Month: September 2021

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


Can You Put a Shooting Range in Your House? 4 Facts

If you enjoy a few rounds of indoor shooting, you may have wondered whether you can put a shooting range in your house. 

Our homes are now our one-stop source of all entertainment—we can shop, exercise, and watch movies all from the comfort of our home. However, your home can also house more extreme hobbies, like shooting ranges. 

You can put a shooting range in your house as long as it is safe and functional. While residential shooting ranges are legal in the USA, you should always check local regulations and ensure that you are taking safety and noise control precautions to avoid complaints from your neighbors.

This article explores 4 facts you should keep in mind if you’re interested in building a shooting range in your house. 

Facts About Residential Shooting Ranges

You can put a shooting range in your house, provided you follow a range of regulations and guidelines. 

Some key facts to consider when building a residential shooting range include:

  • Residential shooting ranges are legal in America.
  • You must soundproof your shooting range.
  • Safety precautions are crucial.
  • It’s best to get an architect to build your shooting range.

This section considers facts to know if you want to build a shooting range in your house, including legal requirements and construction suggestions.

1. Residential Shooting Ranges Are Legal in America

Before you begin to construct or even design a residential shooting range, you should check whether it is legal in your area. In most areas in the USA, residential or in-home shooting ranges are legal. 

However, you do need to follow area-specific zoning rules and regulations. 

Most local councils will require that you register your in-home shooting range. Other regulations you might need to follow are: 

  • A limit on the number or type of firearms you have within your shooting range.
  • Constructing your range with soundproof walls 
  • Having a range of safety precautions in place, including a secure place to store the firearms. 
  • The building that houses the range must be reinforced and repaired when necessary. 

To understand the regulations behind a residential shooting range in your state, consult with your local council. NRAExplore has also collated a helpful document which details the Gun Range Protection Statues in each US state.

You can also consult with your shooting range provider to understand the rules and regulations within your area. 

2. You Must Soundproof Your Shooting Range

Shooting can be an incredibly noisy activity. When building your shooting range, you should ensure that noise pollution is limited both in the range and in the area surrounding it. 

To minimize noise indoors: 

  • Use sound-absorbing materials when designing the shooting range space, such as foam panels and acoustic partitions. 
  • Keep noise levels in the range at a maximum of 85 decibels using mufflers and suitable firearms. 

To minimize the noise in the surrounding areas of the range: 

  • Surround the shooting range with heavy masonry walls. 
  • Use acoustic, sound-absorbing materials in the middle of the walls. 

Architects and shooting range consultants will be able to suggest suitable materials and give you tips on how best to construct the range.  

3. Safety Precautions Are Crucial

If you are putting a shooting range in your house, you need to take precautions to protect the people who are using it and the people around the range. 

Some of the ways for ensuring the safety of your shooting range include:

  • Install bullet traps. Bullet traps receive and cushion bullets, ensuring that the bullets do not go astray. They also ensure that the bullets cause little to no environmental damage. 
  • Use safety baffles. Safety baffles are an integral component of a shooting range – they are significant if the shooting range is in your home. They surround the range’s ceilings and walls and contain any misfired bullets, protecting the shooter. 
  • Ensure downrange deflections. It would be best to build areas in the shooting range to ensure any misfired bullets will be directed downrange. 

4. It’s Best to Get an Architect to Build Your Shooting Range

You can put a shooting range in an already built house or in a house that has not been constructed. 

The process is different for the two different types of construction. Working with an architect and shooting range consultant is a good idea for both types of construction. 

An Existing House

You may have an already built home that you want to incorporate a shooting range in. Provided you have space and the proper budget, this is possible. 

Many people choose to build a shooting range in a basement, a barn, or an external storage bunker. 

Some of the adaptations you may need to make to ensure space can house a shooting range include:  

  • Reinforcing the ceiling and walls with cement to ensure that they are both sound and bulletproof
  • Adding in ventilation through fans, vents, and other apparatus
  • Deciding on and laying out the number of stalls you want in the range.
  • Choosing and installing target systems along with bullet traps

A House That Is Being Built

If you are in the process of constructing a house, work with your architect, shooting range consultant, and builder to design and build a shooting range. 

You can choose to build your shooting range in the basement of your house or as a separate structure. 

You should keep the same considerations in mind as building a shooting range in an existing house. However, you’ll enjoy more flexible options and the ability to customize your range in more ways. 

Consult with Experts from Action Target for the Best Results

You should consult with an expert like an architect or a shooting range consultant to build a shooting range in your home. They will work within your budget and the space you have. 

They will also suggest the type of range you should build and perhaps supply you with equipment best suited to your range. 

Visit Action Target’s services page to learn more about the range of equipment and consulting services we offer

Final Thoughts 

With the right consulting company and guidance, you can build a shooting range in your house. 

However, be sure that you are aware of safety, noise control, and other rules and regulations before using your range. 


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Whole Building Design Guide: Firing Range