By Kimu Sensei
After about 12 months within the POMW project, in the summer of 2012, LRS began.
I had already taken the hunting and rifle license, and I had received my weapon permit, and by the fall of 2012 I had fired more than 100,000 good pistol shot and before 2012 was over, I would have fired more than 3,500 good rifle shot. When the year of 2012 ended, I had also participated in close to 25 international matches, including 10 rifle matches, the rest were IPSC pistol matches, where almost all the participants came from the absolute world elite. It had been a very uncompromising process, which had caused exhaustion and my lack of sleep made me sleep most of two weeks away during the family’s summer vacation. However, the events now bypassed the POMW planning in such a rate that it practically was out of my hands. I now received so many invitations to do shooting training, and even to become a pistol and rifle instructor! I felt extremely privileged, and very pleased that all the hard work now paid off. The invitations were also from the “legendary and closed super-elite society” that I only in my wildest dreams had hoped for, and I humbly accepted.
Here’s another report written for a friend a few months after;
“US network had been extra good, now also the LRS, and after the really good matching results, I was suddenly invited into the inner circle … The first day was an ammo test, 300 gr. Versus 250 gr. I met yesterday with “Guru” Sniper chief instructors and the very experienced sniper instructors. The Sniper instructors told me that I had to shoot with the 300 grains ammo, and I was paired and competed up against another test shooter, who shot the 250 gr, so they could compare ammo directly – and I thereto were tested against the best civilian shooter, they’d be able to get hold of,- they all said with a big grin :-).
The second test shooter turned out to be many times the multiple world champion and several times world record holder at civilian distances, who won his first World Cup 15-20 years back. Now, I have met many world champions in my life, in one way or otherwise, within and outside the “arena”, and in my work, I am constant up against “the bizz world elite” the last 20-25 years. And besides, I cannot do anything else, than my best, so it did not affect me at all – which came to a big surprise in the faces of the sniper instructors, I could see.
Sniper instructors had set up a “Kongsberg long distance shooting range” with a “bulls eye” black disc of approximately 50 cm – 20 inches, and some 40 x 25 cm “contra snipe” steel targets hidden in the landscape. There was a wind of between 8-12 m / s (fresh to strong wind), with gusts of greater strength, burst rain – so the weather was optimal for the realistic test shooting, but very demanding for the shooters. Optimal LRS weather’s up to max. 4 m / s, says the German SOP snipers, but it would fortunately not deter us from the test shoot in this most challenging LRS shoot weather!
338 LM and 0.50 Bipod; We warmed up at 600 m – 660 yards, which none of us had any problems, and we did both have neat shot groups. At 800 meters – 875 yards, the wind began to really come into play, but the super world champion made a really nice shot group, which was nicer than mine. Then the much feted Super World champion suddenly wanted to change my “un classical fast shooting, reset gun and carbine trigger pull”, – but it resulted in an inferior shot grouping, than before at 800 meters. Then as one of the Sniper instructors said, were my shot groups not at all bad on 800 meters, so we should just carry on. The other sniper chief instructors and sniper instructors agreed with this opinion, at my so called un classical trigger pull was doing well, so this should not be corrected. (the trigger-pull I have learned from some of the world’s absolute shooting legends over the last 30 years, such as Mike Voigt and Rob Leatham, and trained and trained and trained and … – I did not say anything, since this could cause possible embarrassment for my hosts, although one of the sniper chief instructors knew this).
At 1,000 meters we had to adjust 6 +meters from the windage, and it began to cause problems. But – between us – was my hit shot groups now a little better than super world champion, I’m sure this is correct, since I could see from his emotional reactions and body language, that felt the pressure and also had the same opinions as mine.. However, shortly here after, at legendary sniper chief instructor made five phenomenal shot, which was – yes phenomenal. Then the gates of heaven decided to open and it started to pour down with heavy rain, so we decided to lunch.
… ..Then It was time to shoot again. The new target at 1,200 m – 1.325 yards was the counter snipe targets 40×25 cm, and in the third shoot attempt, I was successful. The Super World Champion also had he´s challenges, but also managed to be successful after more attempts than me. There was a big difference in the time difference between us test shooters from GO to the shot fell. I shot as I had learned, with quick repetition, instinctively, according to the “Opening hours of the wind window”, lying on the bare ground in borrowed old military clothing, and with an old sock filled with sand as support to the rifle stock. The Super World Champion shot as in a civilian competion and with an up to 30-50 times slower shot release pace, lying on a thick colorful prone mat and in very nice sponsored shooting clothes, supported by a high-tech supporter for the butt stock. But I must say that it looked very nice, when super world champion was shooting, and I was concentrated a total of 100%, to learn and understand the difference in shooting and mental attitude technique..
