Tag: bullet trap

Georgia Gun Club Opens First 100-Yard Indoor Rifle Range in Georgia

Georgia Gun Cub hopes to change the way people in the surrounding area think about indoor shooting ranges. Building the first 100-yard indoor rifle range in Georgia seems like a good start, but they aren’t stopping there. Adopting the tagline, “You’ve never shot like this before,” the goal is to give customers an unparalleled experience when shooting at the club. Georgia Gun Club is doing this through high-quality equipment and taking the country club approach to the shooting range business – an approach that is becoming a widely accepted concept across the country.

Georgia Gun Club’s nearly 40,000 square foot facility includes an indoor shooting range, member’s lounge, classrooms, simulation theater gunclub190-3324986480-Oand retail space. The range is outfitted with Action Target equipment and has a total of 28 lanes. There are eight 100-yard lanes reserved specifically for rifle use and the other 20 lanes are 25-yards long. The range is not only for the shooting novice or enthusiast, but is also designed for local Law Enforcement agencies that need a place to complete training and certification. Action Target retrievers, turning targets and full panel clear ballistic shooting stalls provide a quality experience for each shooter who visits the club.

The Action Target Total Containment Trap’s unique technology collects bullet rounds while simultaneously reducing ricochet and lead dust build up. Overhead safety baffles are in place to catch errant rounds and provide an added level of noise abatement and safety. The integrated ventilation system also ensures the air is free of lead contaminants and maintains a comfortable temperature inside the range.

The club offers several training courses including personal protection, home firearm safety and basic pistol, rifle and shotgun courses. ThereGGC portico sign 2 is a full-time gunsmith available to help customers and nationally certified instructors who are also Range Safety Officers.

A theater room with video enhanced simulator training and an impressive retail space only add to the overall experience of the club. Although the space is full of amenities, Georgia Gun Club stresses their overall goal is a safe environment.

“I am pleased to have designed and led the effort of bringing a safe and family friendly shooting facility to the Atlanta metropolitan area,” said Verne Fowler, Managing Partner. Fowler continued saying, “We have worked hard to ensure that this shooting facility is unmatched in its capabilities and overall experience for the customer.”

THINKING ABOUT BUILDING A SHOOTING RANGE?

Building a shooting range can be an overwhelming process. Your time and resources deserve a partner who will listen to your ideas and turn your dreams and plans into a successful, thriving business. If you are considering building a range, talk to the Action Target Range Consultant in your region, and he will be happy to help you find the right equipment to fit your needs and budget. You can also use our Request a Quote form to get started on your range project today.

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.

 

A Beginner’s Guide to Lead

According to a recent article published by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) approximately 40,000-60,000 people are employed by shooting ranges across the country. It’s also estimated that approximately 20 million people participate in target shooting every year (NSSF). With shooting sports becoming more and more popular, it is no surprise that lead exposure and the associated risks and health hazards is a popular topic when talking about indoor shooting ranges. Whether a person is a current or potential shooting range owner, a range employee, or a first time or experienced gun owner, understanding the basics of lead exposure and knowing where to find more information is extremely helpful.

WHY IT MATTERS

Lack of proper range maintenance is a liability issue for the range owner. Any company working in a lead contaminated range has to follow the law, or it becomes at risk for lawsuits or fines. Neglecting manufacturer specifications with lack of proper bullet trap inspections can be a liability. Neglecting ventilation filters and having positive pressure in the range can also be an issue. This can overexpose customers and contaminate adjacent areas. Being in violation of regulations and putting employees in harmful situations can be extremely costly. A range can be fined millions of dollars for overexposing employees to lead and violating health codes. In addition to this, there is also loss incurred from shutting down the range for the decontamination and inspection process if there are lead problems.

Poor maintenance is not only a potential liability; it’s also a health hazard. Lead can only enter the body through inhalation or ingestion. Once it enters the body, lead can cause poisoning which can affect the nervous and digestive systems, as well as the brain. Some side effects or symptoms include abdominal pain, headaches, difficulty thinking or concentrating, loss of appetite, or in severe cases it may cause a seizure or coma. The potential health issues associated with lead can be overwhelming, but following regulations and best practices can negate these risks.

WHERE TO FIND INFORMATION

With so much information available on the topic, it can be hard to know what is accurate and reliable. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) along with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have developed health regulations and standards that each shooting range must meet. NIOSH has a section of their website specifically devoted to lead exposure and indoor shooting ranges. They recently created a Twitter account (@NIOSHFir_Ranges) to further educate the industry and consumers about exposure to lead and other hazards. All of the information they publish is pertinent information for those who manage ranges, or for the everyday customer looking for more information.

It’s also important a range owner is aware that every employee needs to undergo initial testing for lead exposure. There are three different levels of testing, and each one of them is different depending on the employee’s job responsibilities. For example, an employee who works in the retail area of the range needs to be tested far less than the employee who deals directly with lead. Companies who specialize in lead removal and recycling can provide more detailed information about the employee training and testing process.

RELY ON THE EXPERTS

What can be done to avoid the stress, potential legal issues, and health hazards of lead exposure? Lead maintenance can seem like an overwhelming aspect of building and maintaining a range. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Luckily, there are experts in the industry who are ready and available to answer questions and take on the challenges associated with lead. Ventilation companies make it their business to meet all health regulations, ensuring clean air for customers and range employees. Companies also specialize in lead removal and will make sure a range is safe to be operating, while also offering their expertise regarding the necessary equipment and training for employees. When employees have close contact with lead, there is no such thing as too much research and training.

Carey’s Small Arms Range Ventilation Systems: Carey’s Small Arms Range Ventilation Systems is a leader in the industry when it comes to ventilation. Carey’s designs each ventilation system with specialized custom components that are manufactured and installed on a per-job basis to meet the specific needs of each individual range. Because Carey’s specializes in ventilation for indoor shooting ranges, they are a great resource for information about ventilation.

Best Technology Systems: Best Technology Systems (BTS) was started in 1994 and specializes in lead exposure and maintenance for indoor and outdoor shooting ranges. They monitor range employees for lead exposure and properly document the findings. They also recover and recycle lead while remaining compliant with all government regulations, and make sure the range staff is not at risk. BTS is also familiar with the industry’s bullet traps and can also make sure the trap is up to manufacturer’s specifications.

Action Target offers the best in shooting range equipment. There are hundreds of things to take into consideration when building a shooting range, but your top priority should always be safety. Before anything else, make sure your range is going to be safe for your customers, your employees, and the environment. Our team of knowledgeable Range Consultants is available to answer any questions and guide you through the entire process. Contact the consultant in your area today for more information.

Illinois Shooting Range Braces for New Concealed Carry Law with Huge Upgrade

As Illinois becomes the 50th state to allow the concealed carry of firearms, one shooting range a half hour out of Chicago is preparing for the influx of new shooters and turning heads in the process.

