Tag: range design

The 411 on Shooting Range Ventilation

Ventilation is one of the most important aspects of an indoor shooting range. However, many misconceptions and contradictory information exist on the topic. As a range owner, it can be difficult to know what information is accurate and what the most important aspects of range ventilation are. Here are a couple common misconceptions debunked:

Misconception #1: The type of rounds shot will change the ventilation design.

Truth: It does not matter what type of rounds are shot, what type of ammunition is used, or how much shooting occurs in a small arms range. There is a standard ventilation design that works great for all ranges regardless of what ammunition is shot.

Misconception #2: Air flow speed in a range can be anywhere between 50 feet per minute and 75 feet per minute at the firing line.

Truth: The range should be designed for 75 feet per minute at the firing line or lines. This should result in an air flow that is not below 50 feet per minute at any individual point.

Misconception #3: Air flow tests should be done with people or mannequins in shooting positions.

Truth: All air flow testing should be done on an empty range. The testing and commissioning procedure on an empty range has proven to meet Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) exposure levels.

Why Range Ventilation is Important

Along with understanding the misconceptions that exist about range ventilation, it is important to understand the various purposes behind vent3ventilation and why ventilation is so critical to a shooting range’s long-term success.

The first and primary purpose of ventilation is to remove contaminants created during the firing of a weapon from the respiratory zones of those occupying the range. Exploding primers containing lead styphnate and friction from the lead slug against the gun barrel create airborne lead. Carbon monoxide and other contaminants are also created during the firing of a weapon. The ventilation system removes all of these harmful particles.

The second and equally important reason for a properly designed and installed ventilation system is to keep the range at a negative pressure to the surrounding building space. Contaminants need to be contained in the range space. This will prevent the ingestion of these harmful particles, and also keep the non-range spaces and surfaces of the building free of contamination. This in turn will ensure the health and safety of all customers and employees.

The final purpose of the ventilation system is to remove the smoke from the range so visibility is high and the targets can be seen.

Ventilation Systems and How They Work

Many range owners are aware of the purposes of a ventilation system but may have questions when it comes to the system types and designs.
The suggested air flow for a small arms range is an average of 75 feet per minute at the firing line. This air flow must be even from floor to ceiling (known as laminar flow) and have minimal turbulence. There have been two general approaches to the distribution of air that have been used within the industry.

The first is a plenum wall. Although this approach can work and some have successfully tested to provide laminar flow, the plenum wall has also been prone to problems. The main issue is when the access door to the range and the window from the range safety office have been installed they tend to create turbulent areas. This can disrupt the laminar flow, which can prevent the contaminants from being properly contained. There have also been problems where the range officer standing in one position has caused a lane to fail the exposure test.

The second method that has proven successful is the radial diffuser. This method disperses air into the range in a 180 degree radial pattern. These diffusers are custom built and tested to provide proper air flow at the firing line. It is critical to only use proven products that have been tested to achieve the laminar or even air flow at the firing line. This will ensure the safety of range employees and customers and also keep the range compliant with health and safety regulations.

When deciding on the design of the ventilation system, negative air pressure is also important. Providing negative pressure in the range is accomplished by designing more exhaust than supply air. Creating laminar air flow at the firing line will protect a shooter’s respiratory zone, but it will not keep contaminants created in the range from entering other areas of the building. The industry standard for this design is 10% greater exhaust than supply. The tighter the range area of the building is constructed, the less differential is necessary to maintain the proper pressure differential. Some ranges have been designed with the 10% differential, but the exhaust is filtered and there was no method of modulation for the exhaust based on filter loading. This caused the range to go positive within a week of a filter change. It is very important to oversize the exhaust fan and use a variable frequency drive or an inlet vein vortex damper to regulate the fan. This will control the amount of exhaust that is filtered and keep the air at a negative pressure differential.

The most critical component to keeping the range negative is a control system that can start up, stop, and maintain a negative pressure in the range at all times. The control system must also monitor the range conditions as well as sound an alarm and shut down if unsafe conditions are present.

The Economics of Range Ventilation

Price may be another factor in considering a ventilation system as they can be expensive. A range owner might think about just using a local vent8heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) contractor to install the system. Unfortunately, most local HVAC contractors do not have the required experience with shooting ranges to make everything work properly, and standard HVAC equipment by itself is not sufficient for the task. There are specialized custom components that must be manufactured and installed to exacting standards. Experts in the industry handcraft these custom parts on a per-job basis to meet the specific needs of each individual range.

If the system is too difficult for the range staff to use, chances are the staff won’t use it, or it won’t be used properly. The top names in the industry have made usability a priority to ensure each ventilation system is easy for the end-user to understand and operate. For example, Carey’s Small Arms Range Ventilation System features a single control switch that activates the entire ventilation system and indicator lights that turn on when the system is ready for use. A convenient digital interface screen displays the status of the ventilation system at all times and displays any errors, alarms, or unsafe conditions that might arise. If something happens, Carey’s can dial in to the ventilation system via a built-in modem to diagnose and make adjustments remotely.

Proper shooting range ventilation is essential. There are hazards and pitfalls that can be avoided only by companies with sufficient expertise and experience, so make sure to choose a team that can do the job right. The effects of poor ventilation in a shooting range are a serious matter, and potentially hazardous to the health of both range employees and customers. Lead poisoning in adults and children can cause digestive problems, high blood pressure, hearing problems, memory and concentration problems, and a host of other health issues. These hazards can be avoided if the range is ventilated properly. Without fail, an indoor range ventilation system must provide and maintain clean air for everyone in it. With a properly installed and functioning ventilation system, range owners can operate their range worry-free, assured the system is keeping the range, employees, and customers contaminant free and healthy.

Rely on the Experts for Help

There are hundreds of things to take into consideration when building a shooting range, but your top priority should always be safety. Before anything else, make sure your range is going to be safe for your customers, your employees, and the environment. If you are considering building a range, talk to the Action Target representative in your region and he will be happy to help you find the right equipment to fit your needs and budget. You can also use our Request a Quote form to get started on your range project today.

Please note, the tips included in this message have been found to be helpful for many clients throughout the years but may not apply in all situations. Please use judgment in determining which tips will be helpful in your particular situation.

Illinois Shooting Range Braces for New Concealed Carry Law with Huge Upgrade

As Illinois becomes the 50th state to allow the concealed carry of firearms, one shooting range a half hour out of Chicago is preparing for the influx of new shooters and turning heads in the process.

