Author: Seth

Fifteen 3D Targets for Half-Price with 3-Pack of 3D Target Stands

Buy a 3-pack of 3D Target Stands for $140 and get 15 3D Targets for half-price!

Action Target 3-D Targets

Enter the code 3D2011 when placing your order at our online store. Only one code per order. Offer cannot be combined with other discounts or specials.  (Shirts NOT included.) Offer expires March 3, 2011.

Offer available at the Action Target Store or by contacting the Territory Manager for your region.

Reducing Lead & Noise at Indoor Firing Ranges

A major concern when shooting at an indoor range is the contained nature it requires and the hazards present.  Workers and users of indoor firing ranges may be exposed to hazardous levels of lead and noise. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends steps for workers and employers to reduce exposures.

Shooter at Indoor Firing RangeAccording to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, more than 1 million Federal, State, and local law enforcement officers work in the United States [DOJ 2004]. They are required to train regularly in the use of firearms. Indoor firing ranges are often used because of their controlled conditions. In addition to workers, more than 20 million active target shooters practice at indoor firing ranges. Law enforcement officers may be exposed to high levels of lead and noise at indoor firing ranges. NIOSH estimates that 16,000 to 18,000 firing ranges operate in the United States.

Several studies of firing ranges have shown that exposure to lead and noise can cause health problems associated with lead exposure and hearing loss, particularly among employees and instructors. Lead exposure occurs mainly through inhalation of lead fumes or ingestion (e.g., eating or drinking with contaminated hands).

Action Target has been a pioneer, innovator and industry leader for limiting lead exposure and the reduction of noise at indoor shooting facilities.  Our ventilation systems are designed to ensure proper airflow across any range. Through our partnership with Carey’s Ventilation Systems, we provide the best performing and most efficient systems available on the market today. Our design exceeds NIOSH standards, and maintains a 100% success rate in industrial hygiene utilizing:

  • Ceiling Mounted Unique 180 degree Air Delivery Systems.
  • A design which makes plenum walls obsolete.
  • Digital and Analog control systems which adapt to changing environmental conditions to maintain the required air velocities and building pressures.
  • Upgrade packages for existing Firing Ranges available.
  • Custom designed systems to meet any type of application.

Carey’s has constructed our own Plexiglas-walled test range, which allows us to test air speeds, diffuser angles, ceiling heights and transitions, supply and return locations, duct sizing, and vortex settings to determine the optimal configuration for any type of range.

As another example of Action Target’s industry-leading partnerships, we have teamed with numerous sound abatement companies to meet the requirements of our customers.  Our sales staff can provide you with detailed information on past projects that required the expertise of our sound abatement partners.

We will work with you to design and build the indoor range that meets your needs.  If you would like to speak with an Action Target representative about the proven solutions we have for reducing lead and noise at your indoor facility, go to our Contact Us page.

To read more from NIOSH on this subject, Reducing Exposure to Lead and Noise at Indoor Firing Ranges

Plate Rack

Without a doubt, the Action Target Plate Rack is the preferred choice for those in need of this type of target system.  Our design and construction support a quick and easy manual reset once the plates have fallen.  This is a great training tool and is a must have for any range!  Order today and we will ship it for free! Offer only valid when shipping to destinations in the United States.

This offer is only good for a few weeks, so hurry and order today!

Use the code FREEPLATE when placing your order in the online store for the discount.  There is only one code allowed per order.  Offer cannot be combined with other discounts or specials.

Offer expires February 24, 2011

NOTE: To receive free shipping on your Plate Rack, no other items may be in the cart at checkout. If there are other items that you would also like to order, you will need to place two separate orders. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Pneumatic Target Systems

What is a Pneumatic Target System?

Being in the business of providing world-class target systems, Action Target has numerous options to choose from. When you work with a member of our staff, they will help you design and build the best target solution to meet your training needs.  A staple among our diverse line of target systems are those that are pneumatically operated.

Action Target’s pneumatic target line is designed to be a modular, component system. This means that there are many different building blocks to choose from. By putting the pieces together in different ways, you can build a system large or small, simple or complex. Everything is based on your individual needs.

In order to design your own custom system, you must first understand how the different building blocks fit together – the main power source (air pressure) flows from the air supply, through the controller, and on to the actuator.

What Is An Air Source?

With the exception of the AT Runner and “PT” products, Action Target actuators use air pressure as the driving force required to operate the target itself. Air is a clean and simple source of power which is very reliable and easy to use.

If you are designing a portable system, you will probably want of use compressed CO2 tanks as your air source. In this case, you will want to order an REG-1 from Action Target. This is a pressure regulator that converts high pressure from the tank (about 750 psi), to the lower pressure used by tour target components (40-100 psi).

More permanent applications benefit greatly from the use of an air compressor that runs on regular AC power. It doesn’t take a very large compressor to operate even the most specialized and involved ranges effectively. For most fairly large applications, a two horsepower compressor will provide more than enough capacity to meet your needs. Compressors can be ordered through Action Target, or obtained through any local vendor you desire. If you have questions about the suitability of a particular air compressor, feel free to contact an Action Target salesperson.

What Is An Actuator?

The actuator is the part of the system that you shoot at, or moves the target you shoot at. Some Action Target actuators move a cardboard or paper target into view on command. Others move a steel plate up and down. Others may simply reset a target you have already knocked down. The thing they all have in common is the compressed air they all use to do the work.

Each actuator has been designed with particular types of training in mind. Some work better in portable applications, while others are designed for more permanent use. Some actuators are designed for reaction training, while others are better suited to precision training. Read through the descriptions of each of the Action Target actuators and decide which ones will best perform the tasks you require for your own training needs.

What Is A Controller?

Every target system has to have an operator. Someone has to press a button, step on a board, shoot down a plate, or open a door to make a target function. Controllers are the devices that form the link between a human operator and the rest of the system.

The ultimate function of a controller is to switch the air pressure on or off at the command of the operator. There is a wide range of Action Target controllers that serve this function, from simple push-button air switches to sophisticated computer controlled systems. Controllers can be hard-wired to the rest of the system, or you can use a radio controlled device to give you even more flexibility. It all depends on your individual training needs.

Which Components Are Compatible With Each Other?

In order to help you understand how the different parts of a system fit together, “Function Codes” have been assigned to each of the various components. By understanding how the Function Codes work, you can easily determine how to put the proper components together into a system.

With all Function Codes, the first letter represents an input, and the second letter represents an output or action. For example, the VERSATARGET actuator uses the Function Code “A-T.” The “A” means the unit’s input is Air, and the “T” means the output or ultimate action is to move the Target. So, by seeing the code A-T used with the VERSATARGET, you know that it is a device that uses air pressure to move a target.

As another example, the HS-1 hand switch controller has the Function Code “C-A.” The “C” means the unit receives a Control signal at its input, and releases Air as its output. The Control signal in this case would simply be the operator pushing the button on the HS-1.

If you lay your system out on paper with the operator on the left and the targets on the right, you can easily use the Function Codes to make sure you have connected compatible parts together.

Controllers With Multiple Parts

Often, the part of the system referred to as the controller actually consists of more than one component. A good example of this is the combination of the PRO-INT shot timer and the TI-1 timer interface. The shot timer is a device that can be “set” much like an alarm clock to go off at a certain time. During the time before it goes off, it outputs a 12 volt signal down a wire. Because the input of the PRO-INT is a Control signal from a human operator, and its output is an Electrical signal, its Function Code is “C-E.”

The TI-1 timer interface has a Function Code of “E-A.” This means that it receives an Electrical signal at its input, and sends Air pressure from its output. By connecting a PRO-INT (C-E) to the TI-1 timer interface (E-A), you have created a two-piece controller with an ultimate Function Code of “C-A”, just like the HS-1 hand switch described earlier.

If you have any questions about setting your range equipment, please feel free to contact the Action Target Representative for your area.

Pepper Popper

For years, the Action Target Pepper Popper has been employed by law enforcement and the military for a durable reactionary steel target.  The design is simple, but provides an highly effective training tool.  We are offering our newsletter subscribers Full Size Pepper Popper in AR500 steel (handgun) for only $199.

AT Pepper PopperThis offer is only good for a few weeks, so hurry and order today!

Use the code POPPOP when placing your order in the online store for the discount.  There is only one code allowed per order.  Offer cannot be combined with other discounts or specials.

OFFER EXPIRES FEBRUARY 17, 2011

Why Train on Moving Targets?

Written by Dennis Tueller

Too much of our firearms training is static. That is to say, we seem to spend most of our time and ammunition shooting at single, motionless targets standing directly in front of us. Since this scenario has little to do with what we encounter on the street, why do we continue to train this way? One reason may simply be tradition, or “…because that’s the way we’ve always done it.” That’s not a good enough reason for me either, so what say we just forget that one. Other reasons might include: “We don’t have any moving target equipment” or, “We have enough trouble just getting our trainees to hit the targets that are standing still!” These are valid concerns, and in this article I hope to offer some suggestions and advice that will help you to overcome them both.

First, we should consider the reasons why we need to include moving targets in our firearms training. Let’s review some of the common dynamics we now recognize from the hundreds of real-life police gunfights studied over the years. The vast majority of these confrontations happen within 10 feet or less, and the time span of actual shooting is usually less than 3 seconds. 60% to 70% of these altercations occur in an environment of low, altered, or failing light. Nearly half of the time there are multiple adversaries to contend with. While the statistical studies don’t usually specify the type or degree of the movement involved, we know that people move – especially when they are fighting. Movement to retrieve a weapon, movement to attack, movement to or from a covered position, movement to break physical contact. The fact is, real targets in the real world really move, and our firearms training needs to prepare us for this reality.

Clint Smith, internationally known firearms instructor and the Director of Thunder Ranch, often uses this simple demonstration. He will raise both of his hands up about head high, palms forward. His left hand remains motionless, but he moves his right hand erratically up, down, and back and forth. While doing this, he asks the class, “If one of my hands represents you as a target that is about to be shot at, which target would you rather be?” The answer (for most of us) is obvious. We would choose to be the moving target, because we know that it is much more difficult to hit a moving target.

For years, Clint and many other enlightened firearms instructors have trained their students to move as part of a reflexive response to an armed attack. This is one of the best ways to include movement into your range work. Even if the targets on your range are simply attached to posts in the ground, and the only time they move is when the wind is blowing really hard, your shooters must learn how to move. Taking a lateral step to the right or left while presenting the firearm and issuing a verbal challenge is a simple and worthwhile tactic which should be introduced when your trainees have demonstrated an ability to safely draw, fire, and hit a close-range target in a timely fashion.

Now that you have your shooters moving themselves, you can also teach them to accurately engage moving targets. It’s best to start close, three yards or so, with the target moving at a moderate pace. This is both to instill confidence in the shooter’s ability to hit an animated target, and to create a realistic representation of the kind of target they might have to engage in an actual gunfight. At first, the shooter remains stationary (preferably working from behind some kind of cover prop) while shooting at the mover.

