Small Arms Ranges at Reserve and Guard Facilities

LCD-81-8: Published: Oct 15, 1980. Publicly Released: Oct 15, 1980.

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In recent years, Reserve components have claimed that they need additional funds to enlarge their training centers and armories or to construct new ones. Because of the high costs involved and earlier work that identified unused indoor small arms range space in Reserve components' facilities, GAO reviewed the use of indoor and outdoor small arms ranges in the Sacramento, California, area.

GAO found that: (1) small arms ranges are well suited for use on a regional basis by Reserve personnel who commute to and from their training locations; (2) Department of Defense (DOD) procedures establish the basic policies for sharing small arms ranges (one DOD activity should support another whenever possible); (3) the Air National Guard, Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps Reserves are required to consider ranges in the area before programing and constructing a new range (the Navy Reserve uses Marine Reserve ranges); (4) the Army National Guard builds an indoor range in most new armories without considering the availability of other ranges in the area; (5) where range capacity is sufficient, the Army Reserve is converting indoor range space to other needs; and (6) in Sacramento, the Army National Guard plans to construct an organizational maintenance shop with a range, which will not be used for annual weapons firing or vehicle training, but to meet the need for maintenance space. Since a health and safety evaluation is underway which could make indoor ranges more costly, GAO believes the changes proposed in its report should be considered and made a part of any planning for indoor ranges. The planned change by the Army Guard to delete the requirement to also use indoor range space for vehicle training increases the need for a specfic Army Guard criterion requiring consideration of existing ranges and the possibility of sharing ranges.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status:

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should evaluate against the established criteria the 54 indoor ranges planned for construction in new armories for fiscal years 1979 through 1981, as well as existing ranges in any of the seven armories with alteration or expansion projects.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  2. Status:

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to establish criteria for the Army National Guard that will require consideration of existing range capacity when planning the construction of ranges at armories.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


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