Coming To a Range Near You… Pay By the Minute?

MGM Target Sytems is releasing a new Pay to Play system that allows ranges to invest in the technology and infrastructure and charge shooters for blocks of time.  The system would be set up on with a credit card processing station that would charge the shooters credit card on the spot allowing for it to be used nearly autonomously.

The example used is $5/10min while running different canned programs allowing for different target movements.  While I get the benefit to the shooter in utilizing targets of this type, I tend to be a pessimist at times.   My initial thought was the slippery slope of turning local ranges into amusement park attractions charging by the minute.  This could be damaging to the range culture that many of us enjoy where you spend the day at the range, paying an entrance fee for the day.

But I can also see the positive affect that it could produce for a local range.  Being able to set up a system like this could give them enough money to make improvements, buy more equipment or even acquire more property to expand the range in the future.  It is also something that could be advertised and bring in new shooters to the range.

So the question I have for readers is this: Is this a positive for the shooting community or a potential negative?

Check out their video of how the system could potentially look to a shooter, the credit card system is  not present on the system in the video.  The press release is also below for more information on the Pay to Play system.

Continuing in their leadership role as the most innovative target manufacturer in the industry, MGM Targets has introduced the only “Pay to Play” live fire target system on the market today, The MGM P2P Automated Range.

Designed specifically to be a cash generator for public and private commercial ranges, the system combines the 16 year old proven technology and durability of MGM’s electronic ‘Pop Up’ trailer with a credit card reader/integrated cell phone system. This technology is presently in use at private ranges and military bases.

Much like operation systems used at a DIY carwash, a stand-alone control pedestal houses the credit card reader, and the game selection keyboard. Designed for long years in the sun and weather, all of the critical components are well out of the elements of a shooting range. The system is as simple to use as an ATM. The shooter swipes their credit card (10 minutes for $5), then chooses one of 10 pre-programmed game option / shooting scenarios. Shooters of all abilities have several options, including various timed games, as well as a “Random”, Plate Rack” and “Dueling Tree” for man on man competition. MGM’s exclusive “Reaction Mode®” option will run as fast as the shooter can knock the targets down.

With no charge for the initial set up at qualified facilities, the trailer mounted system can be installed virtually anywhere and operational in one day. Its requirements are as simple as it is to use – 45 PSI air pressure for operation, and 110v. electricity for the control system. The only scheduled maintenance is a weekly check of the bolts, for tightness. Seasonal service programs are available.

Revenue generated will be directly related to the number of hours per day the system is in use. With no “attendant” necessary to manage or monitor the system, operating costs are negligible – just power for the compressor and terminal making for a strong profit center at ranges of all sizes. Commercial inquiries invited – Please contact MGM at 888-767-7371 for more comprehensive information and see the video .

This system can generate up to $1,000 per month or more for the range. Of course, that number is driven by usage. For example, if it is used 8-10 hours a day, the revenue will increase. From that $1,000, the range will pay for the 110v electricity to run the compressor and the target control system. There will also be some modest “one time” site improvement costs.


The customer swipes his credit card through the card reader to buy time in 10 minute blocks, for $5 per block. The CC machine reads the card, and via its own cell signal, immediately processes the payment transfer.

After the CC transaction has been completed, the shooter will be able to select one of the canned programs by entering the appropriate 2 digit code on the key pad. Additional games can be programmed as developed.


  • nougabol

    Hey, it is capitalism isn’t it :)… Even the “shooting community” isn’t really a community most of the times…

    Look at the ammo supply/shortages stuff that happened and is still happening over the years…

    Supply and demand. When there is money to be made, there is money to be made.

    Regardless of the feelings the members of that particular community have towards what they think it should be and not for what it is at heart, a money making business. I would rather have it is not, but it is.

    • Menger40

      The great thing about capitalism is that I have three ranges to choose from. If any of them turn into pay-by-the-minute carnival shooting galleries I can vote with my dollars for a range run by more sensible people.

