Is there no profit in owning an indoor range?

Is there no profit in owning an indoor range?

This is a discussion on Is there no profit in owning an indoor range? within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; I belong to a club that has several outdoor ranges and as a member I can use them any time I want which is nice. ...

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 20
Like Tree16Likes

Thread: Is there no profit in owning an indoor range?

  1. #1
    Member Array mmb617's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    Location
    Altoona, PA
    Posts
    113

    Is there no profit in owning an indoor range?

    I belong to a club that has several outdoor ranges and as a member I can use them any time I want which is nice. But it's getting to be the time of year here in central PA that it would be nice to shoot indoors at times. There used to be a public indoor range here in Altoona but it closed last year and now has signs on it saying the building and/or business is for sale. I don't know why it closed.

    I spent a lot of time online searching for an indoor range reasonably close by and came up empty. Most of the places I find when I google "indoor shooting ranges near Altoona PA" are actually outdoor only. As near as I can determine the closest indoor range is in Youngwood PA which is 85 miles away.

    I have to wonder why there isn't something closer. Altoona isn't that small at 40k+ population, and there are a lot of hunters/shooters in the area. I would think an indoor range would be a viable business model, but apparently it's not or the need would be filled.

    What's the problem? Is it insurance costs, which I know is a killer for many businesses? If so why doesn't that cost kill the outdoor ranges of which there are quite a few locally? Other than insurance I would think the overhead at a shooting range would be relatively low. Labor costs shouldn't be too bad as only a few employees would be needed.

    Anybody want to add their thoughts on this subject? Or does anyone know of an indoor range closer that I've somehow missed in my searches?

  2. #2
    VIP Member
    Array PPS1980's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    The Free State of Georgia
    Posts
    2,069
    Government regulations has been the most challenging aspect here in non-regulatory intensive GA according to our input from various range owners. I can only imagine how onerous it must be in more regulatory intensive states.
    __________________
    I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery.
    - Thomas Jefferson 1787
    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
    NRA Life Member - Member GA Carry Organization

  3. #3
    Senior Moderator
    Array gasmitty's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Gilbert, AZ
    Posts
    18,751
    I think that's a good question to ask the NSSF. The NRA will provide technical assistance for ranges (at least outdoor ones), but the NSSF is an industry organization that wants the business to thrive and prosper.
    Rock and Glock and msgt/ret like this.
    Smitty
    AZCDL Life Member
    NRA Patron Member
    NROI Chief Range Officer

  4. #4
    Distinguished Member Array Rabbit212's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    South Texas
    Posts
    1,736
    40k population and that includes men, women and children what percentage of that are active gun owners? Not folks who might own a firearm but actual people who take the time to go out and shoot and would use an indoor range? You really want to sink that much money into that few possible customers?? Better off investing in a taco truck, everybody HAS to eat and Taco Tuesday!!!
    MMinSC likes this.
    Those are my principles, and if you don't like them.....well, I have others.

  5. #5
    Distinguished Member Array KILTED COWBOY's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Location
    TEXAS
    Posts
    1,330
    regulations and restricted zoning laws.
    Took long time for the new indoor range in Allen Texas to get approved.
    airslot likes this.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Array Psycho41's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Kansas
    Posts
    898
    Quote Originally Posted by PPS1980 View Post
    Government regulations has been the most challenging aspect here in non-regulatory intensive GA according to our input from various range owners. I can only imagine how onerous it must be in more regulatory intensive states.
    Yes, there are strict requirements around air quality and lead exposure along with several alphabet agencies that can enforce said requirements. The indoor range I go to gets excessively hot in the summer because there is no AC. I assume it is because they didn't want to pay for the special air filtration systems that would be required. One time, a guy passed out while on the firing line! But, the business was recently sold and the new owner has definitely put in some money in upgrades, so this may get addressed.

    UNDERSTANDING GOVERNMENT RANGE VENTILATION CRITERIA
    msgt/ret and airslot like this.

  7. #7
    VIP Member Array sammeow's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    3,585
    I believe a lot has to do with regulations on air quality.
    Flow, filtration, exhaust and cooling. Outdoor ranges do not have those issues
    airslot and Wolf357 like this.
    There's only one way to get to heaven. John 14:6

  8. #8
    VIP Member Array WebleyHunter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Colorado Front Range
    Posts
    2,685
    On the CO Front Range, the number of indoor ranges have exploded over the past 10 years due to high demand.
    Last edited by WebleyHunter; December 10th, 2019 at 04:50 PM.
    Arkancide- Three self-inflicted gunshots to the head with hands tied behind the back.

    Active Shooter Response- Assess the situation, Position yourself to gain tactical advantage, Engage perpetrator violently (APE).

