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Monday, July 13, 2015

New indoor shooting range and retail store under construction in Windham - By Michelle Libby



Starting this fall, area residents and gun enthusiasts can bring their shooting inside at the Windham Indoor Shooting Range & Retail Store, located in the Windham Business Park adjacent to Windham Weaponry just off Route 302.

Starting around Labor Day, the retail store will open, selling parts, handguns, rifles and other gear for shooting and hunting sportsmen and women. The new indoor range will feature “state of the art” Action Target Total Containment Trap (TCT), HEPA air filtration, and target retrieval systems. The 12-lane range split into two separate bays is slated to open in October. The range will be open to the public and will offer classes on everything from which firearm is best for a certain person to advanced technique classes. 

The company is not owned by Windham Weaponry, but is a sister company to it, with Windham Weaponry being one of the investors. This will not change the Windham Weaponry business, but it “gives us another avenue for growth as an investor in this project,” said Allen Faraday, project manager.
“Several years ago we looked at the possibility of looking at having a range,” said Faraday. “We are a manufacturing company, primarily the AR- platform. It’s a fairly narrow product line and is susceptible to market fluctuations. More even in terms of seasonality of the business, we really became convinced there was a need [for an indoor range] in Southern Maine.” 

Faraday toured ranges all over the country and worked with Action Target out of Utah, that sells and designs range equipment and has helped with the range development on the Windham project. Initially it was thought they might build a new building, but then decided that they had the space for the 25-yard range in an existing building that was being used for storage. 

“We realized we had room for a very professional, large range with state of the art equipment,” Faraday said. Also because it was an existing building they skipped the planning board stage. They have worked with code enforcement. “Working with Windham has been pleasant and agreeable,” Faraday said. 
 
Eight Windham Weaponry employees are working on the project to help with building and smaller jobs. When it comes time to hire employees, trained professionals through the NRA and certified range safety officers (RSOs) will be brought in, as well as adjunct instructors. All of the contractors have been local businesses, Faraday said.

Last week, Peter Joyce, owner of SRT Concepts, LLC, was brought on as the general manager of Windham Indoor Shooting Range & Retail Store. Joyce has an extensive background in the firearms training industry. He is a retired veteran of the Portland Maine Police Department and co-founder of the department’s Special Reaction Team. He founded and operated Weaponcraft for 14 years until he sold it in 2007. 

“Accidents can happen anytime, anywhere and to anyone, if they let their guard down. That is why training is so important. It’s a huge responsibility that goes along with holding and handling a firearm,” Joyce said. 

Faraday also attended a two day seminar on handling lead in indoor ranges put on by the NRA. Windham Weaponry was already certified in lead handling and disposal because of their current work. In the range there will be a bullet trap, which will funnel the ammunition into a deceleration chamber and then drop into a plastic bucket, then be recycled. 

“The entire design is based on being comfortable for new customers, existing customers and very experienced customers, and it’s designed around safety,” Faraday said. The range stalls, targets, steel plates, HVAC exhaust and containment system will all come from Action Target. 

Safety will be a huge part of Windham Indoor Shooting Range & Retail Store. From the sound barriers to the background checks, every detail has been thought out by the team and Action Target. 

“We will be a full service operation. Every employed RSO, everyone will know what we expect for safety,” said Faraday. Security will also be ramped up on the premises with additional cameras on the exterior and 14 cameras within the range and retail complex to have visibility to see what’s going on everywhere. 

Windham Police Chief Kevin Schofield will also be giving his input about the safety of the complex, according to Faraday. 

At the range, people will be allowed to bring in their own firearm as long as the safety requirements of the range are being met. Ammunition, up to .50 caliber including full automatic, can be purchased at the retail store. 

The curriculum for classes is still being developed as is standard operating procedures and safety requirements.
Walk-ins are welcome and trainings will be held regularly on tops like gun safety, rifle safety, women’s only, youth classes, elective courses and private lessons in a special classroom. There will also be competitive leagues, Faraday said. There will also be classes on maintaining firearms and a gun smith on site for servicing firearms. There will also be the opportunity to rent firearms.

“When training, you have to train in the proper techniques so that if you have to use that firearm in a defensive situation at a high degree of stress, you’re prepared,” Joyce said. 

RSOs will be looking for what will be the best fit for what a customer is looking for and if they are “not comfortable selling to someone, we certainly won’t,” Faraday said. 

There will be a viewing area and lounge with level 8 ballistic glass. The HVAC system is state of the art and makes sure that the lead residue will not harm the shooter or anyone outside of the range.
“Everything is really well thought through for cleanliness and safety for not only for customers, but employees also,” said Faraday. It took several months developing the plan, the current one they are working with is the tenth version, he added. 

“Their demand for quality and customer service is great to see. They’re doing everything the way it’s supposed to be done,” Joyce said. 
 
The rates will be competitive and there will be memberships with some benefits. The controlled environment will always have someone on duty and will be clean, bright and welcoming. The hours are anticipated to be seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

For more information, email Faraday at afaraday@windhamweaponry.com. For more on Windham Indoor Shooting Range & Retail Store visit, www.windhamindoorshootingrange.com.








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