Your Dream Shooting Range

20131127-104929.jpgHave you ever dreamt of your ideal gun range? If you could design it in anyway you desired, what would you do? I have embarked on just such an endeavor and I wanted share a few of my ideas and hear your thoughts as well. The building will house both gun sales and indoor shooting range facilities and have a comfy family environment. However, this is where the stipulations end. Now it is up to us to build the most awesome complex ever.

Elbow room – I love the comradery that happens at the range. Some of my most memorable shooting moments have happened when I befriended a lane neighbor with an interesting gun. Still, tight lane spacing can make shooting uncomfortable and unrealistic, it can also create dangerous situations. How much space is enough but not wasted? And to that end, would you frequent a range that did not have bullet proof dividers between lanes?

Simulators – how often would you use such a device, if you were given access? If they cost more than range time or were only used as part of a class, would you still want range space occupied by this equipment?

Ratios – Shopping vs shooting, to which would you allocate more space? I’m experienced the draw of “oogling” when at the range, but when you shoot regularly, how often do you peruse the merchandise at the same time?

Of corse their are many other factors involved, and I hope we can discuss them below.


  1. Mine would be outdoors and include facilities for short range work in multiple directions as well as a range for long distance work out to 500 yards. I really need to go buy some land…

    A lot of ranges put shooters closer not just for the obvious financial reasons. Close proximity can help prevent muzzle sweeping and gives you better control over yoir neighbors on the range.

  2. Mine would be a combined indoor (10 lane pistol, 30 yards) and outdoor (100 yard pistol/rifle, 10 lanes) accessible from the same “airlock” with a roof over the 100 yard shooting positions. A comfortable seating/viewing area would be located behind the bullet resistant glass behind the ranges, and class/conference rooms would be located off that, as well as a kitchen and dining area. Skeet/trap shooting area would be on the other side of the rifle range. The retail area would be separate from all of this. Of course, that lottery ticket needs to hit first…

  3. I belong to a new range here in Coeventry,RI and i can not say enough great things about. 12 lanes,armor between each lane , programable targets send out and retrieve and a fantastic staff.It has a wonderful atmosphere to it and the safety is paramount and no I am not one of the owners.

  4. I always thought in an area with lots of hunters that a traditional “club”, leather bound books, smell of rich mahogany, lots of maps for planning the next adventure, a classy bar, and such would be a nice addition to a range. A real old school club like the ones in London used to be. With sleeping rooms, gym, showers, lockers etc.

    The treat would be cool, dry storage with a high-density mobile storage system (I work at a Montel dealer) to store the paying members trophies that just won’t fit at home.

    On a set rotation they would be cycled out of storage and into the club area with placards describing the hunt written by the member and featuring the member’s name. Anything from the Cape Buffalo that has been in the garage for a decade to “Timmy’s first squirrel” from the closet shelf could be put out to be admired and shown off. They’d be properly cleaned and maintained by trained taxidermists before going back into storage.

  5. I would have to include a training classroom equipped with state of the art multi-media equipment… because the instructor in me would have to create multiple opportunities for training and instruction for various levels of shooters…

    Then again, we do have our own range at home… it’s not a dream range, but it does most of what we need for now… you can check it out at the link below:

    Dann in Ohio

  6. Two things that are hard to find in any public range:
    1. Permission to draw from a holster.
    2. Moving or pop-up/down targets.

  7. I am a member of a private range. It has dirt berms. some of the bays are gravel, some are grass. You bring your own stuff to shoot and do nearly anything you want within your own bay. Draw, run around, shoot on the move, steel targets. Most of the bays are only 20 yards deep, but all are at least 15 yards wide. We have one 50 yard bay but it’s only for bench shooting. The only down side is that you are limited to pistol calibers and shot guns. No center-fire rifle. So I own a .22 AR-15 upper as well as a 5.56 AR-15 upper.

    My 3 things wish list:
    1) More depth in the bays.
    2) More berm height for center fire rifles.
    3) Maybe a covered bay for those heavy rain days.

