Range Review: Nashville Armory – A Model for Indoor Ranges

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Over the course of my life, I have probably waddled into no fewer than twenty or so indoor gun ranges. I love a quick visit to an indoor range to test a few pistols, have a short bit of fun, and get out quickly because the facility is usually either too hot or cold (depending on time of year), filled with lead particles and spent powder in the air that seems to linger forever, or be so dark and dank that at longer ranges you can barely see the holes you punch in the target. I am proud to say that on the advice of a friend of mine I got to check out what I believe may well be the finest gun range I have ever set foot inside. On Monday, May 6th I hopped on a plane and flew from Dallas to Nashville to check out this facility that I had only seen a few photos of hoping that it would be all it was cracked up to be. Let me tell you that without a doubt, it was.

Meet Gary Semanchik:

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Gary is the owner of Nashville Armory, but you wouldn’t know it if you were an unassuming patron. You see, Gary says that he likes to meet all of his customers at the door with a smile taking to the Walmart-greeter method (his words, not mine), and immediately you feel welcome. This stands in contrast to some other gun shops/ranges where the staff makes you feel privileged for being allowed to patronize their establishment. You may be thinking that Gary knew who I was and what I was doing and rolled out the red carpet, but he had no idea what I looked like or what I was doing (I had my camera and equipment in an unassuming backpack). It wasn’t until I wandered around for a while that I told one of the employees (who all asked if I needed help or was interested in something) that I was with The Firearm Blog here to do an article on their new range. Quickly I was given the star treatment and Gary grabbed the general manager, Andrew Breneman and assistant manager, Kennan Sanders to answer any questions I might have about their operation and give me a tour. The sales staff was also quick to line up for a photo op (after grabbing their favorite rifles from the wall).

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Now what makes Nashville Armory different you might ask? Well, I asked the very same question to Gary and he said simply this: “I wanted to set out and build to Apple Store of gun ranges; A one stop shop for firearms, equipment, classes, and training that would be family friendly and inviting”. Now that is a bold statement, but Gary has made it work and after the tour it is easy to understand how.

Nashville Armory is equipped with a spectacular training center that accommodates classes ranging from CHL, introduction to shooting, group events, and anything else you can think of.

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A door from the classroom leads directly to the range, which is by far the most advanced and well-lit indoor shooting facility I have ever been inside.

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Action Target of Provo, Utah was contracted to design and install what they called “the most technologically advanced range in the country”. Previous Action Target projects include ranges at the FBI Training Center, Fort Benning, and NATO installations around the world. You see, not only is the bullet trap and baffle system impressive (massive layers of AR500 steel line the entirety of the shooting range and all lead is recovered via a very innovative backstop design), but the computer technology installed on each lane allows users to set exact distances, have targets turn to show either a baddie or an innocent (what a fun game!) and even challenge your friend in the adjacent lane by programming a virtual dueling tree! I was not even aware of this type of technology, but needless to say I was impressed.

Notice how the targets rotate (hard to capture on camera)

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And the computer readout-

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It is also interesting to note that a large amount of the range staff is female, and let me tell you that these gals know how to shoot, and tell you how to do it right! All employees at Nashville Armory are NRA certified instructors and it shows. I was lucky enough to catch a few photos of one of Nashville Armory’s staff giving some instruction:

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Other interesting things about this range are the sound dampening material and ventilation system. I kid you not, from the outside it is so quiet that it sounds kind of like a bowling ball being dropped into sand every time a shooter pulls the trigger. This material might explain why:

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The ventilation system is also very, very impressive and cost nearly $500,000 to build. You see, Gary said he wanted it done the right way and he is not kidding when he says that the air coming out of the range is actually cleaner than the air going in! Like Andrew (the GM) told me, some ranges have little more than a sophisticated box fan to vent gasses into the atmosphere, but doing it the right way so customers can breathe easy requires this:

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It is quite funny when you compare this to the system used to heat and cool the store section of Nashville Armory:

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Now of course there is one place to sit and watch the action right in front of the glass:

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Entering the range the normal route (not through the training center as I did) allows the shooter to stop and ogle the guns on display for rent:

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And both lane and rental rates are reasonable:

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If you are like me you saw the words “full auto” and a nice shiver went down your spine. As of the publishing of this article Nashville Armory has their SOT and is awaiting a few machine guns so they can rent them out. The guns they will have include an M10 with Lage upper, an Uzi, two M16s (one with an ARES Shrike upper!) and a TDI Kriss SMG. That being said you are more than welcome to bring in and shoot your own legally registered machine guns for a normal range fee.

