Jan 30, 2015

Most gun owners are...

"Most gun owners are cheap bastards."

*blink blink*

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.


Anonymous said...

Isn't one of the most basic business ideas is to know your target demographic ?

So if most gun owners are cheap; why in the world build a range that few of them will use. It seems as if he built the range for himself, instead of building something to fill a need.

Bob S.

Wally said...

There is a VERY large segment of the market that is either cheap, stupid cheap, or myopically cheap.

custom lower for $45, since PSA sells their blems for that price?

bought ammo for $10/box and wants $15/box in trade.

stupid to spend $400 on a barrel when a $100 barrel will shoot just as well.

a $1000 silencer is a waste, since soda bottles are free.

A lot of the young/uninitiated (not exclusive) are of such a mindset.

Seen it all, it gets derp quick, and I'm glad that I have a relatively small customer base.

Old NFO said...

I'll be curious to hear your range report... :-)

ZerCool said...

Bob: Maybe I wasn't clear... that comment didn't come from anyone affiliated with the range, just some guy on a gun board.

Wally: Not arguing that at all. There ARE a ton of cheap-ass gun owners out there! (Hence the $12 gas block on the current build, and not a $100 Syrac adjustable. Yet.)

The point I'm trying to make is that the target market for this range is NOT the typical gun-shop counterweight. It is the "new breed" of shooters that are the fast-growing segment who don't want the typical gun-club/gun-shop atmosphere. It's the new ones who are driving Priuses (Prii?), whipping out the latest iPhone, buying the latest-greatest home gadgets... Hell, dare I say it? ... PAJAMA BOY IS THE TARGET MARKET.