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Sin City shootout: Your guide to blowing stuff up in Las Vegas

May 30, 2017 (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Battlefield Vegas)
Service members likely have more experience with weaponry than typical Las Vegas tourists, so advertisements pledging a "real military experience" or an exciting day on an "actual shooting range" might ring hollow. 

But many of the firepower-themed attractions in Sin City are owned or staffed by veterans. They've hosted their share of current and former military members, and they can offer tailored packages to suit your service background ... and your destruction-related entertainment needs. 

Carlos Munoz, an assistant manager with the veteran-owned  Battlefield Vegas and a former specialist with the Nevada Army National Guard, may have put it best. "We offer service members the opportunity to shoot some of the weapons they used in the service all in a military-friendly environment," he said. And: "We also offer a car crushing experience in a tank where guests are allowed to drive a tank over a vehicle."

The chance to shoot weapons that you won't find in most U.S. armories appeals to many veterans and current service members who make the trek to Machine Guns Vegas, said Bebe Noyes, MGV's outdoor range coordinator and an Army veteran. The AK-47, Uzi and the Russian-made RPK are favorites, as are legacy weapons like the Browning M1919.

"They want to shoot foreign or old," said Noyes, whose background as a welder led her into the firearms industry. "A lot of them have an appreciation for the old stuff."

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A visitor pulls the trigger at Machine Guns Vegas, which offers indoor and outdoor ranges.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Machine Guns Vegas

The variety of weapons is on par with the variety of the packages offered:

  • Not up for driving a tank? Battlefield Vegas also offers sniper-rifle packages and history-themed shooting with period-specific weapons. Take a break from the slot machines to defend Stalingrad from the Nazis.
  • MGV offers family-friendly experiences for children of most any age ("We would prefer that they're, like, walking," Noyes joked), with experts on the range providing safety instructions. Not bringing the kids? A bachelor party package includes blowing up a car "for a nominal fee," Noyes said, and MGV offers a package deal involving a local gentleman's club.

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A selection of the weapons available at Battlefield Vegas.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Battlefield Vegas

  • Big spenders at Thunderstruck Las Vegas can shoot a machine gun from a helicopter as part of the "Ultimate VIP Package." One of the range's "a la carte" items allows visitors to "Blow up ISIS" for $3,000, which comes in well under even the most optimistic Defense Department budget projections.
  • The Range 702, billed as Nevada's largest indoor shooting range, offers a slate of "experiences" — everything from shooting zombies to blasting aliens to stopping a takeover by Terminator-like robots.
  • Want to dispense some frontier justice? Fire a six-shooter as part of "The Gunslinger" package at The Vegas Machine Gun Experience. Want to dispense some super-sized justice? Get tickets to "The Gun Show" package, which includes squeezing off five rounds from a .50-caliber Desert Eagle.
The ranges provide varying degrees of transportation (though only Battlefield will pick up parties in a "genuine military Humvee," Munoz said), and varied military discounts: BFV knocks 20 percent off for veterans, operations manager Matt Supnick said via email, while MGV offers 10 percent off for service members of all stripes with military ID, Noyes said.

As with all military discounts, it's best to contact the business prior to your visit for eligibility rules and to find out what ID or other verification you'll require.

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