In March 2007 retired Marine Dwayne F. Chaney approached the Covington City Council with a proposal to open an indoor shooting range where he would train both the general public and law enforcement in firearms safety and personal awareness.

At the time, city ordinances prohibited the discharge of firearms within city limits, except for law enforcement. But the council was so impressed with Chaney’s plan that they amended the ordinance to accommodate indoor shooting ranges in districts zoned highway commercial, light industrial, and heavy industrial.

It has taken 13 years for Chaney to realize his dream, but AOP (Always On Point LLC) Virtual Shooting Range is now ready to open at 6178 Wheat St. in Covington. Chaney said that the cost of opening a live fire range, and the wisdom of a friend and mentor made him realize that virtual training was the way to go.

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“Things happened and it just didn’t work out getting the financing ready, and the range cost so much to get started,” said Chaney. “I have a mentor in Alabama. He asked me why I wanted to open a gun range because it would take so much time away from what I love to do, which is teaching. I kept thinking about it, and I decided to make a facility just to train and teach people.

“In the Marine Corps we do a lot of simulation training to get you ready and prepared and sharp. So I started putting a little simulation in my training and I noticed that people liked that.”

Chaney enlisted in the Marines straight out of high school in Florida and went into aviation. He eventually became certified as an anti-terrorism instructor, teaching that to security forces in Iceland and on board Navy ships before retiring in 2000.

“When I retired from the Marine Corps, we were in North Carolina and wanted to go somewhere,” he said. “It was between Charlotte and Atlanta, and we decided on the Atlanta area. My realtor found us a house and land in Newton County, and we love it here.

“My wife is a Marine also, Lt. Cmdr. Sunshine Jones-Chaney, and she works for the CDC, and is also an instructor here.”

Chaney got a job at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in Marietta in 2002 as a flight line mechanic and ground test pilot. He worked there for 16 years, retiring in 2018.

Meanwhile, he continued to pursue his passion of teaching firearms safety and personal protection.

“I got NRA (National Rifle Association) certified and became an NRA training counselor,” said Chaney. “I got state certification, so now I’m a state firearms instructor and classroom instructor. Then I went to USCCA (U.S. Concealed Carry Association) and became a home defense instructor.

“I teach anything from the safety of firearms and breaking down firearms, to how to shoot a firearm, to what to look for when you purchase a firearm, to the fundamentals — breathing techniques, trigger control, the follow-through, the aim and everything.

“I train the general public, police officers, and state armed personnel for their annual qualifications,” he continued. “I also develop instructors so they can teach, too. A lot of police officers want to be NRA instructors, so they come to my class.”

Chaney also teaches personal protection through Always On Point Personal Protection Consultants (AOPPPC).

“Whether the customer has a need for firearm training, knowledge of personal physical security, or global security information, we are structured to provide those needs,” he said. “We target our training to men, women, youth, and senior citizens.”

Chaney finds that teaching people through simulation shooting allows them to make mistakes and learn from them before they advance to a real firearm.

“The only difference between a simulation firearm and a real firearm is that a real firearm has recoil,” said Chaney. “Everything else is the same. So if you get down your fundamentals with a simulation gun, you’re going to do the same thing with a real gun, and you’re going to pick the right gun for you.

“Here you can practice to practice. Here you can make mistakes to get better. Then once you perfect them here, you can perfect them wherever you go. But you have to have a safe place first to actually train.”

While Chaney uses solid plastic guns in his simulation training, he will have real guns on hand for students to handle and practice loading and unloading. The real guns are kept at a secure location off-site and brought to the facility when needed.

Once they are secure in their shooting, students will have the opportunity to practice live fire shooting at Shots Fired Indoor Gun Range on Washington Street in Covington.

“The owner of Shots Fired, he’s a police officer, and I trained him nine years ago as an instructor,” said Chaney. “So when I do live fire exercises, I take him my business. But we do all the simulations here first.”

