As the international tourism market continues to explode — with Page as one of its main flashpoints — new and unusual business opportunities are beginning to pop up in tandem.
One such market is in the growingly popular firearm tourism industry. The United States’ strong gun culture — supported by lenient gun laws and a history of citizen gun ownership — is no secret to the rest of the world. The number of firearms within the United States, by some estimates, matches, if not exceeds, the number of citizens.
For gun taboo countries like China and Japan, where owning so much as an air rifle can lead to felony charges and jail time, the possibility of legally shooting a gun while on American soil is a tantalizing one.
And for the estimated tens of thousands of Asian tourists who flock to the United States each year simply to shoot at its firing ranges, it’s a safe bet to assume the trend will only spread.
A group of businessmen and military veterans out of Flagstaff will be bringing just that sort of opportunity to Page tourists this summer.
Their new indoor firing range, dubbed Gunfighter Canyon, is nearing completion in the old Sears Building off Highway 89.
The group, which also operates the Second Amendment gun store in Flagstaff, said they wanted to provide a dedicated indoor shooting range and gun store for Page area citizens as well.
With a large selection of ammo, a gunsmith on site, and the ability to order firearms through a wholesale dealer, the group claims they can be a “one-stop shop” for Page firearm enthusiasts.
“We’re striving to be the location for locals,” said a spokesman. “Transfers, cleanings, any kind of maintenance or customization, and even manufacture — we can handle it.”
On the tourism side of the coin, the group will also be providing tour coordination services through several of Page’s many tour companies.
“What better way to kill some time than shoot an AR-15 with your buddies while you’re waiting for a trip through Antelope Canyon,” the spokesman commented.
But perhaps the biggest attraction for Page locals and tourists alike: the ability to rent and shoot fully automatic weapons. MP5s, M16s and M249 light machine guns will all be on the menu for anyone with the gumption to shoulder one.
The building’s four-lane, ventilated public range is outfitted with AR1000 steel — a super dense alloy built to withstand impact from rifle rounds traveling up to 3,500 feet per second. While the range is an enclosed space, large ballistic windows will allow other customers and friends and family the ability to see down range.
A “VIP” section with two private firing lanes will also be available for rent. Complete with a pool table, refreshment bar and HD television, the private area will have one extra special feature: a MILO system.
Used by law enforcement and security companies, a MILO (Multiple Interactive Learning Objectives) training range uses a reparable mesh net alongside video projection and a bullet detection system to create a use-of-force simulation for shooters.
“It’ll be a really unique opportunity for all shooters,” said the spokesman. “We’ll have someone in the back controlling the projector and lighting. We can put you in all kinds of tactical scenarios — hostage situations, breech and clears, and even more goofy stuff like zombies.”
The group said they have hired local Page veterans to operate the range and will prioritize hiring local veterans in the future as well. The spokesman told the Chronicle all range officers are certified through the national organizations and safety and education will be priority number one for all range users.
A grand opening at Gunfighter Canyon is scheduled for May 26.