Category: AT Short Article

Three Keys to Getting Your Shooting Range Approved

In the process of building a shooting range, perhaps the most intimidating part is getting it approved by your local government. Even after you’ve done all the work, raised all the money, and planned everything out, the final say still comes down to a handful of elected officials. Don’t let that make you feel powerless, though. Even if the ultimate decision is in someone else’s hands, there are still things you can do to increase your chances of success.

1) Talk to the Right People

Your local government officials need to know as soon as possible that you’re planning to build a shooting range. They’ll appreciate it if you inform them early and often of your intentions, and that communication can open doors for you later on. You’ll have a much better chance of getting your range approved if you’ve established a relationship with local leaders from the beginning.

Early communication will also help you figure out zoning issues. In most cases, land has to be zoned as either commercial or industrial for a shooting range to be built on it. Find out first thing if the land you’re looking at is zoned appropriately. Zoning requirements for building a shooting range vary depending on where you live, and some places may not even have specific guidelines for ranges. Your local officials will have the most accurate information and can help you understand the requirements. Should you discover that the land you plan to build on is not zoned appropriately for a shooting range, ask the planning and zoning committee if it can be re-zoned. Often, city governments are willing to work with local businesses on zoning issues to keep potential commerce from going elsewhere.

2) Educate Yourself

AT Builds Indoor Firing Range for OrlandoThe more you know about what’s required to get your range approved, the better. Become familiar with local noise and firearms regulations as well as environmental restrictions that will apply to your shooting range. How will you handle noise abatement? How will you dispose of lead? How will you keep customers and employees safe? All of these issues will come up when presenting to the city council. If you already know what their concerns are by asking questions and doing research, you can adequately prepare to answer them.

Once you know what standards you’re shooting range will be required to meet, talk to an Action Target territory manager to find out what options are available. Action Target specializes in building state-of-the-art shooting ranges and offers several technologies to meet the stringent requirements of government regulations. For example, Action Target’s Total Containment Trap (TCT) is the most environmentally-friendly bullet trap in the industry and makes lead containment safe and easy. With the addition of a Screw Conveyor System (SCS), all bullets and range debris are safely collected and deposited into a sealed barrel for convenient disposal. Action Target also provides sound-abating safety baffles, acoustically-rated wall systems that reduce reverberation by 98%, bullet-proof transparent lane dividers, and ventilation systems that filter air and protect customers from lead exposure. No matter what regulation your shooting range is under, chances are Action Target has a patented technology to meet it.

3) Prepare to Present

Once you’ve talked to your local government officials and learned everything you need to know about regulations and restrictions, all that’s left to do is present your plan to the city council. For those inexperienced in public speaking, this may be the scariest part of the whole process. To make the experience smoother, ask a city council member in advance what information they want from you, write down a list of questions they may ask you, and prepare all of your answers ahead of time so you don’t forget in the heat of the moment.

If you feel like you need additional backup, Action Target representatives are more than willing to attend the city council meeting with you no matter where you live. That way you can have a shooting range expert standing next to you to answer any questions about the technology and safety features of your future range.

The sales team at Action Target is willing to do whatever it can to make the approval process as seamless and successful as possible for you. If you have any questions or concerns about getting your shooting range approved, call Action Target at (801) 377-8033 and ask to speak with your area representative.

Please note, the tips included in this message have been found to be helpful for many clients throughout the years, but may not apply in all situations. Please use judgment in determining which tips will be helpful in your particular situation.

The Top 3 Things to Consider When Building a Shooting Range

Building a shooting range is a huge endeavor that should be approached cautiously and systematically. There are many things to consider and potential issues you may have to deal with; however, don’t let that deter you. Building a shooting range is a perfectly attainable goal if you start things right. Even if you already own a shooting range, or if it’s just a future dream, the three steps in this week’s newsletter can help you smooth out the process and keep you on the road to success.

1) Know Your Purpose

Figure out exactly what you want to do with your shooting range and then design it. Don’t get caught up in the excitement of building a range and then try to figure out how to use it afterward. Paying for and maintaining a bunch of functions that you don’t need or want is almost as bad as not meeting your needs in the first place. We offer custom and turn-key designs for ranges of all shapes and sizes, so instead of just picking the flashiest range in the catalog, decide independently what you need to get the job done. If we don’t offer a range that matches your unique requirements, we’ll design one that does.

Make sure you know who you’ll be serving. Your customers should be the deciding factor in many of the considerations you’ll come across in the planning stage. If you don’t offer what they want, they’ll go elsewhere to find it. Do some research on your potential customers and ask yourself some of these important questions.

For commercial ranges, ask yourself:

  • Will my patrons be more comfortable at an outdoor or an indoor range?
  • How many shooters need to be accommodated at the same time?
  • Will there be unsupervised shooting on the range?
  • Are my customers more concerned with hunting or self-defense?
  • What types of guns and ammo am I going to allow?
  • Will my range be appropriate for family use?

For law enforcement ranges, ask yourself:

  • Will my emphasis be on training, qualification, or both?
  • Will my range consist of a single firing line only, or does it need to allow close-range tactical training?
  • Does my range need to accommodate the use of vehicles in tactical situations?
  • Will the SWAT team use the range?
  • What weapons and ammo will be used and at what distances?
  • Will citizens be allowed to use the range on designated days?

2) Involve the Right People

Action Target may be able to provide you with the best shooting range technology in the world, but it’s going to be the people you know that will make your range a success. The key to a smooth process is communication. As they say in the field of public relations, “Don’t bulldoze the neighborhood without talking to the tenants first.” The point is, there are people you need to communicate with before you ever start building your range.

If you plan on having resident firearms trainers, make sure they are involved from the beginning. Your trainers will be using the range the most and should have a say in the way it’s designed. Often, they are going to have the best ideas when it comes to the practical uses of shooting range technology and functions.

Local government officials play a crucial role in the future of your range. In the end, they are going to have the final say in whether you can build it or not, so establish rapport as early as possible. Talk to the county commissioner and the city council to figure out exactly what you need to do to get your shooting range approved. This may include figuring out zoning issues, environmental regulations, and local statutes involving noise and firearms. Your local officials will have the most accurate information on regulations affecting you and will appreciate being informed of your intentions early and often.

Unfortunately, not everyone is going to like the idea of a shooting range moving into the neighborhood. Their main concerns will probably be noise, lead contamination, and gun safety. This is where your public relations comes in. Talk to your neighbors and find out what their specific concerns are, if any. Then create a message to let people know exactly what you’re doing, what safety precautions you’re taking, and how the range is going to benefit the community. This can be done through public service announcements, town hall meetings, fliers, press releases, or even going door to door. No matter how you do it, make sure the people around you are adequately informed because problems will inevitably arise if you keep them in the dark.

3) Plan for Success

Obviously, no one builds a shooting range anticipating to fail, but too often people build ranges without planning to be successful either. When designing your range, leave room for future growth. You don’t want to find yourself limited when things go better than expected. You can prepare for this with careful planning and a little foresight.

Shooting ranges can get crowded when demand exceeds supply. Make sure you have enough lanes so people don’t have to wait for hours to shoot. Consider your customers when deciding how many and what kind of lanes to install. Go back to the question of whether your customers are more concerned with hunting or self defense. Perhaps a hunter shooting a rifle will occupy a lane longer than someone practicing self-defense with a handgun. If you expect or even allow rifle shooters on your range, consider building a separate area designed specifically for rifles. By separating shooters based on firearm type or purpose, you may be able to alleviate some congestion. Other suggestions for keeping the flow of customers unimpeded are to allow online scheduling of lanes, to install a webcam that allows customers to go to your website and see in real time how busy the shooting range is, and to limit how long shooters can occupy a lane.

Angel View of the Total Containment TrapThe equipment you install in your shooting range can also have a significant effect on your future success. If you anticipate a large number of shooters on your range every day, you may want to reconsider the bullet containment system you use. Rubber berms work great on ranges that don’t see excessive everyday use, but if you start having more customers than you originally planned for, it quickly becomes a less ideal solution. Rubber berms have to be cleaned and the bullets lodged in them mined after so many shots fired. Not only does it cost money to clean the rubber berm, but the more days you have to close your range for maintenance, the more money you lose.

The Action Target Total Containment Trap (TCT) can be a great solution if you are going to run a lot of people through the range. With three different types of hands-free lead removal systems, the TCT allows for varying levels of use and greatly diminishes the time you have to spend maintaining your shooting range. If your range’s anticipated level of use is on the border of being too much for a rubber berm, plan on being successful and install a TCT. Don’t limit your long-term success based on short-term finances.

No matter where you are in the process of building your dream shooting range, we are here to support you. We are only successful when you’re successful; so let us know what we can do to help. For more information on what systems will work best for you and your customers, contact one of Action Target’s shooting range consultants by calling our office at (801) 377-8033.

Action Target Steel vs. Backyard Targets

During tough economic times, many shooters decide to create or build their own steel targets to save money. With more and more companies and individuals manufacturing steel targets, the water has become increasingly muddy where accurate information is concerned.

Safety should always be the highest priority when choosing or building a target. Action Target’s steel target product line has been developed in conjunction with law enforcement and the U.S. Military for the last 26 years so it is time-tested and proven to withstand even the most intense firearms training.

Steel is Steel Right?

Action Target Line of Fire Static Steel

The hardness of the steel is so critical because only a smooth surface will generate predictable splatter patterns. Steel that is not sufficiently hard can develop pits, craters, dimples, and other hazardous deformations. When a bullet hits one of these deformations, it is impossible to predict where the splatter will go, thereby creating an unacceptable training environment.

Many times, shooters find an old piece of steel in their garage and think to themselves, “I can make a good steel target out of this!” While, you may be able to shoot and hit the target, with no problems, it may not always be the safest option every time.

Action Target Steel Target Design

Because steel target training is extremely effective, we have spent years combining high quality materials and practices in order to create innovative, effective, and safe steel target systems.

Our target designs include:

  • Made exclusively of the finest through hardened 500 and 550 Brinell steel with proper alloy elements that produce the required toughness and depth of hardening. In other words, they can withhold more rounds and they remain solid. The more craters and dents a steel target gets, the more unsafe it becomes. This is because its splatter pattern and ricochet is no longer constant and predictable.
  • Designed with smooth and flat shooting surfaces for consistent and predictable bullet splatter patterns. There are no dangerous brackets, clamps, or bolts to get in the way and to deflect rounds in unforeseen directions.
  • Designed to rest at a downward sloping angle, allowing for dissipation of bullet impact energy.
  • Designed to move when struck allowing for even greater dissipation of bullet impact energy.

Pay Today, Save Tomorrow

Steel targets in general are great investments. Action Target’s steel target product lines aid shooters with their pocketbook. Although these targets can cost more up front, they save money in the long run. Because they are made out of the best steel available, steel targets last much longer than a homemade target would.

In addition to our top quality products, we offer promotions, discount codes, and other types of savings to help our fellow shooters stretch their shooting budget needs. To learn more about Action Targets award-winning line of steel targets, visit http://www.actiontarget.com/portable-targets.

