Year: 2021

How to Clean up Lead in a Home Indoor Shooting Range

As with any indoor shooting range, the one in your home exposes you to lead, which can pose some problems. 

The metal, which is found in bullets and primers, can harm your brain, gut, and reproductive organs in the long run. So how can you clean up the lead without the adverse effects?

Here’s how to clean up lead in a home indoor shooting range:

  • Wear personal protective equipment.
  • Turn on the ventilation system. 
  • Avoid inappropriate cleaning methods.
  • Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter.
  • Do wet cleaning in the absence of a HEPA vacuum.
  • Do post-cleaning activities to reduce contamination. 
  • Monitor lead levels every six months.
  • Opt for range practices that minimize lead contamination. 

You may need to keep reading if you don’t want to get contaminated with the lead, so let’s get started.

1. Wear Personal Protective Equipment

When you fire a gun, it ends up vaporizing the lead from the bullet and primer. If you’re not careful, you can easily breathe it in or swallow it. 

You can even end up ingesting lead if you eat or drink in your home range. That said, you must put on full battle gear before you start cleaning.

Here is the equipment you need to wear when cleaning, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA): 

  • Tight-fitting respirator with P100 filters, as lead easily passes through paper masks.
  • Face shield
  • Vented goggles 
  • Full-body work clothing, such as a coverall or disposable suit.
  • Gloves
  • Head and foot covers   

2. Turn on the Ventilation System

Since lead dust can become airborne during cleaning, you need to turn your system on before starting. Ideally, it should have a push-pull system as this will help move the lead toward the exhaust. 

For best results, your vent should have the following characteristics as well: 

  • High-efficiency particulate (HEPA) filter
  • It should be separated from the rest of the home.
  • Not feeding air into the other rooms inside your house.

Additionally, you should inspect and maintain your vent at least every three months. You should also replace the filters every quarter.

3. Avoid Inappropriate Cleaning Methods

You can’t just clean your indoor range like you would any part of your house. For one, you mustn’t dry sweep, brush, or shovel the area. Nor should you use compressed air to clean the room. 

Doing any of these will stir up the settled lead in the range. This, of course, places you at a higher risk of breathing or ingesting the dust. 

4. Use a Vacuum Cleaner with a HEPA Filter

You should clean your indoor range regularly, especially if you use it often. 

The gold standard for doing so is to use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter. This machine works by forcing air into a mesh that traps lead dust and other particulates.  

You can use your vacuum to clean up these areas every week: 

  • Floor to ceiling, except for the bullet trap 
  • Top of the target track
  • Stall glass/area
  • Booth glass 

Here are the other areas you should vacuum every month: 

  • The rear of range, including behind the bullet trap
  • Hallway/area outside of weekly cleaning area
  • Fan shroud in the cleaning area

5. Do Wet Cleaning in the Absence of a HEPA Vacuum

If you don’t have a vacuum with a HEPA filter, you can still clean your range safely through the wet cleaning method. When you use a wet cleaning agent, you can remove the lead dust safely without spreading it around and causing more contamination throughout your home. We suggest using one of our D-Lead solutions, as well as swiffers or rags that can be immediately disposed of using proper hazardous material methods.

Most range owners go for a high-phosphate cleaning substance as they are more effective. 

Even without a HEPA vacuum, you can reduce lead hazards by wet cleaning the areas mentioned above. 

6. Do Post-Cleaning Activities to Reduce Contamination

Now that you’ve cleaned the lead in your range, you should be careful NOT to bring these particles home. Before you leave the range, you might want to change your clothes so you can avoid accidentally putting lead particles everywhere. 

For best results, you should shower as well. 

If this isn’t possible, you should at least wash your face and hands. You should also use a decontamination wipe, as it can remove at least 98% of the lead on your body.

Another option is using specialized hand wipes, which can indicate whether or not you’ve washed the lead off effectively. For best results, hygienist Alice Weber recommended using two wipes each for the face and hands.  

Proper disposal is key to preventing contamination as well. Make sure to dispose of your disposable coveralls properly, as you would the trash in the range. If they’re reusable, place them in a secure plastic bag. 

Make sure to wash them separately from the rest of your garments. 

7. Monitor Lead Levels Every Six Months

Even if you clean your range regularly, you have to monitor its lead levels at least every six months. 

The easiest way to do this is to buy a lead test kit.

Another method is to check the air concentration of lead in your range, which you can do with an air sampling pump and membrane filter. The range is deemed safe if the levels read below AL of 30 µg/m3 or PEL of 50 µg/m3.

If you use your range frequently, you’ll want to undergo blood lead level monitoring regularly. This will help you prevent any lead-related health complications. 

Keep in mind: A level of AL of 30 µg/m3 is enough to cause blood pressure problems and reproductive system issues. 

8. Opt for Range Practices That Minimize Lead Contamination

Cleaning lead from a home range can be taxing, if not expensive. But if you want to reduce the hazard further, then you should follow these helpful practices:

  • Use copper/nylon-clad bullets or non-lead primers made from mannitol hexanitrate.
  • Use jacketed bullets in case you need to use a conventional primer. 
  • Avoid utilizing angled back straps with your sand traps. 
  • Cast or reload bullets in a well-ventilated area.
  • Avoid eating or drinking in your indoor range.
  • If you need to bring a water bottle in the range (though it’s best you don’t), make sure it’s tightly closed.
  • Don’t install carpets, as it will be hard to remove the lead that will accumulate here. 

Contact Action Target Today

Lead is harmful to health. By following these cleaning techniques, you can keep yourself, and your family, safe from contamination. With over 30 years of experience, Action Target can help you build the perfect range for your unique needs. Whether you’re building a commercial range that caters to casual or tactical training or a law enforcement range to better prepare your officers, our experts can help with the challenges of building a range. Talk to one of our representatives in your neck of the woods here


How Are Indoor Shooting Ranges Made? Process Explained

If you’ve been to a shooting range before, you’d know they all have a similar design. Ranges allow you to learn and practice shooting a gun without much risk of injury. But you might wonder how shooting ranges are made. 

Indoor shooting ranges are typically made in standalone buildings or basements with limited access. Ranges must be built with materials that don’t allow bullets to ricochet or travel through the walls. Indoor ranges have very specific design regulations that must be followed to maintain safety. 

Let’s look at how indoor shooting ranges are built in more detail. 

Materials Used for Building Indoor Shooting Ranges

The most common materials used to make indoor shooting ranges are steel, rubber, and concrete. These are used to line the wall, floor, and ceiling of a shooting range to catch bullets and prevent injury from ricochet. 

Rubber is a very common material used to catch bullets, especially with smaller ranges. It’s made to capture bullets upon impact rather than allowing them to ricochet and hit people.

Rubber is one of the preferred materials for building small low volume indoor shooting range due to its self-healing feature. There isn’t much need for intense maintenance as it’ll form itself back together, allowing it to be reused. It’s cost-effective as it doesn’t need to be replaced as often as other materials. Maintenance and recycling can be performed by certified businesses that follow the OSHA regulations.

Steel is another popular option for shooting ranges. This material can handle a lot more firepower than rubber, thus, commonly used for larger shooting ranges with higher traffic. 

Harden Armor steel is required for shooting ranges., harden steel helps keep the shooter safer by enusuring that Bullets cant penetrate the steel Soft steel is avoided in range because it can penetrate the steel and splatter unpredictably.

How Indoor Shooting Ranges Are Designed

Indoor shooting ranges are designed with safety in mind. This is done by ensuring there’s an exit and entrance in a safe area that won’t put guests at harm. Ranges must also have lanes that allow guests to shoot safely without endangering other people nearby.

Shooting ranges follow a strict design, leaving little room for creative freedom. This is because new ideas can put people at risk of being hurt. So, there are only so many options that designers have when creating shooting range concepts.

Some decisions are left to the designer, like the materials they use, the office and restroom locations, and the position of everything. But they must include every safety aspect.

Safe Access Lanes

There should be no guest-accessible door leading to the lanes where people will be firing. There is meant to be a common area before entering the lanes, allowing guests to get ready to shoot before entering. This keeps guests that are shooting and wandering both safe. 

Prep Area

Between the range and the check-in area, there should be another area for preparations. This is the place where people can get ready to enter the range. Guests will need a place to put on their ear protection and wash their hands before entering. They can also use this area to clean up once they’re done with shooting. 

