Thursday, 7 March 2013

Time at the range

After a long absence I’m restarting my blog, albeit slowly.

So, here goes…

I’m a fan of guns.

I’ll qualify that, within a controlled environment, and given that the users of said weapons know what they’re doing, I’m a fan of guns. I don’t believe in hunting, unless you’re actually going to eat what you shoot. I also don’t believe in gratuitous violence. I also believe that if you don’t know what you’re doing, you have no place owning a firearm.

In short, I enjoy shooting, or more accurately (pardon the pun), I enjoy target shooting.

So, with those qualifications in place, here goes…

I’ve been around guns all of my life. My dad was an officer in the British Army and, at least so I’ve been told, used to carry a sidearm with him all the time when I was knee-height to a grasshopper. After that I was surrounded by soldiers and eventually graduated to shooting empty Coke cans at the bottom of my garden with an air rife (BB gun). I went on to shoot at school during the time I toyed with joining the army. There was a time when I was the best shot with an SA-80 in my local age group. These days, I’m a reasonably good clay pigeon (skeet / tiro) shooter owing to too much time spent in freezing Irish fields in December.

 SA 80

Ireland: Cold

So, it was with great delight that two friends used some form of wasta (influence exerted through personal connections for the non-Lebanese out there) to get us up to the Lebanese Army Shooting Range somewhere in the hills above Dora (the route seemed ridiculous and I couldn’t find my way back) for a morning of target shooting.

Now, and I’ll apologise in advance, I had assumed that the range wouldn’t be anything to write home about. However, what I discovered was quite something. Located in the basement of quite an impressive sporting complex was a modern, well-appointed range. It was certainly more impressive than the range I occasionally shoot at back home in Northern Ireland.

It’s administered by Josons, the best-known Lebanese gun dealers and, as I was about to discover, the distributors for Beretta in Lebanon.

So, we walk in and stroll around the waiting room, the walls of which are adorned with all sorts of pistols. I’m immediately drawn to the Sig Sauer range of handguns. Reputedly the most accurate and reliable handguns in the world (they used to be used by the men in black who guard the President of the US), a Sig is something I’ve always wanted to shoot.

After selecting my particular flavor of Sig, we set off to the range.


A trainer from Josons followed us in and gave us some tips. The pictures below might be some guide as to whether or not he succeeded:

After we’d shot around 50 rounds or so with the pistols we were sorely tempted to try out the Beretta Storm submachine gun.

Beretta Storm

After around 200 rounds giggling like a schoolgirl it was time to hit the road.

A great time, knowledgeable and enthusiastic staff in a modern setting, I’d recommend it to anyone.

And here's a little proof that I can actually hit a barn door at 50 metres: