By EMMA BERTENSHAW [email protected]
Located in Vales de Pera near Silves, O Pinhal shooting range offers a number of activities for professionals, enthusiasts and tourists alike.
Owner Rui Terra founded the club in 1996 due to a strong demand for clay shooting sports in the Algoz area and now offers a fully equipped facility.
On the same site, there is also a hostel and restaurant that usually accommodate visiting sports teams.
The centre is open daily, except Mondays, from 9am until dusk and can host group activities with six universal shooting ranges that include nine different disciplines of gun sports.
With hunting season officially over for the while, it provides a safe place for hunters and sportsmen alike to practice.
Customers are welcome to bring their own equipment but the centre can also provide everything that is needed.
For a supervised session with an instructor, customers pay €25 for 25 targets and lessons can be held in Portuguese or English. Licensed customers pay €8 or less if they also bring their own gun.
O Pinhal is a member of the Federação Portuguesa de Tiro com Armas de Caça (FPTAC), the Portuguese shooting sports federation, and hosts a number of competitions on a national and international level.
Activities available include Olympic Trap, Compak Sporting and Skeet shooting among others. All of these are a specific type of gun range layout depending on how the targets are prepared and placed.
Customers typically use 12-bore double barreled shotguns with lighter versions available for women and children.
There is also Paintball, a type of tag-game where opponents are hit with non-toxic paint capsules, which is popular for larger groups of visitors and tourists who want to get active.
The centre has also developed a shooting school over the years. Rui Terra says it is possible for beginners to start lessons from the age of 14 where they will be taught how to handle a gun in a safe environment.
In order to own a gun in Portugal and compete in competitions, a professional licence is required and the centre can help prepare clients for the exam.
Towards the end of 2012, the club will be hosting the 30th World Championship of Universal Trench, taking place between September 6 and 9 with the support of FPTAC, the Sports Institute of Portugal (IDP) and the International Federation of Gun Sports (FITASC).
It is the first time such an event will be held in the Algarve, having only previously been held in Porto in 1998.
Trench shooting is an event where clay targets are fired out of traps set in a trench below the line of vision so that competitors can’t see where they are. The difficulty is compounded when targets are fired at different angles and speeds, testing the agility and response of the sportsman.
The final scores are measured by the number of broken targets, with the top five competitors completing a final round for the trophy.
As an Olympic sport, shooting events will also take place in London this summer along with Archery at the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich starting on July 28.
For information on booking, upcoming events and facilities at O Pinhal, please visit the website at www.ctopinhal.pt
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