Building an indoor gun range for personal use can lead to years of enjoyment and the building of shooting skills. Retrofitting a range into an existing home may not be easy or inexpensive but it is certainly possible. Doing it correctly takes planning and careful construction.
Many municipalities have zoning codes regulating the discharge of firearms within a certain area. The remodeling work on the home may also fall under the requirement of a permit. Check with your local government before starting any work to ensure that you avoid any legal problems down the road.
Zoning permission, if needed
Construction crew and material
Always observe good safety habits when around firearms.
Study extensively before making any plans. Visit local gun ranges and speak to the builders who constructed them to ensure that your plans are based in reality. Check with construction experts who can suggest any changes that will make the range work better in concept. .
Measure to see how much space is available where you want the range. Ranges don’t need wide spaces, just long ones. A simple .22 LR pistol range with a single lane only needs a length of 30 feet and width of 3 feet. Many garages or basements have this much space unused.
Build a frame for the shooting lane using standard building techniques. Filled concrete blocks are among the best wall material for both safety and noise abatement. Seal off any potential avenues for escaping noise. Use a double thickness of sheet rock, with the first layer nailed vertically and the second layer nailed horizontally. Ensure that seams do not lay on one another. This keeps excessive noise from leaking through the seams. Apply sound deadening paint to the frame, sheet rock, ceiling and floor.
Finish off the walls and ceiling with a bullet resistant building material such as ShotBlocker or Brass from Norplex-Micarta. Check with the manufacturer to determine the proper thickness needed for the types of firearms you will be using.
Install a ventilation system capable of providing a negative air flow of about 3 to 7 percent. This creates a slight negative pressure area in the range which ensure that the airborne lead and other contaminates are exhausted safely with no unhealthy consequences to the shooters.
Ensure that there are no possible obstructions such as open light fixtures that can cause a bullet to ricochet back to the shooter. Install a steel bullet trap of the proper thickness at the proper angle for your lane dimensions to deflect the spent bullets downward into water or sand.
Items you will need
Jack Burton started writing professionally in 1980 with articles in "Word from Jerusalem," "ICEJ Daily News" and Tagalong Garden News. He has managed radio stations, TV studios and newspapers, and was the chief fundraiser for Taltree Arboretum. Burton holds a B.S. in broadcasting from John Brown University. He is a 26-year veteran of the U.S. Navy/Navy Reserves and the Navy Seabees.