GAT Guns of East Dundee, Ill., recently added a monumental 39 new indoor lanes to its existing 24 making it one of the largest indoor shooting ranges in the country and the go-to destination for shooters near and far.GAT Guns 3

The new ranges, which were designed and installed by Action Target, include 50-yard and 75-yard bays with 14 lanes each as well as a 50-foot long tactical training range with 11 lanes. There is also a large classroom to accommodate the thousands of concealed carry permit applicants expected to come through the doors when the new law goes into effect on January 5.

“We foresaw a need for a full service training facility in the area,” GAT Guns General Manager Randy Potter said. “There’s nobody else around here that can take care of customers from A to Z as completely as we can. We have the training classes, the firearms inventory, the accessories, and now we have one of the most advanced firearms training facilities in the country.”

With the new Illinois concealed carry law requiring 16 hours of training (including live fire training on a shooting range), GAT Guns provides the ideal venue.

GAT Guns 4

The new shooting bays include steel funnel bullet traps which safely collect and contain lead debris, bullet proof shooting stalls, an advanced air filtration system and Mancom target retrievers that allow for complete control over target distance, lighting effects and 360 degree random edging from an LCD control screen in every booth.

“Customers are blown away by the quality of the ranges,” Potter said. “The technology on our ranges allows shooters to control every aspect of their training. It’s an entirely new shooting experience.”

GAT Guns, which was founded in 1979, is already known as the Illinois headquarters of all things firearms with more than 6,000 guns in stock on any given day and 2,500 unique pieces on display.

“We consistently have folks from 150 miles south of here to the Wisconsin border and even as far west as the Mississippi River,” Potter said. “I attribute that to us being as unique as we are in size and scope as well as our commitment to professional customer service.”

GAT Guns 2

GAT Guns originally began in nearby Hanover Park and moved to the current location in 1989 where owner Greg A. Tropino (and thus the acronym “GAT”) bought an old restaurant and retrofitted it into the two-story gun supercenter it is today.

“Greg’s told me in the past that when he originally bought the building, he had no idea what he was going to put upstairs in the original footprint,” Potter said. “We’ve outgrown that by 10 times now.”

With 63 total lanes and shooting bays located on both floors, GAT Guns has quickly become one of the most talked about ranges in the country. It’s even attracted the attention of R. Lee “The Gunny” Ermey from Glock who spent a day there in May to promote the range and sign autographs.

“We had over 1,200 people wait to meet The Gunny that day he was here. It was a very fun event,” Potter said.

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Even more than entertainment and retail, however, the mission of GAT Guns is to provide a central location for firearms education and quality training.

Training courses provided at the range currently include NRA First Steps, women only classes taught by women instructors, five phases of tactical pistol, five phases of tactical carbine, introductory handgun, practical holster and soon, Illinois concealed carry classes.

The new shooting bays recently opened up to the public and are also available for law enforcement qualification as well.

Crowdfunding and Shooting Ranges: Odd Couple or Perfect Match?

Shooting Range

 

In the old days, if you wanted money to finance a project or new business (like a shooting range), there were only a few ways to do it. You could talk to local business investors, obtain a small business loan, or beg a rich uncle. And if none of those worked, then you put the project on the back burner and waited to win the lottery.

It didn’t matter that there were tons of people who wanted whatever product or service you had to offer. If the people with the money weren’t convinced, then you really didn’t have any other options.

In 1997, fans of the British rock band Marillion broke that norm. They wanted to see the band go on tour despite the untimely bankruptcy of their record label, so the fans paid for it themselves. They set up an online campaign where people could donate whatever amount of money they could afford, and within a short period of time, they had raised enough money to send Marillion on a 21-date tour.

It wasn’t long before others caught on and started websites to fund bands, albums, movies, and art projects. Inventions and games soon followed with the introduction of gadgets like the Pebble Watch ($10.3 million raised) and an online video game called Star Citizen which raised more than $14 million through crowdfunding campaigns on its own website as well as Kickstarter. Thousands of other campaigns have been successful in the few short years crowdfunding has existed with a total of $2.7 billion being raised in 2012 alone.

But it wasn’t until the JOBS (Jumpstart Our Business Startups) Act was signed in April 2012 that all of this meant much to small businesses. This new legislation opened the doors for startups to solicit equity financing from the general public pending implementation of regulations by the SEC. While that piece of the JOBS Act has yet to go into effect, small businesses are still finding ways to get their ventures off the ground through crowdfunding sites.

Business partners Rob Krop and Matthew Jones are doing just that with a campaign to build an indoor shooting range in Frederick, Maryland, called The Machine Gun Nest. The pair started the project with two goals in mind: build an indoor range in a neglected area and create responsible gun owners one experience at a time. To meet those goals, they decided to reach out to the community through crowdfunding.The Machine Gun Nest

“Right off the bat, there were really only two crowdfunding sites that would allow us to do what we wanted to do. It was Indiegogo and GoFundMe,” Krop said. “One of the big reasons we chose Indiegogo was because they had better reviews, we saw better products, we saw more activity, and we also saw larger donations.”

Indiegogo allows people to donate to The Machine Gun Nest’s campaign by purchasing one of several perks including pistol and machine gun rentals, one year memberships, family memberships, and lifetime memberships. They also offer more extensive perks for larger donations of $5,000 and $10,000 like premier access to new machine guns and having a shooting lane named after you for sponsor donations.

The Machine Gun Nest has seen initial success with nearly $22,000 raised in the first 24 hours of the campaign being launched, but beyond donations, their campaign through Indiegogo has increased the project’s visibility and built awareness among their future customers.

“This provides a venue where we can not only raise capital, but we can raise awareness and reward people for believing in us before the project is created by giving them discounts for their donations,” Jones said. “It creates awareness. It creates a buzz. And everyone can see it happen right there on our campaign. They see dollars that are going toward something that they also care about.”

Other shooting ranges have attempted to finance themselves through Indiegogo in the past, but only one managed to raise more than $195 after a full 60-day campaign. The difference with The Machine Gun Nest campaign, Krop says, is that they’re hitting the pavement and talking to people about it in person as well as online.

“One of the things that has really helped us is just getting out in front of people. We got a booth at the local gun show and that was huge. We got a great response. People seeing that we’re moving forward and that we’re out there in person gave a lot more validity to what we’re doing, and people felt more comfortable donating,” Krop said. “The more we get out in front of people and talk to them, the more they see that it’s a real thing and not just something online.”

For both men, that determination comes from more than just a desire to own a profitable business.

“This is a cause as well as a business, and it matters to us,” Jones said. “We want to create an environment where we can show safe and proper use and training for firearms so the public can see that firearms do have a place in the hands of responsible citizens.”

