Action Target engineers are doing more on the beaches of Florida this spring than just surfing or getting a tan: they are designing the biggest bullet trap ever built.
Lotus Gunworks of Jensen Beach, Fla., will be opening its doors next week and inviting shooters to try out its new double-decker shooting range featuring a two-story steel funnel bullet trap. Nicknamed the Lotus 8/11 for the number of steel panels used to create it (eight panels on the bottom slope and 11 panels on the top slope), this version of Action Target’s Total Containment Trap is the first of its kind.
“No one has ever seen a range like this before,” Lotus Gunworks’ Director of Operations Robbie Abell said. “We’re truly making industry history.”
Abell stumbled into the gun industry a few years back when he and a family member decided to go in on a gun store. It seemed like a crazy idea, he said, but with a little bit of luck and ingenuity, they just might be able to make it work.
“We spent about eight months riding around different areas and looking at gun ranges,” Abell said. “After some research, we ran into Action Target and were introduced to the local shooting range consultant Robb Anderson. After that it was a no-brainer, so we freight trained forward.”
They found an existing building in Jensen Beach that met their needs but quickly ran into issues when it became apparent there would not be enough room for two adjacent ranges and a gun store. Abell did not want to cut back on the number of ranges, so the only option was to make a double-decker range where both levels shot into the same bullet trap.
“It hasn’t ever been done before, and at first, the answer was that it couldn’t be done,” Abell said. “I believed there had to be a way, and after three weeks of pushing, I got a call from Robb at Action Target saying, ‘We think we might be able to do this.’”
The answer was to extend the Total Containment Trap (usually just 8 feet tall) to a whopping 19 feet and to mount steel cross beams to support the Mancom Touch ‘N’ Go target retriever system.
With the equipment issues resolved, the next hurdle was proper ventilation to prevent customers and employees from being exposed to hazardous lead dust. The sheer size of the room presented a unique challenge, so Lotus Gunworks enlisted the help of industry ventilation specialists Carey’s Small Arms Range Ventilation.
Despite doubts that a range that tall could be ventilated at all, Carey’s managed to create a system that not only met environmental standards, but exceeded ventilation standards for even federal shooting ranges.
“The air flow in the upper level was the best I have seen on any range, and the airflow on the bottom was also very good,” Carey’s controls and commissioning tech Mark Hanson said. “This was one of the easiest range ventilation systems we’ve installed.”
Aside from being environmentally safe by completely replacing range air every 80 seconds, all of the filtered air pumped into the range is refrigerated, which, according to Abell, is a pretty big deal in Florida.
“We want this to be the most comfortable range possible,” Abell said, “and we’re doing that with refrigerated air, great lighting, great service and friendly employees. We want people to come and stay. We want this to be a destination point where you hang out for the day.”
Lotus Gunworks is especially friendly to new shooters with a Ti Training simulation system that allows those completely new to shooting to try it out on a real gun equipped with a laser before hitting the range. Friday night fun shoots will also allow people to try out a variety of firearms including fully automatic rifles.
The range is expected to open for business the first week of April and will be holding a grand opening celebration April 20.
Much has been written about precision shooting in the world of combat skill development and pistol shooting in general. Perspectives and definitions of how and why we hit the intended target vary so greatly that two people involved in a heated discussion regarding precision shooting may be very parallel in their thinking, but they don’t recognize it. In this article, I will talk about how and why our views concerning this subject work. Ultimately, the goal is to bring us all a little closer in defining this controversial subject and understanding what we need to see in order to deliver a successful shot.
All of my training methods stem from simplicity in firearms training. I like to cut through all of the fluff, and present concepts that make sense and are easily reproducible by the average shooter. Most of us subscribe to the age old premise that most likely originated with the invention of firearms in that the objective of shooting is hitting your target.
Let’s start by discussing the two absolutes of hitting a target. They are muzzle management and trigger finger discipline. Since the bullet exits the muzzle on the way to the target, it seems likely that from zero to fifty yards (plus or minus), if the muzzle is pointed at the target when the bullet exits, then we will have ourselves a hit where we want it. Trigger finger discipline refers to how we release the bullet toward the target. If you stabilize the muzzle of the pistol on the target and operate the trigger without disturbing that stability, you will experience success. Make sense? My students think so!
Precision shooting is a total mystery to some simply because they are confused about what they must see to consistently hit the target. Sight alignment and sight picture are two regularly used terms in the precision shooting world, but they aren’t always fully understood. Sight alignment is nothing more than the front and rear sight as viewed by the eye. Perfect sight alignment is the front sight vertically and horizontally centered in the rear sight notch. Sight picture is the target, front sight and rear sight as viewed by the eye. Perfect sight picture is the front sight centered vertically and horizontally in the rear sight notch superimposed on the desired point of impact of the target.
In studying human vision, we find that the eye can clearly focus on a single plane, plus or minus an inch or two. Everything else ranges from a little to a lot out of focus. Relate this to a camera lens. The camera has clarity at its primary point of interest and everything closer or further away is less than perfectly clear. A little known fact is that the eye can pick the center of any object, regardless of its shape. It can do this without having total visual clarity of the object and can be accurate down to one minute of angle (a half inch circle at fifty yards).