To hit a moving target, one must apply the same basic principles of marksmanship needed to hit a stationary target, i.e.: sight alignment, trigger control, and smooth follow-through. Keep the sights aligned in the center of the target as you track its movement. At the same time the trigger finger is applying steady, even pressure on the trigger until the shot breaks. Here’s the critical part: as the shot breaks, continue to smoothly track the target as you recover from the recoil and reacquire your sight picture and allow the trigger to reset as you prepare to make additional shots. The tendency is for us to stop swinging the gun with the target at the moment of firing, thus resulting a shot going where the target was, instead of where it is going. In my experience, this lack of follow-through is the most common cause for missing shots at a laterally moving target. Yes it is challenging, but the only way to learn to do something well is to practice doing it. As skill and confidence improve, we can increase both the speed of, and the distance to the target, and eventually reintroduce movement by the shooter.

For this sort of training to be possible, of course, you will need some kind of a moving target system. For those of you with an extremely tight budget, a bit of imagination and resourcefulness are in order. Here’s an example: with a little red wagon, a target and stand, some clamps, stakes, pulleys, and a length of rope (don’t forget the duct tape and bailing wire) you can put together a crude but effective moving target system powered by manual labor. If you train on an indoor range, there is probably a target retrieval mechanism in place that can be used to simulate a target that is charging or withdrawing, often with more than a little swinging and bouncing movement included for good measure.

For more advanced solutions, Action Target offers several options for animating your targetry. One of the simplest is the AT Swinger . This is a single, portable target stand with a pivoting mechanism and a weighted counter-balance that allows the target to swing back and forth through a 180 degree arc. The movement of the target is controlled by simply pulling on a cable which is attached through a pulley at the base of the stand. Several of these PT-Swingers can be linked together so the range officer can pull a single cable that will cause the entire bank of targets to swing back and forth in unison. This can allow you to work with a full line of shooters all at the same time.

The Action Target Track Runner is a premiere moving target system designed to be part of a permanent installation. It provides a smooth, wind-proof way to move one or more target carriers laterally at variable speeds. The range officer uses the control box, which is connected to the target system’s electric motor, to start and stop the targets and change their speed and direction. Because of the Track-Runner’s power and advanced design, steel targets can even be incorporated on the target carrier to provide instant visual and audible feedback.

One of our most versatile pieces of equipment is the portable AT Runner . This system uses a motor and control system similar to the Track Runner, but instead of being mounted on a permanent track, the target carrier is suspended by an overhead steel cable. The motor and pulley mechanisms are each supported by single piece of 8-foot long 2×4 lumber. The whole thing can be set up, virtually anywhere, in less than 20 minutes. Because of its portability, the target can be set to run perpendicular to the line of fire, or at differing angles. One of my favorite uses of the Portable-Runner is to set it up as a charger. We can run the target directly at the shooter, who must smoothly back up away from the attacking target while drawing and shooting. Combine this setup with the Action Target 3-D (cardboard torso supported by balloons) silhouette target, and you have a realistic looking threat that will now react to accurately placed shots by by falling to the ground.

No matter what kind of range equipment you may have, I hope you recognize the critical need for instructing our trainees in the important tactical and marksmanship skills they need to accurately and effectively engage moving targets. In our earlier review of police gunfight statistics, I didn’t mention the numbers that reflect our real-world marksmanship performance. These numbers will vary a bit from year to year, but the U.S. national average hit-ratio is about 1 out of 6, or roughly 15%. That is, for every six shots deliberately fired by officers during armed confrontations, only one of those six shots will hit its intended target. That means that 85% of the shots fired during these gunfights are hitting something other than the intended target, often causing expensive property damage, injury, and sometimes death. You don’t need me to tell you about the unpleasant financial, political, and emotional consequences that can result from these errant bullets. Do you think that our officers would achieve better results in their real-world shootouts if they were regularly training on moving targets? I do too. It is up to us as firearms instructors to provide these kinds of training opportunities. We can do better. We must do better. Many lives depend on it. ‘Nuff said. Now, let’s get moving!

AT Dropper

Our Dropper target system is a great tool for continuing to engage a threat until it is no longer present. As you can see from the image below, once the threat has been struck in the correct hit zone, the target drops and no longer presents the target.  The Dropper sells for $265, but you can purchase it now for only $199.

This offer is only good for a few weeks, so hurry and order today!

AT Dropper

Use the code DROPIT when placing your order in the online store for the discount.  There is only one code allowed per order.  Offer cannot be combined with other discounts or specials.

OFFER EXPIRES FEBRUARY 10, 2011

Training on Steel (Part Two)

Written by Ben Kurata

In a previous article I discussed the advantages of training on reactive steel, the primary one being a dramatically shortened learning / performance improvement curve.  Other advantages include cost effectiveness.  Say WHAT?  Isn’t steel expensive?  Well, if you are your department’s Range Master or Chief Firearms Trainer, how much do you budget a year for paper or cardboard targets?  Cardboard or foam backers?  Staple guns and staples?  1” x 2” sticks to staple the targets to or 2” X 4” frames and particle board?  How many staple guns grow feet and walk off the range each year?  How much time is spent per relay stapling up new paper or cardboard targets?  What about high wind and rain?  The point is, you can shoot on steel in all kinds of weather, and all you need is a spray can of paint to re-spray the target(s) for the next shooter(s).

I’m going out on a limb here, but I would like to toss out the idea that all in service training for patrol officers can be done on steel and not use a paper or cardboard target at all.  I’m even going to take the idea further and say that qualification can be shot on steel.  If you are like most departments, 70 – 80% hits in an acceptable area of the target and the officer passes qualification until the next time.  All you have to do is measure the surface area (square inches) of the acceptable target surface on your qualification target and find a steel target that is the same shape and has the same surface area.  When firing qualification, each officer firing has a coach (another officer) behind the shooter that has a score sheet of rounds fired at each stage.  All the scoring officer has to do is count the number of hits and record the number of misses at each stage.  At the end of the course, tally up the misses, multiply by your factor (50 rounds, each round worth 2 points, etc.) and you have the qualification score.

Now, I understand that for documentation purposes, some departments are locked into shooting a paper target that can become a part of the officer’s documentation.  I’m just saying that after working with problem shooters for over two decades, I’ve had the quickest and best results by giving the “problem” shooter a steel target that was smaller than their qualification target, bringing them up to accuracy and speed on the smaller steel target, and then having them shoot on their qualification target.  Every “problem” shooter that I worked with in this fashion had no problem going back to their department and easily passing qualification.

I have no explanation for why this works, other than a famous line from a Mel Gibson movie, “Aim small, miss small”.  If your department still uses a qualification target the size of a horse blanket, you’ll always have a certain percentage of shooters who will miss even at the 3 yard line.

To train / shoot on steel safely at CQB distances (less than 10 yards with a handgun), you need two things:

1.     High quality, well designed steel targets;

2.     Pulverizing ammunition.

At the end of this article I’ve attached the Steel Safety Rules that Bank Miller and I wrote a few years ago.  Keep in mind that they were written for conventional ammunition.  The most consistent splatter patterns are with FMJ (ball) ammo.  A 100 yard standoff safe distance when shooting rifle or shotgun slugs seems excessive, but I personally saw a 5.56 mm jacket come off a steel target and cut a shooter at 47 yards from the target, and know another Range Master that had a similar mishap at 60 yards.

First, the steel:

–        At least AR 500 (nobody reputable in the industry uses anything less).

–        Completely smooth and flat target surface, free of any dimples, pock marks, etc..  (Dimples and pock marks will turn an incoming round right back at the shooter.)

–        No protruding bolts, brackets, etc..  These will cause erratic splatter patterns.

–        Target face turned downward at about a 20 degree angle.  This will cause about 80% of the splatter to go downward.

–        Targets should be secured at the end of each training session.  If not, you-know-who will show up with green and black tip 5.56 mm and there goes a $200 or $300 steel target.

You can read the rest in the Steel Safety Rules at the end of this article.  Now I’d like to turn to pulverizing projectiles.  Chances are you’ve never heard of the term “pulverizing projectiles” unless you’ve been around myself or Bank Miller.  Well, for some time, we have taught in our Range Master class that the term “frangible” is misleading for two reasons:

1.     SAMMI, who sets the standards for modern ammunition, has not determined a standard for “frangible”.

2.     Even conventional ammunition is frangible if it hits something hard and dense enough.  If you shoot a 50 BMG into a granite boulder big enough, the projectile will “frange”.  It’s just a question of how big and sharp the “franged” pieces are and how far back they will travel.

Here’s what I mean by “pulverizing projectile”:

1.     No jacket!  If is has a jacket, the jacket will peel off and come back.

2.     When the projectile hits the steel, it completely pulverizes into fine particles like sand, with no pieces larger than a pencil lead, and no broken skin on the shooter or the people standing to the left and right of the shooter.

Since the days when the SIGARMS Academy was the first totally non-toxic frangible range in the country, Mr. Miller and I have tested all “frangible” ammo that comes into our possession by a stringent protocol.  I won’t go into it here, but if you are interested, contact me through Action Target.

Just for clarification, most manufacturers of high quality frangible (pulverizing) ammo manufacture non-toxic variants.  That means that there is no lead or other toxic heavy metals in the primer or cartridge.  If you are shooting on a “clean” (lead-free) range, this is what you want.  But if you are shooting on a conventional range that has had leaded ammo shot on it, you can save some money by purchasing the same ammo with leaded primers.

Here are the Steel Safety Rules:

FIREARMS SAFETY RULES

1.             Treat all firearms as though they are loaded.

2.             Keep your finger outside the trigger guard until you are on target and have decided to fire.

3.            Point the muzzle in a safe direction at all times.

4.             Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.

STEEL TARGET SAFETY RULES

1.             Always obey the Firearms Safety Rules listed above.

2.             Always wear hearing protection and wrap-around shatter resistant eye protection

3.             Always stand at least 10 yards from the target when using handgun calibers.

4.             Always stand at least 100 yards from the target when using shotgun slugs.

5.             Always stand at least 100 yards from the target when using rifle calibers like .223 and .308.

6.             Never use rifle calibers on handgun rated targets.

7.             Never use ammunition that exceeds 3,000 feet per second at the muzzle.

8.             Never use ammunition that travels below 750 feet per second.

9.             Never shoot BB’s, steel shot, or air gun pellets at steel targets.

10.             Never use more powerful ammunition than the target is rated for.   (Green tip, armor piercing, etc.)

11.             Never shoot on steel that is cratered, pitted, or damaged in any way.

12.             Hard ground surfaces under the target should be covered with plywood or boxed pea gravel.

13.             Targets should be placed with a 3 foot lateral and deep offset from the adjacent target.

14.            If shooting multiple targets, angle of engagement should not exceed 20 degrees.

15.             Use only non-toxic paint on steel targets.

16.             Inspect all targets before using for damage, functionality, etc.

17.             Shooters and observers must wear long pants (no shorts), long sleeve shirts, a cap or hat with a brim, and closed toed shoes.

18.             Instructors and observers should stand behind the shooter and observe all safety rules.

19.            If using frangible ammunition, make sure it is designed to disintegrate into powder on impact.

The same velocity rules apply to frangible ammunition as well.

Dueling Tree

Start off the new year with the best Dueling Tree available!  We are offering our Full Size Dueling Tree with through-hardened AR550 armor steel with a great discount.  Our standard selling price for this target system is $499, but you can purchase it now for only $399.

This offer is only good for a few weeks, so hurry and order today!

AT Dueling Tree AR550

Use the code DUEL100 when placing your order in the online store for the discount.  There is only one code allowed per order.  Offer cannot be combined with other discounts or specials.

