Sunday, March 27, 2011

Guns: Shoot Straight range review

Shoot Straight is a chain of shooting ranges that operates throughout Central and South Florida. I visited the recently-opened West Palm Beach location in order to see how they compared with other indoor ranges and gun stores in the area.

As a gun shop, Shoot Straight occupies a certain niche - it's smaller and a little more user-friendly than big-box sporting goods stores like Wally World and the Mountain of Geese, yet the selection of guns is larger than a single-location mom-and-pop gun store. Unfortunately, the prices on guns, ammunition, and accessories at Shoot Straight are uniformly high - usually 10% or so above market price. If you absolutely must buy a gun from them, I'd stick to their "sale" items, like a Ruger LCP for $299 or a S&W Airweight for $399.

Shoot Straight fares much better when considered as a shooting range. Annual memberships are $225, so even if you only visit once a month, your cost per visit is less than $20, no matter how many hours you spend shooting. Conveniently, they let you shoot your own ammo, instead of forcing you to buy range ammo. Most impressive is the fact that four of the eighteen shooting lanes are equipped to handle rifle rounds (a rarity in South Florida; AFAIK, Shoot Straight is the only rifle-friendly indoor range in the whole county).

On the downside, Shoot Straight isn't the most advanced range out there. The ventilation is hit-and-miss; if the air conditioning's switched off, the smoke from multiple gunshots can build to a suffocating haze, especially in the rifle section of the range. Finally, since Shoot Straight is fully open to the public, you'll see your fair share of morons shooting up the walls, the target clips, the range lines - anything but the targets. Unless you're wearing a good pair of Level IV plates, I'd advise caution during peak hours.


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