How to soundproof a gun range? (A Comprehensive Guide)

This blog post will answer the question, “What are the methods to soundproof a gun range both Indoor and Outdoor?” what you should know before soundproofing a gun range, the benefits of soundproofing a gun range.  

How to soundproof a gun range?

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There are several key methods to where one can soundproof a gun range .

  • Acoustic Foam
  • Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV)
  • Hanging Baffles
  • Echo Absorbers

Below are the benefits of soundproofing a gun range:

  • Soundproofing is a form of safety at gun ranges, should there be any incidents, an individual or a group of people can quickly tend to the affected person or persons by staying alert.
  • Prevents loud noise from spreading to nearby dwellings thereby avoiding neighbourhood complaints and reducing noise pollution.
  • Reduces the risk of hearing damage, fatigue, headaches etc.
  • Creates a pleasant environment and prevents newcomers from becoming startled and overwhelmed.

Sound Absorption Vs. Sound Blocking, which to consider?

Now, contrary to conventional usage of Sound Blocking Vs. Sound absorption which are often incorrectly used interchangeably, lets study below what they actually mean:

Sound Absorption happens when vibrations from a sound source are absorbed by acoustical absorbing surfaces or elements which reduce reverberation, echoing & amplification.

Materials used for this function are typically porous and plentiful air gaps to enhance effectiveness.

Sound Blocking or Sound Isolation seeks to contain the sounds emanation from a source within the boundaries of a predefined area.

Materials used for this function are typically dense, thick and heavy with as little porosity as possible.

Key principles of SoundProofing

The prevention of sound waves passing in or out of an enclosure resulting in acoustic isolation of the designated space is known as soundproofing.

These are fundamental aspects of Sound Proofing:


Deflection of sound waves is achieved by adding dense non porous materials to any structure. This kind of material is very effective at deviating or deflecting noise made through airborne transmission. 

The additional bulk helps to dissipate soundwaves by creating a longer path and therefore higher energy requirement to diffuse into any given space.

However, blocking impact borne transmission is not as effective. It is a higher power, pressure and vibration class than airborne vibration.


Absorption is the phenomena by which sound pressure waves are distributed across a surface with interstitial airspace that prevents transmission through vibration of solid molecules.

Thereby soaking up acoustic energy. Materials such as this  are usually installed in open cavities where the depth of material can be tolerated.

In addition, this kind of material can also prevent additional resonance, reverberation and amplification of sound waves that could be created had the cavity been left empty.

There are 2 types of Absorbers:

Porous absorbers:

Porous open cell foams are highly effective noise absorbers across a broad range of medium-high frequencies. Performance can be less impressive at lower frequencies. The absorption profile is dependent on a number of factors such as:

  • Cell Size
  • Tortuosity
  • Porosity
  • Material Density 
  • Material Thickness

Resonant Absorbers:

Resonant absorbers also called Helmholtz Absorbers work by damping a sound wave while reflecting it. The absorption of a resonant soundwave works only over a low-medium frequency range


The comparative distribution of sound pressure variations throughout a given space, or the process by which a soundwave is distributed in the space. If sound pressure is uniformly distributed throughout the space, the sound is said to be well diffused


If a specular reflection from a hard flat surface is giving a problematic echo then an acoustic diffuser may be applied to the surface. It will scatter sound in all directions. This is effective to eliminate pockets of noise in a room.e applied to the surface. It will scatter sound in all directions. This is effective to eliminate pockets of noise in a room.

For more information please visit the following links:,-Refraction,-and-Diffraction


Decoupling is a method to reduce the area of direct mechanical linkage between structure and substrate. Such as walls and the applied finishing materials.

This process interrupts flanking transmissions that tend to travel through a structures’ own rigidity and connectivity from start to end. 


It is the process of reducing resonance in an enclosed structure by absorption, reflection or diffusion. Absorption will reduce the overall sound level of the structure and redirection reduce the coherence thereby making the unwanted sound harmless.


The further away an object or a space is from a sound attenuating source the more isolation or blocking it will have from incident sound waves. 

This is because soundwaves lose energy while travelling through any media and therefore dampens by diffusion, reflection & absorption over a finite distance.


Adding dense material for soundproofing can help reduce transmission by increasing the material molecules present. 

Soundwaves will have to expend more energy through dense substances thereby reducing its impact on the space which requires sound proofing. 

