Yes I was a little surprised when I found out. Knowing that you can’t own firearms in Taiwan, I didn’t think a shooting range would exist here, at least not to public.
Technically it’s trap shooting and it’s at the Taiwan Shooting Sports Association – Ding Fwu (台北市體育總會射擊協會 – 頂福靶場). Located in Linkou (林口), up in the mountains.
One of my best friend said it was really fun and I’ve always wanted to try it. Especially after watching the Olympic skeet shooting. But lots of people have told me to be careful of the recoil which really freaked me out! And the loud bang next to your ear?! I can’t bare the sound of fireworks without earplugs….and that’s what….couple of hundreds of feet AWAY from my EARS?!!
However, seeing that my friend didn’t go deaf or walk away with a dislodged shoulder….I went on blind faith that it’ll be alright~
Our instructor was AWESOME! It’s a one-on-one coaching. So even though we had 10 people this time, each person that steps on to the plate will re-visit his instructions again, even if you heard it 9x before. He will also advise/adjust you on every shot.
He said this place is basically built to develop/train people for shooting as a sport, like the Olympics, for example. It’s government-owned and there’s only a handful of these ranges in Taiwan. That explains a lot since I know you can’t own guns in Taiwan.
There are 2 fields, one next to the parking lot and one much further in, which is where we were. The “easier” clay targets that we started with will fly from right to left with the same trajectory. Linkuo is a windy city, so that also adds to the challenge for a beginner.
There was a gentleman practicing in the other field. Of course we watched and started asking questions. We learned that his targets had unpredictable paths every time and flying at 120kph. Ours flew at ~30kph…..yup…..and the clays were close enough that we can still see it as it drops….
This is a faded disc. It crumbles when you step on it….because I stepped on one….
They provide you with ear muffs. But you can also buy the bright orangey soft foam ear plugs (like the ones on the plane) for NT$10 (~US$0.30) if you prefer. I think the ear muffs snuffs out sound better than the plug, but the plug works just fine. I wore it the whole time and my ears did not hurt from all the loud bangs.
It’s counter-intuitive. At the front of the barrel, there’s a little pointy thing that helps you aim at the clay. The thing is, you don’t shoot when the pointy thing (front sight) hits the clay, you shoot when you cover the clay with the barrel. So it’s not like the Nintendo duck game…hahahahaha~
When you spot the clay with the front sight, you need to move your gun further more, so that the clay disappears from the horizon of the barrel.
What happens is that your vision becomes blurred, and that’s when you shoot.
Stick your arm and try following a moving target with your thumb, “you only pull the trigger” when your thumb catches up to it and covers it.
Olympic standard traps. Our instructor said they call it “traps”, not “bullets” (in Chinese). I think in English there’s no difference – traps are a type of bullets. The reason it’s called traps is because no one can legally sell bullets in Taiwan. And by their definition, these are not bullets.
They are sold as 10 rounds per set at NT$550 (~US$17.00). So you get at least 10 tries unless your instructor thinks you’re good enough to try double clay in which he loads 2 rounds and you miss, feeling like you only got to shoot 9 times and leaving a tad unsatisfied. ~_~ Sigh….
IMPORTANT: You cannot take the empty shell off the range. You can’t take it home as a souvenir. There are legal consequences if you do.
That’s our instructor~ Notice how he’s holding the “double-barrel shotgun” (I looked it up :D) in a “open” position.
RULE #1: He said unless you are firing, the gun should always, always be opened, whether you are carrying it or it’s resting on a table. That way people will know whether it’s loaded or not because you can see right through the barrels if it’s empty.
The gun is heavy! I think about 3kg (~6.6 lbs).
After 10 rounds, my shoulder feel really sore, especially the next day. My first shot knocked my cheeks. Doesn’t hurt but you can really feel the impact. After that, you get used to it and you learn to glue your face to the gun stock, the back piece where the trigger is attached.
After shooting, we got to tour the field. The instructor shot a round onto the cement and is showing us how the round pellets (~200) inside the trap disperses. So the trap is not exactly fatal unless at close range, of course. He said you wouldn’t want to go boar hunting with these….you’ll just tickle him and get yourself killed instead. XD
Trap projector in the middle of the field that shoots straight and away from us. My husband shot one with good eyesight, instinct, and a WHOLE LOT OF LUCK! He missed the rest. He said within seconds you can’t even see the clay.
Target practice with real bullets. What?! For people who can legally carry a gun, like the police. Why? Because they need to get rid of all their bullets.
Apparently their bullets expire. I guess for safety reasons? So they have to “destroy” their ammunitions by the expiration dates.
A view of where we practice. It rattles my nerves a little bit to be standing in the field, even though there’s no one practicing..ha!
Other interesting facts:
- The association owns the gun, not you – if you’re a fanatic, you can “purchase” a shotgun, and only you can use that shotgun. But it’s registered under the association, you don’t actually have ownership. It stays with the association, you don’t get to take it home.
- The gun needs a permit to travel – when you have competitions to attend, you have to apply for a permit to move the gun to the competition. That’s the only time the gun can leave the premise. You can deliver the gun yourself or through a 3rd party, with the permit traveling with the gun. The permit has an expiration and obviously you have to delineate date of use, the destination and maybe even the route…I don’t remember. That means…
- You can’t make a pit stop – You can’t pick up your gun and then go home because you forgot your lucky rabbit’s foot and then head to the competition. Once the gun leaves, it goes straight to the competition and then back to the association when it’s over.
Taiwan Shooting Sports Association – Ding Fwu (台北市體育總會射擊協會 – 頂福靶場)
No.66, Dingfu, Linkou Dist., New Taipei City 244, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Hours: 9AM ~ 6PM Everyday
Sorry it must be the Chinese characters.