by Rhonda Massad
At Tir du Soleil, an indoor air gun sports centre on Queen Mary, safety is job one.
Upon arrival clients are registered and put through an extensive training session where safety is addressed first followed by personal tutelage from an instructorto achieve the ultimate goal of hitting the paper target with an air gun.
The air guns look like guns on detective shows on TV. A few of the more basic weapons can even be purchased at box stores like Walmart or Canadian Tire but according to owner Lev Chif without the place to actually practice people often partake in unsafe activities such as shooting cans and do not benefit from valuable safety instruction provided in a controlled environment.
“Our philosophy is come to shoot here where it is safe,” Chif told The Suburban in an interview, “Advanced shooters can participate in contests to win prizes such as mp3 players, cameras and watches.”
Chif learned to shoot as a child growing up in the Soviet Union.
“In the Soviet era everyone was supposed to be armed, learning to shoot was part of the culture as with many cultures. Air gun facilities were common place,” he explained.
As a teenager Chif shot as an athletic competitive shooter. After university he served in the Soviet army in the heavy artillery division.
“I am against violence and war. I teach safety and fun,” he said, “video games desensitize the deadliness of guns. We need to change that culture to make sure people know the difference.”
Tir du Soleil is open seven days a week with hourly packages starting at $15. Reservations are strongly recommended. More information can be found at http://tirdusoleil.com