MORGANTOWN — Defense In Depth, a new firearms education/training center and retailer in Morgantown, aims to cater to the needs of new and experienced shooters alike with its state-of-the-art facility.
Located in Sabraton Plaza, Defense In Depth is a 20,000-square-foot, $11 million center featuring a 75-foot long indoor gun range with 16 lanes, classrooms, a 30-foot long computer simulation screen and retail showroom.
In the end, Leech said they wanted the business to focus on education, training and situational awareness regarding firearms, with actual gun sales being thrown into the mix last.
“You can buy a piano or a guitar, but that doesn’t mean you know how to play. The same thing applies with guns,” Leech said. He noted that Defense In Depth will offer friendly expert advice regardless of a shooter’s level of experience so they feel comfortable and can improve.
Leech said Defense In Depth has 26 specialists on hand, all of whom have experience working with firearms via the military, law enforcement and other agencies. He said 2,000 job applications were filed and of the 26 who were hired, they bring a collective 300 years of experience.
Brett Wingard, one of the range safety officers, has trained more than 10,000 Boy Scouts in the use of firearms.
Lew Soccorsi, Defense In Depth’s general manager and director of training, said the ultimate goal of any situation is to avoid conflict. However, that isn’t always an option, which is why the center focuses just as much emphasis on when and when not to use a firearm as much as how to use one.
These lessons can be brought to life on the Ti Training simulator, which has more than 800 scenarios and 30,000 potential outcomes. Adding to atmosphere is the use of actual firearms that have been tweaked to fire compressed air, generating actual recoil. New scenarios can be generated simply by taking a photo of a real place and integrating it with the simulation system.
“It takes away the first-time jitters for people that never held a gun and its fun, kind of like a video game,” he said.
Soccorsi said Defense In Depth will host an active shooting information seminar from 11 a.m. to noon, and from 1-2 p.m. and 3-4 p.m. on Dec. 2, and everyone is welcome.
During the 2012 mass shooting in a Colorado movie theater, he explained many people only had one option to keep their loved ones safe and that was to lay on top of them. Some died as a result.
“We are teaching another option,” Soccorsi said. “We see these tragedies on the news, but I don’t think we give them much thought as to how this might affect us in little old Morgantown.”
Soccorsi said 30 different classes will be held at Defense In Depth, including those for women led by a female instructors to those who have never held a firearm before.
Nick DeMedici, former Monongalia County deputy and state trooper, is the director of sales and training for the center. He said that personalized attention also applies to firearms sales.
Defense In Depth will work to make sure the shooter and the gun match up in terms of size and the role that gun is intended for. He added that guests can rent from the 130 firearms set aside for use on its indoor range. Among them is the Sig Sauer P320, the 9mm pistol recently ordered by the U.S. Army to replace its current stock of Berettas.
The range boasts a state-of-the-art ventilation system that removes lead particulates and the smell of burnt powder almost immediately. This, he said, allows shoppers to effectively test drive the guns they’re thinking about buying, something very few shops can provide. Various programmable settings means shooters can set up timed exercises in which the targets are shrouded in strobe lighting.
DeMedici said Defense In Depth has about $7 million worth of inventory up for sale — new guns, used guns, ammunition, holsters, magazines, rifle cases, targets, apparel and other accessories. Anything that isn’t available in the store, he said, can be viewed and ordered at their kiosk and shipped directly to the customer’s home.
Also on the retail floor is the workshop of gunsmith Malcolm Rogers, who can clean guns after patrons practice, customize their guns, re-barrel them for a different caliber and even take a look at guns that aren’t functioning to their full capacity.
“We can modify things in any way — as long as it’s safe — to make them more comfortable,” he said.
With the simulation setup, gun range, rental services, retail space and gunsmith all in one location, Soccorsi said there isn’t anything like it within 500 miles of Morgantown or the East Coast.
As a thank-you to veterans, military personnel, law enforcement and emergency service workers, Defense In Depth will have a soft opening day for them from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Nov. 28. The grand opening and ceremonial ribbon cutting will be held at 10 a.m. Dec. 1. An entire month of opening specials, giveaways and events will follow.
by Conor Griffith STAFF WRITER. Click here to view this article at Theet.com