In a town full of hobby sportsmen and serious hunters, Morgan County has had a noticeable void in the gun and ammo industry.
This might surprise some, as Mountain Green is home to the headquarters of Browning Arms and Morgan City houses the Browning Outlet store. However, the one thing the outlet store does not stock their shelves with is actual Browning guns.
Gary Dudley began selling firearm accessories from his home via the internet a few years ago. From this, Valhalla Armory was born.
Dudley works part-time for the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department and is well versed in this trade. He served eight years active duty in the U.S. Air Force Security Forces.
During that time he served as a combat tactics instructor, anti-terrorism team leader, and also worked jointly with U.S. Secret Service on protective details for the president, vice president and foreign dignitaries.
Dudley and fellow deputy, Scott Peay, saw a need and started teaching firearm courses. They even offered some basic courses free of charge this year in an effort to help educate the community they live in.
In 2012, there were some horrific mass murders that took place around the country. This got Dudley thinking about what he could do to help people feel more comfortable and safe in a world with such violent criminals.
“I thought, how is my online business making people’s lives better? I wanted to make more of a difference in people’s day-to-day lives,” commented Dudley. This spurred him to expand on his already successful business plan. He opened the Valhalla Armory storefront on Commercial Street in November.
The armory has a limited amount of handguns, rifles and shotguns on hand in their shop. They sell ammunition and firearm accessories, emergency supplies and custom Kydex concealed carry holsters.
Because safety is a top priority for Valhalla Armory, background checks are performed through the State of Utah over the phone before a gun sale can take place.
In addition to the items they sell, Dudley and Peay still offer firearms courses. Currently, they offer self-defense handgun courses, defensive rifle courses and custom courses to fit individual needs. In January, concealed carry permit classes will begin.
“Custom courses are what we do the most of. People often want to take these courses with people they are familiar with,” stated Dudley. Patrons can have the armory design a course to their needs. For instance, families who are purchasing their first gun may wish to sign up for a course that familiarizes the entire family with the weapon.
Courses help adults and children understand the power of firearms. They learn to respect that power and learn how to keep themselves and others safe while handling the equipment, simultaneously learning how to be confident enough with the weapon to protect themselves and others in case of an attack.
“There is such a gap between an attack and a response. As an officer, if I get a 911 call while I am in Mountain Green and the victim is in South Morgan, you have a 15-minute response time even if I am traveling 90 miles per hour. People tell you to fall down and hide.
That isn’t a good enough answer for me. People need to be able to protect themselves until help arrives,” advised Dudley.
He equated firearm skills to CPR, saying that people learn this skill to save others in case of an emergency. They learn these skills to assist until trained professionals arrive. Once these professionals arrive, they step back and let them do their job.
“Our goal is to make families feel safer and more comfortable in their own homes and communities.” said Dudley.