Gun range opens Saturday in North Smithfield

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NORTH SMITHFIELD – Starting this weekend, a guns and ammo supply store on Quaker Highway will also be a place to practice the sport, with the official opening of an eight-lane shooting range at a long-established town business.

The range at MTR Guns & Ammo marks a major expansion – and an official change of direction – for a North Smithfield business owner who first opened a machine shop in 2008. David Houle turned his focus from parts production to manufacturing bullets in 2016 amid a nationwide ammunition shortage and opened a retail store the following year, adding supplies, guns and custom engraving to his product line.

Now, Houle has phased out the machine shop and renovated the building at 229 Quaker Highway to include space for classes on gun safety, home defense and more. The store has also expanded to feature a high-tech security system and greater selection, and Houle has added apparel to the mix, with a new line of t-shirts and sweatshirts featuring his logo.

For the range itself, he hired Utah-based Action Target to install their top-tier “Genesis” system. Each lane now features an iPad where users can the set distance and speed for their target, and choose various training modules, with cameras that zoom in on the target to display precisely where each shot landed.

“This is truly state of the art,” Houle said.

Lights surrounding each booth come with dimmers, and settings to simulate various condition, such as the red and blue flashing lights from a cruiser. Sliding bars change the distance and return the target to the user in seconds. The lanes include one that is handicap accessible with a lower table, and a top-of-the-line ventilation system can completely turn over the air in surrounding all eight booths 75 seconds.

The range features epoxy flooring and tons of sound-proofing, and lanes are 25-yards long, meeting the requirement for Rhode Island Qualification for a pistol permit.

“People will be able to qualify here,” Houle said

Houle has five men and one woman teaching classes in a separate room, including a basic pistol course, a RI qualification course, the Massachusetts License to Carry course, Carbine Rifle 101 and more. He notes the staff has already put some 280 students through the cirriculum.

Memberships to the range have also been a hit, with some 300 locals signed on and waiting to shoot once the doors open this weekend. More memberships are still available, and the business owner notes that the building features space to construct five more lanes if demand continues to grow.

And the range is open to more than just members, with gun rentals and walk in range time open to the public as available.

To reserve a slot call (401) 766-0200.

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