Edwards Airmen christened the new base Small Arms Range the best way they know how, by shooting at it. The Small Arms Range at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., was officially re-opened with a ribbon “shooting” ceremony, Sept. 6, 2018.
The project to renovate the Small Arms Range was originally discussed 2016 when base leadership recognized the need to update the facility, said Robert Lynch, SABER chief, 412th Civil Engineer Group. The project took nine months to complete at a cost of more than $670,000. To Lynch, the word “renovation” is an understatement.
“Everything is built from the ground up,” Lynch said. “Before, it was just desert and everything was dilapidated.”
One of the major improvements of the redesigned range is the expansion of firing points. The range now has 40 firing points, up from 20. This will allow leaders to be able to have more Airmen on the firing line at one time. The increase in capability will allow the range to train more Airmen, and other sister services, per year, said Maj. Gilbert Wyche, 412th Security Forces Squadron commander.
The new and improved Small Arms Range allows Airmen and other users to fire the whole gamut of U.S. military small arms weapons; the M9 and M11 pistols, M4 carbine and M870 shotgun. The range allows firers to shoot at targets up to 300 meters.
“This is probably one of the only, non-training base, that has a full distance range that we can use,” Wyche said.
Another major addition is that the firing lines are now covered. The construction includes space for Airmen to conduct weapons maintenance, Lynch said. The facility was designed with flexibility and cost-saving measures in mind. The space allocated for maintenance was designed to be fully enclosed, if the need arises, Lynch added.
The Small Arms Range meets current and future requirements to train not just battlefield Airmen such as security forces, but all other Airmen who will be required to qualify on their weapons.
“This range will make us more efficient and lethal in our job,” Wyche said. “To face threats here and around the world.”