By Charlie Johnston
As Nevada Magazine Editor Matthew B. Brown squeezes the trigger of his .223-caliber M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, a rapid spray of bullets slices through a zombie clown poster about 20 yards away. He fires again, and the devilish ghoul is delivered another barrage of searing lead. “Let it run!” shouts our range instructor and weapons expert, Jeff Sirilla. With another squeeze the clip is empty, and the zombie clown is finished.
One of the most unique off-Strip attractions in Las Vegas, The Gun Store opened in 1988 and has since become the most popular gun outlet in Nevada. The draw? At The Gun Store, people don’t just buy and sell firearms—although the retail side of the business is indeed booming—they try them out at the indoor range. Visitors choose between nearly 50 hard-to-find weapons, from Dirty Harry’s .44-caliber Remington Magnum to a Glock 17 nine-millimeter handgun and AK-47s to the same machine gun currently used by U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, the $100,000 M249 SAW that Brown fired.
The Gun Store offers individual gun rentals that include from five to 50 rounds depending on the type of gun and a target; themed packages that include multiple weapons, targets, T-shirts, and souvenir gift bags; and VIP experiences on a private range. The Shoot in The Dark Package incorporates tactical flashlights, laser sights, and night vision.
Expert employees, unparalleled attention to safety, and Nevada’s lenient gun laws allow The Gun Store to proudly exclaim “Try One!” in bright advertisements around the city that draw people from all walks of life. “We get bachelor parties, bachelorette parties, kids…just about everyone,” says The Gun Store’s marketing and advertising director, Emily Miller. Lines of patrons snaking through the store and spilling into the parking lot on any given weekend and Gun Store-visiting celebrities such as Ozzy Osbourne and Kelly Ripa attest to Miller’s claim.
Back on the retail end of the store, there is much more going on than buying, selling, and talking about guns and ammunition. Owner and CEO Bob Irwin’s passion for gun safety means the store gives away free gunlocks and offers free firearm safety, children’s gun safety, and Concealed Carry Weapons permit classes. Paid courses include taser and pepper spray training and various self-defense classes. Irwin’s commitment to safety and knowledge goes a step farther in the numerous gun safety books he has authored, which are, of course, available at The Gun Store. People can purchase those books and others, additional merchandise, and shooting packages and sign up for classes on The Gun Store’s website and online store.
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2900 E. Tropicana Ave., Las Vegas, NV 89121
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