Photo Illustration | The Communicator
Gun stores are for girls too
Clayton Kraft | The Communicator
The smell of gunpowder wafts from the range in back of the building during the day as thousands of rounds are fired into metal bullseyes and paper burglars.
Sharp Shooting Indoor Range and Gun Shop might sound like the kind of gun shop you’d see anywhere, but this 17 year-old-family-run business has built a reputation for a very different kind of community service than its competitors around town.
“We’re the only ones in the city offering everyday shooting,” said Jeremy Ball, whose mother Robin opened the business back in the 90’s.
He’s tall and blond, his old military service wearing on him like the gun-racks lining the walls.
“There’s a few clubs like Spokane Rifle Club, but they have memberships and don’t do gun rentals. We cater to the everyday shooter, the first time shooter, and no one does that.”
Much of the business revolves around the indoor range the store sports, whose narrowed firing slots under single lamp lights contrast from the main rooms waiting couches, arcade video game (which unsurprisingly features virtual shooting) and soda machines.
“People love this store, I think,” said Ball. “What you have to remember is that this is someone’s hobby.
It’s just like playing cards or golf, someone is is a great mood when they show up here because it’s their favorite thing to do, so it makes for a good community.”
Aside from daily shooting for new and advanced shooters Sharp Shooting does training classes for everything from improving awareness in dangerous situations to competitive rifle shooting practice.
“One of our big focuses you don’t see often in the gun culture is women’s classes,” said owner Robin Ball. “We do a lot of those; once you get past the initial hesitation women usually have about gunfire they are often just amazing (her son adding that women don’t compete with women for an unconventional reason, they would trounce the classically-gendered shootist).
“Women are a huge growth area and you’ll see that all across the country, so we make sure our store is friendly to them.”
The store itself is often busy with patrons who casually open carry handguns in their waists, their family or friends waiting in the lobby and the soft sounds from the insulated range popping off now and again.
“We’re actually in a growth industry, our business is doing really really well,” said Robin Ball regarding the economy.
Her smile is persistent and she would be recognizable as the owner around the store even if not for the seemingly out of place professional black skirt and blouse.
“Which is a surprise to people, but gun ownership is going way up in this country.
“We have identified some cycles to these things, and the upcoming November election definitely has something to do with it, but it has to do with local crime as well.”
Patrons to the store are as like to be wearing camouflage as not, and gun enthusiast Gary Brown is no exception in his green checkered outfit and curly brown beard.
“There’s no other options like this for shooting,” said Brown. “I like that it’s family run, I like that they have a relationship with their customers.
“I like this place.”