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Amaron Battery Philippines Holds First-Ever Amaron Challenge

The hot Saturday of March 25, 2023 became even hotter in the city of Marikina as it became the hotbed of activities for the first-ever Amaron Challenge! Gun and shooting enthusiasts, particularly pistol owners, converged at the multi-bay open-air firing ranges of the Armscor Shooting Ranges to experience one of the most unique and exciting shooting competition in the country.

Pollux Philippines Sales and Marketing Head Brian Kaw (black shirt, middle) joins expert shooters Kikay and Kukay Cruz (blue shirts) and Armscor Team marksman Benjo Carpio (red shirt) in the ceremonial opening shots to start the competition in the  Amaron Challenge. (Photo: Snooky Cruz)

“We organized the Amaron Challenge not just to promote our line of automotive batteries but to promote camaraderie among our customers, clients, dealers and friends”, said Brian Kaw, the Sales and Marketing Head of Pollux Philippines, the exclusive distributor of Amaron batteries in the country.

The Armscor Shooting Center parking area was filled with the vehicles of the participants…

… that the author became an impromptu parking coordinator for the guests of the competition.

Some of the media shooters pose with Amaron Philippines’ Brian Kaw, JGO Venture Corporation’s Joseph Santiago and Lemuel Buenaflor (8th, 9th and 10th from left).

Outside-the-Box Activity for an Automotive Battery

“After going through the pandemic, we wanted to come up with activities for our brand and our products that was beyond the usual car or motorcycle show. We thought outside-the-box, and with our partners, we came out with this unique shooting event, which we plan as the first among many varied challenges that we will come up with in the future”, Kaw added.

Aside from their pistol shooting skills, participants in the Amaron Challenge got to test their T.A.P.S. – tactics, accuracy, power, and speed – in a course of fire (COF) designed by firearms expert Danilo “Snooky” Cruz. There were six stages where the first two Basic stages were designed to test the participating Beginner or First-Timer if he or she can safely handle a firearm before he or she could go on to the next Challenge stages, which involved practical shooting scenarios and moving targets.

Motorcycle Riding Coach and Amaron Ambassador Mel Aquino and his partner are all “thumbs-up” with firearms expert Snooky Cruz (center).

First-time shooters were coached in basic gun handling and safety by Range Master Pablo “Bong” Belmes, Jr…

… Team Armscor shooter Charlie Del Mundo…

… and Team Armscor shooter Gilbert “Papa G” Go (in yellow shirt, observing event organizer Shawie Dizon).

Real Life Shooting Scenarios

Unlike in usual gun competitions, there was no walk-through for the shooter to observe and assess his or her targets first to plan a strategy. Before each of the enclosed 4 Challenge stages, the shooter was asked to pick a ping-pong ball that would indicate which balloon color (red, yellow or blue) to shoot. To make the shoot more realistic, the wind, aided by electric fans, moved the balloon targets in unpredictable ways. After all, in real life shooting scenarios, the bad guy ducks and weaves and does not just stand still waiting to be shot.

Participants shoot at cardboard targets at the first stage, where the Range Officer determines if the participant can actually handle a gun.

They are first tasked to start at a distance, fire 6 rounds at 3 target (2 bullets per target) with both hands holding the pistol…

… afterwards, discard the empty gun magazine, run or walk forward to the next station…

… reload the gun, and fire another 6 rounds with a “strong hand” stance or with the gun in the right hand…

… and then finally move forward to the last station, reload the gun, and fire 6 more rounds using the “south paw” or with the gun in the left hand.

After showing proficiency at static targets, the participants goes into Stage 2 where they are tasked to shoot balloons that are moved slightly by the breeze, with the catch that they are to shoot specific colors only.

The shooter is allotted 8 bullets and 3 minutes to finish each Challenge stage or until he runs out of ammunition. A point is added for every successful hit on the designated balloon color while a point is deducted for every balloon burst that was not the target (collateral damage). A point is also deducted when a green balloon is shot because green is the color of Amaron batteries. Since the shooting scenarios in each Challenge stage was a complete surprise and unexpected to the participating shooters, everyone appreciated how tough the course was, even if you were an experienced shooter.

Superbike Champion and Amaron Ambassador Jacq Buncio tries her hand in Stage 3 where the participant carries something in one hand and shoots moving balloon targets with the other hand while standing before a large opening…

… through a smaller and lower opening in a squatting position…

… and finally through an even smaller opening while kneeling to acquire the targets.

James Tagle’s 11-year-old son, Enzo, enjoyed the whole experience and placed 8th in the Beginners category.

Camaraderie in motion: Some of the participants give pointers to their friends and fellow shooters…

… while some participants discuss and joke about the difficult stages afterwards.

Because of the unique experience, most participants finished each stage with a great big smile!

