Written by Michelle Henderson – June 3, 2019
Top 10 Considerations When Building a Gun Range
There are many factors involved when constructing an indoor shooting range, and there is no “one price fits all” when designing, building and equipping a gun range. Each project is different, the requirements are different, and the customer needs are different as well. Initial considerations are many, and include a variety of factors. We’ve compiled the top 10 things that can determine the cost of building a gun range.
- Site location: What is the price of your property? Consider the intended site’s current zoning, any special-use permit process, ease of access, existing utilities and any signage limitations.
- Construction: Will the project be all new construction, or would it involve renovating an existing structure? Consult with your range equipment provider when designing a new building. Should you have an ideal location that has an existing building, the primary consideration will involve the building size limitations. Is there enough length for your desired, achievable target distance, and is there adequate ceiling clearance height? Is the building structure even proper for a shooting range? There are specific room size and configurations to be considered. In addition to a safe range design, one must consider how all other aspects of the business will be operated. Everything “surrounding” the range operation should be thought through. Will there be an observation area or control room? How and where will ammunition and target sales be conducted prior to range entry? How convenient will the range services be?
- Building Structure: What will be the specifications? Although a full concrete room enclosure is best, many ranges are installed within buildings that have varying types of ceiling structures and heights.
- Type of Weapon: Are you looking for a pistol rated or rifle rated range? Most recent ranges are designed for limited rifle capability. Some ranges will construct multiple firing bays and separate pistol shooters from rifle shooters.
- Distance: What is your desired target distance? 25 meters? 50 yards? Or something else? Commercial gun ranges typically provide between 15 yards and 100 yards—the longer distances obviously being rifle ranges. In addition to the target distances, allow adequate distance for the selected bullet traps depth with a service aisle behind it. Also consider the desired length oat the entry location(s) of the range. Your ventilation system designer will usually want 12’-15’ at the range entry end to properly balance out the air flow.
- Bullet Trap: Based on your expected usage, are you looking at steel plate or a rubber design? Different bullet trap designs have varying size depths and heights (depending on space requirements) and service intervals for reclaiming the bullets. Your bullet trap selection is integral to your range design and size.
- Lane Dividers: Do you need solid panel or a clear design? Solid panel and clear lane dividers are available in both pistol and rifle ratings. Although the clear designs are flashy and offer added visibility, many shooters prefer the privacy of their own shooting stall space without the distraction of being able to see, or be seen, by their adjacent lane shooters.
- Target Systems: Depending on the usage of your range, will you need a basic trolley wire, monorail forward/return, monorail with 360 degree turning and programming capabilities, stationary targets, or something else?
- Shooting Activities: What are your intended shooting activities? All primary firing line shooting? Or will there be any downrange training? Downrange “combat” type shooting activities will increase the equipment needs. Additional ceiling panels coverage and sidewall treatments need to be considered.
- Ventilation Systems: Will you require a purge design or recirculation with A/C? What are your mechanical equipment locations? Outside roof, slab mounted, or inside a mechanical room space?