Home on the Range

April 2, 2012 | By Brian Berusch

Go gun clubbing in Waikiki.

You’ve surely seen the posters around town—a beautiful, Asian woman in a frilly blouse prominently toting a shiny silver firearm. Sort of looks like an ad for “secretaries who go off the deep end” or something similar. In fact, she’s a former Miss Hawaii USA, and she’s doing her best to let you know that Waikiki has a thriving gun club scene, where marksmen and novices alike can tap their inner Eastwood and pump a few rounds into a seemingly harmless target. That’s right: You can shoot an arsenal of guns within Waikiki.

“We’re really doing our best to eliminate the stigma that guns, as a whole, are bad,” says Nicholas Haigler, a manager at the Royal Hawaiian Shooting Club, discretely located on the fourth floor of Royal Hawaiian Center. “In fact, the person who is adept at shooting is a high-class, educated and trained person. We liken shooting to skiing, golfing, even yachting—sports that require significant gear investments, time and effort to learn how to well.”

Haigler manages to leave out patience—something we found you’ll also need a fair stock of if you plan to get more than a few holes punched in that black-and-white target at the end of the range. Although “Danno” and “McGarrett” make it look easy every week on television, firing a handgun and hitting a relatively sizable target is no simple feat; these guns have a kick.

We began our “package” with a Beretta, a Glock 9mm and moved our way up to a .38, a .45 and finally a rifle. Phrases like “try not to anticipate the shot” and “aim high” were thrown around, but both Haigler and the range attendant offered very succinct pointers, which we found to be extremely helpful.

“We really try to get a feel for why the customer is here,” adds Haigler. “We stay hands off when, say, a military dad is in with his kids, trying to teach them the basics. But when visitors from other countries or locals want to learn, we’re happy to help them.”

And Haigler is rather well-qualified to do so: He’s a statewide shooting coach for McKinley High School’s air rifle team, as well as Mid-Pacific Institute High School’s club. Haigler also mentions that the range is extremely popular with visitors from Asian countries where the gun laws are extremely strict.

Passing celebrity mug shots that hang on the entrance wall and sitting through the first-timers safety training make one thing clear: This club is a refined, elegant place to learn how to hit your targets.

Royal Hawaiian Shooting Club
Royal Hawaiian Center
2201 Kalakaua Ave., Suite #404 [C:8 Waikiki Map]
(808) 922-4122