Aside from the rolling farmlands and their robust dairy industry that produces famous cheeses or the intense sports culture with devotion to football and its love for beer, I wasn’t sure what to expect during my first Wisconsin media event at the Vortex Headquarters. I’m sure the staff would be proud to hear that the Huntin’ Fool crew, along with a dozen others who joined the two-day event, felt they received a true Wisconsin welcome with all of the above.
Vortex was very intentional with the design of their headquarters in Barneveld, Wisconsin that feels like its own little town. For starters, they’re located at “One Vortex Drive,” making them the only company I personally know to have a matching street name. It’s an experience to walk through their front doors and feel the happiness among the employees, most of whom bring their four-legged friend to work every day. How can you not be happy when your best friend is curled up next to you? I definitely got my puppy fix! Between the cozy fireplace at the entrance, the bookshelves located throughout the building that are chockfull of business and self-help books, the multiple lounge areas, and massive windows overlooking a field where you can watch whitetail from your desk, it truly felt like a home. Those are just a few of the intricate details inside of their main structure. We also had the opportunity to tour the Vortex Warehouse, which holds all the product we’ve grown to love and appreciate as passionate outdoorsmen.
Jump over to the Vortex Edge facility next door and your mind will continue to explode. Side note, between the headquarters, the range, and their warehouse, you’re looking at a grand total of 500,000 square feet in building space. Vortex Edge is where Austin Atkinson and I, as well as the other attendees, spent most of our time learning about the future release products that are now available to the public. We had a chance to get our hands on the Next Generation Squad Weapon-Fire Control, Razor HD 4000GB with Geoballistics, and Defender CCW sight series. The bright minds behind each of these innovative products were there to place the product in our hands and walk us through all of the features and specifications. We were also able to get some time with some new products that customers have been asking for, which will hit the market very soon!
After walking through their exciting product lineup, we had the opportunity to attend a class at the comprehensive Vortex Edge indoor shooting and training facility. Here, classes are taught to members of law enforcement, special teams, and any member of the public who reserves their space. Austin and I chose the pistol course where we spent the rest of the day learning how to properly execute a shot from start to finish. It sounds self- explanatory, but there’s an art to efficiently drawing your pistol from your hip, getting on target, and firing multiple rounds with accuracy and confidence. Pair that with the pressure of being the only female in the class along with an instructor over your shoulder holding a timer and I really felt the intensity building, not to be confused with feeling discouraged or unsupported. The instructors were top-notch and truly hold your hand through the process so that you build confidence along the way.
One thing I noticed throughout their instruction was the ability to break a very simple movement down into so much detail and how to tighten up movements for efficiency. For example, locking the slide of a pistol with my small hands has consistently been challenging for me over the years. I always felt like the gun was fighting me instead of working with me. They taught me how my hand placement, paired with the distance and angle at which I was holding the gun from my body, would significantly decrease the effort needed. On the first try, I felt like they had solved my problem! Another example of their detailed guidance was how to cut down on the time it takes to draw the gun and get on the target. They focused on where your hands should start as you’re waiting for that timer, how and where your hands should meet, and the angle at which you should be extending your arms to get on target quicker. I’ve never thought that much about drawing my gun until then, but it works and it works well!
They were great about breaking the steps down into digestible parts, particularly for a perfectionist and over-thinker like myself. My favorite tip that I took away from the class was how our eyes should lead us first. In other words, rather than moving the gun at the same time you are attempting to acquire the target, you must lock onto the object and then move your weapon. Then, we paired this with a cadence drill to practice shifting from one target to another with consistency and at a particular pace that our instructors set for us. It was a really fun exercise!
I thoroughly enjoyed this hands-on experience, and I can’t wait to get back. I left there feeling empowered to take more classes and fine-tune my skills. It’s something I’ve wanted to learn for a very long time, particularly being a female who
travels often and hunts alone each fall. No matter what level you’re currently at, there’s a class for you.
Pistol-specific classes currently offered:
· Intro to Pistol
· Pistol 1
· Pistol 2
· Pistol 3
· Intro to Concealed Carry
· Home Defense
Vortex Edge has a large variety of other courses available as well. You can check them out at https://training.vortexedge.com.