Reno Guns and Range opened its flagship store, September 30, 2015. Staff were on hand to answer any and all questions and give guided tours. There was a beautiful ribbon cutting via the Chamber of Commerce.
The new store received a certificate of senatorial recognition by U.S. Senator Dean Heller. Reno Guns and Range also received a plaque from the Chamber of Commerce.
Naturally this wasn’t enough for me. Something about to place really captured me. As a native New Yorker, the culture I grew up in back home was one where guns were nonexistent unless they were being stuck in your face. No one is hunting sewer rats with rifles. And muggings at gunpoint are less common than you might think. This is aside from the fact that New York is just about the hardest state in the U.S. to get a permit to even purchase a firearm — unless you’re warily buying one out of the trunk of a car.
All of this is to say that while I was mostly unfamiliar with firearms – being me, I was just bursting with curiosity.
So I asked the fine folks at RG&R if I could come back and really get a handle on this magical toy store for grown-ups. I’m not sure what I had in mind. Well, that’s a lie. I had in mind being trained by hardened veterans how to be like Rambo, bullet cases ejecting out of the chamber like deadly metallic Pez candy. So back I went with my editor in tow. He did a previous piece on their old installation: see here.
So I met with Jay Hawkins, the onsite training manager. He generously took some time out of his day to guide me through the labyrinthine store and explain to a neophyte like myself how everything worked.
The place is massive. And I mean massive. The retail section alone is about 4,500 sq. ft. Just about every spare wall has glass cases with their selection of firearms with the only wall space not occupied by encased firepower accommodating the rental and membership desks.
The left hand wall coming in looks straight into the public bay (separated for safety purposes and sound dampening by inches-thick bulletproof glass) and hallways leading to the rest of the store.
“The facility itself is a little over 24,000sqft.” says Hawkins. “The retail space itself is approximately 4,500 sq. ft. Our reality based training room is just under 2,300sqft. We have 20 lanes, 3 bays, for live fire. We have the digital simulated room..there are two classrooms that can be divided [via a wall-to-ceiling paneled screen that splits the room down the middle] or can be opened up into one large classroom.”
Like I said: massive.
But I can’t stress this enough, and it’s what drew me to do a follow-up visit in the first place: It’s inviting.
Jay said numerous times that the store was designed to be warm, bright and welcoming. Everything about the look and feel had newcomers and women in particular in mind. (The store owner is a woman and stressed the desire to create a place that wasn’t intimidating to beginners and women).
By the way, if that isn’t obvious by the incredibly cheerful staff it will be from the enormous menu of classes and courses offered here, many of which are for women, and taught by a world renowned instructor. This isn’t a place that puts pressure on you to be an alpha-anything.
But it can get you there if you want to be.
Whatever your background or experience there is a place for you here. They don’t just sell guns, they have a preferred taser, and they will teach you to use it. Various types of unarmed combat courses are offered, including a line of defensive courses specifically designed for women, safety classes for children, edged-weapons classes and of course the standard CCW.
We continued our tour. Hawkins took me into the conference room and broke down why it’s the best room to rent for your birthday ever: It can comfortably host just about any occasion and is well equipped to do so, be it business meetings, synergy something-or-others, retreats, weddings, zombie preparedness classes or just football Sunday, decked out with lavish furniture, pool table, conference table, 70 in TV, catering kitchen and of course … bay 2.
A private four-lane shooting range that can level up any party held in this room. As Hawkins said, it has “270 degrees of AR-500 steel. This allows us to do movement…so we can do lateral movement, we can do forward and back movement.” Basically, due to the ability to move around and forward of the stalls, most classes requiring any kind of mobility are held here since you can utilize the entire bay.
This isn’t to say that the other 16 lanes are for rubes. The public bay holds 10 lanes, each 25 yards long, with an additional 6 lanes for overflow, all with 360 angle control heads and a very advanced targeting system that allows you to randomize your training, run through programs, do friend or foe shooting and much more.
“There’s constant updates for all the software, because the tablet system which is used for the targeting, we are only one of two facilities in the country right now that have that technology,” Hawkins said.
The lanes have safety features that would make you feel safe even in the middle of Armageddon.
Said Hawkins: “[the lanes] have ballistic rubber all the way down, on the roof, this helps with sound and lead abatement…it also has an HVAC system that creates a linear wall of air that goes down, this also helps with lead mitigation.”
Next up we were led into the reality based training room, a completely modular room designed to simulate real-life scenarios as vividly as possible. Students face roleplayers acting as aggressors, to capture the high tension and emotionality of these situations. Real guns are employed, the barrel has only been reduced to accept paint bullets.
Due to the stressful nature of the scenarios run, everyone entering this room to participate in a simulation is searched by two persons — everyone, from the role players, to the instructors, to the students. The room is also equipped with a garage so that in scenarios where you’re pulling in from work, at the drive-in, a strip mall or anywhere else a car would be, you can get that vital aspect of training.
Hawkins took us down the long hallway leading to more restrooms, small conference rooms, the classroom and finally, at long last, to the digital simulation room. Essentially there is a floor to ceiling projector screen on the far end, a projector, a locker full of modified pistols, each retrofitted to operate on Co2 with a tank ready to “reload” a gun sitting right next to the computer that starts the magic.
All I can really say to describe the badassary of this room is that it’s basically Call of Duty on crank. Did I mention there are martial arts mats in front of the screen to accommodate yet more classes?
Hawkins ran us through the simulations, target practice, various scenarios that develop reflexes, help you distinguish friend from foe, work on your call commands before you’re forced to pump lead and just about anything else.
But it’s not all serious. There is the “Chaos City” program which is exactly what it sounds like. And to my everlasting glee … zombies. Yes. You read that correctly. After Hawkins expertly shot a few clips, I mousily asked if I could give it a whirl.
He correctly surmised this was my true purpose for being there that day. Busted. But he graciously acquiesced to my request. I ended up shooting pretty damn well. I killed those metal ducks dead with nary a miss. I was a little more sloppy with people shooting back at me, even fake ones. But I went down swinging … err … shooting.
The point is I shot way better than my editor (see here) and honestly? That’s all you really wanted to do … make my editor accept my superior fake manhood.
When Emmett isn’t interviewing people in his too-loud, New Yorker style of brain-picking, he is pushing veggies on addictive personalities at a farmer’s market, doing odd forms of calisthenics, researching how to live to be 300, or chipping away glacially at his first novel.
He also enjoys hot sauce, comic books, and living outside the box as a militantly liberal social progressive (insert other synonym here) that still thinks guns are cool and plans lackadaisically for the apocalypse by learning survival skills (read: home economics). He also dabbles in martial arts and nude portrait drawing. Volunteer models are welcome.
He thinks third person mini bios are fun. He wrote this.