Green’s Dictionary of Slang

shooting gallery n.

also gallery
[pun on SE, the fairground sideshow]

1. (drugs) a place, often an apartment or an abandoned building, used by a number of heroin addicts to take the drug.

[US]Kerouac On the Road (The Orig. Scroll) (2007) 345: He had dug every shooting gallery and allnight movie and every brawling bar.
[US]F. Paley Rumble on the Docks (1955) 125: He [...] finds a shootin’ gallery, needles and everythin’.
[US]‘William Lee’ Junkie (1966) 152: There was always some weed around and people were using my place as a shooting gallery.
[US]Kerouac On The Road (1972) 150: We’d go looking for him in every shooting gallery in town.
[US]W. Motley Let No Man Write My Epitaph (1960) 168: ‘Man,’ Extra Black Johnson said to everybody, ‘let’s make tracks for mah shootin’ gallery.’ ‘No, your crib’s too far,’ Elijah said.
[US]J. Mills Panic in Needle Park (1971) 97: When a junkie has a hotel room, the word spreads fast. All his friends and their friends stream in and the place turns into a shooting gallery.
[US]N. Heard Howard Street 24: An alley which serves as a shooting gallery for addicts.
[US]D. Goines Dopefiend (1991) 7: They came to his shooting gallery and begged for credit.
[UK]Observer Mag. 14 May 51: The filthy apartment was a ‘shooting-gallery’ – a junk emporium where £3.50 buys a shot of heroin.
[US]H. Gould Fort Apache, The Bronx 35: Murphy had once kicked in the door of a shooting gallery in an abandoned building to get at a psycho.
[US](con. 1938) Courtwright & Des Jarlais Addicts Who Survived 133: This heroin pad was in a hotel room [...] he had about eight or ten sets of works on the table. It was more or less like a shooting gallery of today.
[US]S. Morgan Homeboy 45: Not that you need them hangin out all day down in Cosimo’s gallery. [Ibid.] 60: The shooting gallery in Cosimo’s basement!
[Aus]Sydney Morn. Herald 10 June 26/1: The ‘shooting galleries’ of king’s Cross — hotels that rent rooms by the minute to hundreds of drug addicts desperate for a fix.
[Ire]P. Howard The Joy (2015) [ebook] We crushed a load of the tablets down and set up a bit of an auld shooting gallery.
[US]Simon & Burns Corner (1998) 7: By ones and twos, the shooting gallery gives up its wraiths.
[UK]K. Sampson Outlaws (ms.) 41: There’s a shooting gallery up by the Brow.
[US](con. 1962) E. Bunker Stark 20: He hadn’t known that the toilet had become a favorite shooting gallery.
[US]Salon.com 20 Nov. [Internet] I’ve never seen a dirty needle before, though I have worked in places where the bathroom was the local shooting gallery.
[UK]K. Sampson Killing Pool 35: His flat is far from being the worst shooting gallery I’ve encountered.

2. (US drugs) play on sense 3, the hospital ward for drug addicts undergoing withdrawal.

[US]Murtagh & Harris Who Live In Shadow (1960) 35: Marilyn, along with all the other incoming patients, was sent to the ‘shooting gallery,’ the withdrawal ward.
[US]Rigney & Smith Real Bohemia 62: I turned into the slammer [hospital]. I was stuck in the shooting gallery, cold turkey [withdrawal ward, without sedation].

3. (UK Und.) a venue for burglary, robbery or other crimes.

[UK](con. 1950s–60s) in G. Tremlett Little Legs 197: shooting gallery this has two meanings – [...] (ii) venues for burglary, robbery or other crimes.

4. as sense 3 but used for smoking crack cocaine.

[UK]N. Griffiths Stump 118: Rocked and bagged the coke from where-the-fuck found its way into the galleries across the city.