Action Target engineers are doing more on the beaches of Florida this spring than just surfing or getting a tan: they are designing the biggest bullet trap ever built.
Lotus Gunworks of Jensen Beach, Fla., will be opening its doors next week and inviting shooters to try out its new double-decker shooting range featuring a two-story steel funnel bullet trap. Nicknamed the Lotus 8/11 for the number of steel panels used to create it (eight panels on the bottom slope and 11 panels on the top slope), this version of Action Target’s Total Containment Trap is the first of its kind.
“No one has ever seen a range like this before,” Lotus Gunworks’ Director of Operations Robbie Abell said. “We’re truly making industry history.”
Abell stumbled into the gun industry a few years back when he and a family member decided to go in on a gun store. It seemed like a crazy idea, he said, but with a little bit of luck and ingenuity, they just might be able to make it work.
“We spent about eight months riding around different areas and looking at gun ranges,” Abell said. “After some research, we ran into Action Target and were introduced to the local shooting range consultant Robb Anderson. After that it was a no-brainer, so we freight trained forward.”
They found an existing building in Jensen Beach that met their needs but quickly ran into issues when it became apparent there would not be enough room for two adjacent ranges and a gun store. Abell did not want to cut back on the number of ranges, so the only option was to make a double-decker range where both levels shot into the same bullet trap.
“It hasn’t ever been done before, and at first, the answer was that it couldn’t be done,” Abell said. “I believed there had to be a way, and after three weeks of pushing, I got a call from Robb at Action Target saying, ‘We think we might be able to do this.’”
The answer was to extend the Total Containment Trap (usually just 8 feet tall) to a whopping 19 feet and to mount steel cross beams to support the Mancom Touch ‘N’ Go target retriever system.
With the equipment issues resolved, the next hurdle was proper ventilation to prevent customers and employees from being exposed to hazardous lead dust. The sheer size of the room presented a unique challenge, so Lotus Gunworks enlisted the help of industry ventilation specialists Carey’s Small Arms Range Ventilation.
Despite doubts that a range that tall could be ventilated at all, Carey’s managed to create a system that not only met environmental standards, but exceeded ventilation standards for even federal shooting ranges.
“The air flow in the upper level was the best I have seen on any range, and the airflow on the bottom was also very good,” Carey’s controls and commissioning tech Mark Hanson said. “This was one of the easiest range ventilation systems we’ve installed.”
Aside from being environmentally safe by completely replacing range air every 80 seconds, all of the filtered air pumped into the range is refrigerated, which, according to Abell, is a pretty big deal in Florida.
“We want this to be the most comfortable range possible,” Abell said, “and we’re doing that with refrigerated air, great lighting, great service and friendly employees. We want people to come and stay. We want this to be a destination point where you hang out for the day.”
Lotus Gunworks is especially friendly to new shooters with a Ti Training simulation system that allows those completely new to shooting to try it out on a real gun equipped with a laser before hitting the range. Friday night fun shoots will also allow people to try out a variety of firearms including fully automatic rifles.
The range is expected to open for business the first week of April and will be holding a grand opening celebration April 20.