Austin, TX - Gun Ranges, Gun Shops, Gun Smiths, Firearms Training


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ArielT
July 17, 2011, 06:37 AM
Hi,

Hopefully this doesn't ramble too much, but there will be a tl;dr at the bottom.

I have had an interest in firearms / concealed carry for a while and I finally decided to take the plunge after Texas passed a campus carry bill. Since then, it's been a bit troubling finding the local resources I need for support and to make the necessary choices. As a preface: I realize you can't exactly go cheap for defense, but I do tend to look for the most bang for my buck.

Gun Ranges

The closest range, Eagle Peak, is $10 for a card and $10 per day for shooting, which seems like a pretty good deal. However, Eagle Peak doesn't allow FMJ rounds which seems to double the prices for ammo.

Red's Indoor isn't terribly far, but they charge $14/hour, which seems like it would probably get pretty expensive. The Austin Rifle Club was fun to visit for my NRA First Steps class, but is pretty far from where I live.

I've looked at Best of the West Shooting Sports. I contacted them and require $100 upfront for membership, then $6 gets you at least 2 hours, plus more if the range isn't busy. Seems like a pretty decent deal. Can't find much info on them otherwise. Anyone make any visits that can tell me about it?

Lone Star Gun Range is really far away from me, but it was worth visiting for their July 3 event that offered free range admission and free firearms rentals, plus some sellers demoing some of their weapons. I like the place and they have a $100 per year deal to let you shoot as much as you want. If I lived in South Austin, I'd probably use them.

Any other suggestions I'm not aware of? Google doesn't seem as efficient at finding these as it does for most businesses.

Gun Shops

After some consideration and fondling, I'm interested in purchasing a CZ 75 P-01. I haven't been able to find it used many places, and even Gun Broker only seems to have a few at any give time. Do I just need to be patient, or am I better off getting a new one?

I've visited Heritage Firearms, which is quite close to where I live. It seems people don't think very well of them these days and I didn't really get much in the way of service while I was there. I can't say I detest them, but they don't seem to have particularly great prices or used selections.

McBride's seems to get mixed reviews, but I went and visited and actually had a pretty good experience. The salesman was friendly and let me fondle whatever I wanted. The pistol he recommended the most strongly to me was actually cheaper than the P-01 I was originally interested in. I was also told that all their new firearms were sold at cost +15%. Honestly, I have no idea if that is a good markup or not, but their prices did seem better than Heritage, who told me it was cost +10%. Did see the fabled McBride worship while I was there, but it was just strange, not terribly off putting.

I looked through some older threads, but they seem to be from quite a few years ago, since Cost +10% went out of business, etc. Any suggestions for where I should go with a good used selection, or where they sell new firearms for better prices?

Gun Smiths

Not much to say here, but I assume I'll need one at some point. Possibly for a trigger job and installation of night sights if I buy a new gun. What local gunsmiths are reputable with decent pricing?

Firearms Training

Once I have a gun and get some range time, I will be game to get a CHL. I've seen a pretty broad range of prices for the courses from around 100 to well over 200. Any suggestions on good deals with good quality instructors would be appreciated. There seems to be enough of them around that sifting through it all is difficult. Packaged deals where they take care of stuff like photos as well are appealing.

Past that, I'm honestly not sure what kind of training I will need. Certainly I will want further training to hone my skills, but it seems like what I get will depend on what is offered by competent instructors locally. Certainly at least a Defensive Pistol class will be necessary, but I don't know what all is offered. Suggestions on instructors and classes to take in the area would be appreciated.

Ammo
Where are the best deals in town for 9mm ammo? Is it going to be Winchester White Box from Walmart or would I be better served to order from Cheaper Than Dirt or another internet site? What sort of deals are you guys getting?

tl;dr

What local gun ranges do you suggest?
What local gun shops do you suggest?
What local gun smiths do you suggest?
What local Firearms training do you suggest?
Where are the are the best deals for ammo?

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lmccrock
July 17, 2011, 07:58 AM
At BOTW, buying a membership gets you cheaper visits, but a membership is not required. It costs more per visit without ($16 vs. $6).

Cabelas in Buda has a great selection, and watch for sales because the prices are MSRP-ish. Also lots of used guns.

