Pattaya Shooting Range
Directions: Beach Road, between Soi 8 and Soi 8.
Down by Pattaya beach a man aims a shotgun and shuts one eye. He slowly squeezes the trigger. A crack from the gun pushes the man back and a bullet rips through its target.
While this could describe Pattaya on any given night, this particular shooting isn't quite as dramatic. Pattaya's newest shooting range happens to be smack on Beach Road, a rather incongruous location as it's surrounded by bars and tailor shops. It's also pretty small, tucked in between Soi 7 and 8.
Shooting a gun does seem to be a coming-of-age type of thing that every man needs to do in his lifetime. The sheer power and potential violence that a gun possess makes it both awesome and frightening in equal measure.
Nevertheless, the prospect of firing off a few rounds, as I believe they say in the trade, was tempting. When I entered two Thai staff were explaining a few things to a potential customer. The customer, an American in his 20s, seemed to know a few things about the weapons and was debating whether to go for the .38 or the .45. His Thai girlfriend looked a bit bewildered by all this, but gamely went along with the plan. Handing your Thai girlfriend a loaded weapon may not always be the smartest move you're going to make all day, but here the staff seem to know what they are doing and offered plenty of advice.
Once you've chosen your weapon in the front half of the store, you're escorted to the rear where the range awaits. Three fairly narrow lanes end with paper targets showing the outline of a body at the far end.
Again, staff guide you through the process of how to stand and hold the weapon. Once ready, you're free to blast away at the target.
The prices at this range are as follows and for 10, 21 and 33 bullets respectively:
.22 handgun: 930, 1,810, 2,700B
.22 sniper/special handgun: 980, 1,930, 2,880B
.22 semi-automatic machine gun: 980, 1,930,2,880B
.38 revolver: 1,080, 2,130, 3,180B
9mm special: 1,180, 2,330,3,480B
.45 special: 1,410, 2,790, 2,170B
Shotgun: 1,780, 3,530, 5,280B
Firing a gun makes you appreciate the immense power of the weapon and also how difficult it is to shoot with precision. Rather than a meaningless show of power, the shooting range does do its best to demonstrate the finesse required to handle a gun correctly.
Pattaya Shooting Ranges
There are several other options when it comes to shooting ranges in Pattaya. Here are some of the others.
Tiffany's Shooting Range: 464 Moo 9,Second Road. Phone: 038 421700. It's the only indoor shooting range in town. You must be over 18 to take part.
Pattaya Shooting Club and Fishing Park: 1/6 Moo 4, Soi Wat Huay-Yai,Sukhumvit Road. Phone: 038 255488.
Ko Lan: There is an outdoor range just north of Naban Pier. Prices go from 400 baht for six rounds.
• Take your time between rounds. You are here to improve, not just make lots of noise.
• The four rules of firearm safety are: 1) Assume that all firearms are loaded 2) Don't point the gun at anything you are not willing to destroy 3) Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire 4) Be sure of your target and what is behind it.
• When you hold the weapon, make sure your fingers are pulling straight back, not at angles.
• Focus on the front site as you squeeze the trigger. Your target and rear sight should then appear blurry.
• As you pull the trigger, after the gun goes off continue to pull the trigger until it stops, then release and prepare for the next shot. This follow-through action improves accuracy.