Gun Range Review: Battlefield Vegas — 5 stars

Gun as a portable life saverA couple of weeks ago, I asked if anyone knew anything about a shooting range in Las Vegas called Battlefield Las Vegas. Eric-Odessit had been there and gave it a positive review in the comments to my post. I’m now in a position to second that review. We had a fabulous time there and I highly recommend it for two different types of people: Those who know their way around guns and have a yen to try out guns from just about every major war in the 20th century, not to mention some cool guns from the 21st century too; and first timers who want to have a superior introduction to shooting.

From the moment you arrive, you know that you’re at a different kind of gun range. Rather than seeing the usual store front, the first thing you see is a large fenced area containing all sorts of military tanks, jeeps, trucks, Hummers, and other large equipment. While my daughter and I went straight into the store itself to check out prices, the guys spent a happy few minutes enjoying heavy military equipment.

Inside, the store front was clean, well-organized, and filled with Battlefield Vegas souvenirs, as well as dozens of other non-gun related products, everything from pro-Second Amendment yard signs to mini-plastic cartridge boxes fill with milk chocolate bullets. The staff was friendly and not at all intimidating, which surprised everyone in my group except for me. Without exception, whenever I’ve been to a gun range, the staff has been friendly and helpful. They’re so nice, even Nordstrom could pick up customer relation tips from them.

We opted for a simple a la carte pistol package, because the other packages, all for themed weapons (El Alamein, SWAT, D-Day, etc.), were too expensive for our group. This is not to say that Battlefield Vegas is overpriced. Given the unusual weapon choices, the one-on-one staff per/customer ratio during shooting, and the price of ammunition, the prices are pretty darn reasonable. It’s just that, for our group, the pistols (a Sig and a Glock) were the most reasonable price of all, not to mention the best weapons for first-timers to learn about.

Shortly before we arrived, Battlefield Vegas had just had a large group pass through, so we waited a little while before the next instructor was available. This wasn’t a hardship, since there was a comfortable waiting area, complete with magazines and television.

When our turn came, Kelly was our instructor. With a background as an Air Force sniper and trainer, Kelly was, as you would expect, a great teacher. I consider myself quite knowledgeable when it comes to gun instructors. Since I tend to shoot infrequently and have a kind of hazy memory, every time I shoot, I leap on the opportunity to get retrained.  This means that I’ve worked with about five gun instructors. With all due respect to the others, who were very good, Kelly was great. He was incredibly clear, very patient, helpful when needed, and restrained when not needed.

As did all the instructors, Kelly stood immediately to the shooter’s left, providing advice, physical support if necessary, and oversight. With my teens holding guns, I really appreciated this close supervision. I also appreciated that the other instructors were doing the same for people firing all manner of military grade weapons, some of which discharged their entire magazines in just a few seconds. Even someone familiar with an ordinary pistol could lose control when firing an Uzi for the first time.

The kids loved shooting at the target and all did well. I don’t consider them fully educated as to guns, of course. As good as Kelly was, his short lesson is not enough to make up for having the gun safety and gun handling rules repeated to them again and again and again. Nevertheless, I feel that they now have a really good grounding in basic weapon safety and usage, and that makes me very happy.

After we were done with the shooting, and perhaps because the kids were so thrilled with the experience, Kelly gave us what I assume was a rare opportunity to see Battlefield Vegas’s weapon collection in the gun safe. I’m not exaggerating when I say that the collection was incredible. Three and a half walls were lined, top to bottom, with weapons from every war since World War I.  I was able to hold the same guns that my father used at El Alamein. We all looked through the scope in a modern America sniper’s rifle, felt how incredibly heavy the guns are that our troops routinely carry on patrol or in battle, and generally had a wonderful time.

And then, when all the excitement ended, we got a free ride back to our hotel in a genuine military Hummer.  The driver, Brian, was yet another friendly Battlefield Vegas staff member, with a ready wit and a happy laugh.  A ride with him was a nice way to round out the experience.

Our entire stay in Las Vegas was pleasant (Penn & Teller were great, as was Cirque’s exquisite O) but for me the real high point was the time we spent at Battlefield Vegas. I enjoy shooting, I was thrilled that my kids had a safe, informative, and fun introduction to guns, and I’m still blown away by the breadth and depth of the range’s gun collection.

If you find yourself in Vegas with some money to spend, don’t feel like burning that money up in a few minutes of gambling, and have a yen to try out exotic weapons or introduce a beginner to shooting, I highly recommend Battlefield Vegas.