Indoor gun range opens

MARTINS FERRY — Many in the Ohio Valley own and use firearms, whether as a part of their job or simply as recreation, and a business that recently opened its doors in Martins Ferry hopes to help teach residents a little more about proper usage and gun safety.

Come Shoot Indoors is an indoor gun range located at 56731 Colerain Pike in Martins Ferry and is the only one of its kind in Belmont County. The range is owned by Michael Perry and Jeanette Mertz, who started working toward their dream approximately two years ago.

Mertz said one of the things that inspired them to explore the idea of an indoor gun range was getting their concealed carry permits. The class to qualify was held outside in January, and the weather wasn’t optimal for the class. This experience, combined with a lack of indoor ranges in the Ohio Valley, led the two to look into starting their own range.

After looking at other ranges to see what they needed, the pair obtained a space at the former Pease Local Grade School, which Perry attended years ago. They said the inspiration for the name of the range, “CSI” for short, came from discussing the range while watching an episode of “CSI: Miami,” and the range finally became a reality on March 1.

Mertz said business has been fairly steady since then as more people find out about the business. She said a lot of people are happy to have an indoor range in the area now.

“There’s just nothing around here.” Mertz said. “A lot of people here have guns, and there’s no place for them to go and shoot.”

CSI has five lanes with targets where shooters can hone their skills. The walls are covered in a special rubber to absorb the energy of the bullets, preventing any kind of ricochet from potentially injuring the shooters. The rubber on the back wall can take around 5,000 rounds in a tight area before they begin to cut through, according to Perry. The rubber then can be replaced.

The range also offers a number of programs for customers. Perry said there are concealed carry classes four times a month, taught by former Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. John William Holpp. The class gives participants a chance to earn their concealed carry permit in a safe, controlled environment that allows Holpp and others to correct techniques as needed.

Perry — an investigator for the Belmont County Coroner’s Office — said he is working with area law enforcement to set up classes just for officers, including a close combat pistol course designed by the Army. Perry invited individual officers to visit the range and practice their skills.

“If you’re law enforcement, we’d like to have you over here,” he said.

Perry and Mertz are firm believers in gun safety and point out that without a local range, many people simply go shoot in the woods — an activity that could have potentially lethal consequences. By offering a controlled environment, the two hope to help keep any accidents from occurring. They also hope to perhaps invite families into the business to help teach gun safety to young children. Perry hopes to maybe expand with an outdoor range in the future, where those with rifles can come and practice as well.

For information on pricing and hours, visit comeshootindoors.com.

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