CHL prices vary some depending on what is included (lunch, photos, etc.), and renewals are cheaper. Fingerprints used to be a variable, but DPS now requires a particular vendor. As for training, we all have our preferences; KR Training (http://krtraining.com/) has a pretty good selection.

Have fun.

Lee

GEM
July 17, 2011, 12:39 PM
Hi,

Hopefully this doesn't ramble too much, but there will be a tl;dr at the bottom.

I have had an interest in firearms / concealed carry for a while and I finally decided to take the plunge after Texas passed a campus carry bill. Since then, it's been a bit troubling finding the local resources I need for support and to make the necessary choices. As a preface: I realize you can't exactly go cheap for defense, but I do tend to look for the most bang for my buck.



Texas did NOT pass a campus carry bill!!

That being said:

1. For training in the area that is comprehensive, rational and darn good.

www.krtraining.com

They have a series of courses that take the beginner to an advanced level. Plus great guests like Tom Givens and Claude Werner!

You need more that just punching paper at the square range. That's not training beyond the basics.

2. Get into competition - IDPA or IPSC. Check the krtraining page for ranges and matches. Also www.texastactical.net for IDPA near Austin. They are very friendly to beginners!!

3. Check out the Saxet gun shows for the best prices on standard items. Do some research first. As far stores - if you want a standard vanilla gun like a 642 or Glock, etc. check out Academy - all over Austin.

McBridges is expensive.

Welcome to the club.

G27RR
July 17, 2011, 08:41 PM
I shot at BOTW a few days ago for the first time and just paid the $16 - it wasn't busy and we stayed for four hours without being asked to pay any more. They do have a website - if you haven't seen it go here... http://www.texasshootingrange.com

If you're near Pflugerville/Round Rock look at Austin Gun Liquidators. They carry a lot of STI if you're into those.

joeq
July 17, 2011, 08:51 PM
I shoot at the Reds in Oak Hill because it's two minutes from my place. It's a little expensive and you better get there at 9:00am when they open. It fills up quick and stays that way all day. If you get there when they open you are almost assured a lane without waiting. I took my CHL out at Lonestar gun range in Lockhart. It was a good instructor and lunch is Lockhart Barbeque. As for ammo, I buy bulk at Cabelas in Buda and occasionally I buy from Academy. I do my gun shopping at either Reds or Mcbrides. I did buy an AR from Academy once because it was a good deal.

XM855
July 17, 2011, 09:49 PM
Have you thought about going to Liberty Hill? Also, last time I was in the area I saw a small shop called "A Texas Girl's Guns" My buddy and I were intrigued but running late so didn't go in.

I usually go to Eagle Peak as its $10 a day. I'm a student at UT and I don't get a lot of free days to go shoot, so when I do it's usually the whole day and paying per hour at Red's is ridiculous. Never been to Austin Rifle Club, but I met a few older gentlemen who were members at GT Distributors (another guns store, more "tactically" oriented) and they seemed like a great bunch.

I've only been to McBride's and Cabela's in Austin (Ok, Academy and Walmart too...since they technically carry guns). McBride's has a gunsmith upstairs, but I don't know much about them as I've never had any catastrophic failures, so what little I've needed done I managed on my own.

OH, also there's this place off of 71 that does all the gun repairs and maintenance for Red's and McBride's and such that they can't do in house. I can't remember the name of the place though. They don't advertise at all and seem to keen to keep the riff-raff out. They didn't even have a sign up the last time I was there, but the guys there were pretty cool. However this probably isn't that much help since they mostly deal in AR related things... And I didn't even give you a name...or a solid location. Sorry.

Another thing, the pawn shops here blow. They have nothing of value (firearms related at least).

If you're planning a road trip south, I recall seeing a place call "Bunker Firearms" just outside of San Marcos. However, I was with a car full of people and we had been celebrating the night before and weren't in any condition to go in. It may or may not be worth the trip.

Every time I'm about to hit "Submit" I think of something else that might be worth adding, but this is it for now. Sorry if I'm all over the place!

ArielT
July 17, 2011, 11:49 PM
Texas did NOT pass a campus carry bill!!

I apologize, you are correct. It was an amendment to another bill, but as I understand it, the content was the same as the original bill that could not be brought for consideration because they were one vote away from 2/3rds.

Also, thanks for everyone who's taken the time to respond. Any other gunsmiths?