      • nougabol

        Of course, if you don’t want to pay you can take your dollars elsewhere. Speaks for itself.

  • USMC03Vet

    Remember when shooting in America use to be affordable?

    Prepperidge Farm does…

  • Jeff Smith

    Here’s what I think is one of the major negatives of this system: shooters would be rushed. You would no longer have the “leisurely” (for lack of a better term) feel that most ranges I’ve been to have. It’s nice to be able to walk around, talk with people, and watch them shoot. I have a feeling that would end as people rushed to get out door before being charged an extra $10-$20.

    It would also cost you more depending on your skill level. Less experienced shooters would spend much more in a “pay by the minute” scenario.

    • ClintTorres

      This is why I don’t frequent indoor ranges. Pay by the hour takes a lot of the fun out of the experience. Imagine if they made golfers pay by the hour.

    • Cymond

      On the other hand, if one of these was set up in a single bay of a very large shooting range, then leisurely shooters could use the other bays, while shooters who desire a more “action packed” experience could come over to the game machine.
      I do agree with you in general, though. I like a leisurely, unrushed range session. I really enjoy taking my time, talking to other shooters, discussing each other’s guns, etc.

      • Jeff Smith

        I feel like your suggestion would be a really good compromise. It would be nice to be able to have the best of both worlds – rent your normal lane and also be able to play an arcade-style shooting game at an open lane.

  • Ralphie

    I don’t see paying $5 – 10 min let alone $30 – 1 hour. RBeing a member of my local range I spend a minimum of an hour every visit. But then again if the range had a shell separating machine that paid you for your spent rounds like a coin machine. Then maybe I’d be in.

  • allannon

    I don’t think it’ll catch on.

    Most shooters won’t like the per-time cost. Most ranges won’t like the added complexity and maintenance overhead.

  • MattInTheCouv

    I’m thinking this is a good thing. Only if instituted alongside standard daily and monthly membership, though. For instance, the closest range to me is the crappiest range I have ever shot at, but it is convenient to take my hunting rifle there just to verify zero right before hunting seasons. It costs me $20 to fire three shots. So, yeah, I would love to pay $5 for an hour or something like that.

  • Yellow Devil

    I hope it doesn’t come to my area in AZ. My nearest range is 6 bucks for as long as you can stand being there, with targets up to 550 yards out. Usually I spend at least two hours because of it.

    • Smokey_the_Bear

      damn, that would be nice.
      I have 2 ranges within 15 miles, both charge 20 bucks per day, or 100 per year. One does go all the way out to 600 yards though, which is cool. But I’d rather have ur prices!

  • IXLR8

    I think there are a large percentage of shooters that would have a problem using a credit card to directly pay for range time. With the insecure nature of the transaction, it would push many away.
    Now if it was like a arcade, where there is just a stack of coins/tokens, that is another story.
    Perhaps it should be charged by the group. 30 targets per coin or similar. There are plenty of dollar coins waiting to be used.

  • Cymond

    I have mixed feelings.
    On one hand, shooting is already expensive enough. OTOH, most of the indoor shooting ranges I’ve been to charge by the hour or half-hour, so this isn’t really new ground. (Heck, my local indoor range charges $16/hour just to shoot, and they only allow stationary paper targets and NO rapid fire. I’m sick of paper, I want reactive targets!)
    However, I would LOVE to see one of these at a range. I wouldn’t want it to take over the entire range, but it would be a great experience on occaison. Maybe someday I’ll own a set of falling plates, and I’ll haul it back & forth on range days, but in the mean time I would gladly pay $30/hour to play with an auto-resetting system. It’s like Whack-A-Mole with pistols!

  • John

    Unless they can offer things most other ranges don’t offer, such as dynamic ranges and target options, this will never catch on.

    • Laserbait

      This is exactly what I thought too.

