The Dothan Gun Club, located just off of Highway 84 in Dale County, encourages community members to kick off the weekend, or even a weekday, with a bang.
From steel bays and silhouettes, to an archery lover’s playground, owner and head of the Dothan Gun Club Dan Mitchell ensures club members have the tools they need to have fun at the range while being safe.
“We have a lot of really neat stuff here, but anyone will tell you that I am a stickler for the rules,” Mitchell said. “We have to be about safety first. I want this to be a learning environment and range for experienced shooters that people feel safe at.”
A three-page rule book has to be followed by all club members to the letter, and with rules always at the forefront of any gun or archery exercise, people have the freedom to pull the trigger and let loose.
The range features a 400-yard rifle bay, 40-yard pistol bays, a 360 range, cars to simulate urban situations, and an additional clay thrower that swivels on an axis to deliver a different throw every time.
However, what makes the range special is that shooters can practice at their own pace, on their own time; there is no director telling members when they can and cannot shoot. Additionally, shooters can draw from holsters and can run while shooting, which are both uncommon features as most ranges do not allow shooters to do so.
The range is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. until the sun goes down, and roughly four or five days a week club members can find Mitchell roaming the area in his lifted white truck.
For those that have never shot a gun or bow before, the idea of becoming a member to the range may seem a bit intimidating. However, Mitchell said that first-time shooters approach him all of the time for basic lessons and tips on gun and bow handling. He has even had experienced shooters come to him to sight in scopes and for gun management assistance.
A hairdresser by trade, Mitchell said it was new shooters that inspired him to open the club just four years ago. He said he would come into contact with many women at the salon that wished they had a safe, fun avenue to get into recreational shooting and firearms training.
Luckily for them, Mitchell is a master class professional competition shooter with over 35 years of experience with firearms. He was in the Army for twelve years, where he learned the various aspects of self-defense, and later became a certified NRA pistol instructor.
Since its start, the club has grown so much that Mitchell is now in the process of expanding his facility.
Already under construction, a large seating area with grills and picnic tables will allow members to spend an entire day at the range. Mitchell is also preparing to add eight to ten more pistol bays, which he hopes will accommodate USPSA, IDPA, and 3 Gun competitions. Additionally, the range will feature a large clubhouse with a full kitchen, bathrooms, lounging area and classroom.
However, only members of the club have access to the facility’s exclusive features.
To be a member of the club there is an annual fee of $250. The dues are prorated throughout the fiscal year for new members; however the year starts August 1.
Mitchell encourages new and experienced shooters to come to the range, and take advantage of the safe and fun atmosphere. He also wants to remind members to get their dues in on or before the first of the month.