BEHIND THE SCENES: Shooters World Tampa


Shooters World has a separate part of their store dedicated to tactical weapons and accessores. (Feb. 5, 2013 Herald-Tribune staff photo by Mike Lang)

I can occasionally get a gun story into the daily newspaper. Here a link to a gun story that ran Friday.

Mike Lang, our photo chief, and I spent several hours reporting at Shooters World in Tampa.

It was hard to leave.

Writing about guns for a mainstream audience is not always easy. Here’s some takeaways that were a bit too esoteric for the paper:

First impression – the place is overwhelming. Plan on spending an entire day.

Second impression – still overwhelming. This place is huge.

The prices were incredible.  Having just seen Magpul AR mags priced at $60 at a gun show in Palmetto, it was refreshing to see them selling for $30 at Shooters World. And they’ve got ARs – priced at close to MSRP. They’re name brands, Colt, CORE-15, Daniel Defense and more.

The staff is knowledgeable and friendly. There is absolutely zero “gun shop attitude.” That alone would bring me back.

The store has some unique innovations.

There are CCTV cameras in the 100-yard indoor rifle range, and a monitor next to every bench, so there’s no need for binos or for the wait associated with winding back the targets on the wire.

There’s a round sink in the lounge outside the pistol range so you can wash the gunk off your hands after shooting, and a milk shake machine…  a milk shake machine.

Their range ammo is cheap – $22 for a box of .45 acp – but they don’t require you to buy their ammo. You can shoot your own, even reloads, as long as they’re factory reloads and not something you’ve rewound yourself.

The range staff is pretty hands off.  They don’t hover and are seldom even in the range. They watch from the other side of the double-paned glass. There are no yelling nazis like those that infest a certain public range in Sarasota County, who lose control when your toe touches a line during a break in the shooting. The range at Shooters World is very casual but just as safe, without the yelling.

The deal-clincher for me was the tactical section – big enough for its own room. It offers a good selection of guns and great gear.

The chest rigs, vests and ammo pouches are name brand, not the Chinese junk made for Airsoft.

The staff working in the “Tactical HQ” get it. They’re not the type that have to sell an M4 one minute and then try to talk someone into buying an over-under the next.

Enjoy, and please let me know what you think of the store.










About Author

Lee Williams can’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t shooting. Before becoming a journalist, Lee served in the Army and worked as a police officer. He’s earned more than a dozen journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. He is an NRA-certified law enforcement firearms instructor, an avid tactical shooter and a training junkie. When he’s not busy as a senior investigative reporter, he is usually shooting his AKs, XDs and CZs. If you don’t run into him at a local gun range, you can reach him at 941.284.8553, by email, or by regular mail to 1777 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You can follow him on Twitter: @HT_GunWriter and on Facebook @The Gun Writer.


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