OFFER EXPIRES FEBRUARY 3, 2011

Rangemaster: Behind the Scenes in Firearms Training

Those of us who have either worked in law enforcement or closely with public safety personnel know there are many other positions that support a first responder.  Courts have bailiffs, the jails and prisons have correctional deputies/officers, all of which are sometimes the “forgotten cops” since they are not always in the public’s view.  There are a host of supporting positions as well.  Some of these are detectives, gang, drug, multi-jurisdictional task forces, air units and SWAT.  Action Target recognizes and respects public safety personnel at all levels, whether in a highly visible position or not.

One of the segments of public safety that is vital to a first responder’s success is training.  When a peace officer is on or off duty, they are usually carrying a firearm.  Therefore, firearms training is paramount to their surviving a critical incident.  The training program designed for most agency is specific to the threats they encounter.  These programs are developed within the state Police Officer Standards and Training (POST) requirements, but are still unique to the agency.  Most of the time, the coursework is established by the Rangemaster.

What is a Rangemaster?  What do they do?  If you are Orlando Police Departments Rangemaster, your work never ends.  You are responsible for  training and qualifying 750 officers with handguns, shotguns, and rifles, specialized weapons training, less lethal weapons, as well as maintenance, repair and armorer inspection of over  1800 weapons. You are responsible for all daily and long term operations of one of the largest indoor gun ranges in the country, coordinating training with local, state, federal and military organizations, and the list goes on and on.  The ultimate goal with this title though, is to help prepare officers with the skills they need, to survive the challenges they face in today’s world.

Eric Clapsaddle is Action Targets “Rangemaster of the Quarter” because he does just that.  The efforts made by him, and ultimate results of those efforts,  have far exceeded national averages in a positive way.  He has gone above and beyond, and continues to constantly re-evaluate and improve.  Who benefits…..the Citizens of Orlando and the Officers who serve that community.

Why is his Training so good?

Because he prepares his officers for “REAL WORLD” situations.  The National averages show that about 90% of police gun fights occur at night.  Therefore, Orlando does about 90% of their training in “low light to no light” conditions.   Why…..because it is what they will face.

This training includes “Multiple Adversaries” because again, in the real world, 67% of all gun fights have 2 or more bad guys.

Additionally, officers training and qualifications include live fire combined with decision making under significant stress. This helps prepare them for real life shoot/ no shoot incidents. Is that a cell phone or a gun?  Remember, the time to make these decisions is about 1/4 of a second. Realistic training helps prepare them too make the right decision.

The scenario’s used are replica’s of real life situations re-created.  They include moving adversaries, because the bad guys don’t just stand still.  Innocent bystanders get in the way, and have to be worked into the scenario’s as well.  You have to work and look for cover, and the scenario’s include these props as well.

Eric, who has an Engineering degree,  designed several unique features in the equipment used at the facility that help make the training more real, and better fit the training needs of today’s officers.

The training that is done becomes very real and recreates the stress felt in a real gunfight.  It thereby prepares the officers so they can deal with adrenaline dumps, tunnel vision, and hearing issues, to better defend themselves and the public they serve.

The bottom line to all of this is…..Officers return home at the end of their shift, and the Public is better protected from criminals.

The Ultimate compliment a Rangemaster can receive is when his training efforts have paid off…..and an officer knows it, saving his life or the life of a citizen.  The results of Eric and his staff, will never know the unspoken “thank-you’s” for those they have saved.

At the recent Chiefs of Police convention held in Orlando, many Top Notch Trainers were able to see first hand some of the techniques and scenarios used by the Orlando Training Department on their Tactical range.  Now, months later, I am still getting phone calls about how fantastic that was.

Agencies from not only the United States were blown away, but representative’s from Taiwan, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Brazil, New Zealand, England, Spain, and the list continues, were impressed as well.  They were impressed with the Facility, but more importantly, how the facility was used with real world scenario’s.  This was where the rubber met the road, and this is where we have seen no finer training anywhere.

An example of the results are this…..

The National average for misses in gunfights (at a distance of about 9 yards or less) is approximately 80% based upon statistics from the FBI’s study on gunfights.  For the Orlando Police Department, their hit percentage is around 86%.  This is a result of the efforts of Eric and his staff.  What a fantastic job!  Our hats are off to him and that is why we recognize “Eric Clapsaddle” from the Orlando Police Department as Action Targets ” Rangemaster of the Quarter.”

Range Training – Orlando Police Department

A little over a year ago, the Orlando Police Departments Indoor Shooting range opened for firearms training. The range is a total of 55 lanes and is broken up into 3 separate training bays.

Bay #1 is a 20 lane, 50 yard long shooting distance that includes Tactical ceiling baffling, a High Power Rifle rated Total Containment Bullet Trap with the auger collection method, Dust Collection Unit, and Air Handling system. The primary targets used on this range are reactive Steel targets, incorporating a steel center mass target with either a round head or octagon head being raised for “shoot” or “don’t shoot” scenario’s.

AT Builds New Orlando Firing Range

Bay #2 is also a 20 lane, 50 yard long range that also the same baffles, bullet trap, etc. and the targetry features the inverted runner, swing down targets, and DTAPS decision making targets.

AT helps construct innovative range for Orlando PD

Bay #3 is a 15 lane, 100 yard Rifle Range. This has a “Fixed” firing line and has targets staggered at the 25 yard, 50 yard, 75 yard and 100 yard lines. (again, it has fixed baffles, and the TCT trap, air handling system, etc)

Orlando Police shot at indoor Range

All of these ranges are designed to allow police vehicles to enter the range and replicate traffic stops.

AT Constructs Indoor Shooting Range for Orlando

Eric Clapsaddle, the Orlando Police Department’s Rangemaster, designed several key ideas into the range, such as:

  • The ability to recreate a variety of “low light” conditions again, replicating “real life” gun fight situations.
  • The ability to create flexible barriers, walls, and cover with an insert-able panel for replicating “real life” scenario’s.

The Training that is provided to the Orlando Officers, is some of the closest we have seen to creating as real a situation as possible that the officers have faced or may face. The result of this type of training has been fantastic! Keep in mind the national average for “hits” in a gun fight 7 yards and closer is about 20%. With the training Orlando is doing, that number is closer to 80%, which is truly amazing, and life saving.

As you plan your range, think of ways you can recreate “real gun fights” that have happened in your area, or ones that may be common scenario’s you run into. Think of things like Traffic stops, multiple adversaries, working on scanning and avoiding tunnel vision, decision making targets (good guy / bad guy & shoot / no shoot), hostage drills, and so on. Try to allow the flexibility you need to be able to use these tools in training your officers.

The result will be a better protected community, better protected officers, and because the are better equipped, they will be better prepared.

Action Target thanks our first responders and all those who put themselves in harm’s way to protect the lives and property of others.

Stay Safe!

2 AR550 AT Static Stands

A staple in nearly all of our customer’s array of steel targets is our AT Static . For a limited time, you can get two of our AT Static stands with AR550 (rifle rated) shooting surfaces for 25% off MSRP. With this offer, you can mix and match these components to make two target systems you need and get it at a significantly reduced price. This offer is only valid when purchasing “Heavy Duty” static targets.

Stand Height

  • 1′
  • 2′
  • 3′
  • 4′

Head Plate

  • 6” round
  • 8” round
  • 10” round
  • 12” round
  • 8” x 12” rectangle
  • 40% IPSC Torso

Use the code STATIC550 when placing your order in the online store for the discount.

This offer is available at the Action Target Store or by contacting the Territory Manager for your area.

OFFER EXPIRES JANUARY 20, 2011

UPDATE: Due to some complications with the online store, the STATIC550 coupon is only recognized as valid when purchasing two identical Heavy Duty Static Targets. If you would like two different types of heavy duty AT Statics (for example, one a 12″ round head plate with a 1′ stand height and the second a 6″ round head plate with a 4′ stand height), select one of the configurations you would like and set the quantity to two. This will allow you to put in the STATIC550 code and have it be recognized by the store. As you check out there is a comments box – in this comments section make a note that you are using the STATIC550 code and then give the actual specs for the two stands you would like. This will allow your coupon and order to go through, and we will send you the stands that you outline in the comments section. Alternatively, you can call us at 801-377-8033 ext. 113 to place your order. We apologize for any inconvenience this causes.

New Action Target Website

Action Target is pleased to announce the launch of the new Action Target website. The new website will continue to be a key source of information for firearms training, addressing the specific needs of our major customer segments: Military, Law Enforcement, Commercial/Sport Shooting, and Planners/Architects. In addition to the great information and product descriptions that were already present on our old website, we have also added some great new features and will continue to add more throughout the year:

Online Store: Our online store is now more fully integrated with the main ActionTarget.com website. In addition to selling all of our Portable Targets online, you can also purchase other important shooting accessories such as cardboard targets, clearing traps, and Action Target apparel. The shopping experience is now easier than ever with a streamlined shopping cart, product recommendations, and expanded product descriptions. → Visit the store

The @ Report: Our weekly newsletter, officially known as The @ Report, now works together with its online counterpart to create a socially interactive atmosphere. After reading an article, you will have the ability to post a comment, share the article through social media buttons, and find other related articles by through article tags. The @ Report is a vibrant and interactive resource to stay up-to-date on industry news, recent builds, and informational articles that will help you and your organization create the perfect firearms training. → Visit The @ Report

Media: Our Media page now consolidates important industry news and Action Target press releases so you can stay current on changes that are important to your organization. We also pull the most recent articles from PoliceOne.com and Officer.com for your convenience. → Visit the Media Page

Action Target Academy: Starting in 2011, we will offer online registration and payment for our Action Target Academy events. Offering online registration will allow you to quickly register whenever is convenient for you, also allowing registration for your whole department or organization at once. → Visit the Action Target Academy Page

Online Project and Proposal Builder: One of our most exciting features to be added in 2011 will be our online Project and Proposal Builder. This new feature will allow you to build and design your dream range online by selecting the parts and features you want. After defining the scope of your project, the builder will give you an approximate bid and put you in contact with your area representative for further information and counseling before building your site.

We’re excited to have these great new features and look forward to hearing your feedback and working with you in the future!

Training on Steel (Part One)

Written by Ben Kurata

Why train on steel?

The shooter learns faster. Traditional cardboard or paper targets only give the shooter and the coach one feedback, visual. If the bullet holes on the target are not visible (example: 5.56 mm at 100 yards), then the shooter and the coach have to play instant recall to try and determine what the shooter did well and what needs improvement. There is often a delay of several seconds if not minutes before the shooter receives feedback on how (s)he did, and it is difficult if not impossible for the shooter to remember what the sight picture, grip, and trigger press looked and felt like for each and every shot.

Why does the shooter learn faster on steel?

Let’s assume that we are conducting handgun training at traditional handgun fight distances, 15 yards and closer. When training on steel, when the shooter hits, they receive immediate feedback not only visually (the strike of the bullet on the steel) but also auditory feedback (the distinct “ping”).

If the target is a reactive steel target, the shooter also gets the additional feedback of having the target fall or move.

I would also argue that at Close Quarter Combat distances feedback is so immediate that the shooter remembers what the sight picture, grip, and trigger press looked and felt like for each successful shot.

While coaching by the instructor on cardboard or paper tends to be diagnostic, I find that coaching by the instructor on steel tends to be faster and more immediate. (“On the second shot you pulled low and left,” etc. vs. “Low. Low. Hold higher.”) Rather than concentrating on the not so good shots, the shooter and the coach can concentrate on the HITS.

