In Fort Worth, Texas, there’s a growing chain of gun shops known as Shoot Smart. Starting in 2011 as just a range and rental business, Shoot Smart didn’t have much intention of selling guns. As people fell in love with the customer service, though, the demand for selling guns soon followed.

We caught up with Jared Sloan, Director of Operations for the three locations, to find out why people love Shoot Smart and how helps them achieve their goals. Tell me how the business started and how it’s evolved? 

Sloan: The first location opened [on] March 26, 2011. We’re coming up on our 10th anniversary here, so that's pretty exciting. Our second location was our Grand Prairie location. We opened that in 2013. We opened that by acquiring a competitor who was kind of similar to us, but not really in a growth model. Then in July 2017, we added our Benbrook location, which is our third store. Through it all, it's just been a fascinating evolution to watch the stores grow. We have a product called our Private Suite, which is a specialized lane.

The shop offers retail and range, all in one. (Photo: Shoot Smart)

A suite is its own kind of three-walled stall. It opens up into a common bay area, and it gives a real sense of privacy and intimacy. You feel closed away from other folks. It gives you a good peace of mind that no one's looking at you, and you don't have to worry about other folks. It's been an excellent opportunity for us to focus on our bread and butter, which is introducing new shooters to shooting and training. 

Right now, we’re doing roughly between 100,000 and 125,000 shooters ever year over the three stores. We do about 5,000 students every year in our license to carry new shooter classes, private instruction, and our other classes. So, by now, we've gotten alumnus of probably close to 25,000 or 30,000 students.

Shoot Smart offers classes, training, and a range to meet gun owners'  needs. (Photo: Shoot Smart) Wow. That's impressive. What makes Shoot Smart unique?

Sloan: It’s a combination of our service offerings approach and our target audience. We cater to new shooters. We look at our obligation as a chance to teach people how to shoot. What we like to say is at Shoot Smart we deliver entertainment through education.

People don't have fun if they don't know what they're doing. Our job is to help them know what they're doing. We've got a significant training curriculum that's built out. It's very much a progressive program where you start at the beginning, and you learn. Each class, you learn more based on a series of fundamentals that we've honed from the industry and keep it modern.

In addition to that, we just have a lot of offerings to keep people coming back. They get to learn here, but then they have services like the suites, obviously, and our gunsmithing service. What do you like about working with

Sloan: is extremely easy to work with. The platform is very nice and modern. It's been super easy to get the firearms up online, and the program itself makes selling guns online, super, super simple. I think both for customers and us; it's a win-win. There's really no reason not to be involved with

Shoot Smart also uses to list guns online. (Photo: Shoot Smart) Do you find that you sell most of your guns locally?

Sloan: Yeah. Honestly, almost all of our firearm sales, I think, are local. I think we've only had a few to sell online. The sales rate lately has been so extraordinary that it's hard to keep anything long enough to put it online. Last question for you. I'm going a little abstract here for the last one. As a Texas-based business, why do you think Texans love guns so much?

Sloan: That's a great question. It's pretty fascinating. There's a lot of out-of-towners moving here that I think certainly buy into the “I wasn't born here, but I got here as soon as I can” mentality. And there is just a certain novelty to being able to do something that, in so many other places in the country, is so frowned upon. Here, gun ownership is really appreciated as an expression of Americanism and Constitutional rights. I think that's very attractive to many people.

Read More On: