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$1.7M shooting range being built in Berks

PHOTO/STEVE REINBRECHT Chester Perfetto and grandson Chris Perfetto own C.P. Tactical Solutions shooting range, being built on Caramist Drive, South Heidelberg Township.

Gun lovers will stand in line when C.P. Tactical Solutions opens its shooting range outside of Reading this fall, predict Chester and Chris Perfetto, the grandfather and grandson in charge of the project.

“There may be a waiting time” to shoot, said Chester Perfetto, a businessman in his 80s who also owns Chester Perfetto Agency Inc., an insurance agency in nearby Spring Township. “I think we’re going to get swamped.”

The pair of military veterans – Chester served in the Korean War, Chris in Operation Enduring Freedom – plan to open the range in South Heidelberg Township in late October or mid-November.

People need a place in Berks County for firearm training and target practice, the Perfettos are convinced.

In 2016, about 41,400 firearms were sold or transferred in Berks, and more than 11,400 people applied for gun licenses in the county, according to the state police 2016 firearms report.

Officials with Cabela’s, a national outdoor-equipment retailer, are interested in selling guns at the range and told the Perfettos that they sold 40,000 guns last year at the store near Hamburg, Chester Perfetto said. Cabela’s officials declined to comment.

10 SHOOTING LANES

Just off Route 422 between Sinking Spring and Wernersville, the range’s 10 lanes will be 25 yards long, enough for law-enforcement qualifications. Customers will be able to shoot handguns, rifles and shotguns.

Perfetto Garrison LLC bought the 4-acre property for $320,000 in August 2016, according to Berks County records. The permit describes a 172-foot by 47-foot building and puts the construction cost at $1.7 million.

The nearest indoor range appears to be a business called Sensibly Armed, in St. Lawrence, just east of Reading, which provides training and sales. It has six indoor lanes, 45 feet long, and customers may use only pistol-caliber ammunition.

FIREARMS INSTRUCTION

Some states require four or six hours of instruction before granting gun permits – but buyers in Pennsylvania are on their own, Chris Perfetto noted.

And many suburban owners weren’t taught the basics by dads or granddads. That means training is in demand, said Chris Perfetto, who is certified to instruct people in the military and law enforcement.

“A lot more women than men” are seeking training, he said. “And they’re easier to teach – they listen.”

Many men want to shoot like they’ve seen in movies, he said.

25-30 EMPLOYEES

The range will be open 9 a.m.-9 p.m. seven days a week and employ 25-30 people, full- and part-time. Customers will be able to shoot for 30 minutes for $18 and to borrow firearms to use at the range – if they can show a Pennsylvania license to carry firearms.

A shop will sell everything from handguns to machine guns to suppressors, which reduce the amount of noise and muzzle flash. Berks had 84 gun dealers in 2016, according to the state police.

Chris Perfetto expects to have an open house once a month and safety programs for young people. The pair expects to have shooting competitions.

“That’s very popular outside the area,” Chester Perfetto said.

PEOPLE AND PRICE

The Perfettos looked at several locations before settling on the lot at 4 Caramist Drive near South Heidelberg Township’s industrial park, off Krick Lane. They chose it because it’s not far from population centers and had a good price, Chester Perfetto said, who added that township officials have cooperated.

The shooting range will open in a cluster of new businesses. Heating contractor E.G. Smith Inc. and Berks Auto Collision Center both opened nearby last November.

Down the road, a company called Prime Wellness of Pennsylvania plans to start growing medical marijuana by the end of the year.

The township does not offer incentives for businesses to locate there, township manager Sean McKee said.

SAFETY CONCERNS ADDRESSED

Some residents of Caramist Village, a townhouse community a few hundred yards away, “were not pleased with the gun range being located so close to their residential homes,” McKee said.

Safety is the major concern for the developers, township officials and customers, Chester Perfetto said. The building is designed to stop any sort of bullet travelling in any direction, he said.

Concrete walls are 10-1/2-inches thick. A 3/4-inch steel plate will shield the concrete wall behind the targets. In front of that, a 2-foot-thick wall of rubber granules, from floor to ceiling, will stop the bullets.

Once or twice a year, a contractor will spread out the rubber granules, recycle the lead and restore the “trap.”

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