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July 19, 2019

National Shooting Sports Month Keeps Ranges Humming with Business

By Scott E. Mayer

While the dog days of summer can easily be a slow time for ranges, especially outdoors ones, participating in National Shooting Sports Month® can provide a much-needed injection of new shooters who, if you show them a good time, can become year-round customers. Here are three that got the boost they needed.

Deep River Sporting Clays and Shooting School

Last year for National Shooting Sports Month, Deep River Sporting Clays and Shooting School in Sanford, North Carolina, had several activities that Ed Strickland, Shooting Pavilion Manager and Event Coordinator, says were successful. “Throughout the month, we gave away all of our promotion T-shirts and hats to people participating in the promotions,” he says. “We were happy with the outcome and are gearing up to do it again.”

Strickland says a lot of time the school comes up with promotional ideas through roundtable discussions, but he recently developed new ideas with the help of the +ONESM Movement, and especially, where he saw what other gun stores were doing. The more creative ones caught his eye, and he customized those for Deep River.

Deep River Sporting Clays - plus one
This August, every time someone brings a new shooter to Deep River Sporting Clays they will be entered in a drawing for a grand prize at the end of the month.

Once Strickland finalizes his list of activities, he posts them on the event page using the spreadsheet provided by NSSF®. He likes the spreadsheet because he says the range is going to have “quite a few events” and the spreadsheet allows him to list them all at once instead of one at a time.

“We’re going to do the +ONE Challenge throughout the month with NSSF’s special challenge coins, T-shirts or hats to encourage people to bring a new person out,” Strickland says. To further emphasize this effort during National Shooting Sports Month, Strickland says that every time someone brings a new shooter to the range, they’ll get a ticket entering them into a grand prize drawing at the end of the month. “They can earn as many tickets for that as they like,” he says.

Deep River Sporting Clays - National Shooting Sports Month event
A special “Shooters Social” for National Shooting Sports Month is part of the plan at Deep River Sporting Clays.

The activities Strickland has planned include First Shots® classes and a special variation of their monthly “Shooter’s Social” held the first Saturday of each month. He’s also planning a shotgun event where the range will randomly pair shooters up to help them meet others, though he notes that if someone brings a guest, they’ll be paired together. In addition, there’s a planned charity shoot and a registered National Sporting Clays Association shoot. At the end of the month they will hold an IDPA match and offer concealed carry classes, and Strickland says he’s working on a family day as well.

To help promote the range’s various shooting events, Strickland says they use a lot of the tools in the online promotional toolkit “through social media, through our webpage and some of the advertisements we do,” he says. “We’ll hopefully be doing radio spots for the events coming up in August as well.”

Femme Fatale ARMS and Ladies Gun Store and Training

At Femme Fatale ARMS Ladies Gun Store and Training in Palm Bay, Florida, President and Owner Maria Dockery says that last year they primarily held First Shots events for National Shooting Sports Month. Though she is keeping First Shots as the main draw, this year she’s going bigger and moving her annual Annie Oakley event to August.

Femme Fatale - Annie Oakley National Shooting Sports Month Event
This year, Femme Fatale will move its annual Annie Oakley Festival to August to coincide with National Shooting Sports Month and the store’s anniversary.

Dockery says one of the keys to a successful event is partnering with the local community and non-profit charities. “The overall event benefited the Palm Bay Police Explorers, a bunch of youths from the area who are working toward a career in law enforcement or want to get ready to go into the military,” she says. For 2019, other charities will sponsor specific games within the Annie Oakley event, with proceeds benefiting those charities, and Dockery says she’s planning to also include a group of female law enforcement officers and firefighters from Women Behind the Badge who will put together activities unique to their careers and with the proceeds from their events going to a camp for burned children.

Femme Fatale - National Shooting Sports Month - First Shots
Femme Fatale Arms uses NSSF’s First Shots introductory events as the main firearms attraction for National Shooting Sports Month.

To promote events, Dockery has one of her staff list them on the calendar and also uses promotional resources provided in NSSF toolkit. “I’m going to start using the postcards this year and increase the awareness for August,” she says as one example.

As for the #PlusOneMovement, Dockery says her entire business promotes it. “We focus on brand-new shooters,” she says of the year-round effort by Femme Fatale. “We focus on introducing people to firearms, so every day we’ve got women and men coming in who have never handled a firearm.”

Scottsdale Gun Club

At the Scottsdale Gun Club in Scottsdale, Arizona, Marketing Coordinator Melissa Culver explained that last year the club encouraged people to bring new shooters to the range by offering two-for-one range time. “Typically, it’s $15 per person to shoot, but the offer that we did was $15 per two people and it actually drew in a lot of people to come in, go shooting and enjoy the celebration during August last year,” she says of the effort.

Last year Scottsdale Gun Club listed events on the webpage and on its social media feeds, but also stepped outside the box and worked on geofencing with Cox Communication to target specific IP addresses with links to landing pages about shooting at the club that month.

This year, Culver will again list her National Shooting Sports Month activities on the events page, and she likes how this year’s the form auto-fills all her range’s information so she doesn’t have to reenter everything after her first listing. “It’s really a simple process,” she says. “I think listing all our August events took me maybe like 20 to 30 minutes last week.”

Scottsdale Gun Club - Social Media Posts
To promote the #PlusOneMovement, the Scottsdale Gun club is encouraging people to tag themselves, a new shooter and the club in social media posts, which will enter them into a drawing for a new shooter pack.

This years’ events will again include the two-for-one range time, but the club is also rolling out a number of courses geared toward bringing more people to the range and introducing them to shooting through beginner classes, and the range is also increasing the number of advanced shooting classes and having a social media giveaway. “This year I was able to come up with more ideas and broaden out our events,” says Culver. “We really want to bring people in for National Shooting Sports Month. We want to get people involved.”

To help promote her events, Culver will be relying on promotional toolkit NSSF provides. “It’s really nice to be able to download the National Shooting Sports Month logos they have. We use those for e-blasts, for flyers that we send out and also on social media.”

Culver says the social media giveaway will be tied to the #PlusOneMovement. “If you come on to our range and you bring a newer shooter and then you tag us, you and the newer shooter into your picture on social media, you’ll both be entered into the giveaway,” she explains.

Each year, ranges are enjoying the benefits of National Shooting Sports Month by growing the number of customers and shooting enthusiasts. That they regularly grow and expand with what they do each August speaks to the success of this tremendous industry effort.


Firearms Industry: Get Involved in National Shooting Sports Month! from NSSF on Vimeo.

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