High-end urban shooting ranges nicknamed “guntry clubs” are continuing to do booming business around the nation, as the shooting sports continue to grow and reach a much wider demographic of Americans than ever before.
Posh indoor clubs primarily catering to handgun shooters and owners of modern sporting rifles like AR-15s are a growth business, and reflect a growing American affinity for firearms.
In Miami’s arts district, a new high-end club attracts celebrities such as LeBron James who shoot fully automatic machine guns, then chill in VIP lounges. A Texas range features gun valets. A Colorado club offers custom-fitted earplugs, apps to reserve shooting lanes and chess sets. Membership fees at these new ranges are sometimes hundreds, even thousands of dollars. Cigar lounges — yes. WiFi — of course. There is lots of leather.
The high-end ranges come as the $15 billion gun industry’s sales have more than doubled since 2005. Fears of regulations with a Democrat in the Oval Office have juiced much of that growth, which is now leveling out. But experts also say an industry shift away from hunting culture has helped spawn a new generation of firearms enthusiasts buying up sleekly designed handguns and AR-15 rifles for tactical shooting practice.
The average age of new target shooters is 33, while 47 percent live in urban or suburban areas, and 37 percent are female, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a trade association for the firearms industry. Shooters spend $10 billion a year on target shooting, including the cost of firearms, ammunition and range fees.
Those demographics and economics are attracting investors without firearms industry backgrounds; they see ranges as a new place to employ their cash. Elite Shooting Sports, a nearly $14 million project, has investors from the electronics industry. Real estate, finance, hotel and auto industry executives have backed other new ranges.
Despite the best efforts of deep-pocketed left-wing foundations, power-mad billionaires, shrill gun control bullies, and a biased media, the shooting sports have never been as popular in American history as they are today.