Now, let’s take a closer look at how and why precision shooting works. The muzzle of the pistol must be square with the target to hit the target. Think perpendicular with a very slight upward angle to account for the effects of gravity on the bullet, and horizontally centered. We use our sights as a guide to position the muzzle on the target. The more precisely we align our sights, the closer the muzzle is to square with the face of the target, and the more likely we will hit our desired point of impact, assuming that the pistol is already zeroed. The clear focus on the front sight as viewed through the slightly out of focus rear sight allows us the best chance to position the muzzle square to the target. The target should be out of focus, but its shape should be apparent. As stated above, the eye will automatically find the center of any object.
What this boils down to is that precision sight alignment will square the muzzle (where the bullet exits the gun) on the center of the target, which our eye automatically finds, for a hit in the desired location.
Bull’s-eye shooters that shoot the blank side of their target and shoot better groups than when they are shooting the target side prove the concept that the eye will naturally find the center of an object consistently. By keeping the eye focus on the sights through the release of the shot, the muzzle remains square with the target, and a consistent impact point is hit again and again.
A simple and extremely effective sight picture that we developed for the aged-eye shooters (those in bi-focals and tri-focals) has become the standard sight picture for all of our students who aren’t happy with their present method of hitting the target where they want to. We recommend a dot on the front sight and the widest notch available for the type of rear sight to be used. This allows us to use the eye’s natural ability to center round objects in square openings with incredible precision. We zero the pistol for the strike of the round to hit whatever we put the front sight dot on, just as we would a red dot sight system. The regimen is to center the dot in the rear sight notch and float the dot on the target. With a smooth trigger press to release the shot, the thrill of a center hit is felt again and again.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Action Target as a company.
About George Harris
George Harris has spent his entire adult life working in the world of firearms. For over 30 years he has been a successful and motivational educator and trainer in all aspects of small arms. His simplistic approach to firearms training has an unarguable track record in extracting performance from his students of marksmanship, tactics, and maintenance.
As a business developer in the firearms field, George co-founded the world renowned SIG Sauer Academy and led it to become a profit center before retiring after twenty-one years of service.
George has the enviable record of leading industry test programs for multiple government and military agencies achieving successful results and contracts for firearms 100% of the time.
Many of his innovations and ideas in firearms design features have evolved to production firearms improving function, ergonomics, and aesthetics.
George has served as the subject matter expert involving firearms and related matters on television, radio, and in legal proceedings.
Among his personal accomplishments, George earned the coveted U.S. Army Distinguished badges for both Service Pistol and Service Rifle. He also coached and was a firing team member of the World Champion U.S. Army Reserve International Combat Team before retiring with 40 years of continuous Military Service.
Since it was founded in 1986, Action Target has had the pleasure of working with some of the greatest innovators in the industry from mechanical engineers to world-renowned law enforcement trainers. Each has left a unique impression and, in some cases, has even shaped the future of the company.
One man who has played a significant role in influencing the culture of life-long training at Action Target is Clint Smith of Thunder Ranch. As a seasoned veteran and avid proponent of realistic scenario training, Clint has made a name for himself as one of the greatest firearms trainers in the world. This year marks 20 years of working closely with Action Target to create the most innovative and effective training methods available today.
Clint’s natural ability to teach makes it seem almost effortless for him to convey difficult concepts to his students, but his experience is what has made him one of the greatest trainers in the world. Clint served two tours in Vietnam as a marine and worked in law enforcement from 1970 to 1980 as director of the firearms training division, S.W.A.T. team member, and precision rifleman. After leaving law enforcement, he entered the civilian arena as operations officer for the American Pistol Institute at Gunsite Academy where he was dean of instruction.
Three years and several curriculum developments later, Clint decided to take his unique training techniques on the road as president of his own business called International Training Consultants.
“There’s always the need to take the training to the people, so from 1983 to 1993, I spent most of my time on the road conducting trainings across the country and internationally as well,” Clint said. “When conducting trainings on the road, I started using all Action Target products because they were so portable. That portability made it so I was able to make a home wherever I went. I would just show up in a large van or with a trailer full of steel targets and have a full range set up in an hour or two.”
Before long, Clint’s portable training program was nationally recognized for innovative courses in urban rifle, shotgun, precision rifle, and various handgun formats. The more places he visited, the more popular his program became. All of the traveling eventually took its toll, however, and in 1992, Clint decided it was finally time to find a home.
“I loved the flexibility of being out on the road where I could bring training to anyone who wanted it, but in order to conduct more advanced training, I need my own setup,” Clint said. “The redeeming value of being able to have my own facility was that I was able to control the environment. I was more comfortable there because it was my home. And when the trainer is comfortable, the students learn better.”
Along with settling down at a permanent facility, Clint’s training company also got a facelift.
“When we moved to Texas in the early ‘90s, we decided to update the name from International Training Consultants to something with more kick to it,” Clint said. “We had a popular training drill called Rolling Thunder, and since we’d settled on a ranch in Texas, we called it Thunder Ranch.