More than one experienced instructor / shooter has put forth the idea that feedback provided by shooting on steel is so immediate that it actually enters the subconscious mind faster than the conscious mind can process all of the stimuli associated with conscious sight picture, grip, trigger press, etc.1 I can speak from my own experience that based thousands of dry fire repetitions with tens of thousands of live fire rapid fire strings, when firing a semi-automatic pistol in rapid fire I am not conscious of sight picture or trigger press as traditionally defined. I am very conscious of the rear outline of the slide (as it is in constant motion), the feel of the pistol in my hands and the trigger reset. With traditional cardboard or paper targets I do not get any feedback until I shoot the pistol to slide lock or the pre-determined number of shots and lower the muzzle. When shooting on steel, I get immediate feedback on each and every shot I fire and if I don’t hear an immediate “ping” after firing a shot, I know that I didn’t hit, and I need to do something differently for the next shot.

In other words, as the student progresses in his/her skill level, (s)he starts correcting him/herself before the coach can diagnose and offer suggestions. At this level, the shooter becomes his/her own coach. I have found that with a little practice, any individual who is motivated enough can easily fire 4-6 rounds a second from a semiautomatic pistol and have all the rounds strike in an acceptable area of the target at 7 yards. When firing this rapidly, you can’t be consciously thinking of “front sight focus, surprise trigger break” for each and every shot or the rate of fire will drop to 1-2 shots per second.

So What?

Well, assuming that both the Officer and the armed assailant in a shooting encounter are equally motivated, would you rather be sending or receiving 4-6 hits per second?

When firing at this rate on steel targets, the auditory response takes third place in perception after the visual (the blur of the rear of the slide crossing into an acceptable target area) and the tactile (the reset and pressing of the trigger). The reason is, if you wait for the “ping” on the steel, you will have delayed your response time by about a half a second or 2 outgoing / incoming rounds. I learned a long time ago while shooting on the Action Target Dueling Tree or Plate Rack that if I waited for the “ping” of my first target, my opponent was usually hitting his second, or even third target. I learned to see an acceptable sight picture for the first shot, press the trigger and immediately shift my eye focus to the second plate while muzzle of the handgun, rifle, or shotgun was still lifting.

Another, more practical reason for trusting your first shot is that in a real-life encounter, you probably won’t hear a “ping” from your adversary. You may not see any immediate reaction at all. There can be many reasons for this. First, and most likely (about 80 – 85% of the time nationally), is the possibility that you missed the threat entirely. That is why we train, train, and train some more. The second reason is that you hit, but did not hit a part of your attacker’s anatomy that would trigger an immediate reaction. (If you have the opportunity to attend one of Dr. James William’s excellent seminars, “Shooting with X-ray Vision”, do so.) The third reason may be that you hit, but the caliber / projectile configuration just didn’t perform as advertised. All of the above are good reasons for training to shoot and hit fast and repeatedly, and the quickest way to do so is to shoot on reactive steel.

In a subsequent article, I will go over how to shoot on reactive steel safely.

Sources:

  1. Bank Miller, Conscious and Subconscious Training on Reactive Steel, The Firearms Instructor, Issue 47.

Evil Roy Practice Target

The Evil Roy Practice Target was runner-up for Product of the Year upon its introduction. To date, it has been one of our best sellers and a favorite among steel shooters around the world. With this week’s offer, you can get two Evil Roy Practice Targets with AR550 steel (rifle rated) sent directly to you and Action Target pays the shipping. This is only for addresses in the United States (US).Action Target Evil Roy Practice Target

Use the code EVILFREE when placing your order in the online store for the discount.

This offer is available at the Action Target Store or by contacting the Territory Manager for your area.

Offer expires January 12, 2011

UPDATE: To receive free shipping on your Evil Roy Practice Targets, no other items may be in the cart at checkout. If there are other items that you would also like to order, place the order with the EVILFREE code separately. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Reactive Steel Shooting – Auto Popper

Reactive shooting is the skill a police officer must rely on when confronted with a suddenly hazardous situation. It is a critical skill that can save officers’ lives, and it is the result of conditioned hand-eye coordination developed by training on Action Target air-powered reactive steel systems.

As we learn more and more about the human dynamics involved in armed

confrontations, we understand that physical skills that require conscious thought or intellectual processing tend to break down rapidly under high levels of stress. If defensive skills and responses are not programmed in at a subconscious level, the sudden stress may cause us to fumble, freeze or panic. It is in this environment that reactive shooting skills are needed.

Such reflexive shooting skills can be taught through the use of extremely short time limits, thus pushing the shooter to function at the limits of reaction and response time. This can be compared to learning how to hit a fast moving ball with a bat or racket, or developing the reflexes to block a punch or kick at full speed. Reactive steel targets provide the instant feedback required to program an officer’s reflexive shooting skills effectively and efficiently.

In the effort to provide more insight into Action Target’s line of Reactive Steel targets, you are presented with the Auto Popper™.

Auto Popper™

AutoPopper for Steel Targets

  • Reactive steel with automated reset
  • Multiple control options
  • Knock-down action
  • Through hardened AR500 or AR500 Brinell S
  • Multiple target head options
  • Portable or permanent installation
  • Tall or short legs

The Auto-Popper™ is an extremely versatile generalpurpose actuator that is used to lift a wide variety of targets. Instead of walking down range after each drill to reset your pepper poppers by hand, you can now reset them automatically with the just the push of a button.

If your scenario requires something other than steel targets, you can quickly change the head attachment to a lifter arm that will accept any size paper or cardboard target. You can even configure the unit for use with military E targets or full size three dimensional targets.

You can add an optional control valve to each Auto-Popper™ for independent control over each target, or you can use a single valve to control a group of targets simultaneously.

The Auto-Popper is an adjustable actuator that lifts a steel or cardboard/plastic target into view of the shooter by remote control. The rise time of the target can vary from 0.50 seconds to 10 seconds. The power is adjustable to allow the actuator to be used with all types of handgun loads. The Auto-Popper has about 60 ft-lbs of torque in the horizontal position tapering proportionally to 0 when vertical. It can be used with steel, paper, cardboard, and large 3 dimensional targets. The Auto-Popper is capable of independent or tandem operation, it can be used with hit sensors, and it can be controlled by our SmartRange control software. The unit is self-armoring, protecting itself against bullet hits from standard handgun loads coming from a direction within +/-25 degrees of perpendicular.

A Row of AutoPopper for Training

The Auto-Popper is pneumatic powered with a pressure operationTarget Type that Can Use AutoPoppern range of 40 psi to 100 psi. It can also be triggered by a 12V signal of less than 60mA. The actuator uses 10.6 cubic inches of air per actuation. It utilizes a “proportional force” cam lifter system to control the reset action and lift action smoothly and reliably. The Auto-Popper is totally field repairable – a complete field rebuild operation can be done by standard range personnel using standard hand tools. The target plate is reversible and easily changeable.

The actuator body and front shielding are both constructed of sandblasted and painted 3/8” armor plate steel (AR500). A lumber façade is attached to the actuator to cover the primary steel structure and prevent splatter. The hose and control wires are in a protective sheath. The hose connections use simple push-in type connectors. The actuator provides an interface to EMT carrier for simple installation. The actuator is easily mounted on any flat surface, or it can be placed on legs to elevate the target.

If you would like some more information about the Auto Popper™ or other Reactive Steel products, please contact the Territory Manager for your region.

Crucial Equipment Placement

Written by Ben Kurata

Thoughts on equipment placement, conditioned response, reaction time, Hick’s Law, the 21 foot guideline, and the OODA loop

Disclaimer 1: I do not consider myself to be an expert on any of the above topics. I am, however, really good at asking questions. I am a serious student of human behavior under stress.

Disclaimer 2: In no way what I write should be misinterpreted as passing judgment on the Officer(s) involved. In the past, I have been judged by people who were not beside me when bad things happened. I refuse to be a “Monday morning quarterback” to situations I was not involved in.

Disclaimer 3: The above title gives the reader an insight into how my mind works. I struggle on a good day to have an independent thought. I have had the privilege, however, to have trained with some absolutely brilliant thinkers / operators / teachers. I will attempt to give them the credit they deserve.

Recently, a transit Officer was convicted of homicide after he shot an individual to death while attempting to control the subject’s behavior. According to the Officer’s testimony, he thought he was reaching for his Taser but discharged his duty firearm instead, killing the subject.

Now, I am not here to pass judgment on the Officer’s actions, as I was not there. But for some time, I have recommended that Tasers be mounted on the duty belt on the non-dominant side, with the grip pointed backward, NOT in a cross-draw position. Why? Well, over the course of his / her career, a LEO may pull their handgun from its holster hundreds, maybe thousands of times during in-service training and qualification. A LE Trainer may pull a handgun from its holster tens of thousands of times.

Question:

How many times does an average LEO pull a Taser from its holster and discharge it? In most departments that I have trained with, after initial training (with its “special” videotaped moments), the only time a Taser gets pulled from its holster is when it is used on a subject. I know of no in-service or qualification live fire course of fire for the Taser.

What’s the point?

Well, many years ago, someone much wiser than I will ever be said:
“Under stress, you will revert to what you do most often or most recently.”
I only wish I could remember who told me that so I could give them credit. The point is, the dominant hand has been conditioned by hundreds (if not thousands) of repetitions to access and fire the handgun, not the Taser.

Similarly, I wish I could have a dollar for every time I saw on the range a cell phone or pager get pulled from the belt and forcibly stuffed into the magazine well of a weapon. Why? Because the operator was reverting back to the location and object on his / her duty belt that (s)he accesses most often in the course of a day – dozens of times.

Many years ago, fellow Action Target Instructor Dennis Tueller established the 21 foot guideline which has been misinterpreted over the years as the “21 foot rule”. While not diminishing the validity of what Dennis established, I can say that for the average LE Instructor (who, in theory, should be smoother and quicker at presenting the duty handgun from the duty holster) the average reactionary gap when wearing a Level II or Level III retention holster is more like 40 – 60 feet. That is with the outcome pre-determined – draw the handgun and place one or two well-placed shots on an inert practice target. Under the stress of a life -threatening attack, reaction time can double, quadruple, or deteriorate even more. Why? Well, some definitions may be useful:

Reaction Time:

“Reaction time has sometimes been described as a function of Hick’s law:
(1) H = log2(n + 1).
(2) H = Σ pi log2(1/pi + 1).
H = the information-theoretic entropy of a decision.
n = the number of equally probable alternatives.
pi = the probability of alternative i for n alternatives of unequal probability.
The time it takes to make a decision is roughly proportional to H, the entropy of the decision (the log of the number of alternatives), i.e. T = k H, where k ~ 150 msec” 1

Now, I have no idea what that means, but it may be useful in calculating the probability of getting a raise or the budget you submitted. “Entropy of the decision” is the scientific way of saying “brain cramp”! What is important to note is that formula was established by test subjects that were not being presented with life-threatening stimuli, and under ideal conditions, reaction time is a logarithmic, (12, 22, 32, etc.) not an arithmetic (1 + 1, 2 + 1, etc.) variable.

Now, how many use of force options does the average Officer have?

  1. Presence;
  2. Verbal instructions / commands;
  3. Empty hand techniques;
  4. Aerosol spray;
  5. Baton;
  6. Taser;
  7. Radio;
  8. Lethal force, which can include:
    1. Handgun;
    2. Folding knife;
    3. Baton, if targeted on “red” areas of the anatomy;
    4. Shotgun;
    5. Patrol Rifle;
    6. Improvised weapons (“Bumper – 06”);
    7. Etc.