From 600-800-1.000 m – 660–875–1.100 yards, we had shot with each of our 338 LM and 0.50’er with a 1:12 and 1:10 rifling, but after a short time at 1,200 meters – 1.325 yards this changed dramatically, since now it was the only one, who were asked to test shoot with both 300 g and 250 gr, and both rifles x 2 x 2. This still continued at the distances of 1,500 meters – 1.640 yards and 1,700 meters – 1.860 yards- , to the great surprise to me, and a huge visible irritation with emotional outbursts from the super world champion, but after a while he just studied me curiously. He also gave me a compliments – I think, since he said with a smile that he was glad not to have met me before and never hoped to meet me again – an never ever at a civilian completion.
The wind had blown up, but stood almost straight. Despite the approximately 4 seconds to impact, it was difficult to follow tracer and I hit pretty much only the major goals. So we decided to call of the day and stopped the test shooting. The Super World Champion, who shoots absolutely fantastic! had shot 35, 250 gr. and 15, 300 gr, and I had shot 115, 300 and 135 gr, 250 gr. In addition, I had also shot 150, 0.50 (398 gr. & 424 gr), super world champion no 0.50.
It had been a great learning day! but most importantly, it was like the pieces began to fall into place for me, and I began to understand the red wire from the pistol to the long range shooting and the longest shoots.
We –the LRS test team just had a cozy talk afterwards, and I listened humbly to all the technical discussions about the difference between the civilian and military shooting and adjustment resonance tuning, shape and shooting spirit between Head sniper chief instructors, sniper instructors and super world champion.
Then the super world champion drove away in his car, and I was also getting ready to leave for the bizz meetings, when the head chief instructor just got his hand down from the goodbye-waving to super world champion suddenly turned to me and said, that they could use my help day after for another test shooting, and if I had an interest therein. I had of course! So I drove happy to a meeting, spent a few hours at night on the new LRS learning notes as usual – and then slept like a rock for 2 hours before I had to get up and work with all my e-mails. But I knew that this opportunity was totally unique and important of the future POMW project course, so it was just to stick close, when such an opportunity arises to learn more.
338 and 0.50 on rifle stock support; I was told to be at a certain meeting point early in the morning for pick-up, and I did. I was told by the Sniper test team that we needed to test a brand new moving targets training area – a sanity check on the heads sniper cheifinstructors and sniper instructor requirements to SOF sniper colleagues – new as experienced. The track was very simple. A target/targets was running at different speeds (2,5-5-7,5-10-15-17,5-20 km / h), and on the way would disappears behind hills, trees, shrubs, sheds, becomes visible again and then disappear behind trees, shrubs and new trays. Distances 200-300-400-500-700 yards. Realistic Lead using Mildot with rapid fire. The shooters gets a theoretical announcement from the spotter – but must then independently adjust for wind, passing shots, etc. Wind; 3-6 m / s (light to gentle breeze) at 200-300 yards and 6-11 m / s (even to strong winds) after 300 yards. The test shooter was then required with fast repetition and rapid fire, to shoot. correct and hit as many targets as possible in a session that lasted maybe 10-20 seconds.
The Sniper instructor team did even bother to hide the fact, that this was a realistic test of my shooting competencies, understanding and skills, and was very important for their work, as it could directly affect the requirements to the SOF LRS riflemen.. So I was well aware of, that this was the real test of me of my LRS abilities and understanding, but also the fact, that this was the first time that I had to shoot at such an LRS action and reaction test area. It was super, and I felt enormously privileged! – which was a big surprise again to the professional sniper team – but John! I have done so many shows, speeches, etc. Around the world over the last 30 years, so the deep realization that I can only do my very best every time, is quite natural to me – it comes from my martial arts training as Budo and Bujutsu great grandmaster and generally my life experience from a long life as an international businessman.
200 yards, 5 shots fired and all hits by 20 km / h. The same 300 yards. 400 yards and 500 yards went really well, but was challenging, as the wind had changed and freshened up, so shots were given 1.5 to 3 Mildot. But all five shots were given, all targets hit and within the requirements. At 600 and 700 yards the wind freshened wind up right, and it was not so pretty as before, so I retreated as Usain Bolt backwards running of 20 km / h, which meant that not all targets were hit – but almost:-).
The sniper chief instructor later gave me an feedback by mail with the shot image on the targets – and thus also the level of results; “… When I opened the” moving targets pitch “I checked just the shot picture, they were good overall in the top of the disc, not a big spread, but nice overall ..”. So I was really happy with the feedback, since I did my very best and it was the first time I’ve tried such a state of the art training area. I was so grateful, that the sniper test team just poured on me their best theoretical and practical knowledge with huge value for my understanding and LRS training, so I just had my ears totally out like Dumbo and memorized everything with a huge hunger..