The training facility has a main classroom where Chaney can teach up to six people at a time.

“I do no more than six people at a time so that I can give everyone good training and an ample amount of time,” he said.

Safety is paramount for Chaney, even with the simulation firearms.

“We keep everything safe, even treating the fake training guns as a real gun, because I want to instill safety in your head so that it becomes natural,” said Chaney. “So I keep the training gun unloaded and pointed in a safe direction.

“When they are ready to do a simulation, I have them load the magazine, then let them go for it. We use a special laser training gun called the SIRT (Shot Indicating Resetting Trigger) pistol. When they fire, a red dot appears and the camera picks it up. It shows you exactly what you’re shooting at, and can give you a score or time. But you have the freedom to move around. You have a lot of variations to train with — good trigger control, good sight line and picture, control your breathing, good stance. Then I have them unload and safe the gun.”

He has three simulation rooms. The first is equipped with a bench rest for the student to use.

“I have them shoot from a bench rest position,” Chaney said. “I control everything for them. So when they fire the first time, they think everything is OK. Then I’ll stand them up and have them do the same thing, but now it includes the human factor and what you have to adjust to make that happen.”

The second is a target room dedicated to his mother, Geraldine, who passed away in February 2020.

“The targets are all stationary, and I have a computer with a camera that can focus on any target I put up, and it talks to you and tells you what to do and how to do it,” Chaney said.

The third room is the Bill Boyd Simulation Room, named after a friend who wanted to be a part of Chaney’s operation, but who passed away three years ago. The room has the Smokeless Range simulator in it, which has more than 1,000 different variations.

“It can be movement or stationary. Everything is activated by the laser gun,” said Chaney. “You have to be able to shoot to go to the next course, so it is constantly testing you.

“It has part of the real life ‘shoot/don’t shoot’ simulations that I’ll teach in a special class. It puts you in a situation to see what you would do and how you would react to it. Then what are the laws that go with that. I teach those type of things and when to actually fire when you think your life is in danger. It trains you and gives you an understanding that if you carry a gun, there is more responsibility carrying it than you really realize, because you’ve got to think about how and when you can use it. When do I talk my way out of it instead of shooting. Shooting is the last resort. Talking and thinking are the first resorts.

“People have this thing about guns and I try to get it out of their heads that they need to look at a gun in a different way,” he continued. “A gun is a tool that you use. I tell them with my training, I don’t need any of this to protect myself. I can take the pen out of your shirt and protect myself. It is just a tool, and it is how you utilize that tool that makes it effective. So if I use that pen, are they going to say pens are bad and outlaw pens? It is not the pen, it’s the person behind that pen and how they are using that tool. It is not the tool, it is the person, and you need to control that person, not the tool.”

The training facility is open to everyone. Chaney said those who already have guns can come and take classes, or just practice on the simulator. But he encourages anyone thinking about buying a gun to take his class first.

“People say they want to go purchase a gun and take a class,” said Chaney. “I tell people to take a class first and then go purchase a gun. The class will teach you what gun is right for you and then what gun you need to have, so that you know what you like or need, versus what a gun dealer wants you to have. Get educated first. We’ll teach you how to search and purchase your own gun, things to look for and what to ask, because there are different parts of a gun — double action or single action, blow back, gas fed. We educate you so you know exactly what to do when you go to purchase a gun.”

AOC Virtual Shooting Range is accepting applications for firearm training. Their current training schedule is on their website at always-on-point.com. They can conduct NRA, USCCA, State Certification, and AOP firearm courses by request during the week. They are scheduling by appointment only in order to control the flow of customers in the area and for the safety of all during the current pandemic.

Always On Point LLC will comply with COVID-19 safety precautions and require all participants to wear masks while performing and conducting training within the AOP Training Academy. The simulation rooms will be open by the end of the month but the training classes are now active.

AOP will be open Tuesday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call Chaney at 770-530-2169 or email him at chaneydf2@att.net.

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