Today’s feature is from our parent service, The Outdoor Wire.
Back in the 1980s, Lenny Magill became well known for producing handgun training videos. So well known, in fact, that he started selling the gun gadgets featured in his videos via GlockStore.com. That’s worked out well for him. So well that GlockStore.com has become the largest seller of Glock parts in the world.
Magill wasn’t content to stop there. Today, there’s a retail and training hub in San Diego that’s frequented by police officers, military personnel and others from the veritable alphabet-soup of federal agents located in the area.
But what he calls the “crazy in California” has led Magill to make another big business decision. He’s relocated to Nashville and opened a new location that includes everything his San Diego store offers -and much more.
Why Tennessee? “It was the last place we thought of looking,” Magill admitted, “then we started looking closer. Turned out it was the perfect location.” Reasons he’s cited include everything from the absence of Tennessee state income tax, to a central location for shipping and distribution, the international airport, a reasonable cost of living and, most importantly, Tennessee’s firearms-friendly laws and environment.
GS Nashville (above) offers spacious retail and shooting areas for customers. But there’s a lot going on behind the public areas, from CNC manufacturing (center) to production of training videos (below). OWDN Images.
Doesn’t mean he’s turned his back on California, only that he recognized the political realities. “All of California isn’t as crazy as it’s reputation,” he said, “but the fact is California is run by Los Angeles, Sacramento and San Francisco - they are crazy. Most of California is really conservative- like Orange County- but they are outvoted by those population centers.”
Lenny Magill is best-known for his shooting and instructional videos, but his business savvy is equally well-developed.
Realization that the state’s “crazy taxes” and a rapidly-shrinking list of “California-approved guns” started the search for a new location more than three years ago. After finding and purchasing a $5.5 million commercial building in Nashville (near the airport, of course) the project of opening GS Nashville got underway.
Now, he says, “the new place and Tennessee, is like a dream come true for me.”
After touring the new place, there’s a lot to like. My only regret is it’s not nearly as close to my home as I’d like. My local range has a lot to like, including convenience, but it doesn’t come close to comparing with the GS facility’s appeal to an action pistol shooter.
How is the GS Nashville different? First, it’s larger than most gun stores and/or indoor shooting facilities. The showrooms and retail areas are spacious, well-lighted and staffed with folks who reflect Magill’s gun-friendly demeanor and professional business attitude. And it’s not just a Glock store. The displays featured pistols from SIG, CZ, and plenty of other brands - especially the brands that appeal to action pistol competitors. Magill’s roots are in competitive shooting.
And the ranges are…different. The first thing you notice is they’re definitely not the traditional indoor range. No lines of bays and target lines, separated by bullet-proof partitions. These ranges are designed to accommodate what Magill calls the “realities” of personal defense.
Movable wall assemblies inside bulletproof shooting areas along with all manner of targets, from traditional cardboard to the powered, moving targets like you’d encounter in high-end shooting matches enable shooters to learn how to shoot dynamically.
“It’s the realization that personal defense situations don’t happen in a slow, flat line,” Magill laughed, “we want you to learn to shoot-and-move; to put rounds onto a target- quickly- until it’s neutralized.”
“Here,” he laughs,”we’re safe -always- but you’re not going to get told to slow down that rate of fire. We teach real-life situational awareness. Big difference from ‘aim….breathe…squeeze.’”
The facility also features training areas for individual or small group instruction. Magill says his ranges are like workouts in a high-level health club. “All the machines are here,” he explains, “but you don’t workout on every machine every time you visit. You work on a specific muscle group each visit. We’re like that too, we want you to learn the basics first- safe handling of your firearm, how it works, how to maintain it and shoot it accurately. Then you move on to the more difficult aspects of practical shooting.”
Magill admits his ideas are “different” in several ways. For instance, he has plans for matches from the various sports. But they’ll be run by his staff and run more them like golf than shooting competitions.
“You spend a full day at a six-to-eight stage match,” he laughs, “take out all the delays and you realize you spent hours for about four minutes of actual shooting.”
His idea assigns foursomes, not squads of up to ten shooters a specific starting time. They show up, shoot the first stage (inside and allotted time), then move to the next stage - ala tee times on a golf course. “That way you can shoot a full match in a couple of hours, not a full day,” Magill explains, “You can shoot your match and still complete your ‘honey do’ list - either before or after the match, depending on your start time.”
Magill’s ideas about retail are also “different.” His bread and butter has always been the enhancement part, specifically for the Glock pistols. It’s what made his business the world’s largest seller of Glock parts, and led him into the manufacturing of his own line of Glock enhancement parts. Today, CNC machines are turning out parts in Nashville and his shipping facilities are also online and growing. One day, he says, he plans to offer a complete Magill pistol.
But there’s one big difference customers are certain to notice if/when they buy a custom part, from a trigger to a set of night sights. The gunsmiths will install them for you -for free- while you’re there.
“It shocks other retailers,” he laughs, “but I can’t see charging $75 for a service that only takes a couple of minutes. Seems to me that’s one of those things you offer customers because they buy from you, not another way to make more money off them.”
“But,” he laughs, “maybe that’s just me.”
We’ll keep you posted.
— Jim Shepherd