The staff at Sportsman's Lodge and Morris Firearms maintain a welcoming vibe. The facility looks much like a log cabin, and inside waits comfy couches and TVs. Aside from places to relax, the staff here offers firearms training and sales, with rifles and handguns from manufacturers such as Glock and Sig Sauer.
Backed by credentials ranging from NRA certifications to decades of military experience, The Range at Lake Norman's instructors offer courses that cover gun safety, local gun laws, and first aid. Some courses incorporate the Meggitt XVT law-enforcement simulator, a training tool used by the US government, embassies around the world, and local law enforcement agencies. The range also hosts special events, such as ladies' nights and bowling-pin shoots.
Members in Point Blank Range's Patriot Gun Club can spend hours just relaxing in the exclusive club lounge. The facility houses private restrooms, showers, lockers, and entertainment areas such as a card table and a giant, 63-inch HDTV. It also contains a viewing area of the indoor shooting range. Here, 18 NRA-certified instructors work with groups and individuals working to develop in pistol, rifle, and other shooting and sport skills through group classes or one-on-one instruction.
A person buys a gun, stores it away, and then never learns how to use it. That scenario perplexes Practical Arms founder and director Mark Williams, because knowing how to safely store and operate a firearm requires ongoing training and practice. That's why he and his fellow instructors draw upon their wealth of expertise to train novice and experienced marksmen. Boasting multiple training certifications from organizations such as the North Carolina Department of Justice—plus experience training law-enforcement personnel from agencies such as the FBI and ATF—Mark oversees classes that adhere to NRA curricula, such as the NRA basic pistol-shooting course and home-defense classes. In addition to drilling students in the safe use of firearms, Mark and his team maintain a welcoming, nonthreatening atmosphere by beginning each class with 10 minutes of standup comedy.
Courses at Freedom Firearms LLC cover everything from basic to advanced firearm techniques during a one-day session held within the Concord, North Carolina area. Over two or three afternoons, NRA-certified instructors impart skills such as handgun safety, two-handed standing positions, speed reloading, and pistol cleaning tips in a comfortable environment. The team also specializes in on-site private instruction and woman's self-defense, including an in-home course during which guests learn about non-lethal means of protection such as pepper sprays and tasers. Students can also purchase a rental package if they do not have a firearm of their own.
Range visitors browse a selection of more than 65 rental guns of assorted calibers, or bring their own pistols or rifles from home.
Aside from ensuring safety at the range, the staff conducts training sessions, including a ladies AWARE course that covers basic skills. The facility also houses a gun shop, where specialists help customers sort through thousands of firearms as well as fishing gear and live bait.