Shooting range in or around Las Vegas?
August 26, 2004 9:39 PM   Subscribe

I have never fired a gun, and neither have most of my friends, as far as I know. (We're all Canadian).

In November, a few of us are heading down to Las Vegas to celebrate the 40th birthday of one of the gang. I'd like to make a trip to a shooting range part of the festivites, but I don't have clue where to start. [mi]

First of all, is this just a bad idea?

Are there places where a bunch of newbies would not be completely unwelcome? We would certainly not mind paying for a bit of training, if it could all be done at one visit.

If this idea isn't completely nuts I'd love to hear of specific Vegas range recommendations or the type of place we should be looking for.
posted by bowline to Travel & Transportation around Las Vegas, NV (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I've never shot in Vegas, but there are a bunch of ads in the throwaway coupon books for that sort of thing. I suspect they cater heavily to Japanese tourists. I remember reading one ad that touted the .22 caliber replicas of real guns that you could shoot.
Shooting is pretty easy, and enjoyable, but still serious business. No room for f*cking around, particularly on the range.
I'd recommend looking in the phone book for an actual shooting range, rather than one of the "shoot a large scary gun" ads. Most ranges have guns for rent, and the range master will be happy to show you how to operate them.
posted by spacewrench at 9:52 PM on August 26, 2004

I would recommend trap shooting. I went as a beginner and had a blast. It's more fun and you'll get a kick out of it.

Some googling around reveals a list of ranges in Nevada. This seems to be the place to go in LV for trap shooting.
posted by euphorb at 10:03 PM on August 26, 2004

American Shooters Supply is the place you want to go. They have a wide range of guns to try. From machine guns to rifles to handguns.
posted by Tenuki at 10:18 PM on August 26, 2004

Here's an article about the place I mentioned.
posted by Tenuki at 10:27 PM on August 26, 2004

Best answer: I went to The Gun Store when I was there in '99. I think it was $20 an hour for a pistol plus ammo. 100 rounds was something like $10. For $30, they let you shoot a tommy gun.
posted by Hackworth at 11:07 PM on August 26, 2004

Actually, it is even cheaper:

"Range use fee of $5 + $10 for each handgun selected"

Tah dah.
posted by Hackworth at 11:09 PM on August 26, 2004

Bush is president and we can't just buy guns without a background check, head into the desert with some beer and start shooting? I mean, there must be a pony in this pile of horseshit somewhere.
posted by lbergstr at 11:35 PM on August 26, 2004

I don't know if you pay them or they pay you but you could try to land a spot on Team Bambi
posted by geekyguy at 5:03 AM on August 27, 2004

Best answer: It's an interesting experience and I recommend it for knowledge sake. You see guns on TV every day, now you'll have practical knowledge to compare it to. Like, contrary to John Woo films, you can't fire off 50 rounds out of a handgun without reloading...

One word of caution: you can rent any gun you want at the range, but the reload ammo they sell sucks and you'll be lucky to hit a barn door with it.

Also, you should review basic gun safety and info before you go. Be aware not to strafe each other, i.e. never point the gun (even unloaded) at anyone. Depending on what type of guns you rent, too, you'll need to know where the safety is, whether to cock the hammer or chamber the first round by pulling back the breech block (slide), etc. Read up on the basic info explaining how revolvers progressed to semi-automatics. Maybe take out a really basic book on guns from the library. When you understand single- and double-action, and that technically a Glock is neither, then you're about ready to go.
posted by Shane at 6:48 AM on August 27, 2004 [1 favorite]

A friend of mine went to one -- it might have been The Gun Store -- and was stunned that there were no safety instructions beforehand. The experience made for a very entertaining story, though, and he was talking about a return visit the next time he was in town...
posted by pmurray63 at 7:03 AM on August 27, 2004

I never shot a gun until a few years ago when I went skeet and trap shooting. It was fun, but I didn't have to pay either. They are very serious about the safety rules. Never point the gun at someone, and always keep the shotgun "broke down" when not using it.
posted by internal at 8:03 AM on August 27, 2004

It's not a bad idea. I think everyone should at least be aware of how to shoot, aim, and load a gun. Go to the range before any of you have started drinking, obviously. You're not likely to be made to feel unwelcome as long as you're not acting like complete chuckleheads and waving the guns around, being unsafe, etc. Many gun enthusiasts are really happy to help newbies learn how to properly use a firearm. If you prepare a little bit by learning how to safely handle a gun, properly aim, and learn what all the little parts are and why they are important, it will probably make it an enjoyable experience. Bring ear protection, guns are loud.
posted by jessamyn at 8:33 AM on August 27, 2004

The one time I went to a shooting range, they were quite pleasant and helpful. They gave me ear and eye protection, showed me what to to and hung around for a while to make sure we were following the rules. Different places will be different, I assume, but that was my experience. Let them know up front that you haven't fired a gun before.
posted by transient at 8:52 AM on August 27, 2004

i don't think it's a bad idea at all. i think everyone should handle a gun (safely, under controlled conditions) at least once. i can't really add anything to everyone's suggestions (read up on the whole thing a little first; be respectful of the range and weapons and other people while you're there; cover your ears; mention that you've never done this before), but i figured i'd say "i agree". i miss going to the range periodically.

talk to the range master before you select your range, so you can be sure to have a comfortable experience.
posted by crush-onastick at 8:58 AM on August 27, 2004

don't know much about shooting ranges in the vegas area, but if you're going to do it i do have one little bit of advice - if you use a shotgun or rifle, keep the butt of the gun firmly against your shoulder at all times when shooting. unless you want a big-ass honkin' bruise to show off.

'specially if you happen to have a father-in-law that likes to reload his shells with extra powder just for fun.
posted by caution live frogs at 10:27 AM on August 27, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks to all for the very helpful info.
posted by bowline at 1:25 PM on August 27, 2004

Best answer: I second the recommendation of the Gun Store in Las Vegas. It's great, and they'll help out newbies if you ask them (we brought my uncle, who had never shot before except for riflery at summer camp)--but keep in mind that it's also almost a twenty minute cabride from the Strip, which is not very cheap. You do get to try out a huge range of guns, some of which are illegal back home in California. Plus they sell targets of Osama and Saddam (or generic outline figures, if you prefer, which I didn't)--so what's not to like?

BTW, don't rent something huge for your first time shooting. You're shooting inside, and guns are VERY LOUD, even with the ear protection, so try not to jump when your neighbor starts doing his thing. And start with something smallish, like a .22 and work your way up; resist the temptation to go Dirty Harry your first time out.

And have fun!
posted by Asparagirl at 1:40 PM on August 27, 2004

I'm an occasional shootist - I love it - but I don't think the first trip to a shooting range is necessarily the best way to commemorate a birthday, unless you are a group of unusually somber celebrants. In which case, I'd suggest signing all of you up for an NRA-approved-curriculum gun safety class. If there are enough of you, any decent range ought to be able to set this up for you.

I was a little stressed out the first time I went to a shooting range - it is loud and a bit intimidating - and I already had a good understanding of the gun's various parts, how it worked, and proper gun safety, which includes not only "don't point the gun at non-shootable items," but also handy tips like don't let the barrel get fouled, what to do in the event of a jam or a misfire, proper range etiquette, etc. Most of my first trip was spent adjusting my ear protection so that it actually worked as it was designed to.
posted by ikkyu2 at 11:42 PM on August 28, 2004

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