I feel the cold metal in my hands. The weight. The power. Everything else is shut out. I feel myself breathing slowly. The only thing I see is the man in front of me. I focus on his arrogant shoulders, his obnoxious head teasing me, his chest puffed out like a bull pigeon. It’s more than I can stand. I’ve had enough. He’s gone too far. In less than 5 seconds it’s all over, and I’ve riddled a paper target full of lead from an AK-47. I might also have had an orgasm.
I’m standing in a tactical target shooting range rattling through an armory of high-powered weaponry. A popular experience in the Baltic regions, this sort of activity is legal in these parts, so you can get your rocks off to blowing the shit out of stuff with guns you’ve only ever seen in the movies. Now I’m not normally into this kind of thing; the whole ‘guns-don’t-kill-people’ nonsense and all (they certainly help), and I refuse to pose for pictures with the weapons. It’s not big and it’s not clever. But I thought I’d try my hand at hitting targets with some famous shooters. You never know when it might come in handy if you’ve definitely got a burglar behind a locked door and you can’t see them.
So the man mountain of an instructor takes me through each model, and I have the time of my life drilling holes in a head and shoulders target. I get to pop off a Walter PPK (James Bonds’ weapon of choice), an M4 with tactical scope (already an expert at this with Call of Duty on the X-box), a Thompson Carbine (a-la Al Capone), a Desert Eagle .50 (most powerful handgun in the world), a Glock (movie cop favorite), a pump-action shotgun (Arnie style), a Magnum 357 (for old timers in Lethal Weapon) and of course the AK-47 Kalashnikov (which is for when you want to kill every motherf*cker in the room. apparently).
I’m pleased to say I did pretty well, but would have done a damn sight better if I’d not had the shakes from alcohol consumption. Basically if you want to shoot straight; don’t drink. While I certainly got a thrill out of pulling the trigger, I still felt very uneasy in the presence of these killing machines. Seeing cops carrying assault rifles doesn’t make me feel safe at all. Even in this controlled environment, the danger and power was there. It was a wonderful experience, but I think I’ll stick to paintball.
I continued appeasing my inner man-child with a trip to the Lennusadam Seaplane Harbour. Here I casually flew a Sopwith Camel simulator, successfully sailed my remote control tug into port, shot down enemy fighters with a browning machine gun, donned an Admirals uniform, maneuvered a navy destroyers deck gun, sat in an armoured personnel carrier, oh and boarded a submarine. An actual WW2 submarine. By the time I was finished giggling with glee in this wonderful museum, I was desperate to catch an episode of Sex and the City to balance myself out. There’s been too much testosterone for one day.
And yet it is with a slight pang of regret that there isn’t a female companion to share this with. I feel a little glum (and a total loner) putting my camera on a timer, while seeing and doing some really cool things that I’ve nobody to experience them with. Such is the downside of solo travel dear readers. Of course the up-side is I can do whatever the hell I want when I want. I’m off home to watch Bambi.