Cowley County soon will be home to a brand-new firearms training facility, thanks to the vision of county native Brian Black.

Grouse Creek Academy owners Brian Black and Nathan McClure
Photo by JENI McGEE

The facility, Grouse Creek Academy, is being constructed on Black’s family property on Grouse Creek Road.

“I grew up in this house … I learned how to shoot out there,” Black said.

The house will be converted into classroom space in which students can enjoy a comfortable learning environment.

Eventually, it will be equipped with a simulator, which would allow teachers to have classes and simulations, even during bad weather.

The building also will house restroom facilities. The training facility is located at 17186 Grouse Creek Road.

Black giving back

Black said the idea came to him when he was trying to find a way to give back to the community.

It was his idea to create a nonprofit facility to help both the local community and the larger surrounding area.

The three key words Black and Nathan McClure have built their business model on are “safe,” “clean,” and “professional.”

The family-friendly facility not only will provide an environment in which to practice various aspects of shooting sports, but it also will promote fishing and conservation.

“It’s not dreaming,” McClure said. “It’s feasible.”

Paying it forward

Black and McClure are working to have Grouse Creek Academy designated as a 501(c)3 nonprofit, with the intent of putting any funds that come in to the academy back toward firearm education for youth and law enforcement.

“Grouse Creek Academy is now looking for donations and sponsorships to support the development of the ranges, shooting shelters, and classroom,” McClure said in a news release March 2.

With the support of some national-level companies, such as Ruger, the duo already have been able to pre-sell some classes to individuals who live out of state.

Grouse Creek Academy will start teaching as soon as its insurance clears.

Grouse Creek Academy range design

This project has been in the works for more than a year, but it largely was secret for most of that time. Ground was broken last fall.

The facility still is under construction, but the first of the three ranges that eventually will grace the property is clear for the first 250 yards.

In an effort to maximize safety, berms have been created that are more than 14 feet tall. When the entirety of that range is complete, the backstop will be about 40 feet tall. Both of those heights exceed current National Rifle Association standards by several feet.

This range will be 500 yards long when it is finished.

“We don’t want you to come out and have a bad experience,” McClure said.

Other features

Plans for Grouse Creek Academy also include an elevated, high-power rifle range, complete with “no blue sky” safety measures.

This measure includes the installation of blockades that will prevent projectiles from traveling above the horizon line.

There will be two additional ranges at the facility, as well.

When it opens, Grouse Creek Academy plans on having a classroom, training range, rifle range and static practice area.

Targets shot at long range will be steel, while those used at close range will be plastic.

Those who use the facility will have the opportunity to win the “Grandpa Jasper Award,” if they are able to hit a specific target at 500 yards on their first attempt.

Grouse Creek Academy will be the only facility of its kind in Kansas — in fact, the closest comparable facilities are located in Colorado, Montana and Texas, according to McClure.

Class offerings

A wide range of classes will be offered at Grouse Creek Academy, and the facility also will be open for other organizations to come and teach on the property.

Grouse Creek Academy will be host to outside instructors, so as to bring in ideas from outside of the local area on a regular basis.

McClure also has created a safe and professional curriculum to promote the fun of shooting while helping students to improve their abilities.

The facility will host a variety of moderate to advanced shooting classes, in order to raise funds to support youth and law enforcement shooting programs.

Grouse Creek Academy plans on hosting National Shooting Sports Foundation Rimfire Challenge, as well as a Scholastic Action Shooting Team for family and youth involvement.

Open range time will not be available, but those who want time on the range can have that time if they take part in an annual tuition of $1,000.

Students also will be afforded some range time with the purchase of classes at Grouse Creek Academy.

For more information about class offerings or the training facility, call Black at (620) 441-7856.

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