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Gun range aims for Ballantyne

By Elisabeth Arriero
earriero@charlotteobserver.com

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The owners of The Range at Lake Norman in Cornelius will expand to a new Indian Land location this fall, co-owner Brian Sisson said.

The Range at Ballantyne, at 9883 Harrisburg Road, will feature a retail firearms store as well as a training facility.

“We looked at various markets and determined that the south Charlotte area was under-served for firing range facilities,” said Sisson, adding that they recently purchased the five acres of family-owned land for $700,000.

The 21,000-square-foot facility will feature 18 indoor firing lanes, including multiple rifle lanes. Like its sister facility, The Range at Ballantyne will include a members lounge and classroom facilities for range classes and public use.

Sisson and his wife, Tricia, opened The Range at Lake Norman in October of 2011 on Bailey Road in Cornelius.

The new facility will be a partnership between the Sissons and newcomers to the firearms range business, Dan and Mike DiMicco.

“By creating a state of the art personal defense and firearms training facility, we hope to serve the many customers who currently make the journey up to Lake Norman, and the many more who would like a facility of their own closer to home,” said Tricia Sisson in a statement.

The Range at Ballantyne broke ground in early October. The projected opening date is early spring 2014.

The $4.5 million project did not require rezoning the land, which was mostly vacant except for two houses. Sisson noted that the land had previously been rezoned from residential to commercial use.

Driven by the popularity of gun ownership, the indoor shooting range business around Charlotte has rapidly expanded in recent years.

In fact, the number of ranges in the area has doubled since 2010, with a total of 10 expected to be open within 30 miles of uptown by early 2014.

These new ranges don’t just serve experienced shooters. Range owners make a special effort to draw in the curious and turn them into customers.

Sisson said the top two reasons why people visit The Range is for improving shooting skills for either self protection or competitive shooting.

At the new facility, lane rentals will be $17 a day for pistol shootings and $8 apiece for hand gun rentals, said Sisson. Ammunition will cost $7.99 and up, depending on the caliber of gun.

Arriero: 704-358-5945; Twitter @earriero
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