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Shooting range technology has come a long way from 2X4s and sand berms, with modern indoor gun ranges popping up in the middle of cities both large and small throughout the country. Powered by modern design and innovation, these ranges have even been spotted in locations that are notoriously unfriendly to shooting sports, giving more Americans than ever the chance to practice their Second Amendment rights and have fun squeezing off a few rounds in a safe, comfortable environment.

Old School Is Still Cool

Don’t get us wrong. Nothing will ever replace the smell, sound, or feel of an afternoon at the range. The crack of shots echoing back at you, the smell of powder on the air, and the satisfaction of sending box after box of bullets downrange, then checking the target for a nice, tight group you can cover with your hand are all quintessential parts of learning and training with your weapon. Thanks to rising ammo prices, however, the experience also includes a second mortgage so you can afford those boxes of bullets.

The Evolution Of The Shooting Range

View from behind a person aiming a firearm at a target in an indoor shooting range

It’s not like advancements in shooting range technology just started showing up. Both civilian and government ranges have been looking for new ways to give people range time for years. From video-tape-based shooting simulators that were used for law enforcement shoot/don’t-shoot drills over the past few decades to construction techniques that made indoor live-fire gun ranges safe and practical, training has worked hard to keep pace with the ever-changing needs of shooters as the number of gun owners has steadily climbed. That’s good news for anyone who believes in our rights to keep and bear arms and for responsible firearms owners who want to be ready to use those rights safely and efficiently if the need arises.

What State Of The Art Shooting Range Technology Looks Like

Modern indoor gun ranges are built on the latest laser shooting range technology, replacing the live rounds with beams of light that are recognized by a shooting simulator. Using either dedicated laser guns that are designed to replicate popular firearms models or conversion systems that turn your firearm into a laser “weapon” temporarily, you shoot at a virtual range controlled by a computer and projected onto a wall or screen to simulate a variety of shooting situations. 

The Benefits Of Simulator Shooting At An Indoor Gun Range

Before you roll your eyes and go back to choosing which kid’s college fund is canceled for your next ammo order, hear us out. Far from being a Cerakote of old-school shooting games you played as a kid (we all hated that dog when a duck got away…), these are tools that are engineered and designed by firearms training experts and industry professionals. While this might not be what you’re picturing as a range experience, that doesn’t mean it hasn’t got its place in effective firearms training. 

Focus on the Fundamentals 

Indoor shooting range booth with protective ear and eye wear, a magazine, and a pistol placed on the table

How many shots did you throw wide before you learned to squeeze the trigger and not jerk it? How long did it take you to develop a rock-solid sight picture with your weapon, round after round? Shooting range technology doesn’t change the need for these basic firearm principles, and without wind-blown dust, glare, blistering heat, and freezing cold, a shooter can make perfecting their form and technique a priority.

Firearms Introduction for Everyone 

Sadly, not all Americans live in an area where they can freely enjoy the full bounty of their Second Amendment rights. Shooting simulators bypass this by offering a way to let the public get their range time in without a live firearm, if necessary. Even the most restrictive jurisdictions haven’t banned computers, lasers, and strategically joining the two with advancements in shooting range technology.

Safety is Unsurpassed 

Indoor gun ranges that rely on laser technology are the perfect way to teach gun safety in a controlled environment. There’s no ricochet, misfire, or accidental discharges of a chambered round in an “unloaded” gun. This not only keeps neighboring businesses happy but also lowers the stakes for nervous shooters and the people in the lanes next to them while they become comfortable with range etiquette.

It’s Cost-Effective 

Not everyone is ready or able to plunk down several hundred dollars for a gun to try shooting sports as a hobby. Sure, some ranges have loaner guns, but we all know how erratic they can get after thousands of rounds of use and abuse from inexperienced shooters. When you factor in the money saved on ammunition you’re not firing, the savings can be significant and the perfect start to saving for your next gun or accessory.

Where Laser Simulators Miss The Target

Those are the benefits, but there are some places where shooting range technology hasn’t quite caught up to the traditional range experience. Sometimes live-fire is still the best teacher.

Is Modern Shooting Range Technology Worth It?

Indoor gun ranges with gun simulators definitely have a place in our hobby, but don’t make them your only training ground. Practice the fundamentals, but don’t forget to feel the experience of a live-fire range occasionally. Find the right balance for your shooting, whether it’s fun and free or structured and precise, and you’ll be training the best way for you. Make your gun more fun at the range and get more bang-bang for your buck with PR Triggers.