Both a firearm emporium and shooting range, Sovereign Arms seeks to inform and instruct its clientele on the benefits of safe firearm use with classes ranging from personal safety to church-security training. The staff also offers private security services in scenarios such as international travel.
A police officer for 23 years, Steven King dreamed of owning a shooting range where could teach people how to responsibly operate a firearm. Even after launching Metro Shooting Supplies, he still had more know-how to share than he could dispense in his training classes. His wife, a television reporter, suggested he host a radio show. Intrigued, he pitched the idea to several stations until KTRS gave him a one-hour slot on Sunday nights. Four years later, he and his cohost wife continue entertaining listeners by sharing industry news, explaining gun laws, and breathing heavily during awkward pauses. The station even extended them to 90 minutes. This passion for educating people extends throughout Steven's team, a crew of instructors that upholds NRA standards, whether training students in basic handguns or police and security officers for qualification. Steven's favorite part of his job is working with beginner shooters, specifically the moment when they realize that they possess all the instincts necessary to safely handle a gun. To help them, he uses the same instructional methods that he used to train his fellow police officers, which he learned at the FBI's firearm academy. Metro Shooting Supplies' training resources include rifle-rated ranges at both locations, and the Bridgeton range's superb construction earned it a five-star rating from the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Ballistic-tested surfaces, such as steel-lined walls, surround guests in bulletproof protection. A HEPA-filtration system exchanges the air every 45 seconds, channeling a fresh breeze from outside. The range also features a bay of five handicapped-accessible stalls, built with oversized booths to accommodate both a wheelchair and an instructor. Inspired by the Wounded Warrior Project and his employees—many former law-enforcement and military servicemen—Steven built this bay as a patriotic expression to disabled guests who wish to continue or explore shooting sports. In addition to the public ranges and classes, both of Metro Shooting Supply's locations extend to pro shops, where the staff waits on visitors from beginners to active-duty police officers. Gunsmiths also offer the services in firearm customization, restoration, and maintenance.
Trophy fisherman Walter Krause, who has 15 years' experience on the Illinois Muskie Tournament Trail and the Pro Musky Tournament Trail, takes up to two anglers aboard his private boat for a guided trip through two fish-filled Illinois lakes. Whether plumbing the depths of Cedar Lake for striper or pursuing Kinkaid Lake—one of the top trophy-muskie lakes in Illinois—for oversize bass, muskies, and walleyes, participants benefit from Walter’s 46 years of experience and on-board depth finders and GPS. During the course of each customized trip, visitors learn how to track fish movements, how to properly hold rods, and how to train a wall-mounted singing fish to bait other fish with its seductive crooning. Walter provides each angler with life jackets, bait, tackle, and rods, although participants must bring their own fishing licenses, lunches, and weather-appropriate clothing.
Under the leadership of owner J. Doug Alley, the staff of Ammo Alley trains marksmen of all experience levels through classes ranging from Practical Pistol to Advanced Firearms/Close Quarter Defense Tactics II. Instructors can also prepare students to apply for concealed-weapon permits or customize their training in private sessions. The pro shop stocks brands such as Glock, Ruger and Smith & Wesson, plus apparel from Packing in Pink and Mossy Oak. Ammo Alley also strives to connect customers with further resources by maintaining affiliations with organizations including the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the Youth Shooting Sports Alliance, and the National Rifle Association.