Is Building an Indoor Shooting Range a Good Idea?
For competitive shooters and hobbyists alike, there’s nothing like spending some quality time down at the range. And that latter category, in particular, seems to be growing. According to one report, the number of recreational shooters in America grew from 34.4 million in 2009 to 52.1 million in 2018.
With all those new shooters, demand for range-time is at an all-time high. That makes owning an operating a range a very attractive prospect.
There’s just one problem: depending on where you’re looking to build, you’ll likely have to build an all-indoor range.
So is building an indoor shooting range worth it? Here we’ll run down the pros and cons to help you decide if it’s the right choice for you.
Benefits of Building Indoors
Indoor ranges offer benefits that traditional outdoor ranges just never could. Particularly from a business perspective.
Some of the perks of opting for an indoor range include:
You Have More Location Options
If you want to build an outdoor range, the real estate that you could choose from would be pretty limited. Between the noise and safety concerns, you could only ever build them well out of the way. That limits the number of patrons you could ever realistically attract.
An indoor range, by contrast, gives you much more latitude. Most tend to be found around commercial areas or a short distance from freeways or major thoroughfares. And just by merit of being more accessible, your customer base will be larger.
Operate Anytime, Rain or Shine
Outdoor ranges are at the mercy of the weather, which isn’t always predictable. Inclement weather, sudden high winds, and unreliable lighting can force range closures and loss of revenue along with it.
An indoor range need have no such concerns. Rain or shine, you can stay open for business. And in the long winter months when an outdoor range would either be buried under snow or limited to only a few good hours of daylight, you can carry on with business as usual.
And depending on how permissive your local laws are, you could hypothetically operate around the clock.
Clean Up is Less of a Concern
Lead is considered a hazardous waste, and as such, soil and water contamination are major issues for outdoor ranges. And since many outdoor ranges cover large tracks of land, efficient pickup and disposal of lead as required by law can prove a challenge.
For indoor ranges, this is less of an issue. For one, they have a much small area to be concern themselves with. For another, the likelihood of lead seeping outside of the building and becoming an environmental hazard is much lower.
The Concerns of Building and Indoor Shooting Range
An indoor shooting range offers plenty of benefits over an old-fashioned, outdoor range. However, those perks are offset somewhat by the challenges that they present.
Before you consider submitting your plans to the city, you need to have these items sorted first.
Space and Safety
So probably the largest obstacle to building an indoor range is acquiring the space needed.
Indoor rifle ranges, for instance, are uncommon simply due to the size of the building that they would require. Instead, you can expect your indoor range to likely be limited to handgun use.
And safety is another major concern. Particularly when it comes to lead. Because while containing gunfire within a building lowers the risk of environmental contamination, it forces staff and shooters to spend more time close to it.
To mitigate the hazards from lead and other toxin exposure, your range will need a high-grade HVAC system to handle ventilation. This increases the upfront cost and maintenance expenditures.
And speaking of maintenance, you probably aren’t going to want to leave that to the regular range staff. As with any hazardous material, you want to outsource that to a professional.
Fortunately, there are dedicated services that specialize in range cleaning and maintenance. To learn more about the kinds of services these professionals can offer, visit http://www.hcienv.com/services/shooting-range.asp
The Upfront Cost
After safety, the next largest concern is the upfront investment needed to build a quality range.
Even assuming that you’re building a range for handguns, you’ll still need a considerable amount of space for a full-sized range. So buying enough land will be a challenge, and the construction won’t come cheaply, either.
And speaking of construction, building a bare warehouse isn’t going to cut it. You’ll need to build a backstop strong enough to catch all of the fire it receives, and the whole down-range area needs to be designed in such a way to minimize the risk from stray bullets and back splatter. And all of that is going to increase costs.
And then there’s sound reduction.
On an outdoor range, the shooters would still all need hearing protection, of course. But in an indoor range, it’s much more of a problem.
With nowhere for the noise to escape to, an indoor range can get incredibly loud very quickly. And if you’re building inside a populated area, you’ll also be responsible for preventing noise pollution.
Building An Indoor Shooting Range: Right for You?
Building an indoor shooting range, and keeping it safe and well-maintained at that, is no small feat. So if you’re going to do it you want to ensure that you’re in a situation where you don’t need to worry about cutting corners to get it done.
But if you can meet those requirements, the benefits make it well worth it. Interest in recreation shooting has been on a steady upward climb for over a decade, with no signs of stopping. As such, building a safe, quality range will mean a steady business.
And as always, for more business news, views, and resources, be sure to keep up with all of the latest from Free Business Wire.