Indoor Gun Range SoundProofing

There are 4 main methods to indoor soundproofing a gun range:

Acoustic Foam

These are very commonly used in indoor gun ranges as they are very effective in absorbing high amplitude sound waves ,absorbing low range frequencies.

One has to make sure that any material installed in the tunnel at the gun range should have appropriate fire safety certifications

However these acoustic foam panels do not stop noise from exfiltrating the gun range through surrounding wall, ceiling surfaces and into adjacent spaces.

Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV)

MLVs are made up of thick rubber and can be affixed to the existing surface with the help of resilient channels and plywood.

MLV’s excel at preventing sound leakage as they increase the density of the walls and ceilings thereby creating a density coated perimeter.

Hanging Baffles

These are very easy to install and can be installed in spaces as small or as large as possible. They are also a very cost effective solution as compared to the above methods.

Haphazard Sound Waves bounce and reflect off of the hanging baffles which in turn reduces reverberation and therefore rogue noises that can cause disturbance.

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Echo Absorbers

This device reduces the reverberation at a gun range. It dampens high frequency sounds, making it an ideal choice for installing at a gun range.

In addition, it is light in weight and performs reliably over a long period of time.Also, it can be cut to fit in awkwardly shaped locations and is friendly for the environment.

Outdoor Shooting Range

For an exterior gun range, there aren’t many solutions except using sound barrier blankets upgraded to withstand harsh weather environments.

These exterior sound barrier curtains require a ground mounted steel structure such as existing walls, skeleton frames or fences to hang from

The density of the sound blankets needs to be adequate to prevent sound leakage so the structure needs to be designed with a weight safety factor of 1.5 pounds per Sq.ft worth of weight.

For more information on the scientific noise study of gun ranges and the performance metric of some of the most effective methods in soundproofing a gun range please follow the link below:


This blog addresses the ways in which sound can infiltrate through a gun range, the performance metric information an individual needs before opting for soundproofing a gun range. 

Finally, what are some of the main ways that an individual can soundproof a gun range both indoor and outdoor, and the effectiveness of each method.

If you have any questions or comments please let us know.

Frequently Asked Questions: How to soundproof a gun range

So, how loud is shooting noise really?

During initial orientation measurements, we found that a microphone position next to the shooter, even with a low sensitivity microphone, caused a solid over-range condition on the sound level meter. 

Therefore, we chose a position at a 30° angle and 2.5m distance to the shooter. This was the closest microphone position that did not lead to an over-range peak level of 154.1 dB or higher.

When projecting that number to a distance of 0.7m (ear to pistol), the peak level at the ear reaches 165.2 dB. At this level, the unprotected ear would most likely be permanently damaged by a blast trauma.

How Do You Design an Outdoor Gun Range That Won’t Upset Your Neighbours?

Outdoor gun range soundproofing treatments are too unique for us to easily answer this question. 

Your design depends on your starting point, where your neighbours are positioned, which direction you are firing your gun, and whether there’s any existing structure at the firing line that can be used to enclose and redirect the noise. 

How Can Gun Blast Noise Affect Hearing Loss?

Hearing loss can occur at a decibel level of 85 A-weighted decibels (dBa). However, a 9mm pistol can produce a reading of nearly 160 decibels. Without wearing hearing protection, the shooter is likely to suffer hearing loss.

How Many Sound Blankets Do I Need to Soundproof My Gun Range and Where Should I Place Them?

Outdoor gun ranges produce gun blast noise that can have an adverse effect on those shooting the guns, as well as surrounding neighbours. 

To control the noise exposure levels, sound control blankets can be placed into positions that block directional sound and isolate the noise generated from the gun blast. 

At this point, each gun range soundproofing treatment should be unique depending on its setup. Special care should be taken as to where the acoustic blankets should be positioned.

Is it possible to soundproof an outdoor space?

It’s impossible to muffle an outdoor location without converting it to an inside environment. Placing staggered row trees across your patio and the source of the sound will help to lessen directional noise. A white-noise gadget is an efficient and cost-effective solution for noise with a reduced decibel count.

Why is soundproofing a gun range with acoustic foam so trendy?

The sound of a gunshot is absorbed by acoustic foam. These sound panels will be installed on the inside walls of an indoor shooting range to shield shooters from excessive gun blast sounds. Make sure the sound panel is 3″ thick and covers the first 30% of the tunnel on the sidewalls, including the top and back walls if possible


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