The Gun Store in Las Vegas, Nevada is an institution. In a city where anything goes and you can fulfill any dream with the sufficient application of cash, it’s no wonder that there are a couple places in the city where you can rent and fire machine guns. And the most advertised of these stores is The Gun Store. . .
As soon as you walk into the store you can instantly tell that its the most popular store, and the results aren’t good. As RF described it, it was a bus station.
The waiting room for the shooting range was an extremely crowded, sparsely decorated room that smelled faintly of bleach and human urine. It featured a long line of people waiting to shoot that snaked its way through the room and out the door. So I guess “bus station” is a pretty apt description. According to the representative, the standard wait time from the minute you walk in the door until you actually get to shoot is 1-2 hours.
That’s 1-2 hours of waiting time for about 20 seconds of trigger time.
The selection of firearms available to shoot is actually fairly good. The standard firearms are available to shoot — MP5, Uzi, Thompson, M-16… — but they also include a couple belt fed guns and some more unusual, full auto firearms like the grease gun and a Suomi. But the condition of those firearms is somewhat questionable. Any rental gun is going to be a little worse for wear compared to a fresh out of the box version. Machine guns even more so. But The Gun Store guns just look like they’re in terrible condition.
Once you wait your hour or two, you are quickly shuffled into their range which is just as small and cramped as it looks here. I took this picture with my back against the rear wall — there was just enough room for two people to pass each other and not much more. The range itself was remarkably short as well, perhaps 15 yards tops.
But the most frightening thing that I saw was the complete and total disregard for safety in favor of cranking the shooters through.
Sure, the standard range rules were posted in the waiting room (and the HOURS of waiting almost guaranteed that you’d read them at least once) but no one explained firearms safety, how the gun you’re renting works or anything like that. I sat through about three people getting the safety brief and it simply consisted of “point this at the target and pull the trigger, don’t point it behind you.”
The employees apparently see their business as nothing more than allowing people to check off one of the items on their bucket list. As their owner said, “people aren’t coming in because they’re gun nuts; they’re coming to go on a ride.” And that’s exactly how it’s treated.
The effect of that mentality is one of the most unsafe firing lines I’ve ever seen. Despite a range employee standing behind every shooter I was muzzle swept by at least two loaded machine guns and one Desert Eagle handgun as the shooter showed it off to his friend. I needed to get out of there before I caught a round to the face — I had a SHOT Show to cover.
What do I think of The Gun Store? It’s terrible.
The store is too far from the strip, the prices are massively inflated (compared to some other ranges in town), the guns are in poor condition, the wait is too long, the building is cramped and smells like pee and the range is unsafe. Why you would ever spend your money there is beyond me, especially when there are better places much closer to the strip. Like this place.