Given Delhi’s unsafe reputation, we’ve often considered strapping a gun to our thigh as we walk about the badlands, night scouting new city finds for you. The thought also occurred to us when we were cut off by an obnoxious driver but then, what’s a Delhiite without a little road rage? Now we don’t want to go as far as owning a gun (or do we?), but it’s always nice to know that there’s a place, a (trigger) happy place, where we can fire one. Legally, anytime we want, for just Rs 150 an hour. The perfect venting machine!
This is Sportzcraft, a month-old firing range in East Patel Nagar with a 10m shooting range that conforms to the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) standards. You don’t need a license to shoot here, just show up and one of their internationally trained guides will instruct you. The initial training session is painless – just fifteen minutes - and then you can fire away on your own, but since the range holds only eight at a time, you should try and get in early. The guns available include Pardini pistols, Feinwerkbau and Walther rifles, but you can even bring your own weapon, provided it’s a .177 caliber gun and you have a license for it.
Gaining access to the range is super cheap too, with membership costing Rs 1,200 for a month or Rs 150 for a single one hour session. Walk-ins are allowed, but it's recommended you take an appointment so you won't have to wait for a trainer.
And in what we think is no coincidence, behind our little cigarette shop at Nizamuddin West, we discovered a store the Marlboro Man would love. As we bought cigarettes, we noticed other people go in and out of here with newspaper wrapped packages that are equally injurious to health. This is Delhi Armoury, a legal gun shop that resembles a jumbled government office and has been around for close to fifty years. In our two years of living in the neighbourhood, this was our first time spotting it. Talk about concealed weapons!
Now you can’t just walk into the shop and buy yourself a gun, although owner Dinesh Chadha is always happy to advise gun-hopefuls about the correct procedure. He was also a consultant on BBC’s The Man Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag, where the film crew borrowed some of his antique guns and had him explain to the actors how to use them. Ladies, he’ll point you to the cute little Baby Browning, available in white and black. No Hello Kitty models just yet, we checked. People dwelling on the past should look out for his most expensive gun belonging to a former royal, a Purdey in an engraved leather case that costs a couple of lakhs, but “goes for about $90,000 in auctions abroad”.
Rage Against the Machine Gun
No matter how bad a day you’re having, bpb suggests you browse at the store, but fire only at the range. Yes, we’re gun shy like that.
Getting there: Sportzcraft, 7/2 Basement, East Patel Nagar, call 9810008140, from 10 am to 8 pm, Rs 150 for an hour or Rs 1,200 for a monthly membership; and Delhi Armoury, 9 Nizamuddin West Market, call 24359997, from 10 am to 3.30 pm, Sunday closed.