about shooting full auto at which point Mr Pheer says he’d really like it if they had an HK UMP45 but there’s not one on the wall. “No problem” says Ernie, “I’ve got one in back, let’s set you up.” A few minutes later Ernie returned with the very gun and a couple hundred rounds of ammo.
Now here’s the best part. Rather than taking us to the rifle or pistol range, Ernie fires up the AIS Prism system and takes us inside. Mr Pheer and I are both pretty stoked at this point. Not only because we got a sneak peek at the range but now we get to shoot in it. We started off by shooting stationary targets then moved to a bouncing ball so that we could practice following moving targets. From there we switched to a 2 round burst as the video took us through a real life simulation involving surround sound, flashing lights, bad guys, hostages, and police…One of which Mr Pheer put a bullet in. Shame on him. Towards the end of this simulation we switched over to full auto. After all this was said and done, we were taken into the rifle range and given more ammo for the UMP45 as well as some time to shoot some of our own guns we had brought.
Now I know that I’ve mentioned the uniform shop and Law Enforcement but don’t let that fool you. This place is very much family friendly so feel free to bring the significant other and the kids. They have several classes available from Concealed Carry to tactical training that the average Joe can attend. American Shooters also offers shooting events on a regular basis. Tuesday night is Midnight Madness which is a USPSA/IPCS Match.
From the extremely friendly and helpful staff to the well stocked retail shop and the ability to try before you buy, American Shooters has everything for the Law Enforcement professional and the average shooter alike.
American Shooters has two locations.