Every year we work with law enforcement agencies around the world to build state of the art training facilities where officers can develop and maintain the skills they need to protect and serve their communities. We recently partnered with Goodyear PD in Goodyear, AZ, USA to add a full-scale indoor shooting range to their department headquarters.
Key Features of Goodyear PD’s Indoor Shooting Range
In this build, versatility, practicality, and durability were our highest priorities. We wanted to provide Goodyear PD with the ability to modify and adapt their training to the needs of their officers. With that, the range includes: an eight lane, 25-yard tactical range with our Vortex Steel Bullet Trap, floor-to-ceiling SureStop Rubber wall baffles allowing for 180 degree live fire training, and SmartRange Axis™ range controls for both the HVAC system and range target systems. The indoor shooting range at Goodyear PD is 100% lead free making it much safer for officers to train without exposure to harmful lead dust, and makes cleaning/maintaining the facility much simpler.
At Action Target, we love revisiting indoor shooting ranges we helped build to update and improve existing or outdated equipment. We recently worked with our friends at Ready Gunner in Orem, UT to upgrade target retrievers and install a new Dust Control Unit (DCU).
Upgraded Target Retreivers
Before this recent update, six lanes at Ready Gunner were equipped with our SRET target retriever systems. These budget-friendly target retrievers were a great launchpad for Ready Gunner and served them well for years as they grew their customer base and expanded business. While the SRET is known for its simple design and consistent performance, it isn’t as flexible for customers as they shoot.
The newly installed Pilot target retrievers feature direct drive, wireless motors, and integrate seamlessly with our SmartRange Axis range control system. They offer shooters more variety in shooting distance, programmable drills, and lighting scenarios, and give range staff the ability to focus on customer experience and less on maintaining tired equipment. Learn more about Pilot indoor shooting range retrievers HERE.
Improved Dust Collection
An upgraded Dust Collection Unit (DCU) means anyone shooting or working at Ready Gunner can breathe easy and reduce their exposure to harmful lead dust particulates. This upgraded system pulls lead dust carried into the bullet trap into a collection system via negative pressure, and deposits it into containers which are clean, sealed, and easy to transport for responsible disposal. The DCU uses advanced filtration technology to use less energy, to provide cleaner air, and to improve the lifespan of shooting range HVAC system filters. Learn more about indoor shooting range ventilation HERE.
It’s always a privilege for us at Action Target to visit our shooting range partners and Ready Gunner was no exception. If you’re in the area, head down to Ready Gunner to see their newly updated lanes, and throw some lead down range for us. Check out everything Ready Gunner has to offer right HERE.
The importance of a good ventilation system in a shooting range cannot be overstated. Upgrade your shooting range HVAC with Action Target.
Shooting ranges have become more than just a place to practice one’s aim. They serve as community hubs, entertainment centers, and places where firearm safety is taught and practiced. With the global shooting range market size estimated at $1.1 billion in 2021 and expected to grow to $2.4 billion by 2031, it’s clear that these facilities are in high demand1.
During the planning and development of a shooting range, it can be easy to get hyper-focused on the look of the range and the technology the shooter interacts with. While those are both important components in the grand scheme, one aspect that often gets overlooked in the discussion about shooting ranges is the ventilation (HVAC) system. A well-designed shooting range ventilation system is not just a nice-to-have feature—it’s a crucial component for the health and safety of both the staff and the patrons. It’s about ensuring that the air you breathe while enjoying your shooting practice is clean and free from harmful pollutants.
Why Ventilation is Crucial in a Shooting Range
Shooting ranges, particularly indoor ones, are not just about providing a comfortable environment for shooters—they are about ensuring their safety. The importance of a good ventilation system in a shooting range cannot be overstated. It’s not merely about maintaining a comfortable temperature or ensuring fresh air—it’s about actively removing harmful pollutants from the environment to protect the health of everyone in the facility.
When a firearm is discharged, it releases lead dust and other harmful particulates into the air. If not properly ventilated, these pollutants can pose significant health risks if inhaled. They can lead to a range of health problems, including respiratory issues and lead poisoning, which can have serious, even life-threatening, consequences.
According to a study published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information, individuals who frequent indoor shooting ranges can have blood lead levels up to 10 times higher than the average person2. This alarming statistic underscores the crucial role of a well-designed and effective ventilation system in shooting ranges.
