indoor vs outdoor shooting

Indoor vs. Outdoor Shooting


On an ideal shooting range, law enforcement, military personnel, and individuals can improve their life skills. Even those who compete, hunt, or simply need to de-stress can benefit from spending time on the range in a safe manner. 

When it comes to shooting ranges, everyone has their own preferences. Some individuals enjoy the open-air experience of an outdoor range where they can fire steel targets at 400 yards, while others prefer the air-conditioned comfort of indoor ranges where target distance can be controlled with a button. Both have advantages and disadvantages, and there is no right or wrong choice. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of both outdoor and indoor shooting ranges to aid you in your selection.


Indoor Shooting Ranges


Gun shooting rangeCredit: Niosh


Indoor ranges are significantly handier for customers because they can easily be created in the center of cities. This means improved visibility and  accessibility for commercial ranges. For law enforcement, this means a reduction in overtime expenditures because officers do not have to travel as far as they would to train on an outdoor range. They can also train without difficulty in adverse weather, which would be more challenging on an outdoor range.

Indoor ranges are becoming a more practical choice for tactical training as technology advances. Ballistic doors allow vehicles to enter the range for training scenarios; lighting can be adjusted to simulate daylight and low light situations; sound effects can be played over loudspeakers to induce stress or simulate a combat environment; and increased flexibility in shooting across firing lanes or at moving targets is possible.

Indoor shooting ranges can provide a large retail outlet for commercial ranges. Indoor ranges may be extremely profitable when paired with a retail rifle and ammo store. Customers are more inclined to buy ammo at the range where they shoot, and they are more likely to buy a gun if they can try it out first on the range. In simple words, an indoor range is extremely convenient.



An indoor shooting range is more expensive to construct and requires the use of a building. For an indoor range, you must either construct a new structure from the ground up or locate a structure that fits municipal regulations for parking, sound, and zoning and can be adapted to accommodate an indoor shooting range. A target retrieval system, ceiling baffles, fully ballistic walls, bullet traps, a ventilation system, and illumination are all common requirements for indoor shooting ranges. The total cost of the equipment and facilities can easily exceed the cost of an outdoor range.

Depending on the range equipment chosen, the caliber and kind of bullet that can be fired on an indoor shooting range may be limited. Shooting capabilities are naturally limited by the usage of antiquated or home-made bullet traps and the greater risk of ricocheting that comes with an indoor shooting range. Many older indoor ranges are unable to accommodate rifle calibers due to outdated range equipment designs that cannot reliably stop rifle shots. Some facilities do not allow rifle shooting at all due to space and loudness restrictions.


Outdoor Shooting Ranges


Outdoor shooting range
Credit: Vegas Outdoor Adventures


If you're a big fan of the great outdoors, there's not much to argue about. It's not just about the target practice for your breed; it's about the fresh air and the difficulty of managing the elements—expectations that can never be reached on an indoor range. Because of their more isolated locations, outdoor shooting ranges provide a retreat for many shooter enthusiasts. Furthermore, the variety of weapons permitted and the forms of target practice permitted—for example, trap and skeet shooting—are more likely to be permitted here. When it comes to firing at reactive targets, you'll often discover additional options for classes geared at improving accuracy.

With the right berms, outdoor shooting ranges can provide a wider range of shooting. Outdoor shooting ranges allow shooters to participate in tactical training with up to 180 degrees of firing mobility, whereas indoor ranges limit shooters to shooting straight forward from a fixed position. Your training scenarios will be more realistic if your range allows for more flexibility. Many outdoor ranges allow shooting at multiple targets.



Outdoor ranges are, simply put, fewer and farther compared to indoor ranges. As a result, finding a suitable outdoor shooting range that suits your requirements may be more difficult and time consuming. In addition, weather-related closures might make planning a day on the range difficult. Once on the outdoor shooting range, amenities are more limited than at indoor ranges.


Safety is a top priority


safety first sign

Credit: MSC Safety Solutions


Safety is a major issue no matter which shooting range you choose. To be absolutely safe, follow the guidelines below.


1)  Always aim your firearms in a safe direction.

2)  Keep your finger off the trigger until you're ready to fire.

3)  Keep your gun unloaded until you've reached the firing line and the range has been labelled "HOT." When entering or exiting the range, firearms must be empty (magazines removed and actions opened).

4)  When someone says, "Cease firing," you must immediately stop shooting.

5)  Before going down range, shooters must check with others to confirm that rifles are unloaded, actions are open, and firearms are laid down on the shooting bench. While there is a cold range, no one is allowed to handle firearms or stand at the shooting line.

6)  Shooters must check with others to ensure there is no one down range before firing; once the range is labelled "HOT," shooters may begin fire. On the firing line, only shooters are allowed. Only when the range is "HOT" may shooters move safe firearms to and from the firing line.

7)  All shooters are responsible for keeping their rounds within the range's boundaries. Shooters are only allowed to fire from the firing line at a target that is directly in front of them. Rounds can escape the range when they are fired at items on the ground or targets that are not set at the proper height on the target frame.

8)  Please respect the range by disposing of rubbish in trash cans and recycling wasted brass in recycling cans. It is forbidden to use tracers, armor-piercing, or incendiary ammunition. Stay on the paths to and from the targets when going downrange; access to the backstop and all locations outside of the target lines and walkways is forbidden.

9)  You Should Respect Yourself: Protect your eyes and ears with goggles and earplugs. On the shooting line, no food, beverages, or smoking are permitted. After shooting, you should wash your hands and face.

10)  Others should be respected: If patrons are waiting, there is a one-hour time limit for using the range. When deciding which shooting range is best for you, consider what each one has to offer, including what sorts of firearms are permitted, how far the range is from your location, and what amenities are available. An indoor or outdoor shooting range will suit your needs better depending on whether you want a quick session, an exciting group experience, or precise target practice. In any case, keep safety in mind at all times and follow all instructions and guidelines provided by the range specialists.


When it comes to deciding between an indoor and an outdoor shooting range, your shooting purpose and situation are the most important factors to consider.
An indoor shooting range is your best chance if you want to get in for an hour of shooting on a busy weekday.

An outdoor shooting range, on the other hand, is probably better suited to your demands for a Saturday at the range.
Just make sure to look up the facilities online before going.


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