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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.

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  1. I was there yesterday with a friend who wanted to shoot full auto. The line was huge. We were told the wait was about an hour. We did’t bother. I did not want to wait a long time to pay a lot of money to squeeze off a few rounds.

  2. I fired my first gun ever at the Gun Store. My next trip to Vegas, I was excited to go back but only because I didn’t know any better; a trip to another couple ranges in Vegas set me straight.

  3. Like everything else in Vegas, it seems to be designed for one thing and one thing only: To separate suckers from their money.

    For the price of one of those “VIP packages” (does it include a trip to the Bunny Ranch?) you could buy a decent semi auto and a case of ammo and have just about as much fun in the Nevada desert.

    Vegas is a funny place. I think the city boosters like to portray it as a hedonistic paradise filled with all the earthly pleasures that money can buy, but the fact that they make money the way they do is not so much a monument to vice as it is to human gullibility, vanity and stupidity.

    • I’ll third this. One trip to Vegas was enough to satisfy me for a lifetime. If there’s some interesting event going on there specifically, like if I ever got a SHOT show invite or something like that, I wouldn’t turn it down. But the city itself as a destination holds no appeal: dry, hot, flashy, with no substance.

  4. I have a special fondness for the place as it’s the first place I ever touched or fired a gun. They sent me home with a whole new hobby. I learned about range etiquette later, for sure. I guess I was lucky to visit on a weekday at opening during no bachelor/ette parties,owned. It during SHOT, so it was not at cramped. And maybe their exhorbitant prices make buying ammo at my home range seem like a bargain.

    Describing it as a “ride” is dead-on, no question. I absolutely visited as a bucket list type of dare. But I didn’t just check it off my list. I changed a former “no guns in my house, ever” mindset around 180 degrees. Give ’em a break.

    • That should read: “I guess I was lucky to visit on a weekday at opening during no bachelor/ette parties, or during SHOT, so it was not as cramped.”

  5. I got my Nevada CCW there, 7-8 years ago. It must have gotten a LOT more popular, as I took a friend who was in town for a trade show over there to shoot an AK47 in 2004-5, and I don’t remember anything like that kind of line.

    Yeah, the MG conditions are not ideal. I talked to them about how they keep them working and they said that pretty much every gun they had had broken at least once due to the amount of use they get. And by broken I don’t mean a loose pin, I mean a visit to a gunsmith with expert welding skills.

  6. I have used this indoor gun rang to in Las Vegas have found them be friendly nice work with compare some other indoor gun rangs in Las Vegas. They can get very bussy special when got Aee trade show Ces trade show Gun trade show all come in town about same time. Last time I was there rent some there machineguns one there staff members follow me right out on rang with machineguns that rent load them for me than stood out on rang made sure safe well firing them. Had good safe time compare shooting any other indoor gun rangs in Las Vegas.

  7. It was my first time shooting a pistol at the Gun Store too. It should be noted that the range officers handle the gun to and from the range. You only get to touch it at the firing line. It’s a one-to-one ratio, they know they are dealing with first-timers or people with little experience. The first guy did his job and nothing else. I went back for seconds as I went during the day and there was no waiting. The second guy was knowledgeable, friendly, etc. I learned so much in 10 minutes from this guy, I went home and picked up shooting as a new sport.

  8. The prices are out of control. Its a bro/frat/tourist trap.
    I’ve heard about the saftey from other people. I see that kind of crap at other ranges. I found the outdoor ranges out here to be safer than indoor. Less urban types looking to impress a lady, or cawadooty kids playing with big boy toys and not giving a damn about safety.

  9. Reminds me LA Gun Club in Downtown Los Angeles. Place is a joke but looks almost exactly like this place.

  10. I heard Machine Guns Vegas is opening this weekend. I think I’ll go there to shoot some brand new machine guns. I bet their brand new facility won’t smell or have a line.

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