Doug Larsen, 40, owner and manager of Doug's Shoot 'n Sports, a gun store and indoor shooting range at 4926 S. Redwood Road, has what he calls "the perfect job for a gun enthusiast."
A gun salesman for the past 17 years, Larsen grew up in Bountiful and started shooting and hunting when he was 8. "My dad, Vaughn Larsen, liked guns and hunting and I fell in love with the sport right from the start."Larsen opened his own gun store, Doug's Sports Chalet, about two blocks north of his present store, in 1974 and dreamed about having his own indoor shooting range. Five years ago it became a reality when he was able to design his new store with a range in the basement.
Upstairs, Larsen has a 4,300-square-foot retail gun store, complete with a gunsmith, Steve Barlow, who specializes in pistol smithing. Downstairs, Larsen has a 25-yard-long gun range with 12 shooting positions separated into two bays so at least two different shooting activities can be going on at the same time.
"Whenever I want to go shooting, I can," Larsen said. "That's really pretty nice for a guy who likes to shoot as much as I do."
His store is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays. His range is designed for air rifles, .22-caliber rifles and pistols and all centerfire pistol shooting except the specialized handguns that fire rifle cartridges.
A host of police and security agencies, Boy Scout and church groups and shooting clubs use his range and a variety of contests - from combat pistol shoots to paper target events - are held there regularly. More than 6,000 shooters use the facility annually, he said.
Larsen has taught his wife, Pamela, and his three children, David, 18; Michael, 8; and Michelle, 16, to shoot and his family often uses the indoor range for recreation.
"There has been a growing interest in shooting in the Salt Lake area, especially handgun shooting. It is a fun sport and I believe a lot of people are simply discovering how much fun it is to shoot guns. In addition, there seems to be a growing interest in self defense. People are becoming more security conscious."
Larsen said hundreds of pounds of lead are expended on his range annually, but it doesn't go to waste. He recycles the lead, casting his own pistol bullets in .38/.357, 9 millimeter, .41, .44 and .45 calibers. Each year, he says, he casts more than 1 million bullets for reloaders.
An avid hunter and outdoorsman, Larsen enjoys handgun hunting and while he has shot practically every kind of handgun made, his favorite is the same as Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry - the Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum revolver.