Indoor gun range now open in Okeechobee

OKEECHOBEE — Center Mass Gun Range had its grand opening on Thursday, Jan. 25.

Owners Bob Kreitz and Margaret Kreitz want Center Mass to be family-friendly and able to cater to both experienced and new shooters.

“One issue we’ve had,” said Mrs. Kreitz, “is that we’ve been to other gun ranges on the coast where the workers were very rude, or they don’t acknowledge you when you walk in.

Our big thing here is that you are acknowledged and not ignored, and no question that you ask is going to be thought of as stupid. We were all new shooters at one point.”

Center Mass Gun Range owners Bob Kreitz (left) and Margaret Kreitz (right) want their range to be welcoming to experienced and beginner shooters alike. Photo by Richard Marion.

Center Mass, which is located at 1934 Center St. in Okeechobee near RaceTrac, is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and will have three ranges with eight lanes each.

At present, only one of the ranges is open, with work on the two others scheduled to be completed in May. The company also has a wide selection of pistols and rifles for sale, and rents fully automatic machine guns but sells only those made before 1986.

Each range is climate-controlled, with air filtration systems designed to keep air inside the range fresh and clean.

Prices range from $8.99 for 30 minutes on a lane for one shooter, while a second shooter will only cost $4.50, and a third and fourth will cost $2.25 each.

Sixty-minute sessions will cost $14.99 for one shooter, while a second costs $7.50, and the third and fourth costing $3.75 each. Gun rentals will be $5 for a pistol, $10 for a rifle, and $25 for a fully auto machine gun.

Patrons may also bring their own firearms to use on the range as well.

And for those in any group who are not ready to take the step into the gun range with live ammo, Center Mass offers seven simulation rooms where shooters can practice with fake guns in multiple computer-generated scenarios. An early favorite is the “Zombie Apocalypse” scenario, where shooters take turns fighting off hordes of the undead, all while competing for the best score.

Prices for the simulation rooms range from $20 for 30 minutes for one shooter, while the second will cost $5. The third and fourth shooters get in free.

Sixty minutes in the simulation room will run you $30 for one shooter, with the second costing $10 and the third and fourth being free.

Bob and Margaret Kreitz operated a pool business in Okeechobee for years before opening up Center Mass this month.

“We both always loved shooting,” explained Mr. Kreitz. “A few years ago, we started manufacturing ammunition here in Okeechobee, and we would sell to local law enforcement and various gun ranges. Recently, we downsized our pool business, which left us with a lot of room in our warehouse. So the options were to rent it out or use it ourselves. Seeing as how we loved guns so much, we decided to open an indoor gun range. Before, you’d have to travel for a least an hour from Okeechobee to find an indoor range, so it feels like a good fit for our town.”

The Kreitzes want safety to be a top priority, and have several rules in place to ensure they achieve that goal. One such rule is that any gun carried into the store must be in a case. If you don’t have a gun case, Center Mass will even let you use one of their cases to bring your firearm inside the range.

“Whether you’re a new shooter or experienced shooter, we have something here for you,” said Mr. Kreitz. “Kids and first-time shooters can learn to shoot on our simulators, without the fear of any live fire ammunition, or the noise and everything. Then they can work their way up from there to the range.”

Center Mass, in partnership with the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office, is hosting a free gun safety class for kids at 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 3. The class is intended for children ages 3-12 and will help teach children what to do if they encounter a firearm and how to react. Center Mass asks that anyone interested in attending should please register in advance in person or by phone, by calling 863-824-0715.

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