Ventilation and Soundproofing

Indoor shooting ranges should also have proper ventilation and acoustics to prevent sound from escaping. There are local sound ordinances that have to be met that may change depending on your area. So, it’s essential when designing a shooting range to inquire about sound ordinances first. 

Basic Design Regulations for Indoor Shooting Ranges

Some of the few specifications required for indoor shooting ranges are impenetrable surfaces, no wood in the structure, minimum of 6-inch (15 cm) thick concrete, 12’ high ceilings, and electrical specifications. 

Impenetrable Surfaces 

All surfaces in a shooting range need to be impenetrable, such as:

  • Walls
  • Backdrops
  • Targets 
  • Partitions

Safety is a shooting range’s top priority. To prevent accidents and keep everyone safe, it’s important to ensure all surfaces are impenetrable by a bullet.

One of the least-known regulations of creating a shooting range is that there should be no wood in the construction. Wood is easier for bullets to travel through. So, ranges should avoid it.

This isn’t all that difficult for newly built buildings, but older buildings being turned into a shooting range may not have this option. 

Rather than rebuilding the range, these buildings can be modified to be able to fit the regulations. These wooden walls need to be modified to handle the amount of metal required. Wood also needs to be treated as it can be a fire hazard for an indoor shooting range. 

High Ceilings 

Ceilings for an indoor shooting range need to be at least 10 ft. (2.4 m) tall but ideally 12’ is needed if you plan to install the proper ventilation to ensure good airflow that meets OSHA standards. Good air flow and ventilation reduce air turbulence to ensure air flow travels over and around the shooter to keep contaminants moving downrange to be filtered. Ventilation systems are vital for removing contaminants from the air caused by firing a gun. Higher ceilings allow for the ventilation system to be effective by reducing air turbulence. 

Thick Concrete Walls 

All concrete walls at indoor shooting ranges must be a minimum of 6 inches (15 cm) thick. This thickness specification is vital for being able to stop bullets from traveling through the wall. Concrete does a better job of stopping a bullet than wood, but the thickness of the wall can help make indoor ranges safer. 

Electrical Regulations

This regulation is relevant for all building regulations, but it differs slightly for indoor shooting ranges. Not only is ventilation vital to keep shooters safe, but electrical requirements have to be met as well. 

These requirements involve having:

  • The ability to keep the lighting on and bright so shooters can see very clearly 
  • Heat or air usable in the shooting range
  • Targets remotely controlled without issue to keep workers out of the range lanes and out of danger

This may not seem like a lot, but the range can’t run without being able to power each of these things. So, there are many more regulations for indoor ranges because electricity is required to ensure the safety of the guests and workers. 

Contact Action Target Today

Indoor shooting ranges are made with safety as the first priority. Many regulations need to be met to run a range. Design specifications are left up to the designer, but with so many regulations, most ranges have a similar setup. With over 30 years of experience, Action Target can help you build the perfect range for your unique needs. Whether you’re building a commercial range that caters to casual or tactical training or a law enforcement range to better prepare your officers, our experts can help with the challenges of building a range. Talk to one of our representatives in your neck of the woods here


How Much Does It Cost to Build an Indoor Shooting Range?

You have decided to turn your passion for firearms into a business and want to build an indoor shooting range. 

There are a lot of things you need to plan on, and there are probably even more questions that will arise throughout the process. One of the biggest initial questions you will want answered is: How much does it cost to build an indoor shooting range?

Generally speaking, building a private indoor shooting range will cost anywhere from $10,000 to $400K. A commercial indoor shooting range will likely cost more than $4 million. There are many additional expenses that go into an indoor shooting range. 

Keep reading through the rest of the post to find out more of the specifics that will help give you a better idea of how much it costs to build an indoor shooting range. Your expenses will be much more than just the cost of the building.

How Much It Costs to Build a Commercial Indoor Shooting Range

Starting an indoor commercial shooting range isn’t an investment to be taken lightly – it’s going to cost a lot. Just how much?

Generally speaking, a commercial range will cost upwards of $3-4 million. The cost of building an indoor shooting range will vary; depending on location, building a new or modifying an existing building, materials, permitting or licensing required, and what technology you outfit your range with.

Below we’ll cover more of the specific expenses that can be anticipated when building an indoor shooting range.

Buying a Location for a Shooting Range

There is an old cliche in real estate, something about location. Whether you buy an existing building or you build a new one on an empty piece of land, the same thing will cost you significantly more in one state than it will in another. 

It is easy enough to figure out the price per square foot of a property. For example, if the building is 5,000 square feet and costs $500,000, you know that you are paying $100 per square foot. This is probably an unrealistic figure, but knowing this formula will make it easier for you to understand the average commercial real estate rates in your area.

Aside from the cost of the location, you’ll need to consider if the building or property you are purchasing is zoned for a business like a shooting range. More of the specifics on zoning will be detailed later on.

Buying a Building for an Indoor Shooting Range: New or Existing? 

It goes without saying that the building will be one of your largest purchases for an indoor shooting range. Determining whether to build from scratch or purchase an existing building is going to be an important decision to weigh. 

In many cases, it might be more affordable to purchase an existing building for an indoor shooting range. However, if the business that previously occupied the space was not a shooting range, a significant amount of retrofitting and modifications will be required to apply the correct bulletproofing and safety features. 

Whether you go with a new or existing property, you will also need to consider what your space requirements will be. We’ll take a closer look at both options below. 

Using an Existing Building for a Shooting Range

If you decide to go with an existing building, there are many things to look at; by far, the most important consideration will be if the existing building you plan on purchasing can be modified and totally bulletproofed for safety. 

According to guidelines on shooting range construction put forth by the US Department of Energy:

Indoor ranges must be designed so projectiles cannot penetrate the walls, floor, or ceiling, and ricochets or back splatter cannot harm range users. Considerations should be made for cleaning of all surfaces and handling of hazardous wastes.” 

There is no way around this, and it will likely be the most expensive part of utilizing an existing building. Additionally, you will need:

  • Lead collection
  • sound dampening
  • Ventilation

Adding each of these features to your space will be a large expense as well.

Know Everything You Can About a Building’s Construction 

Again, according to the Department of Energy reference above, if possible, you should try to make sure that any existing building purchased to be used as an indoor range has existing, original drawings or blueprints from the architect, engineer, or builder. 

These drawings can save you a major headache when it comes to modifying the building and knowing certain traits like construction materials and load-bearing capacity.

Some Basic Requirements of Indoor Shooting Range Construction

The ceiling and the walls of your building will need to support heavy equipment like steel plates or track systems. Other criteria that need to be considered as per the above reference includes:

  • General Construction Materials. It is recommended that wood and wood products as construction materials should be avoided. And any modifications that you may be able to make to ensure the building is safe will not be cost-effective.
  • Exterior Walls. It is suggested that buildings with walls made of masonry or concrete are optimal. Walls should be at least six inches thick. 
  • Interior Walls. Walls need to be evaluated not only to prevent bullet penetration but to see if they can withstand the heavy load of the necessary range equipment. They also need to be able to contain excessive noise. 
  • Floors. Floors need to be evaluated to determine their capacity load. 
  • Ceilings. Ceilings should be at least 8-feet high and enclosed. 

This is just an overview of what you need to consider. There are very detailed guidelines that need to be followed when preparing an existing space for an indoor range. Research all federal, state, and local requirements and regulations as you start shopping for a location for your shooting range. 

Constructing a New Building for a Shooting Range

Constructing a new building will likely cost more, and it will require all the same specifications as were listed above for existing buildings, with a couple of important advantages:

  • Fully customizable space. You are working with a clean slate and getting to build your shooting range exactly as you like. 
  • Ease of determining budget. The cost of building supplies varies much less than the price of real estate. As long as you already have a place to build, construction costs should be somewhat comparable from state to state.
  • Experienced professionals available. If you are looking for a company or contractor to build a large building for your range, there is no shortage of talent.

You may be surprised to learn that there are many online companies that have great reputations and experience constructing buildings specifically for indoor shooting ranges. 

One of these companies is Range Development Services, based in Charlotte, North Carolina. They can help provide a full scope of services and will help you develop your range from the ground up if you want. Their website features some of their past work, and the ranges they have helped design are top of the industry.

Concrete or Steel Construction for Indoor Shooting Ranges

As noted in the Department of Energy Guide, concrete is the ideal construction material for an indoor gun range. Precast concrete is pre-molded into panels and then assembled into whatever building is being constructed. This process of precasting makes concrete buildings significantly cheaper. 