  9. #9
    Senior Member Array Stirling XD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    1,069
    I would agree there is more investment and regulation than we realize. One range I went to said they don't allow muzzle loaders to be fired there because they clog up the air filters fast. They also have to contain the bullets in several directions. The backstop at the end of the range is one thing, but they probably have to reinforce the ceilings as well.
    Has anyone tried turning the country off and then back on again?

  10. #10
    VIP Member Array jmf552's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    6,783
    There must be a possible profit, because there are two near me that have been around for a long time and seem to be doing very well. One of them is filthy and has terrible customer service, so I don't know how they stay in business, but they do. The other one is great, but not cheap, and they seem to be doing really well. What I notice about successful ranges that I have seen is:
    • They are combined with gun and gun accessory stores.
    • The offer training courses to the public.
    • They also have contracts to offer training and qualifications to local LE and security.
    • They have rental guns.
    • They also offer gunsmithing services.

    So it may be problematic to run an indoor range that is just a range and nothing else, but I think when you offer a package of services like the list above, it is obvious it is possible to run a profitable range. How profitable, I can't say.
    DZUS, SFury and Wolf357 like this.
    Attack Squadron 65 "Tigers", USS Eisenhower '80 - '83, peackeeping w/Iran, Libya, Lebanon and E. Europe

  11. #11
    Senior Member Array CreedDryrot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    OREGON
    Posts
    727
    The indoor range that I belong to is, I think, about 97 years old and has been owned by the same family all of that time. The current owner told me that they wouldn't be able to operate if it weren't for being grandfathered in with all of the legislation over the last 30 years.
    retired badge 1 likes this.

  12. #12
    VIP Member
    Array PPS1980's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    The Free State of Georgia
    Posts
    2,069
    Quote Originally Posted by Psycho41 View Post
    Yes, there are strict requirements around air quality and lead exposure along with several alphabet agencies that can enforce said requirements. The indoor range I go to gets excessively hot in the summer because there is no AC. I assume it is because they didn't want to pay for the special air filtration systems that would be required. One time, a guy passed out while on the firing line! But, the business was recently sold and the new owner has definitely put in some money in upgrades, so this may get addressed.

    UNDERSTANDING GOVERNMENT RANGE VENTILATION CRITERIA
    Not even talking about those regulations, which are all Federal, but rather State and Local regulations that can be even more stifling. For instance, GA has a State Preemption on the books but local elected yahoos often think that they can do whatever they want - like put into place noise ordinances on firing ranges that are completely unreasonable and in conflict with state laws. We've had several such attempts at end-runs by local nitwits in the past couple years here in GA after the ranges met all the various existing Federal and state regulations.
    __________________
    I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery.
    - Thomas Jefferson 1787
    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
    NRA Life Member - Member GA Carry Organization

  13. #13
    VIP Member Array Chuck808's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Tampa Bay area, Florida
    Posts
    2,271
    It seems lots of the small ones struggle to stay alive. Within 45 mins of me, I have 2 large gun stores/ranges. They do great. They both have 30+ pistol ranges at 25 yards and 7-8 rifle ranges at 100 yards. One of them has a full simulator and everything. The smaller is around 40k square feet, the larger that I worked at is around 60k square feet. I know the store that I worked at had a crew of around 80 people, and they kept around 4500-5000 guns in stock for sale. Some slow days they would have a $10k sales day between gun sales and the range. Some good days were around $80,000. They always complained about the store losing money (total BS) but we’re doing well enough to open two other stores equally large.

    There are always a bunch of small ranges that pop up, usually in a strip center or something with a few lanes and some small amount of guns for sale (your usual stock of Glocks, M&Ps, 1911, snub revolvers, pump shotguns, and some ARs and AKs and they usually don’t last for more than a year or two.

  14. #14
    Distinguished Member Array Black Knight's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Charlottesville, VA
    Posts
    1,779
    While insurance and government regulation are serious concerns I believe some are also afraid of the person who rents a gun or brings one to the range and commits suicide. it can cause damage to the reputation and overall appearance of a business. Also any legal activities must be thought of. Some people just don't want to risk it and I can't blame them. I am thankful for those that do.

  15. #15
    Member Array SWsouthpaw's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Location
    Desert State
    Posts
    59
    I have two indoor ranges near me, both owned by the same people. They are the only game in town when it comes to indoor ranges.

    I have to say that the ranges are phenomenal. The air is clean, as are the walls and floors. All the equipment runs very well despite the best efforts of the occasional cretins who have NDs and ADs at the tracks in the ceiling.

    I'm not an expert, but I bet the largest expenses are (in no particular order):

    1. Insurance. Yes, there has been one suicide with a rental gun in the last 5 or so years that I know about, but I think insurance costs are more to cover inexperienced newbie accidents.

    2. Hazardous waste cleaning, removal, and disposal.

    3. Maintenance. One of the ranges has a bridge next door that I drive over to get there, and I can see their roof. The size and amount of air handlers on the roof over the range section must have cost twice as much as my house, if not more.

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Sponsored Links

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •