drawing of business with a pool

Beyond the Range at 88 Tactical

To protect and serve, police officers must go to great lengths to keep their communities safe. 88 Tactical’s Founder and President, Shea Degan, knows this first hand—his background in law enforcement led him to create an organization that focuses on building people’s confidence in crisis situations. Although this stands as the company’s mission, the extensive entertainment destination caters to multiple experiences where people can dine, work out, and explore recreational activities in a family-centric environment.

  • four men at bar
  • golf simulator
  • bar space
  • gym

Degan’s first company, Signal 88, was a security company whose name referenced Nebraska police code 88, which means “situation secure.” Degan used the same number when naming 88 Tactical in connection to the company’s mission for safety. Its first location in Tekamah, NE, served as an outdoor training facility. As groups demanded more safety courses, Degan and his business partners realized they needed to venture beyond the 160-acre outdoor space and create a facility in Omaha. “The more we trained people, the more we developed a community for people concerned about self-defense,” said Degan’s business partner Trevor Thrasher. In 2017, 88 Tactical opened its flagship location in Papillion, NE.

At the beginning of its launch, the company was branded as a “guntry club” due to its heavy focus on shooting ranges. Although the facility offered amenities like a small cafe and retail options, Degan said they wanted to soften their approach and shift the focus to welcoming families. “Like a lifestyle center—a place they can bring their kids,” he said. Cognizant of members’ needs and open-minded, Degan said he’s always willing to listen to members and learn what they want, which led the company to add other elements that cater to more people’s interests. “It helps introduce the whole family to the brand and facility, which allows people to experience not only the food but also learn about other classes they can relate to,” said Director of Operations Grant Gallo.

Initially, the company stood by its “those who respond, prevail” tagline before changing it to “discover your confidence.” From kids taking anti-bullying and anti-abduction classes to women learning primal defense tactics, Degan said they received consistent feedback that people felt more confident after taking a class. “That’s the most exciting thing to see—the change we make in people’s lives,” he said. Although the facility offers many amenities, the biggest takeaway is helping people build their confidence and carry the concepts through other aspects of their life. “The strongest thing about us is we’re turning students into community members and community members into students,” Thrasher added.

Despite the wide range of offerings and community groups that use the facility, the perception still exists that 88 Tactical is a gun range that caters only to law enforcement. “It goes beyond the walls of this place, but it’s not easy to get that point across,” Trasher said. Degan mentioned that the facility’s previous exterior didn’t help—it was “blocky” and looked like a typical shooting range with no clear indication of what was inside. “Until people get inside these walls, they have no idea what this [facility] is,” Gallo added.

Entertainment, education, and wellness make up the facility’s key offerings. The entertainment and wellness options extend beyond gun ranges, including a Topgolf Swing Suite, an extensive 24/7 fitness center, full-service Pro Shop, and an upscale bar and restaurant experience. Kids can enroll in safety training classes, like anti-bullying and anti-abduction or Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and adults can discover their confidence through firearm and self-defense training or learn basic survival skills.

Brand Ambassador Randy Goodwin said the class offerings don’t revolve around weapons; instead, it’s education about the company’s culture and how to protect oneself with or without a gun. “From the moment people walk in, they feel like they belong, and they feel loved,” he said. “Beyond learning skills, they’re learning about the people here. We’re not gun-toting crazy people. The culture here is completely different from what most people think until they walk in the door.”

Taking 88 Tactical to the next level, the company hopes to break ground on phase two of its expansion in fall 2023, including a pool complex, pickleball courts, outdoor event space, and more. Despite the company’s focus on local expansion, 88 Tactical plans to duplicate its facility in multiple markets across the country and stay corporately owned in Omaha. “When you’re part of this community, the takeaway is building confidence,” Degan said. “Our number one goal is to create a family-friendly environment where anyone is welcome and there’s something for everyone.”

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