Imagine yourself making your coffee on a sunny Sunday morning. As you sip your coffee, you start making plans in your mind for the day and you decide you would visit the nearest shooting range. But, then you remember you have to get your gear together, fight the traffic, park your vehicle, and then reach your bay. By the time you reach the range, you might be partially drained. Additionally, you also have to pay your hard-earned money to use the range only for the allotted amount of time. Reading this might have killed half the fun, but think about actually doing this. Not a lot of fun, is it?
So, do you want to build shooting range at home? Get ready for a huge, but awesome, undertaking! This endeavor will allow you to customize every aspect and let you create the exact space you are looking for. Now, the question is, what do you want to change or add? Do you want to focus on training or having fun? What kind of shooter are you (long-range, three-gun, tactical training, etc)? Are you looking for some shooting range target systems to train? The guide we’ve compiled below is just some of the many options available and hope it helps you design your dream range. Also, keep in mind, that this process can be as expensive or inexpensive as you make it, so keep your options and mind open.
Also, if you are looking for some awesome shooting target systems for your shooting range, don’t forget to check out our Pivotal Trainers.
Questions to Answer Before Building Your Own Shooting Range
Is it legal?
Despite what you want to do, it is important to ensure the legality of building your own shooting range in your region. Make sure that you’ve consulted with your lawyers/experts regarding all the local, state, and federal legislation and rules before building your range. If it is legal, consult and understand the standards that you have to follow in order to build a range. Once you have a working knowledge of the regulations, ensure that your range is built in compliance with the law.
Is it Worth it?
In terms of the fun and freedom, you will have at your own shooting range and it is definitely worth building it. But, that is not the only factor that needs to be considered. The most obvious benefit of having a shooting range is that you would save money and you can try other non-conventional training that pushes your limits while improving your skills.
But, are you a seasoned shooter who practices often? If so, how much do you time do you spend every month on the range? If you are not a experienced shooter, how often do you train? If the cost you spend on building your range doesn’t offset the cost spent every month on the range in the long term, then it might not be a great idea to build your own range. At the end of the day, it is your decision to make!
Indoor or Outdoor Shooting Range?
In short, we would recommend you build an outdoor range. Outdoor ranges are easy to build and open-ended. With an outdoor range, you can do whatever you want. Your imagination and the weight of your wallet are the limits. It can be as simple as a single berm with some targets to setting up ranges that offer situation-based training.
But, if you have the budget and the inspiration to build your own indoor range you can do so as well. Building your own indoor range involves complying with a lot of standards for it to remain safe and legal. Simply put, your indoor range cannot be some basement converted into a range. It should be designed and planned properly for the right protection and ventilation.
How to Build Your Own Shooting Range? - Basic Requirements
First things first, where are you putting your range? I’ve been on some ranges that seemed a little too close to buildings and other structures. So, just be aware of this and keep these items in mind before choosing your location:
Size: How many shooters are you going to have? How much non-shooting space do you need?
Usage: What kind of training are you going to do? Is it long-range or tactical or target shooting?
Berm: We’ll cover this in the next section, but be cautious. The berm takes up more space than you think.
External Structures: What type of structures do you want on the range? Keep in mind, that the more you want, the larger the space you will need.
All the above factors play a major role in choosing the location for building your own shooting range. Or in other words, the usability of the range is determined by the above factors.
When building or upgrading your range you need something to stop the bullets. This goes without saying. Berms are structures that are used to stop the bullets that you downrange from leaving your AO.
When designing/installing a new berm ask yourself what type of shooting you’ll be doing. Do you need to be able to shoot in one direction, or multiple? Also, how many shooters/bays do you need? Depending on your answer, a large pile of dirt could do the trick, or you may need to put up a large structural bullet trap. Most berms we’ve trained on have surrounded the area on three sides by earth and they do great.
This allows you to do some pretty dynamic things and keep your options open when having a range day!