And, let us not forget that word that has been pounded into every Officer’s head (and we have to share the responsibility for this one): Liability.

Now, let’s add the one factor that throws almost all probability theory out the window: Life – threatening stimuli.

A concept which may be more useful in understanding actual reaction time under life – threatening circumstances may be USAF Lt. Col. (Ret.) John Boyd’s OODA loop. It is not my intention here to recap my understanding of the OODA loop. (For an excellent summary, please locate and read Ken Good’s article, “Got a Second? Boyd’s OODA Cycle in the Close Quarter Battle Environment”.) Suffice it to say that after being in and running a few force-on-force simulations, most people (including myself) make mistakes in the initial Observation phase and then get caught in what Ken Murray describes as a “goofy loop” 2 – unable to make an appropriate decision as to what to do next. Or, caught on the reaction (wrong) side of the action / reaction curve.

So What?

Well, let me just throw this out for thought:

  • All less lethal tools (including radio, pager, and cell phone) on the non – dominant side of the duty belt / LBE, etc., accessed and practiced with the non-dominant hand.
  • All lethal force tools on the dominant side of the duty belt, accessed and practiced with the dominant hand.

Now, please don’t misinterpret me. I am not saying to stop practicing wounded / disabled drills. Now, more than ever, I practice accessing, shooting, reloading, and clearing stoppages with the non – dominant hand AND EYE only. It all boils down to, “Under stress, you will revert to what you do most often or most recently.”

(If you are the trainer who said that to me many years ago, please contact me so that I can give you proper credit.)

Notes:

1.   http://www.usabilityfirst.com/glossary/hicks-law/
2.   Kenneth R. Murray, “Training at the Speed of Life, Volume 1”, copyright Armiger Publications, 2004.

1000 Paper Targets

How do you improve on the paper targets ? You set a new standard. Action Target has adopted a new material which is quickly becoming the preferred option for targets among law enforcement agencies throughout the US.

Here is a list of the key improvements our cardstock targets offer:

  • Less expensive than paper targets
  • Twice the thickness of regular paper targets
  • Base coating keeps fibers from exploding outward
  • Every shot can easily be identified
  • Water resistant
  • Tear resistant
  • Will not roll up during shipping
  • Comes in specially designed boxes that allow for easy target identification and storage

Shoot our targets, wet or dry, and you will quickly understand why our target material is becoming the new standard in the industry. Try it now with our special offer of 1000 B21E with blue or black images (shown) for only $0.18/each. It is time to stop shooting on the paper targets of yesterday!

Enter Promotional Code: STANDARD in the payment section to receive your discount.

This offer is available at the Action Target Store or by contacting the Territory Manager for your area.

OFFER EXPIRES DECEMBER 30, 2010

Enhance Training Realism

Be honest. How many people reading this have attended or even taught a training course where you have used 2’X4” pieces of lumber to outline a room? How many of you have used this wood-outlined configuration for dynamic or static entry training? What about searching rooms outlined by strips of wood? These concepts are good at building on classroom instruction and enhancing the fundamentals necessary for entry and clearing. But is it great? Realistic?

Don’t worry, we both know the answers.

It is time to demand more out of training. The list of “props” that have been used by law enforcement and the military in training to add realism would take too much time to list. The days of telling an academy recruit, “Now simulate these pieces of wood are a room and this is the door,” are over. The technology of today allows us to have better training materials. Current technology allows us to have more realism added to our training scenarios. It allows us to train in controlled settings that are as real as possible without actually being in a free-standing structure, which has been vacated for your coursework.

There is nothing wrong with conducting your training in a real building. Personally, in the past I have run my recruits to several locations in various cities for them to get the most realistic training possible. If your organization is lucky enough to have established relationships with businesses, warehouses, apartment buildings and private homes, then you know just how challenging having a training course in those locations can be. It takes a significant amount of time and effort to set training dates, coordinate with all parties involved, ensure your class know the location, have enough parking space, obtain approval from the neighbors and/or city if necessary. Wouldn’t it be much easier to have training that encompasses all of those types listed in a single structure?

Of course! It would be great to have that type of capability in a single location. Is it possible and is it cost effective? Those are the key questions. And, by the way, the answer is yes, it is!

The days of training our first responders, SWAT, corrections and military personnel with the most realistic and safe training using only one building are here! The answer can be found with Action Target and our newest product, FlexTact®. Action Target has recently partnered with Hufcor to be the Exclusive World Wide vendor for their FlexTact® movable wall training system.

The FlexTact® system is currently used for non-live fire training only. Since non-live fire training can really be conducted anywhere, what is so great about this system? It’s simple. The system can be completely be reconfigured within minutes. For example, in a matter of a few minutes, you can transform your office scenario to a warehouse then into a residential setting. If you need to serve a high risk warrant and want to realistically structure your breach training, the physical layout of the residence can be duplicated with the FlexTact system.

Since FlexTact® is only available from Action Target, we have been receiving requests from all areas of the world on how to incorporate this revolutionary training system into a new building or existing structure. The great aspect of FlexTact® is that it can be placed in either! Those interested in FlexTact® are from the commercial, military and law enforcement communities. The FlexTact® system compliments our core expertise in live fire ranges and shoot houses such as the M.A.T.C.H. (Modular Armored Tactical Combat House) live fire structure shown below.

Top View of FlexTract Training SystemThe FlexTact® system employs the following:

  • Rugged 16 ga. welded steel frames resist impacts
  • High Pressure Laminate surfaces are easy to clean and resist impacts
  • Quickset bottom seals hold walls in place during exercises
  • Overhead architectural aluminum tracks allow panels to move smoothly and quickly into place
  • Side bulb seals allow panels to be configured quickly
  • Specially designed passdoors for entry exercises.
  • Optional window inserts and glass walls panels for diversified training scenarios.

FlexTract Moveable Training SystemPlease notice from the picture that everything is suspended from above. There are no grooves in the floor, which means there are no tripping hazards. The FlexTact® system has an overhead railing system built on a grid pattern that can be self-sustaining or tied into the existing beams of a building. The panels can be moved quickly and set onto the floor with rubber feet that keep them in place. These panels accommodate full impact breach doors for entry training. They have frangible window options that can be struck with shotgun less than lethal rounds, training with explosives like Stingball Grenades or Flash Bang technology.

In addition to those already listed, you can enhance the realism of FlexTact® even further with the following options:

  • Low light / No light capability
  • Doors with handles that actually shut
  • Wall graphics for custom scenes / murals
  • Standing targets
  • Foam furniture / props

This system has already been installed and used in many locations. It has been used by more than just law enforcement and military. This technology allows for firefighter training by filling the structure with smoke and having to search. Fire Departments from local, state and federal agencies are discovering the multiple uses for FlexTact®. They are also finding it is easier to obtain funding for a training structure that can be used for multiple purposes.

Man Training in FlexTract Training SystemImagine having a 40’x40′ room, like a typical gymnasium. It is a big box with a wooden floor. How many of you have a room like this somewhere? I would bet that most of you have something similar that is the property of your agency. What is that space being used for? Storage? Offices? Mat room for Arrest Techniques / Defensive Tactics? Classroom? Now imaging having all of those capabilities in just one room! With FlexTact®, you can quickly reconfigure that room into anything that supports your training needs.

This is the most revolutionary new product for public safety training! The capabilities are so substantial, that it warrants a further look. Action Target welcomes you to review it for yourself. Here is the FlexTact® Brochure for you to review.

Two Shooters Training in FlexTract Training SystemTake a look and you will see that FlexTact® will meet your training needs and can be placed in almost any existing building or incorporated into new builds. If you have a project currently underway and want FlexTact® installed, our lead time is as little as (5) five weeks from design approval to installation!

You will not find a better option for a realistic structure that can be used for such diverse applications. As the industry leader, Action Target asks you to contact us today to learn how we and the FlexTact® system can support your training needs. Enhance your training realism today with FlexTact® by contacting Action Target!

To learn more about Action Target and its full line of products, please visit www.actiontarget.com. For additional information on Tactical Breaching Door technology, please contact one of our Action Target Representatives, Law Enforcement & Commercial, Federal, Military or International.

Function Testing Long Guns (Part Two)

Written by Benjamin Kurata

*This is the second entry in a 2-part series on Long Gun Function Testing. The first entry was published two weeks earlier.

In a previous article, I covered function testing the AR-15 / M4 patrol rifle and variants. Now, let’s turn to that old standby of the police arsenal, the 12 gauge pump shotgun. It’s a common misconception that the 12 gauge pump shotgun is maintenance free. Certainly, the majority of shotguns I’ve seen were evidence of this misguided belief. The police shotgun has to be routinely cleaned, lubricated and function tested the same as any other duty weapon. One area that most shooters overlook when cleaning and lubricating the police shotgun is the magazine tube. The tube is made of steel, and the magazine spring and shell follower are made of steel. (If the shell follower in your shotgun is a thin plastic cap, discard it and get the steel one. If the plastic cap breaks inside the magazine tube, you’ll have to put the shotgun on to the workbench to get it to work again.) When the shotgun is carried in “cruiser carry” mode, the magazine spring is compressed against the interior of the magazine tube. Let some moisture get into the magazine tube, and corrosion of magazine spring can occur.

Whenever I disassemble, clean, lubricate and function test my shotgun, I push a bore brush and patches wet with solvent through the magazine tube until the patches come out clean. I finish up with a clean patch moistened with lubricant followed by a clean, dry patch. A wipe down of the magazine spring with some lubricant completes the maintenance on the magazine tube.

Function Testing of the Pump Shotgun:

  1. Make certain that there is no live ammunition in the magazine tube or chamber. With the bolt back, a quick physical check through the loading port by touching the magazine follower and the empty chamber gets the task done.
  2. Pump the fore end all the way forward. Try to pull the fore end back. The fore end and bolt should remain locked forward.
  3. Put the safety on “Safe”. Press the trigger, hard. Nothing should happen.
  4. Point the muzzle in a safe direction and press the trigger. You should feel / hear a normal hammer fall. Keep the trigger depressed.
  5. With the trigger depressed, roll the shotgun sideways so you can look through the ejection port. Slowly work the fore end all the way back and then forward. You should see the shell lifter rise up when you start the fore end forward. Continue to push the fore end all the way forward while keeping the trigger depressed.
  6. Slowly let the trigger forward until you feel and hear the disconnector reset. It won’t take much forward motion of the trigger, and the reset will be subtle. The reset on my personal Remington 870 feels about the same as my 1911A1 Colt. Yes, all modern pump shotguns since the model 1897 Winchester have disconnectors.
  7. Press the trigger again. You function test is now complete.

