There Are Indoor Shooting Ranges and There Are Shooting Facilities...

The new Vance Outdoors location in Obetz is a shooting FACILITY. Not only that, it is, simply put, the finest indoor range facility in all of Ohio.

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What's the difference between a shooting range and a shooting facility? At most indoor shooting ranges, the location tends to be either mostly gun store and partly range, or mostly range and partly gun store. Either of these configurations is unable to meet all the needs of its customers, and both of these configurations ends up being a trade-off. At the new 56,000 square foot Vance Outdoors facility, equal attention has been given to the range AND to the retail or "gunshop" portion of the business.

Why am I qualified to say these things? I've been a law enforcement officer in central Ohio for 35 years now. For the past 26 of those 35 years, I have also been a criminal justice professor and police academy commander at an area college. For 28 of those 35 years, I have been a certified police firearms instructor. For the last 10 years or so, I have also been a gunwriter. Due to the positions I've held, I've been on and seen quite a few ranges in and outside Ohio. I haven't seen anything that compares to the newest Vance Outdoors location.

While I personally have preferred to use outdoor ranges for law enforcement and civilian training, the simple fact of life is that public outdoor ranges in central Ohio have all but disappeared. Couple that with an increase in the number of shooters generated by Ohio's "shall issue" concealed carry permit law, demand for shooting space is at an all time high.

Fortunately, a number of indoor ranges have popped up in central Ohio to meet the needs of the shooting public. Also, indoor ranges are not affected by weather or time of day. Most of them are reasonably good, clean, and safe facilities, and most shooters are satisfied with them. However, Vance Outdoors has set the bar at an all time high.

Their new facility is immense! The retail space alone looks as if it would hold four or more of the original Cleveland Avenue Vance location inside. Then, there is the range.

The ultra modern state of the art range has 24 lanes, divided into three bays that are sealed off from each other by access doors to limit overall noise. Rifles have their own bay which is offset from the two pistol bays. This offset helps reduce distraction in the pistol bays from the folks firing high power rifles. While many indoor ranges are limited to 50 foot distances, all Vance Outdoors lanes are 75 feet in length. Two of the bays are wheelchair accessible, which is a feature that no other indoor range in central Ohio offers. Bays can be reserved in their entirety so specialized groups or law enforcement agencies can shoot without distraction from walk-in customers. Each lane has a state of the art Meggitt® target system, which can be set for any distance within the 75 foot lane, and is touchscreen controlled. There is also a large conference and classroom area outside the actual shooting area to accommodate concealed carry classes run by Vance's or reserved for use by outside organizations.

Equipment alone does not a shooting range make. You need to have the correct staff to insure proper instruction, and most importantly, safe operation. Vance Outdoors Obetz has that too. The range portion of the facility is run under the watchful and experienced eye of Ray Joseph, former Ohio State Trooper and range officer for the Patrol for many years. You can rest assured that with the staff he's selected, you will have an excellent experience on the range, and there will be a range officer in each bay at all times to assist with shooters' needs.

It took many years for Vance's to reach the point of opening a location with a self-contained indoor range. Once you check it out, you will find it was worth the wait.