Only 43 days are left in the campaign, and Krop and Jones both plan to continue face-to-face and online efforts to reach their campaign goal of $500,000 – a very tall order in the world of crowdfunding – but whether they reach their goal or not, they still plan to open the shooting range with the help of community investors.

Opening the range may not be their biggest achievement, however. The Machine Gun Nest has the chance to become the first shooting range ever to be successfully financed through crowdfunding and may pave the way for other ranges like it. With crowdfunding expected to explode in the next year and with the implementation of public equity financing coming soon, the shooting range industry has a unique opportunity to bypass traditional financing options and get direct support from the shooting community itself. While there are likely to be many failed campaigns along the way, there will also be those who rise to the top and pioneer a new business model for shooting ranges everywhere.

Myths About Rubber Berm Traps: Part II

As we discussed in the first part of this article, rubber berms are a fantastic way to contain rounds on ranges that see limited use, but they aren’t perfect in every circumstance. Rubber berms have their limitations no matter what you may read. If you are considering installing a rubber berm on your indoor or outdoor range, make sure you have a clear understanding of the facts about what rubber berm are realistically capable of handling. Here are three more myths you may encounter in your research of rubber berm technology.

CLAIM #4: Rubber berm traps are easy to clean. You can even do it yourself with a special vacuum or with doors on the back of the trap.

When too many bullets are suspended in the trap for it to function safely, they should be mined from the rubber and disposed of properly. Some early claims stated that a million rounds per lane could be fired before cleaning was required, but our real-world experience and documented accounts reveal that a rubber berm trap should be cleaned after about 80,000 rounds per lane.

The process of separating the lead from the rubber can be a very specialized and time-consuming task. The top 8 to 12 inches of rubber are typically taken off the entire trap and then separated to remove the bullet fragments. The lead fragments can be classified as a recyclable material, but may require complicated permits to transport and dispose of legally. After the lead has been properly dealt with, the remaining rubber is placed back on the trap. Even with the best industrial equipment, it can take an experienced crew nearly seven full days to clean a 20 lane trap. Because of the extensive lead exposure inherent in the process, everyone involved should be outfitted with the proper safety equipment including complete hazardous-material suits and certified respirators.

Another claim states that bullets will travel all the way through the rubber to the rear of the trap where they can easily be removed through doors mounted in the back of the steel support structure. Our experience shows that handgun rounds typically penetrate only 6 to 10 inches into the usual 24 inches of rubber, and most rifle rounds only penetrate 12 to 16 inches. Even as newly fired bullets impact other bullets already in the rubber, we have not seen fragments even come close to the rear of the trap. We have never found these “cleaning” doors to do anything more than add unnecessary expense and difficulty to the trap.

CLAIM #5: Rubber berm traps greatly reduce the noise levels on your range.

Sound problems on shooting ranges are caused by the noise generate when firing a gun and the interaction of that noise with the walls, floors, and other surfaces of your range. When you compare the surface area of a bullet trap with that of the floor, walls, and ceiling of a typical range, the trap typically makes up only about 5% of the total surface area. This small percentage combined with the fact that rubber is only a fair sound absorbing material means a rubber berm trap may have minimal impact on the sound levels on your range. We have found that using proper sound absorbing materials and techniques on your walls and ceiling baffles can give far better results.

CLAIM #6: Adding more technology and additional devices to your trap will improve its performance.

There is only so much you can do to “technologically enhance” chopped rubber. That being said, let’s look at some of the most common add-ons to rubber berm traps.

The first device is a large collection bin or “hopper” that spans the top of the trap. In certain cases, the chopped rubber has been found to migrate and flow toward the bottom of the trap leaving undesirably thin coverage near the top. When this happens, the extra rubber that accumulates at the bottom of the trap should be periodically collected and returned to the hopper. This process can be very labor intensive, and you should employ the same safety equipment and procedures used when cleaning the trap.

Another add-on uses large sheets of rubber that act as a skin over the entire surface of the trap. This cover is designed to help keep the small rubber granules in place and to keep small bullet fragments from escaping back toward the shooter. As shots are fired into concentrated areas, the cover can quickly develop larger and larger holes, requiring time and money to maintain. Another downside to a cover like this can be heat retention. In hot conditions, the membrane may reduce the ability of the granules to “breathe” building up heat and increasing the chance of fire when other ignition events are present.

You have Options

The equipment you install in your shooting range can have a significant effect on your range’s future success. Rubber berms work great on ranges that don’t see excessive everyday use, but if you start having more customers than you originally planned for, it quickly becomes a less than ideal solution. After evaluating the benefits and limitations of a berm trap design, you may conclude that this technology is the best overall choice for your needs. If not, know you have other options.

The Action Target Total Containment Trap (TCT) can be a great solution if you are going to run a lot of people through your range. With three different types of hands-free lead removal systems, the TCT allows for varying levels of use and greatly diminishes the time you have to spend maintaining your shooting range. If your range’s anticipated level of use is on the border of being too much for a rubber berm, plan on being successful and install a TCT. Don’t limit your long-term success based on short-term finances.

Rely on the Experts for Help

There are hundreds of things to take into consideration when building a shooting range, but your top priority should always be safety. Before anything else, make sure your range is going to be safe for your customers, your employees, and the environment. If you are considering building a range, talk to the Action Target representative in your region and he will be happy to help you find the right equipment to fit your needs and budget. You can also use our Request a Quote form to get started on your range upgrades today.

Please note: the information included in this article has come from both documented studies and the personal experience of Action Target shooting range specialists. This information has been found to be helpful for many clients throughout the years but may not apply in all situations. Please use judgment in determining which tips will be helpful in your particular situation.

New Miami Gun Range Promises a Unique Experience

Stone Hart’s Gun Club & Indoor Range focuses on being clean and friendly

Stone Hart’s Gun Club & Indoor Range has teamed with Action Target to build a progressive shooting range families can enjoy. Located near the Kendall-Tamiami Executive Airport, the new facilities include a firearm and ammo retail store, two indoor shooting ranges and classrooms for in-depth instruction.

The idea for the range came in 2010 when three friends started playing with the idea of building a test range for their growing ammunition company. The idea soon evolved into something bigger, however, when they realized how few resources were available to shooters in the Miami area. Instead of building a range like all the others they had seen, they decided to create something that would have a positive impact on the shooting community.

“Our main goal is not to sell guns or ammo or memberships, but to offer people entertainment, training and therapy,” managing partner Adolfo Vivas said. “I wanted to make the best range in South Florida, and I think we’re finally going to get it.”

