As the calendar transitions into spring and summer, Lake Martin Machine Gun on Highway 229 in Eclectic is expanding to allow people to bring their own firearms.
At the 90-acre range, patrons can touch and shoot historic machine guns that would otherwise be unobtainable in a controlled environment under the direct supervision of trained professionals.
Daily and yearly memberships are available and active-duty law enforcement can shoot free.
“They have enough to pay for so practicing to save our lives one day is on us,” co-owner David McGirt said.
The range has expanded its hours and is now open Friday, Saturday and Monday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon until 5 p.m.
A range safety officer will run the range at all times while patrons enjoy the pistol lanes out to 25 yards and rifle lanes out to 50 yards.
Steel targets are available on the pistol and rifle lanes.
Ammunition, hearing protection, eye protection and targets are available at the range’s new pro shop.
The facility has been upgraded so shooters can enjoy the comfort of air conditioning in warmer months and heat during the cooler season.
Annual membership allows for unlimited visits throughout the month and the ability to visit their NFA purchases at the range while waiting for tax stamp approvals. Annual members will also have the first shot at purchasing rental range guns as they cycle out.
Members must be at least 18 and younger shooters are allowed with parental supervision.
For those new to shooting, Lake Martin Machine Gun offers NRA safety and training courses taught by certified instructors onsite.
“We offer all of the training and licenses so the customer only needs comfortable clothes and closed-toe shoes,” McGirt said. “Safety glasses, hearing protection and gloves, if needed, are all supplied.”
Customers interested in machine gun rentals will be matched one-on-one with a safety officer who will assist the customer in all aspects of shooting.
With 25 rental machine guns available, there are three brackets of fully automatic firearms for people to use — sub-machine guns such as a Glock 18, IMI Uzi, Thompson, Grease Gun and H&K MP5s, and machine guns such as a Colt M4 and AK-47 or belt-fed weapons such as the M1919, M60, MG42 and M2HB.
Before Lake Martin Machine Gun opened, people had to travel as far away as Knob Creek, Kentucky, to handle such unique guns.
The opportunity to shoot a machine gun is unique because in May 1986, President Ronald Reagan signed the Firearm Owners Protection Act, which among other things made the sale of fully automatic firearms manufactured before that year illegal. Owning the guns is still legal but it’s exceptionally difficult and expensive.
For more information, call 1-888-660-6462 or visit www.lakemartinmachinegun.com.