BARNEVELD — When Adrian Alan left the Madison Police Department to become the Vortex Optics shooting range operations manager, he made a point to owner Dan Hamilton that he didn’t want to just run a shooting range.

“That could become quite boring,” Alan said. “I believe this should be one piece, a big piece, in a training facility to help educate customers and add more value to their overall experience.”

That fit favorably with the overall theme, CARE (creating a rare experience), of Vortex Optics, even before they moved from Middleton to Barneveld last April.

“We’re just getting the range and the overall educational experience started and working through what we want to do, what we can do, and how quickly we can get there,” Alan said.

In the future Alan envisions 10 to 12 employees working in the 33,000-square-foot facility aside the main building housing the entire Vortex Optics operation. A smaller utility building garages vehicles, grounds equipment, and office supplies.

“We might have a pistol class shooting in the building’s 50-yard range, our engineers testing scopes in the 100-yard range and an employee with experience in birding conducting a birding class for 40 people in a meeting room. All this can be going on at the same time,” he said.

Alan rattled off 15 goals for the range facility, which includes the two shooting areas, all heated and air conditioned, air exchanged, sound proofed, and equipped with lighting controls to simulate night, a street scene, and timed target shooting.

One of the primary goals is for product development testing scopes to see how they hold up to thousands of rounds. Secondarily the range is there to train employees and dealers on products; marketing and social media production; law enforcement training (the range includes doors to drive a squad car onto the range); potentially small-scale military training; scope demonstrations; limited public classes for hunter marksmanship; and DNR hunter education field day activities.

Alan hopes to expand on a November pilot event of 80 hunters getting help fitting their deer rifle for the season, but more than just sighting in the gun.

If range time permits, a customer buying a scope may get it mounted and zeroed in on the range. This Barneveld business is not a retail facility; most sales are handled by dealers around the world.

“It’s not about putting on classes and then selling product to those who attend,” Alan said. “We want to provide them with training to make a better shot on a deer; create an experience that may make them a customer for life.”

The range is safety oriented from the air quality, lighting, gun handling, noise, gun cleaning and overall operation.

Some of these goals may not seem to a typical range operation, but that’s by design. Remember Vortex Optics is about CARE, creating a rare experience.

Jerry Davis can be reached at