After receiving about a dozen requests in comments, email and in person to review the Point Blank Range in Mooresville, NC I stopped by there at lunch monday afternoon. They were closed. So today I headed back up and spent about an hour talking with the General Manager, Dave Driscoll, about the facility what it currently offers and some of their future plans. It was well worth the return trip.
The range is located about 300 yrds past most of the built up section of NC150 west of Mooresville and will be in the middle of a developed retail area in only a few years. When you pull into the lot you immediately see two things: 1. The training room with full multimedia capabilities and 2. The size of the location.
The building is an old boat dealership so it was not purpose built as a range but the ownership did a good job of making the most of the space. I was there mid-day on a Tuesday and the store was far busier than I expected and because of that, the limited parking out front, filled up quickly. I would also like the training room to be less exposed, to keep down distractions and to make viewing the screens easier. (If you think I a nit picking you are right.)
The inside of the store was as clean as you would expect a month old store to be and they have a good selection of 5.11 and Blackhawk apparel; Blackhawk, Galco and T holsters; red dot optics, tactical flashlights, et cetera. For a new shop, they also had a very nice selection of firearms including high end 1911′s, your typical assortment of plastic fantastics, high end german guns (including a company that hates you) and class III firearms (yep, you read that right). Dave mentioned that they had sold all of the SBRs they had in stock originally and they were selling the Kriss carbines about as fast as they could get them in stock and they have a Noveske rifles on order. The store is a black gun heaven, but… The only wood stocked guns in the store were a single 10/22 on the wall and those that had been taken in trade!
While I waited in the store, I listened to a number of the staff talk to customers and I didn’t hear any typical gun store sales speak. Everyone I spoke with seemed to be very knowledgable about firearms and everyone was able to articulate why they chose their carry gun (and in one case rattle off every modification made to his G26). Later I found out at they had 7 NRA instructors, 1 class III expert and some considerable military experience on staff. I believe that the tactical background of the experts is a primary driver of the firearms and accessories in stock.
Even with the stores obvious tactical bias, Dave stated that were striving to create a family friendly environment and I think they are close. Point Blank Range has made an attempt to cater to women with a few racks of women specific clothing and one concealed carry purses. This is more than I have seen in many gun stores but with no female instructors on staff, no scheduled female target training programs and the clubs design, I think it is probably more of a desire than the current state.
The Patriots Club is Point Blank’s members club and it is really something to see. It is 1,300 sq ft with biometric access it has multiple couches, 2 big screen tv,ma gaming system, pool table, gaming table, a small business center, complementary coffee, showers and it, as well as the range, is available to members between the hours of 5 am and midnight. The club has identified a member liaison and has begun having club events to allow members to mix and meet.
The range itself is a modern square range with computer controlled targets that can be programmed to move and turn and has already been used by local law enforcement agencies for qualifications and Point Blank is planning on adding blue lights and strobes to allow police to better simulate a live environment. They have also begun planning a number of league and competition events including potentially hosting the 1st indoor Ruger Rimfire challenge, which I am anxiously looking forward to.
One of the key differentiators between Point Blank and their closest competition is the ability to shoot any brass cased ammunition, obviously this creates a the potential for a less healthy environment, but I also allows high volume shooters to use their reloads or gun store ammo.
The biggest draw of Point Blank for new shooters should be their rental pool. They currently have 65 rental firearms and plan on increasing it to 85, including multiple class III guns and 1 beltfed. Point Blank rents their firearms by the caliber which is great if you are trying on deciding which 9mm you want, but for new shooters that need to experience multiple different platforms and calibers this could be an expensive endeavor. Dave had a great solution for this, hire one of their 7 instructors for an hour. With the instructors time you also get access to the rental pool and he said they recommend breaking it up into 2 half hour sessions which I think is a great idea and I was glad to hear they permit it.
While it doesn’t affect the quality of the Range, Store or Training the support Point Blank showed for the local The Welcome Home Veterans Living Military Museum does speak to the quality of the range’s management. They used their grand opening as a fund raiser for the local group, added the facility as a stop for the RECON Patrol Rally and allowed the participants access to the range.
Point Blank is an advanced new range focused on the tactically minded shooter. It has a great location, great staff and stocks high end tactical gear not available elsewhere locally and has very few “cons” but there are a few.
- The range pricing is is based on per day access and can be pricey for a short trips, either plan on making a day out of it or become a member to get the most value for you buck.
- The prices appeared to comparable with others in town, at or near MSRP for all firearms.
- The selection of non-tactical, rifle and shotguns is non-existent
- The range only has 15 lanes which with active members, daily pricing and the apparent demand/popularity could cause a considerable wait for the general public.
If you visit the range at 743 River Highway just West of I-77 at exit 36 in Mooresville, NC, let them know you read about them on “When the Balloon Goes Up!” I won’t get anything from but I can use the publicity. :)