Thousands flock to new shooting range

BOB STEPHENS Updated: February 16, 2013 at 12:00 am • Published: February 16, 2013

Cheyenne Mountain Shooting Complex has started with a bang — more than 3,000 shooters have enthusiastically fired weapons at the facility since it opened less than a month ago.

“We haven’t started marketing it, yet, but the response from the public has been tremendous,” said Imad Karaki, support services director for El Paso County.

The county joined with Fort Carson and other agencies to build the largest public shooting range in Colorado. Located just outside Fort Carson’s Gate 20 near Interstate 25’s Exit 132, the complex covers 400 acres and offers 120 covered shooting positions.

Shooters do not have to register their firearms with the military and can buy ammunition at the range. Targets are provided.

“It’s still a work in progress but everybody’s been positive,” Karaki said. “So far there haven’t been any snags except the weather. And I was out there on one of the coldest days we had — it was about 20 degrees — and we still had about 10 shooters out there.”

The shooting complex now has a website, Facebook page and phone number.

“The feedback we’re getting from visitors is extremely helpful,” Karaki said. “We’ve had over 900 ‘likes’ on our Facebook page. We want to be family friendly. It’s extremely safe and all ranges are supervised when open.”

Females will shoot for free on March 9 — and the second Saturday of each month — with their fee waived in honor of “Annie Bring Your Gun” day.

Karaki said a “22-caliber club” is in development, for kids to learn shooting skills and proper safety.

The complex is being built in three phases. Phase 2 will add a 10,000-square foot building with a restaurant, gift shop, lockers and classrooms for instruction in gun safety and usage. The third phase will add shotgun ranges for trap and skeet.

The county plans to establish a nonprofit called the Soldiers’ Friend Foundation to raise money for the next two phases of the range. Profits from the range will go to Fort Carson to support soldiers and their families.

“We’re pursuing more grant money for the next two phases,” Karaki said. “We’ve still got some work to do but I encourage people to check out the complex, even if they’re not shooting. It’s a great addition to our area.”

Contact Bob Stephens: 636-0276 Twitter @bobgstephens

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