The International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) African Championships is underway at Kirigiti Shooting Range in Kiambu County where over 250 shooters from 13 countries are competing in the tournament hosted by the NGAO Kenya Defensive Pistol Federation.
The tournament, which kicked off on April 4 with the Chief & Safety Officer’s shooting, will end on Sunday with participation from all shooters. On April 5 and April 6, it was Safety Officer’s Shooting while Friday has been set as the rest day. “We have been traveling internationally participating in the sport for the last 6 years but we are now hosting this competition here thanks to Government support,” said Chairman of the NGAO Kenya Defensive Pistol Federation Martin Chengo.
“Our association consists of both civilian gun owners and members of the disciplined forces.” Shooting sports tests a number of skills, including accuracy, precision, and speed in shooting while using different types of firearms. Nairobi Area-based Inspector Aden Mohammed was among the officials that welcomed shooters into the country.
He said that the sport has bridged the gap between civilians and the police killing many stereotypes about guns. IDPA was started in 2012 to bring together civilians who saw the need to train and enjoy the sport. “I was one of the first uniformed police to arrive at Dusit during the terrorist attack in 2019. When I got on the ground I found a lot of familiar faces, from our shooting club,” said Mohammed. “Civilians are always first on sight during an incident so if we train more of them to safely handle guns our country will be safer.”
The sport is conducted using live ammunition, making it inherently very dangerous, which is safety officers are always deployed to ensure safety measures are complied with. “We are a community of safe firearm handlers and our motto is to ensure safe firearm handling across the nation and we envisage to be advocating the same across Africa,” he said.
Some of the guidelines include a gun never pointing anywhere except down range. This applies whether the gun is loaded or not and the finger is always off the trigger unless when firing. Gun owners are also told to never draw their weapons unless in danger and to always conceal them.