Building confidence behind your gun isn’t only key to self-defence, it’s all-important on the range and in life. So says the master of confidence and Marksman’s Nest chief range officer, Geoffrey Coetzee.
He continued, “Building confidence behind your gun or any firearm hinges on practical range time, plus: shoot, shoot and shoot some more. Confidence in your yourself – and your gun – goes a long way toward shooting proficiency.
“There’s no such thing that some people are born more confident than others. It’s a matter of practising the art of building confidence and not giving up when the going gets tough. Without doubt, your most precious resource when shooting is confidence.”
Tips to boost shooting confidence
Two tips to help building your confidence behind your gun and on the range are:
The confidence imperative
In a group of shooters of similar skill, the more confident shooter will hit the bullseye more often than the others. And when the situation is fraught with tension, confidence becomes even more important. This applies to both a self-defence situation and on the range. A case in point is in elite sport. At this level, the physical differences between athletes are minimal; therefore, the effects of confidence are maximised.
Control what you think
So yes, confidence can be learned and it’s within your control. It all boils down to what you tell yourself.
Strong and stable confidence comes from controlling what you think about. Of course, this starts with stopping the blame game and making excuses. Researchers have found that people who continually blame others or their circumstances have significantly lower confidence and significantly more self-sabotaging behaviour than those who don’t.
Become aware of what you say to yourself and others about the events you experience, the circumstances you face and the people you interact with. Thus you’ll start choosing to think and say things in a manner that’ll build confidence.
Everything in life is filled with ups and downs. But those people who control their inner dialogue by staying positive and productive, build and maintain stable confidence. When you’ve reached this stage, you’ll get the most out of life, plus your shooting performance will soar.
by Geoffrey Coetzee
..Phwweewww…. we reflect a bit on a few things that happened at Marksman’s Nest over last few days.
.. what a week! Every picture we uploaded today tells a beautiful story. In the midst of all the commotion that our beautiful province presents us with, some find it better to make a turn at the shooting range and as usual, we had lots of fun.
When we’re at the shooting range busy with training, there is always something that stands out, and almost as if it wants us to see it and talk about it and share it with everyone we know… we make mention of it.
What stands out is that we must know who we are and develop confidence with our firearms. Most people undergo firearm training because it contributes to Maslow’s “the need for self-actualisation”.. someone must find this gentleman and ask him about updating his hierarchy (a bit more detail around security) like mentioning being a safe citizen and buying into this concept. Achieving a firearm training certificate should have a true purpose. If it is for defence or sport shooting, we should live up to that commitment.
Back to the topic. Confidence with your licenced firearm is what allows you to carry your section 13 firearm (a firearm for purposes of self defense) every single day of your life. The Firearms Control Act 60 of 2000 describes it as a person that has a need for self defence. In order for you to carry your gun you must be well trained and equipped and every single drill must be endorsed, and the only way you can ENDORSE it is on the shooting range with truly next level firearm training. Endorsement means to practice and imprint the fundamentals of shooting and all relevant drills, no matter how simple it seems.
You must change your mindset and become a WARRIOR who is principled and precise. We use the term as it describes someone that does not easily give up. Warriors date back centuries and are known for having well developed and specialist skills. A true warrior keeps his sword sharp, and it knows the strength and full ability of its bow or blade. Warriors have failed many times, but always found the confidence to get up and raise their swords in anticipation of a defense or attack.
CLOSE QUARTER HANDGUN SKILLS (Book your training with us)
In self-defence and close quarter training and skills, we must be warriors, our blades must be kept sharp and our swords must be raised. You cannot do it in any other way if you want to be prepared… and to be prepared, you must choose a MENTOR who can agree with you on the design of your path.
“A Warrior choses his battles wisely. He does not rush to confrontation, but also does not shy away from it. Know where your lines are in the sand and know when to stand up for yourself. Be ready and willing to fight for YOU when the situation warrants. The warrior inside of you knows; You’re worth it” (unknown)
HUMANS MUST LEARN TO ADAPT
We live in an age where we are amidst crime. As a predator adapts to its surroundings, we must adapt. We have heard the saying; “adapt or die”; maybe not die in the true sense, but fail in some or other way, trauma, loss, damage, etc. You must raise your sword and stand your ground. You must become the modern-day marksman. The modern-day marksman is a particle of a particle of many. You live an ordinary life, a husband a wife, a daughter or a son, and you should manoeuvre through everything that life throws at you and try to stay clear of anything that threatens your existence. Develop firearm confidence, be ready and raise your sword. None of us are born with a natural ability to uphold skills and abilities. We are mortals and eventually we fade.
MODERN MARKSMANS COURSE
Ask us about becoming a modern-day marksman. Our next Modern Marksman Course starts on the 06th February 2021 and ends on the 06th November 2021. A 10-month course, meeting once a month on the shooting range and with the purpose to develop critical and elevated firearm skills, life skills, approach to fitness and health, understanding criminal and predator analogy, to private and home security. The best part of it is that you do not need any prior experience to enrol. This is like signing up for basic military training (not in the true sense), but the concepts are aligned. Life as we know it has changed and we need to adapt. Be a Warrior, up your game, raise your sword and be part of a life changing adventure.
“A student said to his Master; You teach me fighting, but you talk about peace! How do you reconcile the two? The Master replied; It is better to be a Warrior in the garden, then to be a gardener in war” (unknown)
SELF DEFENCE MIND-SET
With a self defence mind-set, we live our lives but still prepare for uncertainty and any eventuality. The master tried to teach his student, that he should possess special skills for when he needed it, and not to have no skills when he needed it most. Start with developing confidence. Prioritise and focus on what you need and not what others think you need. Raise your sword, step forth and deal with your deficiencies and inabilities, you are a Warrior!