While most ranges will have a typical AK or AR up for rent, the folks and Nashville Armory elected for some more unconventional offerings:

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An employee showed me his favorite: An FN Herstal SCAR 16s.

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Gary gravitates more towards the Springfield M1A (who doesn’t like a fine 7.62 rifle?).

One of the most unique features of Nashville Armory is its shooter’s lounge. Say you are out of ammo and your buddy is still punching holes in paper, well instead of standing around like a dope you can wander into the shooter’s lounge for some coffee, a soda, or some snacks if you are getting a little hungry. Hey, say the Titans are playing and you want to check them out? Well there is even a nice TV set that allows you to do so.

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And of course they don’t call it Nashville Armory for nothing. The shop boasts an impressive inventory of over 220 handguns and 110 rifles on the floor, and if they don’t have what you want then they said that they will try their damndest to get it for you! Also while most shops have repurposed jewelry cases or simple displays for their wares, Gary had custom well lit cases built in order to really make the displays pop.

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A customer was checking out an ARES AR variant, which I also had to see up close and personal.

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A full line of accessories also dot the store:

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For the readers lucky enough to live in the Nashville area, I would highly recommend a visit to Nashville Armory. I can honestly say I have never seen anything quite like it and it should serve as a model to other gun ranges and stores. With customer service and safety as their number one goals, it is easy to understand why this gem just south of downtown Nashville shines so brightly.

If you have a suggestion for an outstanding or interesting gun range or store nearby, please post a link in the comments and I will do my best to get in touch with them and organize a tour of their facility (please limit suggestions to the United States and Canada at this time).




Alex C.

Alex is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog who was born and raised in Texas with years of experience in hunting, shooting competitions, and general collecting. A degree in History from Baylor University has contributed to his love of both early and modern firearms technology, but Alex is most fond of machine guns and other NFA toys. Alex also owns a firearm manufacturing business licensed to produce title I and II weapons.
You can reach Alex at [email protected].


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  • annerajb

    He definetly got the Apple Store of gun ranges part correct.

  • gunslinger

    Wow. I though my previous LGS/IR was nice.

  • Steveweiser

    Reasonable rates? $20 to rent a hangun, and $20 per hour to shoot? That’s quite high.

    • Alex C.

      Notice I said “reasonable” and not “great” or “spectacular”. These guys have a ton of overhead, and I’m sure they won’t run you off after an hour of shooting!

    • bbob

      For the best place to shoot indoors? As well as being super great for teaching family and friends to shoot? I’d be a member in a hearbeat

      • ExMachina1

        Really? Then you have more money than I. Annual family memberships are $864. I could justify buying a few county acres for that cost.

        • Steve

          Then stay in BFE

    • JStarX7

      The only indoor range I have shot at was near Rockville, MD and the rates were pretty much the same at a range not half as nice.

      • Jason

        At my local indoor range it’s $14 for a lane rental. Not per hour. Not for three hours. That price is for as long as you want to stay and bust caps.
        The big kicker? I live in Southern California.

    • aweds1

      For those of us living in urban areas who have to use indoor ranges, yeah, those prices aren’t bad.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

      It’s very reasonable compared to local indoor ranges in my area. They charge $28 for 1 hour range time and $30 per gun plus you have to buy the ammo they sell.
      It’s also dark, cold in winter and hot in summer.
      I’d join this place without reservation.

  • Alex C.

    I forgot to add in the article that before Gary opened this range he ran a camp for underprivileged kids. He still has the camp, but now at his range he also offers youth camps that aim to teach children gun safety and basic marksmanship skills (something I think all children regardless of social status should learn). This guy is a class act and one of the most kind hearted people I have come across. When I asked him why he built this range he simply said, “well, I felt it was something Nashville needed to have” and he said the community has responded very positively. If you live in the area, I am sure Gary would bend over backwards to make you feel at home. Hell, he may even brew you up a fresh pot of coffee in the shooter’s lounge, haha.

  • http://www.google.com/ Adam

    I usually stop into this place weekly to see what’s new. The staff is friendly, and they do try to carry a large selection of guns. I wish their ammo selection was a bit nicer, but it’s understandable in these current market conditions.

    The range fees and rental rates are a bit high. This is one of the two main reasons I don’t shoot here more often. If they lowered their lane fees, or increased the time on the lane for that fee, I would certainly shoot here more often.

    The other reason I don’t shoot here more often is their “penalty fee” of $8.00 per shot that hits above a certain line on the target carrier. I understand that they are trying to minimize the damages to their carrier system, but that’s absurd.

