By Earl Roberts
When the idea of writing about some of the best shooting ranges in my geographical area was mentioned, to say the least, I was excited. I mean, I own and operate a company called Mobile Marksmanship, so traveling around and spending time on ranges is basically my daily job…and I love my job! But when I sat down to make a short list of some of the ranges I wanted to include, that’s when it got hard; first, by no means was the list short, there are quite a few awesome ranges in the Southeastern United States. Second, my list lacked uniformity; by that, I mean there were outdoor ranges, indoor ranges, long distance ranges, clay shooting ranges, pistol ranges, rifle ranges, private ranges, public ranges, and so on. In order to truly compare the ranges and to be able to narrow the list down, I had to set some parameters. As the title says, I decided to highlight five indoor ranges that are in the Southeastern United States. I wanted to only include ranges that are open to the public and that have a destination theme to them as well, you know, something else to do either before or after you shoot on the range. Now the word “top” is included in the title, this is just my list (as of now), your list may be different – and that’s OK; as a matter of fact, if you know of an awesome range in this area, feel free to share. I am always looking for great places to shoot. Now, with that being said, here they are:
#5: Buds Gun Shop and Range with three locations in Tennessee and Kentucky.
We have all heard of, and probably shopped at Buds Gun shop; Buds has been the Internet’s leading seller of firearms, accessories, and ammunition since 2002. But they also operate three retail stores and indoor shooting ranges in Greenville, KY, Lexington, KY, and Sevierville, TN. I am partial to the 23,000-square-foot indoor range they have in Tennessee where you can warm up by trying out their Laser Shot Training Simulator which features over 60 different military and law enforcement type scenarios.
When you’re ready to shoot, rent from their massive menu, which includes pistols, rifles, and machine guns, and head onto one of their 25 oversized stalls that reach out to 25 yards.
Don’t forget to browse the showroom floor when your done shooting, and if you’re at the Sevierville, TN location, walk across the parking lot to visit Smoky Mountain Knife Works and browse their 108,000 square-foot showroom of knives, firearms, ammo, and military collectables.
#4: Colonial Shooting Academy in Richmond, Virginia
If you’re in the Richmond, VA area, you’ve got to visit and shoot at the nation’s largest indoor shooting facility. Six ranges, including a tactical range and a live-fire shoot house, spread out over two floors in this 60,000 square foot building. This is also the perfect place to host your next group get-together by taking advantage of the “Bullets & BBQ” option, where your group is treated to some tasty Virginia BBQ before heading onto the range to shoot a variety of rental guns; and yes, Colonial Shooting Academy also rents machine guns.
#3: Shooters World with three locations throughout Florida
Known as “The Second Amendment Theme Park”, this chain of public ranges can be found in Orlando, Villages, and Tampa, Florida. Collectively, Shooters World, occupying a total of 184,000 square-feet, is the largest gun shop and range in the state of Florida. When you walk into one of their locations, you’ll be greeted by an extensive
array of firearms, firearm accessories, ammunition, and knives before you even get to one of their 131 firing lanes, ranging from 15 to 100 yards. Shoot your own gun or rent one of theirs, including fully automatic, or take advantage of one of their “Firearm Experiences”; I recommend trying their “Browning Experience” where you’ll get the opportunity to shoot a .30 caliber M1919 Browning machine gun. After that, you’ll probably be hungry, so grab a bite to eat at their “Pack’n Heat Café” on your way out.
#2: The NRA HQ Range in Fairfax, Virginia
This 50-yard range is in the basement of the NRA Headquarters Building and is open to members and non-members. There are 15 wheelchair assessable shooting booths, complete with an electronic target setting/retrieving system, where you can shoot pistol, rifle, and shotgun from the standing, sitting, or prone positions. The NRA Range does not rent or sell firearms, so bring your own; but they have you covered if you need any other range accessary such as ammo, range bags, cleaning gear, logo t-shirts and ball caps, etc. And once you’ve shot on the range, head upstairs to visit the National Firearms Museum where you’ll see over 3,000 firearms spanning the entire history of firearms to include gun makers, prototypes, historic firearms, guns in America, guns at war, guns in Hollywood, oddities, and much much more!
#1: The GlockStore Shoot270 Range in Nashville, Tennessee
The GlockStore has been around since 1983, but it wasn’t until last year that the doors opened on the Nashville location making this the newest range on this list. First off, you’ve got the GlockStore here which is the World’s #1 source for Glock parts and accessories.
Second, Lenny Magill has his recording studio right in between the retail space and the shooting ranges, so you might get to see him filming a video as you head to one of their indoor private ranges. Now by private, I don’t mean members only, the ranges at the GlockStore, called Shoot270, are open to the public; by private, I mean you will not be shooting next to strangers. These ranges, they have four of them, are actually private shoot rooms where you can shoot in multiple directions (270 degrees) at multiple targets. This is one of the few indoor places where you are encouraged to train and perfect you tactical shooting, low-light shooting, no-light shooting, shooting from behind cover, speed shooting, shooting while moving, and so on. You can bring your own gun, rent one of theirs, or purchase one there – and they carry more than just Glocks.
Well, that’s my list. And now that I’m done typing, I’m off to shoot at my local range… you should do the same.
What’s Your List? Write us and let us know your favorites and it just might end up our next blog!
Earl Roberts is the Owner-Operator and Chief Instructor of Mobile Marksmanship LLC, a Firearms & Safety Training Company located in Northern Virginia. Earl is a retired Marine, former private security professional, and an Emergency Medical Technician with a degree in Firearms Technology and multiple armorer certifications. His instructor credentials include NRA Rifle, Pistol, and Shotgun, National Sporting Clays Association Certified Shotgun Instructor, CCW Instructor, Range Safety Officer, Active Shooter Mitigation & Response Instructor, Crime Prevention & Personal Protection Instructor, Trauma First Aid Instructor, and CPR/AED Instructor. When not teaching, Earl can be found competing with shotguns, pistols, small-bore rifles, and/or muzzleloaders…and occasionally writing gun related articles.