  8. Been a member of two different indoor ranges; both were new when I joined. The only complaint I have deals with brass flying in from other shooters. They even put in extensions where I currently go, but brass still flies in; sometimes hitting my firearm or my head. I’m thinking there needs to be like a fairly tight fish like netting (1/2″ to 3/4″) that extends 2′ to 3′ out from the bay that goes all the way to the ceiling from counter height. I’m expecting one day to take a shot at the same time a round is flying in front of me and my bullet hits the casing, sending it to who knows where? What else would I like to see: more sound proofing materials used on the sidewalls for the first 8 feet and also on the walls behind the shooters. The floor in front of the bays should be about 3 inches lower than the bay floor, to prevent casings from rolling back into the bay. A dream request would be a side table long enough (30″ to 36″) to lay out a rifle or shotgun, about 10″ wide, it could fold down from the sidewall. Lighting is important and the first range had horrible lighting, both in the bay and downrange. The current range has excellent lighting, which is adjustable within your individual bay.

      1. The adjustable lighting is only in the bay itself, not down the whole range lane (that would really be cool) but then you’d have to have a totally sealed of lane the whole way down. That would be awesome to practice shooting with night sights, if you could set the light similar to moonlight : )

  9. The best indoor range I ever frequented had the computer controlled tracks that you could program to not only send your target downrange, but move back and forth, turn (to basically disappear) and run from side-to-side (if you had a few lanes to yourself). It, too, had variable lighting capability, and during classes could even go dark, with strobes and beacons for training police/first responders. Soundproofing that ran about halfway down-range. The lane dividers were clear ballistic glass, so that you could see out over the entire range.

    There was an observer’s room at the back of the range, with a station in the middle where an RO can switch the PA and run the computer control equipment. Behind that was a row of lockers, some with names of paid members and others for use by patrons. The hallway leading forward to the retail area had two big rooms on each side. One was a classroom and the other a gun cleaning and maintenance room. No ammunition was allowed in the room, but there was a smaller “loading room” where firearms could be loaded and unloaded, complete with the sand bucket. They had all the tools, cleaning supplies, clamps, etc., you could ever want, and you’d buy your supplies as needed. No worrying about running out of Hoppe’s or the proper caliber patches!

    I thought it was about the most perfect range ever, yet for some reason it closed. (I think it was because members felt shut out, as management frequently closed it off for state police, SWAT and military exercises by soldiers from a near by ANG base.) About the only improvement I could dream up is to include an outdoor range as well, especially for steel targets. My current favorite range also has a shoot house, used by both police and their own instructors, and you can buy some time in it if you come with a group.

    Retail space needs to have several sections. The first supports the ranges, so this is where the lanes are assigned, eyes/ears/targets are handed out and ammunition purchased. This is where the strategically placed eyes n’ ears for sale are displayed, range bags, specialty targets, etc. The next in-between section is where you put stuff common to both sides: cleaning supplies, gun cases, accessories & holsters, in that order, leading up to the gun cases. At either end, or in any “voids” that result from the shape of the room (or if there’s a whole other room), you’ll want to have gun safes (large and small) and a place to sell apparel. Another good thing to make space for is reloading equipment. These days, it’s a rare gun shop that doesn’t stock at least some sort of press and a supply of dies, brass, primers and powder.

    Sorry for the novel, but I hope you find any of my thoughts useful. (And that’s all they are — my thoughts as a shooter — have never run or designed a range ever.) Much success — I hope you’ll post about your progress!

    1. Quite probable (based on all you said) they closed due to not making profit. Or they could not sign up enough high paying members to support all the amenities. The range I go to has many different levels of membership, including Lifetime with annual renewal that is very reasonable. They too have regualr LEO/Military use and there is a separate shooting bay (open) for their use and also classes held. There are 3 range bays (+ open) where I go, with different membership levels having use of different bays. The highest level includes things like cleaning room use in the fee, as well as access to all the different bays, including the open bay. Being in a lower tier level I can use the room but have to pay. I get Free Rental of guns, but you must buy ammo at the range to use them. The two lower tier levels pay for gun rental. It was 1 of 18 NSSF 5 star ranges in the USA when it opened a few years back, now there are 39 of them in the USA; I would definitely agree with that rating.

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