It was a process nearly three years in the making, but an indoor firearms range is now open to members for the first time in Sumter.
Rob and Megan Richards, co-owners/co-operators of Ricochet Range, sat down last week to discuss the recent …
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1410 U.S. 15 South, Sumter
Phone: (803) 938-5713
Hours: Open six days per week; Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Closed on Tuesdays
Ricochet Range will have its official grand opening on Saturday at 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event will include a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. with the Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce, an open house and brief tours of the new indoor facility.
Rob and Megan Richards, co-owners/co-operators of Ricochet Range, sat down last week to discuss the recent opening of the indoor gun range, which comes with a 10-lane training bay range, a state-of-the-art target retrieval system, a "smokeless range" simulator, classrooms and a retail area.
Sumterites and other area residents no longer have to travel to Columbia or Florence or to a smaller indoor range in Manning to learn about firearms and practice their precision in the air conditioning or heat - depending on the time of year.
Rob Richards explained licensed shooters and anyone legally able to possess a firearm in South Carolina is welcome at the indoor facility at 1410 U.S. 15 South, where the former Sumter Marine Supply was located and near Bar-B-Que Hut on South Guignard Drive.
In addition to being able to lawfully possess a firearm, one must become a member to shoot at the private range, and membership packages vary from one day to monthly and annual, he said.
Ricochet officially opened April 16, and to date it already has about 450 members, Megan Richards said.
For the first several weeks in April and May, because of COVID-19, the range was open by appointment only. But now it's been fully open for three weeks and is operating six days a week from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Ricochet is closed on Tuesdays, Rob Richards added.
Four types of membership are available and vary from the one-day Brass membership at $25 to annual Lead and Steel memberships for individuals and families to include a spouse and children 12 to 17.
A Copper membership provides monthly memberships for individuals only, and it can be ideal for more "seasonal" shooters or for people who are only in Sumter certain months out of the year. Full rates are listed on the range's website, www.ricochetrange.com.
According to Richards, about seven classes are currently offered and vary in price from $40 to $125. The most popular classes to date are a South Carolina Concealed Weapons Permit class for those desiring to earn their permit to carry concealed and a One-On-One class tailored for the specific individual.
Richards and co-owner/co-operator Gary Chapin are both NRA- and SLED-certified instructors and lead the classes, which are generally split between a classroom setting (no live ammo allowed) and the live firing line if individuals are comfortable.
Shooting fundamentals, gun safety and self-defense and firearms laws are taught in the class.
The 10-lane pistol and rifle range features the most advanced target retrieval system on the market today, Richards said.
The system sends targets back and forward up to 25 yards out and also includes an interactive, full-size, touch-screen camera system. Richards said Action Target, the system manufacturer, debuted the advanced system at the 2019 Shot Show in Las Vegas, Nevada.
No other range in the state features the newly released target carrier system, Richards said. He thinks only one other indoor range in the U.S. currently has the high-tech target retrieval system, he added.
The premier annual Steel membership has multiple perks including free firearms rentals, a free class and a free permanent guest pass for the whole year.
"We have some members who really dig that," he said. "We have one member who comes in two or three times per week to shoot, and he brings a friend each time. They kind of act as an ambassador. They will come in and shoot with our member, and then they will go out and tell everybody. Then, they come back in and bring someone, and then they become a member, and it goes on."
After obtaining a membership, individuals must be 18 or older to shoot by themselves at Ricochet. Youth ages 12 to 17 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian to shoot, Megan Richards said.
The "smokeless range" has no age restrictions, but adult supervision is required.
Ricochet also sells firearms and has a selection of firearms for rent.
About 60% of members are women, and the retail area has a women's section for their concealed-carry clothing options.
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