Work Hard, Play Hard
Article first appeared at Shooting Illustrated.
Theme parks are part of Florida’s genetic fingerprint, but Machine Gun America, located near Orlando, makes most other range experiences feel, well, goofy. It’s OK if you don’t own a gun. In fact, even if you could bring your own into the range it might feel a little mousy compared to the rentals.
There are 10 live-fire ranges, where patrons can enjoy one of seven action-adventure experiences—with the guns to match. They span a variety of interests, from Special Ops, with an M4, Glock G17 and Heckler & Koch MP5 as your firepower, to the Western Shootout with a side-by-side shotgun, Cimarron revolver and a lever-action rifle. You can also rent a script-altering FN USA SCAR or a belt-fed RPD.
For those inexperienced with firearms, the real magic usually begins elsewhere. “There are three climate-controlled rooms that house Ti law enforcement-grade simulators where customers can participate in Old West-style shooting events, target practice or even fight the zombie apocalypse, without ever firing a live round,” said Wes Doss,Machine Gun America’s safety and training director. “The simulators are the exact units used by state, local and federal law enforcement across the country.” More than 20 scenarios are available.
Doss’ resumé addresses any safety concerns, and safety is an underlying theme in all of the facilities. He holds instructor certifications from the U.S. Army, the U.S. Marine Corps, NRA LEAD, FEMA and the State Department, and has worked with the Smith & Wesson Academyand SIG Sauer Academy. No alcohol is served or allowed and patrons must be 13 years of age or older.
The response has been phenomenal. “MGA saw its hard launch on Dec. 20, 2014, and since has had a steady flow of traffic through its door, sometimes taking the facility to max capacity,” Doss said. “Our strongest customer base has been single females between 25 and 35. They make up roughly 40 percent of our walk-in and reservation traffic.”
Lock & Load Miami, also in the Sunshine State, operates out of a 14,000-square-foot facility with 24 air-conditioned lanes open to the public and 13 for exclusive member use. It also offers themed sessions and parties, but the real attraction is the ability for trigger time with 25 different full-auto rental firearms.
It’s a different clientele in Las Vegas, NV, where perky women in tight leather greet you at Machine Guns Vegas. The firm launched in 2012, and the dress code and full-auto firearm rentals are a profitable mix.
The fact that “Sin City” attracts tourists from across the globe—including nations where firearm ownership is illegal—helps, along with proximity to “The Strip.” The rental-only indoor range has garnered international media attention, usually with a sultry “hot buns, smoking guns” theme. On the firing line, though, fully clothed and amply qualified range-safety officers keep hijinks in check, and strictly enforce an alcohol-free policy.
GoRuck is the complete opposite end of the spectrum—there’s no leather to sit on or gawk at, because you’ll be on your feet training with former and current members of our nation’s Special Forces. Founded in 2008 by Jason McCarthy (a former Green Beret) and Jack Barley, it’s the oldest of the group and a bit more serious, given that one of its stated goals is to “…employ more Veterans of Special Operations than any organization outside the U.S. military. We have over 90 decorated combat veterans of Special Operations lead our events,” McCarthy said.
The business approach is vastly different. Events take place across the nation throughout the year, and include firearms training with Glock G19s for everyone from the beginner to advanced student. Special courses can be arranged and, unlike the other experiences, you can bring your own handgun.
With the expertise the company has assembled, it also offers a variety of other, multi-day courses that include navigation, mountaineering, amphibious operations and more. Couch potatoes beware. “Our physical events are a challenge of leadership, teamwork and sacrifice based on Special Forces training,” McCarthy said. “There is no other event out there like theGoRuck Challenge and it takes someone with a robust Special Operations background to bring the magic to life in a way that is accessible to all.”
The company has held more than 2,500 events to date, but why do people pay for the physical challenge? “Because they’re not boring, and that’s always a good reason to do something,” he said.
FBI’s Most Wanted Handgun
A request for proposal issued by the FBI in the fall indicates the law enforcement agency is looking for 9 mm handguns to replace its fleet of Glock’s chambered in .40 S&W. The change in chambering may have been catalyzed by a May, 2014, summary issued by the FBI Training Academy. It states, “9 mm Luger now offers select projectiles which are, under identical testing conditions, outperforming most of the premium line .40 S&W and .45 Auto projectiles tested by the FBI.”
The Quantico, VA, facility also noted, “The majority of FBI shooters are both faster in shot strings fired and more accurate with shooting a 9 mm versus shooting a .40 S&W.” In addition, the summary concludes there’s little difference in terminal performance between the two calibers, but 9 mm reduces wear on the handgun, the ammunition is less expensive and offers increased magazine capacity. The FBI made the move to .40 S&W after lack of knockdown power was blamed for the 1986 FBI Miami shootout, in which two officers were killed and another five wounded.
The current request includes a compact pistol (barrel length 3.75 to 4.25 inches), with a magazine capacity of 14 or greater and night sights. A full-size version is included in the procurement announcement, which will have a barrel length of 4.26 to 5.2 inches, minimum magazine capacity of 16 rounds and night sights. In addition, an inert practice pistol and marker gun for force-on-force training must be included in bids, as well as replacement parts, locks and other items.
“The mayor encourages licensed gun owners to carry their weapons to increase security. He himself serves as a personal example of this.”
—Jerusalem, Israel Mayor Nir Barkat in an official statement responding to increased terror attacks. Barkat also noted he carried a rifle whenever visiting areas struck by terrorists.