Precast concrete averages $275-$400 a cubic yard. A company that specializes in all kinds of precast buildings is Easi-Set Buildings. They build many different types of precast concrete buildings and have great reviews online.

Many ranges will also opt for steel buildings. Steel may be a good option if shipping costs are a concern for prefabricated concrete. 

MBMI is an experienced company, in their own words, “formed by a group of top steel building professionals who focus on delivering the best products and services possible.”  They fabricate high-quality steel building kits and understand many of the aspects that go into building an indoor shooting range. If you have a good idea of your specifications, they can provide you with a quote.

How Much Space Will an Indoor Shooting Range Require?

As for how much space you will need, there are even more questions to ask in order to determine the size of your range. 

Space needs of an indoor shooting range depend on the number of shooters to be accommodated, how many lanes to build, whether retail space is wanted and what type of guns will be permitted on the range. 

Number of Shooters and Lanes

Know how many people you want to host on the range at once. It is recommended that each lane at an indoor shooting range is approximately 5 ft wide in order to provide a safe distance between shooters. 

For instance, if you want to be able to accommodate ten shooters at a time, that is going to add up to a minimum of 50 ft of width you’ll need for the range.

Retain Space

Most shooting ranges make a large portion of their income through the sale or rental of firearms and sale of ammunition. This space will be for displaying products or inventory, and it will require a space that is completely segregated from the rest of the range. This will also include customer service counters and offices. 

For this, you’ll probably want at least 1,500 square feet. Every square foot of space will cost you more for your build. 

Gun Types Permitted on the Range

If you plan on allowing your patrons to fire rifles and longer-range weapons, then you will probably want to make your building as long as possible. Some newer ranges have even built 100-yard indoor rifle ranges.  If you only plan on allowing pistols, then you won’t need as much length.

These questions all need to be answered in order to determine what size of building or property you will need to purchase.

What Zoning Code Is Required for Indoor Shooting Ranges?

Before you commit to a property for your shooting range, zoning should be the first item to look at on your list. Zoning is a local law that applies to properties and their uses. 

Oftentimes, in zoning ordinances, there is no specification about gun ranges being an allowable use for a property. This is something that needs to be confirmed depending on the location of the intended shooting range. 

It is important to get zoning clarified and make sure you can be given a guarantee that your property will be allowed to operate as a shooting range. If a property is not zoned for a shooting range, it doesn’t mean it is impossible. There are ways to work around local zoning ordinances or get them amended. But again, it is important to know what the laws are regarding this before you commit to a property.

Does a Shooting Range Require a Federal Firearms License?

Anyone who operates a range will tell you that paperwork, licensing, and regulations are key in running a safe and legal business. What about a Federal Firearms Licenses (FFL)?

A shooting range is not required to hold an FFL just to operate as a range but, ranges that rent firearms or sell ammunition or firearms need to hold a Type 1 Federal Firearms License. A Type 1 federal firearms license will cost $200 for the first three years and $90 every year following.

You can apply for a federal firearms license through There is an application fee, and the process will include a review, background check, interview, and a final review. This whole process generally takes about two months.

What Kind of Permit Is Needed to Open an Indoor Gun Range?

To find out exactly what your requirements will be when it comes to various permits and licensing, you should contact your local government. Starting with your local city or county and state. This will likely involve more annual fees depending on where you live and should be accounted for. 

After talking to these local governments, it isn’t a bad idea to call the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms as well. The ATF has many resources online and can probably answer any questions you may have about licensing on a federal level.

What Insurance Does an Indoor Gun Range Need?

Like any business that allows the public into its space, your indoor gun range is going to need insurance. And, since firearms bring with them an inherent liability risk, an indoor range needs some special coverage.

Gun range insurance coverage protects any or all of the following:

  • Firearms liability
  • Commercial property loss
  • Commercial general liability
  • Workers’ compensation claims
  • Weather-related disasters 
  • Fire or flood
  • Personal liability
  • Lead pollution liability

On average, insurance estimates for a smaller range or gun club will likely cost between $87-$129 a month for insurance, according to General Liability Insurance

This is likely to increase depending on the size of your range, the amount of coverage, and any other bells-and-whistles you add to your policy, such as cybersecurity coverage or communicable disease liability coverage. 

If you are serious about building this shooting range, then it should be no surprise to you that you are going to need some serious insurance. Experienced shooters are usually well educated about the inherent risk involved with guns, but even with proper training, there is always at least a minimal level of danger involved with firearms and the general public. 

How to Make an Indoor Shooting Range Safe

This subject has been saved for last because there is the most information to cover. There will also be a large number of links for products and services.

There are many companies in the United States that specialize in outfitting indoor shooting ranges for maximum safety, and they are very passionate about what they do. Some of these businesses can even help you figure out most of the other logistics and planning details required to open a shooting range.

Range Systems and Products

As there is a lot of equipment and products involved here, this is going to be a significant expense on top of buying your property or constructing your building. Most of these necessary products are at least some degree of bullet-resistant, and as such, they will be made from expensive materials.

There are companies that are leading this industry and are able to answer most, if not all, questions you may have and provide any product you will need to maximize safety for your indoor range. But no company does it better than Action Target.

Action Target, out of Provo, Utah, provides any of the range safety outfitting you’ll need as well as cleaning, testing, and monitoring services any range will need throughout its lifetime. They supply these products and services for commercial, military, law enforcement, and private shooting ranges. They have an extensive list of past clients, foreign and domestic.

Safety Products and Services an Indoor Shooting Range Needs

As for all the products the above companies provide, there are a wide variety of styles and construction materials. You’ll have to shop around and find what works for your business’s budget and needs. 

The products listed below are necessary for safe operations:

  • Ceiling Guards or Ceiling Baffles
  • Lane Dividers
  • Bullet Traps
  • Lead Collection
  • Ventilation
  • Sound Dampening
  • Target Systems

These products will surely add up to large expenses for your range, but they are all important. Continuing on, we’ll cover what these items are and what their purpose is at an indoor shooting range.

Are Ceiling Guards or Baffles Needed for an Indoor Range?

Baffles are hung from overhead and are meant to keep your ceiling, lighting fixtures, target carrying systems, HVAC ducts, and plumbing or fire suppression lines from being shot while also preventing bullets shot at the ceiling from going outside. 

When installed properly, ceiling baffles will not leave any exposed spots in your ceiling, saving you enormous costs compared to the other option of capping your whole roof with concrete. The materials they are made from, and their installation methods vary a little from company to company, but they do the same job.

Action Target ceiling baffles are constructed with a combination of wood, steel, and acoustic tile to help reduce sound. We have two types of baffles rated for different classes of firearms, depending on what is allowed at your range.

Does an Indoor Shooting Range Need Lane Dividers/Shooting Stalls?

Stalls are important to keep your patrons separated by a barrier as they are shooting downrange. They can also prevent injuries from accidental discharges while patrons are on the firing line.

Although the concept is the same for any of these products, they all differ slightly when it comes to bells and whistles or materials they are made out of. Some are made transparent, while others offer more privacy

For example, Action Target’s American Series Stall is a high-quality version of this shooting stall. It provides 6-foot-wide walls to maximize privacy, and the walls have an acoustic design that helps dampen sound from shots of adjacent shooters, as well as minimize muzzle blasts, or the shockwaves, from guns being fired. It can also be customized with overhead lights, a nice feature that many dimly lit indoor ranges could use.

What Is a Bullet Trap and Why Is It Needed?

A bullet trap at the end of your range is not merely a bulletproof wall. 

The goal of the bullet trap is in the name; it is meant to trap or catch bullets at the end of their trajectory, where they would otherwise hit a wall. The bullet trap also aids in:

  • Air quality
  • Lead management
  • Noise control
  • Patron safety

Bullet trapping systems like Action Target’s Total Containment Trap are made out of modular parts, making them easy and more affordable to replace as they wear down. Not only does our system safely decelerate all rounds fired into them, but it also catches bullets and collects them in buckets, making the whole process of Lead Collection easier and safer. 

Why Is Lead Collection at an Indoor Shooting Range Required?

An indoor shooting range is going to produce a lot of lead. And range owners need to take care of that, of course.

Collecting lead, either through systems or services, will keep hazardous airborne lead particles to a minimum, preventing contamination and preventing your employees and patrons from getting sick. 

