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—Courtesy of Drew Carlson

Straight Shooters

Navy veterans run a gun range with a purpose: responsible ownership.

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With deer and elk hunting season on the horizon, the five rifle lanes at BluCore Shooting Center in Lakewood—the only 100-yard lanes open to the public in the state—are busy. Here, hunters can zero their rifle scopes (essentially centering them for better accuracy) and work on their aim, both on the range and in hunting fundamentals classes.

But BluCore doesn’t just appeal to hunters. Beyond its 17 indoor shooting lanes—and membership options that include perks like the ability to reserve them—BluCore is also a firearms training center where smart ownership is a priority. “Being a responsible gun owner doesn’t end when you buy the gun,” says co-founder Eric Frohardt, a former Navy SEAL sniper, who started BluCore with fellow SEAL Sean Haberberger.

BluCore’s robust course offerings—ranging from beginner lessons to awareness classes (how to keep yourself safe, without a gun, by being more cognizant of your surroundings)—are taught by a staff that’s 50 percent former military, including a Green Beret and Marine Corps infantrymen. “I’m trying to give back to the community because I’m thankful for the training I got on the taxpayers’ dime,” Frohardt says. That repaying goes beyond providing instruction and a place to practice. BluCore sells pink targets in the range that double as a fund-raiser for a different cancer charity each month. Money from the sale of store products with the RED (Remember Everyone Deployed) logo aid an ever-changing lineup of military nonprofits.

Yet even with the do-gooder aspect, Frohardt, 34, understands that “guns” isn’t the most approachable of topics, so he works hard to make sure three-year-old BluCore—which has about 1,000 members—is. The venue is decidedly unintimidating: It’s well-lit, a $700,000 ventilation system replaces air every 90 seconds in the 15-yard lanes (no inhaling gun powder here), and the young staff sets customers at ease. Women in particular have responded to the welcoming atmosphere—30 percent of BluCore’s customers are female—thanks in part to programs such as Tuesday ladies’ nights, when the lane fee is scratched for women and female instructors are on hand. “It’s a serious business,” Frohardt says. “But we pride ourselves on being open and inviting.” blucoreshootingcenter.com

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