By Martin Renshi, september 2012
Many of you have been through the first POMW (Project Old Modern Warrior) course or perhaps you have read all the articles online, which will have given you an understanding of why Shindenkan has added the modern firearms on the CV. During the first POMW course we got a general introduction to firearms, the history, and the explanation of why we have taken firearms on board. POMW is, however, much more than this. The extended POMW course is also about obtaining qualifications to become a shooting instructor. All chief instructors in Shindenkan have passed a specific POMW course designed by Kimu Sensei, where he is passes on the unifying principle for shooting with firearms, so that the chief instructors can teach in the upcoming SDK rifle club. Here the Shindenkans students (who have already passed POMW 1 & 2) can maintain and improve their competencies while being guided by skilled instructors (something we believe is missing in several Danish rifle clubs. Shindenkan training for shooting instructors is strengthenedby POWM 3, where the instructors get three full days of training, as well as additional training at home, to achieve the necessary level of knowledge.
Monday 10 September 2012 at 12.00, POMW 3 kicked off. POMW 3 is exclusively training with live ammunition, i.e. with 9 mm pistols from a standing position. When shooting in motion we use the SIRT laser guns. I had been looking very much forward to the outdoor shooting, when it became too dark to stand in the booth at Sorø Skytteforening, where the shooting slots are between 18.30 and 21.00. The chief instructor and I had bought a CZ SP-01 with fibre-optic in the front, which works best in daylight. Therefore I was very excited when I left for Hanebjerg (Rooster Mountain) near Hillerød in the north of Sealand with all my equipment. The weather was wonderful and it was the last summer day of the year according the meteorologists. Therefore it was a pleasure to spend the most of the day outdoor. We were to train with the IPSC targets as the POMW also is targeted at the IPSC A-licence course (shooting while moving) and the following A+licence. This licence is the highest licence that on can get and is also considered a course to become a judge where safety comes first. I had attended my indoor training carefully according to Kimu Sensei’s POMW process manual, so I hoped it would be reflected in my firing. I was also excited to see the other shooters, as we were to pass the A-licence exam as a team, just as we did with the theoretical part of RRCAMP-POMW in Prague. First we had to build a shooting range, which on the first day of training, was a rather simple construction of rafts with 1-2 IPSC targets placed in the middle. Within shooting there are certain concepts that I will try to explain in this article 🙂 the first is the ‘fear of recoil’ which is a peculiar one. It is not that you are afraid of firing, but instinctively you move the pistol at the time of firing, for example by lifting the barrel so that the target is hit higher than anticipated. Kimu Sensei tried to ‘cure’ us of this fear, by using some hard ammunition like the one the military uses (obtained in a legal manner). The point was that once we would get used to this sort of ammunition, it would be easier to use the more ordinary ammunition, and thereby you would get rid of the ‘fear of recoil’.