If you have a built-in lead collection, as is included with bullet traps like the ones linked above, this necessary task of disposing of hazardous material like lead can be much easier. In addition to systems that collect lead, Action Target that can provide:

  • Monitoring for lead migration. 
  • Train your employees for the safe handling of lead.
  • Test your employee’s blood levels for lead. 
  • Can help you develop your business’s practices for cleaning, decontamination, and disposal of lead.

Lead collection and disposal are very important for safety, but you can also recycle your collected lead for money as a nice perk.

Why Is Ventilation Required at an Indoor Shooting Range?

Again, ranges are going to produce a lot of lead. Into the bullet trap, but also into the air.

Ventilation systems can:

  • Help keep lead particles out of the air.
  • Provide clean air for patrons and employees. 
  • Help your range meet levels of compliance that are required by the standards of inspection agencies like OSHA and the EPA.

Depending on your climate, you will also need heating, air conditioning, or both, in addition to air filtration. Action Target is able to provide these systems as well as the maintenance they need. 

In terms of cost, expect to pay anywhere between $25,000 to $35,000 or more per lane for a proper ventilation system. 

Why Is Sound Dampening at an Indoor Range Important?

Minimizing harmful noise is a feature you will have to implement in order to meet OSHA, as well as other government agencies, standards for noise control and hearing protection. 

Soundproofing companies will have a variety of acoustic materials to reduce sound, such as:

  • Sound-absorbing blankets
  • Acoustic foam panels
  • Mass-loaded vinyl barriers
  • Polyester panels

An experienced and reputable soundproofing company should also guarantee that their work will meet OSHA and other government agencies’ standards.

What Are Target Systems and Why Do You Need Them?

Target systems allow shooters to place targets down range and position them at various distances without themselves walking down range, either safely holding all other shooters up or not safely creating a dangerous situation for themselves and others. 

Without a target system, patrons checking their targets will be a huge hindrance to everyone, if not impossible. With a target system, a shooter can safely evaluate their target after every round fired if they wanted to.

Action Target has multiple target retrieval systems available, and their upgradable options include many modern technologies like wireless operation, network connectivity for diagnostics, as well as cameras that can allow the shooter to check their shots on target at further distances.

Indoor Shooting Ranges Are Expensive to Build for a Reason

After you have acquired your commercial or private property, there are still many more costs that go into building and maintaining an indoor shooting range. Keeping patrons and employees safe will require a large sum of money, but that is not a cost that should be in question if you want to get into this business. 

Due to the nature of firearms, you are going to need a lot of rugged materials and equipment that can stand up to gunfire, and these durable qualities are not inexpensive. In the long run, these expenses will keep all of your patrons and employees safe and allow your business to thrive.

Contact Action Target

With over 30 years of experience, Action Target can help you build the perfect range for your unique needs. Whether you’re building a commercial range that caters to casual or tactical training or a law enforcement range to better prepare your officers, our experts can help with the challenges of building a range. Talk to one of our representatives in your neck of the woods here


Is There Ricochet When Shooting Steel Targets?

Many people have a common misconception about shooting steel targets: there is always a ricochet, and bullets end up flying everywhere. This fear is rooted in a general misunderstanding that non-gun owners have about bullets and steel targets. In reality, when used properly, steel targets have a very low ricochet risk.

There can be ricochet when shooting steel targets if the wrong ammo is used on the wrong target. With proper precautions, ricochets are extremely rare and not harmful. When shooting steel, you must use an undamaged armour steel target, the correct ammo, and stand a safe distance from your target. 

If you read the instructions accompanying your steel target and adhere to its guidelines, the risk of ricochet accidents is significantly reduced. In the article that follows, we will discuss more specifics about ricochets and steel targets. If you have questions about how to avoid these dangerous accidents, then continue reading to learn more. 

How to Avoid Ricochet When Shooting Steel Targets

Shooting steel targets has quickly become a prevalent form of target practice. While paper and cardboard targets are fun and shooting clay pigeons is a challenge, few things are more rewarding than the loud sound of a steel target being struck. 

The risk of being hit by a ricocheting bullet off a steel target is low, but it can happen. 

The number one rule to being safe when shooting steel is to follow directions and be careful. Unfortunately, most shooting accidents happen as a result of carelessness and disregard. 

Use the Right Ammo

Steel targets are designed to absorb the impact of a bullet and destroy it on impact. However, if you use the wrong ammo type, the steel may not be thick or strong enough to destroy the bullet.

Also, consider the solidity of your ammunition, as some bullets may be too hard to be fully absorbed by your steel target. 

Know What Your Steel Target Can Handle

Most steel targets are made of AR 500 or AR 550 steel. These are some of the best money can buy, will last longer, and absorb more bullets than other steel targets. 

For example, this Highwild 3/8″ AR500 12″ Classic Popper from provides high visibility and is suitable for “most pistols and rifle calibers.” It’s under $50, and it’s ready to go right out of the box.

It’s also important to know how thick your target is and what bullets it is rated for. 

Some targets are meant for handguns or shotguns, while others are capable of handling rifle impacts. 

These High Caliber AR500 Geometric Steel Targets come in a range of thicknesses from ¼ to ½ inches (6.35 – 12.7 mm), with the thickest option suited to everything from a classic 9mm to a 12-gauge slug buck.

Read the instructions that come with each target and if you’re still not sure, contact a firearms expert. They will be able to inform you as to the best way to use your target. 

Angle Your Steel Target Appropriately

angling your target in a downward direction is recommended to reduce splatter and extend life. This ensures that the only path the ricochet has to go when the bullet strikes is down into the ground. 

This is a helpful safety tip to remember. 

Factors That Can Reduce the Risk of Ricochet

The number one cause of ricochet accidents is people not knowing what they’re doing. If you use the wrong gun or ammo with the wrong target, you significantly increase your risk for an accident. 

If you adhere to the directions of your target and are still worried about ricochet, here are a few things you can do to ensure safety. 

Only Use Targets Certified As AR 500 or AR 550

Steel targets made of this steel will ensure that you have a high-quality target capable of handling multiple types of weapons and ammo.  

While you can use AR500 or AR550 targets for pistol shooting, the heavier AR550 plates are better suited for rifle practice and last longer without pitting or damaging a rifle range. 

ALWAYS Check Your Ammo

The best type of ammo to use for shooting steel targets is FMJ (full metal jacket). As a general rule, the softer the bullet is, the better. 

If your bullet is too hard, you risk dinging or denting the steel target, making it more of a liability. Avoid using armor-piercing rounds and steel rounds which are more likely to cause ricochets.  

Stand the Correct Distance Away From the Target

This is perhaps the most important rule to remember. If you stand far enough away from your steel target, you significantly reduce the risk of being hit by a stray ricochet. 

The distance you’ll want to maintain when shooting steel targets depends on what kind of gun you’re shooting with. For shotguns, stand at least 30 yards away. When shooting with rifles, stand at least 100 yards away.

Make Sure Your Target Is Not Damaged in Any Way

If your target is old and beat up, or if you use the wrong ammo and damage your target, stop using it. A damaged target is a recipe for disaster. 

If a bullet should hit the steel target in a damaged area, the steel may be too compromised to absorb the bullet’s impact. 

Additionally, dings or dents could send a ricochet in an unpredictable direction, further putting yourself and anyone with you at risk. 

Following directions, being cautious, and using the above safety techniques will help you avoid nearly all ricochet accidents. 

Weapon Guidelines for Avoiding Ricochet 

Every gun is made differently and uses different ammo calibers, but listed below are general guidelines to remember when shooting steel targets. 

Handgun Guidelines

When shooting steel targets with a handgun, a minimum distance of 25 yards (22.86 m) should be kept between you and your target. 

This may vary depending on the type of gun and steel target you use, though, so always check before pulling the trigger.

Shotgun Guidelines

A minimum distance of 25 yards (22.86 m) should be maintained between the shooter and their steel target when using shotguns. 

Once again, this may vary from target to target and from gun to gun, but 25 yards (22.86 m) is an excellent standard to have.

Rifle Guidelines

When it comes to shooting steel targets with rifles, more caution is necessary. 

Rifles are often more potent than shotguns and handguns and use larger bullets. Therefore, a minimum distance of 100 yards (91.44 m) should be kept between you and your target when using a rifle. 

Contact Action Target Today

Shooting steel targets is a great and fun way to hone your firearm skills. As long as you are aware of the risks that accompany this activity and how to mitigate them, shooting steel targets is relatively safe. 

Remember to use the right ammo, have a high-quality AR material and undamaged target, and stand a safe distance away. If you follow each of these steps in conjunction with your steel targets instructions, then you should be able to enjoy an accident-free day at the range!

