Target shooting ranges: Application note for assessing noise compliance

This application note clarifies ways in which the EPA assesses compliance with noise limits at target shooting ranges.

The note applies to ranges where explosive ammunition is fired, including rifles, shotguns and handguns.

It does not introduce new policy or change noise limits for existing or future ranges.

Topics covered include

  • types of compliance assessment
  • assessment methods and considerations
  • measuring shot noise
  • reporting

How noise levels are determined

The EPA considers that the best way to determine shooting noise levels is to find the arithmetic average of the noise levels of multiple shots. This can be complex because

  • some shots are inaudible, or audible but not measurable
  • measurements can be increased by other noise such as traffic, or wind

The application note explains how the EPA determines compliance consistently and transparently, considering noise audibility and the influence of wind or other noise.

The EPA does not set limits based on the absolute maximum of any single shot because an inaccurate measurement could lead to an incorrect assessment that a range is not compliant.

Notification of compliance assessment

Compliance can be assessed without notifying the range. This is also the case for other regulated activities (PDF 455KB).


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