Now I can’t say that guns are my really my cup of tea – how can anyone love these noisy, dangerous chunks of metal, designed to kill people? But as my husband was in the military and my oldest son William is in the university army corps, I suppose that on our trip to Texas, guns were destined to feature somewhere in the itinerary. I know that Americans jealously guard their right to bear arms and in Texas the hunting and shooting culture is about as strong as you’ll find anywhere. Here’s my son William’s account of our trip to a gun range in Texas;
William’s shooting experience
During my recent visit to Texas, one item on the tick-list of things I wanted to do on the trip was to go to a gun range as this is not possible in the UK. So during the trip we Googled gun ranges, plugged the address into our sat nav and were off to Reds Indoor Range on the outskirts of Austin. We had to pay 10 dollars to rent each gun and then we bought the ammunition from the shop. In order to rent the gun and use it on the range we had to fill out a quick form and leave a photo id behind the desk, so within minutes of arrival we were shooting an AK 47 – only in America! We also shot a Browning 9mm pistol but this wasn’t as fun as the AK 47. Going to the gun range was the highlight of my trip, because it is an experience I will not be able to replicate and something you can only do in America.
Guy’s shooting experience
The gun laws in Texas are very strict indeed and there was never any doubt in my mind about the professionalism and controls at Red’s Indoor Range. These included a range warden on duty behind the firing point, the insistence on the wearing of ear defenders, audible warnings and a target system that allows you to send the target to the required distance within the indoor range and recover it without putting others or yourself at risk.
Notwithstanding it was unnerving to be able to hire and use a weapon that you would only see in a UK museum. I should add that Wiliam and I have spent many hours shooting and have been trained to handle weapons correctly. We found the Browning pistol a little tame and we had a stoppage that I had to sort out – not that easy in a small booth with three people. So we just had to get on to the rifle, and what a rifle it is! The AK-47 is a selective-fire, gas-operated 7.62×39mm assault rifle, developed in the USSR in the 1940s by Mikhail Kalashnikov and popularly known as a Kalashnikov, an “AK”, or in Russian slang, Kalash. Even after six decades it remains the most popular assault rifle in the world and is used by armed forces and irregular forces worldwide, because of its durability, low production cost, and ease of use.
Once we had set up and applied the principles of marksmanship we got about our business it became the usual Dad and Son competition as we engaged the targets at 50 and 75 meters with the Kalashnikov but I think that William had the bragging rights that day.
Tips for Shooting at a gun range
- If you are on holiday in Texas or the USA and want to experience shooting on a gun range, you can do an internet search for Gun Ranges, to find any locations near where you are staying.
- Normally the website will give you most of the information you need such as opening times, minimum age, whether they hire guns and whether they offer any coaching or classes. Once we had identified Red’s Indoor Range we gave them a quick call to check a few details. You will need to take some photo id with you such as a passport.
- If you have military experience or are familiar and comfortable with handling guns then you should feel confident going onto the range where there is minimum supervision. The range warden is there primarily for safety rather than instruction, although he will help you out, for instance if you have a stoppage.
- If you are a novice around guns, then you would be best to check with the gun range whether they offer any classes or whether they can arrange an instructor for an extra charge.
- The cost of my husband and two sons to rent the guns and buy the ammunition for 30-60 minutes of shooting was about $80
Other things we enjoyed in Austin, Texas
- We booked our house in the Barton Springs neighbourhood of Austin through HomeAway Vacation Rentals who have a wide selection of holiday homes all over the USA and around the world, allowing families and groups to have more space to relax and enjoy your holiday. We stayed in the lovely 3 bedroom Westrock Vacation Rental
- We booked our hire car that took us from Houston to San Antonio to Austin and back to Houston through Argus car Hire
- We tasted cake balls and Tacos from the food trailers on South Congress and 1st Street – visit the Food Trailers Austin website
- We waited in vain for the Bats under South Congress Bridge
- We spent Sunday at the Zilker Botanical Gardens website
- We took the free tour at the Texas State Capitol Building and enjoyed the Capitol Visitor’s Centre
- We listened to live music from Devon Sproule at Flipnotics on Barton Springs Rd, Threadgills on West Riverside Drive but just missed out on The Broken Spoke on South Lamar Boulevard which was closed on Mondays
More things to do in Texas (that don’t involve guns)
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