LETC 2012: Advanced Firearms Training for Professionals

For over 20 years, Action Target has been holding the Law Enforcement Training Camp (LETC) to help law enforcement departments across the nation get the quality firearms training they need and deserve. LETC is designed to give department firearms instructors the knowledge and tools necessary to increase their deputies’ skill level in tactical situations. While the classes are specifically designed to be highly advanced courses for firearms instructors, all law enforcement is welcome to participate in the training camp.

This year’s LETC will be held September 10-14, 2012 in Utah County, UT. Classes and activities will be split between Action Target headquarters in Provo, UT, and the Utah County Sheriff’s Office Thistle Firing Range which is located a short drive up the canyon in Thistle, UT.

“This was nothing less than the ultimate training experience and every range instructor’s dream,” says Juan Lopez, a detective from Commerce City, CO, of LETC 2011. “My only question to you is when and how early can I register for attending the 2012 LETC?”

Early registration is now available with a discounted tuition price of $450. Tuition goes to up to $495 for those that register after the July 31st deadline. Payment must be arranged at least 30 days before the start of class (Aug. 11) to avoid being dropped from the camp.

All courses offered at LETC are taught by highly qualified professional instructors, many of whom have decades of experience in firearms training. The instructors are chosen by Action Target from among leaders in the industry and include trusted partners from Safariland Shooting School, Hoffner’s Training Academy, Spartan Tactical Training Group, and others.

“LETC was one of the top training experiences I’ve ever had,” said S/Sgt. Mark Horsley of Vancouver, Canada. “The quality of instructors was outstanding.”

This year’s classes include:

  • Advanced practical handgun
  • Combat skill drills for firearms instructors
  • Ultimate shotgun
  • Extreme close quarter battle tactics with hands, knife and pistol
  • Rapid deployment patrol rifle operator
  • Training for the fight with the pistol
  • Emergency medical response for firearms instructors
  • Shoot, move, communicate
  • Glock armorer’s course
  • Reactive shooting
  • Shoot house training
  • Ground combatives and weapons retention training

All classes are designed to force participants out of their comfort zone and into situations where they have to rely on their instincts and prior training. Even experienced professionals find they are pushed to perform at a higher level than ever before.

J. C. Boylan, a range master from Mesa Community College who has been a firearms instructor for 28 years said, “I can say that because of Action Target’s LETC, I am a better and more confident shooter as well as a better firearms instructor.”

Applicants are asked to list their top eight class choices from which four will be assigned based on class size and availability. Early registration increases the chance that applicants will be placed in the classes they want.

Monday, September 10th is considered a travel day with registration starting 2 p.m. at the Action Target headquarters. After registration, participants will be allowed to tour the Action Target facilities.

Classes start Tuesday morning and will be held every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Lunch will be provided as well as a BBQ dinner Tuesday night and a catered banquet Thursday night which includes a raffle.

The registration form for LETC can be found at http://www.actiontarget.com/calendar under the “More Info” column for Sept. 10-14. Instructions on how to submit your registration can be found at the bottom of page. Registration will be reserved for the first 160 applicants, so apply today!

We hope to see you there!

Perfect Practice Makes Perfect (Part 2)

BY ABNER MIRANDA

Editor’s Note: This is a continuation from last weeks article titled, Perfect Practice Makes Perfect. Action Target has republished this article in its entirety with the permission of the author. Ideas, comments, practices, recommendations, etc. are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of Action Target.

The Action Target Dueling Tree is comprised of six individual 6” swinger plates that slam from one side to the other with each individual bullet strike. Of course one can use these targets in the conventional way of swinging the plates back and forth. Yawn! Why, for goodness sakes, would you squander your range time by just shooting when you could be training? If you spend a little time thinking about it, you can really ramp up the training regimen with these things. Here are just a few of the drills that I’ve come up with so far with just two dueling trees.

First. You have a total of 12 swinging plates; those 12 plates give you a total of 24 individual, customizable targets to work with. And yes, you really should spend the money and get two of these—two is one, one is none. I’ll tell you why later on. By employing various color combinations you can take what is normally a simple target shooting session and turn it into a neuron-scathing race that usually leaves shooters out of breath and laughing pretty hard at the end. However, more than that, they will have made multiple Positive Instant Recognition (PIR) pathways that will stick in their minds. The most basic drill that can be done with this sort of thing is actually with just the factory flat black color that these come with. Once you have both trees set up, which only takes about ten minutes with a socket wrench, you can get started with the fun stuff. You stand the trees side by side then swing all of the plates to the inside of both trees. Next, you want to choose your comfort level as to just how close you want to stand when shooting on steel. Here’s my input on the subject: I have been shooting on steel for several years and have only been hit once when I was standing too far to the side of a student. Understand that when I say “hit,” it was more like being popped by a piece of flying gravel from a mower. Trust me, Airsoft pellets hurt far worse than this.

If you are shooting steel you should know that the mechanics of how the bullet dumps its energy is always going to be in a radial pattern. What this means is if you’re the shooter you’re fine, you will not get hit due to simple physics. However, if you’re the instructor, try standing behind the shooter and giving verbal commands from about a foot back, otherwise you might get stung. Most of the plates that Action Target makes have a slight downward face that deflects the impact energy down towards the ground. This allows you to shoot pistols very close and rifles from moderate distance. Please refer to the instructions that come with your targets and follow what they say as not doing so could result in harm to yourself and damage to your plates.

As you begin shooting the first drill with your dueling trees, you start at the lower left then move to the upper right, then upper left, then lower right, and so on until you have all of the plates turned to the outside. Essentially you’re making an “X” pattern over and over. Twelve shots later you are good and warmed up and you have just completed a more dynamic training exercise than any static paper target session could have ever afforded you. In doing this drill you have engaged multiple targets that required a large amount of swinging of your weapon so as to acquire sight picture for each. The idea here is to engage your target with follow through but not to dwell on it. In a very short time frame you will find that you will be hitting a target while your eyes are already locking onto the next plate. You want to keep moving one to the other as rapidly as possible. Because the dueling trees are so tall I like to do this drill from the 5-yard line with my pistol and from about the 10-yard line with my rifle. I’m 6’4” and I find these trees to be high enough that I’m not shooting down all the time. By staying in close, it forces me to have to really move my sights and body around for each shot.

If you really want to pour on the pressure you can do things like painting each plate a different color on either side. You can repeat colors if need be, just don’t repeat them in the same 12 plate set/side. Next you need to make small discs of wood (available at hobby stores) that have the same exact color combinations as your plates. For example, if you paint a plate blue on one side and green on the other you will need to have a disk with the same color scheme. Do this for all 12 plates then have your range buddy (never shoot alone) set the row of 12 discs out in front of you on your range table with a towel covering them. When your buddy says, “go” they start a timer, you then uncover the discs and whatever color combo is in front of you dictates the order you must shoot in, (from left to right). The problem is that the dueling trees are not left to right, or horizontal to put it simply. They are vertical, and to add insult to injury, your “buddy” has done a superb job of making sure that the discs are staggered so that no two colors are beside the other on the actual dueling tree…don’t you just love it? But wait, there’s more!

While you’re busy taking out plates, you’re uncovering even more colors which are muddying up your concentration so not only do you have to pay attention to the color orders, you also have to pay attention that you’re not re-shooting the same color that is on the other side of a plate. So, now you have to not only look for colors but you have to make sure that they don’t already have a bullet hit on them. Oh trust me, this game gets worse! Now that you have all of your plates flipped over, you holster your pistol, reach down and flip all of the color plates over and, that’s right, you do it all over again.

Meanwhile it is your buddy’s job to be trash talking you the whole time and vice-versa. And yes this is a requirement on my range. I want my shooters talking because I want to split their attention as much as possible so that their brains learn how to run their guns on autopilot. I don’t want rounds being counted because I want you to have to reload at least once, hence the need for two dueling trees. At a total of 24 plates in this drill even an FN 5-Seven will need a reload. If you’re doing this with a rifle it is your buddy’s sworn duty to download your magazines to only about 15 rounds each. Twelve rounds would be too obvious, now wouldn’t it? No, boys and girls, I want you well into your next course of 12 plates when your gun runs dry. I love it!

At the end of this drill you will be wasted, and remember, the clock is running so no dawdling. The time element is crucial because without it you won’t feel the urgency of performance that is so needed to properly motivate you to perform at your best. To not run a timer would be like basketball not having a shot clock…sacrilege!

This write up is just the tip of the iceberg for what I have in store for you. In upcoming issues I’m going to show you some truly creative ways to rethink the use of your steel targets. There are so many more drills that are possible with these highly versatile reactive targets that there isn’t room in this review to show them all to you. Besides, I need to keep you hooked. Until then, practice hard.

About the Author

Abner Miranda is a patrol officer at Signal Mountain (Tenn.) Police Department. He is an FBI-trained hostage negotiator, a tactical rifle instructor and an AR-15 armorer.

Which System is Better for the Total Containment Trap: Conveyor or Bucket?

The goal of every range should be to increase facility revenue. In order to achieve this goal, all range products and features should be carefully evaluated to ensure they maximize revenue and are aligned with the volume of range use. While the bucket system is the ideal solution for some ranges, Action Target recommends that all facilities with a Total Containment Trap engaged at a rate of 70% or greater should use the conveyor system. In these ranges, the conveyor system is the best solution to increase range revenue.

Action Target Total Containment Trap with CanistersTime is money. The more time the range is shut down for service, the less money the range is making. In other words, each time a range has to shut down should be viewed as a potential loss of revenue. A range using a conveyor belt doesn’t have to shut down in order to service the trap because the conveyor is constantly collecting the fired rounds. When the range does shuts down for general maintenance, the workers don’t have to deal with clearing buckets and can better spend their time elsewhere.

It’s important to remember that labor is not free. Using buckets or canisters is seldom a viable solution because of the high amount of manual labor that is required, which greatly increases the cost of a bucket system beyond initial construction. Each of the canisters underneath the trap, when full, can weigh over 100 pounds. Due to the heaviness and awkwardness of these canisters, lead is often spilled and the canisters often become damaged. Workers then have to spend more time cleaning up the spilled contents. On a standard 10-lane range, there are more than 30 canisters to remove. If each of these canisters weighs about 100 pounds, there will be more than 1.5 tons of lead. By design, the canisters are meant to have a lid hammered on before removal. However too often, range operators choose to dump each of these buckets into a larger barrel or bin for removal. This creates an undue risk and safety issue as well as the potential threat of lead spillage, which again, requires additional cleanup and special handling. In short, while a bucket or canister system is less expensive initially, the cost of labor and upkeep quickly piles up.

Contrarily, a screw conveyor removes the spent rounds and lead to a single location to be removed. The movement of the lead and spent bullets in the screw conveyor is hands-free; the only engagement is removing and replacing the large barrel after it is full. This can be done easily with a small forklift or a pallet jack and requires far less time and effort than that required with a bucket system.

A final reason why the conveyor system is recommended in Total Containment Traps is safety. If a canister is allowed to overfill, the rounds will remain in the bullet trap and can potentially cause ricochet and/or clogging. Barrels can become filled with lead in as little as two weeks. The more the lead piles up, the bigger the safety issue. Range safety is critical and the screw conveyor system is the best choice for optimal safety.

To learn more about Actions Target’s Total Containment Trap, its bucket system, or its conveyor belt system, visit the Bullet Traps page.