If you’ve already attained that ‘comfort’ level in your shooting abilities, our advice is: to shoot well, step out of your comfort zone.
But why, you may ask? Apart from enhancing performance, there are many other benefits of leaving your comfort zone, according to medical psychologist Dr Oliver Page.
Self-actualisation is a powerful incentive to leave the comfort zone. This allows for personal growth and fulfillment. Next up is developing a growth mindset, as opposed to a fixed mindset, third is that you develop resilience which will equip you to handle change and ambiguity. And finally, you’ll have more self-efficacy in reaching your shooting goals.
According to chief ranger Geoffrey Coetzee, stepping out of your comfort zone benefits your shooting skills immensely. He said, “With consistent training, you’ll reach the sweet spot of understanding the shooting process, followed by testing and trusting the process. Once you can instinctively discern right from wrong in making an accurate shot, you’ll be in the comfort zone. In most situations when the stress is pumping, you’ll automatically default to your personal comfort zone.”
Pushing the envelope
“Confidence is critical to move away from shooting at lower skill levels and moving towards higher and higher skill levels. Needless to say, to reach this stage you have to be 100% familiar with shooting processes. And the best place for familiarisation is right here on the range!”
Take small steps and then ever larger steps to leave your comfort zone – without throwing caution to the wind. Yes, it certainly won’t happen overnight, but it’ll be so worth it in the end.
“With motivation, discipline and commitment, you can do it!” Geoffrey said. “Move the boundary marker a bit further every time, and in so doing, you’ll step out of your comfort zone. Someone once said about shooting, ‘get comfortable being uncomfortable’.”
Apart from being at one with nature, it’s also a case of skill and precision in hunting. Many of our members are first and foremost hunters. And they all share one fundamental skill: good aim.
Chief ranger Geoffrey Coetzee emphasised that to become a better hunter means improving your shot accuracy. “And the only way to do this is practice, more practice, time and patience. Some of our members are good shots naturally, but others must work at getting good aim. There’s no better place than the shooting range to practice your aim regularly. Start with static targets and then move on to moving targets.”
Don’t underestimate the importance of holding your gun properly. Fact is, you might be caught off-guard by how powerfully the firearm recoils after being fired. Proper gun holding entails resting the rifle stock firmly on your shoulders. Reason being, this controls the force of the bullet being fired somewhat. And as for the trigger, squeeze it tightly while using the force on your wrist and fingers too.
Importantly, to be a good hunter, you also need to have a steady hand and sharp eye. “But most crucially, it’s also a matter of minutes of angles equal to 1/60th degrees, known as MOA. Just remember, one minute equals 1/60th degrees in an angle.
You may think that 1/60th of a degree seems too small. “However, with bullets going so fast and furiously, calculating minutes can make a huge difference. The simple explanation is: MOA helps you measure the bullet drop,” Geoffrey said.
The simple math formula to calculate for bullet drop is: Target distance (metres) / (divide by) 100 = mm per 1 MOA at that distance.
The equipment imperative
You’ll thank your stars when you invest in the right rifle and scope. And that doesn’t necessarily mean expensive equipment. Our rangers will gladly advise on the best out there.
Before buying, read the reviews and check for weight, grip and overall feel. In terms of the scope, do get one that’s versatile in providing a good view from various ranges.
Geoffrey said, “Practice controlling your breathing. Hold your breath while aiming and while taking a shot. When aiming down, take slow and deep breaths so that your heart rate doesn’t get too affected. It’s especially important to control your breathing before pulling the trigger. That has a lot to do with shooting accuracy.”
Study and practice the above and soon you’ll have skill and precision in hunting.
The case for trumping criminals is simple: be proactive in acquiring a firearm and learning self-defence skills. So says Marksman’s Nest chief ranger, Geoffrey Coetzee.
“Recent reports have highlighted that criminals are becoming brazen, robbing people at gunpoint in their own homes and specifically targeting homes that are woman-led,” he said.
“My advice is simply, don’t be another statistic. So, be proactive in acquiring a firearm and learning self-defence skills. Many people think, ‘I’ve never been attacked, so why should I own or carry a gun?’. Well, think of it this way: it’s the same as saying, I’ve never had a flat tyre, so why should I carry a spare tyre in my car?”
“Even if you do indeed own a gun and enjoy some shooting sports at a firearm shooting range, it’s simply not the same as engaging in a gunfight. The stress when you realise that you’re in mortal danger is indescribable. And when the criminal attack starts, what you could have done or should have done really doesn’t matter very much. That’s when self-defence training is invaluable.
The day might come
“Of course you may never have to fire your handgun to defend yourself or your family, but there’s always a very real possibility that the day will come.”
It’s a good start to own a gun. But by the same token, having basic gun safety and marksmanship training is essential. All-important though is that your commitment should be to get top-quality training in self-defence.
You couldn’t ask for a better place than Marksman’s Nest in Malmesbury. All our rangers are highly qualified, while Geoffrey was a former mechanised infantry captain in the SANDF. Here, he notched up extensive military operational experience over the course of two decades, as well as training recruits, troops, plus junior and senior military staff.
Finally, having a self-defence mindset gives us a foundation for dealing with a threat. Most of all, in the case of an attack, it also gives us confidence to act as the situation unfolds. This soundly states the case for trumping criminals with self-defence handgun training.