It’s very much a case of, for good marksmanship practice makes perfect. Just think about it: you’ve bought a gun for self-defence and now what? Hitting the range once or twice a year certainly won’t improve your marksmanship or self-defence skills.
Knowing how to use your gun quickly and accurately when it counts, is what matters most. And this situation is usually under stress.
Ideally, good marksmanship should be practised weekly to become confident behind the trigger.
Some drills can be practised in the comfort of your home. And the man who’ll show you how and what, is firearm pro and chief ranger at Marksman’s Nest, Geoffrey Coetzee.
Do note that all these exercises are done only by dry-firing your firearm. Always make doubly sure that your weapon is free of live ammo. However, dry-firing your weapon empty will damage it. So we recommend using a snap cap. The latter is a fake plastic bullet with no primer or propellant.
The trigger squeeze
Consistent trigger squeeze while keeping a good sight picture is imperative. Take a coin and place the coin on top of the barrel, close to the muzzle. Assume a good shooting stance, aim and grab a sight picture. Practise your trigger squeeze all the way until it breaks and you fire. When you’ve mastered this art, you should be able to break the trigger with your sights on target, while the coin remains intact on the barrel.
Take note that this little drill requires loads of concentration, good and steady hands, and the perfect squeeze to keep the coin from falling. So, practise over and over again.
When the clock is ticking, you need to get to your weapon in super-quick fashion. No attacker will give you time and a friendly warning. Therefore, it’s essential to master the quick-draw. And for this exercise, you don’t actually need to dry-fire.
That said, by following through with dry-firing, you’ll develop the necessary muscle memory for the entire self-defence exercise. Let’s hope not, but if ever you’re in a situation where you need to defend yourself and others, muscle memory is what wins the day.
Double-check that your firearm is empty before loading your snap cap. Ensure that your holster is set up correctly either in the 6 o’clock (for left-handers) or 4 o’ clock (for right-handers) position.
Keep your face, head and shoulders in line with your target while you draw. Stand with your feet spread shoulder-width. Don’t rotate your upper body and use only your arms to draw. Practise grabbing a sight picture while extending your arms to aim.
These short drills will go a long way in ensuring muscle memory for good marksmanship. Because, for good marksmanship practice makes perfect. However, now it’s time to hit the range to get scored on how effective your home drills have been.
There’s a compelling case for carrying a concealed firearm. According to Marksman’s Nest chief ranger Geoffrey Coetzee, we derive the right to self-defence from the constitution. “Everyone has a right to life and therefore it follows that the right of protection from violence is included.
“Many people buy a firearm, acquire a licence and then simply lock it in a safe. At Marksman’s Nest, we instill the fact that a licenced self-defence weapon should be carried on a person every single day.
Build concealed weapon confidence
“But the biggest problem is that many people who own a handgun, simply don’t have the confidence to use it. That’s why we emphasise the importance of skill-builder handgun training. This course teaches not only confidence, skilful handgun use and gun safety, but also how to carry a concealed weapon comfortably. This applies to men and women alike.”
A self-defence firearm owner should carry his/her weapon 24 hours a day. In short, rather have and carry a firearm and not need it, instead of needing it and it’s not there.
Geoffrey continued, “In the beginning, it feels quite uncomfortable to have a firearm on your person. But we teach handgun owners all the tricks to ensure a comfortable fit.
Home & farm attacks a case in point
Apropos the high spate of home, business and farm attacks in South Africa, he said, “In the case of farm attacks: farmers usually do own firearms. So, no doubt that in most cases when these attacks took place, the guns were locked away in a safe. Attacks happen in seconds, so there’s no time to find the safe key, unlock it, load the gun and defend yourself. But if you carry your firearm on your person, self-defence wouldn’t present a problem.
“It’s not only about protecting our friends, family and ourselves, but carrying a firearm after having undergone training, one becomes more attentive to the environment and situations. This heightened awareness will help you avoid danger.
“Acquiring a firearm is one thing, but the main thing is carrying it on your person 24/7. And to carry with confidence while possessing the necessary skill, you need training.” The long and short of it is: There’s a compelling case for carrying a concealed firearm
Marksman’s Nest offers specialised self-defence training courses, as well as beginner’s courses and advanced firearm skills training.
Join us for an action-packed Four-gun Holiday Special during December 2021. For an hour, attendants will get to experience four different types of guns (handguns, shotguns, hunting rifles, semi-auto rifles) and clay pigeon shooting. And we assure you that, as with all Marksman’s Nest events, this occasion will not only be fun, but instructive and memorable too.
During the event, shooters will move through different stages and engage targets in a variety of different positions. Each stage will generally involve the use of different firearms and require the shooter to transition between them.
Targets might include clay pigeons, cardboard silhouettes, steel targets of varying sizes and anything else we designate as a target. Distances of the targets might vary.
This Four-gun Holiday Special will vaguely simulate combat or self-defence situations. And then there is the clay pigeon shooting too. This is extremely popular the world over. With this discipline, a firearm is shot at flying clay targets. Not only does this improve accuracy, but it also boosts your marksmanship skills.
What to expect at the range
Our shooting range offers people the opportunity to handle and shoot firearms in a controlled environment under supervision. We provide both eye and hearing protection to keep your eyes and ears intact. However, pregnant women are advised not to come along for the event since there’s no hearing protection for the unborn.
Naturally, gun safety is always top of our list. So rest assured, we have Range Safety Officers who keep an eye on things so you can focus on shooting rather than checking out the overall status of the shooting line. Our officers will provide safety briefings to visitors entering the range and watch for unsafe behaviour.
Don’t hesitate to ask one of our rangers any questions you might have. Believe me, they’d rather answer a beginner’s question than have to worry about the repercussions of a mistake.
Looking forward to seeing you on the range. Please contact Geoffrey here.