Not many people will associate the word “clean” with an indoor shooting range. But we do. In fact, “clean” is one of our core values as an organization. Our three core values are clean, family friendly, and knowledgeable. It’s the first one! The question is, why? Why is “clean” part of who we are and who we want to be? There are three main reasons we want to be the cleanest shooting range you ever visit: your health, your safety, and your experience.
How does the cleanliness of our range impact your health? One word: lead. One of our “Range Rules” is ‘no food or drink on the range.’ That rule gets challenged quite a bit. People need their emotional support cup wherever they go, even on the shooting range. But we don’t allow that for the same reason that we don’t use the same cleaning tools & supplies on the range that we do in the store. Lead. Don’t drink lead!
Lead is poison, and when it gets into your bloodstream in a high enough concentration, it can make you quite sick. So, taking your drink out into the indoor range, and then drinking its contents means you’re just drinking your favorite beverage topped with lead.
Lead is also in the air in any indoor shooting range, especially when they don’t clean well enough. That’s how it gets into your cup, but also onto your hands, clothes, gun bag, shoes…everything you have on you when you go into the range. There are two ways we keep that lead at acceptable levels.
- Simple Test: If you can “see the air” in an indoor gun range, you should leave. Immediately. Or at least have your blood tested for lead afterwards.
First, we have a MASSIVE air filtration system on each of our three shooting bays. These systems move and replace the air in each bay at a rate of 75FPM, or “cubic feet per minute”. That means ALL the air in each bay is completely replaced by outside air constantly throughout the day.
Second, we physically clean our range every day. That means sweeping up the brass, wiping down all the surfaces that you might touch when you’re out on the range, and extracting all the lead from the bullet traps that you shoot into.
We also constantly clean the inside of the store as well. If you’ve ever worked in restaurant or retail, you’ve probably heard the saying, “If you got time to lean, you got time to clean.” It’s a real thing, and we clean the entire store every day.
Third, we provide that sticky little door mat as you walk into and out of the range. That sticky thingy removes the lead from your shoes. Before you leave the range, you should also wash your hands, since your hands probably have the most lead on them from direct contact with your firearm. We even provide special soap called – wait for it – LeadOff. It’s for getting the lead off your hands.
The lead dust and gunpowder residue that is expelled from your firearm on the range isn’t completely burned up in the process of your firearm sending that projectile through the target. For a single shot, it’s a miniscule amount of lead and gunpowder residue. However, over the course of time, that dust can build up. Guess what happens when enough of that dust builds up inside an indoor shooting range? Yeah, you guessed it: boom.
OK, maybe not “boom” in the explosion sense, but there will be some flames and possibly a noise. Either way, the dust will ignite, and it can be a little disconcerting, not to mention dangerous. That’s why we use a special HEPA-filtered vacuum called a NILFISK to vacuum each bay once a week. Yup, someone puts on a space suit (aka HEPA suit), and drives what looks like a miniature Zamboni around each shooting bay. You’re not likely to see that, since we typically do it very early in the morning, but it’s quite a sight.
We also constantly sweep up the brass in our shooting bays. If you’ve never stepped on a 5.56 shell casing just the right way, and had your foot go out from under you, are you really even shooting? If you know, you know.
I love Waffle House. How ’bout you? I mean I really, really love WoHo. “Triple scrambled with cheese, double plate scattered and smothered, sausage!” That’s my go to, with lots of black coffee, of course. But there are some people, un-American as it may seem, who don’t like Waffle House. They say it’s dirty and greasy. I disagree, by which I mean that’s part of the ambiance. My point is that it’s not pleasant to go into any retail establishment that’s dirty.
Now, think about all the shooting ranges you’ve visited. How many would you say are clean? I’m gonna go with “very few”. In fact, my daughter visited a range with her cousins and some friends, and she texted me, “Dad, this place is disgusting!” She felt the need to use some strong language to describe the air in that particular place.
Your Return Visit
When you have a great experience, wherever you go, you’ll want to come back. If you come off a shooting range a little bit lightheaded and smelling like gunpowder, you might not want to come back.
We want you to be surprised when you walk in the doors for the first time at how clean and bright it is inside SharpShooters. Then we want you to come back, again and again. That’s why we do our very best to keep everything – store, counters, floor, training rooms, and of course the shooting range, exceptionally clean.