GAT Guns of East Dundee, Ill., recently added a monumental 39 new indoor lanes to its existing 24 making it one of the largest indoor shooting ranges in the country and the go-to destination for shooters near and far.GAT Guns 3

The new ranges, which were designed and installed by Action Target, include 50-yard and 75-yard bays with 14 lanes each as well as a 50-foot long tactical training range with 11 lanes. There is also a large classroom to accommodate the thousands of concealed carry permit applicants expected to come through the doors when the new law goes into effect on January 5.

“We foresaw a need for a full service training facility in the area,” GAT Guns General Manager Randy Potter said. “There’s nobody else around here that can take care of customers from A to Z as completely as we can. We have the training classes, the firearms inventory, the accessories, and now we have one of the most advanced firearms training facilities in the country.”

With the new Illinois concealed carry law requiring 16 hours of training (including live fire training on a shooting range), GAT Guns provides the ideal venue.

GAT Guns 4

The new shooting bays include steel funnel bullet traps which safely collect and contain lead debris, bullet proof shooting stalls, an advanced air filtration system and Mancom target retrievers that allow for complete control over target distance, lighting effects and 360 degree random edging from an LCD control screen in every booth.

“Customers are blown away by the quality of the ranges,” Potter said. “The technology on our ranges allows shooters to control every aspect of their training. It’s an entirely new shooting experience.”

GAT Guns, which was founded in 1979, is already known as the Illinois headquarters of all things firearms with more than 6,000 guns in stock on any given day and 2,500 unique pieces on display.

“We consistently have folks from 150 miles south of here to the Wisconsin border and even as far west as the Mississippi River,” Potter said. “I attribute that to us being as unique as we are in size and scope as well as our commitment to professional customer service.”

GAT Guns 2

GAT Guns originally began in nearby Hanover Park and moved to the current location in 1989 where owner Greg A. Tropino (and thus the acronym “GAT”) bought an old restaurant and retrofitted it into the two-story gun supercenter it is today.

“Greg’s told me in the past that when he originally bought the building, he had no idea what he was going to put upstairs in the original footprint,” Potter said. “We’ve outgrown that by 10 times now.”

With 63 total lanes and shooting bays located on both floors, GAT Guns has quickly become one of the most talked about ranges in the country. It’s even attracted the attention of R. Lee “The Gunny” Ermey from Glock who spent a day there in May to promote the range and sign autographs.

“We had over 1,200 people wait to meet The Gunny that day he was here. It was a very fun event,” Potter said.

GAT Guns 1

Even more than entertainment and retail, however, the mission of GAT Guns is to provide a central location for firearms education and quality training.

Training courses provided at the range currently include NRA First Steps, women only classes taught by women instructors, five phases of tactical pistol, five phases of tactical carbine, introductory handgun, practical holster and soon, Illinois concealed carry classes.

The new shooting bays recently opened up to the public and are also available for law enforcement qualification as well.

New Firearms Retailer Provides an Indoor Shooting Range for an Area Long Neglected

Red Dot Firearms of Layton, Utah, joins the short list of gun ranges in Davis CountyRed Dot Firearms 21

PROVO, Utah – May 22, 2013 – Davis County, Utah, recently welcomed a new kind of business to one of its largest shopping districts. Now you can get all of your grocery shopping done and hit the indoor shooting range all in the same place.

Red Dot Firearms, located just off I-15 exit 331 in Layton, recently opened its retail gun store and a 25 yard indoor shooting range capable of handling both handgun and rifle rounds including .5o BMG.

“We are the only retail firearms store in the area besides some of the big box stores, and we were the first place ever to apply for an indoor range license in the county,” owner Denny Wanlass said. “We felt like it was time people in the area had another option.”

According to Wanlass, many shooters in Utah have started moving their weekend shooting ventures away from public lands due to wildfires and other concerns, which means a higher demand for indoor ranges like Red Dot Firearms.

Red Dot Firearms 02
The ventilation system blows refrigerated air from the rear of the range to the bullet trap where it is filtered to prevent shooters from being exposed to hazardous lead dust.

“A lot of people just drive out to the desert to shoot, but last summer, several wildfires were blamed on target shooting. Whether true or not, it’s still driving many shooters away from the wilderness areas and indoors,” Wanlass said. “That combined with the closures of public land and the increase in gas prices make our indoor range the perfect alternative.”

Shooters transitioning from the outdoors also get the added benefit of a climate controlled environment and a ventilation system installed by Carey’s Small Arms Range Systems that exceeds NIOSH, EPA and OSHA standards.

“We wanted a good ventilation system because we take our customers’ health very seriously,” Wanlass said. “Just about every person who has come out of there has said, ‘I love being in a range where I can breathe!’”

Fellow Utah business Action Target was contracted to install the range equipment at Red Dot Firearms including a 48-foot wide steel funnel bullet trap, armor steel ceiling and wall baffles to prevent rounds from escaping, and shooting stalls capable of stopping rifle rounds from point blank range.

Red Dot Firearms 01
The Total Containment Trap is capable of handling handgun and rifle rounds including .50 BMG.

“Throughout the course of our research, it was clear that there really isn’t anyone else besides Action Target that is worth using,” Wanlass said. “The equipment on our range is second to none, and that means our customers can shoot with complete confidence that their safety is never going to be jeopardized.”

Red Dot Firearms is now open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Classes in concealed carry, personal defense, hunter’s safety and more will be held regularly.

Bullet Trap Comparisons, Pt. 2

Building a shooting range can be a daunting task. There are so many different things to consider and decisions to make that it can become a little overwhelming. One issue that seems to confuse potential range owners the most is bullet containment. Without a doubt, bullet containment is the most important aspect of every indoor and outdoor range. Proper containment of fired rounds means safety for your employees and customers, but with so many different types of bullet traps available on the market that promise to do this or that, choosing the right system can be hard. The purpose of this article is to provide accurate information and valuable education by examining various bullet trap theories, technologies, and applications in an objective manner.

The following information represents the views and opinions of Action Target based on our experience and observations. You are encouraged to conduct your own research and speak with other users about their experiences with the various bullet trap technologies presented.

Rubber Lamella Trap

Rubber Lamella Trap 1With this trap, tightly grouped rubber curtains or lamellas are hung from a support structure to create a bullet stopping barrier. As bullets pass through the layers of rubber strips, their energy is dissipated until they come to a stop. A steel plate is mounted at the back of the trap to block rounds that make it through the lamellas.

Because rubber is destroyed every time you shoot into it, the rubber strips are quickly shredded under any kind of moderate to heavy use. One of the most quoted features of rubber traps is that bullets don’t fragment on impact like they do on steel. This is true until bullets start impacting other bullets already embedded in the rubber.