But the challenge of ventilation in a shooting range goes beyond simply replacing stale air with fresh air. It’s about controlling the airflow to ensure that airborne lead and other contaminants are effectively captured and removed, and that clean air is delivered to the breathing zone of each shooter. This requires a professional ventilation system designed specifically to handle the unique challenges of a shooting range environment.
The ventilation system in a shooting range is a critical component of its safety measures. It’s not just about comfort—it’s a matter of health and safety, and it requires serious attention and professional handling.
The Dangers of Poor Ventilation
Poor ventilation in a shooting range can lead to a dangerous buildup of lead dust and other harmful pollutants. This is not a minor issue—it poses serious health risks to both employees and patrons, potentially leading to long-term health issues that can be serious and even life-threatening.
Shooting ranges play a crucial role in our society. In 2021, the violent crime rate in the United States was 395.7 cases per 100,000 of the population3. This alarming statistic underscores the importance of shooting ranges as places for law enforcement officers and civilians to train and practice their shooting skills. These facilities provide a controlled environment where individuals can enhance their proficiency, which can be vital in situations that require self-defense or the protection of others.
However, the health risks associated with poor ventilation can undermine the benefits of these facilities. Without proper ventilation, individuals who frequent shooting ranges could be unknowingly putting their health at risk. The dangers of poor ventilation extend beyond immediate physical discomfort. Continuous exposure to lead dust and other pollutants can lead to chronic health conditions, including respiratory issues and lead poisoning.
The importance of proper ventilation in shooting ranges cannot be overstated. It’s not just about providing a comfortable environment—it’s a matter of public health and safety. As such, it’s crucial for shooting range operators to ensure their ventilation systems are up to standard, effectively minimizing the risk of pollutant exposure and safeguarding the health of all who use their facilities.
Choosing the Right Ventilation System
When it comes to choosing a ventilation system for a shooting range, there are several critical factors to consider. These include the size of the range, the number of shooting lanes, and the volume of shooting activity. It’s also important to consider the local climate and weather conditions, as these can significantly affect the performance of the ventilation system.
However, choosing the right ventilation system is not just about meeting these basic requirements. It’s about going above and beyond to ensure the safety and satisfaction of everyone who uses the range. A good ventilation system should not only effectively remove pollutants from the air, but it should also be energy-efficient and easy to maintain. It’s a critical investment that can significantly improve the safety and quality of a shooting range, providing a safe and comfortable environment for everyone.
At Action Target, we pride ourselves on our commitment to excellence. Our ventilation systems are designed and installed by a team of professionals who understand the unique needs and challenges of shooting ranges. We don’t just aim to meet the minimum requirements—we strive to exceed them.
For more than 60 years, the National Shooting Sports Foundation has been the standard-bearer for those in the firearms industry. Created in 1961 to promote, protect, and preserve hunting and shooting sports, the NSSF is a trade association with more than 12,000 members across the industry. As part of their mission to promote shooting sports, the NSSF has established a program to recognize shooting ranges that provide outstanding facilities for firearms enthusiasts, known as the NSSF 5-Star Rating System.
“The rating system is based on our vision of a safe, well managed, customer-oriented facility that is a strong promoter in the recreational shooting sports market. NSSF’s new Star Rating Range Program will hold facilities to a higher standard. These 5 Star-rated ranges will be the gold standard for our industry, those ranges having earned that rating through their focus on advancing best business practices.”
With 68 ranges currently qualifying for a 5-Star Rating, Action Target is proud to have partnered with 29 ranges who have earned an NSSF 5-Star rating. Below is a list of qualifying ranges associated with Action Target.
The process of becoming a 5-Star Rated Range with NSSF is one a new—or existing—range owner can complete with their existing business. The NSSF qualifies ranges for a 3-5 Rating based on the following criteria:
Appearance and Maintenance: The range must be clean, well-maintained, and visually appealing to shooters and visitors.
Management: This includes integration of technology, general business management, and marketing tactics together ensure a quality customer experience.
Shooting Sports Development: This evaluation looks at the procedures and policies in your business that support the promotion and development of shooting sports for the public. This includes public events and range availability, community engagement, and environmental practices to ensure safe range operation for the facility and staff.
