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State of the art…a game changer…most innovative shooting facility of its kind…mind-blowing. When the Gander Mountain Academy in Lake Mary, Florida opened a few weeks ago, we just had to pay a visit to see what all the fuss was about. We weren’t disappointed.
The 20,000 square foot Florida shooting facility is the first of several scheduled to open in 2011. First-class, professional instruction begins as soon as you step into the waiting area where video monitors espouse the mantras of safe gun handling.
Proper gun training and safety is a serious subject that gets serious respect no matter where you are in the facility.
The live fire, or L-Range, is like none other, according to Lake Mary Academy manager Billy Heib. Range stalls are wide enough to accomodate a shooter and an instructor and feature state-of-the-art target systems with touch-screen programming.
Lanes accomodate rifles up to .30. The giant air filtration and coolings systems offer clean and comfortable shooting.
“There’s no live-fire range like this anywhere in America at this time,” says instructor Eddie Laracuente. Heib agrees. “It’s as safe yet challenging as any I’ve ever seen,” he says. “Partitions are fully armored and it’s a professionally run facility. We take a lot of pride in that.”
Soundproof? You want soundproof? Gunfire from the Gander Academy L-Range can barely be heard from right outside the door thanks to exhaustively tested materials.
Targets at the L-Range are supplied by Gander and uniform in size and consistency.
A first-rate facility from the front door to end.
Like everything else in the Gander Academy, rubberized backstop material has been tested exhaustively for safety. That’s why guns up to .30 are approved on the L-Range.
Perhaps the crowning jewel of the academy is the virtual range and shooting simulator. The Pro V Sim 180 and 300 simulators utilize multi-screen interactive video designed to help you make quick and accurate shooting/self-defense decisions involving a wide range of real life situations. Glock CO2 “handguns” feel like the real thing in your hand.
“There’s nothing like it out there,” says Heib of the virtual range. “Nothing.” Practice here is almost identical to practice at the live range and hands-on training with certified instructors will make you a better shooter–period.
CO2 rounds impact the target exactly as live rounds would hit a paper target.
No shooting academy would be complete without classroom training and the Gander facility’s classes are fully integrated with live range and video simulation. From introduction to handguns to tactical shotgun to defensive handgun, Gander’s Academy provides soup to nuts instruction.
For more information on the Gander Academy, click here.

Gander Mountain takes gun ranges to the highest level with the opening of the Gander Mountain Academy.