UWS Rifle Range Hits the Mark for Safety

Students have shot at the range in the university's Old Main building for decades

SUPERIOR, Wis. – Since the 1970s students have been shooting at the UWS rifle range, winning five national championships in a safe, supervised environment.

“You have to stretch your body, make sure that your mind is completely clear because if you’re mind’s not clear, then you’re going to have an off day,” said UWS student Tiffany Kirk.

Students dedicate time every week working on how precise their shot can be.

“When I started off it was really hard to even get it in the circle and now I’m hitting nines and tens and a few eights,” said Kirk.

From standing, sitting and even laying down, they shoot 22-caliber rifles at black circles fifty feet away.

The only way to score a ten is to hit the very center of the target.

“The shooters get trained after they’ve done it enough to actually calm their breathing and calm their heart rate to the point where they’re pulling the trigger between heartbeats,” said Todd Blomfelt, the range’s supervisor.

He’s been the supervisor for three years, but Blomfelt has been shooting there since he was a student himself.

“It’s kind of the opposite of every other sport that you really have to get hyped up for,” said Blomfelt. “This is the one sport that I can think of where you really have to get hyped down for.”

He says safety is imperative when you have a rifle range on a modern university campus.

“As the university does have a no guns or weapons allowed policy, I apply to the chancellor once a month for exemption to that policy for this sport,” said Blomfelt.

The range is not open to the public and rifles are only brought in cased and unloaded for tournaments.

“There are not a lot of college campuses that have this and I think that the process that we have and the work of the coordinator makes it as safe as it possibly can be,” said Gary Gulbrandson, the UWS Director of Public Safety.

Blomfelt says he’s not aware of an injury ever happening here and says it’s the perfect place for students to learn that rifles can be safe.

“Having this exposure here in a very safe environment is I think is vital to the continuation of the sport and to show firearms in a positive light,” said Blomfelt.

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