After many years of laying the ground work, Battlefield: Vegas opened their doors to the public on November 1st, 2012. The following is the wrap up of our coverage of the construction process of this kick ass machine gun range and firearms/military museum. If you haven’t read Part 1 yet, please do so first.
Picking up where we left off, workers finished up the back half of the range by completing the roof, HVAC, and electrical systems. Compared to building the range walls, this was an unbelievably quick process. In the photo to the left, you can see the large I beam that was installed to support the roof after removing the center vertical support beam. Once all the trusses were in place, the construction crew wasted no time in closing off the range and hanging drywall. The next step in the build was to complete the bullet trap assembly and hang the steel baffles. This was a 2-3 day process.
Each of the 11 shooting lanes are 25 yards deep and the shooting stalls are roughly 3.5′ wide, giving the shooters plenty of space to work with. The last 2 lanes have pintle mounts to accommodate the larger belt-fed machine guns. Each bay has it’s own lighting and target retrieval system. Speaking of the lighting, history has shown that regular lights have a difficult time standing up to the repeated concussion of gun fire. For this reason, the main range lights were replaced with LEDs which will not only hold up better in these conditions but they will last much longer and conserve energy. Future plans include adding cameras to each bay and giving customers the option to record their experiences.
Back in the retail, rental, and VIP areas, the old ceilings were ripped out, dozens of CCTV cameras were installed along with new electrical wiring. The walls and ceilings were put back up after the proper inspections and new light fixtures were hung. At this point, things slowed way down as the majority of the work going on was made up of many small projects. It seemed like there was a month or two there where I would stop in every couple of days and see people on ladders half way into the ceiling as they connected all the puzzle pieces together and tested everything out. New flooring, carpet, paint, etc…Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of interesting things to show during this time. Turns out that watching people install toilets, screw in light bulbs, and light switch plates isn’t really all that exciting.
I’m going to skip the photos and description of the vault where the IT infrastructure and security system is. Although I find it interesting, it could potentially lead to a security problem. However, I have been cleared to show you some of the main gun vault construction. Both vaults, as well as the rest of the facility, are also protected by 95 drop mics that monitor sound when the business is secure. If the mics pic up anything much louder than a mouse fart, the security system is activated.
Just like the range walls, the vault is built out of rebar and grout filled masonry block. Part of the concrete floor was cut out to add strength to the walls and allow the vertical rebar to be set deep into the ground. Once the walls reached the proper level, the remaining rebar was bent 90 degrees and additional rebar was woven through the top of the vault. A sprinkler head was added and the entire thing was filled with concrete. Holes were also punched into the existing wall so that additional grout could be pumped in. After a few days of curing, the wooden supports were removed, the new Fort Knox door was put in place, and this 9×12′ vault was filled to the brim with over 350 machine guns spanning multiple eras.
As far as the exterior goes, Battlefield: Vegas will be an ongoing work in progress. The primary building had a bunch of back lit signs added that showcase some of the firearms available from the range. The owners even spent some time painting camouflage patterns and stacking sand bags around various places on the property. New ideas about what else to do with the property continue to pour in and I’m looking forward to seeing how it all pulls together.
Then came the sign…
As far as I know, this is the single largest machine gun collection available to the public. I’m not aware of any other facility in the U.S. where you can walk in and shoot such a massive variety of weapons from around the world. Battlefield: Vegas also offers a sick outdoor machine gun experience that is not for the faint of heart. We’ll get into more about that as well as additional details of this attraction in the near future.