Rootin’ Tootin’ & Shootin’! A Pistol Range in NYC!

l (2)I love the smell of gunpowder in the morning! Nothing like smoking shell casings, packing your own ammo, and a hot cup of coffee to get your blood pumping!

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.

l (3)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 –

48 thoughts on “Rootin’ Tootin’ & Shootin’! A Pistol Range in NYC!”

  1. What do you mean ‘I love the smell of gunpowder in the morning?’ Is there something you are not telling us 🙂 C’mon Phil, spill the beans mate.

    Guns are a big issue in America, and they do scare me when I see some of our police with them especially during the recent Olympics. But a long time ago I did something called “Paint-Balling” where you had fake guns with paint-ball bullets and you were in a real forest and had to find each other and shoot paint bullets at them. It was great fun but being hit by those paint-balls was extremely painful and you came home with lots of lumps and bumps.

    You made some excellent points though. Because this kind of place is where most people should go before they even handle a gun. So many people have accidents or even shoot before they even know what’s going on, so why not get educated and fully trained first.

    1. Hey Rum Punch!

      Paint Ball is fun. I know a lot of people who have done it, and I need to try it.

      I’m all for safety education on how to handle a firearm. Glad you liked this post. It’s a fun thing to do if you ever have a chance.

  2. So badass. I’ve had to qual with an M16/M4, but I’ve only done that twice and it was mandatory both times. I’m no good at shooting (I barely passed), but I do enjoy it. I just like the feeling of knowing how to handle/breakdown/fire a weapon. It makes me feel like such a boss. Haha!

  3. I love the smell of the 2nd Amendment in the Morning!

    And gunpowder.

    Every American needs to read this and seriously consider gun ownership.

    The 2nd A backs up the 1st A.

    Great post, Phil!

    1. Hey Fearless!

      To me it’s just something I do for fun. It’s sport, and I like to shoot targets.

      Still, there are too many idiots out there with illegal guns.

  4. There are guns all over the place at our house. The hubster is a retired police officer. No. I can’t tell you where he hides his weapons. I don’t know. I run across them every now-and-then when I’m cleaning in crooks-and-crannies.

    The only one in plain site is his shotgun. He’s told me to go through the routine as if I’m chambering a shot should I hear something at night when I’m home alone.

    That noise echoes through our whole house.

    Yes. I should know about gun safety and proper use. But, I have a wee problem with eye-hand-brain coordination when under stressful situations. My adrenaline goes up; my common sense and my brain go ker-plunk.

    The shotgun “chambering noise” seemed the best compromise. It sure scare the patootie out of our youngest lab.

    OFF TOPIC ALERT! I spewed coffee when I saw your Casual Attire Friday picture. I won’t even bother with a triple-dog-dare on that one. Commando Phil would likely tattoo “mommy” on his forehead before he put on that gear.

    1. Hey Gloria!

      Hope you don’t accidentally shoot off your finger when cleaning!

      Go to a shooting range with hubs. It’s fun and easy to learn. Just don’t shoot anyone. Or his foot!

      Also, I’d go nude rather than wear that thing!

      1. Howdy Phil…

        Hey awesome post. By the way: Are you ready to shoot to the Bill of Rights right now? … Way to go my friend 🙂

        Aquileana 😉

  5. Sounds like you had a great time and in a very safe way. But I’m still glad I don’t live anywhere near where you and your friends were shooting guns…

  6. Totally sounds like a blast. I know my hubby would be all about it. He got his concealed license not too long ago and had a blast during the mandatory class. Turned out he’s a natural….every shot was center mass and tightly clustered. (Listen to me sounding like I know what I’m talking about…Ha!)

  7. Aaah. TBH, I am scared of guns, but I know people like to do this as a hobby. And, sounds like a fun non-traditional thing to do — there are only so many movies and dinner dates in the world 🙂

    Looks like you are a good shot! Congrats.

  8. Fearless Leader is my new hero!
    I grew UP in a home with a gun behind every door.
    We used to go target shooting with Dad, who got a deer every year.

    Bambi stew, AWESOME!

    I too love the smell of the 2nd amendment in the AM.

