Being left to roam Phuket with loaded weapons

The car park was dusty, and the long walls of the shooting range met in the middle to an open archway. We approached hearing the odd gunshot, which is obvious but still nerve-wracking. A nonchalant Thai national was sat behind a window pane just inside the walls. He pointed towards a list on the window that explained the cost of each weapon and how much ammunition comes with it. I went for the 22mm rifle, and Dad opted for the 45mm handgun, both coming with 10 bullets. The range is straight out of Lethal Weapon 3, paper targets on clips and trigger happy men wearing large ear muffs and goggles.

We were given a ‘guide’ each and they took us on the 3 metre walk to the shooting range, how kind. We were then told to aim and fire at the target. After the first round they reloaded the weapon. We fired again. Then they said ‘You reload this time’. So we did. Then they smiled, and walked away. We came in with a passport and a small amount of money, now we both had lethal weapons with 8 rounds of ammo each remaining. The guns weren’t tied down, there were no guards on the open archway and we could actually see the car park from where we were. A ten metre walk and we’d be out on the open road, armed and dangerous.

Fortunately, we aren’t terrorists and both wanted to beat each other’s score on the day. Dad turned his hand to the side at one point and started unloading as if he were some Mexican drug lord. Accuracy beats showmanship in this game though, and my score of 71 percent just bettered his 67. Everybody was very laid back at the range for saying how many strangers were carrying loaded weapons. It was nice not to be accosted about spending more money though, which is usually the case in Thailand.

Overall, it was a good bit of fun and I am glad I’ve done it. Having said that, shooting a gun isn’t nearly as exciting as it sounds, and I probably wouldn’t go again. Once is plenty.

Cost: 1,880 THB altogether.

Mueang Phuket District

Phuket

Thailand

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