Thunder Ranch officially opened in 1993 with five outdoor ranges including 300-yard and 1,000-yard rifle ranges, two classrooms, a computer controlled Hogan’s Alley nicknamed Thunderville, a four-story tower that housed additional indoor ranges, and two tactical shoot houses with movable walls.
“Everything on the ranch was done with Action Target equipment,” Clint said, “and at the time, it was the premier training facility of the private sector. You couldn’t find better anywhere.”
The program was set up with five-day courses on various firearms training techniques being offered to the general public. Word spread and before long, Thunder Ranch instructors were training 1,500 people a year.
In addition to civilian courses, Thunder Ranch also accommodated the occasional specialty course for law enforcement. The ranch’s training facilities were put to the test in 1996 when Action Target held its annual Law Enforcement Training Camp at Thunder Ranch. More than 120 law enforcement officers descended on the ranch for an entire week of intense training and informative seminars.
Nearly every aspect of law enforcement firearms training was covered from team tactics and police equipment to semiautomatic shotgun techniques and submachine gun deployment. Clint personally taught several of the courses along with other renowned law enforcement trainers.
Less than a year after opening Thunder Ranch, Clint began working with Action Target to create new training products to meet the needs of his students including the Portable Bullet Trap and a reactive target system that was both affordable and realistic. He wanted to see how close he could take his students to a real life confrontation without actually putting anyone in danger. To do that, he needed a moving target that looked and reacted like a real threat.
“Most active shooter situations aren’t that difficult from a marksmanship standpoint,” Clint said. “The difficulty comes from mental blocks and an elevated heart rate. If I can put my students in situations where they are constantly training under mental and physical stress, they will be so much more prepared for a real world situation.”
The solution was a 3D cardboard torso target made reactive through the use of balloons which could be blown up in the head, chest, or lower abdomen cavities. When inflated, the balloons put pressure on the steel rebar that runs through the middle of the target and hold it up by pressing against the sides of each of the three cavities. As soon as the balloons are popped, the target no longer has anything to hold it up and falls to the ground.
Clint built a platform to house his new 3D Target training scenario with a PT Runner to add the realism of a charging or moving threat. No longer were his students just firing into an unreactive piece of paper, but they were firing at a moving target that looked and reacted like the real thing. As their heart rates and stress levels increased, students were forced to focus on their sights and aim for strategic kill zones. Shooting it anywhere wouldn’t bring it down, just like an actual assailant.
Inspired and designed by Clint Smith, the 3D Target has been an essential part of law enforcement training programs nationwide for nearly a decade. Clint continues to work with Action Target on new product developments and acts as a consultant to the company on training methods.
Thunder Ranch Today
Thunder Ranch remained in Waller, Texas, from 1993 until 2004 when operations were moved to southern Oregon. Clint Smith purchased 800 acres of land just outside of Lakeview and built brand new facilities from the ground up with equipment provided by Action Target. Though smaller, the new Thunder Ranch allows Clint to get back to doing what he loves.
“The bigger the business got in Texas, the less I was able to actually teach,” Clint said. “In Oregon, I get to interact with people one-on-one, and that’s what I want. I personally teach all of the classes.”
Courses are now only three days long and classes are smaller, but Thunder Ranch still boasts state-of-the-art training facilities and more than 400 trainees a year. Current classes include defensive handgun, urban rifle, team tactics, home and vehicle defense, mid range rifle, defensive concealed carry, high angle, and defensive revolver. Most classes have already been filled for the rest of the year.
Action Target continues to support Clint Smith as a friend, and we hope for another 20 years of working with Thunder Ranch to bring superior training to law enforcement officers and civilians.
PROVO, Utah – March 7, 2013 – Panteao Productions announced that Action Target is now the video production company’s official target provider. Beginning immediately, all videos featuring firearms training on steel targets will exclusively feature Action Target products.
As the industry leader in instructional firearms videos, Panteao Productions needed a dependable target that could hold up to intense use while functioning safely. Panteao chose Action Target after putting several companies’ products to the test with its rigorous training courses.
“After using steel targets from different companies over the last two years, we found Action Target to produce the strongest and best designed targets on the market,” president and CEO of Panteao Productions Fernando Coelho said. “Today, all the steel we use on our video shoots is exclusively from Action Target.”
Panteao Productions currently has 45 instructional videos on everything from the combat mindset to the fundamentals of everyday carry taught by professional firearms trainers and military veterans. Panteao even provides an instructional video on how to capture shooting events on film taught by industry photographer Yamil Sued.
“We’re thrilled to be working with a company like Panteao Productions,” director of Action Target’s portable target division Chad Burdette said. “The range and level of training they provide is unmatched. We have admired their work for a long time, and I think there are some great things we can do together in the future.”
Panteao Production’s instructional line called Make Ready with the Experts, which often uses steel targets for training scenarios, is available for purchase online in DVD format or through a monthly subscription which allows unlimited video streaming on a computer or mobile device.
