Tester visits Flathead shooting simulator


by Dax VanFossen

COLUMBIA FALLS – Montana Senator Jon Tester played a key role in helping to secure funding for the Northwest Shooter Range in Columbia Falls.

On Friday, the Senator got a tour of the facility to see how the range has helped law enforcement.
Law enforcement officers from Kalispell, FWP, the Montana Highway Patrol and even the US Border Patrol joined Montana Senator Jon Tester Friday at Northwest Shooter in Kalispell.

Tester who helped to secure funding for the business says training scenarios like these are crucial for those in harm’s way, “It gives the public safety officer, the policeman the opportunity to practice in almost real life conditions. Pretty amazing, actually.”

One of the scenarios that Senator Tester witnessed on Friday was how Police would respond to a school shooting. The demonstration is too graphic to show in its entirety, but officers from the Kalispell Police Department went through several different scenarios, including how to talk a person down peacefully.

“Obviously these situations unfortunately are going to keep occurring; I think hopefully they never occur in Montana. But in the rare case that they might, I am confident that these police officers are going to be as equipped as we can possibly make them to be able to deal with an incredibly difficult situation,” said Tester.

Law enforcement from all over the Flathead Valley and here in the Northwest are utilizing the facilities at Northwest Shooter now, and Tester feels that’s crucial to enable them to do their job at the highest level, “You know as I was sitting there watching the police officers work, it just gives you the idea what kind of pressure these guys are under, what kind of split second decisions they have to make.in order to save somebody’s life.”

Northwest Shooter is open to the public and has a pistol range, rifle range and the interactive simulator.