Federal Premium and Anoka-Ramsey Community College recently teamed up to earn a $227,712 grant from the Minnesota Job Skills Partnership. The organization helps fund educational grants to facilitate companies in enhancing the overall skills of the workforce, enhance the work environment and improve leadership at multiple levels.
The NRA Foundation awarded a grant to the Hudson Falls Police Department of Hudson Falls, NY, to help teach the Eddie Eagle gun-accident-prevention program. The program for pre-K through fourth graders began in 1988 with one mission: teach children four simple, easy-to-remember steps so they know what to do if they ever come across a gun.
Bruce Piatt was crowned 2015 NRA World Shooting Champion and presented with a $25,000 check at the Peacemaker National Training Center in Glengary, WV. Piatt out-gunned 218 competitors over a three-day match, held Sept. 24 to 26, that included 12 individual stages and combined all the major shooting disciplines.
Scopecoat, makers of patented optics protection for transportation and storage, is moving the company headquarters and manufacturing to Virginia Beach, VA. The move from Phoenix, AZ, to Virginia is expected to be completed by end of 2015.
Coghlan’s has completed the acquisition of McNett Corporation, a provider of outdoor gear and accessories to the recreation and defense industries. McNett’s 45 employees and headquarters will remain in Bellingham, WA, while European operation will be unchanged.
The Charlotte/Mecklenburg Police Department SWAT unit of North Carolina has selected Dead Air’s Sandman suppressor as its choice for departmental use. Charlotte has now joined a growing list of major metropolitan departments to adopt Dead Air suppressors, including Atlanta, Dallas/Fort Worth, Douglassville and Cobb County, GA.
U.S. Senior Border Patrol Agent and Team Safariland shooter Robert Vadasz won the 2015 NRA National Police Shooting Championships, which were held in Albuquerque, NM, in September.
STOP Suppressor Sanctions
Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ) has introduced the Hearing Protection Act of 2015 (H.R. 3799), legislation that will remove suppressors from the purview of the prohibition-era National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA) and replace the antiquated federal transfer process with an instant NICS background check. Ten of his Congressional colleagues have signed onto the legislation at press time.
“Suppressors significantly reduce the chance of hearing loss for anyone who enjoys the shooting sports,” said Chris Cox, executive director of NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action. “On behalf of the NRA and our 5 million members, I want to thank Rep. Salmon for his leadership on this important bill.”
“The American Suppressor Association (ASA) believes citizens should not have to pay a tax to protect their hearing while exercising their Second Amendment rights,” said Knox Williams, president and executive director of the ASA. “The removal of suppressors from the National Firearms Act has been our ultimate goal since day one. We have worked alongside Rep. Salmon’s office and the NRA to craft this legislation.”
Firearms may be an integral part of your home-defense plan, but do you have an equally high-caliber strategy for removing stingy corks when entertaining family and friends this holiday season? Surrender isn’t an option when your in-laws are watching and cousin Jim’s stand-up routine about last year’s incident went viral on the Internet.
Instead, bring out a Wine Gun from WinoVation. Sure, you could go with a milquetoast version from Bed, Bath and Beyond, but why not make a bold statement before responsibly enjoying an adult beverage? Available in stainless and pink, these breachers mercilessly stab a corkscrew into the barrier, then effortlessly spin until that vintage vino held hostage is finally free. It’s battery-powered, and although it’s capable of 30 missions between charges, it comes with a stylish base for recharging between operations. The company also provides a foil cutter to minimize the chances of compromising terminal performance.
MSRP is only $59.99, but the confidence that Cousin Jim’s YouTube channel popularity is about to take a serious dive is priceless. Visit wineovation.com for your magnum-opening needs.
Supportfor Special Ops
Glock’s donation of $100,000 to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation (SOWF) in October brought the company’s support for the non-profit organization since 2005 to $1 million. “For a decade, Glock has supported the SOWF in their efforts to provide for the education of children of special operations personnel who have lost their lives in service of our country,” said Glock Vice President Josh Dorsey. “We honor the fallen by providing for those they leave behind.”
The funds collected by the SOWF are used primarily to provide financial assistance for post-secondary education of the surviving children. Attending the ceremony was scholarship recipient Dalia Munoz, who lost her father, Army SFC Pedro Munoz, 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), in 2005, while he was deployed to Afghanistan. Munoz graduated from Davidson College in 2012.
“This is certainly a financial donation, but it is representative of the heart and soul of Glock,” said SOWF board of directors member Col. Edwin Anderson, (USA, Ret.).
The word “tactical” has become pretty much a caricature of itself, with everything from coffee mugs to aprons being billed as “tactical” versions. Originally used to describe hardware employed by Soldiers and law enforcement, the spirit is still valid: these are serious arms used for serious purposes. “Shooter’s Bible Guide to Tactical Firearms” is an extensive look at the rifles, optics, ammunition and accessories that make up the holistic “tactical” experience.
The Guide begins with a countdown of what the author considers the “Top Ten” long-range rifles, then delves into a dissertation on the components of a bolt-action rifle. A discussion of the history and stories of various military snipers completes the introduction to this guide. Eleven rifles are profiled, with thorough dissection of each long-range machine provided in vivid detail.
If you’re a fan of long-range shooting, this is an exhaustive tome destined for your coffee table. Even if the closest you’ve come to long range is looking down a football field and thinking it was a long distance, there’s something in this guide to capture your attention. Take a peek at what’s needed to make precise hits at distance.