Vortex Edge offers a relaxed educational atmosphere that will take your shooting skills to the next notch and do it in style.
My experience with shooting firearms can be rooted back to my childhood. Memories of my dad showing me the ropes in preparation for deer season remain vivid in my mind. With that being said, and as precious as those memories are, I’ve never had any formal training behind a firearm. So, I was pretty excited to check out the Vortex Edge facility for the first time. I took their “Intro to Long Range Shooting” course. And I’m glad I did.
In short: For hunters looking to improve their accuracy and precision behind their rifles, the Vortex Edge facility is second to none. Just make sure you book a class sooner than later.
What Is Vortex Edge?
For those unaware of what Vortex Edge is, let me spell it out for you. Vortex Edge was created by Vortex Optics. It’s a 55,000-square-foot shooting/training facility on the Vortex campus in Barneveld, Wisc. The facility has three indoor ranges of 25 yards, 50 yards, and 100 yards (the only indoor 100 in the Midwest). Along with that, Vortex Edge also offers an outdoor facility for long-range shooting and even a shoot house for home defense training.
In a nutshell, this is a school for learning how to operate firearms safely, efficiently, and effectively. Vortex has classes dedicated to pistol, carbine, and long-range shooting, to name a few. You’ll spend time in a visually heavy classroom setting, as well as on the range, with hands-on shooting instruction. The instructors are passionate and patient, with a wealth of knowledge behind them. No matter your shooting experience, you’re going to be in good hands.
At Vortex Edge, there are three main categories of classes to choose from: Intro, Total Shooter, and Specialty. To learn more about scheduling, visit the facility’s website.
Intro courses at Vortex Edge are usually 5 hours long, with the exception of “Intro to Concealed Carry,” which is a 9-hour class. Within these courses, you are taken from the ground up and brought to a level of higher understanding as well as bettering your ability.
You’ll be taught things like firearms safety, the components of your weapon, recoil management, how to mount scopes, and how to sight in, to name a few. Vortex provides firearms, ammunition, and ear/eye protection with all intro classes. So, you just need to show up.
Total Shooter Courses
For the next level up, check out the Total Shooter Courses. These are generally 9 hours a day and last 1-3 days in length. Those days can be spread out or split up by the student. You’ll dive much deeper than the Intro courses, so it’s highly recommended to take those first, especially if you’re a new shooter.
Examples of topics covered in Total Shooter are fundamentals of marksmanship, target focus development, learning to shoot accurately at speed, and moving then shooting.
The specialty category includes 2-day, 9-hour courses dedicated to specific things, like reloading, night vision, or close-quarter battle. So, if it’s a niche skill you’re looking for, be sure to give these a gander.
I mentioned earlier that I have no formal training in firearms whatsoever. Because of that, I was incredibly eager to see what the Vortex Edge experience would be like. And I will admit, I was a little intimidated. These instructors are top-of-the-line with loads of experience, far past what I had.
Right from the get-go, my eyes were popping out of my head and bouncing every which way in the lobby at Vortex Edge. This is a beautiful place surrounded by country I’d describe as “easy on the eyes.” Upon entering the building, you’ll be greeted by snazzy Vortex merch and an inviting lounge area. The hallway to your right, though, is the pipeline leading to the funhouse — the classroom and ranges.
The course I signed up for was “Intro to Long Range Shooting.” Truly getting better behind my rifle has always been something I’ve wanted to do, to really learn the process and the “why” behind things. That’s what makes us better. So, I was all ears during the classroom portion of this.
The instructor used helpful diagrams on rifle components, how they work, and also went through proper firearm safety. Along with that, our instructors showed us how to properly mount a rifle scope.
Time to Shoot
When it came time to shoot, the instructors were incredibly thorough and spent time with each student. There were three other people besides me attending the course.
We learned how to properly lay down behind a rifle, how to shoulder a rifle, how to know if we are truly connected to our gun via our breathing, how to sight in and zero our scopes, and then how to properly pull a trigger. I was a sponge, and my mind left much heavier than when I walked through the doors that morning.
Throughout this whole process, the thing that I really appreciated, being what I’d consider a beginner to formal rifle training, was how patient the instructors were. Even though these fellas have spent an immense amount of time in the military, there weren’t any “drill sergeant vibes” present. They were laid back but intentional in their approach. It just made me feel way more comfortable, given my experience level.
I loved this experience from front to back. There are a few downsides, though, that I need to note. One is the schedule. You need to check the schedule for available openings throughout the year for whatever class/classes you’re looking to take. I say this because all the classes are not available at all times. For instance, at the time of writing this, there is no Long Range Course available in Total Shooter. I know they offer this, though, from talking with the instructors.
Lastly, this is something that most folks are going to have to travel for. Meaning there will be flight and hotel costs involved on top of what the courses run. And not everyone has the time to dedicate to travel. I promise it’s worth it, but you’ll need to work to get over there.
Spending time at the Vortex Edge facility is an absolute no-brainer if you’re looking to improve your shooting skills. Which, if you’re a hunter, should always be on your radar. I left Vortex Edge knowing more about the process of shooting a rifle, and I’d never shot a rifle better until going through their “Intro to Long Range Shooting” course.
I gained a great amount of confidence, and I even ordered my own rifle scope mounting equipment when I got home. I also fully intend on returning for the “Total Shooter Long Range Shooting” course as well. So, if you can make it over to Vortex Edge, do it. You won’t regret the decision.