When choosing things like a gun or holster the options are numerous and it can be overwhelming. But when it comes to choosing a range to practice your shooting, you have two main options: indoor and outdoor. Both of these options are great but as with many things they have their pros and cons. In the end you may discover that one works out better for you but to help you decide we are going to talk about both of them.
Not all practice needs to be done at a range, but you’ll probably find yourself needing more practice than just what you can do at home. Unless you are one of the lucky people who has property or has a friend with property where you can safely practice. Dry fire practice is something you can do in the comfort of your home that can help improve your skills as a shooter. If you want to learn more about practicing drawing your concealed carry you can check out an article about it here.
But let’s say you want to do some live fire practice and need to go to a range. Do you go to an indoor or outdoor range?
Starting off with the pros of shooting at an indoor range. First off it’s inside so you aren’t exposed to the weather. Going to an indoor range means you don’t have to worry about getting rained on, being exposed to the scorching heat, or the freezing cold. Some indoor ranges may actually be air conditioned making for an even more comfortable shooting environment.
Many indoor ranges are going to have easy access to targets. Rather than waiting for a range officer to have everyone cease fire so people can take a moment to walk to the targets to retrieve them indoor ranges can use a pulley system that makes changing out and retrieving your targets easier and safer.
Typically an indoor range will be attached to a store. That means you have easy access to range essentials if you need to purchase additional ammo or targets. Or if a piece of your equipment broke you can easily purchase a replacement.
And the last pro we are going to mention for indoor ranges is they are easy to find. An indoor range can be built in a city so there might be one within a short distance from you. Not to mention that because they are a building they are probably easy to access as well. You won’t need to go down any dirt roads to get to the range.
With everything, there are good things and bad so let's talk about the cons of going to an indoor range to practice shooting. First of all, it is going to be louder than an outdoor range. With an enclosed space the sound is going to travel differently than being outside in the open.
You typically won't be able to do long range shooting beyond 300 yards. With the range being inside a building they have a more limited amount of space than an outdoor range so they can’t have as long of a shooting range. Some indoor ranges have restrictions on the type of gun you can use or the caliber. Indoor ranges use a berm behind the targets to stop oncoming bullets, and not all indoor ranges have a berm that is rated for larger calibers.
With an indoor range, they are required to have a filtration system to help reduce the lead in the air. But not all ranges change out their filters as often as they should which may lead to an increased risk for lead exposure.
The last thing we will mention about indoor ranges is you may find they are more expensive than outdoor ranges. The cost of running the facility and maintaining the filtration system is more than most outdoor range maintenance costs.
Now that we’ve talked about indoor ranges it's only fitting that we also talk about outdoor ranges. Outdoor ranges are typically going to be quieter than an indoor range. Since the range isn’t enclosed the sound travels differently and results in a bit of a quieter and calmer experience.
With outdoor ranges, you can enjoy the weather. Rather than being inside a building and subject to the temperature in the building you can enjoy the nice fall or spring days at an outdoor range. Being outdoors can also give you more space between your area and other stations. This adds another benefit, you may have more flexibility to move around while you are shooting. Some outdoor ranges allow you to do dynamic training, depending on their facilities.
We mentioned there might be restrictions on the types of guns and calibers you can use at an indoor range well with an outdoor range you are less likely to have any restrictions. And the majority of the time it will be cheaper to shoot at an outdoor range than an indoor range.
Moving on to the cons of outdoor ranges. While a pro is you are able to enjoy the nice weather, a downside is you are also exposed to the bad weather. Indoor ranges have a pulley system that allows you to easily access targets for retrieval. With an outdoor range, there is more manual labor involved. To place a target or retrieve a target you will have to walk out to the target stand.
Outdoor ranges typically don’t have a store on site where you can purchase range essentials like ammo and additional targets. So if something breaks, you forget something, or run out of ammo you are stuck with only what you brought with you.
While indoor ranges are easy to find and access, outdoor ranges can be the opposite. For an outdoor range, it needs to be in an area with a decent amount of open space. This means they are more likely to be accessed by dirt road and might be a farther drive away from where you live.
Let’s review. When deciding to go to a range to practice your shooting you have a choice between indoor and outdoor. Indoor ranges can be easy to find, are typically attached to a store for easy access to range essentials, and many have a target retrieval system. But a few downsides to indoor ranges are they can be loud, are often more expensive than outdoor ranges, and can leave you with an increased chance of lead exposure among other things.
Outdoor ranges have more space so you can train with dynamic shooting and at longer ranges, they are often quieter than indoor ranges, and many times are cheaper. On the other hand they can be harder to find, you are subject to the weather conditions, and you have less access to range essentials.
Ultimately, it comes down to what you prefer and what meets your needs. We recommend visiting our Holsters by Gun Model page if you are looking for holsters that are custom made for your weapon of choice. For all of our belt and holster options and for more information to help you choose the carry system that works best for you, visit our Vedder Holsters website.
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