Stone Hart’s features two eight-lane 75’ ranges (one for handgun shooting and one for rifle shooting) equipped with the latest technology like target retrievers from Action Target with digital distance control and a Carey’s ventilation system that removes 99.7 percent of contaminates and lead dust from the air to keep shooters and the environment safe. But the owners believe the most unique aspect of their range is the family friendly environment.

“Our approach is family-oriented. It’s not like a men’s club,” Vivas’ business partner Augusto Luna said. “We want to make it welcoming to families. We want people to be comfortable bringing their kids so they’re aware of firearms at an early age and can learn how to handle them safely.”

Stone Hart’s managing partners have gone out of their way to provide firearms education by hiring three professional trainers including former Top Shot contestant Gabby Franco to teach classes on self defense, concealed carry and shooting safety. Free seminars for children on gun safety will also be offered.

In addition to educational classes, future activities will also include competitions, contest, games and ladies’ nights.

“We want to be a 5-star range, so we’re working toward that right now,” Luna said. “We’re just scratching the surface right now for what we want to do. We have big plans for this place.”

Among their big plans are a deli sandwich counter in the pro shop, free cable and wireless Internet and future ranges for archery and tactical training.

“Now that people have options,” Luna said, “it’s opening people’s eyes as to what a range should be.

Find out more about Stone Hart’s Gun Club & Indoor Range or register for classes by visiting www.stonehartsgunclub.co.

About Action Target Inc.

Action Target Inc. is a privately owned business headquartered in Provo, Utah. As a world leader in shooting range technology with more than 4,000 products and 40 patents for the systems it designs and manufacturers, Action Target has installed thousands of shooting ranges across the United States and in 25 other countries around the world. Action Target also designs systems and conducts firearms training for law enforcement and various military divisions. For more information on Action Target, visit www.ActionTarget.com. To learn more about Action Target products or to purchase items online, visit www.ActionTarget.com/store.

3 Marketing Strategies to Get People in Your Shooting Range

Executive Video SummaryBy Mike Stilwell, Action Target Range Consultant and owner of Range Masters indoor shooting range in Springville, Utah.

Orlando Police shot at indoor RangeWhen I bought my first handgun 20 years ago, there wasn’t a place to shoot it. There were hardly any shooting ranges in the area, and the ones that did exist required expensive long-term memberships. That really bothered me, so when my midlife crisis hit, I decided to build my own shooting range. I wanted to build a place where anyone could feel comfortable and enjoy the fun of target shooting. I wanted to build the kind of range I would have wanted to go to 20 years ago.

In building and managing that range, however, I didn’t always make the best business decisions. I already had a good job, so I wasn’t in it for the money. I was in it for the love of the industry. Owning my own shooting range was a dream come true, but to be successful, I needed to combine my passion with a little business sense. Over the years, I’ve learned a thing or two through trial and error and by watching what successful range managers do. Based on my own experiences, these are three marketing strategies I would recommend to any shooting range trying to pay the bills.

#1: Constantly look for new customers

The truth of the industry is if you don’t market to get new customers, your customer pool will quickly dry up. People lose interest, they move away, they get more demanding jobs, and sometimes they just find a shooting range they like better than yours. No matter the reason, your customers won’t be around forever, and that is why you need to constantly work to get new people in your range every day. Think of it as a funnel. The more people you get to come through your door, the more people are going to come back. The more people you get to come back, the more money they will spend. The more money they spend, the more likely they are to buy a membership and become a long-term customer. Obviously, not everyone that comes in your door is going to buy a membership, but some of them will. The key is to constantly add customers to the funnel so it can siphon down to the few who are going to be loyal for months and years to come.

One of the great ways to get new customers is through free range passes. I know it can be painful to watch someone use your range without paying a dime, but maybe that person didn’t even know your range existed until now, and after a day of shooting, he/she plans to come back again and again. Giving someone a freebie can sometimes mean more money for you down the road. For example, I send free range passes to Sportsman’s Warehouse and Cabela’s. When people walk into one of those stores and buy a Glock 17 or some other gun, they get a free pass to shoot it on my range. All of a sudden, they have a great excuse to visit me, and when they do, they may find a new weekend pastime. Additionally, they may realize that I sell the same gun for a little cheaper which means they’re likely to come to me for their next firearm purchase. So instead of spending a ton of money on mass advertising, I target the customers I really want by handing out a few freebies to new gun owners.

Another good way to get people in your range is to do games and contests. I call this the “bowling league philosophy.” Often, bowling alleys rely on bowling leagues to stay open. Why? Because it’s a lot more fun to go bowling with a group of people that love it as much as you do, and that is what gets people in the bowling alley. Shooting ranges have a lesson or two they can learn from that. Shooting is quickly becoming more and more of a social activity and the industry needs to adjust. I’m not talking about professional target shooting competitions, though. I’m talking about fun contests and games that anyone can participate in. Every other week, I have a “fun shoot” at my range. We shoot bowling pins, we do trick shots, we do playing card targets where whoever shoots the best hand can win a cash prize. The purpose is to be safe and fun while getting new people in my shooting range. It’s not strictly regulated so more people can participate without feeling they have to be professional or even good, for that matter. Every time, I get 40 to 50 shooters who participate and 10 to 12 of those are new shooters. We hold a new shooter orientation with those 10 or 12 so they can be familiar with the rules of safe shooting, and then we have a great time. The people that participate are hooked and come back again and again.

Once you get someone hooked on your range, the next hurdle is to get him/her to buy a membership. For the majority of shooting ranges, memberships are what pay the bills. They provide consistent revenue and are likely to carry over from year to year. But convincing a new customer to drop a wad of money on a long-term commitment can be a little difficult. Sometimes you need to give them a little taste of what having a membership would be like so they can convince themselves it’s something they want to do. I sell 10-time discount punch cards that essentially give customers benefits similar to owning a membership. They get discounts on range use and ammo, and after they use the card up, they can roll it over into a membership. Many customers shy away from buying a membership at the start, but after using up a discount punch card, nearly every one of them end up becoming a member.

#2: Use classes to build a faithful following

Classes and firearms education are a great way to bring new customers into your range and build rapport with the community. For new shooters, walking into a shooting range can be a little intimidating. They’re not familiar with the procedure, and the ex-marine behind the counter with a concealed Uzi isn’t likely to give much encouragement. Instead of making extensive experience a prerequisite to using the range (or at least making newcomers feel that way), take advantage of this teaching opportunity to create loyal customers. Introductory classes and other training courses are a great way to help people gain the confidence they need to become shooting range regulars.