Two of you seem knowledge about BOTW, but didn't really mention how your experience was there. Should I expect if it was bad you would have been vocal about it? Do you prefer to shoot somewhere else and why?

shiftyer1
July 18, 2011, 12:30 AM
The bunker in san marcos is a decent place but they are geared more towards assult and class 3 weapons. There is also a guy who opened a shop in downtown buda called bullit proof arms. I bought a security six from him and found him to be a very personable guy. He also leans towards ar's and loves ak's but has used trades from time to time.

I wouldn't say the pawn shop's suck but you do need to have an in with someone because the good stuff never even see's a shelf. If an employee doesn't buy it he has a customer list to call. I'd stay away from national pawn on airport blvd.

Lone star gun range is the most laid back i've found. If you use the toll road it's probably pretty quick to get there and they charge a flat rate not by the hour.

Only been to mcbrides once and walked out with my 1911, didn't have a bad experience but I like a quieter shop, they were BUSY.

Tex guns on manchaca is a decent small shop also.
Also johns guns in bastrop.

I know theres a gunsmith BEHIND southside pawn on congess ave named hank fleming but I haven't used him.

I realize these are all south austin but I just don't go north of the river much.
Also most of the shops i've listed kinda operate on the good ol boy system, if you come in with your pants around your knees, hat on sideways doin the gangsta strut your service is gonna suck! I don't know anything about you but figured i'd give you fair warning just in case :)

lmccrock
July 18, 2011, 07:26 AM
Two of you seem knowledge about BOTW, but didn't really mention how your experience was there. Should I expect if it was bad you would have been vocal about it? Do you prefer to shoot somewhere else and why?
I prefer to shoot on my property, I have plenty, and BOTW is over an hour away. So I just shoot matches at BOTW. And I worked and shot the Texas Multigun (http://texasmultigun.com/tmg/)/LaRue match at BOTW this year, and expect to do the same next year. So I only go out there 1-2 times/month.

As for GT Distributors, I suppose you could say it is "tactical", but it is a cop shop which also sells to non-LE.

Lee

JustinJ
July 18, 2011, 12:06 PM
I'm not a fan of eagle peak. Primarily because of their no FMJ policy, although i believe it allowed for handguns, but also because of the attitude i experienced on a visit their from one of their staff long ago.

I haven't been to Best of the West yet but have heard mixed things. I've been wanting to try out their 1000 yard range though.

Red's South is close to my home but their prices are not competetive and their policy of requiring one to use only their targets is pretty sorry, IMO. I also don't like shooting indoors. Their gun, ammo and accessories prices are generally high although a good deal will pop up from time to time. I like the Austin Rifle Club but usually just go to Lone Star. Its about a half hour drive but generally worth it as a year membership is only $100 or nonmembers can shoot all day for the cost of one hour at Reds. Plus i feel good using Lonestar knowing that my money spent there will help Matt's widow and child.

As far as local gun shops, i find them all to be overpriced except GT. McBrides is probably the worst although Reds and Cabellas are close. If i can't get what i'm looking for at GT i'm buying online or driving out to Brenham. That is for guns, ammo and accessories. I'll pop in to some of the other shops on occasion but rarely get anything. I have found good deals before at Gun Liquidators in Plfugerville also. The only other place to find good prices on practice ammo is of course walmart.

As far as gun shows Saxet is decent althoug the San Antonio show is generally better. The gun show that is down South off 35 and William Cannon is a complete waste of time.

Don't forget to check out Texasguntrader.com for a CZ.

GEM
July 18, 2011, 01:36 PM
Academy has decent ammo prices as compared to most. Walmarts are spotty has to having things in stock.

Cabela's can be ok for a gun if you watch for sales - and if you get their points card - a gun purchase can get you a box of ammo.

However, generally they are expensive. I agree Saxet is what I would do if I wanted to buy something standard like a Glock, Sig, Ruger or SW. AJC usually has a good price on things like that.

G27RR
July 18, 2011, 02:49 PM
I've only been to BOTW once, but for rifle shooting it's nice. I didn't have a chance to shoot pistols, but I will be going there for a Duty 1911 course in October (10-8 Consulting/Hilton Yam/Dean Caputo). I will definitely be going back. They weren't constantly calling cease fires for target changes, so if that's your preference it's a good thing.

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