With hijacking a fact of life in South Africa, it’s become essential to learn anti-hijacking skills. And there’s no better place to equip yourself with the necessary skills than Marksman’s Nest Firearm Training Centre and Shooting Range. Dedicated to achieving confident behaviour, this course provides step-by-step drilled instruction on hijack prevention and increased security awareness.
The objectives include: improving awareness, enabling you to pre-empt a possible attack and avoid it and how to emerge safely from the vehicle in the event of a hijacking.
In the meantime, owner and chief range officer Geoffrey Coetzee provides a few valuable anti-hijacking tips.
Most hijackings take place in the driveways of residential areas. Don’t park the car’s nose in front of the gate. Rather park with two wheels on the grass/pavement and two wheels on the road and wait for the gate to open as this will give you an escape route in the event of a hijacking. When parked in front of the gate, hijackers can box you in from behind.
• Once inside your driveway, close the gate immediately and check to see that it has indeed closed.
• If there’s danger at home, call your dogs: they’re bound to alert you if anything is amiss.
• Heaven forbid, but if you ever do get hijacked in your driveway, get away from the house and run towards the street.
• If you’re driving home and notice a suspicious vehicle following you, slow down to 20 km/ph and put your indicator on as if you’re going to turn into your driveway, but continue to drive past your house. If the car slows down and doesn’t overtake you, you know something is wrong. Drive to the nearest police station.
• If you decide to drive away in the event of a hijacking attempt, make yourself as small as possible by bending down just in case the hijackers shoot at the car.
• If you stop at a robot or stop sign and a car from behind taps your bumper slightly don’t ever stop and get out of the car. Assess how bad you think the damage is and indicate to the car behind you to follow you to a safe place. Hijacking syndicates often use the tap-tap technique to hijack unsuspecting motorists.
• If a car with a blue light attempts to pull you over, you’re allowed to drive to your nearest police station or a public place where you feel safe. Switch on your hazards and indicate with your hand out of the window for the blue light vehicle to follow you.
Surviving is a choice, said Geoffrey. “Anti-hijacking skills don’t come naturally – only good training will help you to respond appropriately in a defensive situation. And that’s why Marksman’s Nest Firearm Training Centre should be your port of call for peace of mind.”
Firing a weapon might seem like a simple point-and-click exercise, but hitting the target is a whole different kettle of fish.
The following steps are paramount in achieving better rifle marksmanship and thus are vital for self-defence and survival.
Chief ranger and owner of Marksman’s Nest, Geoffrey Coetzee, has spent many years training men and women in rifle marksmanship – both in the military and privately at Marksman’s Nest Firing Range.
He said, “There are a number of common mistakes to eliminate. The first of these is to be too proud. This is especially true of those who learnt to shoot at an early age and they get upset when a bad habit is pointed out. People who haven’t learnt to shoot are clean slates and therefore easier to train. The best rifle marksmen never stop learning and are always seeking to improve.
“Not controlling your breathing is another common mistake when practising rifle marksmanship. When breathing our chest expands, causing the rifle barrel to rise. This causes the bullet to strike higher than intended. Conversely, on exhaling the barrel dips, often putting the round in the ground. The simplest way to resolve this is to control your breathing. When exhaling, there’s a natural pause. This is when you should fire your shot. It definitely will eliminate the up-down pattern of shots. But don’t wait too long during that pause to fire because your muscles will begin shaking and your sight picture won’t be consistent.
“Finally, don’t anticipate the shot. This bad habit is noticeable from the random pattern of bullet strikes on the target. You might be anticipating the noise and the recoil as you pull the trigger, closing your eyes and cringing. Don’t do this. Pull the tension out of the trigger before pulling it back and your rifle marksmanship will be spot-on.”
Be aware of the above, practise and soon you’ll be a hotshot at rifle marksmanship.
Recently in the news: three would-be hijackers were going for a white bakkie at a busy intersection. It is clear they had their plan casted and knew what they wanted. What they did not know, is the possibility of the owner having had CQ or anti-hijacking skills. In any situation, one can decide to flight or fight. Well-developed anti-hijacking skills and possibly instinct allow you to fight back and survive.
”I’ve been robbed at the same intersection three times but wasn’t as quick on the draw as this guy. Only once out of the three times I got some shots fired off. Well done! Give the man a Bells,” wrote Odie Versfeld on Facebook where the video was shared by Ethekwini Secure.
In the video which has been shared on numerous community groups in the Pinetown area, three men are seen running to a white Ford Bakkie stopped at an intersection on Josiah Gumede street in Pinetown…”
Marksmans Nest can help you with your CQ & anti-hijacking training and skills. Call/Whatsapp 082 7172197. Make your appointment today.