Amenities: This evaluation considers the offerings of your business to the public, including restrooms, stocked pro shop or retail spaces, and compliance with ADA accessibility and other requirements.
Benefits of Being a 5-Star Range
Now that we know what it takes to be a 5-Star Rated Range, what are the benefits of being rated so highly? There are several benefits, some of which include:
Increased customer satisfaction and loyalty: The 5-star rating is a recognition of excellence in the industry, and customers are likely to be attracted to ranges with this rating.
Improved reputation and visibility: Being recognized as a 5-star range can help to establish a positive reputation in the industry and increase visibility among shooting sports enthusiasts.
Potential for increased revenue: Customers are willing to pay more for a superior experience and being a 5-star rated range can lead to increased revenue from range fees, merchandise sales, and other services.
Access to NSSF resources: 5-star rated ranges have access to resources provided by the NSSF, such as training programs and marketing materials, which can help improve operations and attract more customers.
Networking opportunities: The NSSF hosts events and conferences that provide opportunities for range owners to network with other industry professionals and learn about best practices in the industry.
Being rated 5 stars from the NSSF is mark of excellence that can help attract new business and other range owners to follow your example.
Action Target’s Role
At Action Target, we specialize in engineering range solutions that are expertly planned and installed, so you can be confident in the product you receive. This leads to high reviews from customers, more profitable ranges, better training options, and a safer experience for shooters and staff at your range.
Because of our commitment to excellence, 42% of NSSF 5-Star Ranges partnered with Action Target. Our projects and experience from around the globe has made Action Target a leader in the firearms industry, and NSSF’s rating system shows that Action Target continues to confidently provide quality service to both new and existing ranges.
“At Action Target, we are proud to have built many of the NSSF 5-star rated shooting ranges across the country” says Mike Birch, Action Target CEO. “We take great pride in designing and building state-of-the-art facilities that meet the highest standards of safety, comfort, and performance. Being a part of the process that helps ranges earn this prestigious rating is a testament to the quality of work and dedication of our team. We look forward to continuing to build and improve shooting range solutions for the benefit of the industry and its customers.”
Action Target has played a significant role in establishing many of the NSSF 5-star rated shooting ranges across the country. Our dedication to designing and building state-of-the-art facilities and range product solutions that meet the highest standards of safety, comfort, and performance has helped many ranges earn this prestigious rating. As a result, customers can enjoy an exceptional shooting experience while range owners benefit from increased customer satisfaction, improved reputation, and potential for increased revenue. By continuing to build and improve shooting ranges, Action Target is helping to promote and preserve hunting and shooting sports and ensuring that customers have access to the best facilities in the industry.
The creation of the NSSF’s 5-Star rating system was put in place to recognize “safe, well managed, customer-oriented” facilities for their excellence in preparing and training shooters across the country. Action Target’s mission to “build the safest and most advanced shooting ranges possible” aligns perfectly with this goal, which is only emphasized by the large amount of Action Target ranges who have earned a 5-Star Rating.
Few things offer as much joy and freedom as being able to shoot your firearms in your own private gun range. A home shooting range provides more than just a fun venue for shooting and a place to entertain your friends, it also provides you with training scenarios to hone your abilities as a shooter and develop the skills you need to protect and defend yourself, your family, and your home. If you’ve decided to build a private shooting range, there are many considerations to make sure you create a high-quality, engaging, and economical range that is reliable, easy to maintain, and safe.
Select an experienced shooting range vendor to work with your architect and general contractor. Shooting ranges are highly specialized, so your architect will certainly have questions regarding the design. Action Target™ designs, builds, and installs commercial and private gun ranges worldwide, and has the experience you need to build a quality home gun range. Action Target shooting range consultants are ready to assist with custom range designs and drawings for your home gun range. Reach out to the Action Target team early to help guide you through every phase of your project. (See past Projects here)
Consider how you present your plans to the city in which you are building your range. Some homeowners prefer to postpone installing a shooting range until after they occupy the home, often listing the space on the plans as cold storage, an archery range, or a panic room, and use the space accordingly until they are ready to build out the shooting range. However, in-home shooting ranges require careful planning during the design phase of the home to ensure proper dimensions, materials, penetrations, and space for the shooting range equipment. When planning a home range, meet with local zoning and planning departments early on to understand any codes with which you must comply.