Perfect Practice Makes Perfect (Part 1)

BY ABNER MIRANDA

Editor’s Note: Action Target has republished this article in its entirety with the permission of the author. Ideas, comments, practices, recommendations, etc. are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of Action Target.

Last year I attended a shortened version of the world famous Rogers Range Course (RRC). It was put on by High Caliber Training in Crittenden County, AR. In law enforcement, pistol craft is your bread and butter and reactive shooting is a must-have for the modern officer. Reactive shooting is the condition in which you cease to think about engaging the target and just do it. The course of fire at the RRC is comprised of seven, pneumatically operated targets across five shooting stands that are staggered from seven to 20 yards. The shooter stands inside a framed doorway inset in a wall that runs the length of the multi-bay RRC. From this position, you fire nine challenging courses of fire, during which 8″ steel targets are only exposed from .5 to .75 seconds each. Those times are tough considering that a precision shooter’s reaction time to hit a target, from a security holster, is about 1.5 seconds. Upon leaving the course with a final score of around 70%, if memory serves, I was stunned that “a top notch shooter who is accustomed to scoring no less than in the high 90’s would score so poorly.” OK, all drama set aside, the fact is that at the RRC a 70% is pretty darn good considering just how hard this kind of training is. I spoke with Bill Rogers at SHOT Show 2012 and he told me that it was a respectable score. So there you go. Now I feel better.

Upon returning home from the RRC I knew that I had to incorporate those things that I’d learned into my weekly training time on my home range. It was then that I reached out to Action Target and requested to borrow some of their steel targets. I have, since then, cast off all of my paper targets, except for zeroing purposes and have gone to all steel. Why you may ask? Once you transition to steel you will NEVER go back to shooting paper…ever! Nothing is better at giving the shooter instant feedback than hitting a reactive steel target.

Practice Makes Permanent

After a solid year of looking for a piece of property that would allow me to shoot unfettered, I found a 3.5 acre piece of land in southeastern Tennessee that fit the bill. Since moving in I have set out to create a range that allows me to do all of the things that I could never get away with at my LE range. Cars, house doors, cinder blocks, watermelons, body armor, and armored glass—you name it, we shoot it. With multiple barriers and about 17 reactive steel targets, I have the range that I’ve always wanted. By incorporating the training that Bill Rogers has laid out in his courses, I have started honing my shooting skills and am now passing these skills onto my friends and family.

There is a saying in shooting that goes “perfect practice makes perfect.” Most of us are accustomed to hearing “practice makes perfect.” However, time has shown us that practice only makes permanent. In other words, repetition makes something permanent—it doesn’t make it right. When you were a kid learning to play baseball, how many times did you hear your coach yell “keep your eye on the ball!”? Through devotion and arduous repetition, the moment finally arrives when the young athlete hears the crack of the bat and sends the ball sailing over the outfield. Within 300 milliseconds of the success, the mind forms a positive neural pathway and stores the muscle memory labeling it “success!” Bill refers to this similar phenomenon in shooting as Positive Instant Recognition (PIR). PIR in shooting, just as in sports, must be recognized immediately or else the mind won’t record the success as such. This is easy in sports because you can see, feel, and hear the contact with the ball. In shooting, PIR is almost impossible to achieve because a fired shot that misses a paper target sounds and feels exactly like one that pierces the 10 ring. So how does one achieve PIR in shooting? Ditch the paper targets and go to all steel. With the instant feedback of ringing steel, the shooter gets the PIR that’s desperately needed to form a positive neural pathway.

Dueling Tree (front) [web]No one makes steel targets better than Action Target. I have been using their target systems for several years now and have grown accustomed to the sound of steel registering a hit from hundreds of yards away. Of all of the products that Action Target makes, I find the Dueling Tree the most versatile. Not only does it offer an exhilarating speed challenge while shooting up close, it also offers a positive swinging action that can be easily seen from far away. Available in AR550 through-hardened steel capable of absorbing rifle fire, the Dueling Tree offers years of training in an affordable target. Refacing these five-foot tall targets is as easy as spray-painting the bullet hits away.

To read the rest of the article and to hear more about Abner Miranda’s innovative use of Action Target’s Dueling Tree Targets, please refer to next week’s Action Target Journal article.

About the Author

Abner Miranda is a patrol officer at Signal Mountain (TN) Police Department. He is an FBI-trained hostage negotiator, a tactical rifle instructor, and an AR-15 armorer.

What is the Best Bullet Trap for my Range?

Choosing a bullet trap is an important decision that will directly impact a range’s profits. However, it is a decision that often seems overwhelming given the number of options available. To truly understand how important a bullet trap is to range operations and budget, it is helpful to think of the range as a large lead processor and to answer the following eight questions:

  1. Will the range be limited to handguns only, or will rifles be allowed?
  2. What other kinds of ammunition will be used?
  3. How many rounds will be fired each month? Each year?
  4. How do you plan to collect the lead from the trap?
  5. What about lead dust and other airborne particles?
  6. What kind of budget are you working with?
  7. Are there any size limitations?
  8. What about local fire codes and other restrictions?

Once these questions are answered, it becomes much easier to choose the optimal bullet trap that aligns with the range’s goals. Luckily for range owners, Action Target provides different bullet trap choices that cater to the many possible range uses. The two most common options for commercial range use are the Total Containment Trap (TCT) and the Rubber Berm Trap (RBT). Each has obvious benefits for any range, but the difference still depends on the use of each range and the answers to the above questions.

For example, if the range’s business plan calls for a small, low-use facility, then the Rubber Berm Trap is a great option. The RBT requires a smaller footprint than the Total Containment Trap and uses a smaller amount of floor space. It takes advantage of a hassle-free design that requires very little upkeep. It utilizes the practical and beneficial properties of rubber, while eliminating weaknesses and unnecessary elements of other designs. The RBT can also be serviced from the front, whereas the TCT must be serviced from the rear. The bottom line—The Rubber Berm Trap is cheaper to build and easier to maintain.

However, if the range has a high-volume, heavy-use facility, then the Rubber Berm Trap will quickly become a frustration and a large expense. In these types of ranges, the Total Containment Trap is the optimal choice.

AT Bullet Traps Used IndoorThe Total Containment Trap is the dominant industry standard for modern, heavy-duty, steel bullet traps. It is the superior choice for ranges where safety, reliability, simple maintenance, and ease of use are top priorities. The TCT can be used both indoors and outdoors in all types of law enforcement, military, and commercial shooting ranges. The TCT funnels fired rounds into a deceleration chamber, which increases safety for everyone on the range. Action Target’s patented Dust Collection Unit can be installed in the Total Containment Trap, protecting the range from lead dust contamination. The bottom line: Although more expensive than the Rubber Berm Trap, the Total Containment Trap is longer lasting and better for high-use ranges.

Before deciding on a trap, it is imperative to understand exactly what the requirements are to find the trap that supports the range goals. In today’s industry, too many owners are initially enticed by a low price only to be disappointed in the end due to the amount of unforeseen problems. For more information, Action Target has provided multiple whitepapers and a video to help choose the optimal bullet trap—visit the “Related Pages” section of our Bullet Traps page to access these resources.

Should I Shoot On Paper or Steel Targets?

There seems to be an ongoing industry-wide debate about which targets are best—paper or steel. While neither one will ever be crowned the ultimate victor, Action Target’s Steel Target Resource Guide gives meaningful insight to outline the strengths and weaknesses of each target type.

Paper

Action Target HoldShooting on paper is a great way to sight-in rifles and score trainings, and is great for qualifications held by law enforcement agencies. Paper allows a shooter to see where shots land, illustrating how tight groups are. The NRA and other leading organizations use a lot of paper targets precisely for this reason. Another benefit of paper targets is that they provide a bigger variety of shapes, sizes, pictures, and scenarios (there are even a lot of zombie targets out now to add an extra element of fun to training). Each organization has its own types of score zones, stages, and qualification targets, so the wide variety of paper targets allows for greater flexibility between events. Many competitions use paper targets because of this flexibility.

Steel

One of the greatest benefits of using steel targets is the instant feedback they provide. Shooters can usually see and hear when they’ve hit a steel target and this is something that cannot be done when using a paper target. Whether the range is training civilians or law enforcement officials, steel targets help shooters know whether their intended target was hit or not. Hearing and reacting to the sound of a shot hitting a target helps program muscle memory, which reinforces positive behavior. Up Close View of Static PackageJust like in all athletic training, the body subconsciously remembers how to repeat or orchestrate all the different variables required for a successful movement, or in this case, shot. The ability that steel targets offer in regards to instantaneous feedback can actually enhance training, speed, and accuracy. This is especially important for tactical shooting scenarios with movement, such as moving plates and targets. Having multiple senses invoked during this training process conditions the shooter to become a more powerful and effective shooter.

Another benefit of reactive steel targets is the pure entertainment factor. It may seem frivolous at first, but it can provide an enormous benefit to a training program. The fall, spin, bounce, and dodge of a target all lead to a fun and enjoyable experience for shooters of all skill levels. This will eventually lead to an increase in range use and therefore, an increase in profitability for the range.

So, should you shoot on paper or steel targets? In short, it depends on the purpose of the shooting exercise. As already discussed, if the purpose is for scoring, a paper target is best. However, if the shooter wants immediate feedback and would like to train on a more tactical level, steel targets are recommended. For more information on making the best decision, download Action Target’s Steel Resource Guide.

Action Target to Exhibit at April’s NRA Convention

As part of the NRA’s Annual Meetings and Exhibits, the NRA will be hosting its 141st annual meeting at the convention in St. Louis from April 12th to 15th. The upcoming convention is similar to the annual SHOT Show, but is open to open all NRA members—not just those who are commercial buyers and sellers.

As one of the largest events among the firearms industry, all major firearms manufacturers will be in attendance. This convention provides attendees with more than 340,000 square feet of guns, gear, outfitting, and even ATV’s. The expected attendance is set at more than 70,000 with more than 40 opportunities for attendees to meet celebrities at different booths during the event.

Action Target is excited to attend this year’s NRA event and will be exhibiting in two separate locations. Booth #211 will highlight Action Target range products and services while Booth #703 relates to Action Target’s consumer product lines—including field targets, paper targets, zombie targets, and other shooting range accessories like shooting bags and water bottles.

If you are able to attend the upcoming event, stop by the Action Target booths, catch some of the Action Target show specials, and check out some of the new projects Action Target is working on.

Raising Returns on the Range

A range is a business. Despite the fact that many people end up turning range operation into a humanitarian effort by working more than 90 hours a week, it must be remembered that most people chose to run a range for the purpose of financial gain. Similarly, the goal for most facilities is to be profitable. However, this is always more difficult to execute than it initially seems. This causes us to ask the question: how can a range raise more of a return on investment?

Action Targe Indoor Firing Range ProductsFirst off, it must be remembered that the range exists as the profit center to the business. Secondly, a decision needs to be made in regards to the operations of the range. In regard to the commercial value of a range, there are typically two lines of thought in the industry: one is to combine the range with the store, and the second is to not.

If one were to do the simple math of operating a range, the numbers would not point to a viable business plan with the proper rate of return. In contrast, an indoor range working in conjunction with a properly operated store has the ability to produce a significant return on investment and be of great value.

