One-of-a-kind firing range opens in Cornelius
by Staff Writer
CORNELIUS – A handful of Cornelius’ elected officials, members of Cornelius and Huntersville Police Departments and N.C. Speaker of the House Thom Tillis were among the packed crowd packing heat for Tuesday afternoon’s, Oct. 11, government opening of The Range at Lake Norman.
Located at 10913 Bailey Road in Cornelius, the high-tech shooting range is unique for a number of reasons. It is the first solar-powered shooting range in the U.S., generating a large portion of its own power from a string of 21 solar panels fixed on the structure’s roof. The Range also is the first shooting range in the state owned by women, Tricia Sisson and Trish Stukbauer.
“It’s another good business in North Mecklenburg,” Tillis said. “There is no facility like this in the region, and it will be a great resource for this community.”
The Range at Lake Norman is more than your average shooting range, says co-owner Brian Sisson. Brian Sisson said he envisions the range as a place where residents can bring their families.
“The typical shooting range is dark, dirty and nasty,” Brian Sisson said. “It’s not a place to take your family.”
The high-tech range has 15 lanes for people to hone their shooting skills and also features a training simulator where teams of shooters, armed with either an electronic M4 assault rifle, a Glock handgun, a revolver, Tazer or pepper spray can take part in extremely realistic training simulations in high-definition.
“It’s the next level above Nintendo,“ Cornelius Mayor Jeff Tarte, who also was on hand for the opening of the range, said.
“There are only five simulators in commercial ranges like this in the country,” said one of the range’s co-owners, David Stukbauer. “It is only typically used by foreign embassies, military and law enforcement.”
The simulator has more than 200 real life scenarios that include an active shooter in malls or schools scenarios and VIP protection scenarios. The simulator will be available for children to use with parental guidance, said Stukbauer.
Brian Sisson says he hopes to serve the community not only by giving residents a place to safely use their handguns, but also a place where people can come to be educated about all aspects of firearm safety.
Brian Sisson is a former Huntersville town board member who is again seeking a seat on the dais.
The Range will offer classes on self-defense, first-aid, concealed-carry training, hunter safety and more Brian Sisson said.
Tarte along with Tillis, and members of the Cornelius Board of Commissioners “shot the blue ribbon” to symbolize the business’ grand opening. Tarte, an equity member for the range, grew up shooting guns with his family and said the range can only be a benefit for the community.
“A knowledgeable shooter is a good resource in the community,” Tarte said. “It’s a nice resource to have and it’s nice our law enforcement will be able to use it.”
Sisson, who hopes to work with local law enforcement, says Cornelius and Huntersville Police Departments have both looked in to signing contracts with The Range at Lake Norman in order for local officers to use the training facility.
Members of Huntersville’s SWAT Team were on site at the range Tuesday, showing support for the new facility and what could be a new partnership for the town’s police department.
Cornelius Police Department Administrative Assistant Betsy Shores says the department does not yet have a definitive answer. “It’s not determined at this time,” Shores said. “It’s currently not on our budget this year.”
The Cornelius police currently use a facility in Iredell County for all of their firearm training.