Range Review – Caswell’s Shooting Range


Caswell’s has been in Mesa, Arizona for over twenty years, but they’ve recently acquired new ownership. I got a chance to talk to the Carolann Bergeson, the new Director of Operations about the changes at Caswell’s and what that means to shooters in the East Valley.

Interior of Caswell's

There are over a dozen gun stores in the Mesa area, including heavy hitters like Bass Pro Shops and Sportsman’s Warehouse, which could make for over-saturation of the market. Caswell’s has found success by focusing on the personal protection and hobby shooter rather than pursuing the hunting and outdoor markets and ties in their sales department with a full range of training options and the popularity of their indoor range. Their 11 bay range has electronic target retrieval systems and air-conditioning (a welcome relief in the Arizona summer) and are staffed with friendly range officers to help keep everyone safe.

With Arizona removing the permit requirements for concealed carry last year, demand for the state-approved CCW course has dropped off, but Caswell’s has seen a marked improvement in other training courses like their Intro to Firearms and Defensive Pistol classes.

Guns. Lots of guns.

One of my pet peeves is gun store clerks who treat you rudely or ignore paying customers in favor of chatting with their friends, and I asked Carolann about their customer service training.

“The key to good service is first making sure you have enough people behind the counter”, she said, “and then making sure they know what good customer service is. We coach our sales staff and have monthly feedback and training sessions where they tell us what the customers are asking for and we coach them on the best way to help the customer. We want salespeople who are courteous and helpful and have a real enthusiasm for the job.” 


Another pet peeve is gun store customers who shop for their wives/girlfriend and insist on getting a snub-nosed .38 or something similar, and I asked Carolann what her staff does in that situation. 

“We ask the person themselves what they want in a gun. We’ve found that if we get them talking about what they’ve shot in the past, we can find the right gun for them, and if we can’t, we suggest they try a few pistols out on our range before making a decision.”

I also asked Carolann what her pistol of choice was: “A 9mm HK I got as a gift, but I’ve been trying out some of the rental guns and I think I might want to make a change.”

The indoor range and the training options it provides are what sets Caswell’s apart, allowing prospective gun buyers to try a rental version of the pistol they’re considering before they buy it, and if they chose to buy a new gun that day, Caswell’s will discount the range fee off the purchase price.

Urban Firearms Institute

Caswell’s is located at 856 E. Isabella Ave. Mesa, AZ 85204. Their phone number is 480-497-5141 / 1-888-72SHOOT and they can be found online at www.caswells.com

All photos c. 2011 Exurbanleague.com

Lucky Gunner Blogger Shoot Round Up

Shooter versus hunter

I was going to do a long post on the different mindset between Gun Culture 1.0 (hunting) and Gun Culture 2.0 (personal defence), but Dave from (Off) Center Mass does a better job of it than I ever could

“Self-defense shooters are training for the worst-case scenario, hoping to never have to put their skills to the test. They may train and practice their whole lives and never even draw their firearm under stress. Hunters are training for a best-case scenario, the time when their chosen animal leaves cover and enters their range of fire. They need to know they can pull that trigger and make a clean kill. It’s an entirely different emotional direction to take towards shooting.” 

In other words, self-defence is passive: I do not want nor will I start the situation where I may need to shoot. Hunting is active: I am looking for shot and want it to happen. 

It’s an entirely different kind of mindset. Altogether.

More …

There’s fast, and then there’s Sevigny fast.

The pistol-training.com F.A.S.T. drill is an iconic drill that looks simple, but in reality tests you and your equipment to the max. 

Range: 7 yards
Target: 3×5 card (head), 8″ plate (body)
Start position: weapon concealed or in duty condition with all holster retention devices active; shooter facing downrange in relaxed stance with arms down at sides
Rounds fired: 6

10+ seconds: Novice
less than 10 seconds: Intermediate
less than 7 seconds: Advanced
less than 5 seconds: Expert 

4.74 seconds is good. Very good. But it pales to what a robot mutant cyborg can do. 

That 1.18 seconds seems awwwwwfully long, doesn’t it?

More …

Not flight-ready

Having invented the Tactical Blackberry Case™, I thought I’d make another run through the Federal Air Marshal Qualifier to see how it works.

Once again, I used my CZ P07 in a Crossbreed SuperTuck, concealed with an oversized t-shirt. This time, my spare mag was stored in the Tactical Blackberry Case™ and once again I used a USPSA Metric target instead of an FBI QIT target, scoring A, B and C hits as 5 pts, D hits as 2, and misses as zero.

The Drill

All strings are shot from a distance of seven yards. Qualification: Time: Cannot exceed total time for each drill. Example: Drill #1 – 1st time 1.70 seconds, 2nd time 1.55 seconds; Total = 3.25 seconds = Go. Must achieve a “GO” on each drill. Accuracy: Target is FBI “QIT” (bottle). Total rounds fired is 30. Point value inside bottle = 5. Point value touching line or outside bottle = 2. Maximum possible score = 150. Mininum qualifying score = 135. All stages must equal “GO” to qualify.

