Bucket List: Shooting With The AK-47 Kalashnikov in Bratislava
Bucket List: Shooting With The AK-47 Kalashnikov in Bratislava
The last time I came to Bratislava, I tied up my hair in a top knot and painted my face to look like a kabuki samurai. It was Halloween. Because it was a very short visit, I don’t remember much of it other than going to a club under the castle and walking to the mall to eat sushi. I definitely didn’t do the city justice.
This time around, I wanted to not just see the sights, but to find a couple of unique things to do that you wouldn’t typically expect.
Something Different To Do In Bratislava
A bit of a search led me to seeing a lot of activities offered to groups doing stag and hen dos. Paintball, strippers, and a 10 person beer bike jumped out, but what really got my attention was shooting an AK-47 assault rifle. It was also one of the activities that didn’t require a large group.
I’ve shot a few guns before, and while it’s not for everyone, I personally really enjoyed the target practice. As counterintuitive as it may seem, shooting in a controlled and safe environment is very therapeutic and calming.
I reached out to Bratislava Shooting Club and found an even bigger selection of guns that I could shoot from. We were two, so they suggested the Final Four Mini package that included the following:
- AK-47 Kalashnikov Assault Rifle – 10 Bullets
- Dragunov SVD-63 – 5 Bullets
- Benelli M3 Shotgun – 5 Bullets
- Glock 17 Pistol – 10 Bullets
For the two people, it cost 99 euros per person, but goes down with more people and goes as low as 67 euros per person if you have a group of 10+.
Glocking Before Breakfast
On the morning of our scheduled shooting, we were picked up and driven out to a location that looked like a place where Walter White would take care of business. Except for a painting of a handgun over a target, none of this warehouse being a corrugated metal gate indicated that we were where we were supposed to be. AND I LOVED IT.
This was shooting in Bratislava and already it was different than my shooting range experiences in the past.
Inside, there was no reception or front desk. We went straight into the warehouse that was just as cold as it was outside and was given a brief safety briefing and aiming tutorial by the chief instructor, Mr. Stefan. Since he explained everything in Slovak, we needed a translation, which was provided by our guide and driver, Veronika.
“Line it up, breathe, and pull the trigger.”
That was pretty much all the instruction we really needed as far as aiming.
“Don’t point the gun anywhere except towards the target area.”
And that was pretty much common sense as far as safety.
We started with the Glock 17. With this handgun, we were shown exactly where to place each finger on the gun for maximum stability and then the safety was off. The target was about 25 meters and 10 shots later, I found that my aim was pretty spot on.
With each shot fired, I could feel the power in the gun. I took deep breaths and fired on the exhale. Each moment before I pulled the trigger was accompanied by absolute silence in my mind. It was such an exhilarating feeling.
The Feeling Of Holding An Firing An AK-47
Next up was what we came for, the AK-47 Kalashnikov assault rifle. I’ve shot an M16 before, the American successor to the AK-47. It’s more accurate, but the AK-47, at the time of its invention was so effective a weapon that it replaced almost every other gun except for pistols, machine guns, and sniper rifles. It was simple to use, cheap to build, and easy to fix. All the things that made it such an appealing and dangerous weapon.
Holding the AK-47, I felt grateful that it was in my hands pointing towards a paper target and not aiming at another human being like so many AK-47s have in its bloody history.
We had 10 bullets with this gun and I took my time with each one. Every trigger pulled unleashed a fair amount of kickback that was absorbed into my shoulders. Even with the ear muffs, the sound was loud and matched the intensity of the large bullets that was fired.
Mr. Stefan sternly said that if we couldn’t hit the target with this gun and the laser sight, that we needed to get our vision checked. A few seconds later, he let out a bellowing laugh. Mr. Stefan has a sense of humor. Sure enough, I was once again 10 for 10, although everything was just a few centimeters to the left of my intended target.
When You Name A Gun Dragunov
The third weapon on our itinerary was a Dragunov SVD-63 sniper rifle that was almost as long as I was tall. We sat down for this one and I’ll be honest, this was my favorite despite coming for the AK-47. You really can’t help it, especially when it has a name like Dragunov.
We had 5 bullets with this one, but I wished I had more. With the magnified sight, you can really get a close look at exactly what you were shooting. I also wished that the target was even further away to test my aim.
You Can’t Beat A Good Ol’ Shotgun
The final weapon in the Final Four was a Benelli M3 Shotgun. For this last one, we switched from our paper target to metal targets that we would try to knock over with the spread of the shotgun spray. Like clay shooting, getting the aim right is a little more forgiving with a shotgun. Both me and my partner hit all 5 of our targets each with ease.
Of all the guns, this was the most fun.
Throughout the whole thing, we both felt very safe. My friend had never handled a firearm before, so I was glad that she, too, felt very comfortable with all the weapons, even the heavier AK-47 and SVD-63. Mr. Stefan was close by the whole time to make sure that every safety protocol was followed. It wasn’t even something we had to actively think about.
Safety googles and ear muffs were provided.
Overall, this was a great way to start our morning, as an ironic as shooting a bunch of firearms before breakfast sounds. It’s not everyday or everywhere you can handle and shoot an AK-47 with real bullets, so this was a pretty unique experience. Doing it in Bratislava is pretty affordable and it’s not just for a group of lads on a stag-do. This is for everyone. Think team building event or even a slightly unusual first date.
If you are looking for a unique thing to do in Bratislava, give this one a go. They’ve got a bunch of different packages to choose from so you can find exactly what you need.
What else is on your list of things to try out? If you need some ideas, check out my long bucket list.