VIDEO: Taking aim ... Davi's first time firing a shotgun
The minute it was announced that I would be shooting guns for my next assignment, I was met with jealousy and disapproving looks from several of my peers.
Some gave me these looks because they were 'anti-gun'; some were upset that they would not be able to come with me on the assignment; and others were just plain terrified that I would be taught how to properly use a gun.
For years, I have been asking a friend to allow me to accompany him to the shooting range without a positive response. His only reply was, "some want to go range and some are deranged."
Jamaica Skeet Club
I walked into the Jamaica Skeet Club in Portmore, St Catherine, confident, thinking I had vast knowledge of guns. Boy, was I wrong! I had no idea how to properly handle a Beretta shotgun. I didn't have the slightest clue about the proper stance, and I certainly had no idea about which one of my eyes was the 'stronger' of the two. The only thing I did know was how to pull the trigger.
Thankfully, Khaleel Azan, president of The Jamaica Skeet Club and national coach, was on hand to impart the fundamentals. I was excited to get the lesson under way, but first, I had to go through 'Gun Safety 101'. He showed me how to properly remove the gun from the case and how to load it.
By then, I was ready to start firing off some rounds. But, once again, I had jumped the gun. Azan pointed out that I needed to first test which eye was the stronger - a seemingly simple test known as 'eye dominance'. I was made to stand holding a piece of paper away from my face, with a hole in the centre. Whichever eye picked up the hole would be my dominant eye. At first it was my left, then it was my right. I was a bit confused but Azan told me my vision is central, so either eye could work.
Finally, it was time to get these guns blazing. Azan and I walked outside to the shooting area looking like the stars of the next installation of the Mission Impossible franchise. The only thing missing was the theme song, but I was humming it in my mind. After inserting my disposable ear plugs, I was psyched up and ready to go.
Guns locked and loaded
The gun was loaded, my stance was perfect. I gently rested the heel against my shoulder, my cheek to the stock and I stared down the length of the barrel, target in sight. I was ready. I was prepared. I fired. '"BOOYAHKAH!" (I really could not adequately describe the sound more accurately from this, lol) and the metal came tumbling down.
My loud scream permeated the air, replacing the bang of the fired gun. I ran, screaming around Azan, who was quite impressed that I had hit the bull's eye on my first try. To prove it was not a fluke, I reloaded the gun and took aim at a second target.
Once again, the metal plate was no match for me. It was blasted into oblivion. I was a modern day Annie Oakley.
The third time, however, was not the charm. By now, it appeared I was a little overconfident and overzealous, firing at the target and missing by a long shot. It stood there mockingly, as if jeering me - daring me to try again. Undaunted, I tried again and the metal plate was left laying on the ground like when David took down Goliath. Once again, I'm sure my deafening screams could be heard echoing as far as the tollway.
Azan was extremely impressed and promoted me to the real test - a moving target, where clay pigeons (discs) were deployed into the air. The aim was to shoot them before they hit the ground. Azan demonstrated the technique a few times and, in my mind, it was quite easy.
He assisted me with my first two attempts and, of course, the clay pigeons were obliterated. For the third attempt, I was on my own. I pulled back my hair, lined up the gun, yelled "pull!" for the target to be deployed and watched in amazement as it sailed across the sky unharmed. I was not happy.
Azan challenged me to redeem myself and I could not let him down. With renewed confidence, I reloaded, aimed, yelled "pull!" and fired. I began screaming, confident the target had been hit. Bits and pieces of clay rained down, signalling my success.
"That's my girl! Congrats!" Azan said.
"Am I not the best student ever?" I enquired.
"You're getting there," he said with a smile.