    • Julio

      An $8 incentive to concentrate on where your bullets go doesn’t seem unreasonable to me. Assuming it doesn’t matter because someone else will pick up the tab – now that’s absurd.

    • Steve

      Let someone come shoot your ceiling up in your house

  • bozo connors

    Hawt. Was considering opening an indoor range (just toying with the idea,) locally. But wow @ that ventilation system. Must adjust start-up cost estimate considerably.

    Also, I think there’s ample light coming from the LED’s in the cases to light the guns without those glaring white back panels. Nitpicking. :P

  • jim

    The hourly rates seem expensive to encourage membership. If your a member it is free, can’t beat free….

  • floppyscience

    That’s a nice looking place, but the range I go to (Action Impact in Southfield, MI) has a near-identical range and almost all the same technology (no turning targets or dueling trees) and the prices are half of Nashville’s. I don’t see how that’s reasonable.

    At AI range time is $15/hour or $10/half hour, rentals are either $10 or $12 (for rifles or handguns), I don’t remember.

    Maybe all that extra money goes to furnishing that fancy Shooter’s Lounge? All we have are some chairs and an HDTV by one of the walls with some nearby vending machines, it’s not its own room.

    Edit: to be fair, AI’s staff isn’t the friendliest around unless you’re a regular customer and get to know them. The store also isn’t as nicely decorated. I don’t think I’d have a problem paying a bit more for consistently friendly staff and a nice atmosphere. :)

  • Divij

    South Philadelphia Archery and Gun Range has almost the same setup and has been doing it for a long time now. Best place in philadelphia to shoot by far and very inexpensive if you get their memberships on their discount days when memberships are half priced. Normal priced range times, rentals and full priced memberships are still a very reasonable price and beats most other ranges that offer far less.

  • Randy Cole

    Colonial Shooting Academy in Richmond, VA. A renovated furniture store. Same idea as this range. Clean, friendly, reasonably priced, full service.

  • Chris

    West coast armory in issaquah, wa

  • Cuban Pete

    Nice lookin’ shop and range, although my local range is superior: NRA Range

  • mark williams

    Yes, It’s absurd when someone does

  • ExMachina1

    They’re obviously running this as a “boutique” establishment and there’s plenty of money in Nashville to (probably) justify the price structure.

    That said, I still haven’t been, mostly because of–uhhh–the pricing (there are a couple of other clean, well-run ranges in the Nashville area where you can get a lane for $10). If I were more wealthy I’d probably not think twice about joining…but now, especially with the scarcity of ammo, a $495 ANNUAL membership fee is just nuts.

  • AznMike

    Damn, wish there was a indoor gun range near where I live that was that nice. The best I got is Fletchers but they’re like 45 minutes away, and that’s when I’m living on campus.

  • the dude

    I got in on the membership at Nashville Armory at the beginning. By the time you factor the guest passes and free gun rentals (perks as a member), you only need to shoot 10 times during the year to ‘break even’. I think I satisfied that within a few months.

    Staff is very courteous and stock has remained good throughout the madness.

    The only issue that has affected locals is their no reload policy. I.e., you cannot shoot your own reloads for liability purposes. Again, note the ‘new range’ / ‘overhead’ comments made earlier.

    If you roll through I-65 this place is definitely worth a visit.

  • Sparky Recoil

    Blue Ridge Arsenal in Chantilly VA has about the same thing. Good ventilation, great shop, nice lounge, nice staff. They haven’t raised prices sky high for weapons. If your an “older” shooter the year membership is a deal. Free coffee year round ,free ice cream in the summer. Donuts on Sat. TVs.

  • Anon

    Check out http://www.adventureoutdoors.us/ in smyrna, ga.

    • Aaron

      Been almost 20 years ago, but Adventure Outdoors was “the” place to shoot in the Atlanta area then!

  • Aaron

    I would agree that this is the “model” indoor firing range. The store is well lit, spacious, organized, and well stocked. The range offers a full range of services: guns, gear, gun classes, and a gun range. Although I would agree with many posters – the daily and annual membership costs are premium. If they had package deals it might make that sting a little easier to tolerate, but it is a nice place.

  • Jenny

    You should check out OMB Guns & Indoor Range here in Olathe, KS…It was designed by Action Target as well and is AWESOME! There is a new kick ass simulator that uses real guns adapted to use CO2 cartriges…http://www.ombrange.com/

  • Indoor Gun Range Miami

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  • Indoor Gun Range Miami

    Gun place is amazing good job.thanks

  • NightOwl

    $20 an hour??? No way I’ll be paying that!!!