A quick example might be helpful to understand this line of thought. A client comes into the range store and has a desire to purchase a gun for self-defense. Not being familiar with different firearms, the employee in the store can offer consultation and recommendations as to what might be the best choice. Now, if the store were equipped with a shooting range, it would be very easy to take this client onto the range with two or three different guns and to let them have some practical experience to aid in the sale. After the client has first-hand experience with each of the choices, it is much easier to properly guide the clients to make the best choice for their set of circumstances and needs.

Using this small example above, it is easy to see how a range really does have the ability to turn a good store into a great store. This is not a question of price—this is a question of service. The ability to serve the client does matter. While true that today’s marketplace faces the challenge of customers being able to access a limitless amount of information online, in this market, the store that provides a quality service will always prevail.

“If you build it, they will come.” It is always the hope that this adage will prove to be true, and oftentimes ranges are built under that assumption. However, those who run the range must remember that the business plan is the most important thing to take care of because it is what makes sure there is money coming into the register when people visit their range. Whatever programs are initiated for the facility, remember: there must always be a return on investment.

For more help in making your range economically viable and to increase your return on investment, contact your Action Target Territory Manager.

Action Target Produces Portable Target Course Book

Firearms instructors and administrators have an obligation to officers and to the public they serve, to do everything possible to ensure their firearms training and qualification programs are all they can be. However, many programs around the country struggle to provide realistic and quality training for their officers and there is often a lack of resources to help remedy such problems. That is why Action Target has developed a course book for their Portable Targets.

The specific purpose of the Portable Target Course Book is to “ensure trainees a program that is designed to develop trainings that are safe, test fundamental skills, increase and enhance movement, improve the target selection thought processes, and enhance overall tactical awareness.” Action Target’s Portable Targets have become an industry standard and leader and the course book allows for a better overall training experience.

Trainings must be expansive enough to test the trainees in as many ways as possible. Using the course book, trainings intentionally provide a more difficult setting than the typical experience might call for. In order to truly help an officer through training, the training must incorporate more movement, more rounds fired, greater difficulty of targets, multiple target acquisition, and more reloading situations. They must also include low-light shooting and one-handed operation of the gun to truly prepare an officer. Remember, the more difficult the training program is, the better prepared the officers will be to survive a lethal force encounter without injury to innocent parties.

The Portable Target Course Book is made available to anyone for any training purposes. People are welcome to use, copy, and modify the courses offered in the course book in order to help their trainings become top-notch. The courses are most effective when they are used as a foundation for more specialized exercises that will reflect individual training needs. After all, these courses should not be seen as an end, but as a beginning.

To download your free copy of the Action Target Portable Target Course Book, visit http://www.actiontarget.com/portable-targets and use the link at the bottom of the page in the “Related Pages” section.

Dust Collection Technology on the Range

Action Target has worked closely with Carey’s Heating and Cooling to provide industry-leading ventilation systems that improve the safety of ranges around the country. However, it is sometimes unclear as to why ventilation systems are needed in the first place. For this reason, this week’s Action Target Journal explains why such systems are essential in today’s ranges.

Every time a bullet impacts the plate in a steel bullet trap, there is a small amount of dust (bullet fragments) that is generated from the collision. However, with dust collection technology, as the bullet enters into the chamber of the bullet trap it takes in air with it. Because the chamber is a sealed environment, taking in this air creates an element within the high-pressure chamber. A dust collection system is required because of the air that is brought into the chamber. One of the technologies Action Target has developed to optimize dust collection is called Negative Pressure Technology. To better understand this concept, let’s look at an example.

Imagine a person holding a glass in their hand as if they were going to take a drink from it. Then, imagine the person placing a cotton ball on the closest part of the rim of the glass. It would be impossible for them to blow the cotton ball to the other side and have it land on the opposite edge.

Action Target's Total Containment Bulle TrapThis is the same concept that is taking place when a bullet travels into the bullet trap. In front of the bullet there is a large wall of air that is being pushed into the trap. When a supersonic crack sounds, what is actually happening is that the bullet is breaking the shockwaves of air. This same air is what is being pushed in the bullet trap. If there were no dust collector on the bullet trap, the overpressure of the air entering the trap would collect surrounding particles and lead dust and shoot it back onto the range. This is where the dust collector becomes essential. The dust collector enables a negative pressure to be established inside the bullet trap, and it functions at a rate that is high enough to overcome the bullets and air pressure entering the trap. Referring again to the example of the cotton ball and the glass, if there was no back on the glass it would be easy to push the cotton ball to the rear of the glass by blowing on it. This is possible because there is no overpressure in the glass.

Although many other systems have attempted to use Action Target’s patented negative pressure technology, none have succeeded. Action Target continues to hold the patents on the negative pressure systems utilized in many bullet trap chambers and this system continues to provide a pressure and cleaning method that allows the minute particles of lead to be picked up and safely gathered together for recycling.

To learn more about Action Target’s dust collection technology visit, http://www.actiontarget.com/indoor-shooting-products/ventilation-systems.

Action Target and the NRA Continue Long-Lasting Relationship

The sport shooting and firearms training industries are always changing, but there is one thing that never has changed and never will – relationship building. Years ago, when Action Target was just getting started in the industry, a friendship was formed between Action Target and Ray Chapman at the Chapman Academy in Missouri. This relationship blessed Action Target for many years. Many people knew Ray Chapman well and understood that he was a passionate and highly intelligent participant in the sports shooting industry and in the discipline of firearms training. He truly improved the industry and his foundation continues to built upon today.

Action Target continues to benefit from its relationship with Ray, along with its relationship with the NRA and continually strives to be a strong supporter of the NRA in return. Today, Action Target’s long-term support with the NRA extends far beyond the annual Bianchi Cup in Columbia Missouri; Action Target also regularly supports the NRA Range Design Committee.

John Joins, Head of the Range Design Committee, has put together a stellar program to provide vital information for a successful project to those who are considering building a range. This program is delivered throughout the country and sells out over and over again. Although the upcoming event in Atlanta is booked for this year, interested parties can visit the NRA website and book a time slot for the San Diego event, which will be held in a few short months. Action Target will be at the conference and will be available to answer any questions that people may have about its products. Be sure to ask one of the Action Target range consultants for a copy of its new book, Commonly Asked Questions in Range Design. This book, which will be available on April 1st, answers many questions commonly asked by individuals trying to build a range, compiling them into an easy-to-read and informative manner.

Action Target makes an effort to be at most of the major trade shows in the law enforcement, military, and consumer industries. Another event it will attend is the annual NRA Annual Meeting and Exhibit Convention held in St. Louis from April 13-15. While there are many things to do while visiting St. Louis–like visiting the Gateway Arch or Cardinal Stadium–the best thing will be attending the conference itself, rubbing shoulders with others, and seeing what’s new on the show floor. The convention gets bigger and better each year and Action Target hopes to see you there!

Law and Order (Part Two)

Written by Keith Mehlin

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on September 2, 2010. Due to the popularity of the article and the number of new subscribers since it originally went out, Action Target has decided to republish this two part series.

(Continued from last week…)A local firm was hired for the design of the range. We simply told them that we wanted indoor/outdoor ranges, how big we wanted them, and that we wanted classrooms large enough to seat 100 students at tables, which could also divide into smaller rooms. They did a tremendous job in laying out a preliminary plan. Both the police department and the sheriff’s department had firearms instructors who had visited an Action Target built range in Utah to observe that design. Those instructors, the sheriff and I sat down with the designers and came up with the final plan.

One of the largest learning curves for me was how to handle the air and lead contamination in the indoor ranges. One of the best decisions we made was to take the advice of Action Target and use a vendor out of Chicago who has been involved in building ranges around the world. The knowledge they brought to the project was invaluable.

One example of their contribution dealt with what came to be the final layout of the range. We had originally wanted a 20 station, 25-yard indoor range, a 10 station, 50-yard outdoor range, and a 5 station, 100-yard outdoor rifle range. During one of the pre-construction meetings, the representative from Careys, which was the range air handling vendor, asked if we normally had more than 10 people doing firearms training at one time. We normally do our training on the shift and do not have more than 6 or 8 officers at one time shooting. He suggested that we put a wall down the center of the indoor range, thus making two 10 station 25 yard ranges. That way we would only have to run one air handling system at a time under normal situations, saving us a tremendous amount of utility money over the long haul. It would also give us another range which gives us more flexibility when we schedule other agencies.

We ended up with a training facility that consists of two, 25 yard 10 station indoor ranges with state of the art Action Target computerized target systems and a 50 yard, 10 station out door range with the same target system. The ranges have outside doors in which we can pull vehicles onto the range or place anything we need to use to train in cover and concealment on the ranges. We were unable to obtain enough money to build the rifle range, however the building was designed so that that range could be added on at a later time.

The facility also has classrooms with removable walls. We can seat 100 students at tables with the walls removed, or have three classrooms that each seat about 35 students. All three classrooms have computers attached to LCD projectors for visual presentations. There is a wireless internet system throughout the entire building. We were able to physically separate the classrooms from the indoor ranges so you have little or no noise from the ranges while you are in the classrooms. We also have a weapons cleaning room with numerous stations. All stations have compressed air available for the cleaning of weapons. There are locker room facilities and a large break room that overlooks the entry way. The outdoor range has a separate control building that is also used for storage. There are bleachers near the outdoor range for times that an instructor needs to get the students together to stress a point or instruct all in a specific technique.

If I could give one piece of advice to those contemplating a new range, that would be to make sure that you have a competent person to oversee the construction of the building. We were quite fortunate to have access to the Council Bluffs Building Superintendent, Dennis Kuhlmann, who oversaw the entire project, from initial planning to the final walk-through. He has extensive experience in new building projects and was an invaluable asset to us during the entire project. Because of his experience and expertise, we avoided a lot of snags and problems as he took care of them with the general contractor, Action Target, and Carey’s.

To be able to work on and be part of a project that gave our officers one of the nicest training facilities in the country was quite satisfying. The range and classrooms have been accepted by both the instructors and the officers who are trained there. Practically all of the agencies in the Omaha metro area have either used the range or toured it and I have not heard one negative comment. I thought for sure that we would hear at least a couple of “you should have done this”, or “you should have done that” comments, but we have not heard one. We held an open house for the public which was very well attended. All of the community members who toured the facility were impressed. It all came together quite nicely and we are quite proud of the facility.

I don’t think that there are any major changes that we would make if we could do it over again. Adding the 100-yard rifle range would be one of course, and I believe that we will add that in the near future. Other than that, we are quite pleased with how the facility turned out. It meets our expectations quite nicely. We now can train regardless of the Iowa winters, do night training at high noon, and still train in inclement weather on the outdoor range. We have state of the art classrooms for other types of training and meetings which are available at all times. Over all we are very pleased and proud to have this training facility for the officers of Southwest Iowa.

Law and Order (Part One)

Written by Keith Mehlin

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on August 26, 2010. Due to the popularity of the article and the number of new subscribers since it originally went out, Action Target has decided to republish this two part series.