Regardless of the application, the use of a rubber bullet trap introduces a very real fire hazard that must be considered and dealt with appropriately

The benefits of a lamella trap include its small floor space requirement, and the ability to capture some bullets whole.

Weaknesses include high maintenance costs, fire hazard, messy appearance, and the restriction of low volume shooting only.

Vertical Rubber Granule Trap

Vertical Rubber Granule Trap 3Another European design uses a large steel chamber filled with chopped rubber and a penetrable rubber sheet across the front the keep the rubber granules in place.

The trap works the same way a sand berm works, except the sand is replaced by granules of chopped rubber and the face of the trap is vertical. Like the rubber lamella trap, the front skin of the rubber granule trap is permanently damaged each time a bullet is fired into it.

As larger and larger holes are created in the front skin, rubber granules can spill out and large bulges can develop as the structural integrity of the trap is compromised. Regular patching and repair is often required to keep the granules in the chamber.

As the granules settle, areas of dangerously low density can form at the top of the trap causing rounds to pass through the rubber and escape out the back. To clean the trap, bullets must be mined and separated from the rubber then disposed of properly.

The benefits of a vertical rubber granule trap include its small floor space requirement, the ability to capture some bullets whole, and reduced lead dust levels.

Weaknesses include massive ongoing maintenance, service costs, fire hazard, and the restriction of low volume shooting only.

Rubber Block Trap

Rubber Block TrapThe rubber block trap is similar in concept to the rubber granule trap, except the rubber granules are molded together to form a solid object. The rubber blocks are stacked on top of each other to create a wall that serves as the bullet trap. When a bullet is fired into the blocks, it is stopped and stored within the block itself. Like all rubber traps, the blocks are damaged with every shot and large holes can quickly develop, severely limiting the trap’s ability to stop bullets. As the holes get larger, the blocks get weaker and the whole wall tends to collapse under its own weight.

The benefits of a rubber block trap include its small floor space requirement and the ability to capture some bullets whole.

Weaknesses include UV breakdown, significant ongoing maintenance, fire hazard, and structural collapse.

Wet Funnel Trap

Wet Funnel Trap 1The wet funnel trap incorporates gently sloping steel plates that reduce bullet fragmentation on impact. As bullets hit the plates, they are directed to the narrow end of the funnel and enter a deceleration chamber where their energy is dissipated.

While the upper impact plates remain dry, the lower plates are constantly flooded with a water and oil mixture that is intended to lubricate the steel. The water is continually recycled as it flows down the plates and into a holding tank where it is electrically pumped out and again sprayed on to the plates.

On indoor ranges, some wet trap owners report that the increased humidity can leave an oily film on the rest of the range and may cause HEPA filters in the ventilation system to clog. They have also discovered that frangible ammunition can cause problems because the powder created by disintegrating bullets mixes with the water and hardens into a cement-like substance that requires an extremely difficult cleaning process.

It has been recommended to treat the water with chlorine to prevent algae in warm climates, and antifreeze to prevent freezing in colder climates. These substances combine with the water, oil, and lead, and can create a significant hazardous waste problem.

The benefits of a wet funnel trap include the durability of steel, reduced bullet fragmentation, reduced lead dust levels, and the ability to handle larger calibers.

Weaknesses include its higher cost, large floor space requirement, water treatment chemicals, increased humidity, problems with frangible ammunition, maintenance of the electric pumps and filters, and its nonmodular construction.

Vertical Funnel Trap

Vertical Funnel Trap 2Instead of a continuous horizontal funnel, this trap uses a series vertically oriented funnel boxes to gather the bullets. As with a horizontal funnel, bullets are deflected by the impact plates into a deceleration chamber at the back of the trap where they are collected and stored.

The angles of the impact plates are not as severe as a venetian blind or escalator type trap, but they are more severe than other modern steel traps so bullet fragmentation on impact can still be an issue.

As individual chambers are mounted next to each other, vertical edges that run from the top to the bottom of the trap are created. These edges can pose a significant ricochet hazard. Additionally, the individual chamber design prohibits any cross-lane shooting and greatly limits the flexibility and functionality of the trap as a whole.

The benefits of a vertical funnel trap include the durability of steel, easier lead collection, and a smaller floor space requirement.

Weaknesses include bullet fragmentation, no close-range shooting, and no cross-lane shooting.

Rely on the Experts for Help

There are hundreds of things to take into consideration when building a shooting range, but your top priority should always be safety. Before anything else, make sure your range is going to be safe for your customers, your employees, and the environment. If you are considering building a range, talk to the Action Target representative in your region and he will be happy to help you find the right equipment to fit your needs and budget.

VIDEOS: The Biggest Bullet Trap in the World / Michael Bane Endorses Action Target’s Rimfire Steel

Industry film company Panteao Productions recently stopped by Lotus Gunworks in Jensen Beach, Florida, to film in the first indoor double-decker shooting range Action Target has ever built. Take a tour of one of the most extensive firearms selections in South Florida and the only indoor range to feature a two-story steel funnel bullet trap. Watch it here:

Panteao Productions, known for its in-depth firearms training videos, will be coming out with a new Make Ready DVD in the near future on .22 rimfire training featuring the expertise of TV host Michael Bane and 30-year IDPA and USPSA veteran competitor Tom Yost. To film the training video, Panteao Productions exclusively used Action Target’s new Rimfire Steelcart Small target line and even filmed a brief endorsement from Michael Bane. Watch it here:

Bullet Trap Comparisons, Pt. 1

For many years, bullet trap technology has been mired in confusion, misunderstanding, and misinformation. The various approaches to bullet containment and disposal have become as diverse as they are numerous. The purpose of this article is to provide accurate information and valuable education by examining various bullet trap theories, technologies, and applications in an objective manner.

The following information represents the views and opinions of Action Target based on our experience and observations. You are encouraged to conduct your own research and speak with other users about their experiences with the various bullet trap technologies presented.

Sand Berm

Sand Berm 1The sand or dirt berm is the oldest and most basic type of bullet trap. It uses the mass of the berm itself to stop and store bullets, and on outdoor ranges it can literally be the side of a mountain. On indoor ranges however, some type of structure or barricade is used to support the berm and hold back the sand.

On ranges where qualification or other events where tightly grouped shooting patterns are common, concentrations of lead called hot spots can form behind the targets causing subsequent shots to ricochet and bounce back toward the shooter. In order to recover spent bullets, the berm must be mined and the lead separated out. A certain amount of the sand will be contaminated and must be replenished each time the trap is cleaned. Sand and dirt berms are coming under increasingly harsh environmental scrutiny due to high lead levels in the ground around the trap and the tendency of the lead to seep into surrounding ground water.

The benefits of a sand berm include low cost, relatively low maintenance, and the ability to use any kind of ammunition.

Weaknesses include potential environmental hazards, expensive mining, and hot spot ricochet.

