If you live in a rural setting that doesn’t include a no-shooting covenant, you may have the makings for a home-based shooting range. Survey your surroundings for safe backstops and consider building your own range that can include options for rifle, handgun and shotgun shooting activities.
Why a home-based range? Time is money, and if you can get the gang together without a long drive you save time, and you can add more time into the shooting experience. Plus, many ranges are bustling with activity, particularly on weekends. You may arrive at the range and have to wait for a shooting position. Older children may understand, but kids seldom are good at waiting around. Do you remember your last trip to the mall? Finally, shooting at home allows you to go at your leisure. It’s like golf. You don’t always want to be looking over your shoulder at the next group waiting impatiently for you to leave the tee box.
If your property doesn’t have a safe backstop, you can add one with a dump truck load or two of dirt. Make sure it is rock-free to avoid ricochets and position it so no safety hazards reside beyond the target. Visit the NRA Range Services online portal for more information on safe range construction.
Once you have a layout you can easily add targets such as the commercial metal ones previously mentioned or use a wooden frame to post paper targets. My son used his high school welding shop to manufacture homemade handgun flip-style targets and gongs that are situated at varying distances in our pasture out to 700 yards. For shotgun, we move a portable trap to varying habitats to simulate flushing scenarios. We even have an area set up for archery where our 3-D targets reside when the urge to fling arrows arises.
A home-based range provides you with more flexibility, more time and the option to move quickly to a variety of targets. It may lack the social setting of a public range, but it rises to the occasion for family bonding.