With over 30 years of experience, Action Target can help you build the perfect range for your unique needs. Whether you’re building a commercial range that caters to casual or tactical training or a law enforcement range to better prepare your officers, our experts can help with the challenges of building a range. Talk to one of our representatives in your neck of the woods here


The HVAC System in Your Shooting Range

Because air quality needs to be one of your highest priorities, an efficient and quality HVAC system in your shooting range is essential.

Visiting the local gun range is a great and exciting way for your clients to practice their aim, perfect their shot, and improve their skills. But without a decent HVAC system installed in your firing range, the air quality can be harmful to your customers’ health. Air quality is paramount when building an indoor shooting range.

Learn more about the importance of an effective and efficient HVAC system in your indoor firing range below.

Things To Look Out For When Buying an HVAC System in Your Shooting Range

There are many claims made by HVAC suppliers stating they can supply your indoor range with 200 to 400% more fresh air than other systems on the market. Sure, that is doable, but it’ll cost you! Make sure that you ask your provider for all data and documentation supporting and confirming you are getting what they say they are supplying.

In standard Recirculation systems, you can expect 25% of the total Range Supply Air to be fresh, outside air, which is typical if you are trying to get 50-75 fpm airflow at the shooter and downrange. Fresh, outdoor air is necessary to control the carbon monoxide levels inside the range. Recirculating the same air without incorporating some new, fresh air will put range employees and patrons at a considerable risk of breathing in toxic air.

To have 200 to 400% “more” fresh air than a typical Recirculation system, the following would be necessary and/or occur:

  • Operational and energy costs would increase as the system efficiencies would decrease.
  • The system’s ability to control humidity would be lost unless a much larger unit with the necessary cooling capacity is put in place.
  • Equipment size would need to increase to match the increased cooling demands.

Can HVAC Purge Systems Really Generate 200 to 400% “More” Fresh Air?

Guidelines set by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) require airflow from behind the shooter downrange at 75 fpm. In a Purge system, 100% of the total Range Supply Air is fresh, outdoor air. Using mechanical cooling with Purge systems would require equipment with three times the amount of cooling capacity and operational costs. This results from 100% of the Range Supply Air being conditioned from the outside temps and humidity levels down to the indoor range conditions you desire. Once the conditioned air flows down the range, 100% of it is put into the atmosphere. This process recaptures none of the energy put into the Range Supply Air, making it a much less efficient system. Dryer climates have greater success using evaporative cooling with Purge systems. They use far less energy than mechanical cooling systems while adding moisture to dry air.

To achieve 200 to 400% “more” fresh air than a typical Purge system, the following would be necessary and would occur:

  • Fans with 200 to 400% greater capacity.
  • Fan energy consumption instantly increases to accommodate 200 to 400% greater capacity.
  • Equipment costs would increase as a result of the 200 to 400% increase in equipment size.
  • The Velocity of air going through the range would be 200 to 400%, which is much higher than the NIOSH recommendations.
  • The volume of air moving down the range would be 200 to 400% greater.

Obtaining Laminar Flow to Move Lead and Toxic Fumes Away from the Shooter

Laminar airflow is a critical part of all range ventilation system designs. The amount and severity of toxic fumes are greatly reduced when the airflow approaching and passing the shooter is laminar. Turbulent airflow can cause lead dust and hazardous fumes right to the shooter. Systems that are property designed provide laminar airflow for standing, kneeling, and prone shooting positions. Some businesses will market that by angling the stalls or removing diffusers, you’ll meet OSHA standards. However, the engineering does not lie — directing air around and over the shooter is crucial for keeping them safe. 

Check your system for laminar flow with smoke test kits to ensure air is moving in the desired direction. Make sure to check the airflow from behind the firing line. Start the smoke test on the floor, move up toward the ceiling at a consistent rate, and ensure that air moves constantly, from the bottom to the top, ensuring proper 50 to 75 feet per minute. You shouldn’t experience any swirling before getting to the shooter.

Carbon Monoxide Monitoring and the HVAC System in Your HVAC Company

Many inexperienced HVAC companies do not provide carbon monoxide monitoring to shooting ranges, which is a direct violation of OSHA requirements. You’ll find that is especially common for companies that are not familiar with managing lead dust and other toxic fumes produced by firearms. 

It is essential for ranges to have the necessary equipment to monitor CO levels. Monitoring carbon monoxide levels in the Range Supply Air is crucial for providing a safe and comfortable environment for range employees and customers. Alarms need to sound when monitored CO levels reach a predesignated concentration (that is well below harmful CO levels) to protect all occupants.

Ventilation systems need to expel a certain percentage of indoor air to the atmosphere and replace it with fresh, outdoor air to exhaust CO from inside a gun range. All systems need to have a damper control at the exhaust to increase flow when CO levels rise because of heavy range use. If you have a standard Recirculation system, always monitor carbon monoxide levels so you can control how much air is being exhausted, the amount of air being recirculated, and how much fresh air is being brought into the range. Of course, standard Purge systems require no carbon monoxide monitoring and no MAU Bypass because all of the Range Supple Air is fresh air.

Regardless of the ventilation system your range has, Recirculation or Purge, NIOSH recommends that the 10% greater airflow be expelled from the range envelope than what is being supplied into it. This produces a negative pressure in the range relative to the space outside of the range envelope. This is a crucial design component and ensures that lead dust and other toxic fumes are not introduced into spaces next to the range envelope.

The Importance of Intuitive Smart HVAC Controls

Having control systems that are easy to use, understand, diagnose, and adjust is essential when running a gun range. Settling for a basic start and stop system just won’t do. Instead, utilize available technology that ensures you are properly serving your system when necessary. Find a control display with the following options:

  • ON/OFF
  • Mode (Fan, Heating, Cooling)
  • Safe to Shoot 
  • Alarms/Faults
  • Range Temperature
  • Range Humidity (for Recirculation systems)
  • Filter Status/Life
  • Equipment Service Information

Need an HVAC System in Your Shooting Range? Contact Action Target Today!

For the best HVAC system in your shooting range, contact the experts at Action Target. We provide the industry’s best ventilation systems for new range installations and existing ranges in Provo, Utah, that exceed all environmental standards. We offer a complete package of air filters, controls, and maintenance to ensure that your customers, employees, and the surrounding area are protected from the health hazards associated with lead exposure and other air-borne toxins found in indoor shooting ranges. Our innovative ventilation system designs exceed NIOSH, EPA, and OSHA air quality standards and are customizable to your particular range installation. Contact Action Target to learn more today.

Why Can’t You Shoot Green Tip Ammo at Shooting Ranges?

If you are familiar with the rules of shooting ranges, then you know the mystery surrounding green tip ammo. Not only is this ammo controversial when it comes to shooting, but it is also not welcome in almost all shooting ranges. This consistent rule makes people wonder why the rule exists at all. 

You can’t shoot green tip ammo at most shooting ranges because it’s made to penetrate steel, and most indoor shooting ranges use steel to catch bullets. While the steel backdrop would likely still stop a green tip bullet, it would incur a lot of damage, costing the range a lot of money. 

Let’s go into more detail about green tip ammo and why ranges decided not to allow it. 

Potential Damage Caused by Green Tip Ammo at Shooting Ranges

Green tip ammo can do a lot of damage at indoor shooting ranges that rely on steel. Not only could this ammo penetrate the steel and possibly continue traveling along its path of trajectory, but it would also do a lot of damage to backdrops, requiring that they be replaced. 

Because this ammo was created to penetrate armor, that means it can penetrate steel and sometimes continue traveling along its path of trajectory. This poses a huge threat to indoor shooting ranges that use steel to catch bullets. Shots on target might not be a big deal for green tip ammo, but any missed shots could travel through the backing and cause injuries. 

If you are familiar with green tip ammo, then you know this may not happen. It depends on the velocity of the shot as well as what is being shot at. But that doesn’t completely remove the risk. 

Gun ranges are made for safety, and green tip ammo may put the safety of others at risk. So, most ranges do not want to lose their license over safety concerns. This is why many places ban these bullets. 

Another reason these bullets tend to be banned is because of the damage they can do to backdrops. Steel backdrops are made to last through a lot of shooting before they need to be replaced. However, because green tip ammo is made to penetrate this material, it can cause a lot of damage, wearing down of the steel from just a few bullets. 