    1. Hello UP!

      I have a few relatives who do the whole deer hunting and eating it thing. Not for my tastes.

      I’ll stick to shooting at paper targets!

  9. Well, at least they do background checks. That’s what I think all gun emporiums should do. Sounds like a unique way to spend an hour or two.

    Did they give you a breathalyzer test beforehand?

    1. Hey Lauren!

      I think a background check should be mandatory everywhere for this. It is a whole lot of fun! Pew Pew Pew!

      No test before but we would have failed afterwards!

  10. SWEET! I am a country girl at heart and grew up with guns in the house. Mostly because it was a way of life for my grandpa and dad to kill dinner. I’m actually a pretty good shot myself. Texas as you can imagine is ALL UP IN ARMS with the potential debates of gunlaws, etc. You see gun shows almost every weekend around here. I had lessons several years ago from my uncle who was a sergeant in the dallas police force. Its very important to know all the ins and outs and safety precautions with guns. This place sounds awesome!

    1. Hey Holli!

      We have relatives in TX and FL and they all have guns, or are in the military.

      Safety and training is key. I do it for fun here in NYC. It’s a good way to knock off stress and train your eye. I don’t get into the politcal side of it as I do it for fun only.

  11. Oh, you city folk. Have all your fancy ranges. You know what ranges us folk upstate use? Outdoors. It’s nice. We’ll get together and everybody brings their guns and we blast at targets. Good times. The range seems cool though, for when you, ya know, can’t be outside. 🙂

    1. Hey PJ!

      When you live in a congested place like NYC the gun range is our only way here for this.

      The police would not like us shooting up trees in Central Park!

  12. Happy Birthday Dear Phil!!! What a fantastic way to spend a birthday event! I’ve not shot a gun in years but when I was younger my Uncle Mike used to teach me up at their place in the country, Winchester 22’s, shot gun- skeet shooting- so much fun, I loved it! I’m all about safety and responsibility when it comes to guns, including responsible ownership, I have lots of hunters on one side of my family after all, and then having a food blog may I mention this fun annual pastime for the men provided some pretty good meals on the catch over years. Have a fantastic year ahead!

    1. Hey Peggy!

      Thanks so much! It’s a fun thing to do with friends.

      I also used to go shotgun and skeet shooting. We all learned how to handle these weapons properly and with safety in mind. Too many people don’t realize how important that is.

  13. It looks like you had a great time there Phil and you have a good shot too!

    It is good to hear that safety is paramount at this club as indeed I suspect it should be at any club.

    As a Brit we’ve always found this gun thing a very American and not a British thing. Whilst there is gun ownership in the UK it is far from on the same scale in the US, it is not part of our Constitution. For us it will always remain an American thing.

    I understand some of the history behind how it came into being and why yet struggle to relate it to modern day when we see more and more news reels of mass shootings.

    The clubs are a good way to let off steam in a controlled environment.

    I must admit that I have a wry smile when I visit Houston. I often drive past a gun club which has a sign outside which just says “Come, shoot a gun”.

    1. Hey Guy!

      Thanks man. I have gotten a lot better since going to the range more often.

      Safety is always a key when handling firearms. Yes, the USA and Britian are very different on this subject. Like I said, I don’t get into the politcal thing about it. I just do it for sport. Target shooting for fun.

      Yeah, Texas is a bit more gun crazy.

    1. Hey Cowboys!

      I’m sure there must be a range by you somewhere. It’s a lot of fun. This is the only one in Manhattan.

      I’m zombie ready!

  14. That’s a great way for guys to celebrate a birthday. Kudos to the guy who thought outside the box on this one. Glad you all had fun. By the way, at first I thought the “guns” you were referring to were the ones on your arm.

  15. My dad taught me to shoot a .22 rifle when I was a kid and have always been a dead-eye shot. Anyone who picks up a gun needs to get safety training and learn how that particular model works, especially how to clear the chamber. Terrific that you shared a place to shoot in NYC.

    1. Hey Astro!

      Thanks. It’s the only range in Manhattan. I think there is one in Queens. I just do it for fun and some target practice. It’s a good stress reliever.

Feel free to comment! We all have opinions!