Sharp shot!

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Who says you can’t be the next John Wayne – having a bunch of fun while learning or improving vital self-defence skills?

No matter if you don’t know your Glock from your Colt, if you want to learn to shoot like a pro, improve marksman skills or simply have a fondness for firearms, Marksman’s Nest Firearms Training Centre & Shooting Range near Malmesbury is just the ticket. What’s more, not only is it a safe instruction-orientated environment, but also wildly entertaining.

That said, the sport of target shooting requires concentration, self-discipline and great self-control. Being relaxed and focused is key to handling firearms.

Shooting at a mark as a test of skill began with archery circa 1300, long before the advent of firearms. Rifles were first used in warfare and later in hunting, but because of the shadowy early history of firearms, it’s not known when target shooting began. The earliest recorded shooting match – probably using matchlocks – is one held in Eichstäat, Bavaria, in 1477.

Recent upgrades have locked, loaded and led Marksman’s Nest to the cutting edge of shooting tutelage. According to range officer and chief instructor Geoffrey Coetzee (who established the centre in 2016), the heart of the package offerings involves close-quarter and defensive handgun training. “We’re fastidious about the detail, ensuring that participants learn how to use a firearm responsibly and make split-second decisions.

“Visitors either bring their own guns for target practice, or they can use our guns. It must be said that we have a collection that Tom Clancy would be quite envious of! We offer coaching and instruction for individuals and groups; basic to advanced training – target, clay & scenario; refresher competency training, a firearm self-defence application course, combat and tactical training; a wide range of firearms and ammunition; advice; support; events; and competitions.”

Packages include safety glasses, ear protection, range fees, briefing, instruction, firearms, ammunition and targets. And rest assured, not only are instructors qualified and SAPFTC-licensed, but the range complies fully with all rules, regulations and national prescriptions. Also, it goes without saying that the necessary COVID-19 protocols are in place.

So, while having a blast you’ll learn how to carry your firearm; build confidence; get to grips with one-up, anti-hijacking skills, situational awareness and developing a self-defence mindset.

Geoffrey, a former mechanised infantry officer and company commander with 1 South African Infantry Battalion, said their most popular package was the close-quarter defensive training course. “We cover instant decision-making, legalities, anti-hijacking skills, hand-to-hand combat, advanced handgun skills, home invasions, rape intelligence, situational awareness, surviving a road-side emergency, medical emergencies and attack response.”

He emphasised the importance of having respect for firearms and that developing competency in handling firearms was imperative in the South African context.

To ensure you look as sharp as your shots, wear loose-fitting comfortable clothes, sensible shoes, a hat and something warm.

Packages range from R450 upwards and advance bookings are essential. Phone Geoffrey on 082 7172197. GPS 33°29’55.61″S, 18°41’48.44″E.