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The master shooter


National Gun Owners Association, member of Ngao-Kenya, Kenya’s top marksman, Robert Nyamongo, at the Nairobi Social House on June 9, 2021. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG

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  • Robert Nyamongo practiced Taekwondo for 17 years, reaching the top of the Third Dan, black.
  • When age slipped and younger men started kicking his butt, he knew it was time to get off the ring.
  • A sporty guy, he needed something to fill the physical and disciplinary void that Taekwondo had left.

Robert Nyamongo practiced Taekwondo for 17 years, reaching the top of the Third Dan, black. When age slipped and younger men started kicking his butt, he knew it was time to get off the ring.

A sporty guy, he needed something to fill the physical and disciplinary void that Taekwondo had left. He picked up a firearm and shot to become the first black African to achieve the highest rank of Master at the International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) Championship held in South Africa four years ago.

He is currently a celebrated trainer for the Kenyan National Gun Owners Association (Ngao) and mentors the best shooters in Kenya. He is preparing for the 2021 IDPA championship in Kenya, the first time it has been held outside of South Africa.

The competition will bring together 300 civilians and disciplined forces from across Africa at the Kirigiti firing range in Kiambu.

It’s funny, nobody calls him Rob or Robert or Nyamongo. Most call him an “engineer” because that is what he has done for 24 years and his company, Site Systems, is known for numerous projects, the latest of which is The Address, a modern retail space on Nairobi’s Waiyaki Way. .

He knew BIKO JACKSON in the Social House.

***

I suspect I have a mild case of road rage. I get agitated pretty fast. Do you think I can be allowed to have a firearm or is it possible that I am seen as unstable?

[Chuckles] Before Matiang’i, he may have, but now he must undergo a psychiatric check-up before he is handed a firearm. There is now a comprehensive investigation for all firearm holders.

Everyone needs to get a certificate of good conduct from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, a certificate from the Mathari Mental Hospital or a recognized psychiatrist, a letter from the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), bank statements, I guess, because a gun is needed. fire to protect themselves. something. I am a contractor so we handle a lot of money so I needed one. So if you don’t pass the mental test, you can’t get a firearm.

Well, I will probably fail. How was that transition from martial arts to shooting competitively? Did you find certain skills in Taekwondo useful for shooting a gun?

The transition was quite easy because if you have played sports, you are fast. It all has to do with balance, good grip and discipline. Footwork and upper body strength are very helpful, especially on competitive shots, because you do a lot of repetitive shots, use energy, and run a lot.

Does being a good engineer help you to be a good shooter in any way?

They share a lot. As a scientist, you can easily identify the mistake a student is making while shooting. As an engineer, you are trained to observe. We use optical instruments in engineering as well as shooting. But I don’t think an engineer is necessarily a better shot than, say, a pharmacist.

Who makes better shooters, women or men?

Women. This is because women have very good finger dexterity. Everything about accuracy depends on how smooth you are on the trigger.

You don’t pull the trigger. The men pull the trigger while the women caress it and that is what makes them very good snipers.

In range, women learn much faster than men. For the pistol, accuracy is about 70 percent of trigger control, so if you have dexterity in your fingers, then that’s fine.

So, do you think pianists can be good shooters too?

[Chuckles] Could.

Why do you think some people like guns, what is the fascination?

It’s the movies. Also, we all played cowboys or cops and robbers.

What fascinates you about him?

The science of it; competitive shooting is a science. I also love the trips he comes with; I have traveled all over the world. I have been to the United States, South Africa half a dozen times. I’ve been all over the country. But it’s like golf, it’s a hobby. Something to flee for the weekend.

When you talk about precision, how accurate are you now at this level?

I can hit this helmet with a single attempt, one shot, from 70 meters away. Seventy meters is almost the length of a football field.

No way!

Yes. And with a gun, I won’t miss it. A drink. With a rifle, it is much easier because the rifle has a long barrel, the longer the barrel, the more accurate it is. The pistol is the hardest firearm to shoot and master.

Did you grow up surrounded by guns?

No. I grew up in Nairobi; he went to Kilimani Elementary, Nairobi School and the University of Nairobi. My father wanted me to be a doctor. So I rebelled against that, and I loved my dad, but I chose civil engineering. I didn’t even know what civil engineering was, but I loved it.

Are you good at it?

I’m very good at it. I am well known in the construction industry. I have managed some of the most iconic hotels and structures in Kenya.

What is your favorite weapon?

A glock. I like it because it is light and very accurate.

Have you taught your wife how to shoot?

You don’t even want to look at a firearm, much less want to shoot. [Laughter]. She just wants nothing to do with it. I have two sons, ages 12 and 14, and they are fascinated by firearms, but one is more fascinated by cars than anything else. The other is a bookworm. [Chuckles]

How far can you take this talent of yours or how far can it take you?

I can become a professional, but that doesn’t feed my family. This is my hobby. Professional shooting is a very expensive sport. One must concentrate on what he feeds his family. So, I am very busy with my construction business.

Have you ever had to point a gun at someone?

No, and I hope I never have to. However, I have used my skills in martial arts.

You are 49 years old, what did you enjoy the most about your 40?

Financial security [Chuckles] Just watch my children grow up. Reaching the peak of my engineering career. Managing the largest projects in the country. People who seek me out to handle difficult projects. People who call me to train their staff.

I look forward to seeing my kids in college in my 50s, teaching more Kenyans in firearms skills. I have taught this to many people. I have interacted with most of the disciplinary forces. Kenya Defense Forces, DCI, General Service Unit (GSU), coming for competitive training. They are true professionals.

What’s your biggest fear?

[Long pause] Coronavirus I mean, I am not going to get HIV / AIDS.

[Laughter] I have no other fears.

What do you think is your purpose? Why are you on this planet?

My purpose is to take care of my family and contribute positively to society. I do a lot of charity work. I also train many students in engineering and construction management.

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