Opening a gun range can be a wise investment, but it brings with it a host of responsibilities. The most important responsibility is to keep customers safe; not only would you never want somebody to get hurt on your range, but any injuries or incidents will often interrupt business. In order to make sure your gun range runs safely and efficiently, here are some rules and safety protocols you’ll to follow:
Indoors or Outdoors?
When you decide to open a gun range, you’ll first need to decide if you want it to be indoors or outdoors and be aware of the safety precautions needed for each. Here’s a quick run-down of the key safety issues for each type or range.
Noise Protection: The close quarters make noise a particular issue for indoor ranges. To ensure your clients suffer no hearing damage, make headphones, earplugs or other noise-cancelling options available, either for free or for a small rental charge, or notify them to bring their own materials.
Gun Restrictions: Indoor ranges have less space and require shooters to be closer to each other, so safety usually limits indoor weapons to pistols and other single-fire guns. Not only are automatic weapons dangerous when used indoors, but having customers use single-fire weapons will also help efficiency, as there’ll be fewer bullets and spent shells to clear away.
Indoor ranges need a good HVAC system with filters to keep the range ventilated. The ventilation protects shooters from excessive gun smoke, while the filters are to remove small lead particles from the air.
Noise: Being outdoors makes it difficult to contain the sound of gunshots, which can annoy residents nearby and cause problems for your business. In part to cut down on noise complaints, outdoor ranges are usually only allowed to be open from sunrise to sunset.
Environmental Safety: Lead contamination from outdoor ranges can be a serious threat to local ecosystems. Outdoor range owners must be sure to keep the range away from water sources, which can be contaminated by lead, and should ensure all materials are disposed of to limit the exposure of wildlife to lead.
General Advice: Whether you own an indoor or outdoor gun range, here are some safety and efficiency rules to follow:
Post Safety Information:
One of the best ways to keep clients safe is to be sure they’re informed of proper safety rules for your range. Post a list of safety rules for the range in an area where it will be visible to all clients entering, or else inform them before they begin shooting about safe gun practice and any range-specific safety rules.
Hire Safety Personnel:
Having some kind of safety personnel present can help prevent dangerous situations from arising. One good option is to have employees get certified as NRO Range Safety Officers (RSOs.) RSOs must pass a course ensuring they know proper gun safety and range safety practices before being certified, so having their expertise on hand can be valuable.