Then we went over 1,400 yards long shot – wind as the day before (5-6 m wind adjustment), counter sniper steel targets 40 high x 25 cm wide hidden in the landscape. The sniper chief instructor began as my spotter the beginning, but after a while I was on my own, and had to self-adjust for accuracy and independently adjust for changes in the wind and directions through observations. I learned an lot. (John, it’s damn weird to wait 2-4 seconds to hear the pling !, or see the dust swirling up from 0.5 to 1 m from the target by missed shot – it’s just like in a movie … here it is just you who is the shooter ..)
At the end of the test firing, I allowed myself to ask for an assessment of my LRS shooting skills and working points after this 3-day super crash LRS training with constant tests.
The Sniper Chief instructor and Sniper instructors gave this three-point evaluation;
I was very happy for the feedback but reported back; “… But I have thought about 1,000 meter,” the five shot horizontal line “; One can be coincidently, possibly two, but not five, because then I would be Scrooge McDuck and cousin Gladstone “.
Shortly after I received the following feedback from the sniper chief instructors and sniper instructors; “… You learn quickly and can transfer theory into practical skills, and you have proved this under very difficult weather conditions. The next is the spotter and the instructor role. ” The feedback I was really happy, and I allowed myself to be a little proud that day. A Sniper chief had in fact started the first lesson 14 days ago by saying something like, “that the shooter was not the brightest, most experienced and complete long distance shooter – that was the spotter, who was normally senior to the shooter – A driver and a driving teacher “. I was now advised to read two special books and read about topics. So I ordered and read more a huge stack of books ballistics, wind, technical, practical etc., So I could prepare myself the best.
I must say, that the journey with the pistol was fantastic and privileged, but the journey with LRS rifle is even better and surpassed the pistol learning process, I believe. With the pistol and short range rifle, we have a large portion of control, but with long distance plays mother earth here cards, and with mother earth you have to be really good friends! I am enormously grateful for the journey I have been on, and I feel enormously privileged with the knowledge, competencies and helpful legends, which I have accumulated and experienced on the road of the POMW project fulfillment.
I have done my best, gone humbly but with heads held to the task and actively sought out the opportunities I could create and mobilize, and been very lucky to get huge! qualified and competent help along the way, and a totally unique knowledge transfer. It’s been the coolest travel, but definitely not without great cost, sacrifices and constant effort – but it has been worth it, and a great experience that I would not be without it! Thank you!
In the evening I was invited to share a meal with the Sniper Chief instructors and sniper instructors, and I said of course accepted. It was a very pleasant evening, and some xxx US beers were also washed down during talk about their experiences on missions, career, the world situation and LRS geek talk, and it became very late.
At sunrise – before bedtime they asked me “What then, Kimu – what will the next project be after this? What do you think of? “. I replied that I first had the crack the code 100% on LRS. But to this they laughed out loud and said, I have already done that, and the rest will be quickly done, and only the minor corrections were left. But I think they understood well my analogy, when I said that for me it was not good enough, if I could split the ass on a hen at 1,500 m, if my goal was the butt of a ladybug – it was important for me to understand the essence – all the way. Only then it will become pure maintenance.
For me it is also a privileged and thankful situation to learn, be trained and gain knowledge and experience from both the military and civilian LRS’s. I do not need to make the same mistakes as others before me, when it is not needed. It’s crazy not to accept, when alle this knowledge and learning are “all served on a golden platter” and that I am really grateful for.
P.S. The requirements for passing the moving targets are 5 km / h. So I asked why I had to perform at 20 km / h! (Which I thought was normal. Standard requirements). Whereupon I got the answer with a laugh, that the sniper team would have to have some fun, and then they wanted to stretch my wings and see were my limits were, – and after the performance, I was probably more like a bad word among their LRS student and training colleagues, if they had to meet same requirements as I just unsuspecting had done – and then the worse of it, I was a bloody civilian! – said with a laugh. They pulled my leg :-). But I have to admit that it was great … fun, and then the evaluation was not bad … But I did not know before – yes, before yesterday. “
After having come through this needles eye I was accepted in this “legendary closed super-elite society”, which turned out to be associated with the other “legendary super-elite societies”. This meant that all these societies, despite their official rivalry, and in practice at the level below the sniper chiefs and many sniper instructors, turned out to have a different reality, both within and outside the United States. The LRS invitations were of a calibre that one can only dream of, and I was deeply grateful for getting both the informal education and training with “The Best of the Best”, as this could provide the absolute best result for POMW project. In this way I would not only be able to do my job optimally within the POMW project – but I also got a chance to fulfil one of my childhood dreams, like most other boys J – and finally and most important I enjoyed it and could thus embrace life.