Saturday, December 18, 2010

Guns: Okeechobee Shooting Sports

In my experience, an unsupervised public rifle range is about as safe as downtown Fallujah, in that it only takes a handful of jackasses to turn the place into a bullet-ridden war zone. In contrast, the safest outdoor range I've ever been to is Okeechobee Shooting Sports, tucked away in the rural parts of Okeechobee County.

The drive in is scenic, but long - it takes about an hour to get from Palm Beach County to the range. You'll pass wide, empty stretches of forest and farmland, and there aren't many gas stations in the area, so be sure to fill up when you can. Something to note: the range itself is right next to Thundercross MX Park, so if you're a motocross rider who also likes shooting, this is heaven on Earth.

Okeechobee Shooting Sports is pretty large, with a main pistol and rifle range complex, several smaller gallery ranges where you can shoot stuff like handguns and rimfire carbines at reactive targets, and a full-on five-stand/skeet/trap setup for shotgunners. You can camp there, and I saw at least one RV that appeared to be staying the night.

What makes the range so safe is that they have numerous range safety officers. The RSOs call the range hot and cold, check chambers on all firearms, make sure no one's downrange, and otherwise keep people from doing anything crazy. There's even a rope that they hang across the range entrance to make sure no one wanders in front of the firing line. Overkill, perhaps, but if the alternative is bedlam, I'm willing to deal.

I guess the bottom line is that Okeechobee Shooting Sports was a fun, safe place to shoot, run by nice competent people. If you're in the area, it's well worth your time and money to burn some powder there.


At 12:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

+1 spent 2.5 hours with two friends firing my m15a2 ..the range is safe with a friendly atmosphere, George was the range safety officer and things ran smoothly he made sure there was misunderstanding his commands ...we will be back ASAP ...thanks for a great shooting experience ..



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