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Let’s face it, deep down inside everyone has a little space reserved for playing with dangerous things. So when I had a chance to investigate Fortress, a gun shop that looks like it came straight out of Commando, I couldn’t resist.

The difference is that Fortress is a BB gun shop; a delight I was never able to experience as a child because of the strict laws in my own country. Fortress is the place where little kids dream they could hide away in the toilets at night and then emerge when everyone has gone home to play with all the toys. Hell, I still dream of doing that every night…but anyway.

After perusing the massive amounts of hardware, I began wondering where exactly you could use a full sized minigun replica. I mean, playing in the park with something like that is certainly going to raise more than a few eyebrows.

I spoke with the manager, Mr. Ito, briefly about that dilemma and found out that regular war games are scheduled. The games are played out in Gifu and all sorts of scenarios and conditions are simulated, including night games. When I asked him if Japanese was an essential skill he said “As long as you adhere to the rules, it won’t matter whether or not you can speak Japanese”.
After a brief explanation of said rules, I concluded that even the most amateur Japanese speaker could have a blast (no pun intended).

Now some of you maybe shaking your heads at the very thought of the words ‘war-game’ but hear me out. The games are controlled strictly so there is no misuse of the weapons and as a stress release running through the bush with the aim (apologies again) of nailing the enemy with a small, far-from-lethal, plastic ball, can’t be beat. Used properly and safely they can be a great deal of fun. However it is perhaps important to mention at this point that using these guns improperly can result in serious injury, blindness for example, and if the authorities catch you acting irresponsibly (this includes shooting at animals) you can bet it is going to be about as fun as picking up the soap in a prison shower full of ‘lifers’; unpleasant.

So given that, in a controlled environment, the weapons are used properly, can we assume that this hobby/sport meets the requirements for “a big thumbs up”? I mean, you are running around firing handfuls of plastic BB’s, or “air soft pellets” that are bound to accumulate in the environment.

It seems pellet manufacturers have taken this into consideration, and as awareness increases, ‘eco-bb’ pellets, which melt away to nothing after being exposed to the elements for a short amount of time, are becoming more popular with enthusiasts; one for the green team.

Where do I sign up?

Head on down to ‘Survival Gear Shop FORTRESS’ for more information, ask for Ryuta Ito who can speak a bit of English and get ready for WAR!!!!!

WANT TO VISIT FORTRESS? click here to download map and directions

For their Japanese site visit