Firing Range: Montgomery Indoor Shooting Complex

By on 8 September, 2014 in Fun, Kate and Stephen, Municipal business with 0 Comments

Guns occupy a complicated space in our culture. They’re physical tangible things, similar in some ways to household appliances or tools. But they spark high octane debates that touch on everything from the U.S. Constitution to crime statistics. Even the folks that think handguns ought to be illegal (except for police and military uses) would probably agree that gun owners should be responsible and well-trained in the use of their weapons.

Without disclosing where we are on the spectrum of the gun control conversation, our household is home to a few firearms, and it was thus that we found ourselves on a recent Saturday at Montgomery’s new indoor shooting complex, the imaginatively titled Montgomery Indoor Shooting Complex (5765 Carmichael Parkway).

We are not recreational shooters. At our house, gun ownership is a solemn responsibility that represents both home security and the terrible possibility of ending the life of another human being. So we were glad to see that the Montgomery Indoor Shooting Complex (MISC) catered to our earnest approach as well as offering something to those who want to blast life-sized targets of zombies that are enhanced with spattering blood/paint packets.

MISC is clean, well-lit and staffed by professionals. They almost certainly have to deal with a diverse set of customers at all imaginable levels of enthusiasm and experience. The folks behind the counter are all wearing pistols on their hips, but are incredibly friendly and clear about pricing and safety rules. We were very impressed with the procedure they follow to walk you through a set of common sense range rules, embedded in a lengthy contract you have to sign (complete with arbitration clause). They do their best to create a safe environment in which people can come in off the street and interact while holding live ammunition.

We brought a pistol and ammo, which were inspected by the staff. We watched the safety video and were provided with ear and eye protection. We selected simple black and white paper targets, preferring a more spartan aesthetic to the available zombie Nazis, or the ones showing which internal organs you’d be hitting. We examined the array of knives for sale (some truly elaborate display pieces) and headed into the range. We don’t have a lot to compare it to, but this is a nice indoor range, presumably fairly state of the art. The targets are mechanically-operated, allowing you to send them further away or bring them closer with the flick of a switch.

One nice thing about this feature is that you don’t have to actually walk out on the range, like you would if you were shooting outdoors. When you’re blasting at tin cans or pumpkins out on the farm, you have an extra layer of safety involved in making sure that nobody is stepping out onto the range while others are firing. At MISC, everyone stays safely behind the line and the targets come to you. It’s a great feature to indoor shooting, along with the fact that it’s climate controlled.

We didn’t use up the full purchased hour of reasonably-priced range time, but that was only because we were able to pretty quickly accomplish our limited mission — getting a feel for our particular weapon. We weren’t competing to see who had the best aim, nor were we looking to rent some of the high-powered guns that MISC offers. For a mere $11 (and the cost of ammo), you can rent the kinds of weapons usually only seen in video games or on global battlefields. The temptation was there, but maybe we’ll try one of those on a subsequent visit.

Another neat option for the future might be to try the archery options available. We both have a bit of bow-and-arrow experience, mostly of the outdoor summer camp variety. We both thought it would be great to try out the compound bows that MISC has for rental. The skills challenge component of a few rounds of competitive archery carries none of the cultural baggage of pistols and rifles — and is even pretty alluring in light of reading The Hunger Games.

All in all, MISC is a fantastic facility. We were really impressed with the staff and the atmosphere. Everyone seemed to take very seriously the nature of their job, while creating an open environment where you could have some fun and also learn a few things. It feels safe, professional, well-constructed and (for those that are into that sort of thing) a well-priced use of your entertainment dollar. Oh, and not to brag, but I was pretty pleased with my grouping.

Kate and Stephen are Midtown residents with two cats, a dog, nine fish, a garden, an old house and a sense of adventure. They write about life in Midtown here and about life in Montgomery at their blog Lost in Montgomery.

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