Clint Smith, who teaches gunfighting to Navy SEALs, Delta Force operators, and assorted civilians, is relocating Thunder Ranch, a Texas-based tactical shooting school, to an 886-acre ranch in remote Lake County, Or., on the California border, reports The Oregonian. Ray Simms, adviser to Lake County’s Board of Commissioners, doubts it will cause undue alarm, especially during hunting season. “Out here for the most part, every other pickup going down the road this time of year has a rifle in the window,” he says. The 11-year-old Thunder Ranch is the largest among dozens of tactical shooting schools across the nation, says Roy Huntington of San Diego, editor of American Handgunner and Guns magazines.
The school teaches gunfighting to 1,200 students a year on a 2,400-acre ranch near Mountain Home, Texas, and grosses $1 million annually. Students shoot at targets moving on cables and learn to clear rooms and stairways, among other techniques. In Oregon, military and police teams will train at the ranch, but 80 percent of the students probably will be “Sam and Suzy homemakers,” Smith says. Students who take his classes typically fire 800 to 1,000 rounds of ammunition during training. They pay $725 for four days of instruction that could include handguns, rifles or shotguns in classes of 10 students, or up to $1,400 for a one-on-one, two-day tutorial with Smith. He regards handguns, even powerful .45 caliber pistols, as poor fighting instruments and prefers rifles because the bullets hit harder. “The reason people carry pistols is they haven’t ever got in a fight with one and haven’t figured out they are not very good,” Smith says.