In The News

Wanna be a zombie hunter? Head to West Chester

August 13, 2012  |  Shoot Extreme West Chester Ohio

Business Courier by Tom Demeropolis, Staff Reporter

When the zombie apocalypse happens, I want to be ready for it. But how do you train for taking down the undead?

A Greater Cincinnati entrepreneur has answered that question with a new shooting range concept called Shoot Extreme.

Shoot Extreme features two “shoot houses,” where customers will work their way through a series of rooms taking down the undead baddies. Kevin Higgins, founder and president of the West Chester Township range, likened it to a “haunted house on steroids.”

“It’s dark and creepy. As you move through the encounter, it triggers the targets, which come at you, and you have a limited time to engage,” Higgins said.

He said he wanted to create a range that was fun and inviting to all skill levels.

“Conventional shooting ranges can make a new shooter feel stupid. It’s a very daunting place to go,” Higgins said.

Shoot Extreme opens to the public Saturday with a soft launch. After a week a testing out the range, a grand opening will be held the following week. You can check out the website here.

Instead of using live ammunition, all of the weapons have been converted to fire Simunition, a non-lethal, non-penetrating training ammunition. The training ammo is used in force-on-force training for police and military, but it will only be used for force-on-target at Shoot Extreme.

One of the lanes will be geared toward new and intermediate shooters, the other for more advanced shooters who are looking for a challenge.

As each room is cleared, a computerized gate system allows the customer to move onto the next room. That way, customers don’t have to worry about running into the person in front of them. It would take between eight and 15 minutes for a shooter to clear a shoothouse, depending on skill level.

The shoot houses can be reformatted, giving customers a different experience as they are changed.

The cost to go through and blast the zombies is $25, which includes use of a weapon, two 10-round clips, training, and the experience itself. An additional clip is $10.

Only weapons from Shoot Extreme can be used at the range, no outside firearms are allowed. The weapons include pistols such as Smith & Wessons and Glocks, a pump-action shotgun and an AR-15 rifle.

In addition to the two shoot houses, Shoot Extreme has four lanes that are similar to conventional gun range lanes. But instead of paper targets, there are two reactionary 3-D targets. Unlike conventional ranges, shooters will be able to practice drawing from a holster, drawing from a concealed carry position, and set up training scenarios without endangering themselves or others, Higgins said.

The idea for Shoot Extreme came from a History Channel show, “Special Ops Mission.” After watching the show in 2009, Higgins, who served in the U.S. military for 10 years, checked to see if he could use Simunition. The show featured people trying to accomplish different military-style missions and used Simunition. Up until last year, it was only available for use by military and law enforcement.

“When it became available, I thought, ‘What would I like to do?’” he said. “My goal is a facility that offers reality-based training and also appeals to the recreational shooter. Training more leads to competence, and competence leads to increased safety.”

Since starting development of Shoot Extreme, Higgins said he invested about $1.4 million into the concept. About $350,000 of that went into research and development for the targets, staff training, and range build out.

Higgins wants to open a few more Shoot Extreme locations in Greater Cincinnati, with plans to eventually franchise the concept. He expects to be able to get the cost to open a location below $100,000, not including the real estate.

Located at 7773 Cincinnati-Dayton Road, the nearly 13,000-square-foot range will have 11 employees when it opens, but Higgins expects to add more as business picks up.

Shoot Extreme will be open from noon to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.