This weekend I did something so crazy! The most crazy thing on the planet? Nah. But crazy for me! I went and shot guns. GUNS! GUNS I TELL YOU! While I am pro gun education, I can’t say I’m a fan of guns and would never want to own one myself. In fact, the less guns there are in the world the better. I hadn’t even ever thought about where there was a shooting range in Cape Town! But, we had a staff outing and since it fell on a boy to organise this is what he picked! So on Saturday morning we went off to the Glencairn gun range to see what it was all about…
As to be expected, we were asked to sign an indemnity form. As it turns out, the gun range is in an amazing location – a quarry overlooking the pretty, glistening ocean. It was quite spectacular. Having said that, every time I heard guns going off I would jump out of my skin! So unpredictable and I’d get a fright every time!
We moved to the target range that had been allocated to us. We had a very nice instructor who taught us about the weapons, a little bit of their history and set them up for us to use. The whole time it was pretty nerve-wracking because you know one mistake could make a major change in your world.
We all ran to the bottom of the range and wrote names on our target sheets. We then all then took turns shooting the same gun. Here it’s an old school AK47 and this is what we used first. It was set up on the table, on a tripod (or whatever the correct term is) and were taught to aim and then attempted to shoot our targets. I was pretty pleased as all 5 of my bullets hit my target sheet!
Our next ‘assignment’ was to walk and shoot. We were each given our own magnum and whichever gun your magnum fit into (either old school AK47 or new school AK47 – much lighter and easier to manoeuvre) you would then use. I was happy to use the new school one. We then had to just hold the gun (no table to balance on) and try to aim using our own strength (if that makes sense!). Again I was quite pleased as all 5 of my bullets hit my target.
We then used hand guns and shot in pairs. Side by side we each took turns to shoot the target. I was aiming as best I could, but the loud of the guns is so frikken loud than I kept jumping in my skin when my friend shot hers! I’d gather myself and slowly start to squeeze the trigger again and then BANG! She’d shoot first! This would give me a huge fright and I’d have to start again! Eventually I managed to get a shot in edgeways, adrenalin pumping and did quite well again.
The last exercise was to walk and shoot. Naturally this is rather ‘glamorous’ as we all watch movie stars jumping around shooting guns (think Borne Identity), but now that I’ve done it I can vouch that it’s all Hollywood nonsense! The second you start consecutively shooting (as quickly as possible) the jolt of the gun forces you to totally lose target. I’m not saying you won’t hit it at all, but accuracy majorly decreases! It was fun, but ya. Don’t expect to be Chuck Norris any time soon!
Here our instructor walked alongside us, gently guiding us towards the target.
Things I Learnt About Guns from Shooting
- Guns are LOUD! YOH! You definitely need ear muffs or a silencer!
- The smell of gun powder. It’s one thing when you’re letting off Tom Thumbs, another thing when you know it’s from a weapon.
- Aiming is damn difficult! You might hit your target but you won’t be accurate.
- When the shell is hitting you in the chest, that’s your fault. If you don’t have a tight enough grip then the gun kicks back slightly. This tilting causes you to, essentially, flip the casing back at yourself. Hold tight and keep it sturdy.
- Be careful how you old a handgun. The chamber moves and can either send you to hospital to get stitches from sliding backwards OR the gun can totally flip and you can shoot yourself (due to the velocity). Hold handguns firmly, with two hands, to avoid any kick back errors.
Guns are DANGEROUS! Now that I’ve held 3 and shot them, I thought of all the people who go to war, the police officers, the murderers, the hunters, the parents with guns, it’s crazy. Guns are so, so, so, so, SO lethal! It’s crazy to think that if you just shoot your foot you could bleed out and die! Or accidentally shoot someone in their chest, lethal (never mind the head). I understand some people love guns, but I can only beg you to be as safe as possible when using them or showing them to others. They are the most powerful thing in the world, after STDs.
I really enjoyed learning about the guns and shooting them, but I don’t think I’ll be back any time soon. If you’re interested, book a session. It’s good for all of us to learn how to properly handle weapons, you just never know when you may need that education.
*Close up photographs by Steven Manicom.