As an official product provider of Panteao Productions, Action Target’s logo will be featured on the back of Panteao DVD cases and on its website as a sponsor.
About Action Target Inc.
Action Target Inc. is a privately owned business headquartered in Provo, Utah. As the world leader in shooting range technology with more than 4,000 products and 40 patents for the systems it designs and manufacturers, Action Target has installed thousands of shooting ranges across the United States and in 25 other countries around the world. Action Target also designs systems and conducts firearms training for law enforcement and various military divisions. For more information on Action Target, visit www.ActionTarget.com. To learn more about Action Target products or to purchase items online, visit www.ShopActionTarget.com.
About Panteao Productions, LLC
Panteao Productions is a video production company based out of South Carolina that produces instructional videos from the top firearms instructors in the world. For more information about Panteao, visit www.PanteaoProductions.com. You can find Panteao on both Twitter and Facebook.
The Sandy Hook school shooting shocked the very psyche of this nation. I was numbed by its impact, and as a father of two grade school children, it was heart breaking to even imagine what those parents had to endure in the loss of their children.
As the nation mourned, my feelings quickly turned to anger as I began to analyze the incident. I began to visualize as an Immediate Action / Rapid Deployment (IARD) trainer what possible law enforcement (LE) response solutions could have resolved this situation without loss of life. My conclusion was – none.
Since the shooting, school administrators and law enforcement agencies across the country have become overwhelmed with the task of developing more effective measures to prepare school personnel on how to respond to active shooter incidents.
Where do we start?
To find the answers to this question, we need to look at the commonalities among previous school shootings from Columbine to Virginia Tech. A close inspection will show that many of the same circumstances existed in just about all of these incidents.
Here are some common traits in many of these incidents:
The shooters were aware that teachers and faculty were unarmed. (In some instances, “Gun Free Zone” signs were posted outside the school.)
The shooters were aware of the “lock down” procedure and knew that children would not be evacuated or removed from the scene, but instead, would be herded into classrooms behind locked doors.
The shooters were aware that law enforcement would eventually respond and knew that they only had minutes to inflict casualties before LEO’s would arrive on scene.
The shooters had predetermined that they would not allow themselves to be captured alive and that they would commit suicide to avoid contact with LEO’s.
Specifically, in the Columbine incident, the shooters attempted to buy more time to “hunt and kill” people by planting improvised explosive devices and incendiary devices to impede LE response.
Also, in the Virginia Tech incident, the shooter chained and barricaded the doors to the building he was in to, again, buy more time to “hunt and kill” people.
What have we learned from these incidents?
In analyzing these gruesome incidents, particularly Columbine, Virginia Tech and now Sandy Hook; unarmed teachers, professors and faculty members were summarily executed when they attempted to resist or confront the shooters.
Many good people – adults on scene at the initiation of these incidents – who tried to do the right thing (unarmed) and protect children and students from being massacred, did so at the expense of their own lives!
So the question that needs to be asked is – “Who really is the first responder?” Is it the LE officers arriving on scene minutes later to handle the situation, or is it the adults capable of taking action that are actually on scene when the incident initiates?
Maybe we as law enforcement officers need to reevaluate our IARD strategies and reconsider other solutions in defining who the first responder should be.
In retrospect, what if these very same teachers, professors, and faculty members that ran to the gunfire in these incidents were properly trained in the use and application of handguns for personal defense? What if these “first responders” were trained in basic IARD concepts so they could react accordingly and take the appropriate actions to stop the active shooters before they could inflict casualties?
Something has to change! People can’t wait anymore for an LE agency to receive a 911 call of shots fired in a school, dispatch that call to units in the area, and then have it take precious minutes for officers to respond and deploy while the shooter indiscriminately executes his victims. We’ve seen this reactionary response repeatedly in these incidents, and it’s just not working!
Thousands of officers across the country, including myself, have been trained in IARD tactics. I run the officers at my agency through an eight-hour in-service IARD training program annually, and it’s just not enough. The time has come where we need to look beyond reacting to school shooting incidents and find a way to have first responders on-site, ready to go when an incident starts.
Where do we go from here?
Since Sandy Hook, I’ve had many discussions and debates with other officers and trainers from various LE agencies on how to resolve this issue and here are some of the solutions that have been brought up in these conversations.
School Resource Officers (SRO) – The knee-jerk reaction after a school shooting incident is always to put police officers in the schools or hire campus police.
The problem with this solution is budget cuts and man power shortages just won’t allow LE agencies to provide enough personnel to adequately cover all the schools in all the school districts. Think about how many schools are in your school district and ask yourself, where will those officers come from?
Also, because of the thin blue line, each school will be lucky if they have one officer assigned per school day. Keep in mind that the SRO will only be there during regular school hours – 0800 to 1600. There won’t be coverage for after school functions or evening sports events.
There are a lot of holes that need to be filled in this solution process. Grade school, high school, and college students should not have part-time or partial protective coverage – it should be constant. We haven’t even included student coverage for off campus events such as away games or field trips!
