For aesthetic reasons completely beyond my comprehension, Cleland's decided to adopt a pseudo old country store décor in place of utilitarian modern. The floor is glass smooth sealed concrete, and the display cases for handguns use chicken wire for a partition instead of glass. Long guns are on racks along the wall where you are allowed to pick up and look at anything that takes your eye. This is the way long guns should be displayed, as any gun trader can tell you. You won't sell a thing until the buyer has had a chance to pick up several similar guns and hold them a few minutes, squint down the barrel and imagine themselves putting ten shots in the bull's eye or breaking 25 out of 25 the first time out. People tend to lose interest if they have to ask an employee to pass a long gun over the counter each time idle curiosity gets the best of their firm resolve to look but not spend.
|No Glass - Country Store Gun Display|
As you walk through the main entrance to Cleland's, the small counter that handles time on the handgun range is immediately to your right. Following the right hand aisle you'll pass the archery range and then come to the handgun range. The first problem is that the counter is poorly situated, as people checking in and out of the range will line up at the counter and block the main entrance to the store. Anyone leaving or arriving at the store must first make their way through this crowd – and it is a crowd. Cleland's has seven lanes and they'll accommodate a maximum of three people sharing one lane. The wait time for a lane varies between 30 minutes to over an hour, depending on the amount of time the people ahead of you want to shoot and also depending on the time needed to process the customers leaving the range and the next customer on the waiting list. I would think that the time to process a group for the pistol range would be negligible, but it turned out I was wrong.
When Big Mike and I arrived at Cleland's we temporarily disrupted the line of people waiting to sign up for range time by walking in the front door and looking for the end of the line. The single clerk at the counter, whom I will henceforth refer to as Mister Customer Service of 2011 (Mr. CS), mainly because I'm a sarcastic, curmudgeonly sort, refused to look at us. Clearly the man could see us standing in the background, but he refused to acknowledge our presence in any way what-so-ever. To give Mr. CS a built in excuse, he was attempting to organize and sign up a family of five from Canada who didn't know what they wanted, and he was likely frustrated by the kids dancing around excitedly and the parents lack of ability to make a decision without a full and comprehensive report from a Socialist Moonbat committee on the causes and effects of early exposure to
|Wheel of Misfortune - Do you feel lucky?|
|Wheel of Misfortune - Close Up and Personal|
There are about 15 itemized rules and regulations for Cleland's pistol range which can be summarized as:
- Observe and obey the four rules of gun safety.
- No screwing around.
- You arrived here under your own power, upright and not leaking. We expect you to leave the same way.
While we were checking in, it became obvious that Chad Cleland knew the procedure for signing people up for range time, which is no real surprise. Mr. CS did not, and was in no mood to learn. Somewhat reassuring to me was the fact that Mr. CS not only ignored us completely, but just as studiously ignored everyone else. I was beginning to wonder if my mouthwash, deodorant or political preferences were failing me, but after seeing Mr. CS in action with the rest of the people who walked into Cleland's with expectations of a friendly staff, I concluded it wasn't just me. Now I can sleep nights.
When we finally got onto the range we discovered that the Canadian Five had taken the plunge and rented a host of firearms along with two lanes. That's fine, and I'm glad to see it. Mr. CS was standing along with them and trying to provide a certain amount of guidance and an added safety factor. Again, this is no problem for me – right up until Mr. CS came over to our lane and demanded, in an unfriendly tone, that we move our targets to a lower position on the backboard. This is in direct opposition to some of the shooters in the other six lanes who have placed their targets in the same location we have. Big Mike complied while pointing out that given our shot groups we were not likely to hit the target carrier, and furthermore there isn't any signage or rule stating just how shooters should place their targets. About twenty minutes later a shooter next to us got two duds stuck in the cylinder of a revolver and casually walked to the rear of the room where he sat down and began screwing around with his loaded gun, trying to extract them with a cleaning rod. This is a major faux pas which Mr. CS clearly observed, admitted to observing but did nothing to correct. My hard spot with this is that if you're going to be a range officer, apply the rules to everyone. If you see something that's obviously unsafe, like a man standing behind everyone else with a loaded gun, don't just stand there – do something, even if it's wrong.
|Our target holder is on the far left, but the targets were mounted too high to please Mr. CS.|
The good news here is that Cleland's is open and has seven lanes on the handgun range. The bad news is that there is only seven lanes and there should be ten. The lanes could also be a little wider, and the sales counter handling gun rental and range time should be located between the archery range and the handgun range. The range is well lit though, which is a huge relief to me as I was thinking about the cost effectiveness of mounting a tactical flashlight on each of my handguns so I could see well enough to shoot at The Bullet Stop. Now I can skip that trivial expense. More good news about the range is that it's air conditioned. Again, the A/C and ventilation could be a little better, but I'm willing to forgive that because of the excellent lighting. I'm willing to bet the lighting was Chad's idea.
|The Bottom Right is Mine - Top Right is Mike's Work|
|Seven Lanes of Shooters|