Huh. I was under the media-fed impression that the gun culture and thus business was in a slow steady slide into oblivion. You know: more guns, less gun owners. I’ve read dozens of anti-gun agitprop-inspired articles claiming OFWGs fueled the gun sales surge. As they died off, gun ownership and gun rights “extremists” are doomed. Doomed I tell you! Doomed! And now the Washington Post, a newspaper that’s to gun rights what Erin Hetherton is to anti-onanists, has an article revealing (i.e., doing its damnedest not to celebrate) the surge in upscale “guntry club” gun ranges. Check out these demographics . . .
The high-end ranges come as the $15 billion gun industry’s sales have more than doubled since 2005. Fears of regulations with a Democrat in the Oval Office have juiced much of that growth, which is now leveling out. But experts also say an industry shift away from hunting culture has helped spawn a new generation of firearms enthusiasts buying up sleekly designed handguns and AR-15 rifles for tactical shooting practice.
The average age of new target shooters is 33, while 47 percent live in urban or suburban areas, and 37 percent are female, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a trade association for the firearms industry. Shooters spend $10 billion a year on target shooting, including the cost of firearms, ammunition and range fees.
My forty-something GF and I recently made a financial contribution to those stats at Houston’s Athena Gun Club, cited in the article for the “gift shop’s” Apple-like atmos. Suffice it to say, Athena was more bus station bleak than minimalist chic, and what the gun store added in terms of presentation it sorely lacked in terms of selection. But point taken: this is not your father’s gun range, where dark and dank go to shoot and right wing politics take center stage.
Of course the WaPo had to find something nasty to say about gun culture 2.0’s sleek new hangouts. Look how hard they had to look:
In a discussion of Guntry Clubs on a Glock forum last year, a commenter wrote, “I couldn’t help but feel something amiss whenever you go to a boutique, fancy gun store versus a hole-in-the-wall store.” But the thought of being able to “smoke a nice cigar after some blasting does sound deliciously inviting.”
Already, shooters who used to shoot at the NRA range and other old-school ranges are showing up at Elite Shooting Sports.
“So far, I love it,” said John Lehman, 48, who was getting ready to shoot for the first time at the new range. “This is state of the art. This is awesome.”
I’ve got one word for that: winning.