When it comes to shooting ranges, safety is paramount. When designing a range, the materials used must provide complete safety for shooters. Walls should be solid concrete at least 8” thick (filled CMU, tilt-up, or poured in place), and use at least 4,000 PSI concrete. The ceiling should also use at least 4,000 PSI concrete, but you should avoid hollow core or other pre-cast concrete that contains voids or foam because it offers reduced ballistic protection. Solid concrete walls and ceilings provide the best solution to dampen noise and offer extra ballistic protection—crucial if your range is in a basement with occupied space above. The floor should use 5,000 PSI concrete (3,000 PSI min).
What is the primary purpose of your home shooting range? Leisure, entertainment, 50BMG mag dumps? If you begin with a clear understanding about how you intend to use your range, Action Target range consultants can design a home shooting range to meet your needs and identify the right equipment and controls to operate it. By working with Action Target, you can ensure that you build a range that not only fits best with your budget but provides you with equipment that is tailored and built to last.
Modern shooting ranges offer more than just concrete walls and paper targets. Today’s ranges are completely customizable to allow them to blend in homogenously with your home. Action Target range consultants help you make your product selection based on needs, performance, and aesthetics. Action Target offers standard and custom product designs that provide different functionalities and appearance for your home gun range. Combined with a variety of bullet trap options, ceiling baffle layouts, shooting stalls, and sound abatement solutions, your range will be custom-tailored to your needs and design specifications.
Action Target is the foremost provider of true turn-key solutions for any size gun range. From ballistic partitions, safety baffles, and acoustic treatments to target retrievers, bullet traps, lighting, ventilation, and even paper targets and range supplies, Action Target is the go-to for all home gun range needs. Why is this important for a homeowner considering installing a private gun range? Imagine needing service, or parts, only to discover that the vendor is no longer in business. Or worse, imagine you need to have several products serviced and you must coordinate with multiple manufacturers. Action Target simplifies the process of owning and maintaining a home gun range by being the expert for all equipment installed. Further, Action Target has a proven track record of maintaining range equipment—our longest-running target retriever has been in operation for over 15 years. When it comes to products, choose a company that offers everything you need for your home range, and who stands behind their products with long warranties.
Perhaps the most important choice you make in designing your private shooting range is the type of target retriever used. Action Target offers multiple retrievers to fit nearly any budget, but where possible, we recommend that customers use the Genesis retriever. The Genesis features pre-loaded games and training drills developed by leading firearms trainers to challenge every shooter. Whether you want to train or just simply be entertained, the Genesis can meet all your shooting needs. The addicting scenarios associated with a variety of dynamic targets provide you with an entertaining and unique shooting experience unlike any other.
For home gun ranges that do not expect a high volume of annual shots fired, a Rubber Berm Trap is often the best and most economic bullet trap solution. At low volumes, a Rubber Berm Trap requires little maintenance and lasts a very long time. Periodically the Rubber Berm requires mining to remove lead and maintain a safe environment, which service Action Target offers. Beyond that, regular maintenance to control rubber depth and fire retardant is required only periodically. The Vortex steel trap offers home gun range owners a high-volume option that simplifies lead collection. While the steel bullet trap has a higher up-front investment, it reduces lifetime maintenance costs by automatically collecting bullets in its deceleration chamber, eliminating the need for fire retardant application and preventing routine maintenance on rubber depth.
Ballistic dividers are extremely important when you have multiple lanes in your private gun range. These dividers can stop handgun and rifle rounds in the case of an accidental discharge. Action Target offers a full range of ballistic dividers, ranging from very economical to completely customized. A full line of accessories are available for ballistic dividers, including different table configurations for rifle and pistol, muzzle blast barriers, brass deflectors for shooter comfort, and rifle hangers for stowing unused firearms during sessions. Whether functionality, aesthetics, or budget is your goal, Action Target has you covered—literally.
Ventilation and Filtration
Another important safety factor in a home shooting range is the ventilationsystem. The shooting range ventilation system must be separate from the house system because it filters out harmful lead particulates and heavy metals. Ideally, your ventilation system should achieve a laminar negative air flow of 75 FPM, but not less than 50 FPM, and use an air filtration bank of HEPA filters. Action Target takes care of your ventilation needs, designing and installing systems guaranteed to meet all OSHA and EPA standards.
