Revamped shooting range aims to expand

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Ryleigh Reynolds, 14, takes aim Saturday while practicing with her new bow on the archery range at Eastern North Carolina Indoor Shooting Range.


Staff Writer

Monday, February 18, 2019

A Rocky Mount indoor shooting range is under new ownership — with a new name — and the new owner has plans to include space so patrons can engage in ax throwing.

Leon Peele, 52, has put out a temporary sign showing what had been Shooter’s is now Eastern North Carolina Indoor Shooting Range.

Since 2006, Peele has had a business called APF International, which consults and trains in the field of public safety, and he said he had been conducting training at what had been Shooter’s.

"And I saw the potential that it had being an indoor shooting range and this part of North Carolina not having an indoor shooting range," he said.

The Eastern North Carolina range is on the far northeastern side of Rocky Mount in a metal building on a street just northwest of Twin County Motorsports.

The right side of the Eastern North Carolina building's interior has eight lanes for shooting firearms, while the left side has 16 lanes for shooting arrows.

The plan is for the far left side to have a couple of lanes for throwing axes.

"I've had several people asking about the ax throwing, I sure have," Peele said.

He said he purchased the former Shooter’s building in January.

At the Eastern North Carolina range, Peele said most of the patrons practice with handguns and said some of them practice with long firearms.

He said the number of patrons varies daily.

"Weekends are very busy," he said, adding there can be an average of probably 10-20 people on the weekdays to an average of 40-50.

He said the clientele is comprised of people of all ages, with a lot of people coming Wilson and Greenville.

And he said a church group from Greenville called and scheduled a time to come next month.

"A lot of the church groups are now training to have armed security in their churches due to safety reasons," he said.

He said the mass shooting at a rural church in November 2017 in Sutherland Springs, Texas, is a factor.

"We have all kinds of people coming in. Some of them are concerned about safety," he said.

He noted the local chapter of Well Armed Woman conducts training for ladies once each month. Well Armed Woman proclaims itself to be the complete resource for women who own firearms.

And he noted he "definitely" has been seeing a trend toward women arming themselves.

"Women are looking for protection," he said. "Just like anyone else, they fear that something could happen where they will need to self-protect themselves."

He also said there are patrons who hunt and who like to shoot for sport. He also said there are first responders who come off duty to keep their skills honed.

He said people wanting to use the range must be at least 12 years old and teens wanting to use the range must have a parent or a guardian present.

Additionally, Peele said plans are to start selling firearms. Presently, the business sells ammunition and firearms products.

Peele is a law enforcement officer in the Twin Counties who's on the verge of retiring after more than two decades in the profession.

He said he has lived and grown up in the Twin Counties area and has served more than two decades as a paramedic.

He noted he was once chief administrator of the West Edgecombe Rescue Squad and noted he worked in Iraq from 2006-07 as a medic for a private contractor.

"I love to help people in need of crisis," he said. "And that’s what I was placed on this earth to do, was to help people." 

The Eastern North Carolina range is at 141 North Business Court and can be reached by phone at 977-9878.

Peele said the business hours are from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on weekdays and Saturdays and from noon to 7:30 p.m. on Sundays.