The first day the plan was to shoot from 12.30 until we were done, which meant a good 4 hours of shooting. During these hours we all managed to fire around 600 ‘good’ shots, except Claus Shiso, who was on holiday in the US. The meaning of a ‘good shot’ is that you make the best out of every single shot. By doing this we followed one of the principles of the POMW shooting technics, i.e. every shot counts and is to be assessed by you. The first exercises were shooting outdoor on a shooting range on IPSC targets.We began at a distance of 7 metres, so that we could get familiar with the surroundings and this type of shooting. The most difficult and essential part of firing a pistol is the trigger and in particular the double action. The double action is a system in firearms where the trigger both cocks and releases the hammer. A single action is when the user pulls the hammer back with his free hand or thumb; the trigger pull only releases the hammer (this is why it is called a semi-automatic weapon). As it is more difficult to fire ‘single action’ we started by leaving the hammer down after every shot. This helped us in getting control over the hammer. This control is a major safety factor in IPSC and in all other shooting, and it is being demonstrated in the unloading procedure that many of you have already seen during POWM 1 & 2: Unload, show clear, hammer down. The IPSC targets are elongatedandhexagonal in order to simulate the upper torso of a human being. The targets are not shaped as humans as IPSC is used for sports only. There are three zones (alpha, charlie and delta) where alpha gives the highest score and would be the equivalent to head and chest. Kimu Sensei marked the targets with yellow tape in the center to help us aim, at this first trial of firing with live ammunition on the IPSC targets. Kimu Sensei also demonstrated his skills, and despite claiming to be ‘rusty after passing over to riffle and marksmantraining’ he placed 2 shots within second’s right in the middle. They looked like ‘snake eyes’, which is in fact the term for two shots fired immediately after each other. With this demonstration he had also shown us the ‘reset control’ that we were to practice for the rest of that day. A pistol has a mechanic reset, cocking ones pistol, so that the following shot is possible i.e. a minor ‘clearance’ in the trigger. You can practice pulling the trigger by taking the ‘clearance’ between the shots i.e. while you take sight after the first shot (recoil control) you already take the first part of the reset so that you can fire the following shot immediately after. Once you master this technique you can fire 6 shots within a couple of seconds that even are grouped. However, we must learn to walk before we can run, so we started by practicing the double action. I fired my first shot and was very pleased when it hit the yellow tape, but my second shot did not exactly give me the ‘snake eyes.’ 🙂 We shot from a standing base position with the pistol pointing 45 degrees, as it is not allowed to draw from the holster and shoot before you have passed the A-license. During the day we increased the distance by 12, 15, 20 and 25 meters. The further we got away from the target the larger the dispersion i.e. the distance between the bullet holes. This means that the longer the distance the more time you need to take aim. It is quite hard to fire this many shots, and at a point I discovered that I was bleeding from my hand. It was my triggerfinger that simply had cracked after the repetitious return of the trigger after each shot :-). We typically fired 2 magazines at each distance, 36 shots in total before moving backwards to the next distance line. We all had 4 magazines, so we had to reload after every 72 shots. Reloading is very hard on the thumb as well as time consuming, but we used this time to reflect over our performance and to get a sip of water. As you know, we do not waste a minute at Shindenkan 🙂 All these shots of course meant loads of empty holsters. Luckily these holsters can fortunately be reused and thereby save you some money. Kimu Sensei had gotten us this sort of ammunition, and it the required that we gathered the empty holsters after shooting. This is how I found out what ‘range chicken’ means: people walking around with their faces down looking for holsters with a similarity to chicken picking corn. On this first day we also practiced transitions i.e. you shift between various targets. You might remember that we did some of this on the POMW 1 & 2 courses. The difference here was that we were shooting with with live ammunition, and that there were different stations with targets placed above each other and with different distances. One particular station – a steel target (30 x 40 cm) placed approximately 35 meters from us, was very challenging for most of us. The hard part was not the target alone, but the fact that we had to change focus from a close-by target and immediately after to a very distant target. That it was a challenge became very obvious when we afterwards assessed our ‘shot pictures’ that Kimu Sensei had made a virtue out of all day. By analyzing these ‘shot pictures’ you find out what types of mistakes you do when handling the pistol. This was yet another issue that we had been introduced to during the POMW 1 & 2 courses. Since the steel target was the one that created the must problems I decided to use my last magazines practicing on this target with a 51 metres distance. We were allowed to choose what we wanted to practice and Jens Hanshi-dai and I chose this one. Kimu Sensei, however, decided to transform this into a shoot-out exercise. The winner was the one who first emptied his magazines, you were allowed to shoot as long as you hit the target, but if you missed once the shooting was passed on the other contestant. We had a lot of fun and the additional pressure made us realise that it is possible to shoot from 51 meters and actually hit the target. At this distance there is a notable time-gap between the firing and the ‘hit’. Søren Renshi and Kjeld Renshi-dai had originally decided to practice transitions but once they discovered what we were doing they joined us instead. It was a great day for shooting and I learned a lot and got lot of ‘ homework’ to do. It was hard to fire for 4 hours, but as Kimu Sensei said: you might as well get used to it – you might be tired today – but the A-licence course is two running days of 8 hours. I left in a hurry as I had a class in Korsør the same evening. I was pretty tired and beaten up when I finally got home. My back was aching (a relapse) probably as a consequence of all the recoils.
