Better Shooting Through Science: A Lehigh Astrophysicist’s Quest to Build a Better Range

Bryan Stear grew up in Erie, PA and graduated Lehigh University in 2003 with double degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Astrophysics. His work on building next generation satellites and working in the space field has truly earned him the term Rocket Scientist, which his friends routinely call him when explaining what he does. Bryan currently lives in downtown Denver and spent the last four years doing data analytics on satellites, but that is where his passions took a sharp turn from the norm of his peers. Shooting was a culture for Bryan growing up, and since graduating Lehigh he has had the ambition to open a shooting range that would change the entire industry. Recently he accomplished that dream by opening Shoot Indoors LLC, an indoor firing range in the suburbs of Denver.

IMAG2355-2

“I just wanted a range close to me to shoot at in the evening when I actually had some free time,” said Stear, who grew up shooting with his father and grandfather but found it more difficult to find time to shoot once in the working world and living in the city.

Bryan created Shoot Indoors out of his own desire for a nearby public indoor shooting range in the Denver/Boulder area after doing years of market research and basing his graduate school business plan on this endeavor. While honing his execution plan, he learned the basics of running a shooting range by working at the NRA Headquarters Range and analyzed data from an app he designed that counted bullet shots to pinpoint high traffic times. He used his understanding of physics and mathematics gained at Lehigh to not only target the precise area to open his business based on population growth and traffic, but designed a new shape of the firing range that cut his equipment costs by $100,000.  Shoot Indoors has filed for a patent on this new cost-saving design which Stear hopes can help others overcome the financial hurdles in opening a range.

Bryan has taken a large personal risk on the financing, but has also asked a few close friends and family to invest in his dream. One of those investors is Michael Bergen ’03 who was on the same freshmen hall as Bryan in Richards House and ended up joining the same fraternity. He and Bryan would go to shooting ranges in Pennsylvania, but when Michael went out to Denver to visit Bryan after graduating, he too noticed the lack of options in the area for shooting. “Bryan did a very difficult and uncomfortable thing when he asked his close friends and family to invest.” said Michael who now lives in Arlington, Virginia as a strategy consultant. “But I saw how much time Bryan has spent on the details and in the end, we all trusted this plan. Already when you look at the range, it is something that is exciting and new that will shake up the industry.”

Bryan has spent the last year working nights and weekends to turn an old commercial building in Broomfield, CO into a shooting range with the fit and finish that any astrophysicist would be proud of. Shoot Indoors recently opened this past January to solid crowds. The 12,000-square-foot space includes ten 25-yard lanes as well as classroom space for safety and certification courses. The facility accommodates handguns, rifles and shotguns. There are free introductory gun-safety orientation classes four nights per week and more in-depth firearms courses on Tuesday and Wednesday for a fee. “Shooting is a lot of fun, and I want people to come in and rediscover that” said Stear. “Space nerds shoot too!”

You can check out their progress at goshootindoors.com or on facebook.com/shootindoors.  Bryan is also planning a regional Alumni event at the range this Fall.  He can be reached at bryan@goshootindoors.com for further details.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *