Shooting with the PLA in Beijing
It's a national holiday today and for fun, me and a group of peace loving friends went to the shooting range run by the PLA up by badaling.
Coming from the UK means my knowledge of guns is basically zero. ok. well i did a whole year in the army cadets and fired L98s and LSWs 16 years ago, but it may as well have never happened. so here's how the experience went:
Hired a driver for 400rmb for the day and gave him the address. Made sure we left early with a bag of snacks, water, passports and a fat wedge of cash. It took about an hour to get there and it's out in the sticks. However it is a totally new build and about 80% complete, so instead of sitting out in the burning sun you get air conditioning and comfy seats and everything that civilisation means. no beer though.
turns out only one member of the group had to show a passport, though to be safe I'd always bring your own anyway. then they lead you into a room with lots of guns on the wall. A dude walks with you and you choose what you want and he orders it on the "menu" (his word not mine). The only fee is for the bullets which range from 10rmb per round for 5.8mm to 15rmb for 5.56mm and there is a minimum order of 10 rounds per gun.
after that you sit in the corridor and when it's set up you go into a booth which opens onto an outdoor range. Handguns were attached to a counter by a chain. I walked in, got given a pair of ear defenders, then the gun. That was it. No safety advice, no indication of the gun being loaded and ready to go, nothing. Hilarious. The targets can be moved and as you shoot the system records your shots and tells you how many points you've scored. The hand gun I used was:
My impressions, as a non shooter, were that it was distinctly more difficult to shoot accurately than hollywood had led me to believe, the trigger was extremely light and the recoil was much smaller than i expected. fun.
Next up I moved onto what I thought was a sniper rifle, but apparently isn't. It's the chinese variant of this:
Target was at 100m and it was sooo easy to shoot. The safety precautions here was that the barrel is bolted to a movable fixture: you can manipulate it no problem but you can't turn it on the solider keeping an eye on you. Oh, and I thought I was playing it safe with the distance between the scope and my eye. I didn't get hit but I did modify the distance after the first shot...
I ended the experience on the current PLA assault rifle:
Same set up as above but with iron sights no scope. Much more difficult to hit the bull (or whatever you call it....). Had a go on full auto and realised it was a pointless endeavour. One bullet at a time for me....
So if you are in Beijing and your home country doesn't give you access to such things I thoroughly recommend it. That said, the glint in my girlfriends eyes when she first finished shooting the handgun made me very glad access is restricted....