The Council Bluffs Police Department had an outdoor 50 yard range for 30 years plus located near the Council Bluffs Airport. This range was built in a large depression which was protected by dirt berms on all sides, including a wall of dirt approximately 20 feet high behind the target area. Approximately 5 years before the range was closed we had added computer controlled turning targets from Action Target and a two story control tower. The tower was built with the help of the FBI. Our range was built in such a way that we could easily place vehicles, both cruisers and simulated suspect vehicles, and other types of items to simulate cover and concealment on the range, quite easily. We also had a small structure in one corner of the range that we could use as a shooting house.

The Department scheduled four firearms training sessions yearly for all sworn officers, which were integrated with defensive tactics training. Our tactical team would shoot once a month. Having been a firearms instructor and defensive tactics instructor myself, I know that we were consistently providing for our officers realistic training that would mimic as best we could combat situations on the street.

Once we added the computer controlled target system and the control tower, we did not feel that we were lacking anything. At that time we had no patrol rifle policy so the 50 yard range was adequate for our needs. Nor did we have any safety issues for the officers using the range, which at the time was being used by 24 different agencies in the Omaha metro area. We were not getting any rounds coming back at the officers from the berm behind the target area. We had mined the lead some years before and it appeared to us that it did not need to be done again. We also had no liability issues on the range as far as officers using the range. We had not had an accident or serious injury on the range for the 32 years that I have been a police officer here. The only injury that I can recall came from a top strap blowing on a revolver several years ago, and fortunately that injury was not serious. We were under the impression that with the improvements that we had made, we were good to go for at least another 30 years on the range. Little did we know that was about to change very quickly.

Our troubles began in mid summer of 2002. One of the tenants at a hangar claimed that he had heard a deflected round hit the roof of the metal hangar when he was working on his airplane. He went to the city and the police department and demanded that we immediately close the range. We did not close the range but did an investigation and concluded that a deflected round did leave the range and land on the roof. We contacted Action Target, who immediately flew out and inspected the range. They made some recommendations, which were implemented, and we continued to use the range, believing that was an isolated incident and that we had fixed the problem. This did not please the individual whose roof the spent round landed on.

A few months after that, this same individual made another complaint outlining the same circumstances; however, this time he had the spent round as evidence. After a very brief investigation, we were able to determine that the rounds that were being fired on the range that day were not of the same caliber of the spent round that this person offered up as evidence. Again, we thought we were safe and continued to operate the range.

Action Target Law and Order

That all changed a few weeks later when several construction workers, who were working on a building project near the range, reported hearing deflected rounds going over their heads while they were working. I immediately closed the range because of safety concerns. While we will never know exactly how long rounds had been leaving our range, we feel that we became aware of it because of the encroachment upon the range by an airport expansion project and other building projects near the range. Before those projects, we were isolated enough that spent rounds leaving the range was not a recognized problem.

It was at that point we knew that we needed a new range. Not only were we suddenly without a place to train with our firearms, so was 23 other federal, state, and local agencies. I will always remember the feeling of despair when I realized that my officers and many other officers were suddenly without an adequate place to train to defend their lives and the lives of the people they were sworn to defend. We had to build a range.

The questions that we had when we faced up to the task was where to find the money, where to put the range, how big to build it, and what type of range equipment did we want to use. I knew that I wanted to build the best training facility possible for the officers, but I had no idea how to go about it.

Because the city had been caught flat footed with the range suddenly closing without warning, money was definitely the biggest problem. I decided to attack the problem on three fronts: local money, federal money because several federal agencies used the range, and through a local foundation. Early on in the process I came to realize that without more local involvement, the federal and foundation money would not come into play. I contacted Sheriff Jeff Danker, Pottawattamie County Sheriff, the county in which Council Bluffs is located, and we agreed to make this training facility a joint city county venture. After that decision, and jumping through a lot of political and bureaucratic hoops, local, federal and foundation money was obtained for the building of the training facility.

The research and planning stage actually went quicker than I anticipated. We already had a history with Action Target and were pleased with their target equipment and level of service. I had no knowledge of Action Target bullet traps, or any other traps on the market, but I knew that my biggest concern beyond safety was ease and cost of maintenance. After a short amount of research, I thought that Action Target had the corner on the market on ease of maintaining and simplicity of a bullet trap. The decision was made to go with that company for range equipment.

(This article continues in next week’s newsletter)

The Head-Shot Cadence Drill

By Richard Mann

Editor’s Note: The views in this article are the author’s own and don’t necessarily represent those of Action Target, Inc.

Gunsite Instructor Il Ling New believes one of the best ways to train with a defensive handgun is to practice head shots at moderate to extended ranges; meaning as far out as 20 yards. At first glance this may seem a bit extreme but consider that if you can consistently and quickly get heads shots at these distances, center punching a troll at between three and five yards should be easy.

The most common way to practice head shots is to draw from the holster and fire a single shot at the head of a target. Action Target’s Steel Hostage Target works great for this because you can use either the square head of the silhouette or the flapper head that will swing from side to side when hit. This flapper target actually adds a new dimension to head shot training that is impossible to achieve just about any other way.

Regardless of the defensive handgun training that you conduct, training to only deliver one round is not tactically sound and does little to advance your skills, especially when working at varying distances. One question firearms instructors often get asked is, “How soon after my first shot should my next shot be?” In other words, students want to know what their shot cadence should be. The answer is, of course, as fast as you can get hits, and this will vary as your ability increases.

With the Action Target Steel Hostage Target you don’t need a shot timer or an instructor telling you you’re shooting too slowly. Since the flapper target swings from side to side based on energy imparted to it by the bullet, the further away the target is, the slower it will flop over to the other side. The time it takes the target to flop lets the shooter recover from recoil and reengage the target at a new location.

This is realistic because it’s doubtful a bad guy will stand still while you are shooting at him and the greater the distance to the target, the more time it will take you to recover and align your sights. This time is matched very well by the flapper target. If you are ready to shoot as soon as it reappears, you’re shooting fast enough and not too fast, if you get a hit.

Here is a simple drill you can use to practice head-shots at varying ranges while fine tuning your shot cadence:

  • Set Action Target Hostage Targets at 5, 15, and 20 yards
  • Start by practicing at each individual distance, engaging the flapper target only
  • After you are consistent at each range, engage all the flapper targets starting with the closest and moving to the furthest, with at least two shots each (more shots at each range are even better if your handgun has a higher capacity).
  • If you only have two Action Target Hostage Targets or limited ammo capacity, place one at 5 yards and the other at 20.

You don’t need a shot timer. Your goal is to engage each flapper target as soon as it reappears. Do this often and you’ll become at-one with your proper shot cadence at near and far ranges. This drill, coupled with the Action Target Steel Hostage Targets, offers a simple mechanical solution to a complex firearms training problem for shooters of all abilities.

To read more from Richard Mann check out his blog Empty Cases, www.empty-cases.com.

Action Target Finding Success at Shot Show 2012

Shot Show 2012 is a huge success so far and Action Target is thrilled to be part of such an important shooting industry event. Whether constructing our larger than life Action Target booth, demonstrating the variety of innovative training solutions and products we offer, or connecting with some of the 60,000 shooters and enthusiasts attending this year’s event, Action Target is enjoying it all.

Media Day at the Range during Shot Show 2012Working with Media Day at the Range in creating and presenting this year’s first Action Target Safety Award has been an amazing opportunity and a success for gun safety. “Using Action Target as an exclusive provider of targets has been key to our success,” said Cory Cannon, of Triple Curl Public Relations and Advertising. “Targets need to be fun to shoot and even more important, safe.”

With Shot Show coming to a close tomorrow, we want to invite everyone who hasn’t had a chance to stop by yet and even those who have already stopped by, to come visit us at booth #10564. Action Target is giving away a great offer to everyone who stops by our booth, so come say “Hi” before this year’s show is over!

Action Target Renovates Ohio Indoor Range

Action Target first worked with Ohio State Highway Patrol back in 1999 when we installed our “state of the art” Total Containment Trap. When it was determined the Highway Patrol would renovate the rest of their existing facility in 2011, we were contacted directly by the architect for specifications on the new equipment that would be provided. Because of the quality, performance, and robust nature of our Total Containment Trap, it was the only piece of equipment not removed and replaced in the 2011 renovation. Due to the heavy use of the range, the project was to be completed on an extremely tight time-line with only six weeks of manufacturing time. Action Target acted as a sub-contractor to Williamson Builders Inc. and together completed the tremendous facility in the time required.

This 24 lane, 25 yard indoor range now provides officers a variety of training options, including timed training qualification courses and decision making drills. In addition, the total containment trap system, and tactical baffle layout allow for dynamic cross lane firing and moving and shooting drills, accomplished under the watchful eye of the RSO through our clear ballistic glass stalls. Such dependability, quality, and versatility are completely unique to Action Target’s design. We thank Ohio State Highway Patrol for their continued business and support!

Action Target Gears Up for Shot Show 2011

ATTENTION LAW ENFORCEMENT:

Shot Show 2012 is in a month and Action Target still has meeting times available! The show is going to be held at the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas, NV and runs from January 17-20, 2012. If you, a member of your department, or other law enforcement professional you know will be attending, it is imperative that we meet! Action Target has two separate booths and meeting rooms for the show. Have us show you some of the latest technology that will help raise the level, quality, and throughput with your firearms training programs.

Action Target at Shot Show 2011We will have our entire sales staff available to discuss our vast product line with you. Our team of sales representatives wants to work with you to understand your training needs. They can quickly discuss our products that will meet your requirements and possibly provide you with a demonstration if the product is in our booth.

Whether you are looking to build a state of the art indoor shooting range, live-fire shoothouse, or simply need some portable steel targets, come see us at the show. Our booths (#10562 & #10564) are located on the 2nd Level of the Sands Expo Center.

To secure a date and time to meet with a member of our team, please make an appointment today. If you do not know your regional representative, please see below to contact a representative today.

Military Contact

Action Target's Military Contact Clay Smith

CLAY SMITH
Managing Director: Military Division
888-377-8033 ext. 142
801-705-9142 Direct
clays@actiontarget.com

Law Enforcement Contacts

ROBB ANDERSON
801-377-8033 ext. 124
801-319-0977 cell
robba@actiontarget.comContact Info for AT Robb Anderson
LAYNE ASHBY
801-377-8033 ext. 143
801-376-3773 cell
laynea@actiontarget.comContact Info for AT Layne Ashby
CHRIS HART
801-377-8033 ext. 149
801-319-1314 cell
chrish@actiontarget.comContact Info for AT Chris Hart
AARON LUDWIG
801-377-8033 ext. 132
801-592-6613 cell
aaronl@actiontarget.comContact Info for AT Aaron Ludwig
MATT BRINKERHOFF
801-377-8033 ext. 130
801-380-8973 cell
mbrink@actiontarget.com
MIKE STILWELL
801-377-8033 ext. 144
801-602-9776 cell
mikes@actiontarget.comContact Info for AT Mike Stilwell
SCOTT DESANTI
509-396-7177
801-854-8863 cell
scottd@actarg.comContact Info for AT Scott Desanti
JASON SNELL
801-377-8033 ext. 158
801-809-6966 cell
jasons@actiontarget.comContact Info for AT Jason Snell
CHAD BURDETTE
(Portable Target and Specialty Sales)

801-377-8033 ext. 113
801-380-9634 cell
chadb@actiontarget.com

Contact Info for AT Chad Burdette

Action Target Announces New Training Schedule

Action Target has met the training needs of law enforcement agencies around the country for more than 26 years. By working closely with agencies in every state, we have been able to enhance our product line to better achieve requirements of firearms programs. With 2012 just around the corner, many departments are experiencing budget cuts…again. Action Target has a solution that provides a balance between providing quality and value-added training while staying fiscally conservative.

