Taking a winter break to Poland I though I would try and take the opportunity to shoot some of the firearms that we are not trusted to own in the UK. A quick google search and I found there were several ranges in Wroclaw that I could visit all within convenient distance from our hotel. So I’d like to sum up my shooting experience in Wroclaw(Pronounced Vratzlav I believe) and some other things I learned.
The city itself is beautiful with lots of stunning buildings and with the Christmas market on we enjoyed more than a few variety of mulled wines well worth a visit even if you don’t shoot.
Anyway I contacted one of the ranges and arranged our visit, the range offered packages but you can also select your own from a variety of firearms.
I decided I wanted tick something off the bucket list and shoot the FN FAL (I believe it was the StG.58 Model) and an HK pistol after staff said it was a good pistol. I would have preferred a browning hi power but there wasn’t one available.
Although I found the place relaxed safety was of course priority and the basics of Firearms safety and the range rules were told to me. The staff also spoke excellent English which is obviously a comfort.
I was asked if I had shot before I said yes I was a gun owner but wanted to try out these firearms as we can’t shoot them in the UK to which my instructor summed our laws up nicely “yeah, that sucks”
After loading the magazines I started out with the pistol under the guidance of my instructor, I loaded the magazines and took aim and fired my first pistol shot. Unsure quite what to expect in terms of recoil I found the HK very pleasant to shoot and could easily have spent all day doing it. Although I didn’t miss the target my grouping could have been better. (I suspect it would have rapidly improved after a few more magazines)
From there I went on to shoot 20 rounds in the FAL and to say I was excited about this is an understatement, it is a rifle I find fascinating through its wonderful history as the “right arm of the (not so?)free world” to it being featured in many of my favourite films and TV shows. It is also a firearm you see many former servicemen talk about fondly, especially when compared to the SA80 Platform.
So what do I have to say about it?….Wow! Having shot only full bore bolt action and semi auto in .22 I was expecting a bit more of a kick but it was really fun to shoot but it did leave me a little tender afterwards with only 20 rounds. Perhaps some of it was poor stance but it didn’t stop me enjoying it and I could easily have ran through another few magazines. The rifle it’s self felt solid and was very satisfying to shoot.
If you are ever in Wroclaw I’d definitely recommend paying https://progun.pl/ a visit they have a fair selection of firearms, it is located convenient to the city and for me it was cheaper to shoot there than to purchase rounds here and that is including firearms hire and instruction.
In addition to this I also took a walk around the city and discovered you can purchase such things as pepper sprays, batons and tasers and also black powder pistols which I don’t believe need a licence
and it did get me thinking as to why the UK has become such a nanny state, distrustful of it’s citizens and holding any ability for them to defend themselves in contempt.
Did discovering people could purchase these items make me scared? No I felt just as safe if not safer there than here. Did it result in people misusing such items to commit crimes? Not that I saw? Did allowing the ownership of pistols and SLRs result in terrorists and criminals stealing them and misusing them? NO!
I think I saw a nation that had suffered under decades of totalitarian rule from one regime or another and like many other central/eastern European nations they valued personal responsibility and freedom in a way that many in the UK have forgotten.
I don’t want to go on too much of a political rant in what should have been an enjoyable experience but you can’t help but wonder why the authorities in the UK keep getting away with bringing in laws that don’t really affect criminals and probably make law abiding people more vulnerable when there is actual proof in Europe that law abiding people can be trusted to own certain firearms for sporting purposes and to have less lethal options available for personal protection.
Worth thinking about.