Houston & Peach

State-of-the-art indoor gun range coming

A $3 million indoor shooting range is coming to Warner Robins.

It will be only the second indoor range in Middle Georgia and the first where rifles can be fired, said Patrick Young, the owner. It will include a classroom and a simulator identical to what law enforcement uses where people can practice scenarios related to self defense, or even a zombie apocalypse.

He expects to break ground in June or July and open in January.

Young, an Air Force veteran, said he first had the idea 10 years ago but put it aside when he realized the cost. Instead, he started Centerville Gun & Pawn Shop. He outgrew the original location and moved it to a building in Warner Robins but kept the name. He is building the shooting range on land behind the pawn shop on South Houston Lake Road.

“Now I am able to do what I really want to do, which is to have a shooting range,” he said.

He is also doubling the size of the pawn shop.

The range will have 15 lanes, with 12 at 25 yards for handguns and three at 50 yards for rifles. The simulator will have about 1,000 scenarios, with a 13-foot screen and laser weapons with nitrogen charges to simulate recoil when firing. The scenarios will include “shoot or no-shoot” scenarios of people entering a home, which could turn out to be an armed intruder, a police officer or a family member holding a phone. It will also include scenarios in public locations in which people will have to determine whether they would be justified to draw a concealed firearm.

“You would have to assess the threat before you decide whether to shoot or not to shoot,” he said.

Young said there are just a few other facilities like it in the state. He said he has seen the popularity of guns at his pawn shop.

“It’s definitely a growing industry but one thing we are lacking in this area is a place to train and practice,” Young said.

He is applying for a federal license to have fully automatic weapons and plans to rent those for use on the range.

On Monday, the Warner Robins City Council made some changes to its ordinance related to gun ranges. City Attorney Jim Elliott said the ordinance was reviewed because of the Young’s plans and some provisions were outdated.

One of those concerned the disposal of gunpowder left at the range. Under the previous ordinance the powder could have been washed into the drain system but with the change approved Monday it will have to be vacuumed up and disposed of as hazardous waste.

The ordinance change also raised the maximum decibel level that can be heard outside of the range from 40 decibels to 65. Young said 65 decibels is the standard for gun ranges and is about equivalent to the sound of a normal conversation.

“Honestly you are probably not going to hear any noise outside the building,” he said. “But you can’t 100-percent guarantee that so I asked for the industry standard of 65 decibels and that’s what they gave me. You don’t want to build the thing and be one decibel over and have to reconstruct.”

He said the walls and ceilings will be 6-inch thick poured concrete.

“It will actually be Warner Robins’ best tornado shelter,” he said.

Young said the range will have a $30 per month membership fee for unlimited use and non-members would pay $15 daily. The simulator would cost $60 an hour for members and $75 an hour for non members.

He said the only other indoor gun range in Middle Georgia is Eagle Gun Range in Macon, which is for handguns only.

Wayne Crenshaw: 478-256-9725, @WayneCrenshaw1