By Asger Chandler, Jokokan Ballerup, 5. kyu Yakami Shinsei-ryu Karate-do, september 2013
If this is the first POMW course article you read, then it might be beneficial to read the other POMW articles first.
I will not write about the particular techniques that are used, the need for correct attitude, correct all-round attitude, correct double hand position, correct squeeze (tricker), correct use of aiming tools etc. I will not even mention the importance of safety, safety, safety. It is most likely mentioned in all the the other articles.
This does not mean, that these elements are not important. I am sure, that they are essential, to reach a good understanding of safety, shooting, and ultimately to reach a good result. In this article, I will try to share my thoughts and experiences from POMW, in the hope that it might benefit you, If and when, you choose to expand your knowledge bank, with this unique course.
I had no problem taking up shooting, since I already could see the logic, in adding pistol shooting, as a part of Karate training.
I like useful knowledge. And knowledge about battle and self defense. So – why not use guns in Karate?
Now I will shortly describe my experience from the course, my feelings, expectations, attitude, thoughts, contemplations and physical experiences. I will share, what I think that I could have done to improve my results.
I think POMW was hard, both physically and mentally.
Even with a good attitude, it is hard. Why? To hold focus, you must have a strong body – at least, stronger than I have. Most have back muscles so strong and well trained, like gello. The back is one of the most overlooked muscle groups, which I and most of my fellow attendees learned the hard way. A hurting back challenges your focus, and there is no mercy, when you shoot 500 rounds in a day.
After completion of POMW II, both my wife and I looked forward to POMW III.
We had been busy with our regular chores, and had not done our dry training, as we had been asked to. These things happen!
Following POMW II, what was our expectations to POMW III?
We were excited and expectant. To shoot with 9 mm instead of 0.22 (a much smaller projectile, with much less of a recoil).
In between the course days for POMW III, I had begun to strengthen my back muscles, in the hope to finally have the ability to hold my gun steady, and expand the time between each shot, without being so dependant on ”the force”. It was my experience that the best I could do, and what would give the best result, was to strengthen my back muscles. 500 rounds a day, would tire most of us. On the last day of the course, the improvement was great, and stayed that way, so the feeling, to be ”busted” in the back, was kept at bay, for a longer time.
It was interesting to follow my own evolvement. The correct attitude was at times, difficult to maintain. I was hard for me, after 6 hours of shooting, with an aching back, to keep a firm grip on the gun, with warm pistol shells hitting me, because they are shot sideways from the pistol of the shooter next to me, hits my glasses, hits my cheek, rolls inside my collar, under my shirt. It was difficult to maintain focus, and not just follow the constant thought:” what ever, just shoot, get this done”: Every time, the last hour of the day, the shooting just was not fun any more. To follow up on this whining, then that last hour of the day, where never the least interesting. If you looked at your own thoughts, reactions as well as results. I can recommend to wear a cap and a hood sweater, with the hood up, if you stand close to another shooter. It helps you maintain focus.
Something else that kept me from good focus, was the way the skin on my the hands, became increasingly
Worn thin, as well as the sore muscle reaction from the hands.
The large amount of shooting the first day, taught me to remember, short nails and to use bandages or heavy lotion between thump- and pointy finger. The benefit to having short nails becomes clear, after shooting a couple of hundred rounds, where the nails on the hand holding the gun, peels the skin of your other hand, which also holds the gun tight. Recoil or maybe your hand hold, can also wear of the skin between thump- and pointy finger. Two more factors affecting correct focus.
The instruction is to, only shot ”good shots”, as in ”not sloppy shots”, but the lower you concentration sinks, the closer you get to bad performance, or even become a safety hazard.
About guns and caliber:
9 mm contra cal. 0.22. There is no comparison, neither for my wife nor myself. We both preferred shooting 9 mm. We had already tried this during POMW II, and it was cool. It is a cool feeling – shooting a 9 mm gun – at least for me, who is new to shooting.
It is a ”kick” in more than one way. After having tried the CZ Shadow, knowing what to expect, it is in some ways easier to handle cal. 0.22 Smith and Wesson.
My biggest concern was that I could not really feel ”the trigger point” with the Smith and Wesson. Which resulted in the shot, surprising me. I found this to be irritating, since I quickly realized, that I had to find the target and shoot faster than I wanted to, but I saw no benefit to waiting, since my aim was only steady for a fraction of a second. I found my inner Jedi, used ”the force” and ”squeeeeze’de” the trigger at the time, where I felt my arm movement and my target matched.
With the CZ, I could feel ”the trigger point”, and felt I had more control, in where I hit. Maybe this was the reason, I felt more comfortable with IPSC shooting, than with precision shooting. Some might say, that it was due to lacking attitude, but I disagree. The last part of IPSC shooting was at distance 45 m, with Magtech F (extra tightly loaded) ammunition. It was very satisfying, to often hear ”ding” from the metal targets.
In a way, Smith and Wesson, was more comfortable to use than CZ Shadow. When you load the magazines. After loading hundreds of rounds into magazines, my hands cramped up, my fingers lost strength and loading seemed impossible and painful. It was easy with the low caliber gun. If I were to do this again, I would probably spend a little time from home, strengthening my grip. And for gods sake, try to learn the technique, loading these magazines.
My point score was OK in the end, but I have to wonder what my score would have been, if I had done as instructed, and practiced in advance. If my back muscles had been stronger. Maybe you are the one, to discover this?