Maker Mayhem: Low Moments in How-To History, Part 5

Home Target Range! What could possibly go wrong? asks Matt Maranian.

You don’t need to wait for a surprise visit from an armed robber or a knife-wielding rapist to practice your marksmanship skills in the comfort of your own home. With a trip to the hardware store and a little elbow grease, you can have this bitchin’ rifle range right in your own basement!

“If indoor public or club target ranges are too expensive or inconvenient,” this how-to from the late 1950s says, “here is a rugged target cabinet that you can make and set up for a range of your own.” Maybe not so much for beginners; seeing that this cabinet is a lilliputian 20" wide by 46" tall, made of plywood, and hung with a target a mere 10" square, you’d better be a good shot, at close range, and have quick reflexes too, because its steel deflecting plate doesn’t come with any guarantees.

Added bonus to this design: the gooseneck desk lamp mounted on front to illuminate the target, and the spectacle of a lit light bulb obliterated from socket by a bullet flying a few degrees too far south. (Maker’s tip: add “Flashlight” to your materials list in case you need to locate a fuse box in a dark basement.)

For safety’s sake, the instructions suggest that the basement door leading to this accident-waiting-to-happen should be a door that locks from the inside, lest a curious child, a clingy house pet, or a wife hell-bent on hampering your Second Amendment fun accidentally ambles into the crossfire, but the instructions say nothing whatsoever about the unpleasant realities of bullet fragmentation, the need for protective eyewear, or the benefits of noise-reduction earmuffs. A comfortable pair of loafers and some loose chinos, as shown here, is evidently all a real sportsman needs. The instructions don’t throw all caution to the wind, however, encouraging the Maker to “check with local ordinances governing the use of firearms in the home.” You might want to run your fucked-up plan past the neighbors, too.

The sound of Dad’s gunshots coming from the basement might be a bit unsettling for the kids upstairs trying to do their homework, and it might put the kibosh on mom’s bridge night, but let ‘em squawk all they want. Who’s the king of this castle anyway? Who puts the food on the table? What if dad decided to spend mom’s grocery allowance on an expensive membership to a club target range instead, and the whole family goes without food for a month? How would they like that?

MakerMayhem5_TargetRange

Published 11:59 am Fri, Jun 13, 2014

About the Author

Matt Maranian is a bestselling writer, designer, and bon vivant whose books include PAD, PAD Parties, and the first and second editions of L.A. Bizarro. He lives in Southern Vermont.

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