Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013 | 2 a.m.
It has been a busy year in Las Vegas for gun aficionados.
At least half a dozen shooting ranges opened in Southern Nevada in recent months, with owners trying to capitalize on the valley’s booming gun industry. Gun ranges are a favorite destination for many tourists who are unable to shoot high-powered weapons in their own countries.
Each range has a slightly different feel. Some provide no-nonsense training for local first responders. Others try to offer realistic experiences with simulations and military settings. A few concentrate on only-in-Las Vegas flair with specialty weddings and scantily-clad hostesses.
Got an itchy trigger finger? Here are some of the many places to shoot guns legally in Las Vegas:
The Gun Store
2900 E. Tropicana Ave., Las Vegas
Hours: 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. daily
One of Las Vegas’ original shooting ranges, the Gun Store, which opened in 1984, recently received a major renovation. It expanded to more than double its original size.
Owner Bob Irwin said he realized he needed more space when weekend lines began running more than two hours long.
The shop is especially popular with international tourists who want to shoot automatic weapons.
Machine gun rentals come in 25- or 50-round increments and start at $50. Handgun rentals cost $25 for 20 rounds. Packages that give shooters the option of firing several different guns range from $50 to $400.
Like most ranges, children younger than 18 can shoot but must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
Recently, the shop added another feature: a wedding chapel. Couples looking to tie the knot in Las Vegas can exchange vows with weapons in hand. The Gun Store has two ordained ministers on staff.
Guns and Ammo Garage
5155 S. Dean Martin Drive, Las Vegas
Hours: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily
Guns and Ammo Garage offers a 12-lane shooting range “that puts a bang in your visit to Las Vegas that the casinos just can’t match.”
The shop started as a retail gun store — it opened in December 2010 side-by-side with a Performance Muffler and Performance Rhino Shop — then expanded to include a shooting range. It sits right off the Strip, near the Luxor.
Visitors can choose from a variety of firearms, including AK-47s, Uzis and Tommy guns. You can even rent silencers. Prices start at $40.
The range also offers special packages for weddings, birthday parties, bachelor and bachelorette parties and corporate events.
Las Vegas Gun Range and Firearms Center
4610 Blue Diamond Road, Las Vegas
Hours: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday
The Las Vegas Gun Range offers an indoor, 15-yard pistol and shotgun range. It has dedicated machine gun lanes and training lanes, as well.
Shoot machine guns, handguns and rifles or exotic guns such as the Desert Eagle or M79 Grenade Launcher.
Handgun rentals begin at $40; machine gun rentals start at $50.
The store also sells new and used guns, as well as apparel.
Strip Gun Club
2233 Las Vegas Blvd. S., Las Vegas
Hours: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily
The Strip Gun Club brings shooting, for the first time, to the Strip. It (so far) is the only gun club on Las Vegas Boulevard.
It sits across the street from the Stratosphere in the parking lot of the Fun City Motel.
The range features seven shooting lanes across 4,500 square feet of space. It opened last month with a ceremony featuring Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman, who has a concealed weapon permit.
The gun club has an upscale feel and occupies a cargo container decorated with textured walnut walls and a chandelier.
Shooting packages start at $149.99.
3440 Arville St., Las Vegas
Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday
Unlike many of Las Vegas’ other gun ranges, American Shooters is marketed more toward law enforcement, first responder and military personnel than tourists.
It offers 14 25-yard pistol lanes and seven 50-yard rifle and high-powered machine gun lanes.
Prices are much lower than the competition's. Handgun rentals cost $10, rifles $20 and machine guns $40 to $60. Range fees run $15 a day, with a $5 discount for military, police and first responders.
Children shoot free when accompanied by an adult. Most other facilities charge $50 for kiddie shooting packages.
The shop also sells a variety of guns and accessories, as well as uniforms, boots and other gear.
In addition, instructors offer certified classes in armed security, tactical baton, tactical handcuff and pepper-spray training.
Machine Guns Vegas
3501 Aldebaran Ave., Las Vegas
Hours: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily
Machine Guns Vegas is perhaps the most upscale of Las Vegas’ gun ranges.
The off-Strip property is lined in wood and furnished with oversize leather furniture. Customers are offered free bottled water and energy drinks. Scantily-clad hostesses fitted with holsters chat with guests.
Shooters can aim at figures of Osama bin Laden or anonymous assailants.
Standard packages are themed: World War II ($199.95); Mob, as in Bugsy Siegel and Lucky Luciano ($144.95); or Gamers, as in video game players ($189.95). Day packages offer nonshooting add-ons such as lunch at Caesars Palace ($163); steak dinner, club admission and bottle service ($581.95); or limo service and an aerobatic flight ($1,241.25).
2771 Industrial Road, Las Vegas
Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. daily
Battlefield Vegas, one of Las Vegas’ newer gun ranges, sets itself apart by offering shooting experiences in realistic military settings. In addition to a 25-yard indoor firing range, guests can shoot targets in a 200-acre desert training facility.
Soon, owners will add a 32,000-square-foot airsoft field and a 15,750-square-foot, 360-degree indoor force-on-force shoot house where shooters can face off with veterans in special operations scenarios.
Firearms available for use include World War I guns and weapons being used now by NATO forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Battlefield Vegas says its gun collection is the largest collection of U.S. and foreign weapons available for public use in the country.
The range also boasts a fleet of more than 25 military vehicles and aircraft. Owners plan to open the first military museum in Southern Nevada this year.
Shooting experiences range from $129 to $599.
The Range 702
4699 Dean Martin Drive, Las Vegas
Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily
Advertised as Las Vegas' largest indoor gun range, the Range 702 features 25 shooting lanes, including a VIP lane.
There’s also a large retail store that sells weapons, accessories, clothing and ammunition.
Shoot a Thompson sub-machine gun, M16 or MP5. Prices average $35 to $50 an hour.
Unlike much of its competition, the Range features a restaurant: Gary’s Café. Dine or snack while watching your friends shoot.
The store also features an on-site gunsmith and armorer to clean and repair weapons, as well as instructors who provide defense and concealed weapon permit classes.
Clark County Shooting Complex
11357 N. Decatur Blvd., Las Vegas
Hours: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday through Sunday
The 2,880-acre Clark County Shooting Complex sits on the northern edge of the valley and features multiple ranges for various types of weapons: rifles, shotguns, pistols and bows.
Prices are much lower than many of the privately-owned gun ranges. Walk-in customers can shoot rifles or pistols for $7 a day. Gun rentals run $10 an hour or $20 per day. The complex even offers early-bird discounts of $2.
Trap and skeet shooting also are available.
The complex opened in late 2009, paid for mostly by $64 million in federal money collected from the sale of public land in Clark County. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid helped pass legislation to fund the park and get the land transferred to the county from the Bureau of Land Management.
Although it is popular with locals, the park has struggled with debt and high operating costs.
Discount Firearms and Ammo Shooting Range
3084 S. Highland Drive, Las Vegas
Hours: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday
“Let out your inner counter-terrorist!”
That’s how the Discount Firearms and Ammo Shooting Range pitches its Vegas Machine Gun Experience.
Customers can choose to shoot a dozen machine guns or more than 50 handguns. The shop also claims to have the largest selection of handguns, rifles and shotguns for purchase in Southern Nevada.
Shooting packages start at $40 and climb as high as $700.
Range owners encourage guests to take pictures, post their experiences to social media and bring home targets as mementos.
A free shuttle will even pick up guests from the airport or a hotel and bring them to the range.