CLARKSVILLE — Rick Hauber recently saw an inexperienced shooter walk into his new 12-lane gun range in Clarksville with her partner.
She was fearful before she started, but afterward, she turned to her partner, and said “that was fun,” Hauber recalled.
The businessman wants others who visit his range to feel the same enjoyment, but his main goal for American Shooters, which opened Sept. 16, is education.
“There’s a lot of adults that don’t know how to properly store a gun,” he said. And if a child finds that gun, he fears an accident could occur.
“So we’re thinking that we can hopefully save lives, and at least teach kids the dynamics of touching the firearm,” Hauber said. (Customers under the age of 18 can shoot at the range, but they most be accompanied by a legal guardian at all times).
American Shooters customers can come to the range either with their own gun or without. Those with a firearm just have to rent a lane, but those who don’t own a gun can choose from around 40 hanging on American Shooters’ wall and pay to use it in the range. (Hauber hopes to eventually offer around 100 guns).
For beginners, American Shooters has six basic lanes that only push a target out to the distance you want. More advanced shooters can use the six premium lanes where they choose from 27 different programmed scenarios that do all sorts of things to their targets, including turning them or having them charge at you.
American Shooters will also start offering gun classes on Nov. 1. They’ll range from gun fundamentals classes and courses for children to advanced classes that teach experienced shooters how to stop lethal threats.
Two NRA-certified instructors, including Tim Nein, will teach the classes. Nein, who used to be the firearms department director at Hitek Firearms and Training in Sellersburg, believes in the importance of teaching new gun owners how to use their firearms.
“Owning a firearm is like driving a car,” he said. “If someone just handed you the keys and you jumped in, you could drive it, but would you be as proficient with it without training?”
American Shooter’s children’s classes will teach kids what a firearm does and will eventually involve one-on-one time with the instructor that could involve shooting a gun. Hauber said that instructors will decide on a case-by-case basis if the child is ready to actually use a firearm.
On the other end of the experience spectrum, Clarksville police officers are already using Hauber’s gun range for training purposes. Firearm training is a requirement for the Clarksville Police Department’s force and Chief Mark Palmer said that training occurs about four times a year, sometimes unexpectedly when the department hires a new officer or a current officer returns to work from an injury.
The police department uses the Clark County Sheriff’s Department shooting range for training, but scheduling is often an issue. American Shooters will allow for Clarksville officers to pop by on short notice, Palmer said. Plus, the officers can use the gun range’s special programs, which include police light simulations.
Palmer also believes that the public education component of the gun range is important. The greatest fear an officer has is a gun owner who isn’t trained, he said.