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.
- Wikipedia.org:Shooting Range
- Energy.gov:/Range Design Criteria
- Quora.com:What AreThe Back Walls of IndoorShooting Ranges Made Out Of
- ASHA.org:Firearm Noise Exposure
- Lung.org:Air Pollutants/Lead
- Osha.gov:laws-Standard Interpretations/1989-05-22-0
- ShootingRangeIndustries.com:Bullet Traps
- TheRange.com: How Indoor Shooting Ranges Stop Bullets
- Home.NRA.org: About The NRA