Indoor vs. Outdoor Shooting Ranges: Which Should You Choose?

Posted by Frankie Chan on 7th May 2024

Shooting ranges are an integral aspect of the firearm community. They are designated places for marksmen to congregate, hone their skills, use training supplies, master their gear, and enjoy shooting in a safe and secure place. Typically, there are two options for shooting ranges: indoor and outdoor. While each has benefits and drawbacks, which should you choose? Here, we want to take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of each so you can make an informed decision about what your shooting range essentials are.

Benefits of Indoor Shooting Ranges

Picture of a woman firing a gun indoors


Because indoor shooting ranges can be built into various large spaces or commercial buildings, they are typically more available to the general public. They are more commonly located in metropolitan areas, so people who live in the suburbs or city can access a shooting range without traveling outside the city limits to more rural areas.

Protection From The Elements

Another essential factor of indoor shooting ranges is that they can operate despite what the weather is doing. With protection from the elements, indoor shooting ranges offer the opportunity for firearm enthusiasts to hone their skills year-round without having to endure the elements or deal with the possibility of range closure due to inclement weather.

Enhanced Safety Features

Although anyone at the shooting range should already be well-trained in basic firearms safety procedures, indoor ranges offer another level of protection. Whether it be bullet containment systems or soundproofing, indoor ranges make safety a top priority. There are also often range safety officers in case there is someone who is unsafe with a firearm.

Disadvantages Of Indoor Shooting Ranges


If you consider long-range shooting to be a shooting range essential, indoor ranges may not be for you. Indoor shooting ranges are limited when it comes to space. Not only can indoor ranges safely house only a certain number of shooters via a specific number of lanes, but the length of the range is limited. This can restrict the types of firearms and shooting styles possible and is an important consideration between indoor vs. outdoor shooting ranges. 


Lights, cleaning, HVAC, maintenance — indoor shooting ranges usually rent or own a space that costs a significant sum of money to keep it up and running. This cost is factored into the price of admittance that shooters pay to use the facility. On top of rent, indoor shooting ranges also pay for other indoor shooting range essentials such as air conditioning, Wi-Fi, and electricity, which in turn is paid for by the price of admittance. 

Benefits Of Outdoor Ranges

Picture of a man firing a pistol outside

Realistic Practice Experience

Whether you just upgraded your AR-15 with a new barrel or you swapped out your handgun sights, you should test your weapon and make sure you’re comfortable with the changes. Most people training with a weapon will likely be outside when they are shooting it with intention, whether it be for hunting or even combat. Outdoor shooting ranges are beneficial because they present realistic obstacles for shooters to practice dealing with, such as wind, sunlight, shadows, and other weather and environmental factors. 

Increased Distances 

For some marksmen, the ability to practice shooting at far distances is essential for a shooting range. Considering the increased space available at most outdoor ranges vs. indoor ranges, shooters can fire a wider variety of different firearms from increased range, making outdoor ranges particularly appealing to sharpshooters and riflemen. 

Training Drills

For many people, one of the greatest arguments in the outdoor vs. indoor shooting range debate is the ability to perform active training drills, as stationary accuracy is just one of the skills necessary to be considered competent with a firearm. Besides knowing how to aim and shoot, a lot of marksmen like to participate in training drills to replicate real-world scenarios. Whether practicing on moving targets or obstacle courses, among other shooting styles, that makes open space a shooting range essential. 

Disadvantages Of Outdoor Shooting Ranges

Weather Dependence

For the Average Joe, a major disadvantage to outdoor ranges is weather dependency. In extreme weather conditions, most outdoor ranges will be closed to the public for safety reasons, and you’ll have to wait until the weather clears to practice. People may also decide not to go because it is too hot or cold for comfort, even if the range is still open.


If you live in a highly populated area, chances are there isn’t going to be an outdoor shooting range within a reasonable distance. A major shooting range essential for most outdoor ranges is a vast amount of space for safety reasons and to allow for unique forms of shooting practice. Therefore, it’s unlikely that outdoor ranges are truly accessible for the majority of urban marksmen, which is why many individuals opt for an indoor range.

At the end of the day, the debate between indoor and outdoor shooting ranges comes down to the shooter's preferences and needs. Each type has its pros and cons, and what works best for each individual is based on what they consider to be the core essentials for any shooting range they use. 

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