This had to be one of the most fun things I have done with my merry group of crazy friends. What better way to celebrate a pal’s birthday than by shooting round after round of 22 caliber bullets at multiple targets?
Feel the firepower!
The West Side Rifle & Pistol Range is just an amazing place hidden away in the basement level of a building that is very normal looking on West 20th street. As you enter the actual facility it is like being exposed to another world. Everyone who works there is packing heat, including the tattooed up gentleman manning the main counter who would probably blow your head off with a wink of an eye if you attempt anything stupid here – LOL! You constantly hear the pop pop pop of guns being fired. Pictures and posters of celebrities and important people who have been here line the walls. This is a world seemingly unknown to most. Before coming here you need to have a background check ahead of time and if you are lucky enough to pass that then you are in! First time entrance fee is $65 and that covers a three month trial membership, 50 rounds of ammo, and a safety/training session with a certified shooting instructor. Our instructor, Raymond, was terrific. Not only was he very personable, but highly informative, patient, and funny too. He taught us all the basics of using a Ruger 22 caliber rifle – loading, unloading, stance, arming the magazines, how to hold the gun safely, etc. He is a pro and did not take this lightly, which is best for all. It had been a while since I had been out shooting and having this course as part of the package is a great idea.
They are dead serious about safety here. I was surprised they let our marginally demented group actually hold weapons!
Raymond then led us to one of the firing ranges. The range had seven stations, which was just right for our party, and some random dude that barged in on our birthday group. He told us there is always a spot open to shoot if we ever come back as there are plenty of target stations. We had a blast! Each one of us was firing away at targets 25 and 50 feet away. You can get cocky and push the target far out to the back wall and see how good you are. We all did pretty well as shell casings bounced all around. I was surprisingly accurate considering I had not shot a rifle in years. Just remember to sweep up your area as casings are everywhere. They like to keep this place as neat and safe as possible.
I absolutely loved West Side! I feel that people should know how to handle a weapon safely, learn how to shoot properly, and it’s also a great way to develop hand-eye coordination. Plus, it’s a good stress reliever. I know the subject of guns have become a controversial subject and I in no way advocate for or protest against gun ownership. It’s a personal choice, and one that everyone has a right to. I enjoy coming here just to target practice and chat with the many law enforcement personnel, retirees, and assorted folks who share the same passion. The $65 three month membership means that you can return at any time without making an appointment, re-doing the background check, or having to sit through the safety class again. You pay just $35 a visit plus ammo rounds. You are issued a card with your name, date you first came, and a membership number. A year membership, for rifles, is very affordable at only $275. Plus, if you sign up within a week of your first visit they apply that $65 towards it, so the cost ends up being $210 for the year which includes unlimited shooting time and no range fees. $250 to renew the following year. I joined and use it a lot!
This makes for a great birthday present, holiday gift, or even a date. We also saw companies here for team building sessions. Looks like now I will be ready to kill many zombies, as watching all those episodes of The Walking Dead will not go to waste!
West Side Rife & Pistol Range – http://westsidepistolrange.com/