"What, you mean shooting as in guns?", I asked back.
Yes, came the reply. He explained to me that the company we hire to handle the security at the project site is holding a shooting practice for their staff at a nearby shooting range and he thought that I might be interested to watch. Perhaps, if we are lucky, they may even allow us to handle the weapons. I have never done any real gun shooting before so I decided it might be a good experience to see them practice.
The shooting range was about 12 km from the project site. When we arrived, the practice session was already under way. We could hear the loud boom of shotguns being fired away. I was introduced to the security company's senior staff and also to the Royal Malaysian Police officers who were there to oversee the practice. I was told that all live firearms practice were carried out under RMP supervision.
There were four shooting lanes prepared in the open field. Each line had a simple table where the firearm and ammunition was placed. Down the other end at 25m away is the target board on which the printed bull's-eye paper is stapled on. After some of the security staff had done a few rounds, we were then invited to have a go.
Before holding the shotgun, a police officer briefed us on the safety and handling aspects. A senior staff of the security company acted as my instructor and stood behind me to guide me through the whole process. The shotgun being used was a Mossberg Maverick pump gun. Three rounds were first loaded into the chamber and I was shown how to place the gun against my cheek and look down the barrel to aim. When I was ready, my instructor told me to release the safety, place my finger round the trigger and fire.
I squeezed the trigger and heard a loud Boom! I immediately felt the hard kick of the shotgun's recoil on my shoulder. Whoa! Although I felt the pain, there was also a rush of thrill.
I couldn't see if I had hit the target but I heard my instructor tell me to pump the gun to eject the spent shell and load a new round into the chamber. Aim a bit lower, he said. I then fired off another two rounds, re-load the gun with 3 new rounds and shoot again. Aim, squeeze, boom, pump and aim again. Total of 6 shots.
At the end of the firing, the guns were checked to make sure no live rounds remain in them and safety lock re-instated. We then walked down to the target end to view our handiwork. The target paper was peppered with tiny holes caused by the pellets from the shotgun ammo. My first shot was a bit high but the remaining 5 shots all hit the paper, with a few quite close to the centre. Not bad, my instructor said. If my target had been an animal or a criminal, 'pasti rebah' were his words. Not that I really want to be in a situation to be letting off a firearm at any man or animal.
I thought that was the end of our session but I was told to hang on for while because they'll be practising with handguns next. There were two types of automatic pistols on offer, a Sig Sauer and a Glock. I chose the Glock. A similar briefing was held before we were allowed to hold the guns. My instructor showed me how to load the bullet clip into the gun, hold it properly and aim at the target. When I was ready, he told me to release the safety and fire away.
The gun let out a bang as I squeezed off my first shot. I couldn't see where it went. Again, my instructor told me to aim lower. I re-aimed and let off the remaining 9 rounds in rapid succession. At the end of the firing, we were shown how to unload the empty clip and the instructor checked to make sure no live round remain in the gun.
We then made our way down to the target end. Fresh target paper had replaced the ones we punctured during the shotgun session. My target paper showed 6 small holes. That meant 4 shots had gone haywire. But of the 6, two shots were just about 3 inches from the centre bull's eye. Not bad for a first-timer, not bad at all. The instructor said that I had a natural skill for aiming and shooting.
Well, natural or not, and exciting as it was... I don't think I'll take up shooting as a serious hobby. I still have this uncertainty about guns. Maybe I'll take up archery instead.
|The pump gun and ammo|
|Aim, squueze and fire!|