I'm a gun-shy guy. Tony Brogden is trying to help me get over that. An Olympic-class trap shooter, he is quietly telling me how to hold and point a 12-gauge double-barrelled shotgun.
It's heavier than I thought - about 4kg - and the wooden butt hurts jammed against where a skinny shoulder meets a sagging chest.
He's telling me to put my cheek firmly against the top of the stock so the right eye looks directly down the top of the barrel. This gun is now an extension of my finger and will go where I point it, says the coach.
But I'm struggling to assume that degree of intimacy with this standard trap gun. I'm scared of this beast.
A fear of noisy guns took root in my early 20s and grew. I heard the yarns about people taking their first shot ... losing a tooth or being knocked on to their bottom from the kick of a shotgun.
As a reporter, I was assigned to cover a live shell-firing exercise at Waiouru Army Camp. The boom of the howitzers caused a surprising reaction. My insides seemed to cave in. Successive booms had the same ... er ... loosening effect.
Even a nail gun's bang makes me jump. I fear anything that could potentially blow up in your face.
Of course, eventually something like that happened. In the rough and tumble of Auckland traffic, the airbag on the steering wheel inflated with a hell of a bang centimetres from my face and the cordite powder used to blast out the bag burned my arms.
Holding the shotgun on this fear factor assignment at the Waitemata Clay Target Club range in Kumeu, I'm nervy and apprehensive.
The best strategy for coping seems to be listening closely to the coach's tips on safe firearms handling and technique. The gun barrel is pointing just over the roof of the bunker in front of me from where the clay targets - which are like orange frisbees - are launched.
Check my stance, check the position of the gun at my shoulder. Now it's time to have that first shot.
Trap shooters say "pull" to signal when they are ready. I shout out and the target appears in front of a line of trees and I pull the trigger.
The gun pushes back into my shoulder but not as forcefully as I had imagined. The bang is muffled by earplugs.
With these concerns now mentally deemed no big deal, I can focus on actually hitting the target.
I have 24 shots left.
I hit a couple of targets and the coach says encouragingly that I nearly hit some others.
But I'm disappointed that at those times I forget to do what I'm told.
I must point ahead of the moving target and fire. Trying to aim it like a rifle means the gun stops while the target carries on.
This is not like fishing where you cast your line and try your luck. In this sport, you are supposed to know where the shot will go exactly. You make your luck.
Clay target trap shooting
• 12-gauge "under and over" shotgun is commonly used.
• Weighs 4kg and fires cartridges of lead pellets.
• Swarms of pellets fly at 300m a second and spread a metre.
• Clay target spins like a frisbee and is launched at 80km/h.
• Most targets are broken at a distance of 35m.
• A round of trap is 25 targets.