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The 7 coolest shooting ranges in the United States

How many of these facilities have you heard of (or visited)?

By Megan Wells, Police1 Contributor

Nothing beats quality trigger time. Law enforcement officers often visit shooting ranges for tactical skill practice, but getting out to a range to let off some steam or just enjoy some free time is unmatched fun. Imagine being able to practice shooting skills at some of these amazing locations:

1. Colonial Shooting Academy

Shooting classes held at Colonial Academy (Photo credit: Colonial Academy Richmond Facebook)

Location: Richmond, Virginia
This range gets high accolades from us due to the special attention it pays to law enforcement needs like a live-fire shoot house that simulates real-world scenarios and night/low-light training. We’re not the only ones that believe this range is legit – the National Shooting Sports Foundation named the Colonial Shooting Academy a 2013 Range of the Year.

2. Machine Gun Vegas

Shooter holding a Barrett gun (Photo credit: Machine Gun Vegas Facebook)

Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
In true Vegas fashion, this range is bigger and flashier than any shooting range we’ve seen (or ranked on this list). Just look at the armory variety they offer. The thing that caught our eye with Machine Gun Vegas is the unique shooting games and range targets. You can choose options like the Zombie Survival Package and use MP5 suppressed or sniper rifle suppressed guns to kill zombies.

3. Knob Creek Gun Range

Example of objects getting shot at range. (Photo credit:

Location: West Point, Kentucky
Perhaps you’ve seen this range on Country Music Television’s series “Guntucky.” The relatively lax rules about the items you can shoot on the range makes it fun (so long as it isn’t glass). The range has some history, too. It was once a military munitions test range, which is pretty cool.

4. Indian River County Shooting Range

An aerial shot of shooting range (Photo credit: Indian River County Shooting Range Facebook)

Location: Sebastian, Florida
This place is massive – 35 firing stations in the pistol range, 29 stations in the rifle range and a five-stand shotgun range (weekend use only). We also appreciate the walk-through archery course and fishing lake on the property. This place truly is the outdoorsy type’s personal haven.

5. Top Gun Shooting Sports

Indoor archery center at Top Gun (Photo credit: Top Gun Shooting Sports Facebook)

Location: Arnold, Missouri
OK, we’re cheating a little bit – this place has a great shooting range, but it’s made our list because of the exceptionally awesome 3-D indoor archery range. You might not be practicing your shooting skills, but it’s a great place to get ready for bow season.

6. Birds Landing Hunting Preserve

View from skeet station (Photo credit: Yelp)

Location: Birds Landing, California
At this range, you can practice shooting clays or sneak in a bit of hunting – the versatility at Birds Landing is amazing. Pheasant is the most common bird to hunt on the preserve, and cards are relatively inexpensive to purchase. We vote for this range as a great place for beginners to sharpen their skills.

7. Ben Avery Shooting Facility

(Photo credit: Wikimedia)

Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Ben Avery is located on 1,650 acres, making it the largest operating facility for shooting in the United States. Apart from the 67 covered and specialty ranges, there are also five field archery ranges. Using some of your precious vacation time to visit? You can also camp on site. Many reviewers of the facility praise the low shooting range prices, too.

Let’s hear from you! Do you have a shooting range near you, or one you’ve visited, that deserves to make the list? Send us a photo of your favorite range.

The Police1 Lifestyle content series is written for the off-duty police officer. Here you’ll find content on everything from the latest automotive and entertainment trends to tips and tricks for financial planning – all written from a police officer’s perspective, with an eye toward what makes you unique even when you’re not on patrol.