"Most gun owners are cheap bastards."
That was the statement I read in a forum recently regarding a new indoor range that opened nearby.
I don't know if or when I'll go try it out - it's not a cheap range. $25 for non-members (they say unlimited shooting "unless busy"), and annual memberships begin at $500. Life memberships exist too, and are well into four-figure prices - plus a monthly maintenance fee.
They spent a LOT of money on this place. 50-yard rifle range (three lanes), 25-yard pistol range (14 lanes) and a 25-yard "tactical" range (6 lanes) with moving/turning targets. The backstop is advertised as being rated to .50BMG (don't be in the lane either side!), and word on the street is "anything up to 4,000fps" - which means most common AR chamberings, anything rimfire, and ANY pistol. (Things that are out: .204Ruger, .220Swift, .22-250, and things of that ilk... and most folks shooting those want a lot more than 50 yards to play with.)
But back to that original statement. "Most gun owners are cheap bastards." He thinks the range isn't going to do so well because it is spendy. Of course ... how many of us have the box o' holsters? I do. Not as bad as some, but there are a dozen or two holsters of various flavors kicking around my house. I boxed up part of my reloading bench this morning in preparation for a move. At last count I had about 15 pounds of powder and 12-15k primers ... plus several thousand bullets of various calibers. And let's not even get into the sagging shelf of ammo cans in the garage.
Am I cheap? No. I'm frugal. I will absolutely buy quality; I know how hard I work for every dollar and I want to get the best value I can. If the best value is a $350 Eotech sight, that's what I'll buy. If I'm putting a sight on a range toy, maybe the $150 Primary Arms sight is a better value for me.
Meantime, "boutique" shooting ranges are springing up and catering to the new generation of shooters. The ones that don't want the dark wood, nicotine stains, and dead-animal mounts of a traditional gun club. That don't want the gruff retired guy behind the counter telling them, "The little lady needs a snubby."
This is a totally new breed of shooters. They're the ones buying the designer CCW clothes. And the semi-bespoke guns. And you know what? They're the future of shooting sports. They have disposable income and are spending it left and right on their hobby. We need to encourage it.
So ... I'll be making a trip down there when my schedule allows.
2 months ago