While indoor ranges exist around Charlotte, there is not one within the city limits.
That changes this fall when Carolina Sporting Arms will open a range next to its retail gun shop on a stretch of South Boulevard populated with car dealerships and warehouses.
The expansion has been two years in the making for owner David Drummond. He said he’s met no public resistance.
“You look at how many guns have been purchased in the last few years and realize there’s not a place (in the city) where folks can learn to be safe and proficient,” said Drummond, the store’s owner since 1998.
One of the early steps for Drummond was to request a change to the city zoning ordinances, which had not addressed shooting ranges. The change was approved in July 2012, allowing indoor shooting ranges in a commercial-use area.
Prior to Drummond’s request, no one had asked to include indoor ranges in the city’s ordinances, zoning administrator Katrina Young said.
The range must meet design and construction standards set by the National Shooting Sports Foundation and the National Rifle Association, which Drummond said his facility will exceed. The building will have 12-inch concrete walls and steel baffles to direct errant shots toward the bullet trap inside.
“The odds are absolutely zero for anything leaving the building,” Drummond said. That includes sound, which he said will be “all but unhearable for our neighbors.”
The range will have 14 shooting lanes. Drummond said the average industry cost for indoor ranges is about $100,000 per lane, and he estimates the cost of his range exceeds $1.4 million.
Carolina Sporting Arms averages around 200 customers a day, Drummond said, and he hopes that number will double once the range opens.
Because the zoning ordinance was changed for Carolina Sporting Arms, the door also is open for other indoor ranges.
Larry Hyatt, owner of Hyatt Gun Shop on Wilkinson Boulevard, said he has “absolutely” had thoughts of opening an indoor range in Charlotte.
But with the new indoor ranges already popping up in the area, he’s focusing his attention instead on helping to open a public outdoor range at the edge of the city limits, possibly within a year.
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