Pit and Plate Trap

Pit and Plate Trap

With this application, a steel plate is used to redirect bullets into a bed of sand. The steel is often called a “smash” plate because the acute angle—in this case, anything greater than 25 degrees—causes bullets to smash into small pieces on impact before they are scattered on the sand below.

Because the lead fragments rest mostly on top of the sand, this trap must be cleaned frequently by mining the lead from the sand and disposing of it properly. Under moderate to heavy use, a thick lead build-up can develop in the back corner of the trap causing bullets to be deflected back toward the shooter.

The benefits of a pit and plate trap include lower initial cost and simple installation.

Weaknesses include bullet fragmentation on impact, lead build-up, ricochet, and high maintenance.

Water and Plate Trap

Water and Plate Trap

The water and plate trap is similar to the pit and plate trap, except the sand is replaced by a large trough of water. Bullets still fragment into small pieces after impacting the smash plate, but with this system, they splash into the water and sink to the bottom of the trough. To retrieve the lead, you must shovel or scoop it from the water and dispose of it properly. The water in the trough must be replenished due to evaporation, and the evaporation can cause increased humidity on your range and problems with your ventilation system.

The benefits of a water and plate trap include lower lead dust levels and no ricochet off other bullets.

Weaknesses include bullet fragmentation on impact, maintenance of the water, and the limitation to indoor use only.

Venetian Blind Trap

Venetian Blind Trap 1

This older application uses a series of angled steel smash plates to redirect bullets to the back and bottom of the trap. Some versions of this trap have the smash plates mounted loosely to help absorb some of the bullets’ energy, but the acute angle of the plates can still cause significant fragmentation. To keep bullet splatter from bouncing back at the shooter, rubber curtains are often mounted across the entire face of the trap.

Because rubber is destroyed every time you shoot into it, these curtains must be replaced or patched frequently to maintain their effectiveness.

The benefits of a venetian blind trap include the durability of steel, no sand or granules, and a small floor space requirement.

Weaknesses include bullet fragmentation on impact, splatter and ricochet, no close-range shooting, and maintenance of the rubber curtains.

Escalator Trap

Escalator Trap 2

This is another old-fashioned steel trap that uses steeply angled smash plates to stop bullets and direct the fragments to an open collection area. Some manufacturers recommend that the impact plates be coated with oil to provide lubrication and reduce fragmentation. This oil can be washed away into the surrounding soil if the trap is not protected from the elements in outdoor applications.

The same system of protective rubber curtains may also be necessary with this trap due to the acute angle of its steel smash plates.

The benefits of an escalator trap include the durability of steel and no sand or rubber granules.

Weaknesses include bullet fragmentation on impact, no close-range shooting, maintenance of the rubber curtains, and poor lead storage and collection.

Rely on the Experts for Help

There are hundreds of things to take into consideration when building a shooting range, but your top priority should always be safety. Before anything else, make sure your range is going to be safe for your customers, your employees, and the environment. If you are considering building a range, talk to the Action Target representative in your region and he will be happy to help you find the right equipment to fit your needs and budget.

 

Action Target Builds its First Shooting Range in South America

The PCERJ range in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, marks a milestone for Action Target’s growing international program

PCERJ 3
Action Target’s subsidiaries Mancom and Law Enforcement Targets provided equipment and targets for the new PCERJ range.

PROVO, Utah – April 9, 2013 – Action Target recently installed a new shooting range in Brazil for the State Civil Police of Rio de Janeiro (PCERJ). This is the first range built by Action Target in South America and marks a milestone for the company as it continues to branch into international markets.

“Opening the doors to South America was a big step for us,” Action Target’s Director of International Business Development Adam White said. “I think the Brazilian government understands training facilities of this kind are essential for progressive, effective training, and we hope to continue to work with them in the future.”

The new range was purchased by the PCERJ in a push to increase training standards for state and local law enforcement, but will also support training for special operations units from other states around Brazil as well. It features an open air 11-lane shooting range with user-friendly target retrieval systems from Mancom and a nine-room shoot house facility. To ensure bullet containment, the new range also includes a steel funnel bullet trap and safety baffles which provide ballistic protection for the shooting area.

PCERJ 1
The range’s Total Containment Trap and safety baffles ensure that not one round will be able to escape.

“There is no roof on the range to allow for natural ventilation, but the safety baffles we installed also make sure no rounds have the chance to escape,” White said.

One aspect of the range that is especially important to the Brazilian government is its effect on the environment. The PCERJ range utilizes technology from Action Target to ensure lead dust and debris are safely contained and collected for recycling.

As a bullet strikes the armor steel plate of the Total Containment Trap (Action Target’s patented steel funnel bullet trap), it is forced through the small horizontal opening in the middle of the funnel.

Once it has passed through the opening, the bullet enters the deceleration chamber where it spins until it loses energy. The bullet then falls into a trough where it is funneled into one of many plastic canisters.

“The canister lead collection system is simple but extremely effective,” White said. “Once the canisters (which are just 5-gallon buckets) get about two-thirds of the way full, you can just pop it off, put a lid on it, and it’s ready to be recycled. None of the range personnel ever have to come in direct contact with the lead, and it’s easy to maintain.”

PCERJ 2
The Total Containment Trap uses a steel funnel design to safely capture fired rounds without introducing lead contamination into the environment.

The threat of lead dust created by the impact of the bullet is also eliminated through a Dust Collection Unit which uses negative pressure to pull dust and air-borne toxins toward the rear of the bullet trap where it enters a filtering system. This system removed 99.98% of lead and other materials before the air is released into the environment.

Brazilian officials are also grateful for the safety the new range will provide officers during training situations. The old facility often used wood as backstops for shooting drills and presented a significant ricochet danger for trainees.

The new range allows for nearly limitless use of tactical weapons from handguns to fully automatic rifles with complete containment. That assurance makes for a healthy environment where law enforcement trainers can push officers to the limit without putting them in harm’s way.

And Rio de Janeiro’s law enforcement officers will certainly be pushed to the limit as they run intensive tactical drills in the new nine-room Modular Armored Tactical Combat House (MATCH). Equipped with a catwalk and ballistic walls, law enforcement teams can now practice essential close quarter skills like room clearing and hallway navigation with live fire weapons while under close watch from above.

The PCERJ range’s grand opening will be held at the end of June when it becomes fully functional as a law enforcement training facility, but tours have been ongoing for those attending the LAAD Defence and Security International Exhibition held this week in Rio de Janeiro.

Action Target Hits the Beach with a Record-Breaking Bullet Trap

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.Outside

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.Upper level stall view

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.

Myths About Wet Steel Traps

Wet Steel Trap 1As 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.Wet Steel Trap 7

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.Wet Steel Trap 9

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.Wet Steel Trap 6

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.Wet Steel Trap 8

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.