Drill Par Time Score Result
One Round (Twice)
Concealed from Holster
1.65 Seconds
3.3 Seconds Total
1.65 1.54 5 Pass
1.65 1.63 2 Pass
Double Tap (twice)
Low Ready
1.35 Seconds
2.70 Seconds Total
1.35 1.26 10 Pass
1.35 1.17 10 Pass
Low Ready
Fire 6 rounds at one target; no more than 0.6 second between each shot.
3 Seconds Total
3.00 3.31 30 Fail
One Shot, speed reload, one shot (twice).
Low Ready
3.25 Seconds
6.5 Seconds Total
3.25 3.85 10 Fail
3.25 4.25 10 Fail
One Round each at two targets three yards apart (twice).
Low Ready
1.65 Seconds
3.3 Seconds Total
1.65 1.26 5 (1M)


1.65 1.35 4 Pass
180° pivot. One round each at three targets (twice). Turn left, then right.
Low Ready.
3.5 Seconds.
7.0 Seconds Total
3.50 2.84 7 (1M) Pass
3.50 4.88 9 Fail
One Round, slide locks back; drop to one knee; reload; fire one round. (twice).
4.0 Seconds
8.0 Seconds Total
4.00 5.25 10 Fail
4.00 4.25 10 Fail
Results     112 Fail

A Few Thoughts:

Fail. Again. 

The Tactical Blackberry Case worked in that all my reloads were consistent, but it still wasn’t fast enough to make par. Looks like an IWB mag pouch or the like would be better. 

I had a hard time getting the P07 on-target: My first-shot times from low ready were close to a second at times, which indicates that a) I need to practice with this gun more and b) a new front sight might not be a bad investment. 

More …

Ninth Report

I did it. 

No, not classify as C Class yet (that will have to wait for next month), but rather, I finally shot a perfect Dot Torture Drill. 

Dot Torture Drill: 50/50


If a shot touches the line on an USPSA or IDPA target, it counts, and that’s what I’m going with here unless someone tells me differently. And look at the difference a year of semi-regular practice makes!

First take

Now that I’m shot it clean, it’s time to shoot it clean again. And then again. And then move the target out to 5 yards, lather, rinse, repeat. And the hits just keep a-comin’…

El Presidenté 

Gun: CZ 75 1st Run 2nd Run 3rd Run
Target One 2A 2C 3A C A 2C D
Target Two A 3C A 3C A 3C
Target Three 3A D 3A D 3A C

Time 8.04 7.30 10.54
A’s 6 8 5
C’s 5 3 6
D’s 1 1 1
Points 46 50 44
Score 5.72 6.85 4.17
Draw 1.81 1.72 2.01
Reload 2.43 2.15 2.89
Avg. Split 0.38 0.34 0.48

Yep, my all-time best score, fastest draw and fastest average split on the El Presidenté. 

What made the difference between my quasi-sucky last outing and this outing? Two things: 

  1. Practicing with a .22 every week. Well, at least until my .22 broke, that is. I knew that target transitions, weak hand only and strong hand only shooting were issues, so I practiced shooting those at Caswell’s during the week. 
  2. Dry fire. I’d been neglecting dry-fire practice over the past few months, so I made it a point to get in at least 15 minutes of dry fire each night, and it made a difference. 

Now, on to C Class! 

More …

A New National Match

Looks like the NRA wants to jump on board the 3 gun bandwagon

“Here is our guide for the inaugural National Defense Match, debuting at the National Championships in Camp Perry this year during the High Power Rifle Competition. This is a standalone championship, and the Course of Fire utilized in the match is one we hope that clubs across the country will utilize once they see how exciting it can be. What sets apart this match from other NRA Competitive Shooting disciplines is the fact that it is designed to mimic real-life training and tactics. Rifles must be on your person and slung round your shoulder when not in use … just like our Armed Forces stationed across the world are required to do.” 

And the rulebook is 8 (count ’em!) pages long, which is a nice change from the IDPA and USPSA DungeonMaster’s Guides rulebooks. 

Some high points from the rulebook FAQ: 

  • The majority of the Course of Fire for the National Defense Match takes places at short ranges, closely mimicking real world scenarios.  
  • A 500 yard range is NOT required to run a NDM match. For instance to run a NDM out to 100 yards just use the COF of 7, 15, 30, 60 and 100 yards. If you have a 500 yard range then shoot the COF out to the distance you feel applicable to your competitor base. 
  • A no muzzling/sweeping policy will always be in effect, and empty chamber indicators are required.  
  • The target NDM 5-120 is used at 7, 15, and 30 yards then switch to a full sized NRA D-1 tombstone (or equivalent) for 60 yards or more. 
  • The only other equipment needed is a shot timer, target stands and a barricade. The target stands and barricade are easily made from materials available through your local hardware store.  See Figure 1. 
  • The point of this match is readiness and with that theme this match will be administered differently than other matches currently running. 

I love the Rifle/Shotgun matches at Rio, but they take up most of a Saturday. This looks like a quick, cheap and easy-to-run alternative to a bigger, more complicated match. Here’s hoping this match soon shows up at a range near you.

More …

This is my rifle, this is my gun. Oh wait, no, it ain’t either of those.

My 14 year old nephew has an extensive airsoft collection including several replica M4 carbines. According to one local police department, he’s a criminal who is just WAITING to commit robbery.

AVONDALE, AZ – Avondale police officers are concerned over the amount of replica military assault guns now being used by children and criminals.

Officers seized 25 military assault-looking rifles, some fake and some airsoft, being used in home invasions, armed robberies, threats and intimidations, police said.

The seizure was part of an undercover operation with the Avondale Police Department’s Street Crimes Unit.

Ok, got that “children and criminals” part? The guns LOOK like real guns (well, aside from the fact that they’re the wrong caliber. Oh, and made of plastic.), so therefore, we have to seize them. It’s for the children, after all.

What’s next, seizure of fake VW-based Ferarris and Rolls-Royces? I mean, they LOOK just like a real Phantom or 308GTS, right (well, aside from the wheelbase, trim, engine noise, styling, interior, etc.), so they have to actually BE the real thing and not a harmless, cheap wannabe luxury car.

We need to shut down the kit car industry right away. Please, won’t somebody think of the children?