This is something that is ignored often when putting in/upgrading a range, what will the ground be? Honestly, it comes down to maintenance, cost, and most importantly, what you want. Some examples and our personal favorites are:
Dirt - Ah, the ole’ classic, Dirt. This allows for some awesome range days while allowing the owner to provide almost zero maintenance.
Grass - Another tried and true footing that a lot, and we mean a lot, of ranges, use. This allows for a soft and easy-to-navigate range. When well kept, a nice grass range is hard to beat.
Gravel - Gravel is often used on commercial ranges due to its durability and the low maintenance that goes into it. It’s also an excellent choice to use on your personal range too.
Grass/Concrete - This duo is commonly utilized in private training areas. The concrete will be laid almost like sidewalks at common shooting distances (5 yds, 10 yards, 25 yards, etc.) to allow for a nice stable base when shooting and in between would be rectangles of grass, allowing for dynamic movements. Plus, it looks super high-speed.
Turf - Lastly, my personal favorite, is turf. What's not to love about this stuff? It's low maintenance, easy on the body, collecting brass is super simple, and it looks cool. The one downside is the cost. We’ve talked to some range owners and they were able to acquire turf from old sports stadiums that were being renovated, so if you want turf on your range, check with them! They may even have old rolls laying around.
Now you need to decide what structures you will be putting on the range. Here are a few suggestions:
Covered Shooting Positions: These, in our opinion, are a must-have. Ranging from a rainy day to a Saturday in the range of 100-degree weather, shade is always your friend. The size is up to you, but we definitely suggest getting some shade close to where you will be.
Target Stands: You’re going to need something to shoot at. We suggest installing some standard large-sized target stands by your back berm, this will always ensure you have something to put your targets on and will allow for ease of use with any target. Try buying our pivotal trainers that come with moving targets for the shooting range and nylon frames that are easy to build and use.
Overhead Baffles: Overhead baffles are sometimes a requirement when people build their range. It allows individuals to have peace of mind that no rounds are going up and over that berm. While they aren’t for every application, you might find them useful.
Range Shed: “Ah, I wish I could just leave all the stuff I use on the range, at the shooting range without worrying about it.” Get a “Range House”, a simple small shed, and stuff all your target stands, steel, barrels, barriers, and other equipment in there, lock it up and drag it out when you need it. This will keep the range nice and clean and you won't have to move stuff around every time you are on the range.
Shoot House: This one deserves to be a blog all by itself, and maybe it will be. But, if you plan on doing some crazy dynamic training on your range, try using our Adaptive shoot house brackets along with shooting range target systems for an awesome modular shoot house.
This is kind of our specialty. From tactical training to having range time with your family, or sighting your rifle, we have just the right shooting target systems. Check the list below to see what targets you need to stock up on:
Tactical Training: Moving target systems are a must. The Pivotal Trainer is our go-to solution for upgrading your flat range into a dynamic discretionary training area. Our patented system allows for virtually any training scenario, building good habits and increasing stress while firearm training.
Spatter Targets: One of the most used targets, our Shot Seekers, provides an industry-leading visible ring around each shot. Each target also has an adhesive backing allowing it to be used anywhere.
Reactive Targets: Our Threat Down reactive targets are great for shooters of all ages. One could argue that paper targets are boring, but having something react to your shot is super not boring.
Bursting Targets: Skip the Tannerite, you just built an awesome range, no need to blow it up. Check out our Pop Packs instead. They’re fun, colorful, and burst with violence.
We know this is a brief guide, that's meant to start your thought process and generate ideas when you think you're ready to put in a shooting range. At the end of the day and before you do any work, double-check that you are following all local, state, and federal protocols and safety precautions. Also, if we missed anything that you think is a MUST-HAVE on a range, let us know in the comments.
Triumph Systems is a shooting range target systems manufacturer and seller in the United States of America. Our goal is to revolutionize cognitive and discretionary training with our products while making shooting training accessible and fun for all. Our pivotal trainers - moving target systems - are used amongst law enforcement agencies, federal agencies, academics, CCW holders, and defenders of our country.
Train hard and stay safe with Triumph Systems!