CORYELL COUNTY — A 21-year veteran of the Army, and current contractor on Fort Hood, is looking to share his passion for firearms with others with a new gun range near Gatesville.
Chris Whitaker, the owner of One In The Chamber Sports Range, said rifles are his passion.
“I’ve been around firearms my whole life, including the military,” he said. “And I like going out long-range shooting, specifically.”
Whitaker retired out of Fort Hood in 2005. He retired as a sergeant first class and was assigned as an operations sergeant in a brigade S-3 shop in the 4th Infantry Division.
He deployed to Iraq with the 4th Infantry Division in 2003-2004.
The range, which is located at 717 County Road 148 in Gatesville, is equipped with 25 rifle lanes for shooting up to 600 yards and 10 pistol lanes with a maximum range of 16 yards, Whitaker said.
The range, which opened for business on the Fourth of July, has seen a variety of different people come out to shoot, Whitaker said.
“We’ve seen a good cross-section of a whole lot of different people,” he said. “We get a lot of repeat customers, which is good, (but) I see some new ones through the weekend.”
Recently, even Killeen’s SWAT team utilized the range to become more familiar with some long-range rifles it had acquired.
Whitaker said that to his knowledge his range is one of the only ones in the area, along with the Holley Gun Range (also in Gatesville), that offer long-distance lanes of 600 yards or more. Holley Gun Range goes up to 1,400 yards he said.
Whitaker said Best of the West Shooting Sports in Liberty Hill had 1,000-yard lanes, but it has closed down.
“When they closed down ... long-range shooters up here, they didn’t have a place to go,” he said. “So, that was another one of my reasons to open this one up.”
When people come to the range, they can shoot all day.
The range is open Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“A lot of ranges let you shoot for two or three hours and then you’re done,” Whitaker said. “Not mine. My range fee is all day long.”
Range fees are $17 for the general public, but members pay $12. A one-year membership costs $25.
On top of offering rifle and pistol lanes, Whitaker also teaches license-to-carry courses.
“I wanted to be the NRA instructor, so I went and got NRA certified as an instructor,” he said. “I’m also a license to carry instructor.”
Residents can find class dates and times on the range’s website at www.oneinthechambersportsrange.com.
Not only can people shoot or take classes at the range, they can also purchase guns and have Federal Firearms Licenses transferred.
The 21-year veteran of the Army has wanted to own a range for a while.
“It’s been a dream of mine, I guess, for about four or five years,” he said Tuesday. “I’ve been around firearms my whole life.”
On Sept. 26, Whitaker’s range is hosting a two-gun competition in which proceeds will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project.
Competitors will navigate a 100-yard course and engage a total of 18 targets with a pistol and a rifle.
Up to 60 people can enter the competition for a $50 entry fee. Cash prizes will be awarded to the top three shooters.