The Kingman Ground-to-Ground Gunnery Range Formerly Used Defense Site, or FUDS, is located north of the city of Kingman in Mohave County, Arizona. In May 1942 the U.S. Army approved construction of Kingman Army Airfield. The Army Air Forces Flexible Gunnery School was activated in August to train gunners in using the defensive turrets and armaments of the B-17 bomber to thwart enemy attacks during flight. The gunnery school built and utilized several training ranges near the airfield, including the Kingman Ground-to-Ground Gunnery Range, which opened in 1943. The gunnery range contained a 50-trap moving base range, malfunction ranges, moving target ranges, skeet ranges, a turret shotgun range and a range estimation course. In 1945 the airfield and gunnery range were declared surplus to the needs of the military.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is investigating the Small Arms Ranges project, associated with the former Kingman Ground-to-Ground Gunnery Range. The Small Arms Ranges project encompasses 7,936 acres and consists of three Munitions Response Sites (MRS) (discrete locations that may require a munitions response): MRS03 – 15 Skeet Ranges, MRS04 – Moving Base Range and MRS05 – Range Complex comprising nine overlapping ranges. The MRS03 – 15 Skeet Ranges encompassed 75 acres and were built in a continuous and overlapping pattern. The shooting field was laid out in a semi-circle with a 63-foot radius. Shooters stood at the firing points in the northwest portion of the range and fired toward the southeast.
The MRS04 – Moving Base Range consisted of an oval track that encompassed 359 acres along the eastern boundary of the FUDS property. Stationary targets and high and low trap houses that launched clay pigeons were located on the outside of the track. Gunnery students fired at targets using shotguns swivel-mounted on vehicles.
The MRS05 – Range Complex encompassed 7,502 acres in the central portion of the gunnery range. The complex comprises nine sub-ranges: a 300-yard known-distance rifle range, five moving target ranges (jeep type), two .22-caliber moving target ranges and a shotgun turret range. The 300-yard known-distance range had three firing lines and was used for submachine gun, carbine and pistol training. The five moving target ranges contained targets mounted on jeeps that followed a triangular track bordered with 10-foot berms to protect the jeep. Shooters used guns mounted on pole turrets to fire at the targets. On the .22-caliber moving target ranges, shooters used guns mounted on pole turrets to fire at two targets that moved along a straight track away from the firing point. The shotgun turret range contained five 40-foot towers with trap houses. Shooters equipped with shotguns positioned themselves in the towers’ upper turrets, which simulated aircraft turrets, and fired at clay pigeons.
The Corps of Engineers began investigating the former Small Arms Ranges project in 1993 through the FUDS Program. Clay pigeon debris and soil contamination from the breakdown of the clay pigeons has been identified within the Small Arms Ranges project. In 2013-2014, the Corps of Engineers performed a Time Critical Removal Action on a portion of the Small Arms Ranges in the area of MRS03 – 15 Skeet Ranges. More information about the removal action is available on the MRS03 – 15 Skeet Ranges web page. The Corps of Engineers continues to investigate the Small Arms Ranges project to determine if additional clearance activities are required.