Function Testing the Police Semiautomatic Shotgun:

  1. Make certain that there is no live ammunition in the magazine tube or chamber. With the bolt back, a quick physical check through the loading port or the ejection port by touching the magazine follower and the empty chamber gets the task done.
  2. Let the bolt go forward by pressing the bolt release button. The bolt should move forward sharply and lock into the rear of the barrel.
  3. Point the muzzle in a safe direction and put the safety on “Safe”. Press the trigger, hard. Nothing should happen.
  4. Point the muzzle in a safe direction and press the trigger. You should feel / hear a normal hammer fall. Keep the trigger depressed.
  5. With the trigger depressed, roll the shotgun sideways so you can look through the ejection port. Slowly pull the charging handle to the rear with your non-dominant hand and ease it slowly forward. As the bolt starts forward, you should see the shell lifter rise up. Work the charging handle back and forth a few times. You shouldn’t feel any unusual binding, just slight resistance when the bolt unlocks and a slight “bump” as the bolt body passes over the hammer.
  6. Pull the charging handle all the way back and let it fly forward.
  7. Slowly let the trigger forward until you hear and feel the disconnector reset. Again, this won’t take much forward motion of the trigger and is subtle (compared to the disconnector reset on say, an AR-15).
  8. Press the trigger again. Your function test is now complete.

Tactical Breaching/Forced Entry

Who out there has actually breached a door? Most of our readers have breached many doors in the past. Most will have the opportunity to do it in the future as well. But, how many have actually trained over and over again within the same day? The truth is, not that many.

Action Target has developed a revolutionary Tactical Breaching Door™ that affords instructional staff the best option for consistent and realistic training. Our Breach Door adds a whole new dimension to training realism and eliminates the problems faced when training breaching techniques to students. The Tactical Breach Door uses advanced engineering which allows trainers to adjust the tension holding the door closed (shown below) and gives them complete control over the level of force required for a dynamic entry.

The Tactical Breach Door is designed especially for use in Action Target’s Modular Armored Tactical Combat House (MATCH) shoothouse but it can also be used in a stand-alone frame or can be modified to fit into any existing shoothouse.

There is no better option available.

Here are some of our breaching door’s capabilities:

  • It can stand alone
  • It can be integrated into a shoot house
  • It can be integrated into our FlexTact system
  • It resets in seconds
  • It is reusable

Shotgun, ram or explosive entries can be exercised and the patented latch system allows an immediate re-set for multiple training sessions. No more replacing doors after each entry-simply close the door and reset the latch. This allows for instant correction of improper technique, multiple repetitions in shorter training sessions and a range of difficulty levels for various entries.

“Action Target’s Tactical Breach Door will advance training to a whole new level. For those of us who train, this innovation is a powerful and functional tool that will allow us to better prepare our teams to protect their own lives and the lives of those around them. Every law enforcement officer, special ops team and military recruit needs to be trained with this door so they can learn the techniques that will make building and room entries safer when breaching the fatal funnel.”
– Sergeant Daniel Gray – Firearms Instructor, Turlock Police Department

Take a look and you will see that our Tactical Breach Door will meet your training needs and can be used by itself with our free-standing option or integrate it into your MATCH or FlexTact® shoothouse.

You will not find a better option for forced entry training. As the industry leader, Action Target asks you to contact us today to learn how we and our Tactical Breaching Door can support your training needs. Enhance your forced entry training today with our technology. Contact Action Target today!

To learn more about Action Target and its full line of products, including the Tactical Breaching Door™, please visit www.actiontarget.com. For additional information on Tactical Breaching Door technology, please contact one of our Action Target Representatives.

Function Testing Long Guns (Part One)

Written by Benjamin Kurata

*This is the first entry in a 2-part series. The second installment will publish in coming issues.

12 gauge pump shotguns have been part of the Law Enforcement arsenal for a long time, and patrol rifles are becoming more commonplace, with the AR-15, M4 or some variant being the most common. It is no secret that I am a proponent of the patrol rifle, as anything a handgun can do, a rifle can do better, and from a longer distance. As more and more of America’s LE Officers are being confronted with rifles (the semiauto AK-47, SKS and variants being the most common), it’s time to rethink operational priorities. Early in my LE career, when the 12 gauge pump was the standard LE long gun, you could always tell the rookies (myself included) from the veterans. The rookies would go dashing off to the scene of a shots fired or man with a gun call, where the veterans would always take the few seconds to get to the trunk, take out the 12 gauge pump, and maybe grab a pocketful of extra buckshot or slugs. Therein lies a lesson:

Don’t take a handgun to a long gun fight.

Now, I can hear the cyber moaning and wailing already as I type this. “My department will never allow… My Chief will never go for…. The community will be in an uproar….”, etc., etc. All I can say is, I never thought I’d see the day when fully geared up NYPD ESU Officers would be visibly present at major infrastructure locations in Manhattan, wearing M4’s, full raid vests including a Kevlar lid, but that day is here. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. I’m not making light of any department’s struggles with getting a patrol rifle program accepted and funded, as I have assisted many departments with getting their programs off the ground and know how difficult it is. My point is, more and more of America’s finest are being gunned down with a rifle chambered in 7.62 X 39 COMBLOC. When facing a rifle with a 30 round box magazine attached, even your favorite high capacity 9mm / .357 SIG / .40 S&W / .45 ACP is not “enough gun”. You need a long gun.

Maximizing Patrol Rifle Reliability:

The AR-15 / M4 (or some variant) is the most common patrol rifle, so let’s focus on it first. First, the direct gas impingement system invented by Eugene Stoner is an inherently high maintenance system. Anyone who has spent the better part of an evening attempting to scrape the last bit of carbon fouling off the bolt tail or the corresponding recesses in the bolt carrier knows what I am talking about. Which brings up an operational question: How often / who will perform routine preventative maintenance on the issued rifles? The Stoner system also requires a fair amount of lubrication, particularly once you start firing it, as the gas blowing back onto the bolt has a tendency to burn off any lubrication on the bolt’s gas rings quickly. Here in the Southwest, where the air temperatures have been above 100 degrees F all week, the temperature inside a police cruiser’s trunk is hot enough to bake a pizza. Almost every patrol rifle that I have seen taken directly out of a cruiser’s trunk has been bone dry and badly in need of lubrication. Routine maintenance is critical if the rifle is going to function reliably.

Another area to look at closely is the patrol rifle’s magazines. I covered magazine function checks in a previous article, but suffice it to say that just previous to the last national high capacity magazine ban, anybody with aluminum sheet metal and a spot welder was cranking out AR-15 magazines. Even the original mil-spec magazines were intended to be used just a few times, then discarded. I personally run only stainless steel mags with a military phosphate or nitride finish. If a rifle magazine is not feeding properly due to a split back seam (common) or bent feed lips, take it out of inventory and destroy it.

Patrol Rifle Function Test:

Make certain that there is no live ammunition in the rifle or associated magazines. Again, I find a physical chamber check going up through the mag well faster and more accurate than a visual check.

  1. Let the bolt go forward.
  2. Insert a mag and lock it into the mag well.
  3. Pull back smartly on the charging handle. The bolt should lock to the rear. If it does not, check the orientation of the magazine springs. Unlike most pistol magazines, the spring in most AR-15 mil-spec mags is attached to the follower and is difficult to orient backward. But, if it is humanly possible…
  4. Push the charging handle forward into the locked position.
  5. Push the magazine release button. The magazine should fall free under its own weight. If it does not, it could be due to either a bent magazine tube OR the magazine release catch has been screwed too far into the mag well. If you have the same problem with all of your mags, try backing off the catch arm one full turn and repeat the test.
  6. Slap the bolt release. The bolt should fly forward sharply and lock up into the rear of the barrel.
  7. Point the muzzle in a safe direction and put the safety on “Safe”. Pull the trigger, hard. Nothing should happen.
  8. Put the safety on “Fire”. Press the trigger. You should have a normal trigger press and hammer fall. Keep the trigger depressed.
  9. Rack the charging handle.
  10. Let the trigger go forward slowly until you hear and feel the very loud disconnector reset.
  11. Press the trigger again.
  12. Attempt to put the safety on “Safe”. With the hammer down on an AR-15 and variants, the safety cannot be put on safe.
  13. Repeat for all remaining magazines.

*This is the first entry in a 2-part series. The second installment will publish in coming issues.

Reactive Steel Shooting – Bobber X-treme™

Reactive shooting is the skill a police officer must rely on when confronted with a suddenly hazardous situation. It is a critical skill that can save officers’ lives, and it is the result of conditioned hand-eye coordination developed by training on Action Target air-powered reactive steel systems.

As we learn more and more about the human dynamics involved in armed confrontations, we understand that physical skills that require conscious thought or intellectual processing tend to break down rapidly under high levels of stress. If defensive skills and responses are not programmed in at a subconscious level, the sudden stress may cause us to fumble, freeze or panic. It is in this environment that reactive shooting skills are needed. Such reflexive shooting skills can be taught through the use of extremely short time limits, thus pushing the shooter to function at the limits of reaction and response time. This can be compared to learning how to hit a fast moving ball with a bat or racket, or developing the reflexes to block a punch or kick at full speed. Reactive steel targets provide the instant feedback required to program an officer’s reflexive shooting skills effectively and efficiently.

Over the next several months, we will be showcasing our entire Reactive Steel line of targets. First one to be discussed is our Bobber X-treme™:

Bobber X-treme ™

  • Reactive steel with automated reset – Independent target control
  • Multiple AR500 steel target plates – Variable exposure times
  • Choose knock-down or “flop” heads – Computerized scenarios

The basic function of the Bobber X-treme™ will probably sound familiar. A steel plate is presented to the shooter from behind cover. This plate can be hit at any time while it is exposed, and a computer interface is used to control the frequency and duration of the target exposures.

Speed – The exposure times with the Bobber X-treme™ can be as short as a ½ second, so speed is of the essence. The whole idea behind reactive shooting is to train the body to automatically carry out the complex action of firing a gun without having to process the whole sequence with your conscious mind.

Accuracy – Not only is missing the intended target inefficient and ineffective, it is a staggering liability during an actual armed conflict. Because the 8-inch target plates on the Bobber X-treme™ jump up from and retreat behind total cover, only accurately placed shots will have any effect. Painting the chest plate and assuming it to be an innocent bystander or hostage increases the pressure for accuracy even more.

Judgment – Split-second judgment and threat analysis may be the most important elements of the training triangle. The revolutionary Bobber X-treme™ addresses this issue by presenting the shooter with two separate target plates, one directly behind the other. One plate is an 8-inch circle, and the other is an 8-inch octagon. Depending on your training scenario, you can classify all the circle plates as hostile, and all the octagon plates as friendly. When one of the plates jumps up from behind cover, the shooter must quickly determine whether the plate is hostile or friendly and then take the appropriate action. The circles and octagons look enough alike to force the shooter to be sure.

If you would like some more information about the Bobber X-treme™ or other Reactive Steel products, please contact the Territory Manager for your region.

Function Testing: Why and How

Written by Benjamin Kurata

I’ve had the benefit of traveling to many different locations and training with many different departments and agencies. It’s been a pleasure and an honor to train with the men and women who are on the front line protecting our country and society. That being said, a universally neglected area is proper preventative maintenance of the semiautomatic pistols, rifles, and shotguns issued and carried. IF YOUR WEAPON DOESN’T WORK, YOU CAN’T PROTECT YOURSELF, YOUR PARTNER, OR OTHERS!

Cleaning and Lubrication:

Here, I have to defer to, and ask you to do that most unnatural thing: read the Owner’s Manual that comes with every firearm. If you don’t have a copy, you can go to the manufacturer’s website and download a copy, or see your department RangeMaster. (S)he will likely have a copy. The other unnatural thing that I will ask of you is to follow the instructions. Light lubrication means a light coat of lubricant, not half of the 4 oz. squeeze bottle of CLP. We all have our favorite concoctions and potions to use on our firearms, just keep in mind two things:

1. In general, solvents are good at dissolving carbon, fouling, and copper from the surfaces of your firearm. They are not good at lubricating the same surfaces. A really good solvent will strip away all the residue on the surface being treated and LEAVE THE METAL BARE AND UNPROTECTED.

