Some people were born here. Some chose to bring their family and open a business. That’s the case with Kevin and Melinda Moore, owners of 76 Arms & Ammunition.
Kevin and Melinda were a police officer and nurse in Louisiana. She gave up 60 percent of the family income when they decided she would be a stay-at-home mom. Kevin started a lawn mowing business to supplement their income. They were given a free week’s vacation to Eureka Springs and fell in love with the area. They did the Eureka Springs and Branson, Missouri vacation, but never came through Harrison that week.
“You’ve got to understand, where we lived in Louisiana, the water is brown and the land is super flat,” he said. “So we fell in love with the Ozarks and I told the family when I retired from the police force, I wanted to move to the area.”
He continued to research the Ozarks and that’s when he discovered Harrison. “I saw Harrison on the map and started researching the schools and the area.” Another trip, years later, allowed them to stay in Harrison and they loved it.
“We had narrowed it down to Ozark, Missouri, a town in Tennessee, or Harrison,” he said. “We chose Harrison. We looked at the market and decided this was for us.”
He had a lot of experience with weapons from his military and police service and got a job working for AmmoZone in Flippin. But when AmmoZone moved the business to Mountain Home, he considered opening his own gun shop which they did on Nov. 4, 2017.
“We made it through the first year — investing a lot of hours,” he said. They purchased the King Flooring building in the Bellefonte area and had lots of space. Recently they were able to purchase an indoor gun range and converted some of the storage area for the range. “We took it apart and set it up here.”
“It’s a small six lane range and targets go out to 15 yards. It’s for handguns only. A rifle range came with it, but it’s in storage for now,” he said.
The Moores are not brand loyal to one type of firearm. “I like all the ones we carry.” 76 Arms has a variety of .22 caliber weapons that customers feel are fun to shoot, plus weapons for home defense. They also have a good selection of accessories, holsters, magazines and gun cleaning supplies, apparel, cases and concealed carry purses.
Ranger memberships come with a self-defense class and a basic pistol class for beginners is also available. “These classes are to help members learn more about their weapon.” The annual membership fee is only $225 and can be adjusted for couples, or families. There are also one month memberships or hourly instruction available.
Melinda said she grew up around guns in her home and her father taught her to respect them but she was never afraid of them. “But I have learned so much more about guns since we opened the business,” she said. “Now I can recognize the caliber and love to answer questions for men or ladies looking for long guns or hand guns.”
She has started a Ladies Day on the second Tuesday of each month from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The fee for the range is covered. They have a drawing at the end of the day and choose a door prize winner from the ladies who attend. Melinda said the ladies have a lot of fun and it helps them remain comfortable with their shooting skills.
“Shooting skills and accuracy are fine motor skills that can diminish, if you don’t continue to practice,” she said.
Kevin said, “Sometimes it’s easier to receive instruction from someone other than your spouse. We are happy to help with that.”
“We do try to keep the business gender neutral because we have men and women who enjoy shooting. But we do have a nice lounge area if a spouse isn’t interested and usually a fresh pot of our speciality Black Rifle Coffee brewed.” Guns can be rented to use on the range. “It’s a good way to try something different and see what you think.”
76 Arms is a FFL (Federal Firearm License) facility and guns purchased out of state can be shipped to the store and picked up there. “We also place guns on consignment for our customers.”
Kevin is licensed as a Class 3 dealer and can sell suppressors. “Hollywood gives people the wrong idea about silencers — they have demonized them. But they are great for saving your hearing. It’s interesting that the government has set parameters for how loud a lawn mower or car muffler can be, but they refuse to do the same with firearms.”
Kevin said the wholesale companies he works with regularly have been out of ammunition. He did find an additional distributor, but they are $1 more per box. “I have a margin we have to work with, and I promise to not price gouge my customers. If the price is more than the last time they were in, it’s because the distributor raised their prices. It usually gets crazy during a presidential election year, but the COVID-19 virus has made it worse.”
Events and concealed carry classes may have changed. So check the website or Facebook or call (870) 365-1776 for the latest information.