At my shooting range, I personally teach all of the concealed carry classes we hold each week. I have never advertised the class, but I get several people to sign up every time. It’s all word of mouth. If you make it enjoyable for people, make it informative and entertaining, people will share it with who they know, and you’ll never have an empty class. Of the people who attend my classes, many of them have never been to my range before, but after a day of shooting and having fun, you can bet they’re going to come back.

One range that does a wonderful job of utilizing firearms education is the Range at Lake Norman in Cornelius, North Carolina. As one of only 25 ranges in the country to be given a five star rating by the NSSF, this range is a great place to get ideas from. Designed and installed by Action Target, their state-of-the-art facilities allow for 16 different classes including advanced concealed carry, mother/daughter self defense, build your own AR, and a zombie survival class. With four or five different introductory courses, they constantly get new shooters into the range with NRA certified instructors who can help them gain confidence and become more comfortable in that setting. In addition, two of their classes, the mother/daughter self defense class and the parent teen intro class, encourage family shooting which brings more foot traffic and encourages the trend of social shooting.

#3: Make your range as comfortable as possible

You can have the best range in the world, but if you don’t have good customer service and an inviting atmosphere, you don’t have anything. Scowling Scott may be able to build an AR-15 from scratch out of raw jungle materials, but he’s not going to be a benefit to your shooting range if he doesn’t leave people with a positive impression. Unfortunately, the world of shooting seems to be dominated by hyper-masculinity and the notion that you have to know everything before you can set foot in a gun store.

Having been on both sides of the experience barrier, I do my best to consider the people who may not have a clue about what they’re doing. I remember just starting out and how much I would have liked someone to show me the ropes without making me feel like less of a man for not knowing what to do. The reality is, gun ownership is increasing and not everyone belongs to the good ol’ boys club. That’s why your employees not only need to be knowledgeable about guns and shooting, they need to have customer service backgrounds. In the end, it’s not the products you sell, it’s not how many lanes you have, and it’s not even how great your prices are. Your shooting range’s biggest asset is the people behind the counter. Hire the right people and you will get more customers coming back.

Another way to get more customers coming back on a consistent basis is to make your range as comfortable as possible. Again, customer service is probably the biggest aspect of this, but your facilities also play a huge part. Ranges that are comfortable and inviting attract customers. You would be amazed at what a little extra lighting and proper ventilation can do to the atmosphere of a shooting range. Gone are the days of hot, smoky indoor ranges where you can barely even see your target. People want to feel comfortable and safe. That’s where Action Target comes in. We design and install shooting ranges with your customers in mind. Action Target ranges are known for being clean, easy to maintain, and comfortable. Whether you’re considering building a new range or if you would like to upgrade your existing range, we can help. This isn’t an easy industry, but with a little extra help, you can definitely succeed. We’re all in this together.

Rely on the Experts for Help

There are hundreds of things to take into consideration when building a shooting range, but your top priority should always be safety. Before anything else, make sure your range is going to be safe for your customers, your employees, and the environment. If you are considering building a range, talk to the Action Target representative in your region and he will be happy to help you find the right equipment to fit your needs and budget. You can also use our Request a Quote form to get started on your range upgrades today.

Please note, the tips included in this message have been found to be helpful for many clients throughout the years but may not apply in all situations. Please use judgment in determining which tips will be helpful in your particular situation.

The Equipment You Need to Make a Good Shooting Range Great: Pt. 2

By Matt Brinkerhoff, Action Target Range Consultant

When it comes to shooting ranges, bullet containment is the paramount concern. As we discussed in our last article, the appropriate bullet traps and safety baffles need to be in place in order to keep your customers and employees safe. That means bullet traps that reliably collect and store bullets and allow for safe disposal of collected lead. That also means ballistic paneling on the walls and ceilings to ensure any shot that misses the bullet trap has no chance of exiting the building. But once you’ve established a strong foundation with the help of Action Target, you can move on to the more glamorous aspects of building a shooting range, like target retrieval systems and computer controlled reactive targets.

Here at Action Target, we provide a wide array of shooting range equipment from moving targets and shooting stalls to sound abatement and ventilation. With the help of our many corporate partners, we do our best to give you the most complete shooting range package on the market.

Target Systems

With the assistance of our business partner Mancom, Action Target has worked to provide several different target retrieval systems to meet the specific needs of customers. Our Standard Smart Target Retriever eliminated the problem with sag and sway that are inherent in many cable guide designs with the use of a rigid steel track and armored trolley system. Distance control is also made easier with two different operation options. With our toggle option, a simple flip of a switch send the target back to a pre-determined distance, while our Smart Pad gives the shooter complete control over distance and movement. With the addition of our Deluxe Smart Retriever, which allows 180 degree turning action, the shooter or range master also has the ability to program and replay a series of target positions and turning actions.

If your shooting range needs to facilitate tactical training, however, you may want more than just a static position in a stall. Proper tactical training requires realistic scenarios, which means shooter movement and target movement. Training on moving targets hasbecome mandatory for law enforcement agencies across the country. Because running seems to be a part of most gunfights, the ability to fire safely and accurately at moving threats can be one of an officer’s greatest assets. To better facilitate quality tactical training, Action Target provides two types of running man systems: the portable Runner family and the more permanent Track Runner. The portable Runner systems not only simulate horizontal running scenarios, but armed charging scenarios as well. With two AT Builds New Shooting Range and Storedifferent portable systems to meet your budget and needs, running targets can easily be incorporated into your training program. The Track Runner provides the tools for a wide variety of situation with single or double track configurations, cardboard and steel target compatibility, variable speed and electric braking, and remote hand held control of movement.

Action Target also provides turning targets to foster quick and accurate reactions with good guy / bad guy threat identification. Drawing and firing at a target you already know is a threat is fairly easy, but real life scenarios aren’t always so simple. To eliminate the inaccuracy of this scenario, law enforcement demanded targets that turn toward and away from the shooter at specific time intervals. Turning targets allow trainees to practice evaluating the target quickly while performing tactical maneuvers. With six different turning target systems, Action Target can design the perfect system to fit your needs.

Ventilation

Ventilation is extremely important on indoor shooting ranges. Lead and other airborne toxins are introduced to the environment during shooting and can be hazardous to the health or your employees and customers if inhaled. Any enclosed area where shooting is done must be properly ventilated in order to meet NIOSH, EPA, and OSHA standards. Installing a ventilation system for your range may be beyond the abilities of your friend George who does air conditioning. Improperly designed systems may just stir up the air rather than replace it.

