Opening a brand-new premier range in one of the most anti-gun states in the Lower 48 is a bold decision. Choosing to call it “The Machine Gun Nest” and offering all that the name implies is a statement. 

“To open up a place like this is ultimately rooted in our passion for the Second Amendment,” said Stephanie, a co-owner of The Machine Gun Nest. “We believe that the Second Amendment is almost like the cornerstone of the other amendments, and we believe that firearms are the great equalizer.”

The range itself is nestled daringly inside Frederick, Maryland, a state that has seen continued legislative attacks on gun rights in recent months that seem aimed at not only curbing gun ownership but also dissuading potential new shooters from even accessing the shooting sports. 

“Sometimes people ask us, ‘Why are we doing this in the state of Maryland, when Maryland is known to not be a super gun-friendly state?’” Stephanie told But for her and her husband/co-owner Rob, the appeal seemed pretty straightforward.

Both Rob and Stephanie live in Frederick, and they have a love for their state. So there was a natural drive to open their range in their own hometown. It was a service to their community, for sure, but it was also a clever way to reach more people and expand interest in Second Amendment rights. 

“Being here in Maryland, we’re in such a great location to be able to talk to many different people from all different places,” said Rob. “We’re less than 40 minutes or so to Baltimore and D.C., and there’s a lot of people who travel here. We wanted to create a place that was exciting and that people would want to come to from all over.”

With a mission “to change the way people think about guns, one experience at a time” right on the first page of The Machine Gun Nest’s website, the key was clearly getting as many new shooters through the doors as possible. Offering machine guns on tap seemed like a solid hook in a state like Maryland.

Machine guns might be the hook – a name like The Machine Gun Nest can’t hurt there – but one of their largest focuses is actually on getting their new and first-time shooters into classrooms for training and one-on-one instruction.

Photo of the sign at The Machine Gun Next range
The Machine Gun Nest is meant to help change the way people think of firearms by giving them personal experiences. (Photo: Don Summers/
Two owners of the Machine Gun Nest, Stephanie and Rob, stand on their range
Stephanie and Rob are passionate supports of the Second Amendment and spreading the importance of protecting it. (Photo: Don Summers/
A firearms instructor teaches a class at The Machine Gun Nest
One of the primary missions at The Machine Gun Nest is education. (Photo: Don Summers/

The Machine Gun Nest is really a place where new shooters can not only become comfortable and familiar with firearms, but they can learn to love firearms culture. Experiencing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to rip through a belt of ammo with a M249 SAW machine gun has a way of converting many people to the joys of shooting. 

That sprinkle of “Vegas flare” blended with dedicated 2A advocacy is a model the pair want to spread, and they have aims to franchise the idea and expand. “Our dream is to have a Machine Gun Nest in every city in America,” added Stephanie.

Notably, many of the most popular guns are actually still classic home defense firearms and self-defense pistols like the Glock 17, showing that a lot of their visitors really are looking for that practical hands-on experience before they buy. So they seem to be on the right track by offering the full-auto experience while meeting the 2A needs of everyday Americans.

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