Imagine witnessing a car accident that results in injuries to those involved. Are you hesitant to stop because you don’t feel you have the first-aid training that may be required to help and instead call 9-1-1? This is just the type of situation that the experts at 88 Tactical want to help every citizen prepare for so they have the confidence to step in when needed. Even if it’s something as simple as keeping a first-aid kit in your car—you may not have the training to use it in a life-saving situation, but it may end up being just the thing someone else needs in order to save a life at the scene of the accident.
As an elite training organization, 88 Tactical specializes in helping individuals, families, emergency service workers, and military personnel have the confidence and skills to respond in any crisis or emergency situation. The number “88” is Nebraska police code for “situation secure,” which is the cornerstone of 88 Tactical’s mission. It was used as part of owner Shea Degan’s first company, Signal 88—a security franchise. While operating Signal 88, he identified a need to provide law enforcement, military, and the civilian community with diversified, tactical instruction that would keep their “situation secure” in the face of a changing and uncertain future. Shea channeled this demand into a new venture, branching off from Signal 88 and once again referencing the police code in the name of the new company, calling it 88 Tactical. As the business grew, Shea recruited his long-time friend Trevor Thrasher, a tenured law enforcement officer and combat veteran Army Green Beret. In 2012, David Henson joined the partnership to fulfill the growing responsibilities in logistics, finance, and administration.
88 Tactical’s first location is an outdoor training facility on a 160-acre property in Tekamah, NE. It includes shooting ranges that span from 35-425 yards and survival skills terrain, as well as a lodge, sleeping quarters, and an underground bunker that can accommodate up to 10 people. With the demand for additional courses growing, the partners decided to build a facility in Omaha, and in July 2016 opened the 88 Tactical Range & Readiness Center off the I-80 Gretna exit in Omaha. “This type of facility had never been done before, and it evolved over time,” Shea explained. What started out as a non-live fire range, turned into multiple live-fire ranges, an outdoor rappelling tower, classrooms, a 3,000 square-foot simulation room, a country club style bar and dining room, a café and retail shop.
One of the biggest misconceptions about the new facility is that it’s only for law enforcement and military personnel, when in fact, it’s primarily for the public. People don’t need to have any prior training before using the shooting range or taking any of the classes offered. “Our staff and instructors are some of the most approachable people in the industry,” Shea said. “You can walk in the door without knowing anything, and you will end up having one of the most comfortable, enjoyable experiences you can have.”
Classes available to the public include Firearms & Tactics courses, such as Intro to Handgun and Concealed Carry Certification (CCW); Combative & Self Defense Courses, such as Women’s Primal Self Defense; Tactical Medicine (TacMed) and Survival Skills courses; and Youth courses that include Anti-Bullying & Anti-Abduction as well as Youth Gun Safety. 88 Tactical also offers home defense plans for families, in which they will come into your home and determine safety zones for kids and run through home invasion scenarios, so everyone knows what to do.
All instructors are experts in their fields, and in fact much of the curriculum taught at 88 Tactical is used by law enforcement both nationally and internationally, such as within the New York Police Department and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, as well as federal agencies.
The indoor shooting ranges are open to the public, and they do have both handguns and rifles available to rent if you don’t have your own. Memberships are also available at different levels, which have exclusive offers and privileges. The Patriot Club membership has discounts on classes, firearms, and merchandise, as well as advance shooting range reservation. The Founders Club membership offers even larger discounts, private lane reservations, and access to the Founders Club private bar and dining room with premium liquor, craft beers and select wines. Corporate memberships are also available, as are corporate training and team-building courses for employees.
“We are so much more than just a shooting range: we’re a training facility, event center, and community center,” Dave said. “Once people come in and experience the environment, they immediately want to come back.” The amenities at 88 Tactical make it a full-service facility, with locker rooms for those taking classes, a retail shop and the Ammo Box Café, which open to the public for lunch and dinner. It’s truly a place for everyone in the community. Dave added, “We believe in helping your neighbor; that’s the Nebraska way. Everyone should be well trained so that we can help one another to be stronger individuals, stronger families, and a stronger community.”