At Magnum Shooting Center, business started not with a whimper…
“We had 1,700 paid members before we opened,” said Todd Lockburner, principal and general manager of the region’s Super Wal-Mart of firearms, located just off Northgate Boulevard and Interstate 25. The $7 million, 33,000-square-foot center opened at Polaris Pointe in November with the help of private, unnamed investors. It offers 32 enclosed shooting lanes of varying lengths, from 25 to 100 yards, 4,000 square feet of retail space, a gunsmithing shop and vault as well as classrooms. Instruction ranges from “basic safety for kids through advanced tactical for adults and everything in between,” Lockburner said.
He means everything — women-only, men-only, concealed carry, couples classes, home defense and one-on-one and hunter safety courses taught through neighboring Bass Pro Shops are a few of the offerings.
Principal Josh Beggs is also a general contractor with Colorado Commercial Construction, the company responsible for building the center and many of the structures at Polaris Pointe. Beggs has provided consultation for and built indoor shooting ranges around the country. He said the all-in-one model creates a cycle of business.
“It just seems to be where the industry is going, everything under one roof. A range, training, retail, firearm repair,” he said. “We try to be the lowest prices in town for firearms, which generates more business for our range, which generates more business for ammo sales, which generates more business for our gun maintenance.”
Magnum employs four instructors and just hired its fourth gunsmith. Lockburner, who previously owned his own retail firearms and smithing shop in Colorado Springs, said they aim to service 4,500 guns this year with an average turnaround time of one week. Lockburner said smiths can handle everything from basic repairs and tweaks, such as replacing broken bolt handles, adding custom sights and cleaning and oiling firearms, to creating custom guns from scratch. He said, for instance, that he manufactured a .50 caliber bolt-action rifle for an Army sniper for $20,000.
“He could hit a sheet of plywood from 2 miles with it. That was pretty cool.”
Lockburner said a smith will also be available in the shop on weekends solely to answer customer questions.
“Guns are very personal,” Lockburner said. “People want to meet the person who will be working on [their firearm]. And we can and will work on anything.”
Make my day, please
“We’re trying to change the perception of gun ownership. … We’re not a grumpy old man’s club,” Beggs said. “We want everyone to feel welcome. They don’t have to be ashamed if they don’t know something or if they aren’t as trained as the next guy.”
The center aims to attract families. For instance, Tuesday nights are date night, which includes a BOGO range pass and a coupon for a free appetizer at the next-door Bourbon Brothers Southern Kitchen. The center also offers a free machine gun rental for members on their birthdays.
“We’re trying to change the perception of gun ownership. … We’re not a grumpy old man’s club.”
– Josh Beggs
“Our average customer is just someone who likes to shoot and doesn’t have a convenient place, especially when the weather is crappy,” Lockburner said, adding prior to Magnum’s opening, local gun enthusiasts had to deal with the elements, as well as other drawbacks to shooting outside.
“The sheer amount [number] of people who want to shoot has affected areas like Mount Herman and Rampart Range Road,” he said. “It’s fine to go out and shoot somewhere. But here it’s a safe environment, you’re not trashing trees, you’re not depositing heavy amounts of lead. Here everything is controlled and [ventilated].”
Beggs said that controlled environment reduces risk.
“Shooting is like skiing. There is a certain level of risk that comes with it,” Beggs said. “Liability-wise, you are responsible for that bullet once it leaves your firearm. Being in a National Forest, you never know when a hiker might come over a ridge.”
Lockburner said the range allows mindful shooters an opportunity to separate themselves from irresponsible sportsmen.
“There’s always a small percentage of people, no matter what you’re doing, who aren’t very intelligent. [On National Forest land] you can find TVs, printers, glass bottles [used for targets]. People don’t want to be associated with all that. They don’t want to go shoot around all that because they look like they’re part of it,” he said. “Most people who are into guns and shoot are genuinely good … people. I’ve seen, maybe, two bounced checks in 12 years.”
Shoot me an offer
Magnum offers a spectrum of membership opportunities. Individual memberships include a one-time fee of $350 and a monthly fee of $32.50. That allows for unlimited use of the lanes, as well as discounts on merchandise and courses. Family rates, executive and corporate memberships are also available, each with varying levels of benefits. Non-members pay $25 an hour to use the range.
Magnum also rents firearms for $15 an hour, so those in the market for a gun can find the right one before dropping hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
“A gun is like a car. The second you use it, it loses value,” Lockburner said. “Once you fire a gun, even once, it loses 25 [to] 30 percent of its value.”
Lockburner said, in the next several months, they are looking to invest in a tactical simulator, which can be used for both training law enforcement as well as friendly competition.
“You can come and hang out with your friends for a couple hours, use the simulator and compete with others across the country,” Lockburner said. “Some of those simulators cost $45,000, and are great for training, but not recreation. We want to be sure, if we’re spending that kind of money, that we find one that’s right for both.”
According to Lockburner and Beggs, membership just surpassed the 2,100-mark this month, and would cap near 5,000. They are already beginning to plan for a second Magnum Shooting Center in the Denver metro area.
Beggs said he wants to community to know Magnum is not a “corporation, conglomerate or franchise.
“We are just a couple local guys who sketched this out on a napkin.”
Magnum Shooting Center
Address: 13372 Meadowgrass Drive