Of all the places in the world to go to a shooting range, North Korea is probably not one of the places you would think to go to one. After all, when I got back, I had more than one friend jokingly ask me, "Were they shooting at you?!?" Haha, fair enough, I guess! I always say, North Korea is the most fascinating place in the world I've ever been, and the shooting range is just another piece in the puzzle to help fill in why that is.
There is a seemingly normal, indoor range where you can buy bullets and shoot at targets. They have an electronic scoring system in each lane with one of those green CRT monitors - you know, the kind TVs were made of before flat screens existed. For the range aficionado, they're Sius Ascor SA 900s and they basically let you know where on a target your shots actually hit. Then, there is also the bar. Yeah, you heard me right. There is an actual alcohol-serving bar mixed in with a shooting range! Why don't more shooting ranges include bars? North Korea has really set the bar (pun intended) on being able to relax and go shoot a bunch of guns.
Indoor shooting range with a bar not enough for you? Well then, you have come to the right place, as there is also the outdoor range complete with live targets! Chickens and pheasants. For 5 Euro, you get 3 shots, and you could keep what you kill. Pretty good bargain, if you're a decent shot. So, just to recap, indoor shooting range, alcohol, and outdoor shooting range with live targets. What more could you ask for? And people still question why I would visit North Korea!
One of my fellow tourists, feeling quite confident in his skills, proclaimed he was going to kill a chicken and then did precisely that. Funny thing though - once you kill a chicken, you are left with...a chicken. Polite protocol under the circumstances is to give the chicken to the tour bus driver as a tip, which my fellow tourist did. Would now be an appropriate time to mention, that sometimes, when you shoot a chicken, it doesn't quite die instantly? Sometimes you might critically wound it, but it keeps on clucking for some time. Any decent human being would want a quick kill to end the poor clucker's misery. I guess one way to finish the kill would be to grab the bird by the beak and swing it around to break its neck. While I'm not sure if that's the quickest way to put the bird out of its misery, it's definitely one way to do it. All I know is, that night, our bus driver went home with a freshly killed bird.
Live targets mingle at the end of the range.