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Shooting a Russian Rifle in Communist Vietnam

Updated: Oct 2, 2023

When I was a child in school the Vietnam war (btw, in Vietnam it's called the Resiistance War against America or simply The American War) was raging in this foreign land. The country seemed a world away and certainly not very appealing of a destination. But that's the view of a child.


When I began to travel internationally I knew this was a place I must visit. My first trip to Vietnam was to the south where I landed in Ho Chi Minh city. This was known as Saigon when I was young but the name was changed in 1975. Ho Chi Minh was a revolutionary leader who declared independence of Vietnam from France in 1945. The city name honors him.


The city of Saigon still has western influences today. There is much western architecture seen in the buildings. The people with whom I came in contact told me on several occasions how they still admired America (now they may have said that for other reasons).


My stay there was only 4 nights and I knew I wanted to visit some of the war sites. I did on one occasion take a bus outside the city to visit a shooting range that was near one of the war sites. There I did something I never imagined when I was a child. I shot a Russian made AK-47 in a communist country.



There is a saying in the blogging world, "if you don't have pictures it didn't happen". Well I can't find my pictures of the event but it did happen. I shot many rounds target practicing in a field near a site where Americans and Vietnamese battled the Viet Cong (Vietnamese Communist).


One of the issues I've had with pictures over the years is the changing storage media. From floppies to CDs to thumb drives to the Cloud, it's been hard to keep up. As a result I've yet to find my pictures of my Saigon trip.


Regardless, I did shoot this Russian rifle in Vietnam. Had I done it 50 years earlier I would have been called a traitor I think. As it is now, I was simply a tourist. It's amazing how the world has changed in a relatively short period of time.


The actual event was rather non inspiring. I think I missed the target on most my shots. The gun itself was not very memorable either, only the experience of firing a Russian gun in a communist country was notable.


I was with a group of other foreign tourists in an open field miles from the city. We were given guns and a certain number of rounds along with ear protection. After a brief introductory safety course we took our spots and attempted to hit the paper targets at a distance (can't remember how far). I think my performance was about average for the group, but none of us were very good.


Although I lack pictures of the event, it's a very believable story. I'm sure today you can search the internet and find where they offer this as a tourist experience from Ho Chi Minh City. It's simply a tourist destination now.


On a later trip to Cambodia I was going to do it again. However, it was all government run in that country and as a result it was very expensive (cost prohibitive for locals). If its 's government run, there is no competition and they can demand whatever they want. I did drive by the range there and noticed it was empty of tourists so I'm not the only one unwilling to pay their high fee.


When I visit a foreign country I try to get in life experiences I will always remember. Shooting this Russian rifle in a communist country qualified.


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Roger Wells
Roger Wells
22 Αυγ 2023
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Mike Wells
Mike Wells
22 Αυγ 2023
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History in the making. The war in Vietnam took many lives from the USA. Our country did not treat our returning veterans very well after returning home.

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Kirk
Kirk
22 Αυγ 2023
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We are fortunate we missed it.

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