This damage doesn’t always make the range unsafe, but it certainly means that the backdrops will need to be replaced more often after being hit with green tip bullets. This can get very expensive for a range, considering shooting ranges don’t normally need to change them very often. 

Some indoor ranges will still allow this ammo despite the costs that come with it. For them, the damage done to the backdrop or targets is worth it to keep those customers happy.

Typically, you’ll find this ammo allowed more commonly in ranges that require a higher price to get in. This price increase can help the trade-off of allowing this ammo and replacing the backdrops more often. 

Indoor ranges that allow these bullets also need to heavily consider how well they are made. There are quite a few regulations that must be met before an indoor shooting range opens, and this type of ammo can draw attention to any regulations that may not have been followed. 

This type of dangerous ammo means that rules need to be followed very closely to ensure that no one is mistakenly harmed when using it. So, the ranges that do allow these bullets to be used tend to have stricter rules about who is allowed in the range at any given time. 

Why Green Tip Ammo Is so Controversial

Green tip ammo is made to penetrate steel, which makes it very strong. The damage it can do is what makes it controversial for civilian use. This superior ammo was originally created to penetrate armor. It’s considered dangerous by many, but nonetheless is legal to own in the United States. 

Green tip ammo came about in the 1970s, and ten years later, it was adopted by the US military. During this time, they painted the tip green, which was meant to show that it could penetrate armor. To this day, it is sold and contains those green tips that make it stand out. 

Over the years, these bullets have been shown to penetrate through steel armor which makes it controversial in terms of safety. Many are concerned because it could penetrate bullet-proof vests and other protective gear. 

Since these bullets can penetrate steel, they are considered very dangerous as a stray shot could do a lot more damage than an ordinary bullet. Thinking in terms of self-defense, green tip ammo can cause many issues if you miss a shot or the shot goes through the target and into something else. 

These bullets can travel through steel, so a wooden wall wouldn’t be much of a challenge. 

Over recent years, the ATF has attempted to impose regulations on these bullets for fear that they are putting the lives of law enforcement in danger as it can penetrate their vests. These attempts fell short when it became clear that it would violate the Second Amendment.

Green tip ammo is commonly not allowed at indoor shooting ranges. It can do a lot of costly damage and could be considered a safety concern if it penetrates backdrops. Because of this, most shooting ranges do not allow it to be used in their facilities. 

If you are frustrated with a range for not allowing this ammo, remember that it is done for safety and cost reasons. 

Contact Action Target

With over 30 years of experience, Action Target can help you build the perfect range for your unique needs. Whether you’re building a commercial range that caters to casual or tactical training or a law enforcement range to better prepare your officers, our experts can help with the challenges of building a range. Talk to one of our representatives in your neck of the woods here


How Close Can You Safely Shoot Steel Targets?

For gun enthusiasts everywhere, steel targets have become a prevalent form of target practice, and for good reason. 

Steel targets are specifically designed to be used for target practice and engineered to maximize use and minimize risks. Many people who don’t fully understand steel targets often wonder how safe they are for shooting. 

You can safely shoot steel targets as close as 15 yards with handguns and 100 yards with rifles, which is a standard operating procedure. However, the weapon’s caliber, the target quality, and other factors, all play roles in the risks involved with shooting steel targets and must be considered. 

This article will go more in-depth about all the dos and don’ts of shooting steel targets. We will discuss what type of steel is best for target practice and the appropriate weapon and which ammunition can be used. Every circumstance is different, and we’ve done our best to cover each scenario. 

Why You Should Use Steel Targets

When it comes to guns and shooting, with all of the other options out there for target practice, some people wonder why they should even bother with steel targets. There are paper targets, clay pigeons, cardboard cutouts, and so much more, so what’s so unique about steel? 

The main reason gun enthusiasts love steel targets so much is that they’re very user-friendly. 

When practicing with a rifle at a long distance, it’s often difficult to determine if you have hit your mark or not. This is never a question with steel targets as you will be greeted with a loud dinging sound. 

Steel targets are also reusable. With paper and cardboard targets, you’re constantly having to replace them and change them out. On the other hand, steel targets are meant to last much longer and be much more durable than the alternatives. 

Quality of the Steel Makes a Big Difference

The quality and thickness of the steel target you’re using make a big difference in safety distance. A good steel target is designed to destroy the target upon the first impact, deterring the possibility of a ricochet accident. A well-made steel target should be composed of AR 500 or AR 550 grade steel. 

Steel targets should always specify the steel type and minimum safe shooting distance for each caliber of weapon. If the instructions say the minimum distance for handguns is 10 yards (9.14 m), then listen to the instructions. If the instructions say 20 yards (18.2 m), then the minimum safe distance is 20 yards (18.2 m). 

Most shooting accidents occur because of carelessness and not following best safety practices. If you show responsibility and respect around guns, nearly all accidents are avoidable. 

There may be the occasional errant ricochet to no fault of the shooter, but these incidents are few and far between. 

General Guidelines and Safety Standards

Here are a few general rules to keep in mind when using steel targets: 

  • The thicker the steel is, the closer you can be to the target 
  • The softer the bullet is, the closer you can be to the target 
  • The larger the caliber, the further away you should be 

Every gun and situation is unique, but there are best practices to be followed. Assuming you’re following the specific instructions for each steel target and paying close attention to the thickness of the target, you can have a good idea of minimum safe distances. 


The absolute minimum recommended distance for handguns, depending on the ammo, is 15 yards (9.14 m).  If you’re using a high-caliber pistol or high-velocity ammunition, 15 to 25 yards (13.72 to 22.86 m) is recommended to avoid ricochets or fragment wounds.


Rifles are much more powerful than handguns, and the minimum distance is therefore greater. 100 yards (91.44 m) is usually the minimum distance allowed for shooting a steel target with a rifle. 

Not all rifles have the same firepower, so this may not always be necessary, but if you’re not sure about the quality of the target, 100 yards (91.44 m) should be the minimum. 


To be on the safe side with shotguns, you should keep a minimum distance of 25 yards (22.86 it ism) between you and your steel target. You should also make sure to examine the target closely after every shot to make sure the steel isn’t getting dimpled.

Dimples or dents in the target can lead to unpredictable ricochets and fragment spreads in use. 

Angle and Integrity of the Steel Target Matters

Using a steel target that is angled downward can also decrease the risk of ricochet accidents. The target should absorb most of the bullets’ impact, but there’s always a small risk involved with firearms and steel. 

Angling the target is not one-size-fits-all, however. Ensure you know the proper angle for every kind of bullet used. 

If you notice the steel target you’re using has started to develop dings and dents or cracks, immediately cease using the target. 

A steel target that has been compromised will only increase the risk of accidental ricochets. A damaged steel target will also be less likely to absorb the impact of a bullet fully. Be smart and use caution anytime you’re discharging a firearm. 

Your steel target should be smooth and free of any surface damage. A good rule of thumb is that the softer the target, the safer it is. The steel used to make a good target is often the same material that the gun is made of. 

No matter how excellent or thick the steel is, however, if you use the wrong ammunition with the wrong target, you increase your chances of an accident. 

Contact Action Target

The most important thing to remember when shooting steel targets is that you should always veer on the side of caution. 

Guns are powerful weapons and must be respected to be appropriately used. If you have any doubts about the quality or integrity of your steel target, then change it out for a newer one. 

If you’re afraid the bullets you’re using are too soft or hard for a specific target, then use a different bullet or get another target. Carelessness and nonchalance are the leading causes of accidents involving steel targets. 

With over 30 years of experience, Action Target can help you build the perfect range for your unique needs. Whether you’re building a commercial range that caters to casual or tactical training or a law enforcement range to better prepare your officers, our experts can help with the challenges of building a range. Talk to one of our representatives in your neck of the woods here


What Are Indoor Shooting Ranges Made Of?

Indoor shooting ranges are generally non-descript-looking buildings with rows of individual walls used to create a shooting booth or stall designed for target practice. However, you have to wonder what indoor shooting ranges are made of since people inside are shooting guns. 

Indoor shooting range stalls or booths are made of bullet-proof material. The best bullet-proof materials include thick armor steel, dense poured concrete, and sometimes large rubber blocks.  

The design engineering for indoor shooting ranges includes health and safety factors we had not considered. We think those factors are worth knowing. Read on, and perhaps you will agree. 

Bullet-Proof Shooting Range Walls Protect Users

Within indoor shooting ranges, participants are kept safe in individual stalls or booths divided by thick bullet-proof, armor steel walls that protect them from stray or ricochetbullet/s 

The caliber of guns accepted at an indoor shooting range is a primary factor when choosing the building materials. 

