People who have been reading my posts on The Arms Guide should have noticed a pattern in my posts by now. I am always talking about the importance of firearms practice and the factors that make it up. This post is no different. In past posts, I have made mention that nothing replaces actual trigger time. Unless you have a large estate where you can establish a shooting range, you’ll have to travel to a range to get in that trigger time. This is not a terrible thing: sure, you’ll probably have to expend some gas, but it can turn into an event. When I go to the range, I’ll end up eating out either before or after the range (even both if the money gods are kind to me on that particular day). If friends are available and interested in hitting up the range, I’ll bring them along, too.

Point blank, going to the shooting range is damn fun! But which type of range should you go to? Shooting ranges really break down into two types: outdoor and indoor. The definition of each should be blatantly self-apparent. Let’s talk pros and cons of the indoor shooting range first.

The strongest pro of the indoor range is that it’s not weather dependent. You can go to the range when it is raining, sleeting, snowing, or beautiful outside. Short of a natural disaster, the indoor shooting range will be open. On days where it is extremely cold or extremely hot, shooting in an air-conditioned environment really does help to relax the shooter. Didn’t have time to pick up ammunition? Not a problem: most indoor shooting ranges will have ammo for sale, though at slightly inflated prices. The indoor shooting range is also phenomenal in that if you are investigating what kind of gun to buy, many of them will have the most popular brands of sidearms available for rent so you can test them out for yourself. Many also sell the guns there, so if you like what you’ve rented and have the cash on hand, you can buy the weapon that day, in accordance with local statutes. The last advantage of the indoor shooting range is that they are easily the most prevalent type in urban areas. Where I live, in Tucson, the nearest outdoor range is quite a drive away.

range indoor centralville_opt
An indoor shooting range. (photo courtesy of Centralville Sportsman’s Club)

Now, before you go, “Well, damn, indoor ranges sound like where it’s at!” allow me to put some things into perspective. Indoor ranges have two major drawbacks. The majority of them that I have been to do not allow you to fire anything above pistol caliber, and you cannot move and shoot at an indoor range. At some, I haven’t even been allowed to practice drawing and firing from concealment. The rules vary from range to range, but it’s a general rule of thumb that at an indoor range, you will be engaged in static pistol shooting. Any trigger time is better than no trigger time, but you also must train as you fight, which makes this a major disadvantage. Also, the cost of shooting at an indoor range is more than likely going to increase due to amount of services available to you. This is only fair: they have to pay for maintenance of the offices and range, the air conditioning, vending machine maintenance, alarm security for the high value items kept in the store, amount of employees they staff, etc.