Properly maintaining a home shooting range directly impacts its long-term operation. When properly maintained, you’ll enjoy a lifetime of hassle-free shooting in the comfort of your own home range. To ensure your equipment continues to function properly, Action Target provides a wide range of aftermarket services, programs, and products. Choosing Action Target for all your range products simplifies service and maintenance. Action Target customer service representatives are cross-trained to provide support for all products while on service visits or when providing over-the-phone support.
Home shooting ranges are quickly taking the place as the entertainment option in custom homes. Action Target is dedicated to providing you a safe, comfortable, and fun shooting range where friends and family can compete and practice their skills as shooters.
Step by Step Process to Develop and Build Your Shooting Range
Don’t miss this unique opportunity to receive the best tools and information you will need to successfully complete your shooting range project. Attendance at the Range Development and Design Seminar allows you to meet with range consultants and other subject matter experts, visit local shooting ranges, and get answers to your questions about running a successful shooting range.
One of the most essential elements for a profitable
shooting range business is recruiting, on-boarding, and training your shooting
range staff. American customer service expert Shep Hyken observed, “A brand is
defined by the customer’s experience. The experience is delivered by the
employees.” Your employees can make or break your long-term success. Even if
you have 19 all-star employees and only 1 employee who underperforms, your shooting
range business is likely to suffer as a result. A single negative customer
service experience can hurt your reputation. Conversely, having a reputation as
the shooting range with the most engaging and supportive customer service will
ensure shooting enthusiasts choose your business time and time again.
OF YOUR SHOOTING RANGE
Bruce Nordstrom, the former chairman of one of
the most successful department store chains in America, perpetuated the
philosophy that you can teach people to sell, but you can’t teach them to be
nice. While it is important that employees have a sound understanding of
firearms and shooting experience, this should not take precedence over hiring
individuals with the right attitude. When building a team, your primary
priority should be finding employees who are eager to learn, connect well with
others, listen carefully, and ask questions. Supplementary training can ensue
How to Find
the Right People
Where do you find the perfect team member? The
answer is more obvious than you might think: Anywhere and everywhere. Pay
attention to other service-oriented businesses. Have you recently encountered
an impressive server at a local restaurant? Has a sales clerk at a sporting
goods store brightened your day with their helpful and positive attitude? Consider
appealing to former military or law enforcement personnel. Provided their
personality is a match, they will bring experience and credibility to your
shooting range business.
Avoid the common pitfall of hiring relatives or
friends. Hiring those from your family or social circles may be disadvantageous
both professionally and personally. It can be challenging to hold them to your
business standards. It is also very difficult to terminate their employment,
should the need arise.
In addition to hiring gun range staff who expertly represent your
brand, don’t forget these following crucial checks and tests:
and Criminal Record Checks
It is your responsibility to check that members of your gun
range staff do not have a record of behavior that could jeopardize your business
and the safety of your patrons and other employees. Most shooting range owners
require employees to participate in a CCW permit course as part of their
training. During the interview, inform candidates that through the process of
obtaining a CCW permit, a background check will be performed to verify their
eligibility to handle, carry, and own firearms.
During the interview, make sure you inform candidates that a
drug test will be performed prior the employee’s first day on the job.
Additionally, let them know that random drug tests will be performed throughout
Safety and Blood Lead Testing
Exposure to lead is one of the risks that accompanies
working in a shooting range. It is imperative that you inform new hires about this
risk and that you educate them on proper use of personal protective equipment
(PPE) to protect themselves. Furthermore, make sure you teach your employees
how to avoid spreading lead to other parts of the range, their vehicles, and
While you should take all appropriate precautions to
minimize lead exposure, it is still important that you monitor your employees
closely and regularly test their blood lead levels. Test all new hires to
obtain a baseline blood lead level. From there, require bi-annual tests for
employees who perform range maintenance and annual tests for other employees.
