As indoor ranges go, this one has what’s important: excellent ventilation and a reasonable price.
The 618 Airport Rd address is predictably next to Oceanside’s tiny airport. Skydivers were alternately being ferried up and parachuting down when I arrived about 6:00 PM.
Checking in with my guns and ammo was straight-forward. I signed the usual waivers, reviewed the range rules (no Wolf ammo allowed – apparently this is due to issues with center fire ammo), and let them inspect my ammo for compliance with their “no steel” restriction. They scanned my drivers license and held it while I was on the range.
The range interior was spartan but no worse than many. Most indoor (and outdoor, for that matter) have a semi-beat up, rough look and this one was no exception. The Scottsdale (AZ) Gun Club is the only one I’ve ever visited that looks “nice” so while Oceanside’s wasn’t pretty, it was also not surprising. Target equipment was minimal, just out and back, no turning, but that was adequate for my Slow Fire practice needs. I brought my own 50′ targets knowing it was a 20 yard range. They had targets available including some Bullseye as well as the usual “clown with a shotgun” variety that newbies seem to enjoy.
Rentals were popular the evening I was there. A Smith and Wesson 50 revolver was being fired in the lane next to me for a while. The “boom” from that hand gun is extraordinary – on their first shot, every firing point stopped to look. I took a break and watched those shooters alternate shots with hand massaging and grins. But they shot up their money pretty quick so I didn’t have to wait long before getting back to work running my shot plan over and over. (I had one real nice Slow Fire – all 9s or better on that painfully small Bullseye 50′ SF target.)
More than one shotgun was in use within a lane or two of me but I never smelled their or anyone else’s smoke including my own. The ventilation was excellent which is remarkable. Most indoor ranges fail in this respect when the range gets busy but Iron Sights was very pleasant the whole time. And there was no sweet hint of lead in the air, either. Whether they scrub the exhaust or just vent it to the outside (and the skydivers), I don’t know, but regardless, inside the range the air was very good.
Other than being shot by the inexperienced shooters in adjacent firing points which is always an issue at public ranges, that excellent ventilation allayed all my other health fears.
They could use the occasional brass sweep, however.
And it’s a bit of a drive from San Diego in rush hour with everyone using the same, limited routes out of the city but, in off times, 30 minutes should suffice.
Not bad for $14. I’ll go back next time work takes me to the north side of San Diego.