Man shooting with PT SwingerAs part of the solution, we will follow a more flexible schedule in the types of courses Action Target Academy will offer to law enforcement. We have also designed new courses that demonstrate effective, yet budget friendly firearms trainings. For example, we will dramatically increase the number of our Portable Steel Target Seminars, which are held at outdoor ranges and taught by some of the best firearm instructors in the country. Some of these expert instructors include Mike Lehner with Safariland Shooting School, John Krupa with Spartan Tactical, Dennis Tueller, Brian Hoffner and Leo Hathway.

Action Target has many training options for you and your department. By hosting one of our Portable Steel Target Seminars at your outdoor range, your department will learn how to effectively train on a budget. While the Action Target Academy is at your range, you can either replenish your existing supply of steel targets or start anew by using the targets provided during the course for next to nothing in cost. For more information about our Portable Steel Target Seminar and the Action Target Academy, please contact Rick Matthews, Director of Training, at richardm@actiontarget.com.

To view upcoming Action Target Academy seminars and trainings, visit our Calendar.

About the Action Target Academy: Established in January of 2004, the Action Target Academy conducts firearms training courses at host locations around the country. The mission of the Action Target Academy is to provide world-class firearms and defense training to law enforcement agencies and individuals who might not have such an opportunity otherwise.

Action Target Academy instructors bring experience, passion and intensity to every class they teach. With detailed lesson plans, instructors help participants document and retain training in order to allow for continual use and skill development. Adding Action Target’s superior line of firearms training equipment and services intensifies range drills and elevates realism to create the ultimate training experience.

Action Target Completes Build for Jay Henges Range in MO

In 1937, the Missouri Constitutional Amendment created the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) to “restore, conserve, and regulate Missouri’s over-stressed fisheries, forests, and wildlife populations.” The MDC administers more than 975,000 acres and maintains five staffed shooting ranges, along with more than 70 unstaffed ranges. These ranges experience tremendous use from Missouri locals, many who are active sportsmen and hunters.

One of the most visited of these staffed ranges is the Jay Henges range in High Ridge, MO, located outside St. Louis. Range Supervisor Jake Hindman estimates that the range, which opened in 1994, receives 20,000 shooters each year. This continual high volume of fire led to maintenance and containment concerns regarding the inevitable lead remediation on the dirt berms. These concerns caused the Department of Conservation to decide it was time to invest in a “Total Containment Range” to eliminate costly lead clean up and maintenance while ensuring that no fired bullets left the shooing range.

The solution was Action Target’s Total Containment Trap (TCT) – Version 4. Some features of the TCT include:

  • Complete access into deceleration chamber
  • Modular chamber plates which require no cutting or welding – all parts bolt together.
  • All rounds fired are captured and guided into the deceleration chamber to expend their remaining energy as they harmlessly drop into a sealed collection system for recycling.

The Jay Henges Total Containment Trap measures 160 ft. wide with 20 shooting positions designed for heavy rifle use from the 100 yard firing line. The trap also features a unique self-supported engineered boom system that integrates into the frame of the bullet trap chambers, creating a support to the upper bullet trap plates without the need for a stand-alone truss system.

In late 2010, the Jay Henges range reopened, showcasing their new look with full concrete walkways, target holders, a bullet trap, and overhead baffles. Action Target would like to congratulate MDC on completing 75 years of public service and for their example in leading the way towards safe outdoor education by providing top notch facilities for citizens throughout the State of Missouri. Many thanks also to Action Target Midwest Range Consultant Chris Hart and Project Manager Brian Sanders for a seamless transition to the new bullet trap.

To read more about the Jay Henges Shooting Range visit http://mdc.mo.gov/regions/st-louis/jay-henges-shooting-range.

Tactical Training Tips: Key Points for Instructors & Shooters

By Jeffrey Denning

Editor’s Note: The views in this article are the author’s own and don’t necessarily represent those of Action Target, Inc.

Action Target hosted their 20th Law Enforcement Training Camp earlier this year. While pondering some of the unfortunate recent tragedies that have struck the law enforcement community nationwide — including a higher percentage of lethal attacks against police officers as well as the accidental shooting death of a 24-year-old corrections officer — I thought I’d offer some tactical tips to law enforcement training instructors.

Now, although this piece mentions officers and may be geared towards law enforcement in general, all the points can most definitely apply to the tactical shooting community as a whole. Here’s my advice:

Repetition is the law of learning. The more students accurately perform a variety of techniques, the more comfortable they will become. Tactical training drills allow officers to develop individual skill and assist in building muscle memory.

Muscle memory is a kinesthetic phenomenon whereby specific muscular patterns and movements become ingrained. When movements are repeated over and over, eventually these movements can be performed without conscious effort.

Under such extreme stress, cognitive ability is diminished and thought process is narrowed acutely. When facing the stress of lethal confrontation, officers should not have to think about basic weapons manipulation or marksmanship fundamentals; if they have to think about these basic fundamentals under stress, their chances for losing increase.

On the other hand, regular practice and difficult, realistic, and challenging drills will increase survivability. Repetitive training, therefore, is vitally important when considering survival and life-saving tactical techniques.

As with any type of improvement, officers can never increase their ability unless they fail on occasion. No person can develop unless they try something new and push themselves to the limits. Failure or imperfection on a specific technique or drill is likely to occur. The idea is to have officers meet successes. Small improvements provide satisfaction which, in turn, buoys individual esteem and maintains interest and encourages persistence.

As a training instructor, here are some of the key points to remember during every range training opportunity or any tactical firearms training period.

1) Individuals that are considered “experts” in their chosen field are extremely good at the fundamentals. Focusing on the basics is a positive thing. On occasion, give students something fun too. No one wants to be bored at the range.

2) When training, it is important to remember the end goal: preparing for lethal confrontations. In order to maximize training, (a) the individual shooter should envision that each and every shot during the tactical evolution is, in reality, a lethal force situation; and (b) trainers should mimic real world events. For instance, in my last custom tailored Patrol Rifle Course, I had police officers wear the same Active Shooter go-bag that they carry in their squad cars. I had them reload from that pouch. The feedback was positive, mostly because the training mimicked real circumstances. In short, train as you fight. Don’t say, “In reality we’d do this but we’re not going to train like that.” That’s cheating yourself and your team of valuable training! Cheating or foregoing reality will get someone hurt or killed in the long run.

3) Give students several tools to fill up their tactical toolbox, but focus on what will work best. Remember, it’s not a good tactic if it doesn’t work well (a) on the move, (b) in low-light, or (c) under stress.

4) Start out slowly. Speed will come in time. Or, perhaps once you’ve done some drills at full speed, slow down to quarter or half speed until techniques are perfected, then speed back up.

5) Weapons handling skills can increase dramatically without ever shooting a single round. Dry and/or dummy round training periods are extremely helpful and are all too often overlooked. The nice thing about that is the price is right. With the budget crunch, remember, weapons handling skills doesn’t mean you have to shoot a lot of rounds. In fact, dummy rounds work wonders.

6) Firearms are inherently dangerous. Safety briefings and safety are occasionally thought of as the same thing; we’ve said it and we’ve heard it said a thousand times. Unfortunately, it’s under that premise when accidents happen. Don’t think it will never happen here. Creating an atmosphere where everyone’s comfortable enough to say, “Watch your muzzle” or “Get your finger off the trigger,” is essential. No egos among the instructors or the students. Remember, always keep safety first.

Use these tips for a safer, and more effective, training environment and continue to hone your skills and keep adding to your tactical toolbox.

About Jeffrey Denning

Jeffrey Denning is a former SWAT team leader, security contractor, undercover Federal Air Marshal, and Iraqi War Vet. He is the founder of Warrior SOS and writes tactical articles for Guns.com.

Action Target Holds Successful LETC 2011

Law Enforcement Training Camp (LETC) 2011 was a recent success for Action Target and we’d like to thank all who helped and attended this unique training experience. Here’s what some of the attendees had to say about it:

Dear Rick,

Please accept this letter of appreciation to all of the Action Target staff and instructors for their efforts in making LETC 2011 a huge success. This was the second LETC that I have attended and I was equally impressed with this one as much as I was with the first one I attended in 2010. The professionalism of the instructors, the level of instruction, the use of state of the art target systems, the coordination of training, and events made for a superior training and networking environment. I highly recommend LETC for a unique and truly outstanding training experience.

Sincerely,

Robert Kelly Wells
Training Sergeant
Teton County Sheriff’s Office, WY

Dear Action Target,

In September, I had the opportunity to attend the best firearms training of my Law Enforcement career. I participated in the 2011 Law Enforcement Training Camp at Action Target in Provo, Utah. I found the entire process, from registration to range time, was put together by a very professionally run organization. Each and every time I sent an email or made a phone call, I received a quick and informative answer. If the person I needed to contact was not available, I was put in touch with another person who was ready and able to answer my questions.

I was provided with all the maps and directions I needed to find my way to Action Target, the hotel, and the range. I called Action Target to advise them I was running late for registration and was told not to worry—someone would be there. I can say I was truly impressed with the high level of professionalism exhibited by all of the Action Target staff I encountered. Your company is an organization which treats its customers like family. I will never forget the warm, friendly service I received from Action Target.

The firearms training and range were excellent. I have been a firearms instructor since 1984 and trained with some outstanding trainers. I felt that we as shooters were treated as equals to the instructors and not as trainees. I can say because of Action Target’s LETC, I became a better and more confident shooter as well as a better firearms instructor. In less than a month I was back on the range with my officers teaching them some of the skills I learned at LETC. Overall their scores came up and I could see a difference between this shoot and their last shoot. I will continue to use the skills I learned from LETC to bring up the skill level of those I instruct. I recommend LETC to all of the shooters in my Department. I am already making plans to attend LETC 2012. I am in the process of getting approval for the purchase of Action Target steel targets to improve the firearms instruction I provide to my Department.

In closing, I would like to thank the Action Target family for all of the things you do to assist our Nation’s Police and Military in their chosen profession. The training and equipment you provide us is first rate. You may never know, but I can tell you that your training and equipment will and has saved the lives of our American heroes. In doing so, you have made yourselves heroes as well. Thank you again for your products and training; you help keep us safe.

Respectfully Submitted,

J. C. Boylan #26
Range Master
Maricopa County Community College District, AZ

Dear Mr. Matthews,

My name is Juan Lopez and I have been a law enforcement officer for 15 years. During my tenure as a police officer, I have carried the position of range instructor and department armorer. I recently had the pleasure of attending the September 2011 LETC Conference in Provo, Utah. I would like to take a moment to personally thank you and the Action Target staff for hosting such a phenomenal conference. This was my first time to your facility and I commend your staff for their dedication and passion. One of the things that impressed me was how your staff’s operating skills added to their expertise. Their commitment was very visible. The intensity of the conference was welcomed and it was a true privilege to be amongst the world’s best instructors in the business. I can see why your reputation of being one of very few companies out there to teach one of the most comprehensive training camps in the United States holds to be very true. The training was beyond thorough, your staff’s hospitality was over the top, and this training was hands down the most bang for your buck! The detailed lesson plans helped me to document and remember what I learned at the conference so I can continue to develop my skills as well as pass this training on to our officers who were unable to go. This was nothing less than the ultimate training experience and every range instructor’s dream. My only question to you is when and how early can I register for attending the 2012 LETC?

