BEDMINSTER — The Survival Trail gun shop is adding an indoor firing range.
Almost every day people coming to the store ask if it has a range, CEO Bart Breslow told the Bedminster Township Board of Supervisors at its Jan. 8 meeting.
"We found that there was definitely a need in the area," he said.
The range will be in a planned addition to the store building, Mike Carr, of the Eastburn & Gray law firm, the attorneys for the plan, said. An existing house on the property will be removed, he said.
Before beginning the plans, the company researched other shooting ranges, Breslow said.
"We went to about a dozen local shooting ranges to see how they were built," he said. "We went out and actually visited several manufacturers who build facilities."
The range will be in an enclosed building envelope from which the bullets cannot escape, he said.
"Basically, it's a concrete vault," Breslow said.
Chopped up tire material used as a backstop in the construction of the walls both muffles sound and absorbs and captures gunshots, he said.
"There's also fire retardants that are sprayed on the materials to keep anything from catching flames," Breslow said.
"There's a company that comes in and reclaims all the lead," he said.
The range will have an extensive ventilation system and filters to protect people from fumes, he said.
In demonstrations at existing range facilities, he was told to shoot point blank into the wall, he said.
"There's no bounce back whatsoever," Breslow said. "It fully encapsulates everything."
There are baffles to capture any shots into the ceiling, he said in answer to a question from board Chairman Glenn Wismer.
Board member Morgan Cowperthwaite asked if the range will be only for pistols.
"It will be able to handle rifles, but I'm purposely building it short to discourage rifles," Breslow said.
The range will have 12 lanes, he said.
"Similarly designed ranges are being built in shopping centers," Carr said. "They don't have any kind of impact that would be noticed by anyone outside the building."
Informal sound testing has been done at ranges similar to the planned Survival Trail one, he said.
"Frankly, on [Route] 611, the sound of the road is far in excess of the sound that would emanate from the building, if any," Carr said.
There will be a $3,000 payment to the township as a fee in lieu of being required to install sidewalks, Curt Genner, the township's engineer, said.
In answer to a question from Wismer about whether the parking lot lights will point down, he was told yes. There will be shields on the lights, Genner said.
There are existing security lights for the store, Carr said.
Conditional preliminary/final approval was given at the Jan. 8 meeting.