Indoor shooting ranges can be built within an existing building or new construction. However, some companies prefabricate the shooting range stalls from precast concrete or the more popular steel that is then installed on your site. 

Government Guidelines for Indoor Shooting Ranges

The U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Health, Safety, and Security takes charge of not only the construction, but also the maintenance of indoor shooting ranges that provide training and practice for police and military personnel. 

The guidelines issued for the construction of a shooting range are in place to protect everyone from wayward bullets. No surface should be penetrable by a discharged bullet. 

Basic guidelines and materials to meet the standard are as follows:

  • Concrete or brick is preferred for exterior walls. 
  • Interior walls should be poured using high tensile strength concrete and 6 inches thick. 
  • Floors are reinforced high tensile strength concrete.
  • Ceilings should be 10-12 feet high and be made of concrete or armor steel. The finish should be smooth and flat
  • Baffles and other soundproofing are required to contain and absorb sound. 

Add HPDs Along with Baffles and Soundproofing

Steel Baffling covered with acoustical material is used to reduce the repetitive loud noise and provides hearing protection for the shooters and range safety officers. Another reason for requiring soundproofing is to avoid allowing the shooting range to become a neighborhood nuisance. 

Even with baffles to absorb sound and soundproofing materials built into the structure, shooting galleries are inherently loud; therefore, Hearing Protective Devices to protect your hearing are required in all indoor and outdoor ranges. 

According to The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), one shot from a nearby firearm can cause hearing loss. Be alert and don’t remove the protective devices while other shooters are nearby.

Angled Firing Range Wall Stops Bullets 

The trap or bullet catch, which is located downrange, is most often made from thick bullet-proof steel or chopped rubber. All traps and baffles are angled to interrupt the bullet’s trajectory speed and ensure it decelerates and is captured in the downrange trap.

Steel shooting traps are found in indoor and outdoor shooting ranges. A steel trap consists of two angled top and bottom plates as well as a right and left angled side plate designed to catch the fired bullets and deposit them into removable containers ready for recycling. 

Some target typers are placed in front of the trap so that the trap can capture rounds as they are fired. These are primarily used in training facilities for law enforcement, the department of energy, nuclear facilities, correctional facilities, and more.

Retrievers, designed to send a target down and up range, are used in commercial ranges. These allow a safe way of shooting for even the novice.

The bullet trap can be designed using steel or rubber. Both are brilliant designs for indoor or outdoor use. Each option serves a specific purpose; therefore, it’s important that you contact a range manufacturer to learn what solution is best for your range needs. 

Ventilation at an Indoor Shooting Range

Bullets contain lead, and lead particles in the air can be harmful to human health if they have considerable exposure over time. When a lead bullet is fired from a gun, the lead releases dust, vapor, and fumes. 

Workplace regulations for lead are applied to shooting ranges as well. Lead accumulates in the body, and over time the damage can be debilitating if prescribed Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and safety guidelines set by OSHA are not followed appropriately. These standards have been created nationwide to protect workers and shooters at indoor and outdoor ranges.

Indoor shooting ranges are required to have an effective ventilation system with a positive exhaust in place. Government standards are outlined by the United States Department of Labor guidelines for lead safety; 29 CFR 1910.1025

The Firing Line at Indoor Shooting Ranges 

The firing line may consist of a line of multiple shooting stations, with each station being protected by bulletproof walls. The walls must be flush to the floor and overhead must have a protective canopy or safety ceiling. 

The distance between the firing line and the trap downrange will depend on what caliber of firearms is allowed in the shooting range. 

For the greatest comfort, firing lanes or booths should be at least four feet wide. It’s good to have one or two lanes that are five feet wide with adjustable table heights to accommodate Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations. 

Most targets systems in civilian ranges travel on steel tracks using either older pulley-driven systems or more technically advanced, wireless retrievers that travel out and back the length of the range. Shooting lane lengths differ based on the type of gun used. Twenty-five feet for pistols, fifty feet to one hundred for rifles. 

Observation Control Platforms in Shooting Ranges

Observation control platforms are built into shooting ranges at a height that allows the instructor to observe the line of participants. Ballistic proof observation glass is used if these platforms are enclosed. 

The platform should be constructed to the same specifications as all work platforms. However, it must be safe from stray rounds, and it must not be a tripping hazard for the observation site. 

The observation instructor must have a visual of participants at all times and be able to communicate with them. 

Indoor Shooting Ranges Made for Training Classes

Many states have passed concealed carry laws. That action has increased the number of people interested in learning to safely use, maintain and store a firearm for personal use. 

When building an indoor shooting range, space should be set aside for training classes. The space does not require the extraordinary materials that the shooting range itself is made of. 

You will want to incorporate some comfort materials for classroom areas. 

Indoor Shooting Ranges Made of Safety Materials 

Indoor shooting ranges are made of safety materials with very high standards. All levels of safety, including gun safety, air quality, and lead disposal, are addressed in a well-planned shooting range.

Not all shooting ranges meet the standards of the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Health, Safety and Security. If they are not a training facility, they don’t have to. 

Some shooting ranges are made for use by sports clubs and even for an at-home indoor practice range. Safety becomes the responsibility of those who use the facility. 

If you plan to engage in firearms training as a beginner, choose an indoor shooting range with the following features:

  • Bullet-proof wall surrounds with deflectors to prevent stray bullets.
  • Shooting traps that collect bullets and steel jackets in sealed containers that can be recycled. 
  • Noise baffles that reduce the chance of hearing damage. 
  • Ventilation system to effectively and efficiently clear lead particles from the range. 
  • Range Master that is always on watch. 

Contact Action Target Today

The NRA has been instrumental in the development of shooting ranges, especially for its youth programs utilized scouting, 4-H, and more. 

Multiple layers of safety are built into indoor shooting ranges. The design and engineering that must go into planning and building a shooting range must be well thought out. Therefore, it’s important that a professional range manufacturer or consultant is consulted before finalizing future range builds or enhancements. 

Whether for training or just for sport, the safety features built into indoor shooting ranges are impressive without interfering with the fun. 

With over 30 years of experience, Action Target can help you build the perfect range for your unique needs. Whether you’re building a commercial range that caters to casual or tactical training or a law enforcement range to better prepare your officers, our experts can help with the challenges of building a range. Talk to one of our representatives in your neck of the woods here



Do Indoor Shooting Ranges Allow Shotguns?

Indoor shooting ranges allow gun enthusiasts to test out various firearms in a supervised and enclosed environment. 

Some shooting ranges are even set up with unique games, giving customers a more interactive shooting experience. One might ask if these indoor shooting ranges allow all types of guns—specifically, shotguns.

Shotguns can be shot in indoor ranges. Some issues with shooting shotgun indoor include safety, birdshot can bounce off rubber traps while the wades can collect in the trap causing a fire hazard. If shooting indoor with a shotgun we recommend a steel trap. The shot is collected into the collection system and wades can easily be swept up off the trap and floor after the shop closes. The wades do damage the standard acoustic fascia applied to the protective baffles above the shooter but this can be prevented if designed with other more resilient materials and solutions.

Ranges we have built for shotguns, secure a large space in excess of 125’L X 50’W X 25’H. The space is designed without a trap and is set up for sporting clays with 7-14 clay throwers. They include games and challenges for all levels. (look up TNT in UTAH – you will see pictures. Also see if you can find the Governors Club 2 in Georgia, another indoor shooting range. These indoor ranges are a blast.

Are Shotguns Allowed on Indoor Ranges?

Shotguns require a much more extensive range. Check out TNT, use this as a reason why you can do it, in a safe and effective way.

However, if you’re in the mood to try a shotgun, a few sports are expressly set up with this weapon in mind.  

Where Can I Use a Shotgun?

It’s up to the ranges in the local areas. Indoor and outdoor are options. Outdoor is definitely preferred and accepted.

You can use a shotgun in an outdoor shooting range. Outdoor ranges are more versatile than their indoor counterparts because they offer different types of terrain where targets can be set up in random spots and varying distances, allowing you to tweak your shooting experience as you like.

Almost every outdoor range permits the use of a shotgun on-premises. However, they may restrict the kind of ammunition allowed. For example, some may prohibit lead pellets and prefer single projectiles, like slugs, to reduce impact.

Types of Shotgun Sports

Shotgun shooting gets exciting when you try your hand at the different sports designed for shotgun use.

