I’m pretty sure the whole thing began as a joke, one of those times when you say, “look at that sign, wouldn’t it be funny if we did that…”
A few weeks ago my dad and I passed a sign advertising a chance to fire an RPG, go to a Mongolian shooting range, and more. After laughing about it for awhile, we decided we had to check it out. After all, when else are you going to have an opportunity to do any of those things.
Yesterday we visited the range, which is about two hours from Ulaanbaator. The tours are organized by Bolod (of Bolod’s Tours). However the range is run by the Mongolian army, meaning it was not nearly as sketchy as we had initially envisioned- no private mercenaries or black market arms dealers.
In addition to the RPGs, they also have a range guns from kalashnikovs (Russian automatic guns) to smaller pistols, sniper rifles and machine guns. The guns span most of the 20th century, from World War I machine guns and pistols to new machine and automatic guns.
|Assortment of weapons at the range|
I should mention I’ve never held a loaded gun before (I’m told water guns don’t count). Even though I knew there was little chance of anything going horribly wrong, I realized that I was really nervous about firing a gun. I had no idea what to expect. I was imagining some horrible scenario in which the kickback knocked me over, or I managed to fire the gun in the wrong direction, or ricochet the bullet off of something. The kickback was intense, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as I had been fearing, and I even managed to hit the target once! Firing the kalashnikov was even stranger. Between the noise and haze (dust from the bullets hitting the dirt rather than the intended target no doubt), I felt like I was in the middle of some Hollywood war drama.
|Learning how to fire a pistol|
|Firing a kalashnikov|
In addition to the weapons, the also have some really old tanks. Here I am checking out a T-55 (from the 1950s).