'Spring Cleaning' for Your Range

April 28, 2022
Spring is the perfect time to inspect, repair and upgrade your range as you plan for the coming year of training.

If your range is indoor, the spring cleaning and preparation for a new shooting year is pretty simple. Inspect and repair (as necessary) your ventilation and lighting systems. Patch holes if you want to paint. Wear out your shop vacuum to get the range as clean as possible before it’s dirtied up again. Outdoor ranges might need a bit more work.

Let’s start with your backstop. Does your berm need to be mined for metal and then refilled/repacked? Has it eroded and need to be built back up? Neither of these efforts is quick or easy and both require some type of earth-moving equipment. Prior to undertaking these efforts, most especially if your range is located anywhere near a suburban area, take a look at recent maps to identify the backdrop of your range. Build up your berm height accordingly. If erosion is a problem for your backstop, take a look at your drainage as well. After you’ve repacked/rebuilt your berm is the perfect time to modify or repair your drainage. The goal is have drainage at the base of your backstop flowing right or left off the range; not toward the shooters/lanes.

Before you start working on the shooting lanes, take a look at your target stands. If they are wood or plastic there’s a good chance you need to do some repairs or replace them outright. Either way, it’s the perfect time to add to your target capability. If you have three target stands, consider expanding to five. If you have a sufficient number of target stands and some space left on either end of your backstop area, is it time to add some steel? Reactive targets can add a level of training that shooting paper can’t compete with. Now about those shooting lanes…

No matter how well you police your brass after a day of shooting you inevitably miss some. Spend the time and get some help to thoroughly go through your shooting lanes and the surrounding area. Police up whatever brass you find. Separate it, if desired, into reloadable/tradable and trash. Dispose of it appropriately.

Now inspect the turf, any gravel or paved areas and those inevitable muddy spots. Purchase what you need to level out the muddy spots and double check that you’ve set up your drainage to avoid them growing back within just a few days of rain. Fill in the thinning gravel spots and/or repair any cracks in the pavement. If you have paved lanes, you may want to consider sealing them when you get a really hot day. It will extend the service life of the lanes.

Last but not least is to check your overhead coverage and any lighting you have. If you’re lucky enough to have cover over your firing lines, inspect it and repair it as necessary. Replace lightbulbs, etc. and make sure you are good to go.  Enter the spring shooting season ready for a whole year of training on your range.

About the Author

Lt. Frank Borelli (ret), Editorial Director | Editorial Director

Lt. Frank Borelli is the Editorial Director for the Officer Media Group. Frank brings 20+ years of writing and editing experience in addition to 40 years of law enforcement operations, administration and training experience to the team.

Frank has had numerous books published which are available on Amazon.com, BarnesAndNoble.com, and other major retail outlets.

If you have any comments or questions, you can contact him via email at [email protected].

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