Finland To Open More Than 300 New Shooting Ranges To Bolster National Defense

Zac K
by Zac K
Finland To Open More Than 300 New Shooting Ranges To Bolster National Defense

What’s the quickest way to beef up your country’s national defense capabilities in a big hurry? In Finland they’re betting the answer is: Open new shooting ranges. As military and political unpleasantries continue in Eastern Europe, the Finns are gambling on improving their citizenry’s fighting skills, hoping a renewed emphasis on marksmanship will strengthen their military.

Finland @ TFB:

According to the British newspaper The Guardian, Finland currently has 670 shooting ranges. For a population of approximately 5.6 million people. For the sake of comparison, that’s roughly the population of Houston and Chicago put together, with Baltimore thrown in to boot. Although Finland’s population is very spread out (49 inhabitants per square mile), that’s a lot of gun ranges per capita.

And now Finland wants to raise that number, a lot. Finnish politician Jukka Kopra, who chairs Finland’s defence committee, told the journalists at the Guardian that the federal government wants to bring the number of shooting ranges up to 1,000. The reason is simple: The government wants its citizens to develop their own shooting skills and is basing its military defense plans on that idea.

Finland shares an 830-mile border with Russia, not to mention a history of armed conflict with their neighbors to the east. The Finns and Russians – then part of the Soviet Union – most recently fought each other in the 1930s-1940s, through the 1939-1940 Winter War and 1941-1944 Continuation War.

A Finnish soldier prepares to hold Russian infantry at bay in the 1940s. The Finnish military fought two tough wars with the Soviet Union over the same time period as World War II, and have been on edge since Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022. [SA-kuv]
With that history in mind, Finnish citizens and politicians have been on edge since Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022. The Guardian says militia-style defense courses have seen interest double since the Ukrainian invasion, and that there has been a major increase in the number of applications for firearms licenses as well.

The increased interest in training means the Finns need more space for target practice—so they’re going to open more than 300 firing ranges. To do this, their government says they plan to relax environmental restrictions on firing ranges, allowing them to open more quickly. The goal is to have these new ranges operational by 2030.

Zac K
Zac K

Professional hoser with fudd-ish leanings.

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