Shots in the desert

Some children play with toy guns growing up. The euphoria wears off as we grow up, but trying shooting again as a hobby and sport brings back the excitement and the adrenalin rush. So I headed to Mayadeen Shooting Range, located on the Sixth Ring Road near the Hunting and Equestrian Club, to get a taste of the real thing. It’s a great feeling to hit the target, especially when competing with other shooters.

The pistol feels much heavier than it appears. Even after holding the pistol firmly with both hands, according to the instructions given by the trainer, when the trigger is pressed, the recoil makes the whole body move. It needs strong concentration on the target to score well.

The gun is not only heavy, but also very noisy. Before entering the shooting range, headsets have to be worn to muffle the sound. But even with this headset, you can still hear the sound of the shots, but it’s not hurtful. When I finished shooting and was still at the shooting range, I removed the headsets and was immediately startled by the loud report of guns from nearby shooters.

Possession of hand guns is tightly controlled in Kuwait. But one can practice this as a hobby at a local shooting range. It is also a dangerous activity if not supervised. For this reason, no one can enter the shooting range without a trainer supervising him or her.

“Even if a group comes together, every person will have a trainer, as this is a very dangerous activity. Sometimes, amateurs point pistols at each other for fun or to take photos, and this may cause serious injuries if the guns go off by accident,” a trainer told Kuwait Times.

Women and guns
Children from the age of seven can practice shooting at Mayadeen. “Although it sounds strange, the majority of our clients are females. All those who come here are amateurs, and it’s rare to have a professional come here for shooting. Kids between ages 7 to 15 years can only shoot with air pistols. Also, there are different sizes of guns and bullets depending on the size of the person. For instance, we advise giving some women lighter pistols so they don’t get frightened,” Omar Al-Ansari, Assistant Director of Mayadeen Shooting Range, told Kuwait Times.

Currently, Mayadeen is the only shooting range open to the public in Kuwait. It includes four shooting ranges – air rifle and pistol 10 meters, pistol 25 meters, rifle range 50 meters, and tactical range 25 meters. All the ranges are open for amateurs, except the tactical one, which is for professionals only. At each range, five people can shoot simultaneously. The range opens daily from 5:00 pm to 8:30 pm all week long. It opened in 2003 and is run by retired general Ahmad Al-Saleem.

Mayadeen also hosts championships. “The Police Sports Championship is always held here, in addition to other individual championships. We also welcome field trips from schools, while some companies book the place to hold open days for their employees. Fortunately we haven’t suffered any accidents or injuries at Mayadeen, as we follow strict safety and security measures. We also have facilities for the disabled – in fact we have customers on wheelchairs coming to shoot,” stressed Ansari. “This month we just launched a new activity to add more fun and variety for visitors – archery – where five people can participate at the same time. And of course, there is a cafeteria and a waiting hall,” he concluded.

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