"You're in America now, you can do anything you want."

That's what Pat, our ex-military Sergent Major assured us as we choose our weapons.

Neither New Zealanders (me) nor Australians (Fox) are used to normal, everyday people carrying firearms - but there stood Pat with a .44 Magnum strapped to his hip.

Las Vegas Gun Range on the Blue Diamond turn-off in Las Vegas was all we hoped it would be: Google didn't let us down. It was clean and safe and friendly. Even Luger the 7 month old alsatian is well behaved and not gun-shy.

Fox and I listened carefully to our instructions, loaded and "squeezed off" two 15 round clips of ammunition each.

We were both surprised at the weight of the Beretta 9mm and the jump it made when we fired. Pat said it was a great gun for ladies because it was very loud and could potentially scare off any would-be attacker or intruder. I'm not entirely sure I would be able to fire one round at a person let alone empty a clip into anyone coming for me - guns are seriously real, up-close and personal.

Pat said they got a lot of foreigners in the store. Earlier they had had a group of people from Germany. They were all good, he said, except for one who asked "When are you Americans going to become civilised?"

I was thinking the answer to that question might be "When you visitors decide to not be rude when you visit America!" but that's not what Pat said. In fact, he said nothing at all. He hitched his t-shirt up over his Magnum, casually turned and stood facing the right, so the man from Germany could see the large, blue-steel barreled weapon strapped to his hip. He patted it tenderly. The German then asked what Pat meant by the gesture. Pat said "It means, there's the door, and you'd best leave and get on the other side of it now." The German, then offended by this comment asked to speak to Pat's manager. Pat pointed out his manager who was also patting his gun holster, paying very close attention to the proceedings, as were all the gun-totting employees of the store.

So if you don't plan to walk into a gun store in Nevada and insult the American people, I can highly recommend Las Vegas Gun Range for the experience of shooting in a controlled and safe situation. Our Sergent Major gave clear instructions, and watched us like a hawk to make sure we were safe at all times.