More Than Just a Shootfest      

Unlike other shooting competitions, the Amaron Challenge featured several displays that were not just about firearms. Participants went around the display tents to look at and inquire about the latest Ecooter electric scooter models, Wespro air compressors and equipment, Kress power tools, Adelino pumps and control equipment, Workpro tools and tool chests, Dartek professional tools, Prestone automotive fluids and car care products, and of course, Amaron batteries, the tagline of which somehow challenged the participants to “Last Long, Really Long” during each shooting stage.

At the middle portion of the parking area were several tents displaying products of the various Amaron Challenge partners.

We would like to take these Ecooter electric scooters for a spin!

These Wespro compressors will be great for any shop application that needs a steady supply of pressurized air.

Kress power tools from Germany and Dartek professional tools would be a great addition for any garage or workshop.

Of course, Amaron batteries of different sizes were also available during the event.

Aside from participating in the competition, shooters made the Amaron Challenge a fun day for their family, friends, and even business associates. There were shooting bays that were rented by some groups so they can have more fun and time to bond together while practicing their gun handling, marksmanship, and aim before and after the competition. Several participants, including members of the media, who never shot guns or pistols before, enjoyed the basic training and the experience of shooting a Philippine-made Rock Island Armory (RIA) Rock 1911 Standard FS and Ultra FS 9mm pistol, which were the “house guns” provided for those who didn’t bring their own firearms.

Armscor graciously lent their proudly Philippine-made Rock Island Armory (RIA) Rock 1911 Standard FS 9mm pistols for participants who didn’t bring their own handguns. (Photo courtesy of Rock Island Armory/Armscor)

The author compares the RIA Rock 1911 Standard FS 9mm with his own Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm 17-round pistol and his wife’s Astra Firecat .25 caliber pocket gun.

Armscor ammunition was readily available for the shooters with a big discount just for the day…

… and with the excitement and adrenalin created by the stages, the ammo sales were quite brisk!

New and Liberating Experiences

A first-time shooter commented that it was very liberating to get to fire a handgun, engage in a new and entirely different hobby, and remove the unfounded but common fear that guns are inherently dangerous. “A gun is basically a tool”, explained Bob Sajot, the General Manager of Armscor Shooting Center. “Any tool that is handled properly is useful. Any tool, even as basic as a screw driver or hammer or even a car battery, when handled improperly can be dangerous. As a hammer drives a nail, a gun delivers a projectile to hit a target. Once you learn how to handle guns, it becomes a useful tool – for sport, for hunting, and for protection or self-defense.”

Amaron Shooting Center General Manager Bob Sajot briefs the media participants on gun safety and the rules of the firing range.

The author shows media participants Alexander Zosa (Jay Walkur), James Tagle (Auto Haven), and spouses Ellaine and Ryan Marc Hebron (Riding in Tandem) the proper way to check if a gun is loaded.

JooHyuk Lim of SoJooCars shows his form that won him 5th place in the Media category…

… while his wife Sojeong Park shows off her close grouping that netted her 3rd place.

Another first-timer, James Orlanda of Business Mirror, shot very well that he placed 4th among the Media shooters.

Ryan Marc Hebron, one-half of Riding in Tandem, shot well for a first-timer, which got him a 2nd place medal in the Media category…

… while the other half of RiT, his wife Ellaine, shows excellent form and is an equally good first-timer, too!

With his shooting experience, Karl Sena of Boss Karl TV, topped the Media category.

To add to the experience, each participant was given a Challenge Coin, which mimics the gold coins used by assassins belonging to the High Table in the “John Wick” movie franchise that stars Keanu Reeves. The Challenge Coin can be used to “challenge” other coin holders in games, during friendly activities, and even challenge those who have no coin to pay for a group meal. Fun and games aside, the Challenge Coin entitles the bearer to get a discount when purchasing Amaron batteries and products from participating vendors.

High Table assassins’ currency: The two sides of the Challenge Coin that were given during the shooting event. (Photo by Snooky Cruz)

In like John Wick: James Tagle and the author show off their Challenge Coins. (Photo courtesy of James Tagle)

Snooky Cruz and his tactical twin champions Kikay and Kukay takes a selfie with multi-awarded veteran journalist and Auto Review host Ron delos Reyes.

Even our emcee, Glenn D’ Bayan, caught the shooting bug and tried some practice shots.

Aside from the guns, Armscor also offered the opportunity to practice using traditional weapons such as crossbows and arrows, knives, axes, and shurikens, which are popular weapons of the mythical Ninja warriors. “We wanted to create an activity that would enrich the experience of the participants, remove the everyday stress, and treasure fond memories for them to ‘Last Long, Really Long’ as our Amaron batteries tagline promotes”, Brian Kaw joyfully added. “Everybody can look forward to more fun, exciting and liberating activities and experiences with Amaron batteries!”


(Photos by Roy Eusebio unless indicated otherwise.)