Guns: A Tale of Two Shooting Ranges
It's interesting shooting away from where you normally do. It's not unlike playing away from your favorite tennis court or working out in a new gym - the experience is mostly the same, but different enough to be disconcerting at first. I usually shoot in the only indoor range in Gainesville, Micanopy Shooting Sports. I tried out the Palm Beach Shooting Center this week, and reconfirmed the old adage: "There's no place like home."
At first blush, everything is copacetic. The PBSC is well-lit, clean, and the range itself is nicer than MSS - more modern air filtration, better target holders, a tile floor that makes policing your brass easy. The place is right off of I-95, so it's pretty easy to get to from anywhere in south Florida. Best of all, the range fee is only $6 for all the shooting you care to do - much better than the $6 per half-hour MSS charges non-members.
Alas, every rose has its thorns. For some reason, you have to sign a waiver and leave your driver's license with the range officers before you shoot - an inconvenience at best, an invasion of your rights at worst. The people working there didn't seem to know as much about guns as the staff at MSS (understandable, I suppose), and the selection and prices of the firearms on sale are much poorer.
Most damning, though, is the fact that you can't shoot your own ammo at the range - you have to buy ammo from them. I can't believe they're telling me that their bulkpack Federal "American Eagle" 9mm is somehow safer than my bulkpack Winchester 9mm, but that's their excuse (any shooter with half a brain will tell you the real reason - they mark up every box of ammo they sell). I don't have a problem with a range restricting what can be shot out of their rental guns, but making people shoot range-bought ammo out of their personal firearms (especially when those people have already signed a waiver) borders on insulting.