The two other days of the POMW 3 course were planned for 24 September and 1 October. This would enable us to get 3 days of training before the important IPSC A-license exam that we were to take 13 and 14 October 2012.The second day was much like the first day. It was interesting to see whether our ‘shot pictures’ had improved compared to last time, in particular regarding the transitions, where we had a tendency to ‘pull’ the shots out in the direction of our arms. To Kimu Sensei and the rest of us it was a pleasure to see that we had improved a lot. To learn firing while moving we used SIRTs to practice moving right before firing our second shot. It is standard to fire twice as the IPSC target is to be hit twice in order to obtain the maximal score. However, as you are to move to the following station, before the second shot, you are basically hanging in the air so that you can move forward quickly. Once you master this, it is very elegant 🙂 but we probably looked rather silly being beginners at this. We also got to practice while moving forwards, sideways and backwards while shooting. The important part here is to fire with shorter and shorter timespan as you approach the target. When moving sideways the timespan between shots need to be the same so that you do not reveal that you are changing position. Much of the training this day was to practice the correct flow. As Kimu Sensei said: ‘you can hurry with everything but the firing’, i.e. you can run fast, pull fast but take your time to fire correctly. The day passed by very quickly, and we managed to fire no less than 725 shots each, and we were just as beaten up as on the first day of training.
The last day was planned so that there was a recap of approximately 200 shots from the first two days.After this we continued the firing while moving – again using the SIRTs, but we were also allowed to practice on the individual stations (from a standing position) so that we could get an idea of the exam. The only thing we were forbidden to do was running around with a loaded gun and pull from the holster. After the recap (where I arrived late due to my work) we began the shooting while moving. The weather had changed to the worse, but luckily we were spared from a complete storm. It was good to try firing in the rain, as it could also be raining on the day of the exam. I was allowed to fire some shots on a target, while the others rested and reloaded. Kimu Sensei gave me an intensive lesson, where his eyes did not leave me. Therefore I was very pleased when my two first shots were ‘snake eyes’. This was a great beginning of the day. This day we had to learn how to move around, through and under the barricades. It is pretty interesting and amusing to fire through a small hole placed in knee-hight, as not everybody is flexible enough to get down and take proper aim and actually hit something from this height 🙂 The last hour of the day we spent practicing on a stage with three stations. It contained several types of IPSC targets, poppers and plates that you normally will meet. There also exist moving target but we did not get to try those. The first station consisted of a barricade where you were to shoot around it and hit two different targets. At the following station you were to shoot upwards (above the barricade) and beneath the barricade, then do a long run – a so-called ‘fault-line’ before shooting 4 IPSC targets and 5 metal targets in the shape of plates and poppers. The whole idea was to make a long run at the last station in order to shoot from a short distance, or trust that you could hit them from a long distance. I chose to run towards the target and then take a shot as did the most of the others. When we got to do it a second time, I got the satisfying time of 34.1 seconds firing around 26 shots. Unfortunately a couple of second slower than Jens Hanshi-dai. It was amazing to be allowed to fire while moving on a real stage and I am looking very much forward to doing it again with live ammunition 🙂 we ended the day by emptying some magazines on poppers, as it had proved to be the discipline that caused us the most problems. This made us more comfortable with this discipline. The last day was more than an hour longer than the previous two, which I felt when driving back to Korsør. Once I arrived the students had already started and were well on track.
In addition to the dry firing with SIRT, I managed to fire a total of 1725 9 mm shots during the three days. It was an extremely good, exciting and well-prepared course, with no compromises in its approach to firing, as is always the case when designed by Kimu Sensei.I feel well prepared to the up-coming exam and hope to pass it so that we can get some competent shooting instructors at Shindenkan. I am looking forward to seeing all participants from the POMW 1 & 2 in the SDK rifle club, where we will train the POMW shooting techniques and get a chance of showing our capacities. WHO CAN?