Was I A Hit Or Miss At SAFRA Yishun’s Indoor Air Weapons Range?

Time to get my Air Rifle Marksman Badge!

By Sean Yee        31 May 2024

It has been forever since I had my hands on a rifle. The days my fellow mates and I trudged through Singapore’s forested terrains, holding onto our rifles in anticipation of an exercise ambush or calls for fire all came back to me when I paid my first visit to SAFRA Yishun’s Indoor Air Weapons Range. One of the largest air weapons ranges in Singapore, this shooting arena takes the thrill of a military shooting drill and transforms it into a fun and experiential activity that can be enjoyed by both newbies and veterans. 

Join me as I reconcile with my long-lost love (to be clear – the rifle) at the shooting range in a bid to showcase my adept marksmen capabilities! 

Time to get locked and loaded

Sean Yee at the SAFRA Yishun Air Rifle Shooting Range

I was excited to pull the trigger but as with handling any weapon, safety can never be compromised. I learnt that every first-time visitor to the shooting range has to undergo a 4 hour-long course (held on the first Saturday and third Sunday of each month) that will not only cover the do’s and don’ts, but also everything you’ll need to know about your trusty air weapon. 

As I was here to do a story, I received a quick crash course from the trainer. The rifle looked deceivingly simple, until I actually got my hands on it. I picked up basic pointers on the proper technique to load up the weapon, the differences between an air pistol and rifle, and the optimal way to focus and aim for the target. 

With this insightful instructional course, I was ready to get locked and loaded!

You can find the courses dates for this year here: safra.sg/indoor-air-weapons-range/shooting-courses

It’s an air rifle, not a rifle that shoots air

Close-up of air rifle

Despite its moniker, the semi-automatic (ability to fire just a single shot per trigger pull) rifle actually does contain rounds. Though, instead of bullets, it can be loaded with pocket pellets so small that they resemble tiny bolts. It uses compressed air (also provided by the Indoor Air Weapons Range) to launch its loaded round onto the target. 

Prior to my time here, I assumed I was going to be akin to an Air Bender shooting air projectiles, though from a gun instead of my hands. One can only wish! 

All ready to hit the mark…or not

The shooting range houses a stretch of 33 shooting lanes, each of which is furnished with an Electronic Target System. There are also 2 other ranges with paper targets, with an additional 20 lanes.

Upon loading up my air gun with a pellet, I immediately went to work, recalling the various techniques instilled in me during my military service. I held my breath, my shoulders stooped forward and both elbows rested on the table before me. Tightening my grip, I peered intently at the target via the rifle’s sight and once my target was secured, I fired. Unlike the SAR-21 I was accustomed to as a soldier, the air rifle barely has any noticeable recoil. I grinned from ear to ear, pleased at how well I had assimilated to the range despite having completed my 2-year term of National Service some time ago. 

That was until the Electronic Target System, in full Red and White, revealed the numbers, “0.0”. So apparently, as shared so bluntly by my instructor, that meant that the pellet was nowhere close to the target. I had come into the range expecting to gloat about my glory days of being a marksman in the military, but alas, I was quickly brought crashing down to earth. 

Preparing a rifle at SAFRA Yishun Air Rifle Shooting Range

“You never shoot a rifle before ah?” the instructor asked. 

“Oh, once or twice only lah,” I replied, head and shoulders bowed in shame. Best to hide the marksman badge I had velcroed onto my uniform.

But that’s the thing – regardless of your experience with a rifle, the shooting range promises a fun and exploratory experience for its patrons. As I was chatting with my instructor, little did I realise that I was close to shooting up my allocated round of pellets, as I tried again and again to score that coveted “10.9”. 

Then, the instructor passed me an air pistol and immediately, I envisioned myself as that intimidating and cool cowboy entering the local tavern. It’s time for a showdown! 

Again, “0.0” flashed brightly on the statistical display. Maybe I was a blind cowboy. 

I must admit that it was strange shooting a pistol with one arm resting on my side. But the instructor was patient and encouraging, and soon, pellet after pellet, I managed to attain a nice “9.9” while looking especially cool. (Well, according to me at least.) 

Truth be told, the score doesn’t really matter, as the experience turned out to be an amazing time spent with friends, and a whole lot of pellets. There is no doubt in my mind that the range will see me return soon enough! 

How to get started

In addition to the mandatory safety course, first-timers do have quite a bit to prepare before even stepping foot into the range. Here is a breakdown of everything you’ll need to know: 

  1. There is an annual membership fee. Rates are dependent on your affiliation to SAFRA or HomeTeam NS. 
  2. You will need to go through a compulsory Air Weapons Safety Course for each weapon of choice. That means if you intend to take on both an air rifle and pistol, you will need to go through two separate courses. 
  3. There are miscellaneous fees to consider, which includes weapon rental fees, locker rental fees and range fees. 
  4. You can purchase target cards and pellets here. 

SAFRA Members enjoy discounted rates and more! More information, including the range’s complete pricing chart can be found at safra.sg/indoor-air-weapons-range/membership-rates

Admittedly, it can be quite a costly endeavour, but like most hobbies, the lessons, friends, and memories you gather along the way will surely outweigh the cost. If you would like to go one step further, I urge you to consider joining the SAFRA Shooting Club, which regularly conducts shooting exercises.

You can find more information at safra.sg/indoor-air-weapons-range/sports-shooting-(firearms)

SAFRA Junior Shooting Programme

The sport of shooting is showcased in international sporting tournaments including the Olympics and the Commonwealth games. There are schools with their own shooting clubs, and some even have Direct School Admission (DSA) programmes specifically catered to students with a penchant for the discipline.

If you have a child who is interested in pursuing the sport and is at least 7 years old, check out the SAFRA Junior Shooting Programme!

Want more articles like this, and other lifestyle content right in your inbox? Download the new SAFRA mobile app and opt in for the eNSman Newsletter – you don’t need to be a SAFRA member to subscribe – and never miss another story!