  • Randel H

    This looks like fun and I could see a market for somthing like this. It isn’t somthing that I would want to use all the time and I wouldn’t want it to dominate the range. But, with out a pay for play set up I can’t think of many clubs or ranges that could afford a set up like this and acces to reactive automated targets is curently very limited in my area.
    I am all ready paying $5 a round for trap or skeet and that takes about the same amount of time so I dont see it as a bad deal. If you are like me most of your time at the range is visiting and waiting for your turn on the line so 30 minutes of actual shooting and a couple of hours spent seeing how well every one else can do dosen’t sound like a bad way to spent a afternoon.
    It needs to be set up like a vending machine where you can put money on a card with cash or credit and use it when you want it or just pay the range officer directly. I also think it would benifit from selling a specific corse of fire insted of a specific time.

  • billyoblivion

    “This could be damaging to the range culture.”

    At the indoor ranges that rent firearms?

    Are you kidding?

    Those cultures need anti-biotics.

  • dan

    It’s weird to hear people talk about paying to go to a range, Our Game Fish and Parks just completed a major overhaul of our range which is free to visit, however you are responsible for your own safety, the only “paid” range close to here is the varmit hunters and for $35 bucks a year you get a staffed range with targets out to 600yds. Most long range people here go to public land, I prefer it anyway, I get to set things up how I want no one to bother me etc. I would however go to a range to try this out once in awhile especially with kids I think they would have a blast.

    • Cymond

      I grew up shooting at a similar range in a public park (except the limit was 100 yards in the Appalachian mountains). I was reading Yelp reviews of a similar range in Nevada. Most of the reviews are positive, but the few negative reviews complain about the lack of rules, structure, and oversight. I personally think those people are snobs.

      • dan

        Our old range could only accomodate 4 shooters and every time they would install target stands or trash cans some jackass would shoot them to pieces, or bring out tv’s and blow em to hell and leave them. Our new range will hold more people with pistol bays 100yd rifle bays 300yd rifle bays and a spot for clays, hopefully it will stay busy enough to keep the idiots away but that’s wishful thinking. Like I said I mainly shoot deep in the public land so I am not bothered by people. I am not big on oversight we should be able to police ourselves but there are those handfuls of knuckle heads that just don’t care.

  • Ken

    I’ll stick with being a member of a private club. I usually go to the range 4-8 times a month, spending at least five hours there each time. Private clubs are also great for keeping the level of idiocy down in addition to not being crowded.

  • Dave Parks

    I don’t think it charges you $5 for every 10 minutes on the line, it’s $5 for a 10 minute block of the machine being on. 10 solid minutes of shooting steel plates is a very long time. If you shot at a leisurely pace of one shot every 3 seconds, you’d burn through 200 rounds before your time was up. I don’t know about you, but I tend to put about 20 rounds through a Shoot-N-C before I change it out, and those cost about $.75 each, so by my back-of-an-envelope math, this machine is cheaper than Shoot-N-C by about $2.50.

    It never ceases to amaze me how stingy people can be with targets. I’ve watched folks dump $50 worth of ammo into a $1 target that was so shot up there was no way to tell where their shots were landing. They just wanted to hear the gun go bang, I guess.

    Honestly, I’d love it if my private gun club got one of these machines, but if I saw one in a public range, I’d take my business elsewhere. The last place I want to be is next to a guy who’s never fired a handgun before, has just rented a Glock 21, and decides to start point shooting at a steel box like he’s playing some arcade gun game.

    • Biggiewood

      ” I’ve watched folks dump $50 worth of ammo into a $1 target that was so shot up there was no way to tell where their shots were landing.”
      LOL, I’ll admit to being that guy at times. Part of it was just impatience of waiting for a cold moment to swap out targets.

  • gunslinger

    up to the user i guess.
    i mean i can see the enjoyment out of this. i can see abuse.

    i’ve been to free ranges, and you were lucky to find a place to stand, let alone a bench. plus trying to have the line go cold to replace a target? forgetaboutit. then i can see smoe idiot just shooting/messing with the machine…because. reasons.

  • Mojavegreen Nln

    I shoot in the desert. No fees there.