GunsPlus helping

GunsPlus experts solve problems, remove barriers for customers

When Kristi Simank, owner of GunsPlus, reads the letter her husband, Stephen, received after a concealed handgun license (CHL) course he taught, she gets tears in her eyes.

“It was so nice to have someone look at our limitations as ‘no big deal,’” the letter from a husband and wife said. “You were so kind [and] patient, and really took the time with us and . . . we [learned] that we could shoot and it was fun!”

“The wife had an auto-immune illness, and he’d had a stroke,” Stephen recalls. “He couldn’t control the pistol in his right hand, but he was right-handed. She couldn’t hold her arms up [to shoot].” They wanted to get their CHLs, but they thought that neither of them could pass the proficiency (shooting) part of the course.

Stephen, a former Austin police officer, has vast experience teaching firearm safety and tactics to law enforcement and military personnel. He knew that all the couple needed was someone to show them how to modify their loading techniques, grips, and stances. He taught the husband how to shoot with his left hand, and he taught the wife how to load a gun and then stabilize it by holding it against her torso as she fired. After this personal training, they easily passed the proficiency test.

Photo by Andrea Hunter

Photo by Andrea Hunter

“This was huge for both of us because it not only really helped our confidence,” they wrote, “but we learned potentially life-saving skills and critical safety skills in the process.”

Helping people feel confident and safe is Stephen’s passion. As a police officer and detective working violent crimes—sexual assaults, child abuse, homicides—he saw firsthand that victims too small or weak to defend themselves against an attacker could have protected themselves with a firearm. “I want people to be able to take care of themselves,” he says.

But a firearm has to match a person’s needs and abilities to be effective. “From shooting a lot and teaching people to shoot, I’m able to work with people to steer them in the right direction,” Stephen says. In fact, all of the staff members at GunsPlus have extensive firearms expertise—instruction, hunting, military and law enforcement work, competitive shooting, and gunsmithing—that they use to help customers.

Stephen recalls a woman who wanted to buy a shotgun for home protection. “They’re a great tool,” he told her, “but you’re going to feel really awkward walking to the front door and opening it while holding a shotgun.” A handgun, which is easier to conceal, might be a better option, he advised. On the other hand, if she thought she’d be in a safe room or closet, then a shotgun made more sense for her.

Stephen Simank demonstrating to a customer at GunsPlus

“It’s so important to us to help people make informed decisions because a lot of places [that sell guns] are not able to help people because they don’t have the expertise, and sometimes they tell people the wrong thing,” Stephen says. For example, two women came to the GunsPlus CHL class with brand-new revolvers, but they couldn’t pull the triggers. The clerk who sold the guns hadn’t bothered to make sure the women could actually use the revolvers for defense. “We could have told them that the triggers on that model are notoriously hard to pull,” Stephen says. Instead, he helped them refine their technique so they could operate the triggers.

“We try to solve problems up front, knowing the idiosyncrasies of a lot of weapons,” he explains. Kristi concurs. “We want to be the solution for a customer’s need or want.”

Check out the new, expanded location next door to the previous location at 2302 Austin Avenue:


2316 North Austin Avenue
Georgetown, TX 78626

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