Off-duty and retired LEO’s – This is a great idea to resolve the man power shortage issue, but again, where is the money going to come from to fund their payroll budget? Paying off-duty or retired LEO’s at an hourly rate would cost a small fortune, and we’d still have to deal with the coverage issue as discussed above.
Security guards – In addition to the previously expressed concerns, now we’re looking at a cheap “deterrent” and the question is, will they be armed? Having unarmed security guards responding to a shooting incident will have the same results as unarmed faculty – and we’re back to square one.
Armed teachers and faculty – Of all the buzz words that have drawn debates across the country, “armed teachers” has been among the most controversial. While this is nothing new to some school districts in Texas and Arizona, the overall concept, in general, has been met with rigid opposition.
In reality, it makes sense. School districts can have a select group of teachers, professors, and school faculty trained in the use of handguns for personal defense as well as basic IARD tactics in how to respond to and deal with active shooters and how to interact with officers arriving on scene.
Advantages of using armed teachers and faculty:
There is no need to hire extra personnel, but instead use existing school personnel with more responsibilities.
There is no need to seek funding or create new budgets, but instead rely on the use of school personnel already on salary.
School districts can rely on select teachers and sports coaches to provide coverage during and after school activities, sports events (home and away games), and field trips.
Having more than one armed teacher in a school (possibly two or three at a time) will allow for coordinated first responder engagements of active shooters.
Allows for use of school personnel that have extensive knowledge of the facility they work in and have a better chance of controlling and dominating terrain.
Armed teachers may not be the answer to every scenario, but having the advantage of trained school personnel on-site and ready to take immediate action is the true definition of first responder!
Ultimately, it’s not a question of “if” another school shooting is going to happen, but when and where? Will we be ready?
As always, stay safe, remain vigilant and fight to win!
John Krupa III Master Firearms Instructor (ILETSB) President / Director of Training Spartan Tactical Training Group, LLC
About John Krupa III
John is an active duty police officer with the Orland Hills Police Dept. (IL.) and has more than 22 years of experience in law enforcement. He has previously served as a patrol officer, rapid response officer, field training 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 and has previously presented at training conferences across the country with the AFTE, ASLET, GTOA, IALEFI, ILEETA, ISOA, LETC, MidTOA, MTOA, NTOA, and TTPOA.
For more information about training courses offered by John Krupa, visit his website at www.TeamSpartan.com
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Action Target as a company.
With the downturn in the economy and shrinking tax dollars, law enforcement agencies are searching for new sources of funding for needed equipment. PoliceTrades.com is helping law enforcement agencies find additional revenue through the trade of department firearms. Whether it be duty firearms, confiscated guns, or restricted Class 3 weapons, PoliceTrades.com is turning obsolete firearms into new equipment.
The PoliceTrades.com trade program is simple and completely free for law enforcement agencies. A list of firearms the agency is looking to eliminate is obtained and sent to the PoliceTrades.com bid network of Federal Firearms Licensed dealers (FFLs) for pricing. By using multiple vendors, PoliceTrades.com can obtain the highest trade value for the firearms. The highest bid is then presented to the agency for review. Once the bid is accepted, the agency ships the firearms directly to the FFL for resale. Payments are then made to the agency or to any vendor of the agency’s choice like Action Target. By paying a vendor directly, PoliceTrades.com ensures the money obtained through the traded firearms is used for the equipment needed by the agency.
For example, your police department could be in need of outfitting its outdoor shooting range with additional targets or equipment, but not have the funds to do it. Instead of trying to raise the money or fighting with local government to increase funding, you can turn obsolete firearms into credit with Action Target or any other vendor you choose. Action Target has been a corporate partner with PoliceTrades.com for the last few years and encourages law enforcement clients to utilize this opportunity to get the quality equipment and targetry they need to train effectively.
Many agencies are burdened with large inventories of confiscated and surrendered firearms. Evidence rooms fill up and agencies need a solution to eliminate this excess inventory. PoliceTrades.com offers several solutions to deal with confiscated firearms. One option, PoliceTrades.com can bid on the firearms as they would duty weapons, where they would be resold through licensed firearms dealers.
Another option is the parts stripping and destruction program. With this program, agencies can get paid while having the firearms destroyed. This is accomplished by stripping the guns of the valuable parts (i.e. slide, recoil springs, grips, magazines) and having the serialized frame of the firearm destroyed. This ensures the firearm will never be used again, yet provides funding with the parts value. The agency is also provided with a certified letter, detailing the serial numbers of the firearms and the date they were destroyed.
Class 3 firearms (select-fire and short barrel rifles and shotguns) are another area where PoliceTrades.com can help you obtain revenue. Some agencies are under the impression that these guns can only be transferred to another agency. Through their Class 3 FFL dealers, PoliceTrade.com can purchase transferable Class 3 firearms for resale value and non-transferable firearms for parts value and destruction. PoliceTrades.com will handle all of the ATF Form 5 transfer paperwork.
PoliceTrades.com is the industry leader in the firearms trade business and can help your agency find untapped revenue sources. For more information, you can contact them directly via phone at (636) 536-2288 or mailto: Bids@PoliceTrades.com.