Work expectations During the interview, make sure you
explain any work expectations such as unusual schedules. For example, do you expect
employees to work during nights, weekends, or any holidays? Do you require employees
to lift and unload pallets of ammunition or perform any other physically
demanding tasks? If so, make sure you discuss these expectations and minimum lifting
When it comes to training your shooting range
staff, make sure you are adaptable in your approach. For example:
opportunities for hands-on learners to shadow a supervisor or cross-train with
websites, videos, and literature to employees who learn better by studying
Act out potential
customer scenarios for employees who can benefit from practicing interpersonal
No matter which training techniques you employ, create
opportunities for trainees to teach what they learn. This is a tried and true
method for helping individuals retain information.
Ongoing Safety and Emergency Training
Not only should safety and emergency
training be at the top of your training agenda, but it is also imperative that
this training is ongoing. It is your responsibility to provide regular
instruction on handling firearms and how to respond in the event of injuries,
theft, and other emergency situations. Role
play with range staff how to manage emergency situations in the range.
Scenarios can include contacting emergency personnel, calling a cease fire, securing
firearms, and administering life-saving first aid.
standard operating procedure (SOP) documents for all areas of your shooting
range business, such as retail, range check-in, and range operations. Make sure
all employees receive these SOP documents and test them routinely to ensure they
properly understand and retain the information.
ATF Form 4473
All Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) businesses are required to properly
complete an ATF Form 4473 for each firearm transaction. Given the detailed requirements
as well as the potential penalties for errors, it’s important that your
employees are trained to fill out the form accurately and are prepared to
answer customers’ questions about the form. Employees should also verify that
forms are fully completed, legible, and accurate while the customer is present.
According to the NSSF website: “Uncorrected errors on Form 4473s account for six of the top 10 most
common violations cited by ATF every year, and three other top 10 violations
are related to information found on Form 4473s.” To help combat errors,
the NSSF has developed the form 4437
overlay. This is a clear template that may be laid on top of the form 4473
to help your staff check that all form questions have been answered and
You want to provide your patrons with the best possible experience with
purchasing a firearm. It is imperative that your staff members are well-trained
and confident with this process.
Holding weekly meetings is important in the busy
shooting range business. You need an hour each week where you can reiterate
important information, motivate your employees, answer questions, and discuss any
changes. Agenda items may include:
concerns, near misses, and other items the entire staff should be made aware of
If it is necessary to hold your meeting outside
of business hours, we suggest you disclose this to potential employees during
the interview process.
Try to make these meetings enjoyable and consider
providing breakfast or dinner for meetings held before or after shooting range
Incentives are an effective method for
keeping your staff motivated. From gift cards
and baskets to discounts and product giveaways, incentives can help encourage
your employees to meet their goals as well as create friendly competition
between co-workers. Furthermore, take advantage of training and product advocacy
platforms that reward members for being brand ambassadors. An example is
ExpertVoice.com, which provides brand education and offers product discounts
upon course completion.
Provide team-building exercises once a
month to help build loyalty and positive rapport between employees. As a shooting range owner, you have the opportunity to
combine activities with opportunities to educate your staff on your range
operations and products. Why not host an interdepartmental shooting contest in
your range? Make sure you create hype in the run-up by designating team names, making
T-shirts for the competitors, and disclosing the prizes in advance.
Consider activities outside your facility. For
example, invite and pay for staff to attend upcoming firearms shows and
shooting contests. Furthermore, take the time to learn about your employees’ hobbies
and look for opportunities to incorporate their interests into your group
A soft launch is essential for your shooting range business. Opening your
doors quietly or serving a limited audience before your grand opening will
allow you and your team to iron out the kinks, such as identifying which processes
need improvement and where more training is required. By ensuring your employees,
shooting range operation, and retail are performing at optimum capacity, you
will make an exceptional and long-lasting impression on your customers when you
officially open for business.
Diana joined Action Target in 2012 as an associate shooting range
consultant. She is currently the sales manager for range retail programs. From
selling and designing shooting facilities to helping range owners find the most
efficient and profitable approaches for operating their business, Diana has an
invaluable understanding of the shooting range industry from the customer’s
point of view.
As a technical and marketing
writer, Mikaela collaborates with multiple Action Target personnel to develop
installation manuals, user guides, bid specifications, press releases, and newsletters.
Communicating to a variety of audiences about Action Target’s products and
services has given Mikaela the opportunity to examine multiple dimensions of
the shooting range industry.