ROANOKE (WSLS 10) - Safeside Tactical's indoor shooting range will open this weekend to members.
The expansion follows years of planning and community support.
The $4 million state-of-the-art facility, located at 1201 Shenandoah Ave NW in Roanoke, not only means jobs in the area, but offers unique safety training for local police and community members.
Owner Mitch Tyler said what started as a small family business between him, his brother and his dad has quickly grown into a state-of-the-art facility.
"My family, our staff, we are thrilled about it. It's been really four years in the making since when we opened our little store out in Bedford," Tyler said.
Tyler said following a national trend, they've seen 15 months of record firearm sales.
"Business has been good, but what we've been seeing is that it's new business," Tyler said.
To accommodate those first-time buyers, Tyler says they wanted to expand their mission of safety-first gun ownership. They largely feature gun safety procedures, classes and overall smart, safe gun ownership.
This shooting range is like no other in our region.
"This is a first in 20-25 years for Roanoke City," Tyler said.
"We are excited to bring a new level of indoor shooting to people in and around Roanoke." It also brings a new level of high-tech safety features from the filtered air system to bullet-absorbing material.
The HVAC system is impressive in and of itself. Keeping customers as well as shooters on the range safe from lead emissions, the air sealed gun range completely filters its air every three minutes.
The range is made of material that doesn't allow bullets to ricochet, but instead will absorb the entire bullet.
They even recycle all brass shell casings used in the range.
"So we have all types of technology that have really been woven together to create the state of the art range in Virginia," Tyler said.
Along with their traditional 25-yard pistol bay, Safeside proudly offers the longest indoor shooting range east of the Mississippi. The range rings in at 101 yards.
A day before opening, they already have 250 members.
Tyler said he's been in contact with local law enforcement agencies about incorporating the range with training procedures.
"Policing is changing. The requirements that we are putting on our officers are increasing so being able to move departments from qualification training to shoot, no shoot training, being able to get them into environments are moving [is important.}. The range is filled with targets that move, tasking the shooter with making smart, quick decisions.
"I think that is going to be very valuable to the departments," Tyler said.
Funding will be the only issue for departments. Tyler says membership is offered at a lower rate for first responders.
Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved