Hit the Range! — With G&G Armament and 101 Tech USA
On the second weekend of October, Route 66 Shooting Sports Park held an Open House to showcase their facilities. Route 66 Shooting Sports Park (R66SSP) is an outdoor shooting range located right off the 15 freeway in the mountains just North of San Bernardino, CA.
The event was sponsored by Turner’s Outdoorsman, who supplied a full firing line consisting of different firearms that attendees could fire. These included rifles and pistols from many known brands such as Glock, Kimber, Springfield, Sig Sauer, and more. In addition were many non-firing vendors with exclusives on display and special sales just for the event. Savior Equipment, Surefire, Northtac, Turner’s Outdoorsman, USCCA, and CRPA are just a few from the long list.
The list of vendors grew a bit with the inclusion of G&G Armament and 101 Tech USA. With a noticeable gap between the Real-Steel and Airsoft Industries came the opportunity to dispel some of the misconceptions seen between the two for decades. Airsoft guns have typically been seen as inaccurate and of low build quality, which is far from the truth in this age. Utilization of Airsoft goes beyond the initial perception and can hold value in an industry that prides itself on safety and accuracy. Though our involvement initially involved a display booth, it grew into a shooting experience.
With the event coordinators help, an interactive booth was built for attendees to visit. 20 different Airsoft guns were put on display that attendees could hold and manipulate (listed below).
Rifles on display: PCC45, ARP9 Stealth Gold, CMF-16, SMC9, BAMF TEAM, MGCR 556, Gold GKM, RK74-E, GR14 EBR-S ETU, SSG-1 USR, CM16 LMG Stealth, GR14 DDC ETU
Pistols on display: GTP-9 MS DST, GPM1911CP, Piranha Deadpool Cerakote, GTP9 Rose Gold, GPM92 GP2 Gold
The idea was to go beyond the typical display booth and add a shooting element to give attendees a hands-on experience. It is one thing to hold and manipulate an airsoft gun, but it’s another to fire it and experience the capabilities. Any of the replicas on display could be picked up and set up to shoot at our shooting gallery complete with various types of steel and paper targets.
After the initial phase of observation, a run through of the operation and mechanics of the different types of airsoft guns caused attendees to notice that many of the basic functions carry over. Following a brief review of standard range safety and etiquette, attendees were given a freshly filled magazine of 6mm Bio BBs to send downrange. Put into an experienced shooter's hands, hits rang out immediately. Inexperienced shooters were still able to hit larger targets and eventually the smaller. This changed a lot of shooters who were initially opposed. Not only from personal hands-on but also from their family.
Firing live rounds can be a bit much for many potential shooters. Noise, recoil, and other elements seem to keep many of them from starting. The shooting gallery was suitable for all ages and all skill levels. The lack of recoil and no need for earprotection allowed them to feel more comfortable to give it a shot. They were able to understand range etiquette, how to hold a rifle or pistol, how to line up a shot, and how to shoot. This grew as a showcase for introducing potential shooters to the sport.
This continued with the explanation of the lower barrier to entry into the sport. In every aspect, costs are much lower for Airsoft, with a range able to be set up in one’s own backyard. With very similar weight and feel, many of them utilize the same slide locking or fire disabling functionality that can be used in dry fire or shooting drills. Airsoft is not only limited to field player versus player applications, but can also be used in training elements.
The event proved to be a great opportunity to educate a group that are not aware of the possibilities with Airsoft. With over 1000 attendees visiting the booth, there were a lot of changes to initial perceptions of launching plastic BBs downrange. It is important to note that Airsoft and Real-Steel are not mutually exclusive. They have potential to have interchangeable components and can have one be the introduction into the other.
With this said, we wanted to thank R66SSP for allowing us to attend their open house. If you ever find yourself passing through the Cajon Pass on your way to Vegas or Victorville, be sure to stop by to check out their facilities. They have a steel gallery, private bays, and 100m range available with a vast range of guns available for rent.