Shooting for Sport: Austin Area Gun Ranges

Out on a narrow, dusty road near Walter E. Long Lake in northeast Austin — and just beyond the remote control airplane hangars — is one of Austin’s best places to learn how to shoot a moving target.

Roll the windows down if it’s not too dusty, and listen as the fading hum of the remote control airplanes pans over to the popping sound of 12 gauges and 20 gauges obliterating small, clay disks.

Soon, you arrive at Capitol City Trap and Skeet Club. It’s one of the few — if not the only — skeet shooting ranges in Austin, although several others are available in outlying areas.

If you’re not a seasoned shooter, no worries. The staff is welcoming to first-timers, and the remote-controlled traps take only a few minutes to learn how to use. Hitting the flying or bouncing targets, however, can take a lifetime to master.

Shooters have a few options at Capitol City Trap and Skeet Club. You can hang out at one of the two fields where you press a remote and clays fly out from each side. Or you can get a lot of variety by trying out the sporting clay course, which is a bit like golfing — only it’s pure tee shots.

The course includes traps that shoot clays to mimic overhead birds, rabbits racing across a field, doves and other common patterns to help sharpen hunting skills or just have fun trying to blast those little clays to pieces.

They don’t rent guns, so you’ll need to bring a 12- or 20-gauge shotgun. Only 7.5, 5 and 9 shot sizes are allowed. But they offer lessons, memberships, shells and some snacks.

A little farther out, in Liberty Hill, Best of the West Shooting offers two trap fields, two skeet fields, long-range rifle ranges, tactical bays and pistol lanes. It also offers competition shooting matches.

Train Your Aim at Indoor Ranges

If you want to stay in Austin, there are few indoor gun ranges to choose from. But Red’s Indoor Range has been attracting firearm enthusiasts since 1991.

Red’s has two locations — one near Oak Hill in southwest Austin, with 10 lanes for pistol or rifle shooting, and another in Pflugerville, with 10 pistol lanes and six rifle lanes. The 100-yard indoor ranges can be quite popular on weekends and evenings. They have 60 guns for rent at $10 each, including Sig Sauers, Glocks and an AK-47. An hour of shooting costs $14. They offer specials on Monday’s for Ladies’ Day, when women pay $7.50 an hour and gun rentals are free.

Red’s also offers classes, and they sell a large variety of guns, ammo and accessories.