If ladies' nights--by offering discounted or free admission to women--are supposed to attract people of both sexes to a local hangout, The Place to Shoot fails miserably.

The North Portland shooting range offers $5 discounts to female members all day on Wednesdays. And yet no more than a dozen men and women occupied the space on a recent visit. What's the deal?

For one thing, there's nothing sexy about ladies night at the shooting range. The range is essentially a more controlled bowling alley with faster-moving projectiles. You won't find mood lighting, runway fashions or hot, young singles mingling on the club's 21 shooting lanes. But why not? If TPTS ever wants to compete with this town's more successful ladies nights, things will have to change. Here are three suggestions for attendees and operators:

Atmosphere. Unlike a lot of bars (not to mention a number of bowling alleys), TPTS lacks a disco ball and a jukebox. Instead, the icy space reeks of sulfur and spent bullets and the only sounds are the jarring blasts of gunfire. How about we put muzzles on those ultra-loud guns and turn up the tunes?

Fashion. This is lost on not only the staff but the clientele. Blame it on the frigid temperatures inside the lanes. But--there is hope! TPTS regulation eyewear consists of clear plastic goggles with blue rims. Think of these as geek-chic accessories and go from there.

Hors d'oeuvres. On a recent visit, one of the ladies brought brownies. That's very sweet and all, but, but it's just so...wholesome. And if you think about it, the shooting range isn't really a wholesome place. Meat-and-cheese plates would be more appropriate, don't you think? And, of course, cocktails are out of the question, but how about an espresso machine? Two-for-one lattes, anyone?

The Place to Shoot, 904 N Hayden Island Drive, 283-1995. Noon-9 pm Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 10 am-6 pm Friday-Sunday. $25 non-members, $15 members, $10 ladies on Wednesdays. 14 years and older, under 21s must be accompanied by an adult.