Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Just sporty fun with guns? New Wickford range aims to win over critics(UK) ^ | 16 July, 2012 | NA

Posted on 07/16/2012 6:44:53 AM PDT by marktwain

With five ranges of varying sizes, obstacles and targets, the Brock Hill Road centre offers people the chance to use airsoft guns in a competitive environment.

But the aim is not just to fire plastic ball bearings at targets, there is also an educational aspect.

"Ever since guns were banned there has been a misunderstanding behind them all," said Mr Slater.

"I love airsoft, and with this you can turn it into a proper sport."

Airsoft guns are replica firearms that use compressed gas to fire plastic pellets. They are non-lethal and make limited sound.

Mr Slater, from Benfleet, is adamant that a shooting range will help change people's attitudes towards firearms.

"This is not a bunch of people running around shooting each other," he said.

"It is a matter of education. In Asia, Australia and mainland Europe they are all familiar with guns as they are all still legal.

"Here, pistol shooting clubs have to go to Northern Ireland."

Handguns have been banned in Britain since the 1996 Dunblane school massacre, which provoked a public outcry against private gun ownership. Strict UK gun laws mean that even the Great Britain Olympic shooting team must train abroad.

"Once you educate people about guns the fear disappears to a certain extent.

"You realise it is not the gun that is the problem, but the person behind it," continued Mr Slater.

"People are desensitised to what the gun is through playing computer games. They shoot bad guys and if they get hit they just get back up again.

"Soldiers in Afghanistan will tell you that is not true. This will teach youngsters that it is not a computer game."

The 42-year-old's interest in guns started from a historical point of view, which led him to attend historic re-enactments.

Eighteen months ago he founded Mad Badger Group, which imports airsoft equipment for clients and arranges shooting trips for members.

The new shooting range, founded with his partner, is intended to encourage people to compete in shooting competitions rather than just shooting each other at skirmish events.

Housed on a former pig farm with indoor ranges taking up farm buildings, the four-acre venue can be booked by parties of up to 40 people.

Those aged between 14 and 18 will need parental consent to take part.

Mr Slater believes the Wickford range is the only one of its kind outside London.

"I would like to see people copy the idea we have had so eventually we can have clubs around the country," said Mr Slater.

"We can get proper teams together and real competition to build up a proper sport."

The venue will also sell airsoft guns, but only to those carrying a UKARA licence.

Saturday's opening was fully booked and was attended by people from across the country.

"We were booked up a couple of months ago," added Mr Slater.

"There has been a huge amount of interest, even from people who don't have anything to do with airsoft."

For more information visit

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; United Kingdom
KEYWORDS: airsoft; banglist; guncontrol; uk
How the mighty have fallen.
1 posted on 07/16/2012 6:45:06 AM PDT by marktwain
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: marktwain
"Airsoft shooting range" = oxymoron The only known picture of elite Special Airsoft Service troopers in action Its a never-ending wonder to me that we still manage to field special forces and infantry regiments who are among the best (if not the best) in the world at what they do. Paintball has some respectability among ex-forces types.. airsofters are usually regarded with embarrassed disgust.
2 posted on 07/16/2012 7:08:05 AM PDT by gzzimlich
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: gzzimlich

Pardon my html

3 posted on 07/16/2012 7:11:18 AM PDT by gzzimlich
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: gzzimlich
Even more remarkable is how a British soldier currently hold's the world record in longest sniper kill in history:

4 posted on 07/18/2012 4:24:29 AM PDT by sinsofsolarempirefan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: marktwain
Strict UK gun laws mean that even the Great Britain Olympic shooting team must train abroad.

That is utterly ridiculous.

5 posted on 07/24/2012 2:52:36 AM PDT by Vanders9
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson