Straight shooting in Finland

Straight shooting in Finland

MILITARY SERVICE: Obligatory in Finland for males aged 18 to 60 Photo credit: CC/JIP

Finland, which shares a 1,340-kilometre border with Russia, joined Nato in April 2023 after decades of non-alignment.

Even during Finland’s former period of amicable relations with Moscow, the country’s males aged between 18 and 60 have had to complete national service. Now, as Russia becomes a more serious threat, the government wants them to  combine the skills they learnt as recruits with shooting as a hobby.

To help them do so, the Defence Ministry announced that the government would open 300 more shooting ranges, bringing the total up to 1,000 by the end of this decade.

Jukka Kopra, an MP in the national parliament, pointed out to the Guardian that Finland’s defence model “benefits from people having and developing their shooting skills on their own.”

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the number of reservists and civilians volunteering for training courses in defending their country doubled, while there has been a notable increase in applications for gun licences.

The National Defence Training Association of Finland (MPK) organised 116,000 training days in 2023, significantly higher than the 50,000 average of previous years, revealed MPK’s executive director, Antti Lehtisalo,.

“Of course, one aspect of this training and education centres on shooting instruction because people want to be part of this comprehensive security, so they’re coming to our courses and after that we need more shooting ranges,” he said.

Finns’ eagerness to defend their country was strong,  Lehtisalo, added

“We have a very high will to defend the country.”

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Written by

Linda Hall

Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at