We decided to bring up the topic of different bullet traps for the first webinar in the month of November.

Bullet traps are the main component of a shooting range and are literally the main focus of every shooter in the range, which makes it important to have reliable knowledge of all the different options you have when deciding on what type of trap to invest in.

When looking at different bullet traps, the question you should be asking is, “What bullet trap is best for me?”. Don’t ask what trap is overall better because the two traps have their area of expertise.

Below we will cover the key points of 9 considerations to make when deciding what trap is best for you.


#1 Initial Investment

When thinking about the initial investment, the point should be made that steel traps cost 3 to 5 times more than rubber bullet traps from the start. In the webinar, Brad states “Along with this, installation is more expensive simply because there are just more parts.”

  • Steel traps cost 3 to 5 times more upfront than rubber traps
  • Installation of steel traps in more labor intensive
  • Shipping for both traps is the same


#2 Sound and Air Concerns

Sound and air should be concerns in every range no matter what type of trap is used. The difference in rubber and steel traps is the way they stop the bullet. Steel traps use an impact and redirect method while rubber traps use a tumble and friction method.

  • Impact and redirect is louder and causes more lead dust than tumble and friction. This is because it stops the bullet by breaking it apart into small fragments that are then collected
  • Tumble and friction typically keeps the bullet intact and stops the bullet by displacing the energy evenly through the rubber granular and AR500 steel backing


#3 Maintenance

Routine maintenance is required for both traps but in different ways

  • With rubber bullet traps, you’ll be finding yourself raking rubber granular to spread it evenly, or refilling cratered spots
  • With steel bullet traps, you will have to clean much more lead dust and repair issues that flare up in the deceleration chamber of the trap


#4 Repairs

Repairs to both types of traps are due to neglect, misuse, or fatigue

  • Typically rubber traps have a longer lifespan than steel traps due to the way they stop the bullets, examples can be found above in point #2
  • The big fixes you will encounter with a steel trap are usually related to the deceleration chamber not functioning properly
  • Big fixes for rubber traps are usually related to lack of granular. Replacement of granular is something you might need to do with a rubber trap


#5 Lead Reclamation

  • Lead reclamation for steel trap occurs behind the trap, where a bucket system is set in place to capture lead particles
  • Rubber trap lead reclamation is a process usually done by a third-party company who pulls the rubber granular out of the trap and then separates lead from rubber
  • You should keep this in consideration when you start to think about how you want to use your range


#6 Safety Differences

  • Safety is a paramount concern for every type of range owner
  • With a rubber trap you have the ability to shoot at the trap from any distance, point blank, to as far back as you want. Also at any angle. This is because of the way the trap captures the bullet
  • Steel traps use the method of redirect which makes it harder to shoot close or at different angles, this is where the safety concern may come up


#7 Caliber Rating

  • Caliber rating for both traps depends on what you install based on your business plan
  • Rubber traps have the ability to be “upgraded” by adding more fill
  • 18-inch depth in a rubber trap will be able to handle .762 or .308 rounds. With increased granular, you can even shoot a 300 win mag.
  • Steel bullet traps can be upgraded by increasing the thickness of steel


#8 Space Requirements

  • Rubber traps have a footprint of about 15 feet
  • Steel traps have a footprint of about 22-27 feet
  • For a more detailed explanation of the space requirements, you can expect to see the webinar replay time: 41:12


#9 Revenue Opportunity

  • You can find a good revenue opportunity in a rubber trap by running training sessions, having shooting competitions, and using it for more than just down range shooting.
  • Steel bullet traps have the ability to give you a constant supply of lead that is dispersed into buckets that can be constant revenue
  • Rubber bullet traps also generate lead that you can recycle, it’s just not a constant weekly source of revenue.


Additional Resources and Key Takeaways

A great resource for industry information and links to experienced consultants please visit http://www.nssf.org/research/customized-market-reports/
Along with this, you can find our Range Systems, range design guide on our website that has a ton of great info.

Don’t forget to check out our blog and webinars sections on the site to find other topics we’re discussing. To receive information for our upcoming webinars, subscribe through the “Webinars” section on our site.

If you want to talk with one of our range specialists find the “Contact Us” section of our site to fill out a contact form or contact a specialist directly through email.

Thanks for reading and we’ll see you on the range!


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