2. In general, lubricants are good at protecting metal-to-metal contact surfaces and metal parts / finishes from corrosion, but they are not necessarily good as a solvent.

Firearms Function Test

Which means, yes, in general, you will have to use two bottles of magical mystery stuff. I’m sure in saying this I will get barraged with spam about the latest and greatest whatever, and if it’s out there, please feel free to hook me up with lots of free samples. I’m just saying that I haven’t encountered the ultimate all-in-one product yet.

In a future article I’ll go over general guidelines for preventative maintenance for semiautomatic pistols, but for now, let’s assume that you have successfully disassembled, cleaned, and lubricated both your weapon and any associated magazines. Yes, I am a proponent of cleaning and lightly lubricating your magazines every time you clean and lubricate your weapon. Let’s think about it. Magazines are your weapon’s ammunition feeding system. If a magazine fails, your weapon will likely no longer fire with that magazine. That’s why we practice stoppage clearance drills every time we practice. (See previous article on magazine maintenance and function testing.)

To Function Test a Semiautomatic Pistol:

  1. Make certain that there is no live ammunition in the pistol or any of the associated magazines. Check a second time.
  2. How and Why Firearms Function Test

  3. With the hammer down / striker in the “fired” position, insert and lock an empty magazine into the magazine well. This checks to see that the magazine locking notch(es) line up with magazine release, and the magazine release spring has enough power to retain the magazine in the magazine well..
  4. How and Why Firearms Function Test

  5. Smartly rack the slide to the rear. The slide should stay open. This tests the magazine follower, magazine spring, and the alignment of the follower with the slide stop. If the slide does not stay open, you may have reassembled the magazine with the spring backwards or upside down.
  6. Function Test Magazine Release Step

  7. Press the magazine release. The magazine should fall free of the magazine well under its own weight. If it doesn’t, the magazine tube may be bent.
  8. How and Why Function Test Firearms

  9. Using the slide stop / catch, release the slide and let it fly forward under it’s own action. DO NOT “RIDE” the slide with the support hand. You are testing the recoil spring’s capability to drive the slide into battery and lockup.
  10. If your handgun has an external hammer and full cock notch, press under the hammer spur, attempting to push the hammer into the fired position without pressing the trigger. If the hammer slips or wobbles, the handgun is unsafe, do not use it, turn it over to a qualified armorer immedi ately!
  11. How and Why to Function Test Firearms

  12. If your handgun has a safety lever, put it on “safe”. Press the trigger. Nothing should happen.
  13. How and Why to Function Test Firearms

  14. If your handgun has a decock lever (like a SIG), decock. Again, nothing should happen except the hammer being lowered safety to the decock notch.
  15. With the muzzle pointing in a safe direction, take the safety off (if applicable), and press the trigger AND HOLD THE TRIGGER IN THE REARMOST POSITION OF ITS TRAVEL. The hammer / striker should fHow and Why Function Firearm Test all normally.How and Why to Function Test Firearms
  16. Continue to HOLD THE TRIGGER TO THE REAR and manually cycle the slide.
  17. SLOWLY let the trigger go forward until you feel / hear the disconnector reset “click”.
  18. Press the trigger. Again, you should get a normal hammer / striker fall. Steps 9 -12 test the disconnector, the integrated safety mechanism that makes the semiautomatic weapon semiautomatic. A broken disconnector means your wea pon may go full auto on you. While that sounds exciting, it really is a nasty suprise!
  19. Repeat steps 1 – 12 with all remaining magazines.

If you are thinking, “That’s a lot of work!”, consider the following:

1. When you get the hang of it, it will take you 5 – 10 seconds to function test your weapon with each magazine. Most officers carry 3 magazines, so 15 – 30 seconds total!

2. Do you really want to charge your weapon with live ammo, holster it, and not know if it is mechanically functioning properly? A gunfight is not the place to perform a function test!

Next up: function testing the AR-15 (and similar) patrol rifle and the semiautomatic or pump shotgun.

Weapon Clearing

How to Clean Your WeaponThere is no shortage of techniques for clearing a stoppage or malfunction; just trying to explain the difference between the two sets off a never ending debate. Unfortunately, those who have time to engage in never ending debates lose track of what is important. You’re fighting for your life. Whatever works is what is important.

Stoppages usually occur in the cycle of operation of the semiautomatic pistol or rifle, usually caused by a dirty, un-lubricated weapon, bad magazines (covered in a previous article) under powered ammunition, poor grip (including unlocking the wrist while shooting). There are other contributing factors, but these are the primary ones.

A malfunction relates to a mechanically broken weapon that usually cannot be fixed on short notice. I would like to deal with the stoppage techniques in this article.

First, prevention or at least steps we can take to prevent this from happening are important, but please keep in mind there are no guarantees. It is hard to believe that in 2010 the primary cause of stoppages is still dirty, un-lubricated firearms. With all the training and preaching about the importance of cleaning and maintaining our weapons systems many of our fellow officers continue to not take this seriously. A properly maintained and lubricated firearm following the manufacturer’s guidelines is as important to you and those that rely on you as understanding sound tactics and techniques to survive a firefight on the street.

Every time a firearm is taken apart, cleaned, lubricated, and put back together, you should perform a function check. Often at the beginning of a training class I will have the students unload, make the weapon safe and perform a function check. I am often surprised by the number of officers that have been “trained” and carrying the firearm for some time that still do not know how to properly perform a function check on their side arm or a shoulder mounted weapon they may be using. While specific firearms require specific manipulation for a weapon-specific function check, general guidelines for a function check will be covered in a later article.

Inspection of duty ammo as we load our magazines is as equally important. The primary objective is to keep our weapons at peak operational readiness so when we draw the firearm we are confident it will go BANG! (Preventative maintenance guide coming soon.)

So, let’s move on to some more terms such as slide forward, slide to the rear, primary stoppage, secondary stoppage, etc. Slide (or bolt on a semi-automatic rifle or shotgun) forward means that the slide or bolt is all the way forward in the normal locked (firing) position but the weapon did not go BANG! Slide (or bolt) to the rear means that the slide is locked to the rearward position. Primary stoppage means that when you pressed the trigger you heard or felt a hammer / striker fall. Secondary stoppage means that when you pressed he trigger you did not hear or feel a hammer / striker fall.

First, if you have to press the trigger and the weapon doesn’t go “BANG!”, your first immediate action is to MOVE!, preferably toward cover, but if none is available, remember that a moving target is harder to hit than a stationary one.

Reload:

If the indicators are:
(1) Slide or bolt locked to the rear, AND
(2) no hammer or striker fall, chances are that the weapon is empty and needs to be reloaded.
The fix is to reload the weapon and get back into the fight! Sounds simple enough, but how many times have you seen in training shooters; (a) catch an empty magazine, (b) place an empty magazine in a pocket, etc.? If you need to continue shooting, the most important thing is to get the fresh magazine into the weapon and chamber a round. The empty magazine is worthless!

Also, some shooters practice the method of pointing the muzzle of the semiautomatic pistol straight up and flipping it in their hand so the magazine well points out at a ninety degree angle. The theory is that you can see the opening of the magazine well out of your peripheral vision or “combat window” and are less likely to fumble a reload. I can’t say that I’m a big fan of this technique, as pointing the muzzle straight up on a semiautomatic pistol with the slide locked to the rear tells the whole world (including, possibly, your assailant(s)) that YOU’RE EMPTY. I’ve also seen shooters that get the steps wrong and flip the pistol to the ninety degree angle before pressing the magazine release, and then wonder why the magazine doesn’t fall out. (Sir Isaac Newton figured this out a few centuries ago.) I prefer to keep the muzzle pointed at the threat / threat area with the magazine well pointed down while executing the reload.

Primary Method of Stoppage Clearing:

If the indicators are:

How to Clean Your Weapon(1) Slide or bolt forward, AND
(2) hammer or striker fall, your primary method of immediate action is to:
(a) TAP and TUG on the magazine to make sure it is seated;
(b) RACK the slide or bolt,
(c) READY.

All of this should happen as you are moving and the weapon is still up, pointed toward to threat or threat area. With a semi-automatic pistol, a good “par time” for a tap, rack, ready is about 1.0 – 1.5 seconds. With a semiautomatic rifle, about 1.5 seconds. Dipping the muzzle toward the ground and staring at the weapon does nothing except alert your assailant(s) that you are out of the fight.

Secondary Method of Stoppage Clearing:

If the indicators are:
(1) Slide or bolt locked to the rear, AND
(2) no hammer or striker fall, AND
(3) When you press the magazine release, the magazine does not fall out of the weapon, you may have a failure to extract combined with a failure to feed, also known as a “double feed”. We refer to it as a “secondary stoppage”.

The traditional steps to correct this have been:

(a) LOCK the slide / bolt to the rear,
(b) RIP the magazine out,
(c) RACK the slide / bolt to clear the chamber, then
(d) TAP a new magazine into place,
(e) RACK the slide / bolt and
(f) READY.

That’s a lot of moving parts to memorize, and under low stress on the range we’ve seen a lot of shooters get the steps out of order, making the stoppage even worse.

We’ve simplified this “secondary method” into three steps that are more easily remembered under stress:

(a) UNLOAD the weapon, which usually means removing the
magazine, sometimes forcefully;
(b) CLEAR THE CHAMBER (I prefer a physical check with a fingertip
as opposed to a visual check, which assumes that you will have
sufficient light to see the chamber);
(c) RELOAD the weapon, preferably with a fresh magazine, as a faulty
magazine may have caused the stoppage in the first place.

To recap, the best way to minimize the need for stoppage clearing is to:

(a) Have your weapons clean and properly lubricated;
(b) Function test all of your magazines;
(c) Make certain that all of the cartridges in the magazines are
defect-free.

That being said, practice your stoppage drills. You can do them in any safe area that allows movement and has simulated cover. Make certain to remove all live rounds from the area and use only inert training cartridges.

Product Partnership

Action Target believes only the best of everything should be associated with all we do. One example of our continuous search for the best is our partnership with Carey’s Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc. After extensive review, we have aligned ourselves with Carey’s to use their heating, air conditioning and ventilation systems in order to provide our indoor range customers with the safest air conditions in the world. Action Target feels it is important for our readers to know more about Carey’s and the integral role they play in the industry. They are not only another provider of air flow products, Carey’s has been an innovator and pioneer with their systems. This article provided by Carey’s below is a little insight into the company. After reading, it will be clear to see why Action Target recommends their systems for our indoor projects.

Carey’s Heating and Air Conditioning has been developing, designing and installing successful Indoor Range projects for over 15 years. They have specialized their designs in the control of contaminants created by indoor ranges and are currently known as a National leader in the field. They have worked with the United States Navy to develop the current range ventilation standards as described in the Unified Force Criteria. Carey’s wrote the ventilation standards for Region #5 of the GSA, edited the standards for the United States Air Force as published in the ETL, and have been consultants for the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (Department of Homeland Security) and FBI. With that background, it is safe to say Carey’s Heating and Air Conditioning is the leader in contained range ventilation and the Subject Matter Expert.

