Gun Range Offers Virtual Option With Emphasis On Fundamentals | Pennsylvania News

By AMANDA CHRISTMAN, The Standard Speaker (Hazleton)

HAZLETON, Pa. (AP) – Eugene Rossi can’t recall the exact moment that sparked his interest in firearms and gun safety.

This could have happened in various ways.

His father would take him hunting. “He’s always been one for safety,” Rossi said. As a child, he remembered pricking objects at carnivals and fairs with a cork gun. “And, I’ve always won,” he said, smiling under his camouflage US Army hat.

He joined the National Guard, having signed up while in high school and shot competitively for them. He had become addicted after winning his first match and would go on to receive numerous honors in competitions.

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“I had an eye for it. I was a thousand-meter shooter, ”he said, pointing to a belt displayed in his shooting range at Hazleton – it was an award he had won from a senior military officer during a distance shooting bet.

He is a Master Weapons Instructor, having taught Pennsylvania State Police and Soldiers.

“When it happened that I got out of the shooting, I always wanted to train civilians,” Rossi said.

Rossi’s on Target, 175 N. Cedar St., Hazleton, became his dream.

It opened a year ago with a line of air and soft air pistols during the pandemic. There is a right and a wrong way to handle and shoot a gun and Rossi said he’s here to teach the fundamentals of gun safety and target shooting. This is where a novice in arms should start training – on low caliber weapons, he said.

“COVID was not good for me,” Rossi said; but, he took up the challenges. Four months ago, he set up a virtual laser shooting range. No ammunition is used. In times of ammunition shortages and rising prices, gun owners can always keep their skills up to date at no additional cost, he said. Shooting with precision takes practice like anything else, and virtual booth guests simply pick up a pistol equipped with a laser attachment, select a training video, and lock their eyes on the target.

Virtual firing pistols are weighed to feel like the real thing, but instead of bullets, there’s a cannon-level laser that interacts with a large screen downstream. Surround sound makes people feel like the simulation is more real. While there are training and target shooting games, there are also real life scenarios where a gun owner can hone their defense skills.

There are over 250 target shooting scenarios to choose from.

Rossi picked one of them on a recent Tuesday. His laser gun was by his side when two men approached during a simulation that takes place in a backyard. The men try to sell him roofing services, but before he knows it, one of them pulls out a gun. Rossi watches the man quickly remove the pistol from his belt and raise his just as quickly, firing a bullet. These shooting formations are specifically aimed at adults, he said.

Then there’s the simulated competitive shooting that takes it through a series of shooting obstacles.

Kids can shoot the BB and soft air shooting ranges and they can also play shooting games, like the Halloween one with pumpkin lanterns popping up out of nowhere on the screen, like the Nintendo game Duck Hunt from the 1980s. Shooters must have a quick reflex and a sharp eye to score one.

Rossi discovered the virtual lineup after watching a video in California. He was intrigued and ended up buying one of the available models.

The virtual lineup can be taken on the road to fairs, parties and community events on demand with a box truck he outfitted to manage the equipment.

And, while COVID has taken a hit on his business, mass shootings and dangerous gun custody make it even harder to keep his business healthy. A lot of people are against having a gun, he said.

Although tragic, incidents of violence do not represent the majority of gun owners, Rossi said. “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” he continued. Knowing and understanding the correct way to own and handle firearms provides greater safety, he said.

“We now live in a world where people want to own a gun (for home defense and business defense),” he said.

But, first you have to teach people to respect guns, he said. Rossi said a local grandmother, daughter and grandchildren were at the air freshen stand recently. He told them how to hold the gun and how to shoot correctly, but he also taught them the precautions to take. Weapons must be locked, especially when there are children in the household. Keep them “up” and unloaded too, he said. First-time gun owners should enroll in safety courses and a responsible gun owner will keep their guns safe and away from unwanted handlers, he said. he declares. These are the things he says to anyone who is just starting to shoot his business.

Its goal, however, is not just to educate people, it is to make them enjoy the sport of shooting. “They will learn to shoot here,” he said.

Copyright 2021 Associated press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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