EOTech presented with award during SHOT Show for exceptional firearms safety practices during media event
LAS VEGAS – February 4, 2013 – SHOT Show Media Day at the Range announces EOTech as the recipient of the Action Target 2013 Media Day Safety award. This award is given to the media day exhibitor that holds to the highest standards of safety during the shooting event on January 14, 2013. Each exhibitor was judged by a panel of safety auditors who scored each exhibitor on firearms safety practices during the event.
EOTech had a perfect score on criteria such as eye and ear protection, ammunition and firearms control, etc. But EOTech went above the scored criteria by having their own range officer at the shooting station and first aid supplies ready for use in case of an emergency.
EOTech was awarded the trophy at the Action Target booth during SHOT Show by representatives of SHOT Show Media Day at the Range and Action Target.
“We consider range safety an essential part of every live fire event,” said Amy Miller, Media Relations Manager at EOTech. “It is our goal to be industry leaders in every aspect of our professional execution, and the range safety standards we practice are not exempt from that mindset. We make plans well in advance and review them to make sure we have eliminated any unsafe practices before we reach the line of fire.”
Action Target, the sponsor of the award, is a leading global supplier of superior shooting range products, equipment, design, manufacturing and training for law enforcement, military, and commercial ranges. Action Target is recognized for developing innovative new firearms training technology and for having the experience to properly apply that technology to solve today’s safety issues on firing ranges all over the world.
“We have been a major supporter of Media Day at the Range for many years, and being the sponsor of the 2013 safety award is an honor for us,” said Chad Burdette, Portable Target Manager for Action Target.
In its seventh year, SHOT Show Media Day at the Range hosted more 120 exhibitors and 1,000 media members of the hunting and shooting industry. This award gave recognition to EOTech as an example of the importance of safely demonstrating products to the media on a live fire range.
“Live fire demonstrations are an essential part of explaining our products and technology,” Miller said, “and Media Day offers us the ability to put our products in the hands of over 1,000 of the industry’s leading writers and media personalities in an eight-hour period of time.”
EOTech was awarded a plaque for its exceptional firearms safety practices and given a free booth at next year’s SHOT Show Media Day at the Range.
Action Target Inc. is a privately owned business headquartered in Provo, Utah. As the world leader in shooting range technology with more than 4,000 products and 40 patents for the systems it designs and manufacturers, Action Target has installed thousands of shooting ranges across the United States and in 25 other countries around the world. Action Target also designs systems and conducts firearms training for law enforcement and various military divisions. For more information on Action Target, visit www.ActionTarget.com. To learn more about Action Target products or to purchase items online, visit www.ActionTarget.com/store.
As with anything else in life, the ability to make an informed decision is based on the quality of the information you receive. The purpose of this article is to explore some of the claims associated with using water on steel funnel traps.
This information represents the opinions of Action Target based on the experience and observations of our range consultants and engineers. We encourage you to conduct your own research and speak with other users about their experiences with the various bullet trap technologies presented before drawing your own conclusions.
CLAIM #1: You can use any type of ammunition on a wet steel trap.
It has been reported that frangible ammunition may cause problems with wet funnel traps because the powder created by certain types of disintegrating bullets can mix with the water and harden into a cement-like substance resulting in an extremely difficult cleaning process.
CLAIM #2: Wet steel traps eliminate lead dust on your range.
If a bullet strikes an area on a wet steel trap where the water and oil mixture is flowing (like on the bottom plates), the amount of lead dust generated at the trap on initial impact may be reduced. But if the bullet hits on the upper plates where no water is present, lead dust can be generated much the same as on a trap where no water system is in use. Also, lead dust containment systems such as water are meant to deal with lead on the bullet trap itself. They typically have little or nothing to do with emissions at the firing line or other areas of the range.
CLAIM #3: Wet steel traps capture all pullets whole and eliminate splatter and ricochet.
The gently sloping angles of steel funnel plates do help prevent bullet breakup on initial impact, but bullets can also fragment into small pieces once they enter the rear chamber and strike more steel surfaces inside. Also, many designs include a vertical edge at every seam where two chambers meet and are attached to each other. Deflectors are typically used to protect these vertical edges, and bullets can fragment more significantly if they strike these deflectors. Our observations would indicate that the degree of bullet fragmentation is mostly related to the velocity of the bullet. Slower pistol rounds may be able to be captured more whole when using a primary decelerant or lubricant such as water, but faster rifle rounds tend to disintegrate whether the water is present or not.
CLAIM #4: Wet steel traps are more environmentally friendly.
A doctor’s first and fundamental responsibility is to do no harm and to not make a difficult situation worse than it already may be. The same can be said for a bullet trap. Because lead disposal is already difficult enough for most shooting ranges, the last thing we thing a bullet trap should do is to complicate the matter by mixing the lead with other substances such as water, oil, chlorine, or antifreeze.
CLAIM #5: Wet steel traps function equally well indoors and outdoors.