There are three purposes for properly ventilating indoor small arms ranges:

1.     Remove air-borne contaminates from human respiration created by the firing of a gun in an enclosed range. These include lead, other heavy metals and carbon monoxide. Left unaddressed, OSHA levels for safe operation are quickly surpassed.

2.     Maintain a negative range pressure to the surrounding areas of the building. This keeps contaminates created in the range from entering adjoining areas. Heavy metals such as lead that are allowed to enter into non-range spaces can cause levels above OSHA allowable limits for surface contaminations. These high levels are unsafe due to the chance of ingestion.

3.     Remove smoke from the range for proper vision of the targets.

The design, installation and commissioning of the range ventilation system can be the difference between an unsafe range and a range that meets the OSHA, EPA and NIOSH standards. The critical components are custom fabricated in Carey’s facility and are the summation of the lessons learned from the completion of hundreds of prior range ventilation projects.

AT Partners with Carey'sSpecifically, the radial air diffusers and plenums are custom built and have been tested to provide laminar air flow at the firing line after proper commissioning. “Laminar” flow is a steady, even airflow required to safely clear contaminate from the respiratory zone of the users of the range. These special diffusers are not available from a standard diffuser supplier. The control system and programming uses standard parts from Johnson Control, but the programming of the equipment is critical. The programming is done by an experienced programmer who has worked on all of the ranges that Carey’s has completed. It is also critical to have the control system installed and tested to automatically shut down if unsafe conditions are detected. This will protect both the occupants of the range and the adjoining areas.

The on site supervision provided by Carey’s Heating & Air Conditioning is necessary to ensure guaranteed results in meeting these standards. If the project does not have the proper oversight, it can result in unsatisfactory results and finger pointing. Unlike a standard ventilation project where the system is installed and the air test and balancer sets the design air flow at each system outlet, a range ventilation system is designed for proper air flow at the firing line that is ten to fifteen feet from the distribution point. It must be the designer’s responsibility. An installing contractor can only install the project as shown on the drawings and control the air flow to the distribution device.

Due to the potential of over exposure to carbon monoxide, lead and other heavy metals on the range as well as the potential to contaminate adjoining areas with surface contaminates, the only way to guarantee performance is to have the system installation and design managed by someone with the experience to see potential problems with the installation. The site reviews also look at the building construction to identify potential problems such as a breach in the range walls that could present problems for the end users.

Carey’s Heating and Air Conditioning has completed hundreds of range ventilation projects at facilities that have met all of the required standards, including projects for the US Navy, Air Force, US Marshals, Police / Sheriff Departments and private / commercial ranges.

  • Pasadena Police Department – Pasadena, CA
  • Milwaukee County Sheriff Department – Franklin WI
  • Matteson Police Department – Matteson, IL
  • Lake Forest Police Department, Lake Forest, IL
  • Great Lakes Naval Base – Great Lakes, IL
  • Oak Creek Police Department, Oak Creek, IL
  • Greenfield Police Department, Greenfield, WI
  • Unites States Air Force Reserves – Milwaukee, WI
  • Council Bluffs Police Department – Council Bluffs, IO
  • Boulder Police Department – Boulder, CO
  • Coronado Naval Base – San Diego, CA
  • San Diego Naval Base – San Diego, CA
  • Bangor Submarine Base – Silverdale, WA
  • Annapolis Naval Academy – Annapolis, MD
  • Patuxcent River Naval Base – Patuxcent River, MD
  • Annapolis Naval Academy – Annapolis, MD
  • Quantico Marine Base – Quantico, VA
  • Little Creek Naval Base, Virginia Beach, VA
  • Dam Neck Seal Base, Virginia Beach, VA
  • Portsmouth Ship Yard, Portsmouth, VA
  • New Orleans Naval Air Station, New Orleans, LA
  • Northeast Texas Community College, Texas
  • Newport Naval Base, Newport, RI
  • Middletown Police Department, Langhorne, PA
  • Sherwood Police Department, Sherwood, OR
  • Aviano NATO Base, Aviano, Italy
  • Sigonella Naval Air Station, Sigonella, Sicily
  • Gibraltar Training Range, Gibraltar, Great Brittan
  • Pearl Harbor Naval Base, Pearl Harbor, HI
  • Federal Reserve Bank – St. Louis, MO
  • Eagleton Courthouse, St. Louis, MO
  • Kansas City Police Department, Kansas City, MO
  • Montgomery County Police Department, Conshohocken, PA

Management

The management team assigned to any range project are key personnel at Carey’s Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc. and will ensure its successful and professional completion within the parameters previously established.

The Carey’s team consists of the following:

  • Bill Provencher: President and CEO – oversees all aspects of project
  • Pat Tovey: Secretary Treasure and CFO – responsible all material acquisition, contracts and project coordination.
  • Jim Provencher: Vice President – responsible for all custom material fabrication and delivery.
  • Jim McKay: Control Manager – Designs, supervises the assembly and start up of the range control system. Commissions the systems.
  • Kristofer Williams: Engineer – Designs equipment and distribution system for the range ventilation.

The team of professionals that Carey’s brings to this project are among the most knowledgeable and complete authorities in the range ventilation field.

Responsiveness

Carey’s is the only range ventilation supplier that has a 24 hour, seven day per week response center that can support and troubleshoot the range ventilation system though the direct digital control system. Their level of commitment to ensuring that our range is fully operational and functioning is extraordinary. Roselle is confident that no other company in the industry is capable of providing this degree of service and maintenance.

Experience of Contractor Personnel

Carey’s personnel have 13 years of experience installing ranges. In addition to seasoned employees and industry leading partners, Carey’s has extensive sub-contractor relationships with all the disciplines of range construction. Carey’s success in hiring experienced, professional employees, partners and sub-contractors is evidenced by their track record in building some of the most advanced, complex, state-of-the-art firearms training facilities in the world.

Uniqueness

Carey’s Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc. has been an innovative force in range ventilation design for over 15 years.

If you would like more information on Carey’s products, indoor ranges, ventilation or have other questions, please contact the Territory Manager for your area.

Latest Projects in the Great Lakes Region

No matter how big or small, if you need a target, range, ventilation system or custom facility, Action Target has a solution. Starting with our portable steel targets, graduating to our Tactical Application Scenario Kit (TASK) for the ultimate in portable options to the designing and building of a more permanent solution with a member of our staff, we can help.

Holding numerous patents on the products we produce and working with some of the best partners, such as Carey’s for ventilation, Action Target will construct the finest range solution for your needs. We have built, maintained and updated ranges for local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, all branches of the United States Military, professional / competitive organizations and various private / commercial entities.

We feel it is important to highlight some of our most recent projects and acknowledge those involved. Many times it is not an easy process, but whether building new or updating an existing facility, Action Target and our team of dedicated professionals will get the job done right. With that, we would like to announce the completion of two projects. Both of the following ranges were facilitated by Jason Snell, the Great Lakes Territory Manager, and the team he assembled.

AT Installs TCT for Dearorn PDFirst up is the renovation of Dearborn Police Departments (DPD) firing range. Located in the basement of Michigan’s DPD, this project took careful planning and execution. With the help of several dedicated companies, Action Target managed the removal of DPD’s existing bullet trap, modified the existing target systems, cleaned the range and installed two 16′ Total Containment Bullet Traps (TCT).

A special thanks goes to Mancom, Best Technology Systems, Inc., Truxell Electric, Arch Environmental Group, Dearborn PD Procurement, Dearborn PD Project Manager, Stephen White, Action Target Great Lakes Territory Manager, Jason Snell, Project Manager, Mark Ostebo, and many others for their hard work and a job well done!

Equipment provided and installed by Action Target includes the following:

  • (2) AR550 Steel Total Containment Bullet Traps
  • (1) Dust Collection Unit (DCU)

AT Provides Ranges and Equipment for Nashville PDCongratulations to Dearborn Police Department and all those involved!

The second project recently completed in the Great Lakes Region is the updated Metro Nashville Police Academy Outdoor Firing Range. Located in Tennessee at Nashville’s outdoor training facility, this project included the removal of all old targeting systems from two separate ranges and the installation of new Action Target equipment.

AT Installs Outdoor Fiiring RangeA special thanks goes to Officers Bob Allen and Greg Lee, City and State Officials, Metro Nashville Procurement, Action Target Great Lakes Territory Manager – Jason Snell, Action Target Project Manager – Brian Sanders, and many others for their hard work and a job well done!

Equipment provided and installed by Action Target includes the following:

Congratulations to Metro Nashville Police Academy and all those involved!

AT Installs Power 90 Turning Targets

AT Installed Track Runners for Nashville PD

If you are in the Great Lakes region and would like more information about any of our products or services, please contact the Territory Manager, Jason Snell.

801-377-8033 ext. 158
801-809-6966 cell
jasons@actiontarget.com

Action Target International

AT Build MATCH in GermanyDid you know that we are an international company? For years we have been increasing our presence abroad. Countries around the world have been increasing their police and military forces to parallel their growing populations. With more officers and law enforcement staff, countries are turning to Action Target to provide the very best training solutions. With our diverse line of range-related products, we have been fortunate enough to be selected to build some of the largest shooting facilities in the world. We have designed, manufactured and installed indoor, outdoor and M.A.T.C.H. (Modular Armored Tactical Combat House) ranges for our international friends and US military bases located on foreign soil.

Pictured above are structures we built in Germany that utilize M.A.T.C.H. technology. They are just one example of the course and scope of our international efforts.

Action Target Provides Innovative Training WorldwideAlong with our range and steel target technology, we have been sought for practical application training solutions as well. Action Target has been able to supply some of the best military and law enforcement trainers from the US to provide a comprehensive training program using our range equipment. Our ability to provide training on the equipment we manufacture and install continues to set us apart. We can provide this service with the purchase of our systems for a limited or extended time. If you do not have a range and/or would like to discuss having some specific coursework delivered to your personnel, we would like to discuss the options available with you. We have the capacity to deliver the entire spectrum of shooting-related coursework. Our capabilities including classroom and nomenclature discussions to static live fire, non-live-fire, force on force, close quarter combat, tactical live fire all the way to the pinnacle of tactical combat house live-fire training. Basically, if you have a firearm-related training need, whether it is for equipment, instruction or both, Action Target has a solution. If you would like to know more, please contact the Action Target representative for your area. Their information is below.

Europe and Africa:
Rod Wilkerson
+801-705-9146 office
+801-367-0726 mobile
rodney@actiontarget.com

Latin America:
Walter Roese
+801-705-9174 office
+801-787-7445 mobile
wroese@actiontarget.com

Middle East:
Jason Xochimitl
+801-705-9112 office
+801-376-2722 mobile
jxochimitl@actiontarget.com

Pacific Rim:
Steve Thomas
+801-396-1213 office
+801-602-0014 mobile
sthomas@actiontarget.com

If you are with the US Military and want to discuss range options in the US or abroad, please contact the military representative for your area. Their information is below.

Eastern United States, Europe, Middle East:
Alan Denmark
+801-705-9186 office
+801-995-2062 mobile
aland@actiontarget.com

Western United States and Pacific Rim:
Kelli Cutler
+801-705-9111 office
+801-319-1198 mobile
kellic@actiontarget.com

Whether you are looking for targets, targeting systems, range development, training or anything else, please let us know. Our international staff will be able to find a solution to your needs. Since we are always committed to service and producing the highest quality products, please provide any feedback you may have by clicking here.