Myths About Rubber Berm Traps: Part II

As we discussed in the first part of this article, rubber berms are a fantastic way to contain rounds on ranges that see limited use, but they aren’t perfect in every circumstance. Rubber berms have their limitations no matter what you may read. If you are considering installing a rubber berm on your indoor or outdoor range, make sure you have a clear understanding of the facts about what rubber berm are realistically capable of handling. Here are three more myths you may encounter in your research of rubber berm technology.

CLAIM #4: Rubber berm traps are easy to clean. You can even do it yourself with a special vacuum or with doors on the back of the trap.

When too many bullets are suspended in the trap for it to function safely, they should be mined from the rubber and disposed of properly. Some early claims stated that a million rounds per lane could be fired before cleaning was required, but our real-world experience and documented accounts reveal that a rubber berm trap should be cleaned after about 80,000 rounds per lane.

The process of separating the lead from the rubber can be a very specialized and time-consuming task. The top 8 to 12 inches of rubber are typically taken off the entire trap and then separated to remove the bullet fragments. The lead fragments can be classified as a recyclable material, but may require complicated permits to transport and dispose of legally. After the lead has been properly dealt with, the remaining rubber is placed back on the trap. Even with the best industrial equipment, it can take an experienced crew nearly seven full days to clean a 20 lane trap. Because of the extensive lead exposure inherent in the process, everyone involved should be outfitted with the proper safety equipment including complete hazardous-material suits and certified respirators.

Another claim states that bullets will travel all the way through the rubber to the rear of the trap where they can easily be removed through doors mounted in the back of the steel support structure. Our experience shows that handgun rounds typically penetrate only 6 to 10 inches into the usual 24 inches of rubber, and most rifle rounds only penetrate 12 to 16 inches. Even as newly fired bullets impact other bullets already in the rubber, we have not seen fragments even come close to the rear of the trap. We have never found these “cleaning” doors to do anything more than add unnecessary expense and difficulty to the trap.

CLAIM #5: Rubber berm traps greatly reduce the noise levels on your range.

Sound problems on shooting ranges are caused by the noise generate when firing a gun and the interaction of that noise with the walls, floors, and other surfaces of your range. When you compare the surface area of a bullet trap with that of the floor, walls, and ceiling of a typical range, the trap typically makes up only about 5% of the total surface area. This small percentage combined with the fact that rubber is only a fair sound absorbing material means a rubber berm trap may have minimal impact on the sound levels on your range. We have found that using proper sound absorbing materials and techniques on your walls and ceiling baffles can give far better results.

CLAIM #6: Adding more technology and additional devices to your trap will improve its performance.

There is only so much you can do to “technologically enhance” chopped rubber. That being said, let’s look at some of the most common add-ons to rubber berm traps.

The first device is a large collection bin or “hopper” that spans the top of the trap. In certain cases, the chopped rubber has been found to migrate and flow toward the bottom of the trap leaving undesirably thin coverage near the top. When this happens, the extra rubber that accumulates at the bottom of the trap should be periodically collected and returned to the hopper. This process can be very labor intensive, and you should employ the same safety equipment and procedures used when cleaning the trap.

Another add-on uses large sheets of rubber that act as a skin over the entire surface of the trap. This cover is designed to help keep the small rubber granules in place and to keep small bullet fragments from escaping back toward the shooter. As shots are fired into concentrated areas, the cover can quickly develop larger and larger holes, requiring time and money to maintain. Another downside to a cover like this can be heat retention. In hot conditions, the membrane may reduce the ability of the granules to “breathe” building up heat and increasing the chance of fire when other ignition events are present.

You have Options

The equipment you install in your shooting range can have a significant effect on your range’s future success. 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 than ideal solution. After evaluating the benefits and limitations of a berm trap design, you may conclude that this technology is the best overall choice for your needs. If not, know you have other options.

The Action Target Total Containment Trap (TCT) can be a great solution if you are going to run a lot of people through your 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.

Rely on the Experts for Help

There are hundreds of things to take into consideration when building a shooting range, but your top priority should always be safety. Before anything else, make sure your range is going to be safe for your customers, your employees, and the environment. If you are considering building a range, talk to the Action Target representative in your region and he will be happy to help you find the right equipment to fit your needs and budget. You can also use our Request a Quote form to get started on your range upgrades today.

Please note: the information included in this article has come from both documented studies and the personal experience of Action Target shooting range specialists. This information has 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.

Myths About Rubber Berm Traps

ATI_evsAt its most basic level, a rubber berm trap is approximately two feet of chopped rubber laid on top of an angled support structure to create a backstop or “berm” to catch bullets fired into it. There are several different approaches to this fundamental idea, but the same basic principles apply to them all. When you shoot into a dirt berm, the friction of passing through the dirt is what ultimately stops the bullet. A rubber berm trap works exactly the same way, with the obvious difference being the use of chopped rubber instead of dirt or sand.

Because the rubber is a softer collection medium, ricochet and lead dust can be significantly reduced in some applications. Cross-range firing is safer, as is firing at extremely close distances. Such benefits make this trap an excellent choice for certain indoor ranges and other low-volume ranges where lead dust is a concern.

Rubber berms aren’t perfect in every circumstance, however, no matter what you may read. In our experience, we’ve encountered several myths about what rubber berm traps and their accompanying accessories are capable of doing. Before you make any decisions on your range, make sure you know the facts.

CLAIM #1: Action Target disapproves of rubber traps because all they make are steel traps.

Not only does Action Target approve of rubber traps for certain shooting range applications, we have been manufacturing our own for more than a decade and have patents covering our unique berm trap technology. The hassle-free design of Action Target’s rubber berm trap takes advantage of the practical and beneficial properties of rubber, while eliminating the weaknesses and unnecessary elements of other designs.

We recognize steel traps and rubber traps have very different benefits and limitations. It is important for the range operator to understand these issues clearly before choosing one technology over the other.

CLAIM #2: Rubber berm traps capture all bullets whole and eliminate splatter and ricochet.

Chopped rubber is obviously softer than steel, so some bullets can indeed be captured whole. However, that is not the whole story. After multiple rounds have been fired into the same concentrated area of the trap, newly fired bullets can begin impacting other bullets previously suspended in the rubber. As one bullet impacts another, both can begin to break into small pieces. These “hot spots” of concentrated lead can form behind turning targets, indoor range target retrievers, and other fixed-position targets on your range and can pose a significant ricochet hazard if not managed properly.

When cleaning rubber berm traps, it is not unusual to find masses of small bullet fragments that are nearly indistinguishable from bullet fragments taken from a steel bullet trap. Just because you are shooting into a soft substance does not mean the bullets won’t fracture and break up. There is still the chance for the bullet to strike another bullet, and that chance increases with every day of range use.

