How Much Land Needed for Shooting?

How much land do you need to shoot safely? Hickok45 gives us an answer.

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 23 comments… add one }
  • TX_CHIC May 20, 2021, 6:31 pm

    I can appreciate the respect shown by some given this guys history but for a serious person looking for a serious answer, this wasn’t it. It was lazy an not informative. It truly was a complete waste of my time. As a Mechanical Engineer, if I put enough time into this I’m sure I could figure out the details taking into consideration elevations, crosswinds, ammo type, and desired distances and cross checking that with local, state, and federal laws. HOWEVER, I was hoping to find someone had done most of that research. Someone who could give different formulas for the different types of backstops depending on material chosen, distance, and ammo type. Additionally someone to include discussion on known relevant federal laws and links to state laws. As one can see there’s a whole lot more to knowing you’ve done this proper and safe than some smartass talking for 5 minutes on they lay of the land. It really came across that way to me, smug and tacky. Help a person out when they’re asking a serious question that has serious consequences if done wrong. Otherwise don’t bother opening your mouth as if you have something important to say.

  • Bill in Lexington, NC March 9, 2015, 11:25 pm

    However, as long as drainage does not become a problem, a few hours with a bulldozer can work miracles by taking a few inches off the top and piling it up as a 20′ thick, 30′ tall backstop downrange with berms along the sides. While giving consideration to the wind is important it is also worthwhile to give some thought to the sun in order to avoid shooting into it. In both cases, a barrier can correct an otherwise difficult situation.

  • Bill McGraw January 1, 2015, 9:48 pm

    Hickok’s boy can shoot, must have been ass deep in brass over the years.

  • John January 1, 2015, 6:00 pm

    I live on 5 aces of land and most all my neighbors shoot on their property. It is a very gun friendly county, but at the same time I consider shooting on my own property is advertising I have guns in my home someone just driving by could easily target my home so I generally just go to my conservation club that has been veted by the NRA. Indiana law has a nusiance clause that prohibits neighbors from complaining about gun fire as long as you are firing no closer than 500 feet and away from someone else’s home but truthfully I don’t like to be disturbed when my neighbor gets his Barrett out on a peaceful Sunday afternoon so I take my noise elsewhere.
    We had a local gun smith who was test firing a 1911, into a tree no less, and the ricochet traveled through a trailer wall and hit a man, who died at the hospital. The gun smith was convicted for involuntary man slaughter and spent the next three years in the state pin and was barred from owning firearms for life. There is a lot more to consider than space and back stops. Sure the gun smith was stupid and you should never shoot into solid objects but as Mr. Murphy has pointed out “if something can go wrong, it will.”

  • william segal January 1, 2015, 3:13 pm


  • Art January 1, 2015, 1:39 pm

    Layout of the land: A county commissioner lays out plot of land, thus the layout of the property; hence shortened to THE LAY OF THE LAND. While a county official is likely an elected official and therefore a certified liar, he can only lie about the land to you, and not lay about the land for it may soil his clothes.

  • Gary January 1, 2015, 1:30 pm

    I can buy a good bullet trap enough 550 steel around it at the correct angles at 25 ft and have range for frangible rounds in my backyard (Federally Legal)!

  • Will Drider January 1, 2015, 11:38 am

    The basic answer is: You need enough land to contain your backstop, shooting distance and safety buffer zones. A simple handgun range will require far less then a skeet/trap range and a long gun range is dependant on your desired distance plus the extended buffer. The NRA has range info avail.
    Check local zoning and land usage restrictions BEFORE YOU BUY! You should also check NOAA weather data for prevalant wind direction info. Poor investment to always have a crosswind on your new range. Good neighbors ae a plus. Rember the woman who “salted” her roof and gutters with intact cartridges and complained to the police that her house was getting hit by bullets from a nearby range? Yes, really happened.

  • Spudgun December 15, 2014, 7:16 pm

    What in the heck is a pumpkin doing in the tree behind him???

    • Russ December 16, 2014, 12:14 pm


  • Gman December 15, 2014, 5:18 pm

    I agree with Kane.

  • Kane December 15, 2014, 12:41 pm

    Hickok has great videos and many people myself included respect his opinions.

  • Dave Hicks December 15, 2014, 10:32 am

    Safe back-stop for bullet impact what ever caliber and safe firearms handling is what matters.

    • Dennis December 15, 2014, 11:32 am

      Absolutely, Dave Hicks !!! I Couldn’t have said it better !!!

      • Russ December 15, 2014, 12:15 pm

        # 2 on the agree list

  • Tin December 15, 2014, 9:36 am

    I have to agree with those commenting. No wisdom here.

  • Alan December 15, 2014, 9:31 am

    What a bunch of haters.

  • David December 15, 2014, 8:54 am

    You wasted our time for this dumbass whitling on a limb trying to figure out the proper use of lie or lay. Time to unsubscribe from your emails

    • duhbob January 1, 2015, 4:00 pm

      foxtrot opera David

  • FunkyC December 15, 2014, 8:36 am

    An absolute waist of space and effort, not to mention a disappointment (from a journalist?).

  • Dan December 15, 2014, 6:45 am


  • Steve December 12, 2014, 7:15 pm

    I believe “the lay of the land lies”.
    The lay of the land
    the land lies along the coast
    the land lies before us
    the land lies to the west
    NOT the land lays along the coast (lays what?)
    I think lay is transitive, so God and earthquakes could lay the land by the coast, but the land itself would only lie by the coast. Buyin’ that?
    However, I believe the British consider it normal to refer to the “lie of the land”, and when they do they are in fact referring to its lay, not to Orwellian newspeak.

    • Jim December 15, 2014, 8:03 am

      Wow! Really helpful, thanks.

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