ifour’s Christmas movie madness continued with our seasonal staff outing. We downed tools and popped up the road for a team pizza at lunch time (always a sure-fire favourite with the studio), swapped some greatly amusing Secret Santa gifts (rainbow unicorn kitten, anyone?) and had a relaxed team catch up prior to the competition hotting up for the afternoons events.
We travelled down to Hastings in convoy; each excited about the five different target sports we were going to try. We had a 4 hour session to try axe throwing, archery, crossbow, live rim fire rifles and target air rifles and arrived with a little trepidation, after all, these are real weapons! But we needn't have worried as the team at 1066 Target Sports were ready and willing to give us all the guidance and training we needed to really make the most of the session.
Films like Hunger Games, Lord of the Rings and James Bond make the action sequences look effortless, but target sports are something that can take years to master. But as always, ifour were willing jump in and give it a try!
We were split into two teams and the iTeam headed off to the air rifles and Team Ho Hum kicked off with archery. Not only was there some friendly rivalry between the two halves of the studio team but the instructors also took sides! Each activity followed the same format of safety rules, a brief overview of how we were to use each weapon and what we were trying to achieve, followed by test turns so we could get used to the weapon. Then it got down to the serious business – points scoring! Each activity had a scored element, mainly on the accuracy and tightness of the grouping, meaning that on some of activities it didn’t matter if you hit the bull's-eye as long as you kept hitting near the same point. Along with the traditional bull's-eye targets, we also got to shoot swinging paddles, a forest scene with animal silhouettes you pulled back up with strings and a zombie torso along with speed shooting tests. Each activity involved a mix of serious target shots and fun games, but most importantly, the scoring of points throughout!
We had it drilled into us the importance of consistency and tips such as breathing out when shooting and squeezing the trigger rather than pulling. Simple tips, but they did really help us achieve half decent results (for beginners!). Whilst we learnt that none of us would probably survive in the Hunger Games, we did discover that you don’t want to be on the wrong side of Graeme with a throwing axe, Sarah is demon speed shooter, Fiona is most likely to take over from Robin Hood with a bow and arrow and Melissa is brilliant with a crossbow (zombies beware!).
When both teams had completed all 5 tasks, it was time to reveal who the winners were. Graeme had scored highest overall, Sarah won the speed shooting challenge and James unfortunately scored lowest, although one of his targets magically had 10 holes from only 5 shots and couldn’t be scored. Team Ho Hum won, pipping the iTeam to the post with less than a hundred points, and the glass trophy is now proudly on the display in the studio.
There was something for everyone and we all really enjoyed our experience, even if we’re not quite ready for our own action sequences just yet. A huge thank you to the guys and girls at 1066 Target Sports for making it such a fun evening. We’re already planning our next visit.
6 things we learnt from 1066 Target Sports
1) Firing live ammunition on the rim rifle range smells very Christmassy (well, like crackers)
2) When looking down a scope, its much easier to shoot your neighbours target than your own
3) Hunger Games has a lot to answer for – archery is not quite as easy as Katniss makes it look
4) A crossbow is the perfect weapon for shooting zombies
5) Axe throwing is, again, not as easy as Lord of the Rings makes out. Unless you are Graeme.
6) It's not about the size of your weapon, it's what you do with it.