Because rubber berm traps have no hard surfaces or obstacles to interfere with cross-lane shooting, they can be particularly effective in tactical applications where shooters move from one position to another and engage targets that are not directly in front of them. As long as hot spots are effectively managed, a rubber berm trap can also be a good choice for very close range shooting.

CLAIM #3: Rubber berm traps are specially treated so they will not catch fire.

Fire Concern with Rubber Berm Trap
NOT an Action Target Rubber Berm Trap

There are many documented cases of rubber bullet traps catching fire. Most manufacturers, including Action Target, treat their rubber with some kind of fire-retardant substance to reduce the risk of fire, but without taking additional precautions, it is still possible to have a serious problem.

You may see a demonstration where a piece of fire-treated rubber is held to a direct flame without burning, or you might read reports about tracer rounds being fired into rubber berm traps without igniting the rubber. These are unrealistic scenarios. A full size trap on an actual shooting range can collect large quantities of unspent gunpowder and flammable debris from paper and cardboard targets. Also, bullets fired into the trap can break open chunks of treated rubber exposing the untreated surfaces inside. These issues alone may pose a considerable risk of fire, but the risk can increase dramatically if tracers or other incendiary rounds are fired into the trap – a practice that Action Target strongly discourages.

A recent attempt to decrease the potential fire hazard of rubber berm traps involves mixing the chunks of chopped rubber with hydrated gel beads. The theory is that as bullets are absorbed into the rubber, they will be cooled by the gel to reduce heat build-up. Because no long term data seems to exist to support this theory, it is unclear whether the gel can keep a fire from starting or keep the fire from spreading after it has already started. It is also unclear what difficulty such a gel may cause when it comes time to clean the trap and separate the lead from the rubber.

Rely on the Experts for Help

There are hundreds of things to take into consideration when building a shooting range, but your top priority should always be safety. Before anything else, make sure your range is going to be safe for your customers, your employees, and the environment. If you are considering building a range, talk to the Action Target representative in your region and he will be happy to help you find the right equipment to fit your needs and budget. You can also use our Request a Quote form to get started on your range upgrades today.

Please note: the information included in this article has come from both documented studies and the personal experience of Action Target shooting range specialists. This information has 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.

 

Indoor vs. Outdoor Shooting Ranges: What You Should Know Before You Start Building

By Chris Hart, Action Target Range Consultant

Everybody has their own preference when it comes to shooting ranges. Some people like the open-air feel of an outdoor range where they can shoot steel targets at 500 yards while others prefer the air conditioned comfort of indoor ranges where target distance can be controlled with the push of a button. Both have pros and cons and there’s not necessarily a right or wrong answer, but there are some things you need to consider before building a range to make sure you are providing your future customers with what they want and need. To better help you in the decision making process, here are some pros and cons for both outdoor and indoor shooting ranges.

Outdoor Ranges

PROS

Action Target Line of Fire with Swing Up TargetOutdoor ranges generally require less expensive equipment. An outdoor shooting range can be as simple as a shooting line and a dirt backdrop or as complex as a law enforcement proving ground with moving targets and realistic tactical simulations. Either way, the equipment you need for an outdoor range will probably be less expensive than an indoor range because you don’t need a building to house it in.

Outdoor ranges can provide a greater range of shooting with appropriate berms. While indoor ranges are generally limited to shooting straight ahead from a fixed position, outdoor ranges allow shooters to participate in tactical training with up to 180 degrees of firing mobility. The more flexibility your range offers, the more realistic your training scenarios will be.

In addition to increased firing mobility, outdoor ranges also allow for greater tactical training freedom. Training at an outdoor range can include multiple firing stations, a greater range of distance, vehicle scenarios, and terrain-based exercises.

With an outdoor range, you are less limited in the ammo you can use. While indoor ranges are sometimes restricted to bullets within a certain muzzle velocity and bullet type, most outdoor shooting ranges are virtually unrestricted. Some outdoor ranges are even capable of handling incendiary rounds and artillery fire. While training of this kind may not be necessary or even desirable at your range, the capability is available. Outdoor ranges can also more safely accommodate shooting steel targets.

CONS

Building an outdoor range requires expensive earthwork and soil engineering. Not all sites are immediately suitable for an outdoor shooting range and may require extensive excavation to ensure bullet containment. The less suitable the site, the more money you will have to spend to make sure the backdrop and containment systems meet federal regulations and local statutes. You also may have to bring in power, water, and sewage hook ups from a long distance away, thus increasing the cost and adding to the needed infrastructure of roads, parking lots, and other development.

Due to the open-air nature of outdoor ranges, however, complete bullet containment is usually impractical due to expense. This is why location is such an important element in the building of an outdoor range. Outdoor shooting ranges must be built in an area where an errant shot that goes over the backstop is incapable of doing damage; this is referred to as Surface Danger Zone (SDZ). This can require building the range in a remote area far from the city, and being far from civilization means your customers are going to have to travel a longer distance to use the range.

It is inherently difficult to contain lead and noise at an outdoor range, and as housing encroaches on formerly uninhabited areas, more and more outdoor shooting ranges are being shut down. While the location of your outdoor range may seem safe from housing development, conditions can quickly change and endanger the future of your range. You must try to plan for variables that could affect your outdoor range in the long term future.

Indoor Ranges

PROS

Because indoor ranges can easily be built in the middle of cities, they are much more convenient for customers. For commercial ranges, that means increased visibility and accessibility. For law enforcement, that means a cut in overtime costs for police departments because officers don’t have to travel as far as they would to train at an outdoor range. They can also easily train during inclement weather conditions that would be more difficult on an outdoor range.

Technological improvements are making indoor ranges a more viable option for tactical training. Ballistic doors can allow vehicles to enter the range for training scenarios, lighting can be adjusted to simulate daylight and low light situations, sound effects can be played over the loud speakers to induce stress or simulate a combat environment, and bullet traps like the Total Containment Trap from Action Target allow for increased flexibility in shooting across firing lanes or at moving targets.

For commercial ranges, an indoor shooting range can provide a significant retail avenue. When combined with a retail firearm and an ammunition store, indoor ranges can be highly profitable ventures. Customers are more likely to buy ammo at the range where they shoot and are more likely to buy a gun if there is an opportunity to try it out on a shooting range first.

CONS

Indoor shooting ranges are more expensive to build and require a building to house them. For an indoor range you need to either build a new building from scratch or find a building that meets municipal requirements for parking, sound, and zoning that can be properly retrofitted to house an indoor range. Indoor shooting ranges also often require a target retrieval system, ceiling baffles, fully ballistic walls, bullet traps, a ventilation system, and lighting. All together, the equipment and facility costs can greatly exceed that of an outdoor range.

Indoor ranges are sometimes limited in the caliber and type of bullet that can be fired, depending on the range equipment chosen. The use of old or home-made bullet traps and the increased risk of ricochet that comes with an indoor shooting range naturally limits shooting capabilities. While modern bullet traps provided by Action Target can handle up to .50 BMG, many older indoor ranges cannot allow the use rifle calibers because their old range equipment designs will not safely stop rifle rounds. Because of size and sound constraints, some ranges don’t allow rifle shooting at all.

