Business Profile: Top Dog Virtual Gun Range & Retail

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Top Dog manager Sandra Carr trains with a laser pistol in a simulation with an ATM robber.

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By DOUG LANE

A beautiful wedding ceremony is about to commence when chaos ensues. You hear a scream and see guests running around. Just then, the bride confronts you and tells you the impossible has happened: Zombies have crashed her wedding, and it’s up to you to stop them from infecting everyone. The only way is to grab your trusty pistol and aim for the head.

No matter what age you are, such a scenario entices you to participate. However, one question might loom: How can one actually experience a realistic zombie apocalypse? A simple answer would be video games, but that may not seem realistic enough for some. Top Dog: Virtual Gun Range and Retail offers a more immersive and compelling alternative.
Located at 1165 S. Stemmons Freeway Suite 152 in Lewisville, the business is run by the Carr family, comprised of Robert Sr., Robert Jr., Bryan, Judy and Sandra. The main attraction is the ‘virtual gun range’ which consists of two darkly lit rooms with displays that are projected against a long wall.

 

Top Dog's retail store has everything from guns to ammo, to accessories.  (Photo by Doug Lane)
Top Dog’s retail store has everything from guns to ammo, to accessories. (Photo by Doug Lane)

According to their information brochure, there are over 450 different situations to choose from, ranging anywhere from still targets to realistic personal protection scenarios to gunning down a zombie-infested wedding. Some of these scenarios can get violent; adult supervision is required for anyone ages 10 to 15, and adult-signed waivers are required for anyone ages 16 to 18.

Each scenario plays like an old–school rail shooter video game, with the player focusing on their aim instead of worrying about their body positions. The gun’s targeting system feels mostly precise, with each ‘shot’ getting to where it was aimed. If you’re a bad shot, the simulations will hold no sympathy, but that adds to the thrill of the experience.

The default laser pistol used in these simulations is weighted to feel like you’re holding an actual handgun. In addition to the innocuous–looking firearm, which shoots only a laser beam, there are also CO2–enhanced firearms, which not only look and feel exactly like actual firearms, but also recoil when fired. Each session ranges from $15 to $50, depending on how many are in your party, how long you want to book the session for, and whether or not you are using CO2–enhanced firearms.

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Shayla Golston (left) and Grethe Carmichael take aim at virtual targets with their laser guns. (Photo by Steve Southwell)

Top Dog also offers License to Carry (formerly CHL) certification under NRA-certified instructor Jerry Holt. At a $50 base price, a 4-hour mandatory class is given on select Mondays and Saturdays before using the virtual gun range simulation to enhance one’s firearm handling. Once proficient with the simulations, students move on to live fire, offered at Quail Creek Range in Ft. Worth.

Holt said, “A firearm is a machine just like anything else—it’s a tool. The car that you drive is a tool and a machine. You have to learn to drive it safely to keep from hurting yourself or hurting somebody else. With a firearm, you’re using it to protect yourself, you’re using it to protect your family, but if you don’t learn to use it safely then it’s worse than not having one at all.”

Holt also said that using the virtual range is fun but can also be beneficial: “You learn the basic of skills of handling a firearm, such as trigger pull, sight picture and everything like that so it can be a helpful tool.”

top_dog_storefrontTop Dog aims to be an all-in-one shop for firearm enthusiasts. In addition to selling select firearms and ammunition, personal engraving, gunsmithing and gun finishing are also offered. Novelties are sold all around the store, such as a purse that has a hidden holster and an assortment of “The Walking Dead” memorabilia. They even have their own brand of barbeque and hot sauces as well as walking canes.

Top Dog is the second ‘virtual gun range’ to open in North Texas, with the other being in Fort Worth. Top Dog is worth taking a look if you are remotely interested in anything firearm related, or if you want a fun experience in using the virtual gun range. For more information, you can call (214) 513-9966 or visit topdogvirtualgunrange.com.

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