Hollywood does a fantastic job of sensationalising violence, nearly all action movies have a machine gun totting protagonist who wins the day. Between the hundreds of movies that I have seen and the countless hours spent playing video games like Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty, I have been left with a fascination with machine guns. I mean… they are cool right?!
One of the sensible things about the UK is it’s tight gun control laws, however this meant that I had reached the ripe old age of 24 without ever having fired a machine gun. So when I got to Las Vegas Nevada visiting the gun range was high on my list of things to do!
There were plenty of gun ranges to choose from, offering a wide range of experiences. Everything from flying into the desert in a helicopter to shoot up zombie targets, to a full Call of Duty experience where you could shoot every gun that is featured in the game! Alas my meager budget couldn’t accommodate either of those options. Instead a I chose a small range that had a big selection of guns and an ‘ala carte’ menu. That’s right a gun menu! It cost about 50 bucks to shoot 50 rounds of any gun. It was a tough decision but eventually I settled on three classics.
First up was the Uzi, Israel’s open bolt, blowback operated submachine gun popularised by Arnold Schwarzenegger in multiple action flicks. The gun was light, had little recoil when fired and even for an amature like me it seemed increadibly accurate, this would indeed be a good gun for dual wielding! Although that wasn’t allowed at the range. Next was the Thompson submachine gun, known throughout the mafia world as the Tommy gun. It was beautifully made, with a real wood stock and felt heavy in my hands. There was a much stronger recoil from this gun but it was still deadly accurate. I’m glad I’ve never been caught up in a mafia shootout! Last was probably the world’s most famous gun, the AK-47 this gun was heavy and the recoil really packed a punch making it difficult to aim. I whizzed through all 50 bullets in seconds and understood why this ferocious weapon was the choice of warlords worldwide.
Firing these deadly weapons gave me a huge adrenaline rush. Maybe it was a combination of the noise (machine guns are obnoxiously loud), perhaps the recoil which thumped against my shoulder again and again, but most of all I think it was the fear that comes from holding such a lethal tool. These guns have been designed to kill and really are not toys. Playing with them is a serious business, and while I loved the experience, I was thankful to be doing it at a proper range with an expert instructor!
*Cover image from mall security in Columbia*