To provide you with the best and safest ventilation system, Action Target has partnered with Carey’s Heating and Cooling, the world’s premier provider of shooting range ventilation systems. Carey’s ventilation systems are the best-performing and most efficient systems available on the market today and are designed to exceed NIOSH, EPA, and OSHA air quality standards. Through the use of a ceiling-mounted 180 degree air delivery system as well as digital and analog control systems which adapt to changing environmental conditions to maintain the required air velocities and building pressures, Carey’s ventilation systems push and pull air downrange at a rate fast enough to completely replace the air within a large range in less than two minutes. The air then goes through preliminary filters to remove large impurities before passing through a HEPA filter to eliminate 99.97% of remaining contaminants, making the exhausted air even cleaner than the air outside.

Sound Abatement

Sound abatement is one of those things many shooting range owners ignore initially and then wish they hadn’t when neighbor relations begin to decline. If your shooting range is near residential areas or if housing begins to develop around your range, proper sound abatement is absolutely vital to your future success. If too many people begin to complain about the noise level, you could be shut down permanently.

But sound abatement is not only important for the people outside the range, but for people inside the range as well. Gunshots have an extremely high decibel level which is only compounded on an indoor range when the sound waves bounce off the hard floor, walls, and ceiling. Ear protection is absolutely necessary on any range, but it may not be enough to protect your employees who spend hours and hours in the range every day. The constant reverberation of gunshots within an enclosed area can actually produce negative physical effects on the body other than just hearing loss. Prolonged exposure to high decibel percussive noise such as gunshots can cause nausea or fatigue if the reverberation isn’t properly dissipated.

These problems can be easily avoided by limiting the length of shifts for employees working in the range and by installing proper sound abatement material. All ceiling and wall baffles installed by Action Target are covered with acoustic tiling to help reduce the amount of reverberation within the range. We’ve also teamed up with Troy Sound Wall Systems, the creator of the highest acoustically rated wall systems in the world, to bring you one of the most viable options on the market. By installing the Troy Sound Wall System in ranges, we have managed to reduce reverberation by 98%. That’s 98% percent of reverberation you don’t have to worry about threatening the health of your employees and customers.

Rely on the Experts for Help

Action Target LogoThere are hundreds of things to take into consideration when building a shooting range, but your top priority should always be safety. Before anything else, make sure your range is going to be safe for your customers, your employees, and the environment. If you are considering building a range, talk to the Action Target representative in your region and he will be happy to help you find the right equipment to fit your needs and budget.

Please note, the tips included in this message have been found to be helpful for many clients throughout the years but may not apply in all situations. Please use judgment in determining which tips will be helpful in your particular situation.

The Equipment You Need to Make a Good Shooting Range Great: Pt. 1

By Matt Brinkerhoff, Action Target Range Consultant

Anyone who has been to a quality shooting range knows it requires much more than a line drawn in the dirt and a few paper targets. Great shooting ranges are designed to protect customers, employees, and the environment. Here at Action Target, we specialize in designing, manufacturing, and installing superior shooting range equipment to meet all of your ballistic needs from bullet containment to target retrieval systems. Quality matters when the safety of your customers and employees are in question, so don’t settle for good when your shooting range could be great with the help of Action Target.

Bullet containment is the number one concern on any shooting range, and without the proper designs and equipment, it can be nearly impossible to ensure the safety of those inside and outside the range. Bullet containment basically comes down to two elements: bullet traps and baffles. The bullet trap should be designed to stop any high powered round and handle the level of traffic expected at your range while safely collecting all projectiles for proper disposal. Any shot downrange should be stopped by the bullet trap, but safety baffles are also needed to keep bullets from exiting the ceiling of your range or ricocheting off the walls in the event of an errant shot. With the right combination of bullet trap and baffles, you can rest easy knowing no matter where a shot is fired on your range, it won’t have a chance to escape.

Bullet Traps

Action Target offers two different kinds of bullet traps, the Rubber Berm Trap (RBT) and the Action Target Total Containment Trap (TCT). A rubber berm trap consists of an angled metal plate covered in chopped rubber two feet thick. Action Target’s rubber berms utilize a patented combination of fire retardant and nonflammable adhesive to minimize fire danger and prevent migration. Being a softer collection medium, rubber significantly reduces ricochet and lead dust in some applications which makes it a great option for ranges that don’t see excessive everyday use. Due to the simplicity and relatively low cost of the materials used, a rubber berm can be extremely economical. But if you start having more shooters than you originally planned for, it can also become a wrench in your wallet. Rubber berms have to be cleaned and the bullets lodged in them mined every 80,000 rounds. Not only does it cost money to clean the rubber berm and replenish the chopped rubber periodically, but the more days you have to close your range for maintenance, the more money you lose.

Action Target's Total Containment Bulle TrapThe Action Target Total Containment Trap can be a great solution to this problem if your daily foot traffic is able to balance the expense of installing and maintaining it. With two different types of lead removal systems, the TCT allows for varying levels of use and greatly diminishes the time you have to spend maintaining your shooting range. Essentially, the TCT is a giant armor steel funnel that directs every shot fired into a small gap at the rear of the trap. Once a bullet passes through that gap, it enters an elliptical deceleration chamber where it spins until it loses energy and falls into the collection trough through the bottom of the chamber. All of the lead is then collected and stored using one of two systems, the hands-free Screw Conveyor System or the Canister System. These two systems are designed to prevent lead exposure and make disposing of hazardous range debris as simple and easy as possible. The TCT is perfect for high traffic ranges, and when combined with our unique Dust Collection Unit, it is the safest and most environmentally friendly bullet trap on the market.

Safety Baffles

Safety baffles are often one of the most neglected areas of shooting range design, but they are absolutely crucial to the ballistic security of your range. In addition to keeping fired bullets from exiting the range, baffles offer protection for overhead lights, pipes, ventilation ducts, and other structures. As much as you would like them to, shooters at your range are not always going to shoot perfectly straight, and when they inevitably hit the ceiling, you’ll be glad you had them installed.

Action Target Safety Baffles used in LAAction Target’s patented wall and ceiling baffles are designed to reduce noise, eliminate ricochet, and ensure complete bullet containment. Our baffles are composed of four layers: acoustic paneling, plywood, an air gap, and steel. Acoustic panels are placed on the outside of our baffles to minimize gunshot reverberation within the range and prevent sound transmission beyond the range. Plywood is then used to contain shots fired into the baffle. Bullets can easily pass through these two layers, but once a bullet hits the steel and shatters, the plywood effectively contains the fragments. The air gap works as a buffer to allow the bullet room for fragmentation before bouncing back against the plywood. The most important part of the baffle is the steel plate. Action Target offers four grades of safety baffles ranging from 10 gauge steel to abrasion resistant armor steel to meet your range’s ballistic specifications and budget. If you know what ammunition and firearms will be allowed on your range, we can help you find the right baffles to complete it.