The two main kinds are trap and skeet shooting, both involving shooting at moving clay targets. Trap and skeet shooting were designed as exercises to improve a hunter’s accuracy and increase their chances of success, but these ‘exercises’ have now grown to become Olympic Sports.

Trap Shooting

The critical difference between trap and skeet is how the targets move in relation to the shooter.

Trap shooting involves firing at clay targets shot out of a “house” or “bunker.” These targets are fired in random directions away from the shooter. So, while the shooter is aware of the target’s origin, they are clueless about the order or trajectory in which the target moves. 

This element of randomness creates an intense yet exciting challenge for the shooter who has to be on edge, ready to fire in a particular direction at a moment’s notice.

Trap shooters fire five shots from five distinct points marked out on a semicircle. Each participant gets 25 shots in each round, and those with the most successful hits win the round.

Participants decide on the number of rounds to be played, and the one who wins the most games wins the competition.

In Olympic trap shooting, 15 fixed machines fire targets, and each competitor gets 125 shots to score the highest points. While the fixed direction of the targets may seem like an advantage, the Olympic targets are fired at over 68 miles per hour, ensuring that only the most skilled marksman can make the shot.

Skeet Shooting 

Skeet shooting was a shotgun sport devised in the 1920s by a hunter who recognized that trap shooting did not replicate birds’ random movements or flying patterns. This shooting sport was his attempt to rectify the mistakes so clear to him in trap shooting.

In skeet shooting, the participant must hit two targets that cross one another at the height of roughly 15 feet (4.57 m)  in front of the shooter. 

The targets are fired from two separate machines, one fixed at 10 feet (3.048 m) high and the other at 3.5 feet (1.06 m). These machines are placed almost 40 meters apart, and the shooter stands somewhere in the middle, between the two bunkers.

Skeet shooting can be considerably more complex than trap shooting as participants must fire and hit both targets quickly.

This sport comes in two versions – American Skeet Shooting and International Skeet Shooting. 

In American skeet shooting, targets are fired in a different order, and there is no delay between when the shooter calls for the clay and when the target is fired.

International skeet shooting follows the format used in the Olympic games and the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) games. 

In International Skeet, there is an odd delay between zero and three seconds from when the shooter called for the target and the machine fires.

Sporting Clay 

In addition to skeet and trap shooting, sporting clay is a more recent shotgun shooting discipline that has gained immense popularity in the last few years.

This sport is often called “golf with a shotgun” and involves shooting on various courses laid out over a vast expanse (at least 35 acres) of natural terrain.

Each sporting clay session involves shooting at 10-15 different shooting stations, each set up entirely differently from the others. The terrain and natural obstacles differ from station to station, adding an exciting new element to the sport.

The machines, or bunkers, firing targets are also set up differently at each station. The speed, angle, and distance covered by the target differ throughout the course, adding to the randomness of the sport.

This element of surprise and the need to adapt to different terrain makes sporting clays the most reliable shooting practice in preparation for actual hunting.

Contact Action Target Today

While indoor shooting ranges allow the use of various firearms, some choose not to allow shotguns based on their range design and setup.

If you’re looking to work on your shooting game, do some hunting prep, or clean out the old shotgun, an outdoor range is your best bet. With over 30 years of experience, Action Target can help you build the perfect range for your unique needs. Whether you’re building a commercial range that caters to casual or tactical training or a law enforcement range to better prepare your officers, our experts can help with the challenges of building a range. Talk to one of our representatives in your neck of the woods here

Note: All law enforcement range shoot shotguns indoors. They prefer steel, but I see it often on rubber traps. We support shotguns in indoor ranges, but a range owner needs to consider options during the design.


Why Do Gun Ranges Ask for an ID? 3 Things to Know

Gun ranges are exciting places to practice your marksmanship and have fun, but operating firearms must be done with the highest amount of safety. 

Safety begins with a lot of range rules to be followed and sometimes pre-checks that must be performed. Some ranges may check IDs or even do background checks.

Gun ranges may check IDs because obtaining the identity of any person entering their establishment is an essential step in minimizing both risk and liability. Age requirements, waivers of liability, participant tracking, and firearm eligibility status are all reasons why a range may check IDs.

In most cases, checking IDs is harmless, but it is still important to determine why these ranges may check yours. Read on for the most common reasons a range may check your identification and when they will run a background check on you.

3 Reasons Gun Ranges Ask for an ID

Ranges will check IDs for the following reasons:

  • Minimum Age Requirements: The range will want to make sure that you are of the appropriate age to shoot. This may be for legal or liability reasons or both.
  • Participant Tracking: For liability reasons, the range may want a record of anyone who was present at the range. In case of damage to property or others, this will allow them to identify the perpetrator.
  • Background Checks: Running background checks allows the range to see if you have a criminal history that may affect your ability to operate a firearm. This practice has legal implications that will be discussed later in this article.  

1. Minimum Age Requirements

While it varies dramatically from state to state, there is usually a minimum age requirement to shoot at a gun range. To shoot alone in most states, you must be either 18 or 21 years of age. To go to a gun range as a minor, you must have a parent or guardian with you. In both cases, you will have to fill out a waiver stating that you are of appropriate age and you understand the rules and risks of using the range.

At most ranges, they only check IDs to satisfy this requirement and cover any liability that may come with letting underaged individuals operate a firearm without supervision. There are no minimum age requirements in some states, but the range may still check people’s identifications for their liability purposes.

2. Participant Tracking

Some ranges may take a photocopy of your ID or write down your driver’s license number. If they do this, they are most likely trying to protect themselves if somebody does something against the rules, damages property, or harms others. Range operation laws state that the range can lose its special license to operate if a preventable incident occurs.

If something happens at the range, the range owners would be able to go back and check who was present at the time of the incident.

3. Background Checks

Some gun ranges may try to run a background check on you the first time you come to their property. The range would want to do this because they need to make sure that you are not a convicted criminal, mentally unstable, or have any other reasons you would not be allowed to operate a firearm.

Federal law prevents all felons from possessing or using a firearm. Additionally, criminals convicted of a violent misdemeanor charge are banned from using guns. 

Lastly, federal law would outlaw anyone previously admitted to a mental institution or deemed mentally unwell from operating a firearm. This definition varies from state to state, but always requires some history of inpatient treatment.

Convicted felons may even be able to retain their firearms right to be able to shoot at a range.

All you need to run a criminal background check is a name, address, and date of birth. Having a social security number may expedite the process, but they can do it without one. If the workers at the range ask for any part of your social security number, you know they will most likely run background checks.

What Type of Gun Ranges Are Most Likely To Check ID?

There are two types of ranges; indoor and outdoor. These ranges can be divided further into public and private entities.

The range most likely gun ranges to run ID and background checks are private, indoor ranges. Private ranges typically will have a more extensive selection of rental weapons, such as automatic rifles and exotic guns, making their liability much higher.

As a result, they will want to be sure you’re fit to handle a firearm before allowing you access.

These ranges may be even stricter in states with tight gun control laws, such as Hawaii, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey.

The type of range with the loosest rules are public, outdoor ranges. These are most common in gun-friendly states like Kentucky, Tennessee, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Virginia, New Hampshire, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, and Utah. 

Occasionally, these ranges are set up as “show up and shoot” ranges where you pay a small entrance fee and shoot for the day without any other hassle. You are unlikely to have your ID checked at a range like this.

Can Gun Ranges Legally Run Background Checks?

Gun ranges cannot legally run background checks on individuals who want to use the range or rent a weapon. This is because of a concept called “constructive possession.” As long as the rented weapon stays inside the property, the range is still lawfully in possession of the gun.

If the individual wants to leave the property with the weapon through purchase or long-term rental, the range must then perform a background check. Once the individual goes off the property with the firearm, they are legally in possession, and restrictions are now enforced.


The rules and regulations that gun ranges implement vary from range to range. Not all ranges will ask for IDs, but some have a more extensive screening process. This story of a violent felon shooting her firearms instructor may convince more ranges to start performing stricter checks. This woman was allowed to shoot a firearm without going through a background check.

Contact Action Target

If your gun range asks for your ID and you’re curious why, then just ask! The owners of the range should be more than happy to let you know the reasons behind their request.

With over 30 years of experience, Action Target can help you build the perfect range for your unique needs. Whether you’re building a commercial range that caters to casual or tactical training or a law enforcement range to better prepare your officers, our experts can help with the challenges of building a range. Talk to one of our representatives in your neck of the woods here