The Rise of the “Guntry” Clubs: How Luxury Shooting Became Mainstream
OutdoorHub Reporters 01.20.15
Shooting enthusiasts may have heard the term “guntry clubs” thrown around—a reference to the popularity of high-end gun ranges that break from the mold of a traditional shooting range. Combining country club appeal with the characteristic sound of a live firing range, guntry clubs seek to offer a more refined experience for discerning shooters. The customer demographic is different as well, and guntry clubs tend to draw in younger, more urban, and increasingly female customers.
“They are popping up more often now than they did five years ago,” Zach Snow, promotions manager with the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), told Yahoo News concerning the rise of guntry clubs.
That is because business is rising, partly due to a massive increase in firearm purchases in recent years. Now $12 million shooting ranges such as the Frisco Gun Club have set up shop in Texas. Marketing itself as one of the nation’s most unique and upscale ranges, the Frisco Gun Club is a far cry from most traditional gun clubs. The range is situated right in downtown Frisco and boasts 45,000 square foot of building space. From the outside, it looks more like a country club or a spa than a gun range, and includes a VIP lounge and cafe. Across the country, similar gun ranges are being built or existing clubs are updated to cater to a wave of new gun owners, especially affluent ones.
You can see a peek into the Frisco Gun Club below:
“A lot of savvy investors have seen the surge in sales within the firearms industry, see that it’s a quality industry to invest in and are smartly doing so,” Zach Snow, a range expert at the NSSF, told The Washington Post. “These ranges are trying to project a comfortable image to the largest contingent of people possible.”
According to the NSSF, nearly 47 percent of new target shooters live in urban or suburban areas, 37 percent are women, and their average age is 33. For gun range owners, a new demographic means a change to how they do business. Opinion with veteran shooters over the rise of guntry clubs is mixed. Some gun owners say they expect positive changes from the new popularity of gun ownership, especially when it comes to protecting Second Amendment rights. Others voice concern of a shift in gun culture away from its roots in hunting and sporting, comparing guntry clubs unfavorably to “glamping,” or the trend of so-called glamorous camping.
“I wouldn’t say really glamour,” said Snow. “It’s just trying to put together a cleaner, more professional image than what has been the normal range, retail layout.”
Many shooters agree, and are more than willing to pay a little bit extra for a more comfortable experience.