The type of training your range is expected to accommodate will dictate the configuration of your safety baffles. Action Target offers both static and tactical configurations based on the “no blue sky” principle. According to this principle, a shooter who is facing downrange on an outdoor range (though, this principle also applies to indoor ranges as well) should not be able to see any blue sky. If shooting on your range will only be from a static point on the firing line, the ceiling baffles are placed in a static configuration meaning they are spaced closer together near the firing line and further apart near the bullet trap. Even though there are large gaps between the baffles at the end of the range, no blue sky can be seen from the static shooting position at the firing line which means it’s impossible for a bullet to escape vertically.

If your range is expected to accommodate tactical training where shooters will be moving downrange, having gaps in the ceiling baffles anywhere on the range isn’t acceptable. With a tactical baffle configuration, baffles are place close together and overlap one another so even if a bullet is fired straight up, a baffle will be there to stop it no matter where it is on the range. This tactical configuration allows shooters to move freely without any danger of rounds exiting the ceiling. Wall baffles are also highly recommended if tactical training will be conducted on your range. While hardened concrete is balistically sound, wall baffles add an additional level of protection and completely eliminate ricochet while also decreasing reverberation within the range.

Rely on the Experts for Help

There are hundreds of things to take into consideration when building a shooting range, but your top priority should always be safety. Before anything else, make sure your range is going to be safe for your customers, your employees, and the environment. If you are considering building a range, talk to the Action Target representative in your region and he will be happy to help you find the right equipment to fit your needs and budget.

Please note, the tips included in this message have been found to be helpful for many clients throughout the years but may not apply in all situations. Please use judgment in determining which tips will be helpful in your particular situation.

The Top 3 Things to Consider When Building a Shooting Range

Building a shooting range is a huge endeavor that should be approached cautiously and systematically. There are many things to consider and potential issues you may have to deal with; however, don’t let that deter you. Building a shooting range is a perfectly attainable goal if you start things right. Even if you already own a shooting range, or if it’s just a future dream, the three steps in this week’s newsletter can help you smooth out the process and keep you on the road to success.

1) Know Your Purpose

Figure out exactly what you want to do with your shooting range and then design it. Don’t get caught up in the excitement of building a range and then try to figure out how to use it afterward. Paying for and maintaining a bunch of functions that you don’t need or want is almost as bad as not meeting your needs in the first place. We offer custom and turn-key designs for ranges of all shapes and sizes, so instead of just picking the flashiest range in the catalog, decide independently what you need to get the job done. If we don’t offer a range that matches your unique requirements, we’ll design one that does.

Make sure you know who you’ll be serving. Your customers should be the deciding factor in many of the considerations you’ll come across in the planning stage. If you don’t offer what they want, they’ll go elsewhere to find it. Do some research on your potential customers and ask yourself some of these important questions.

For commercial ranges, ask yourself:

  • Will my patrons be more comfortable at an outdoor or an indoor range?
  • How many shooters need to be accommodated at the same time?
  • Will there be unsupervised shooting on the range?
  • Are my customers more concerned with hunting or self-defense?
  • What types of guns and ammo am I going to allow?
  • Will my range be appropriate for family use?

For law enforcement ranges, ask yourself:

  • Will my emphasis be on training, qualification, or both?
  • Will my range consist of a single firing line only, or does it need to allow close-range tactical training?
  • Does my range need to accommodate the use of vehicles in tactical situations?
  • Will the SWAT team use the range?
  • What weapons and ammo will be used and at what distances?
  • Will citizens be allowed to use the range on designated days?

2) Involve the Right People

Action Target may be able to provide you with the best shooting range technology in the world, but it’s going to be the people you know that will make your range a success. The key to a smooth process is communication. As they say in the field of public relations, “Don’t bulldoze the neighborhood without talking to the tenants first.” The point is, there are people you need to communicate with before you ever start building your range.

If you plan on having resident firearms trainers, make sure they are involved from the beginning. Your trainers will be using the range the most and should have a say in the way it’s designed. Often, they are going to have the best ideas when it comes to the practical uses of shooting range technology and functions.

Local government officials play a crucial role in the future of your range. In the end, they are going to have the final say in whether you can build it or not, so establish rapport as early as possible. Talk to the county commissioner and the city council to figure out exactly what you need to do to get your shooting range approved. This may include figuring out zoning issues, environmental regulations, and local statutes involving noise and firearms. Your local officials will have the most accurate information on regulations affecting you and will appreciate being informed of your intentions early and often.

Unfortunately, not everyone is going to like the idea of a shooting range moving into the neighborhood. Their main concerns will probably be noise, lead contamination, and gun safety. This is where your public relations comes in. Talk to your neighbors and find out what their specific concerns are, if any. Then create a message to let people know exactly what you’re doing, what safety precautions you’re taking, and how the range is going to benefit the community. This can be done through public service announcements, town hall meetings, fliers, press releases, or even going door to door. No matter how you do it, make sure the people around you are adequately informed because problems will inevitably arise if you keep them in the dark.

3) Plan for Success

Obviously, no one builds a shooting range anticipating to fail, but too often people build ranges without planning to be successful either. When designing your range, leave room for future growth. You don’t want to find yourself limited when things go better than expected. You can prepare for this with careful planning and a little foresight.

Shooting ranges can get crowded when demand exceeds supply. Make sure you have enough lanes so people don’t have to wait for hours to shoot. Consider your customers when deciding how many and what kind of lanes to install. Go back to the question of whether your customers are more concerned with hunting or self defense. Perhaps a hunter shooting a rifle will occupy a lane longer than someone practicing self-defense with a handgun. If you expect or even allow rifle shooters on your range, consider building a separate area designed specifically for rifles. By separating shooters based on firearm type or purpose, you may be able to alleviate some congestion. Other suggestions for keeping the flow of customers unimpeded are to allow online scheduling of lanes, to install a webcam that allows customers to go to your website and see in real time how busy the shooting range is, and to limit how long shooters can occupy a lane.

Angel View of the Total Containment TrapThe equipment you install in your shooting range can also have a significant effect on your future success. If you anticipate a large number of shooters on your range every day, you may want to reconsider the bullet containment system you use. Rubber berms work great on ranges that don’t see excessive everyday use, but if you start having more customers than you originally planned for, it quickly becomes a less ideal solution. Rubber berms have to be cleaned and the bullets lodged in them mined after so many shots fired. Not only does it cost money to clean the rubber berm, but the more days you have to close your range for maintenance, the more money you lose.

