Small Business: Total Shooting Sport

Total Shooting 

Total Shooting Sports

A state-of-the-art indoor gun range and training center that caters to families and shooters of all experience levels.

7901 Boulevard 26

North Richland Hills 76180

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“We spend a lot of time out in front with the customers instead to staying behind the counter. I firmly believe that you walk to them instead of waiting for them to come to you.”– Bill Brandenburg, president and founder of Total Shooting Sports

Though Sue Townson grew up in a family that hunted, she never really learned much about shooting a gun.

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But when her husband, Scott, had health issues and began to lose his ability to shoot well, he insisted that she learn how to handle a gun to protect herself.

Townson, a Hurst resident who is retired, found the help she needed at the new Total Shooting Sports, a massive state-of-the-art indoor gun range and training center in North Richland Hills that caters to families and sporting shooters of all experience levels.

“Everybody is very friendly here,” Townson said. “Even if you are like me and you don’t know anything, they’re very patient. They will explain everything to the fullest. Even if you don’t understand it, they’ll explain it again. They’re so friendly and helpful. At first, I was a little leery. When I first came, I was fighting doing this. But now, I’m more comfortable and I actually like coming.”

Total Shooting Sports, located in North Richland Hills, was founded by Bill Brandenburg, 61, a former police office and Marine. He is the president and principal of a group of investors who redeveloped the former Home Depot Expo Design Center at Grapevine Highway and Davis Boulevard that had been vacant since 2005. After a $5.6 million renovation, the 47,200-square- foot facility opened in mid-December and covers all the bases for those involved in or interested in learning about shooting sports.

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The building houses two ranges, each with 11 lanes, a Simunition shoot house (for force-on-force scenarios), a laser simulator, lounges, retail, professional instruction, a gunsmith shop and event center with classrooms for gun safety instruction.

Brandenburg said he is aiming to appeal to all walks of life.

“My vision has been not to be a rough, tough place. I want it to be literally family friendly and non-intimidating. We will get the hard-core gun enthusiasts, they’re going to come. But we have created an atmosphere that attracts soccer moms and senior citizens who want to do something but don’t know what to do.”

Brandenburg said he hopes to strike a balance of attracting both men and women.

“I don’t want this to be too male-centered, but I don’t want it to be too female-centered,” he said. “I want to have something where everybody, when they walk in, they can say, ‘Hey, this is fun.’ I want people to walk in and feel something to the effect: ‘Welcome, you’re among friends.’ I want people to feel that, hey, you may be a little intimidated but you’re among friends.’”

Brandenburg also aspires to reach out to guys who never have learned to shoot but want to deep down. He said his staff makes an extra effort to make them feel comfortable.

“They don’t want to feel like they don’t know what they’re doing,” he said. “So we try to knock that myth down, to try to give them a feeling that, ‘Hey, everybody in here is on the same level.’ We say, ‘Come on in and we’ll help you.’”

Many people first take shooting lessons because they want to increase their capacity for self-defense. But Brandenburg is betting that Total Shooting Sports can keep them coming long afterward.

“Those who want to go through the investment of buying a gun and taking a class, then they come out and shoot and they find out something more important. It’s fun. They like it. Then they bring their friends,” Brandenburg said. “They may start out wanting to learn protection, but they see that it’s actually fun. So they want to take more classes to make sure they’re proficient.”

“Shooting is like anything else, if you don’t practice and train, it’s a perishable skill,” he added. “By comparison, if you go out on the golf course and shoot 18 holes on the weekend, but then you stop going out for a year and then expect to be as good, you see that it’s not going to happen. It’s the same way with shooting. It’s a perishable skill if you don’t keep up with it.”

Brandenburg said he’s highly confident in his staff. Among them is Elliot White, 27, who works as the gunsmith.

White said he’s sold on Brandenburg’s business philosophy.

“The philosophy here is very family friendly and welcoming and for shooters of all levels and experience and was all-inclusive,” White said “You can get the kids in or first-time shooters or someone who says, ‘I’m ex-military.’”

White studied gunsmithing in Colorado and said he likes working in North Texas.

“I have the opportunity to see what the Texans have to offer,” White said. “There’s a huge array to firearms here. It’s a place where you can hone and master your skills. Though not proven, I’d say Fort Worth has more guns per square mile than anywhere else on earth, including a war zone. Fort Worth is the epicenter of fire arms.”

Brandenburg has hired experienced shooting instructors such as Dan Graeber who has 28 years of experience.

“If you have a will and desire to learn, we have a way to teach you here,” Graeber said. “It’s very empowering. It’s very rewarding when you have people who, when the lightbulb comes on, can say ‘I can do this!’ It’s like the old cliche that says I’m free to move about the country.”

When potential clients first walk in to Total Shooting Sports, they see a massive area filled with products ranging from ammunition to guns to women’s apparel to large safes. Buying a gun requires a detailed application, background checks and fingerprints. Total Shooting Sports has a sophisticated electronic system to accommodate those requirements. There’s also a snack area called the Chow Hall, which is derived from Brandenburg’s military experiences.

Brandenburg said he aspires to be customer-friendly.

“We try to spend time with our guests when they come in,” he said. “We spend a lot of time out in front with the customers instead to staying behind the counter. I firmly believe that you walk to them instead of waiting for them to come to you. But we don’t try to badger them. We just let them know that we’re here for you and we can save you a little time.

“We do corporate events, birthday parties, wedding receptions – we recently had a guy who called up and asked his girl to marry him on the range. So we had it scheduled and called a cease fire and got the video out. He asked her and fortunately she said yes.”

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