Referring back to claim #4, it can be much more difficult to contain all potential contaminants generated by a wet steel trap on an outdoor range. Rain, snow, ice, wildlife, leaves, twigs, and other clogging debris can complicate matters when operating outdoors.
CLAIM #6: One piece welded funnel plates are better than modular funnel plates.
If everything is welded together on site, you can end up with a bullet trap that is much more difficult to service or repair should anything go wrong. Long, continuous sheets of plate steel can be more prone to stress fractures and cracking than shorter, modular plates. That is one reason why bridges and overpasses are often formed by bolting together multiple modular pieces. When modular funnel plates and joint systems are properly designed, you get a strong and maintenance-friendly bullet trap that requires no sacrifice of safety or performance.
CLAIM #7: Funnel plates mounted at a 12 or 13 degree angle function significantly better than funnel plates mounted at a 15 degree angle.
If a 12 or 13 degree slope is better than a 15 degree slope, then isn’t 11 better than 12? Why not drop to 9 degrees? Or 7? Since every degree you go down can increase the cost and the front-to-back size of the trap, there is a point at which you can reach the point of diminishing returns. All other factors being equal (steel hardness, bullet trajectory, etc.), our high speed video tests do not reveal any significant difference between impacts at 12 or 15 degrees. Although it is possible to install an Action Target trap with plates mounted at either 12 or 13 degrees, we believe 15 degrees to be optimal for most uses.
CLAIM #8: A 30-inch diameter in the circular deceleration chamber is better than a 26-inch diameter.
Following the same logic, why not use a 40-inch diameter? Why not 50? Again, it is important to weigh multiple factors such as performance, cost, and space. Action Target believes that the most important thing about a chamber is that it effectively contain rounds, that it have a good service life, and that it can be easily serviced if and when the need arises. We believe our chamber design achieves these values in an optimal way.
CLAIM #9: Wet steel traps don’t require much maintenance.
Regular maintenance should be expected with any bullet trap, regardless of the materials used. Just like anything else, range equipment must be properly cared for to keep it working.
The wet steel trap designs we have seen include a water pump, spray nozzle, and filter systems that should be regularly maintained. Potential debris like cardboard, paper, wood, and shotgun wads can certainly be a problem if they are introduced into these systems. Lead should be removed from the collection system and disposed of properly. And we recommend you account for any exposure the lead may have had to water, oil, chlorine, or antifreeze. Water sources should be maintained and you should deal with any potential sources of flooding or leaking. In some cases, an external settling pond or a drainage tank with a waste trap may be needed to keep contaminated water from entering the sewer system. Finally, you should consider any additional effect the potentially higher humidity may have on your ventilation system and any HEPA filters.
NOTE: None of the photos used in this article are of Action Target bullet traps.
Located in Houston, Texas, with something like 100,000 oil industry execs within a few minutes drive, the Athena Gun Club is 39,000+ square feet of ranges, retails space, classrooms, and amenities that sets it far apart from other ranges you’ve visited.
The design and layout of Athena is the brainchild of CEO John Boyert, and his wife (and CFO) Susan Cho, who worked with Houston-based firm Acumen Design to create an overall space and flow – along with a non-traditional firearms shopping experience – that gives the club its very upscale feel.
Upon entering the club the first thing you notice is the front desk, which is more akin to one you’d find in a hotel lobby than at any gun club you’ve seen. It’s located in a huge, open foyer that’s brightly lit, inviting, quiet and immaculate.
It’s at that front desk where you are immediately greeted by one of the club’s 49 uniformed employees who project both professionalism and warm hospitality – again, more akin to that of a hotel than a range – and leave you with the feeling that this is the place you want to come and shoot.
And that first impression, the importance of it on you as a potential member, is something Boyert borrowed from Conrad Hilton’s book. Hilton, of the Hilton Hotels empire, knew a thing or two about the value of first impressions, and considering that the Athena Gun Club sits next door to one of the richest zip codes in the country, Boyert understands how valuable that first impression is to the success of his business.
To put it simply, everything about the Athena Gun Club is geared towards creating a high-end experience for the visitor – regardless if you are a multi-millionaire executive in the oil industry or the clerk from the mailroom.
Great attention to detail has gone into giving each and every visitor a world-class experience. And why not? They want you to come back.
Boyert has pored over all the available data from the National Shooting Sports Foundation that they’ve compiled to help firearms retailers and ranges. With that data in hand, and Conrad Hilton’s expert observations, Boyert has envisioned the club to be the place you don’t visit just once a month to shoot, but every week.
He explained that the Athena Gun Club is going after “a demographic that other ranges aren’t even targeting” and probably never considered.
For instance, because of the oil industry and corporate rules they have established about firearms on their property, Athena Gun Club will store firearms for its Executive and VIP members. These are individuals who pay a hefty membership fee and a regular monthly fee which provides them access to seven private VIP shooting lanes, on-site firearms storage, a cigar room with fully stocked humidor, private entrance and gun valet services, on top of other amenities and Athena’s always attentive staff.
A tour through the VIP area was like walking through the clubhouse or members locker room at a private country club.
