More Than Optics: Vortex Edge
In recent years, some companies in the outdoor space have introduced training venues to compliment the products they sell. The main one that comes to mind is Sig Sauer Academy. Sig Sauer is one of the largest firearm manufacturers in the world, so adding a training venue makes sense—especially for a company that focuses heavily on military and law enforcement. But what about an optics brand? Vortex Edge is a brand new, modern indoor shooting and training facility housed on the Vortex Optics campus. The complex contains multiple ranges—including 25, 50, and 100 yards—a shoot house (sim only), classrooms, kitchen, showroom, and other carefully thought out amenities. But does a multi-million dollar training facility make sense for Vortex? More than that, what can they do that is different than other venues?
The quick is answer is yes, it does make sense. Creating and selling an optic is one aspect, but teaching people how to use them is an equal part of the equation. Edge gives that opportunity to the consumer. So then, what does Vortex do to set themselves apart? Edge offers structure, organization, value, and the addition of a centralized location with everything under one roof. The ability to have a controlled environment means Vortex doesn’t have to rely on outside contractors. Vortex employs the staff and controls the range, limiting the variables. This might sound straightforward to someone getting into formal instruction, but this isn’t the status quo in the training community. Instructors often travel to various ranges and facilities. For the students, this can add stress. Instructors can only travel with so much and the individual range may not have the amenities needed to give their students the best experience possible. Vortex fixes that problem.
The Edge team consists of six full-time instructors with unique individual backgrounds that create a well-rounded instructional environment. Furthermore, there are individual team members whose job is to create an exceptional student experience. This consists of a host, who liaisons with the attendees, a concierge who works with attendees on accommodations, restaurant recommendations, and other needed utilities, and a specific coordinator who organizes class structure to ensure a proper flow.
Class structure is broken down into intro pistol, carbine, and precision rifle which are then followed up by pillar and specialty courses. Intro classes are ground level and offer basic instruction. These are excellent for people just getting into firearms and the shooting sports. Vortex takes intro courses a step further and provides all the required equipment a student needs. Moreover, students can repeat an intro course at no cost to use as a refresher before taking more advanced courses. The pillar courses build upon the work in the intro course and advance a student’s skill set. Each pillar has three levels. For example, pistol has an intro course plus pistol 1, pistol 2, and pistol 3 pillar courses.
If a student is looking for something different or a unique challenge, Edge offers specialty courses that tap into their instructors’ unique backgrounds. These courses include Night Vision, Concealed Carry Dynamics, Home Defense, Hunter Marksmanship, Offensive Structural Tactics (CQB), and USPSA Competition Guide. As Edge grows and more students flock to this state-of-the-art facility, the course load could expand based on student demand.
The overarching impression of Edge is that it falls directly under the Vortex brand ethos. Everything was built and designed to give the student the best experience possible. While this is a change in direction for Vortex, it is the right change. They have a chance to influence and educate the customer after the purchase. That connection gives them a unique opportunity to build brand trust and expand Vortex Nation.