It’s one thing to watch killer gun scenes in movies like “Scarface” or play “Call of Duty” on your video game console. But it’s a completely different experience to hold the firearm in your hands and feel the impact from shooting in person.
For the first time in 30 years, I actually got to shoot real guns. Machine Guns Vegas is more than just your average shooting range. Featuring an ultra-lounge setting, the attraction makes you feel comfortable the minute you walk through the door.
“It’s definitely a range with a Vegas touch to it,” said Mike Collier, operations manager at Machine Guns Vegas. “There’s a place to relax [and] sit down. You can watch TV, listen to music [all] without having to stand in line and wait to be called.”
As soon as you walk in, a host seats you at your table and shows you a range of packages to choose from on an iPad. You can pick your firearms and shooting targets. Since I had no idea what I’d be comfortable with, they suggested I try an automatic shotgun as well as an MP-5, one of the most commonly used submachine guns (pictured above). While I was nervous just by looking at all the guns on the iPad screen, the staff assured me that I would be fine.
“We have shooters from different backgrounds, ethnicities, cultures that’ll come down,” Collier said. “There’s no requirement besides just being sober. We’re going to help you out.”
Unlike typical gun ranges where you stand alone, you’ll feel confident with a safety officer right behind you. They’ll also show you the proper way to hold the gun. Each staff member is a military veteran, including Collier, who served in the marines for six years.
“With our range crew here, a lot of them have been doing this for a long time so they have a lot of experience with a [fire] range,” he said. “During the entire process, there’s going to be someone with you, making sure that the process is completed in a safe manner.”
After I signed a waiver and put on my “ears and eyes” (hearing protection and goggles), I stepped into the 10-person gun range. The sound of the machine guns from the other firing lanes was startling, but I was excited at the same time. I couldn’t wait to shoot.
Since I’m a fan of AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” I wanted to put my survival skills to the test and picked the zombies target poster. After my experience, let’s just say I wouldn’t make it past one episode! Even though I missed their heads completely, I still had fun trying two different guns and giving it my best. While the impact of the gun shots shook me up, there’s this crazy adrenaline rush that comes along with it. Other shooting poster options include aliens, Osama Bin Laden and the standard qualification target.
If you plan on coming with a group, Machine Guns Vegas offers a VIP lounge with two private firing lanes. This is the only gun range in town offering such amenities.
“It’s a different environment here,” Collier said. “[Instead] of having a dominant guy or patriarchal place where it’s very aggressive and unwelcoming, [we] have lowered lights, couches, seats and music playing.”
The attraction also sells merchandise including a fashionable Louis Vuitton holster (pictured right) and matching gun bag for the ladies.
Machine Guns Vegas is all about the shooting experience. “With our range location, we offer strictly a shooting experience without the sale of firearms,” he said. “It’s pretty much focused on quality service with a pleasant environment.
“Everyone’s been pleased,” he continued. “A lot of them say it’s the best experience they’ve had in Vegas, something they’d remember for the rest of their lives.”
After my visit, I had the energy equivalent to six cups of coffee. The rush is definitely intense, but you’ll leave feeling like you can take on the world. So what are you waiting for? Shoot ’em up!
Other gun ranges in Vegas worth checking out:
- American Shooters
3440 Arville St.
- Guns & Ammo Garage
5155 S. Dean Martin Drive
- The Gun Store
2900 E. Tropicana Ave.
- Las Vegas Gun Range & Firearm Center
4610 Blue Diamond Road