Sincerely,

Juan Lopez
Detective
Commerce City, CO

Rick Matthews,

I’m writing to commend Action Target on the outstanding experience provided at the 2011 LETC.

Action Target has created an outstanding training environment supported by the commitment, energy, and skills of both the instructors and students. As a student and instructor in 2011, LETC is the training highlight of my 26-year policing career.

Congratulations and well done.

S/Sgt. Mark Horsley
Patrol District 2

Vancouver, WA

911 Commemorative Logo for LETCThanks again to everyone who participated in and helped make LETC 2011 a success! It is sincerely our privilege and honor to be able to work with the most dedicated, selfless, and hard-working members of the law enforcement community each year.

LETC 2012 will be held again in Provo, UT from September 10-14, 2012. Visit our Action Target Academy Calendar page to learn more about next year’s event, download our information brochure with more information, and read about the other types of trainings and seminars that the Action Target Academy will be holding throughout the country in 2012.

Controlled Pairs, Double Taps, or 6-Shot Rhythm?

by Jeffrey Denning

Editor’s Note: The views in this article are the author’s own and don’t necessarily represent those of Action Target, Inc.

The phrase “The shot heard around the world” refers to the single gunshot that began the battle of Lexington and Concord of the American Revolutionary War. In historic times, rifles could only shoot one round at a time. As time progressed, John Moses Browning and other inspired gunsmiths drastically changed the weapons in modern gun fighting by designing firearms capable of semi- and fully-automatic shooting. Today however, most shooters and firearms trainers continue shooting only two rounds at a time.

This type of culture asks the questions: Why and how did this phenomenon occur, and secondly, why pause in the middle of a gun fight? How is it that we’ve arrived at this point? Does it matter? This two-shot-only practice has been around for decades.

We’ve programmed ourselves to let the majority of our multiple shot drills be only controlled pairs or double taps-hammers accelerated pairs. Why? Examining the history of this trend is not as important as outlining the pros and cons and what we should do to improve, right?

So here it goes.

The usual tactical axiom states, “One hit is better than ten misses.” Which means, two shots are better than one, but why not three, four, or five shots?

Innovative Training Solution AutoPopperMany people have survived getting shot multiple times. The cliché “one shot, one kill” should be discarded from the war-fighter lexicon. This is especially the case for gun rounds, but also true with most every caliber of long gun used for close-quarters engagements.

So, how can we change our thinking and training?

Utilizing Action Target’s innovative Pepper Popper target is a great place to start. This target allows a shooter to shoot three, four, or even five shots as quickly as possible before the target falls. Adjusting the tension allows you to make the most of every shot as you train. Since most engagements are close in range, place this target within the distance Action Target recommends to ensure a realistic handgun training scenario.

For long guns training, try the new RTS Self-Healing Reactive Target . It is important to keep your shots fast, your groups tight, and have good balance with an aggressive stance as you fire three, four, or more shots at a time. Training with the RTS Self-Healing Reactive Target is a fun experience that mimics how many rounds you should take in real-world lethal encounters.

Action Target Hold PlusOne of the most enjoyable drills for me personally is a six-shot rhythm drill with my handgun. I use paper targets on my AT Hold target stands, and attempt really tight shot groups as rapidly as I can. Usually, I practice from 5-7 yards.

When using iron sights, try to get a flash-sight picture—where the front sight isn’t in perfect alignment, but slightly bobbles around in the rear sight. If you’re close enough to the target and have a smooth trigger, you’ll hit your target. Also, when you’re doing these drills, shoot as fast as you can.

We have come a long way since the ancient wars of the past. We must remember that if we want to win—keep shooting. The briefest remedy to survive and win any gunfight is to shoot faster and more accurately than the threat(s).

Until next time, continue to hone your skills and keep adding to your tactical toolbox.

About Jeffrey Denning

Jeffrey Denning is a former SWAT team leader, security contractor, undercover Federal Air Marshal, and Iraqi War Vet. He is the founder of Warrior SOS and writes tactical articles for Guns.com.

Shooting Steel Targets (Part 3)

*Note: This is the last segment of our three-part series entitled “Shooting Steel Targets.” Part One was published in September and Part Two was published in early October in the Action Target Journal.

Many people are hesitant to shoot on steel targets because of bad experiences they have heard of, been the victim of, or witnessed. Over the years, Action Target has been approached time and again by those who have access to steel, welding equipment, and the ability to shoot on their property. Each and every time we hear similar scenarios: I cut up this piece of steel [usually 1″ thick or greater] to use as a target. It should stop the bullets, but they either go right through it or cause unsafe ricochet and splatter.”

That would make anyone a little skeptical to shoot on steel, wouldn’t it?

So, as we publish the concluding segment of information dedicated to shooting portable steel targets, it is vital to include some facts about steel. We have included some information about what steel actually is, the hardness and quality associated with different ratings of steel, and some truths about steel that affect safety.

With more and more companies and individuals manufacturing steel targets, the water has become increasingly muddy where accurate information is concerned. With technical data provided by the American Iron and Steel Institute in Washington D.C., this report is designed to cut through the recent hype and establish a basis of fact for accurate evaluation and comparison.

What is Steel?

Steel is an alloy metal composed of iron and varying amounts of carbon and/or other elements such as chromium, nickel, tungsten, manganese, and so on. Steel with specific properties and characteristics is created by adjusting the overall chemical composition or by altering the various production processes such as rolling, finishing, and heat treatment. Because each of these factors can be modified, there is potentially no limit to the number of different steel recipes that can be created. Currently, there are over 3,000 cataloged grades or chemical compositions of steel available. Steel can utilize a wide variety of alloying elements and heat treatments to develop the most desirable combination of properties.

Steel Hardness and Quality

For steel targets to be functional and safe, they should be made of high-quality through hardened steel that has a minimum Brinell hardness number (BHN) of at least 500. The steel must also provide sufficient strength, toughness, and impact resistance. The Brinell hardness test depends upon the resistance offered to the penetration of a carbide steel ball (1.6 mm diameter) when subjected to a weight of 12.6 kg. The resulting hardness value is computed as the ratio of the applied load to the area of the indentation produced. This test is accepted as a worldwide standard for measuring the hardness of steel.

Truth: There are Two Factors that Affect the Hardness of Steel

The first is the amount of carbon and other alloying elements in its chemical composition, and the second is the manner in which the heating and cooling of the steel is manipulated. These factors are determined at the most fundamental level and affect the finished steel as a whole.

Truth: Steel Hardness Is a Critical Safety Issue

The hardness of the steel is so critical because only a smooth surface will generate predictable splatter patterns. Steel that is not sufficiently hard can develop pits, craters, dimples, and other hazardous deformations. When a bullet hits one of these deformations, it is impossible to predict where the splatter will go, thereby creating an unacceptable training environment.

There are many steel mills located around the world, but only a select few are able to produce steel that is hard enough and of sufficient quality to be safely used for steel targets. HARDOX / SSAB, Bethlehem-Lucas, Oregon Steel Mills, and NKK are major producers of such steel. Each of these companies may have minor proprietary differences in their production methods, but they all must make sheets of hard steel in essentially the same way.

Nevertheless, some suppliers of targets and shooting range equipment attempt to muddy the water and create perceived differences in steel quality where none exist. One particularly misleading claim refers to AR steel as “surface hardened” only. We state the following with all possible force:

Despite the inaccurate claims, AR steel is NOT surface hardened. It is through hardened. Witness the quotes listed below from steel suppliers around the country.

  • Heflin Steel: “Heflin REM 500 abrasion resistant plate is a premium grade wear plate, ideal for extreme abrasion coupled with resistance to impact. REM 500 plate is through hardened up to a 3″ thickness for maximum hardness and abrasion resistance.” (Source: http://www.escocorp.com/heflin_steel/wear/materials.html)

Note: These companies are steel suppliers, not manufacturers or producers. They buy steel from the actual manufacturers like HARDOX / SSAB, and then re-sell it to their own customers.

Action Target uses only high-quality, through hardened steel with a Brinell hardness rating of at least 500, and we use it in every one of our ballistic steel products.

Be careful not to get caught up in the “more is better” mindset. Just because a Brinell hardness number (BHN) of 500 or 550 is good, it does not mean a rating of 700 is better. While you must use steel that is hard enough for the task, going overboard only impacts your checkbook and not the product.

For more information on portable steel targets, Action Target has created one of the most comprehensive documents on the subject. The Action Target Steel Resource Guide (PDF) provides details on the properties of steel, how they relate to steel targets, and why they are important and so much more.

If you are looking for information about a specific target, visit our Portable Targets page of our website.

Action Target Becomes an NSSF Voting Member

Action Target is proud to announce its recent acceptance as a voting member of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF).

Founded over 25 years ago, Action Target began with two high school friends working out of their garage. Today, Action Target has become the world’s largest shooting range equipment manufacturer.

Holding more than 40 patents, Action Target has steadily increased its inventory to include over 4,000 products. In addition to manufacturing, Action Target also designs, delivers, and installs indoor and outdoor range equipment throughout the world. Action Target is the preferred choice for the firearms training programs of US & international commercial/sport shooters, law enforcement, military, Special Forces groups, and tactical training schools.

Action Target is honored to be accepted as a voting member by the NSSF’s Board of Directors. It is our pledge to assist in the NSSF’s ongoing mission to promote, protect, and preserve both the shooting industry and the heritage we all share. As private ownership of firearms increases, the need for safe facilities to practice shooting has become crucial. Action Target and the NSSF will work together to enhance the presence of commercial shooting ranges in the USA while supporting the many programs they offer.

About the NSSF

Following a series of industry meetings in the late 1950’s—sponsored by Field & Stream Magazine—the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) was chartered in 1961 to promote a better understanding of and a greater participation in hunting and shooting sports.

In 1963, the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI) merged its promotional arm into the NSSF enabling the foundation to expand its efforts and establish its own headquarters in Riverside, CT.

Recognizing the growing urbanization of America, NSSF first sought to build public awareness of the sportsman’s role in conservation and their contributions to wildlife management through landmark efforts such as the annual National Hunting and Fishing Day, established in 1973.

Over the years, the foundation has continued its public outreach efforts while also developing a wide array of programs to encourage new and added participation in hunting and target shooting sports. In the early 1980’s, NSSF was at the forefront of promoting the then-new sport of sporting clays and generating widespread publicity for shooting games of all kinds. An example was the 1988 “Sportsman’s Team Challenge”—the first made-for-TV shooting competition appearing on ESPN, which continued through the 1990’s.

Over the past several decades, NSSF has greatly expanded its efforts to strengthen hunting and shooting sports traditions through nationally based efforts such as STEP OUTSIDE, the Families Afield initiative, First Shots, and the Hunting Heritage Partnership, which provides grants to state wildlife agencies for programs that improve access and opportunity.