Indoor ranges also require costly range ventilation systems to meet OSHA and EPA requirements. For the health of yourself and your future customers, I should mention that your typical local HVAC contractor usually cannot properly design and install the type of system required for a clean and safe indoor range that I would shoot in with my own family. Ask your ventilation contractor how many indoor range ventilation systems they have designed and also ask them what design criteria is required to meet OSHA and EPA requirements. If they cannot guarantee that their system will meet these requirements, you might be making a costly mistake.

Rely on the Experts for Help

Whether you are deciding to build an indoor or an outdoor range, I recommend you contact the Action Target representative in your region and they will be happy to answer any questions you have and will help you determine what type of range and what equipment will best fit your needs and budget. They build hundreds of new ranges every year and will be able to draw on their vast experience and resources to help advise you with your project.

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.

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.

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, https://www.actiontarget.com/indoor-shooting-products/ventilation-systems.

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)

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 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.

Range Project Spotlight: New Range In Pinellas County, Florida

The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office will soon train in their new state-of-the-art outdoor baffled firing range. This new range includes Action Target’s high quality outdoor Total Containment Trap with a Screw Conveyor collection method. Both innovative systems make recycling much easier by catching all fired bullets in one 55 gallon barrel.

The new outdoor baffled firing range has a variety of tactical target systems, creating a multitude of training scenarios and environments that increase the range’s ability to do more than simply “qualifying” police officers.

Both ranges at the Pinellas County Sherriff’s Office include the follow training equipment and scenarios:

  • Running Targets—Essential for training since real-life threats do not stand still
  • Turning Targets—Used to create training environments promoting quick decision-making on how and when to take the shot
  • Multiple Threats—Programming “multiple adversaries” into gun fights and combat courses enhances training beyond single threat scenarios

Each training technique and target system is controlled by SmartRange—a computer software system that allows replication of “real world” scenarios. When engaging in a gun fight, officers experience several physiological changes to their bodies. Training in these realistic scenarios replicates this type of stress to help the officers learn how to handle it in a way that is safe and successful. When the moment does arise to put their training into action, they will have already learned how to more effectively manage their stress during action.

The range design includes input from Lt. Pupke (Pinellas County Sheriff), Lt. Littlejohn, Sgt. Chaisson, and Action Target. Everyone involved is pleased with the results of this fine training center. Action Target hopes to hold a training seminar at the range this coming spring, inviting local agencies to come and enjoy some great training on some great equipment.

We are proud of the foresight and planning done by Pinellas County, their leadership, their officers, and the citizens they serve. Thanks to the efforts of this agency, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office is now ready for anything the future holds for their department, putting the Action Target motto into action: “Better Equipped, Better Prepared.”

Range Project Spotlight: Winston-Salem, NC

Designing and building ranges for many years with Action Target, Mike Stilwell has been actively involved in countless shooting range projects, including his own successful 16 lane commercial range, Rangemasters of Utah. Having 13 years experience of owning and operating an Action Target range is what made Stilwell an excellent person to help design and build a range for the Winston-Salem Police Department (WSPD).

When Stilwell first became associated with the WSPD, they presented him with hand-drawn sketches, lots of notes, and passion to build a world-class indoor training facility. WSPD required more than the typical 25 yard police range. They wanted to build one of the longest indoor ranges found in their geographic region.

Stilwell first met the team from WSPD four years prior to this range build. He met Sgt. Bricker and Sgt. Hinson at Action Target’s Range Development Seminar held each year at Camp Butner, NC. Due to the lengthy process of getting their range started, Sgt’s Bricker and Hinson were no longer on the police force when the range was completed; however, the personnel change did not stop the project from moving forward. Stilwell is currently finishing the ranges with Sgt. Nelson and Lt. Watson to make the dream of building a world class training facility a reality.

The Winston Salem Training Academy is an indoor shooting range project currently being installed. It has two ranges, with one being 50 yards and the other 100 yards in length. There are tactical ranges with multiple Total Containment Traps–Version 4 (TCT4) bullet traps, with an open mouth throat for cross lane and tactical shooting. The TCT4’s have a screw conveyor lead collection system, inverted dual track runners, and 180 degree turning D-TaPS Target Systems. Both ranges are rifle rated and have 3/8” AR500 steel in the trap and on the baffles. The walls and ceilings are treated with PEPP acoustical material to ensure generous sound dampening, creating a comfortable area to practice shooting. The Winston Salem Training Academy is designed by the world-class A&E firm of Clark Nexsen with Dan Walker and Bobby Cummings taking an active role. The GC awarded the project was Branch & Associates from Roanoke, VA with Jerry DeVault as the Project Manager (PM). Clark Nexsen and Branch also designed and built the ranges at the Virginia Military Institute (VMI), which ATI was fortunate to be a part of.

Action Target and Stilwell consider it an honor to be a vital part of this world-class facility and to work with all of the individuals who made this project happen. Special thanks goes out to the Firearm Instructors of Winston Salem, both past and present, Bryan Dahlberg—Project Manager for Action Target—and Jerry DeVault—Project Manager for Branch & Associates—for their long, tireless hours.

If you’re ever near the WSPD, give them a call to set up a date and time to take a tour of their new facility. If you are considering an indoor or outdoor range project and are in the Mid-Atlantic States region, contact Mike Stilwell at mikes@actiontarget.com

Other recently completed projects include:

  • South East Territory – Browns Ferry Police Department
  • South West Territory – Orem Police Department
  • South Central Territory – Midwest Police Department
  • North Central Territory – Green Bay Police Department
  • North East Territory – Montgomery Police Department
  • North West Territory – Three Sites
  • East Central Territory – Shooters Edge, LLC

Action Target Completes SharpShooters Commerical Range Project

Commercial indoor firing range developments are a vital addition to any community. They not only provide a safe and accessible shooting location for private citizens, they also provide a firearms training facility for local law enforcement agencies. Action Target Range Consultant Robb Anderson recently completed the SharpShooters USA commercial shooting range project that demonstrated Action Target’s desire to provide shooters of all skills levels with an enjoyable and safe training facility.

The Sharpshooters range project began two years ago and, with the help of Tom Deets, Ken Burson and Action Target, became the most efficient, innovative and modern indoor shooting range in the Atlanta market.

