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