Since its inception, NSSF has been a leader in building opportunities so future generations can continue to enjoy hunting and shooting sports. NSSF is a major supporter of the nation’s youth shooting programs and has created its own programs such as the Scholastic Clay Target Program along with other similar efforts at the collegiate level.

Firearms safety education has also been a fundamental mission of NSSF throughout its history. Over the years, the foundation has distributed millions of safety brochures and delivered safety messages through television, radio, and print media outlets. Initiated in 1999, NSSF’s Project ChildSafe has distributed more than 35 million firearm safety kits throughout all 50 states.

The NSSF is actively engaged in representing its members in respect to key legal, regulatory, and legislative issues through its Government Relations division.

Since 1979, critical funding for NSSF’s many programs and activities has come from the NSSF-owned industry trade show, SHOT Show. From an inaugural event of only 50,000 square feet of exhibit space, the show has grown to some 700,000 square feet of exhibit space today and is the largest trade exposition of its kind in the world.

NSSF’s foundation represents the broad scope of the hunting and shooting sports industry. Members include manufacturers of sporting firearms, ammunition, a wide array of accessories, and equipment manufacturers as well as distributors, retailers, shooting ranges, and many other companies and organizations in the hunting and shooting sports community. Today’s membership includes more than 5,500 companies and organizations.

Shooting Steel Targets (Part 2)

*Note: This is the second of a three-part series entitled “Shooting Steel Targets.” Part One was published in the Action Target Journal in September and Part Three was published in October.

Action Target produces the finest and most sought after portable steel targets in the world. As a world leader for shooting range development, our steel targets have been developed in conjunction with law enforcement and the US Military for the last 26 years. As a result, our steel targets are among the safest around, which allows you to predict splatter patterns and ricochet. We do not allow any exposed bolts or brackets on the shooting surfaces. This is a limitation to many designs, but the result is the safest possible steel target available.

Why are portable steel targets important?

Instant feedback reinforces positive behavior and programs muscle memory. Just like hitting a baseball, your body subconsciously remembers how to orchestrate all the variables required for a successful shot. If you do not get instant feedback, your mind and body are not able to accurately correlate which variables produce positive results, and which produce negative results. The more senses you involve in the process, the more powerful and more rapid the conditioning becomes.

Sight

The target shouldAction Target 3-D Targets bounce, spin, rock, wobble, explode, fall, or give some other visual indicator when hit. High contrast paint on a shooting surface will increase visual feedback, but paint must be reapplied frequently. Paint can also be used to reduce visibility if desired.

Targets do not have to be made of steel to provide visual feedback. Plastic can provide some of the same effects, and cardboard targets can be equipped with various types of hit sensors. Balloons by themselves can be simple reactive targets, and they become even more effective when used with a three dimensional cardboard torso like our reactive 3D Target .

Sound

Steel is required for a target to produce a “gong” sound when hit. The size and thickness of the steel will affect the quality of the sound produced, as will the method by which the target is mounted or suspended. If the target is mounted so it is not too restricted and can move when hit, the gong will be louder and more effective. Although quality steel targets will cost more upfront, the savings in training time and ongoing cardboard and paper target replacement will more than pay for your original investment.

Shoot More, Waste Less Time

Action Target Evil Roy Practice TargetIn addition to providing effective visible and audible indicators when hit, steel targets greatly enhance the steel efficiency of your training as well. Instead of changing out paper or cardboard targets, you can spend more time actually shooting. The 30 or so minutes you save each day really add up over the course of a year, especially if you are working with a large department.

If You Build It, They Will Come

A final benefit of reactive targets is the pure entertainment factor. This may seem frivolous, but it can provide an enormous benefit to your training program. Would you rather shoot holes in paper all day, or would you rather participate in tactical shooting scenarios that involve movement, communication, and targets that drop, fall, spin, dodge, and charge you? The more enjoyable the training process is, the more often people will come to the range.

If you are looking for information about a specific target, visit our Portable Targets page of our website.

Self-Funding Shooting Ranges

A New Way of Looking at Shooting Range Viability

By Addison Sovine

While the top-level view of a commercial indoor shooting range may appear simple and direct, the economic reality is often the opposite. If one were to take the cost of a range based on today’s market value and implement a state-of-the-art range featuring approximately ten lanes, the initial investment would be well into the millions. A range costing a million dollars would require $50,000 in range fees just to cover the interest payment alone. If a range yields $10 per participant for each hour of range time, five hundred shooters would be necessary to simply cover that interest. In addition to start-up fees, heating and cooling of the facility can be substantial when variables like airflow and heat are factored in.

Expenses that add up quickly

Another five hundred shooters—if not a full additional thousand—would be necessary to cover the cumulative cost of operations and physical utility bills. This does not include costs associated with labor, maintenance, or any other expenses, causing the cost of an operation range to accumulate.

Making Your Good Range Great

Over the past 26 years of leading the industry, the men and women of Action Target have learned that an indoor range in and of itself is not as viable a solution as an indoor range used in conjunction with a retail store. However, a guiding principle sometimes forgotten is that a good range validates a good store. A good range makes it possible for a store to perform a service that dealers and stores without a range cannot perform. Clients can test firearms prior to making their purchase. AT Constructs Indoor Shooting Range for OrlandoRental or lease programs are realistic possibilities, allowing for more informed decisions to be made. A singular offering like an on-site range provides a service unavailable elsewhere, meaning you are selling not only the firearms, but also a rare service–your expertise.

Your ability to provide a critical service as an expert in the shooting industry, in conjunction with the services of a range, allows you to train and demonstrate that which you sell. A range also gives the opportunity for relevant, adjacent offerings, such as personal protection classes, concealed carry classes, and other things not available from people who would need to rent or borrow a range. With this in mind, reconsider the economic validity of building or purchasing a range.

A Model of Economic Viability

Supposing your range will consist of ten lanes, the last thing that you want to worry about it is the required maintenance. Any mechanical device follows a single objective rule—the more complex the device, the more expertise necessary in its service and maintenance. Just a few years ago, having an automobile with a motor, a carburetor, and a little common sense may have been the only necessary tool in order to adjust the carburetor. Today, however, the proliferation of computer controlled, microchip-fueled components makes it incredibly difficult to do so. Accidents or problems can necessitate repairs that are far more expensive now than they may have been ten or fifteen years ago.

The laws of physics hold domain over any space, including ranges where bullets are being fired. Combined with constant historical trends of human innovation, we can see that whenever someone builds something to stop a bullet, someone else will build a bullet strong enough to go through it. Thus, it is only a matter of time before an equipment failure or breakdown on a range occurs.

AT Builds New Shooting Range and StoreThe value of simplicity, then, is clearly demonstrated. On a typical commercial range, there is no need for fancy, high-end target retrieval systems. The most cost-effective system on a range is a simple toggle switch on a track and a motor that takes the target down to a distance—this distance determined perhaps by a line painted on the wall or a line painted on the floor. This distance is determined and used as the operator runs the target down by holding the switch. As the operator brings the target back, they will run the switch until the target returns. While this may not sound like sufficient technology for training law enforcement, it truly is the only necessary mechanism for target retrieval.

If you are going to donate your commercial range to local law enforcement, understand what that could entail. Even with donations of use, local law enforcement agencies’ use of your range will be a small fraction of its cumulative use. You will not be able to properly maintain your range or even break even based upon the rental of that range with your law enforcement under typical circumstances.

*NOTE: This has been the first section of many Action Target White Papers being released to the public. All white papers can be accessed through our website. To read the rest of the Self-Funding Shooting Ranges White Paper, you can download the entire PDF document by clicking on the link provided. You can also watch the full video presentation.

About Addison Sovine

Addison is the Executive Vice-President and Co-Founder of Action Target. He has over 26 years industry experience and has personally designed, built, and maintained thousands of shooting ranges.

The Muzzle-Discipline Solution

By John Krupa III & John Farnam

At a recent Urban Rifle Course held at an outdoor range, a student with the muzzle of her AR (patrol rifle) elevated had a ND (negligent discharge), which put a single 5.56 x 45 bullet over the berm and off-property. The bullet in question subsequently impacted, at a high angle, a lake a half-mile downrange. No injury or property was damaged as a result, but several local fishermen reported the incident to the local sheriff’s office, and I heard about it shortly thereafter.

Berm heights vary widely from range to range. Most are 10 feet or higher. Even so, sending a bullet over the berm is still easily done, no matter the height. Some fancy ranges even have downrange, overhead “baffles” designed to keep bullets–inadvertently launched at a high angle–from leaving the range; however, even at these facilities, bullets occasionally seem to find a way off-property. Additional efforts to contain them invariably convert the “outdoor range” into an indoor range!

The better solution to this issue is muzzle-discipline.Action Target September Newsletter

“Muzzle-Down” is the by-word on all DTI (Defensive Training Institute) Ranges. All rifle, pistol, and shotgun handling is with the muzzle no higher than horizontal. Elevating muzzles past horizontal during administrative processes, and during reloading and stoppage-reduction, is commonly taught in some quarters, but it is wrong and dangerous!

In the incident described above, a rifle muzzle was inadvertently elevated during the loading process, as the student was relying on previous training. We corrected it, of course, but not before that single round departed range property.

When ND’s occur with the muzzle down and angled toward the berm, the bullet hits the ground between the shooter and the berm and can still subsequently jump over to the other side. However, these ricochets are typically low energy and far less dangerous than direct launches. “Muzzle-Up” is bad practice for other reasons too. Handling guns with the muzzle up is an invitation to a disarm, and rifle barrels angled upward will reliably betray an operator’s position and intentions, particularly when he/she is behind cover.

So, our students need to become accustomed to keeping all muzzles continually at a downward angle, coming up to horizontal only when aiming at a target. All administrative processes-loading, unloading, and performing a chamber-check can be (and must be) done with the operator facing in a relatively safe direction with the muzzle angled downward.

With escalating numbers of novice gun owners, preventing gun accidents is rapidly emerging as a critical priority. Gun-fear, trigger-locks, and the “empty-gun/never-ready” philosophy represent only a false and fraudulent myth. Genuine Operators, who carry and deal with loaded guns every day, need a legitimate and dependable gun-handling procedure that is adhered to without fail, and keeping muzzles down is an integral component.

About John Krupa III

John is a police officer with the Orland Hills Police Dept. and has over 20 years of experience in LE. He has previously served as a beat officer, rapid response officer, and firearms instructor with Chicago PD. He is a graduate firearms instructor from the Secret Service Academy, FBI, DEA, and FLETC. John is founder and president of Spartan Tactical Training Group, Director of Training for the DS Arms LE Training Division, and has previously presented at ASLET, GTOA, IALEFI, ILEETA, ISOA, LETC, MTOA, NTOA, and TTPOA training conferences. To learn more about John Krupa III or Spartan Tactical Training Group, click here.

About John Farnam

John has been a police officer since 1971, when he joined the City of Elroy Police Department as a patrolman. He is presently a fully commissioned deputy sheriff Training Officer for the Park County, Colorado Sheriff’s Office. John has written articles about defensive shooting and tactics in addition to several books. To learn more about John Farnam or Defensive Training Institute (DTI), click here.

* The views are the authors’ own and don’t necessarily represent those of Action Target, Inc.