In addition to luring in Houston’s business executives, Boyert is also targeting the corporations themselves by providing them a unique off-site meeting place where a sales team can easily have their meeting thanks to standard business tools like WiFi, AV systems, a conference room, and catering (of course).
Though a brand new business that just had it’s grand opening this past weekend, the Athena Gun Club has reached out to build relationships with other local businesses. Not only has Boyert sought out the advise of local restauranteurs – again stealing from the hospitality industry – but he has also lined them up to help cater Athena’s special events and the range’s soon-to-be-opened cafe.
I know what you’re thinking, “Will they have that fried baloney you keep mentioning?”
Building partnerships is a key element of the business philosophy employed by Boyert and Cho to help them deliver on the Athena promise. One of those relationships, and perhaps the most important one after that with Acumen Design, is with Action Target.
You can’t have a gun club without a range and Boyert literally met with every major shooting range company before settling on Action Target and putting his faith in them to deliver the best shooting experience possible.
And that faith paid off big time as contractor issues put the gun club build-out behind schedule, forcing Boyert to turn a 12-week range install into a 4-week rush job for Action Target.
For those familiar with the Utah-based Action Target, a company with one of if not the best reputations in the industry, it will hardly come as a surprise that not only did the Action Target team get the new state-of-the-art ranges – 26 lanes in all – installed in the 4-week window, but they did it without additional staff or going over budget.
Boyert’s appreciation for Action Target is apparent in the way he speaks about their work as one of their customers, and it reflects the way he sees Athena Gun Club’s members speaking of the club.
In picking other industry partners whose work and reputation reflects the appropriate image for the club, Boyert chose carefully when selecting the brands he’d carry in Athena Gun Club’s store.
When you decide to back everything you sell to your customers with a lifetime warranty you had better pick the right brands. In a retail space laid out more like an Apple Store with gun kiosks reminiscent of SHOT Show displays (instead of those dreary standard glass gun cases), you’ll find Glock, Smith & Wesson, HK, Sig Sauer, Wilson Combat, Kimber, SureFire, Magpul, Galco and others.
And all of it at prices competitive in an area serviced by numerous firearms retails, including no less than 20 Academy locations.
It’s difficult to fully capture the essence of the Athena Gun Club experience but it’s one that is totally different than what most shooters have come to expect from their local indoor range. It is refreshing and hopefully inspires other range owners to up their game.
Of course, the obvious question is can an upscale shooting club of this nature survive as a going business concern. I asked Boyert directly how long he thought it would take to reach profitability considering the tremendous investment made in the facility by him and his shareholders. While I fully expected a three, four, or even five year response, I was delighted to hear not only does he see it taking one year, but that expansion to new locations is part of the vision for the future of the Athena Gun Club.
With something like 4,000 people visiting the facility during its grand opening, it looks like the Athena Gun Club is well on its way. And I won’t be surprised if more than a few industry execs find their way to the new club next year when they gather in Houston for the annual NRA Show.
….Hmmm, what an interesting place to hold a new product introduction and media event during the NRA Show.
It’s that time of year again where the entire firearms industry gets together in Las Vegas for a whole week of fantastically exhausting SHOT Show fun. Here at Action Target, we’re putting the final touches on our booth and loading up for a week in Vegas. If you’re attending SHOT Show this year, make sure to stop by and check us out (booth numbers 10564 and 10562). Here’s a look at what we’ll have going on.
The event kicks off Monday the 14th with the SHOT Show Media Day at the Range held at the Boulder Pistol & Rifle Range in Boulder City. Action Target is the official target sponsor of Media Day at the Range and will be providing brand new steel targets for new firearm demonstrations and, of course, entertainment. More than 1,000 media members from the hunting and shooting industry will be present at the range for a full day of shooting demonstrations, product releases, and firearms fun.
Because there will be hundreds of live firearms at the range, safety is absolutely paramount. To promote gun safety, Action Target will be presenting the 2013 Action Target Safety Award. This award will be given to the exhibitor that holds to the highest standards of safety during SHOT Show Media Day at the Range. Each exhibitor will be judged by a panel of safety auditors who will give scores based on firearms safety practices during the event. The award will be presented to the winner at Action Target’s booth (10564) on Wednesday at 10 a.m.
This year we will also be debuting new products like the whole line of Rimfire Targets specifically designed for .22 rimfire ammunition. In addition to the Rimfire Spinning Jack, Rimfire Plate Rack, and Rimfire Dueling Tree, we’ve added seven new reactive targets to the line. All of the new targets will be available for purchase online and in our SHOT Show booth starting January 15th. Take advantage of our free shipping offer by purchasing any of our portable targets in the booth.
In addition to free shipping, our booth will feature several industry celebrities like NUTNFANCY, “Evil Roy” Gene Pearcey, Rob Leatham, and more! NUTNFANCY will be in the Action Target booth all day Tuesday. Stop by to get an autograph and a picture.
Even if you aren’t attending SHOT Show this year, you can still be a part of the action by following our updates on Facebook Facebook and Twitter. We’ll keep you posted on all the product releases and industry news.