Polish your shooting skills with these seven shooting fundamentals as taught by Marksman’s Nest chief ranger Geoffrey Coetzee. A top-rated marksman himself, Geoffrey provides the following advice.
Whether sitting, standing or kneeling, your stance is the base for everything else. Get it right and you’ve laid a solid foundation. Stance refers to the position of the shooter’s feet and body relative to the target. Some schools teach a traditional weaver stance while other share the Chapman stance. Others favour an isosceles stance and the less conventional option is the centre axis relock stance. Geoffrey will discuss all these options with you at Marksman’s Nest firing range.
How you hold your firearm is very important. It will enable you to hit your target, which is, well, the reason you picked up the gun up in the first place. For a handgun there are three ways to grip it. But as you practice, you’ll probably work out slight variances to suit your physical ability and preferences.
In a two-handed grip, the first step is to place the gun correctly in your strong hand. For a semi-auto pistol, the gun back strap should rest as high in the crook between your thumb and first finger as possible. This placement in the strong hand stays the same regardless of which type of grip you take from here.
The first and best type of handgun grip for a new gun owner and shooter is to grip the gun with the strong hand thumb wrapped around and touching the middle finger on the grip.
3. Sight Alignment & Focus
Without proper alignment, you certainly won’t hit your target. So, first and foremost, ensure correct alignment. In other words, the front sight should be at the centre of the rear sight. And importantly, the tip of your front sight should also be parallel with the leaf tops of the rear sight.
Focus plays an equally important role. The front sight provides the most precise indication of where the gun is pointing. And it’s also easier to see whether your sights are aligned properly.
4. Trigger Control
Centre the front pad of your index finger on the trigger and pull straight back. If you use the crease between pads, the second pad or the finger tips, your shots will pull left or right. The most frequent bad habit brought to the range by people who have fired weapons before is to pull the trigger using the first joint of the index finger. A side-to-side pattern of bullet strikes on the target is a sure sign of trigger squeeze issues – either over- or under-compensating.
Practise trigger control by holding a pencil vertically in your non-firing hand and pulling back toward you with the index finger of your firing hand. You’ll notice when you pull the pencil back using the joint of your index finger, the pencil is pulled sideways and backwards. When pulling the trigger, you should use the pad on the tip of your index finger and pull straight back. Practice this.
However, Geoffrey suggests using the second pad for guns with particularly heavy trigger pulls, but only you can determine what works best for you. And his golden rule is: don’t pull the trigger – squeeze it ever so slowly.
5. Breath Control
Holding your breath will assist hold control. Therefore, this is an important shooting fundamental to master. While pulling the trigger, hold your breath. Then let out only half the air from your lungs, aim, and pull the trigger. Now you can exhale completely.
6. Hold Control
If you’ve mastered breath control, things only get easier! Hold your body absolutely rigid as you pull the trigger. Even the most minor physical shift can affect your shot’s impact point.
Yes, follow-through is imperative. Don’t worry about checking the target. Keep your finger on the trigger while it’s pulled to the rear after firing. While maintaining a good sight picture, slowly ease the pressure on the trigger while keeping your finger on it. Allow the trigger to reset and start squeezing the trigger again if you have to fire extra shots. By releasing the trigger immediately, you’ll jerk the gun.
All these fundamentals are at basic level. For intermediate and advanced levels, Geoffrey will break down the above guidelines even further into finer steps. Now it’s over to you to refine these fundamental skills.
“South Africa’s current firearms regulatory framework consists of the Firearms Control Act (FCA) and its subsidiary legislation, which has been in place since 2004.
“This framework imposes strict substantive and procedural requirements for obtaining a competency certificate, licence, permit, or authorisation to possess a firearm, to deal in firearms, or to carry out other firearm-related activities, including running a firearms-training enterprise or a hunting business.
“Some of these requirements are of universal application. For instance, a separate firearms licence must be issued for every firearm and applicants must obtain a competency certificate. To do so, an applicant should, among other things, be a ‘fit and proper person’ with no recent conviction for certain crimes, be stable, and not have a proclivity for violence. Other requirements vary depending on the type and purpose of the specific licence sought. For instance, a person wishing to obtain a licence to possess a firearm for self-defense is required to demonstrate a need for the weapon and inability to achieve protection through other means. In addition, an eligible individual may obtain only one licence of this class, which must be renewed every five years.
“Limited, mostly secondary sources located for this report point to a decrease in firearms-related crimes since the FCA came into force, although none of the sources establish a direct causal effect.”