Watching Rob Abrams at the firing line demonstrate how it’s done with his Glock 34, I had three immediate thoughts.
First, I was reminded of just how great it is to shoot guns. I’ve loved it since I was a kid and still do. Shooting is pure fun.
Second, as I watched Rob show how quickly and accurately he could group his shots, the thought was I needed more practice with my new Glock 40. Lots more… Which is perfectly fine (see thought No. 1).
My final thought was that if some really bad stuff ever goes down—like a zombie apocalypse—I definitely want Rob on my side. A certified professional firearms instructor, Rob is part of the expert team at the Remington Range, an indoor shooting facility that’s part of the huge Adventure Outdoors retail store in Smyrna.
GON’s Mike Rhodes made the trip with me from Morgan County to Adventure Outdoors, located in southern Cobb County near Smyrna. Trust me, it wasn’t difficult to talk Mike into trading a Monday at the office for some range time.
We arrived mid-morning on a Monday, and even at that hour there were seven or eight lanes of shooters. That even during off hours there are folks on the range shouldn’t come as a surprise. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), nationally there are 20.1 million “target shooters,” and that’s only counting folks who actually purchased goods or services specifically for target shooting.
The NSSF said in its Target Shooting in America report, “Whether it’s religiously practiced at a range or shooting club each week or participated as an occasional weekend activity in the countryside with friends, millions of Americans go target shooting each year. In fact, more Americans target shoot each year than the number of people who live in the entire state of Florida or New York.
“With each outing, they are also part of an economic force at work. Their activities generated $9.9 billion in spending each year through the purchase of shooting-specific products and services and create hundreds of thousands of jobs directly associated with the sale and manufacture of those goods and the provision of those services. As such, target shooting provides fun and enjoyment for millions of Americans, but ultimately benefits millions more through its positive economic impact.”
I’m blessed to live in the country where we can shoot off the back deck whenever we want to, but even for folks like me there’s a huge attraction to visiting a shooting range… Guns! Lots and lots of guns—every shape, size and caliber you can imagine. At several top indoor ranges like the one at Adventure Outdoors and at the Governor’s Gun Club in Powder Springs or at Wild West Traders in Marietta, you can rent guns to shoot at their indoor ranges.
There’s a very good practical reason to rent guns and spend time on the range with them. Say you’ve decided to buy a new Glock, but you’re not sure if you want a 9 mm or a .45 caliber. Do you trust the wide range of opinion you’ll find on the Internet to make your choice, or do you actually send a couple dozens rounds down the range with each gun to experience how it fits in your hand, whether is has too much kick-back or a nice push? I’d venture a bet that most guns are bought based on look and feel at the gun counter and not on how it shot for the buyer with live ammo on the range.
Even if you’re not in the market for a new gun, there’s another great reason to head to a range that offers rentals—they have cool guns! Adventure Outdoors has more than 300 guns you can rent, from semi-auto pistols and revolvers to a wide variety of rifles.
“We’ve got a bunch of different ARs with difference variance—with different features and accouchements, different sights, different stocks, different forends. Some have optics on them to use,” Rob said.
“Then we have some exotic-type guns to rent. We have an M1A1 in there, which is a .308. I’ve never walked into a range personally and seen a range that has an M1A1 .308 to rent like we do.
“We have an FN Five-seven to rent. There’s a Desert Eagle 50 Action Express in there to rent. Now we don’t have any ammunition for those right now, but we have the guns to rent.”
In case you’re wondering, the .50 AE is one of the most powerful pistol cartridges in production.
“We have a Smith & Wesson 500, which is that big, humongous thing Smith & Wesson makes,” Rob added.
This S&W 500 is a .50 that makes the .44 magnum look like a pea shooter. Bring your Dirty Harry face if you rent this one.
“One of the reasons we can have these types of guns to rent when other ranges don’t is a lot of ranges don’t allow rifles. Many ranges are only designed for handgun rounds. Then, some ranges that do allow rifles require you to shoot their ammunition. They use frangible-tip bullets that fragment apart when they hit.
“You can use regular lead bullets on our range because we’re designed for the higher calibers, so people can shoot a .308 or a 5.56 with regular ammunition,” Rob said.
For the newcomer or novice, a shooting-range atmosphere is awesome. The measures in place—from a required video for range first-timers (regardless of how much shooting experience you’ve had) to experts for on-hand instruction or advice—it keeps everything perfectly safe.
Adventure Outdoors has come a long way since it was started by Jay Wallace in 1977. Now Jay and his son Eric run the business from a 7,800-acre space that used to be a Bruno’s Grocery store. Once remodeling is complete, it will feature a banquet hall for conservation groups like SCI or NWTF events, a virtual archery range, even a restaurant.
That’s my kind of lunch hour… a box of .308s through an M1AI and a bite to eat at the Remington Cafe.
Indoor ranges with gun rentals
2500 South Cobb Dr.
Smyrna, GA 30080
Governor’s Gun Club
5740 C.H. James Pkwy
Powder Springs, GA 30127
Wild West Trader’s
2445 Austell Road; Ste 200
Marietta, GA 30008