Originated in Japan, shooting ranges for airsoft guns and airsoft games called “survival games” in Japan are getting more and more popular. However, for most people, real guns aren’t a part of daily life in Japan. Therefore, if you are interested in sports shooting, you should head to an airsoft range! This time, visited Akihabara’s well-known shooting range “TARGET-1”. Would I be able to hit the target like a movie hero !?
“TARGET-1” is located just halfway between JR Akihabara Station and JR Ochanomizu Station.
If you own an airgun (airsoft gun), you can bring it to the shooting range and use it there. Or you can also choose a plan including one type of airgun. But if you are new to airsoft sports, the by far best option is the special “Omakase Shooting Course Plan”. This plan is available on weekdays only, but you get to try every type of airgun you like while the pricing is also very reasonable. Of course, advanced players may also choose this plan.
When a beginner chooses the “Omakase Shooting Training Plan”, staff will suggest suitable air guns for you. Also, they will teach you how to load the white bullets (BB bullets) into the gun and how to hold and use it safely.
Choose your weapon!
“TARGET-1” offers various types of rental air guns as well as brand-new ones in case you want to buy one. Since my shooting plan was one hour long, I had plenty of time to try different types of airsoft guns: handguns, assault rifles, small rifles (PDWs), and sniper rifles!
At Japan’s shooting range, the law limits the models for users under the age of 18. Therefore, when visiting the shooting range with minors, rental guns exclusively for those under 18 are available.
3 different ranges
“TARGET-1” has three ranges with different distances. 5m, 10m, and one amazing 15m range! The 5m range is great for beginners while the wide 10m range is suitable for competitive games and sports shooting competitions. The 15m range is the perfect length for using a sniper rifle.
How to handle and use an air gun
I was quite surprised when Mr. Kawahara, a staff member, casually pulled out an airsoft handgun from a holster hidden under his shirt. Not it was my turn to learn how to handle an airsoft gun.
Fill the BB gun pellets into the magazine, heat it up with a dryer, and then place the whole thing in your pistol. Since the gas used for air guns in Japan loses its power when temperatures are too low, people use dryers to warm it up. This helps regain its original performance.
My teacher’s explanations were easy to follow. He also used pictures to show me what I should see when aiming at the target, which was very helpful and easy to understand. When I aimed at the target and shot for the first time, it was a hit! What a wonderful feeling!
Falling in love with a sniper rifle!
Once I got used to the airsoft handgun, my next challenge was the long-sought sniper rifle! This air gun weighs about 4 kg, so users usually put it on the ground or on a table and use it sitting. Since my sniper rifle had a scope, I imagined hitting the target to be very easy – but that wasn’t the case. Even breathing or any slight movement will change the outcome and make the BB gun palette hit somewhere else…
If you like, you can also use paper targets – yes, the ones you only see in movies! I was super excited when I (almost) hit the very center of the paper target. I had so much fun!
Using a sniper rifle, which is only one shot at a time, feels like handling a camera without stabilizers. To get “a perfect shot”, you have to hold it very still, which is hard to achieve but very satisfying. I felt that this type of airsoft gun suited my personality the best. I will definitely try sniper rifles again!
Another type of air gun is a small electric air rifle (PDW). I tried a pink one, a collaboration with an anime. I tried two types, one that keeps very still while pulling the trigger, and another one that realistically imitates the recoil of real guns.
“TARGET-1” is a big recommendation for groups of friends or couples, because you can play against each other. I found out that learning how to use air guns improves your concentration and muscles. These guys are heavy!
Thanks to the attentive instructions of my teacher, I had so much fun! Of course, I will be back to further improve my sniper skills!
Shooting Range TARGET-1 Akihabara Branch
2-9-3 Sotokanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Union Building Koshin B1F
Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/oogAfH5athtbSWpk7
Nearest stations: Akihabara Station, Suehirocho Station, Ochanomizu Station