Carson City gun shop offers interactive firearms training
Randy Brooks, owner of Carson Guns on East William Street, is transforming firearms training into the digital age with an interactive, theater-style simulator assembled inside of his shop.
It’s similar to video gaming, except, the gun is the controller. When the theater opened in mid-December, it became the first of its kind in Carson City.
The self-paced theater provides benefits to all levels of firearm usage, by preparing individuals with real-life scenarios, Brooks said.
“Hopefully nobody will ever have to face the demonstrations in reality,” he said. “But it teaches people what to do in situations — without dying.”
Although the majority of the scenarios are meant for law enforcement certifications there are a few open to the public, such as home invasion scenarios. The classes also are applicable to National Rifle Association instructors in training.
Brooks said the theater also enhanced his training as a firearm instructor. “What I like about my set up is the instructor can help out a student in a safe zone,” he said. “Because we’re using a fake gun for training, the risk of an accident is even lower.”
Not all of Brooks’ classes are strictly focused on scenarios, firearms safety, and certifications. He also offers basic target practice — even against zombie hordes.
Groups can rent the theater for an hour or more for fun, as an outing.
“The goal is for each student to be comfortable learning how to use a firearm,” he said. “One-on-one safety is paramount.”
Brooks has quite the background in the field; he’s an appointed training instructor for the NRA, as well as an NRA instructor and chief range safety officer. His Concealed Carry Weapons and Concealed Firearm Permit instruction is approved in Nevada and California.
Brooks said his career in the industry started in the 1990s by selling handguns, then to working as a Range Master at an indoor shooting range, in Sparks.
His prior roles led him to become a teacher and he was hired by the Sparks Constables office as a peace officer, Range Master and Firearms instructor, and rose to rank of Chief Deputy. In 2012, he started advanced firearms training and consulting in the Carson City area.
Since then, Brooks has trained shooters of all levels of all ages, from civilian to military, and law enforcement officers.
Brooks’ newest chapter began in September 2016, when he opened doors to Carson Guns. His business is benefiting Carson City’s economy by bringing in students from other cities and states, such as Arizona, Idaho and Oregon, he said.
Michael Bedwell of Roseville, Calif., is a former student of Brooks and a certified NRA Instructor in California, thanks to Brooks’ class. Bedwell could have obtained his certification closer to his home but he was referred to Brooks at another firearms class.
“He has a lot of classes that dives into psychological aspects and ‘what would you do’ situations,” he said. “You get to test your instincts and judgments with a quality instructor. It’s important to be trained by somebody who is knowledgeable in the field and takes you through the fundamentals.”
Mark Stevenson — another former student of Brooks and a retired law enforcement officer of California — is the owner of CCW Guru Firearms Training in Reno.
He became NRA certified and a CCW firearms instructor in Nevada after completing Brooks’ class, and was certified through Washoe County to teach.
Stevenson said out of the many firearms training sessions he’s attended during his career, Brooks’ classes were the best.
As a firearms instructor himself, he directs many of his students to Brooks for further training
“In basic CCW and NRA classes, you learn how to hit targets,” he said. “But you don’t get to practice real life scenarios. It gives people an idea of a confrontation situation. On top of that, you’re maintaining your skills.”
Brooks’ introduction classes range between $40-$70 while NRA courses start at $150. He also hosts a free monthly pistol game at the Carson City Rifle and Pistol Range for all levels.
As Carson Guns enters a new year, Brooks has a business resolution in mind.
“Education is the most important aspect of this business,” he said.
“I’ve taught five year olds and 80 year olds. I’m looking forward to continue the education of firearms for everyone.”
To book a class with Brooks at Carson Guns, visit the shop’s website at carsonguns.com or call 775-350-7800.
Heather Ashbridge, who started with Nevada State Development Corporation in 2008, previously served in several roles with the organization, including assistant vice president and loan officer. She is based in NSDC’s Reno office.