Gun safety is paramount – always

Gun safety is paramount – always

There are no two ways about it: gun safety is paramount at all times.

In the light of the recent tragic shooting of Halyna Hutchins on the Rust film set in New Mexico, Marksman’s Nest chief ranger, Geoffrey Coetzee stressed the importance of adhering to the range’s gun safety policies at all times.

Stick to the rules

With safety being our highest priority, Marksman’s Nest officers and staff have absolute and final authority over the range. They may expel anyone who acts in an unsafe manner from the range at their sole discretion.

Most of our rules are simply common sense,” Geoffrey said. “We teach our entry-level students: Always keep your firearm away from people; Finger off the trigger; Always treat a firearm as loaded; Know your target and what’s beyond it.

Common sense

At the end of a session, all weapons should be unloaded and magazines removed. Back actions should be locked and these should remain open.

While on the range, weapons should be grounded with muzzles pointing down the range. This is the most basic safety rule. Because if this is observed, there would be virtually no firearm accidents. Plus, when not shooting, handguns should be holstered at all times.

Remember, never point your gun at anything you don’t intend to shoot – particularly when loading or unloading a firearm. Consider possible ricochets. Even when ‘dry firing’ with an unloaded gun, don’t ever point it willy-nilly into the blue yonder.

On the command ‘cease fire’, do just that – immediately. And under no circumstances should live ammunition or empty casings be removed from the range.

Unload firearms when not in use

Only load firearms when on the shooting range, ready to shoot. Unload your gun immediately after shooting, before taking it to your car or home. Importantly, store firearms and ammunition in a safe place, separate from each other.

Whenever you handle a firearm or hand it to someone, always open the action to check the chamber, receiver and magazine. Make doubly sure that they don’t contain any ammunition. Never assume a gun is unloaded. An experienced gun handler would always check for him/herself!

While on the range, the basic rules of firearm safety require you to unload your gun before climbing a fence or tree, or any awkward action you need to take.

In addition, common sense dictates that a loaded gun shouldn’t be carried in a holster, gun case or scabbard. When in doubt, unload your gun!

After misfiring, handle with care

If a gun has misfired, keep your face away from the breach. And point the muzzle in a safe direction. Open the action carefully, unload the firearm and dispose of the cartridge safely.

Always discharge firearms in areas with good ventilation.

Don’t rely on the safety catch

You should never handle a gun carelessly just because the safety catch is on. As a mechanical device, the catch can in fact get stuck at the most awkward moment. We’ve all heard stories of people who have had accidents by thinking the safety catch is on, when in fact it’s off.

Double-check your target

Don’t shoot unless you know exactly where your shot will land. Ensure that your bullet won’t injure anyone or anything beyond your target. Never ever fire at a movement or noise without being certain what you’re shooting at. That simply is nuts. Also, you should keep in mind how far a bullet will travel if it misses the intended target or ricochets in another direction.

Alcohol is a big no

It goes without saying that no alcoholic beverages may be consumed on the range. Guns and alcohol simply don’t go together. For this reason, persons under the influence of alcohol or drugs won’t be permitted into the range area.

Cover eyes and ears

Both eye and hearing protection are mandatory for anyone in the range area of Marksman’s Nest. But for your own sake, you should make a point of wearing this protection when hunting, or target shooting too. Exposure to shooting noise can damage hearing, while shooting glasses guard against falling shot, clay target chips, twigs and firearm malfunction.

Red-hot events in November

Red-hot events in November

To end the year with a bang (pun not intended), we have some red-hot events in November up our sleeve.

Members’ Range Day

First up is a Members’ Range Day on 6 November 2021 at 11h00. The last 2021 gathering for the Marksman’s Nest family promises to be a day where memories are made. Chief ranger Geoffrey Coetzee said, “Despite a difficult year we all had to face, many of our members made time to visit the shooting range. And throughout the year, we offered members a calendar jam-packed with training, interesting activities and competitions.

“We’d like to believe that Marksman’s Nest has made a difference in our members’ lives in 2021. So to end the year on a high, we invite all members to this fun day. You’re also welcome to braai your lunch at the range.”

Long Range Shooting Day

And now for the popular one: on 27 November 2021 at 7h30, we offer a Long Range Shooting Day. The October Long Range Shooting event was a huge success, so let’s up the stakes for this event in November.

Geoffrey elaborated, “Although this is a developmental day for beginners, it’ll be very challenging. That means everyone is welcome to build on their skill level. There will be six timed stages with four rounds per stage.

“Bring a buddy along and shoot gongs with us at various distances. There will also be accuracy and timed exercises, plus positional shooting.”

Book your place now because only a limited number of entries will be allowed. And if you bring your meat, we’ll get the fires going. Cost per entry is R200. WhatsApp Geoffrey on 082 717 2197 to make your booking.


Shoot better by using mental power

Shoot better by using mental power

Anyone can shoot better by using mental power. Read on to see how.

By now, we all know that improving your target shooting accuracy requires three steps: practice, practice and more practice. But not all practice happens at the range. You can practise target shooting anywhere and anytime by exercising your brain. It’s a matter of focusing, ignoring distractions and calming your mind. Stepping up your mental mindset is bound to spark more impressive performances.


Visualise yourself shooting the perfect shot on the range. If you train your mind to see yourself succeed, you gain confidence, improve concentration and boost positive thinking.

A simple visualisation exercise is to imagine yourself at a shooting competition. Walk through your shot process, focusing intently on each step. See yourself do each step and execute a perfect shot. Believe me, it’s a good substitute for actual practice when life gets busy.


Goal-setting is an important part of training mentally for target shooting. Setting goals and visualisation go hand in hand. Start the process by choosing the ultimate goal, such as achieving a high score, shooting a longer distance, or winning the competition. Then set incremental goals that help you achieve your larger goal.


Not only does shooting require intense focus and confidence, but you need to have the ability to block out distractions. It’s just a simple fact that noise can disturb your concentration, thus interrupting your shot process. To ignore distractions, try this easy drill. Turn on the radio and slowly count to 100, ensuring that the sound doesn’t distract your silent counting. Even better, read while listening to music. Make sure to tune out the music and focus on reading.


An optimistic attitude contributes to the mental strength required to shoot your best on the range. So try this: fill a glass with water and hold it in your non-dominant hand. With your arm extended, focus on the glass. Try to keep the liquid as steady as possible for as long as possible. This is excellent practice for the focus needed when aiming.

Now it’s time to hit the range for a competition.


The time to think about the mechanics of your shooting is during practice sessions, not during a competition. At a competition, don’t think about your shot and dissect the mechanics. This will only trip you up. Just shoot. And don’t be afraid of failing. Everyone misses – even pros. Fear causes anxiety. While anxiety causes you to tense up. Just relax.

During the competition, focus on your zone. Clear your mind of clutter and just think about shooting.

So, now you’ve upped your game. And you understand that you too, can shoot better by using mental power.

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