The Action Target Total Containment Trap (TCT) can be a great solution if you are going to run a lot of people through the range. With three different types of hands-free lead removal systems, the TCT allows for varying levels of use and greatly diminishes the time you have to spend maintaining your shooting range. If your range’s anticipated level of use is on the border of being too much for a rubber berm, plan on being successful and install a TCT. Don’t limit your long-term success based on short-term finances.

No matter where you are in the process of building your dream shooting range, we are here to support you. We are only successful when you’re successful; so let us know what we can do to help. For more information on what systems will work best for you and your customers, contact one of Action Target’s shooting range consultants by calling our office at (801) 377-8033.

Action Target and the NRA Continue Long-Lasting Relationship

The sport shooting and firearms training industries are always changing, but there is one thing that never has changed and never will – relationship building. Years ago, when Action Target was just getting started in the industry, a friendship was formed between Action Target and Ray Chapman at the Chapman Academy in Missouri. This relationship blessed Action Target for many years. Many people knew Ray Chapman well and understood that he was a passionate and highly intelligent participant in the sports shooting industry and in the discipline of firearms training. He truly improved the industry and his foundation continues to built upon today.

Action Target continues to benefit from its relationship with Ray, along with its relationship with the NRA and continually strives to be a strong supporter of the NRA in return. Today, Action Target’s long-term support with the NRA extends far beyond the annual Bianchi Cup in Columbia Missouri; Action Target also regularly supports the NRA Range Design Committee.

John Joins, Head of the Range Design Committee, has put together a stellar program to provide vital information for a successful project to those who are considering building a range. This program is delivered throughout the country and sells out over and over again. Although the upcoming event in Atlanta is booked for this year, interested parties can visit the NRA website and book a time slot for the San Diego event, which will be held in a few short months. Action Target will be at the conference and will be available to answer any questions that people may have about its products. Be sure to ask one of the Action Target range consultants for a copy of its new book, Commonly Asked Questions in Range Design. This book, which will be available on April 1st, answers many questions commonly asked by individuals trying to build a range, compiling them into an easy-to-read and informative manner.

Action Target makes an effort to be at most of the major trade shows in the law enforcement, military, and consumer industries. Another event it will attend is the annual NRA Annual Meeting and Exhibit Convention held in St. Louis from April 13-15. While there are many things to do while visiting St. Louis–like visiting the Gateway Arch or Cardinal Stadium–the best thing will be attending the conference itself, rubbing shoulders with others, and seeing what’s new on the show floor. The convention gets bigger and better each year and Action Target hopes to see you there!

Law and Order (Part Two)

Written by Keith Mehlin

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on September 2, 2010. Due to the popularity of the article and the number of new subscribers since it originally went out, Action Target has decided to republish this two part series.

(Continued from last week…)A local firm was hired for the design of the range. We simply told them that we wanted indoor/outdoor ranges, how big we wanted them, and that we wanted classrooms large enough to seat 100 students at tables, which could also divide into smaller rooms. They did a tremendous job in laying out a preliminary plan. Both the police department and the sheriff’s department had firearms instructors who had visited an Action Target built range in Utah to observe that design. Those instructors, the sheriff and I sat down with the designers and came up with the final plan.

One of the largest learning curves for me was how to handle the air and lead contamination in the indoor ranges. One of the best decisions we made was to take the advice of Action Target and use a vendor out of Chicago who has been involved in building ranges around the world. The knowledge they brought to the project was invaluable.

One example of their contribution dealt with what came to be the final layout of the range. We had originally wanted a 20 station, 25-yard indoor range, a 10 station, 50-yard outdoor range, and a 5 station, 100-yard outdoor rifle range. During one of the pre-construction meetings, the representative from Careys, which was the range air handling vendor, asked if we normally had more than 10 people doing firearms training at one time. We normally do our training on the shift and do not have more than 6 or 8 officers at one time shooting. He suggested that we put a wall down the center of the indoor range, thus making two 10 station 25 yard ranges. That way we would only have to run one air handling system at a time under normal situations, saving us a tremendous amount of utility money over the long haul. It would also give us another range which gives us more flexibility when we schedule other agencies.

We ended up with a training facility that consists of two, 25 yard 10 station indoor ranges with state of the art Action Target computerized target systems and a 50 yard, 10 station out door range with the same target system. The ranges have outside doors in which we can pull vehicles onto the range or place anything we need to use to train in cover and concealment on the ranges. We were unable to obtain enough money to build the rifle range, however the building was designed so that that range could be added on at a later time.

The facility also has classrooms with removable walls. We can seat 100 students at tables with the walls removed, or have three classrooms that each seat about 35 students. All three classrooms have computers attached to LCD projectors for visual presentations. There is a wireless internet system throughout the entire building. We were able to physically separate the classrooms from the indoor ranges so you have little or no noise from the ranges while you are in the classrooms. We also have a weapons cleaning room with numerous stations. All stations have compressed air available for the cleaning of weapons. There are locker room facilities and a large break room that overlooks the entry way. The outdoor range has a separate control building that is also used for storage. There are bleachers near the outdoor range for times that an instructor needs to get the students together to stress a point or instruct all in a specific technique.

If I could give one piece of advice to those contemplating a new range, that would be to make sure that you have a competent person to oversee the construction of the building. We were quite fortunate to have access to the Council Bluffs Building Superintendent, Dennis Kuhlmann, who oversaw the entire project, from initial planning to the final walk-through. He has extensive experience in new building projects and was an invaluable asset to us during the entire project. Because of his experience and expertise, we avoided a lot of snags and problems as he took care of them with the general contractor, Action Target, and Carey’s.

To be able to work on and be part of a project that gave our officers one of the nicest training facilities in the country was quite satisfying. The range and classrooms have been accepted by both the instructors and the officers who are trained there. Practically all of the agencies in the Omaha metro area have either used the range or toured it and I have not heard one negative comment. I thought for sure that we would hear at least a couple of “you should have done this”, or “you should have done that” comments, but we have not heard one. We held an open house for the public which was very well attended. All of the community members who toured the facility were impressed. It all came together quite nicely and we are quite proud of the facility.

I don’t think that there are any major changes that we would make if we could do it over again. Adding the 100-yard rifle range would be one of course, and I believe that we will add that in the near future. Other than that, we are quite pleased with how the facility turned out. It meets our expectations quite nicely. We now can train regardless of the Iowa winters, do night training at high noon, and still train in inclement weather on the outdoor range. We have state of the art classrooms for other types of training and meetings which are available at all times. Over all we are very pleased and proud to have this training facility for the officers of Southwest Iowa.