I never expected to enjoy target practice at a shooting range. I am a harmonious-minded, yoga enthusiast, that preaches peace, so what the heck am I doing in a gun range popping off rounds at a target as if I were back in an old Western movie? I was invited to visit The Range at Austin and check out the newest shooting range in ATX.
I have only been shooting a handful of times in dusty outdoor ranges. Upon entering The Range at Austin and seeing their spacious 52,000 square-foot facility, my initial reaction was a combination of intimidation and excitement. My reluctance was quickly eased with the friendliness of the staff that immediately welcomed me.
The Range at Austin is a premier full-service facility offering 5 shooting bays, a large 7,000 square-foot retail section; a gunsmith; a variety of classes; and an elite VIP section. They cater to both experienced and first timers. There is a front help desk to assist through all the questions and needs anyone could have.
The retail area houses one of the largest selections of guns and accessories in all of Central Texas. The Range is an exclusive dealer of renowned Sig Sauer firearms, a primary choice from law enforcement and military to the educated consumer. The staff will guide you through gun selections to ensure the ideal sale for you. A major benefit of having the combination of a gun store housed within a shooting range is the ability to try before you buy. There are many details for consideration when purchasing a gun from the style and usage, which is clear-cut in the sales descriptions, to the feel of the gun in hand as you shoot, which be experienced. Gun stores do not have the capability of allowing you to test the gun before your purchase. However, The Range at Austin offers this exclusive benefit. In addition to the knowledgeable sales staff that will fully discuss each gun to find the most appropriate fit, there is also a skilled gunsmith located on premises for repairs, modifications, and custom needs.
The Range is open to the public and accepts walk-ins. Tiered memberships are offered and are an affordable option for frequent visitors. The premier “Guntry Club” offers a custom VIP membership that boasts a plethora of spectacular perks. Private access to the 10,700 square-foot club level called The Patriot Club, provides a custom experience to pleasure even the most discerning CEO.
Covered parking directly off a private entrance allows key fob entry to an exclusive elevator. Concierge service awaits you upon entering the club level. The elegant lounge showcases a stately fireplace with several intimate seating areas, small conference tables, walk-in cigar humidor and a private bar. Two larger conference rooms are also available to host meetings. Independent gun lockers are offered if you prefer to store your guns at their location. The VIPS are granted access to a private 25-yard pistol range, as well as a private outdoor shaded zen garden for meditation and stress relief. Opened in February 2017, VIP memberships at The Range at Austin have exceeded the operations original expectations. After experiencing this customized lounge, it is easy to understand why.
Once you step onto the range your mind is transported once your focus shifts to the gun and target. Shooting is not merely about power, but rather it encompasses aspects of sport and skill that actually can serve as a form of meditation when you focus all attention on the target. Mindfulness of your body stance is synergized with control over your breath. Lastly, having a respectful knowledge of the equipment can enable the shooter to blend the gun in hand with the end goal of the target for the most successful result.
As my finger slid the trigger back and I felt the kick of the gun in my hand, my body absorbing the impact of fire, a rush of feeling like a bad-ass surged through my body. I could literally hear Dirty Harry’s infamous line “make my day” echoing in my mind. As the paper target became riddled with holes, my ease increased along with my accuracy. Juan, the RSO Manager, guided our shooting experience offering minor adjustments to stance and gun control to hone skills. My background with shooting may have been somewhat limited, but with the level of entertainment and knowledge I gained at The Range, this experience will stay with me as a newly found hobby.
Four of the five shooting bays are open to the public. With one elite bay reserved for their VIP members, 37 rifle-rated shooting lanes with innovative targeting systems are available for use. There are three 25-yard pistol ranges, appropriately named Alpha, Bravo, and Charlie with the fourth being a 100-yard shotgun bay named Romeo.
Most indoor shooting facilities are outfitted with overhead lighting that can create glare for the shooter, The Range has merged aesthetics with functionality by considering lighting placement to offer anti-glare in the lanes. Range safety officers, known as RSOs, are staffed to heighten your experience by offering guidance on all aspects from gun safety to shooting pointers. The RSO Manager, former Army officer Juan Obregon, and his team watch over the shooting bays. The NRA standard ratio for a range safety officer to shooting lanes is 1:8. The Range adheres to that standard during weekdays and excels during peak times and weekends with a 1:4 ratio; one RSO for every four shooting lanes.
Their high level of responsibility is extended to the environment by recycling all of the casings. Their state of the art lanes ricochets the bullets with precise mathematical calculation into a reservoir that collects the bullets for recycling. The fact that shooting can be eco-friendly is a wonderful bonus!
The Range offers a variety of educational curriculum with three spacious training rooms to meet all skillsets from beginners to the more advanced marksman. Classes include Concealed Carry Certification, basic education on safety, private instruction sessions, and specialty courses on usage of pistols, rifles, and shotguns. The Director of Training, Jeff Gonzales, a former US Navy SEAL, brings over 25 years of experience in operations and instruction to The Range. His exemplified military background has enlisted him as a top expert in this field. Gonzales oversees the training curriculum and staff, consisting mostly of former military and law enforcement officers. His highly competent team is dedicated to improving your skill and provide patrons with comprehensive training that also offers a keen attention to safety.
Community outreach is a business focus. Their philosophy of safety, skill, and entertainment extends to the public with a goal of comfort and confidence for all that enter their building. They offer ongoing events to develop a culture of camaraderie. From participating in socials that support Breast Cancer with their Bullets for Boobies event in support of Pink ATX to Sunday Gunday and Coffee; The Range is “on point” with making shooting accessible! They are capable of hosting private parties and events from Girls N Guns Ladies Nights to Bachelor Parties, Corporate Functions, Birthday Parties, Empowering Groups, or any gathering you choose.
Various Tournaments are also hosted at this beautiful facility. If you are wondering whether alcoholic beverages will be allowed at your event inside of a gun range, the answer is YES. The Range at Austin has taken special consideration into safety with the allowance of alcohol on the premises. Each participant in an event is outfitted with a wristband that permits you in the shooting bays. All alcohol is kept in the lounge area with a bartender. Once you enter the bar area for a drink, your wristband is cut, prohibiting any access to the shooting bays, where the guns are located. You are welcome to enjoy the magnificent lounge areas for the remainder of the party.
The Range offers value with expertise, a combination of entertainment with comradery, and sharpened skillset with confidence. Their goal is to empower the shooter and arm them with safety and experience to gain confidence in protection. The high level of customer service sets them apart from any other range. I highly recommend you experience The Range at Austin for yourself. Once you visit, your viewpoint of shooting ranges will be forever changed for the better.
By Kristi Grosse