Finding a Local Range
By Felicia Sinclair
There are a few obvious points we’ll get out of the way right now- YES, we love West Coast Armory North as our range, and YES you will need to use the all-mighty Google. With that out of the way, let’s get down to the main point of this article: What to looking for when Picking a Range.
Step 1 – Find a Range near you!
If you’re local to the Seattle area, we would love to have you come to our range. We work hard here at West Coast Armory North to make women of all walks of life feel comfortable. If you aren’t local to us, get on that Google machine and search for “shooting ranges near me” (or “near <insert your city here>”).
Step 2 – Look at ALL the reviews.
And we mean ALL of them. Don’t just look on Yelp, Google+ or Facebook exclusively; you want to look at the overall ratings, and what specifically people have to say regarding their experience. You’ll see bad reviews because someone wasn’t happy they had to listen to a safety brief on their first visit to the range (no, I’m not kidding). Look for legitimate reasons to stay away from the range, or to give them a try. Reviews about being safe, having friendly staff, and the overall cost are things you want to be looking for. Make your experience a good one.
Step 3 – Check out their Website for Details
First of all, if they don’t have a website with any detail, that’s a huge “no” for us. A business that is looking to educate and be a resource for their customers will have at least a bare bones website, with prices, location, contact information, and will be easy to navigate. We specifically recommend looking to see if they have events listed on their site somewhere; it might be under training/classes, or just a general range tab. Seeing ahead of time that they have a “Ladies Day” or “Women Only Classes” is a huge indication that as a woman, you’ll be welcome there and have a great experience.
Step 4 – Go in and check them out!
Once you’ve vetted them online, the next logical step is to physically visit the range (try and narrow your choices to 2-3 locations). Some ranges are membership only; so either find someone that’s already a member that can get you in as a guest, see if the range has a Day Pass, or just go to see how the range operates from a viewing standpoint. If they are connected to a store, we think that’s even better – being able to have friendly staff under one room to help you with both training & purchasing helps you from having to drive around finding multiple places to get your self-defense needs met.
Step 5 – Join in! Get involved and make friends.
We’ve already said, if they have “Women Only Classes” or a “Ladies Day”, that it’s a great sign. What we then advise is that you go in on Ladies Day, and make some friends! Shooting is always fun with a friend, and it’s never a bad idea to surround yourself with like-minded friends when you’re trying to learn how to best defend yourself. Take classes, always learn more – and meet more people there, too. Is there a Ladies League, or a Ladies Club that meets? Get involved! The biggest obstacle for most women in the shooting industry is that they feel excluded, or intimidated, because female shooters are still a minority. But we’re adding numbers to our “ranks” every day, and we would LOVE to have you join us.
Bonus “Step” – For the Locals:
Here at West Coast Armory North (home to the NW Women’s Shooting Network), we are THE RANGE in the Seattle area for female shooters. Whether you’re just wanting to get more information on firearms, are ready to purchase your first firearm, or have been actively shooting for years, we are the place to come! We have at least one female on staff (either in the Pro Shop, or the Range) every single day of the week for you to talk to (our male staff are extremely helpful, too, of course!). Every Thursday we have our Ladies Day on the Range, where you can come and rent either a lane, or rent a new firearm, for FREE. We also hold our Ladies Shooting Club monthly on Thursday evenings, and our Ladies League as well. Our classes are so popular here, that we’ve started Women-Only versions of them as well. No matter where you’re at, you’ll find a community here waiting to welcome you. Join us! Call, or stop by today to get started.