Written by Michelle Henderson – December 2, 2020

What Types of Shooting Ranges are Out There?

Determining the type of range to build and specifying the equipment is a function of the planned type of shooting activity that will take place. There are typically four types of indoor range designs; private, commercial, military service, and law enforcement/security training. In many instances, commercial ranges have dual purposes. Normally a range larger than five positions will be equipped to accommodate law enforcement training in one bay and public shooting in the other. The following describes the basic types of ranges and discusses in detail the various items of equipment, including the optional items that can greatly extend the overall usefulness of the range.

Private: Included in this category are crime labs, research and test facilities, home ranges, and other low volume applications. The equipment consists of a rubber granular bullet trap and a manually operated or electrically-driven guide wire target retrieval system.

Military Service: Advocated for National Guard armories, reserve training centers, and ROTC schools, these ranges are normally 50 feet in length. The firing line and ready area are not separate areas. The equipment consists of a rubber granular bullet trap, shooting stalls to separate the shooters, and a manually operated guide wire target retrieval system.

Commercial: The equipment for a commercial range must be rugged, simple to use, and suitable for a wide variety of shooting activities. Equipment typically specified includes a granular rubber bullet trap, electrically driven guide wire target retrieval system, and shooting stalls. If there are plans to conduct law enforcement or security training in the range, the range designer must give consideration to equipping one bay with equipment designed for that application (see description below).

Law Enforcement: The range equipment selected for use by law enforcement or security agencies must be flexible to allow precision firearms training, simple mandatory re-qualification, and advanced reactive exercises. In addition, considerations must be made for tactical training situations that often require the shooter to advance downrange and engage multiple targets. A granular rubber bullet trap and combat walls are ideal for this application because they provide a safer range environment for close and cross range shooting.

The target retrieval system must provide turning targets and be capable of being controlled individually by the shooter and from a central range control station. Another desirable target system feature is an on-board target light to allow training under variable light conditions. Shooting stalls with barricades and acoustical blast shields are typically specified for law enforcement ranges.

To learn more about shooting ranges, what goes into building one, and what you need to know for your gun range design, download the Indoor Range Design Guide