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Shooting has long been one of the most popular corporate days, and it’s easy to see why. Let’s not beat around the bush (lest a pheasant fly out), there’s something undeniably thrilling about holding a gun and you don’t need any experience to have a great time.
What you do need, however, are instructors who know what they’re doing, are used to dealing with groups of mixed ability – and have all the right kit, such as lighter guns for women. That’s why it pays to go with a corporate shooting specialist. A fair few country-house hotels offer shooting, but do check them out thoroughly before committing, and don’t be shy about asking for references from past groups.
While clay pigeon shooting is easy to arrange, live game shoots are less widely available. Always worth asking the question, though – it might be possible for your group to join a local shoot during game season. Those who stick to clays should make sure their organiser puts on a competitive day with a wide range of events to keep the group interested all the way through.
Perhaps the most satisfying non-game event is GNAT shooting: instead of clays, you shoot at radio-controlled aeroplanes capable of 100mph and acrobatics. You might not hit many but when you do you’ll know it – they’re fitted with explosive charges and go up in a ball of flames.
An increasingly popular alternative is pistol shooting. Don’t think you’ll get your hands on a Dirty Harry-style Magnum. Instead, it’ll be a CO2-powered air gun (just as accurate over short ranges). Another option is a replica flintlock musket, as used during the English Civil War. They’re muzzle-loading, so getting a ball into them is a challenge in itself. Sticking to the vintage theme, consider cannon firing – you’ll be working as a team to take out a target (under close supervision, thankfully).
A mixed activity day works well too, where shooting can be combined with quad biking, 4x4 driving, archery or just about any other (sober) outdoor activity you can think of. Of course, nowadays you don’t even need to leave the city, thanks to laser simulators.
Whatever type of event you go for, ask your guests in advance how experienced they are. Make sure groups are mixed ability and always arrange good food and wine for afterwards – post-shoot banter is half the fun.
This feature was first published in Square Meal Venues & Events Guide 2013.