Some of the features of the SharpShooters Range Project include:

  • Three separate bays with eight lanes in each bay
  • Bay #1 is a “Fixed Firing” range consisting of two 50 Cal lanes and six lanes designed for 223 and 308 rifle use
  • Bay #2 is a “Fixed Firing” range consisting of eight lanes designed for 223 and 308 rifle use
  • Both Bay #1 and Bay #2 are installed for ADA handicapped shooters
  • Bay #3 has a hybrid range design for public and Tactical Training for local law enforcement community
  • All three bays include the Mancom Instructor Stalls and are equipped with Mancom “Touch-n-Go” Target Retrievers
  • All rear and side walls are covered with PEPP acoustical tiles by Acoustical Services.

AT Installs Total Containment at Sharpshooters Range

Action Target installed both the Total Containment Steel Bullet Trap and Containment Baffles for each firing range.

AT Installs Mancom Instructor Stalls

All three bays include the Mancom Instructor Stalls and are equipped with Mancom “Touch-n-Go” Target Retrievers.

The SharpShooters Range has quickly become a popular favorite among Atlanta’s shooters and law enforcement. Recently, 20 agencies participated in a two day seminar – Modern Firearms Training – that allowed attendees the opportunity to give back to the communities that supported this range.

In a testimonial, a member of SharpShooters USA wrote:

“Since the doors were opened to the public, your staff has made it their policy to ensure everyone feels welcome. It is obvious they intend to make the experience comfortable and enjoyable to all comers. Yesterday I had the privilege to witness a situation that took that attitude to a unique level.

In the lane next to mine were a father and son. The son appeared to be in his early teens. It was obvious they were a bit new at this and enjoying a genuine “father-son” afternoon together. Each took turns with a pistol and one could sense they found the experience both new and exhilarating. I noticed a short lull in their shooting and soon realized it was because they were changing weapons. They had an AR.

Moving away from my lane to dispose of a spent target, I saw Range Safety Officer Shaun Kennedy stepping forward to ensure all was about to go well. As I approached the trash can, the father and I exchanged a nod and I asked if that was his rifle. “No, it is a rental. We are visiting from Canada and don’t have access to anything like it there. This may be the only chance my son will ever have to shoot one.” As the dad and I stood back closer to the wall, Shaun continued a brief explanation to the son of the mechanics and safety issues of the weapon. From the gentle manner with which he talked to the young man you could see his intent was to ensure the son was comfortable, safe, and confident enough to enjoy what he was about to experience. The youngster thoroughly enjoyed what followed while a very proud father watched. The look passed between them after the last round was fired was priceless. They asked if they could have a spent casing. Shaun retrieved one with a broom.

For all the right reasons, nothing happened that you should be aware of. Nothing went wrong. An alert Safety Officer made certain of that.

For all the right reasons, something happened that you should be aware of. An alert Safety Officer made certain two novice shooters, a father and son, went home with a newfound sense of shared pride from what they accomplished and an afternoon of great memories.

Kudos to your staff.”

Congratulations to all the SharpShooters USA Staff and Robb Anderson for a job well done!!!

Other Recently Completed Projects:

  • Belmont Firearms & Range, NH (Matt Brinkerhoff)
  • Federal Reserve Bank, Memphis, TN (Jason Snell)
  • Duke Nuclear Energy Plant, NC (Mike Stillwell)
  • Houston Police Department, TX (Aaron Ludwig)
  • Ankeny Police Department, IA (Chris Hart)

If you are interested in our products and are in the south-eastern states, contact your Regional Representative Robb Anderson. For all other areas, please visit our Contacts Page to find the territory manager for your area.

Contact Info for AT Robb Anderson

ROBB ANDERSON
801-377-8033 ext. 124
801-319-0977 cell
robba@actiontarget.com

Free Webinar – Choosing the Optimal Bullet Trap: The Total Containment Trap

Choosing a bullet trap is one of the most important aspects of designing and building a shooting range – an area you simply cannot afford to cut corners in. Unfortunately, it can quickly become overwhelming to determine the best, safest, most reliable, and most economical solution to fill your range’s needs. Luckily, Action Target is hosting a free 30-minute webinar entitled “Choosing the Optimal Bullet Trap: The Total Containment Trap” to help you understand what to consider when making a decision and why the Total Containment Trap is the most advanced, most effective, and safest bullet collection and disposal system available.

About the Webinar

During the course of the presentation, Addison Sovine, co-founder of Action Target, Inc. will:

  • Give critical information and tips for those considering a new bullet trap
  • Answer common concerns regarding bullet traps
  • Outline what to consider when building a new bullet trap or modifying their existing trap
  • Present an overview of the Action Target Total Containment Trap
  • Explain why Action Target is an invaluable partner in shooting range planning and construction

Event and Registration Details

When: Thursday, May 12, 2011
Time: 11:00-11:30 A.M. (MST)
Where: Online
Cost: FREE
Registration Link: https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/464282150

Whether you are actively looking for a new bullet trap solution, or simply curious about what goes into making the bullet trap construction process a success, you can’t afford to miss this informative and entertaining webinar. →Register Now

Action Target Installs Total Containment Trap for Livonia PD

Action Target would like to announce the newly updated Livonia Police Department Outdoor Rifle Range in Livonia, Michigan. The Livonia PD oversaw the removal of their existing bullet trap, heavy excavation and modification of existing dirt beams, concrete work and installation of Action Target’s Total Containment Bullet Trap.

We wish to thank the Livonia PD Procurement and Livonia PD Project Managers Ben McDermott and John Kalil, Tony Angelo Cement Construction Company, Action Target Great Lakes Territory Manager Jason Snell, Action Target Project Manager Kris Ardohain and many others for their hard work and a job well done!

Some of the equipment Action Target provided and installed included our 32′ AR500 Steel Total Containment Trap.

Action Target's Total Containment Bulle Trap

Back of the Total Containment Bullet Trap

Shown here is the back of the Total Containment Bullet Trap, using the Canister System.

Congratulations to Livonia PD and all those involved!

Other Recently Completed Projects

  • Polk CSO – Robb Anderson
  • Watertown Police Department, MA – Matt Brinkerhoff
  • Dearborn Police Department, MI – Jason Snell
  • Linden Police Department, NJ – Mike Stillwell
  • St. Charles Sheriff’s Department, LA – Aaron Ludwig
  • Elk Grove Village Police Department, IL – Chris Hart

If are interested in our products and are in the Great Lakes area, contact your Regional Representative Jason Snell. For all other areas, please visit our Contact Page to find the territory manager for your area.

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

Range Training – Orlando Police Department

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

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

AT Builds New Orlando Firing Range

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

AT helps construct innovative range for Orlando PD

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

Orlando Police shot at indoor Range

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

AT Constructs Indoor Shooting Range for Orlando

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay Safe!

Latest Projects in the Great Lakes Region

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

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

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

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

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

Equipment provided and installed by Action Target includes the following:

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

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

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

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

Equipment provided and installed by Action Target includes the following:

Congratulations to Metro Nashville Police Academy and all those involved!

AT Installs Power 90 Turning Targets

AT Installed Track Runners for Nashville PD

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

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

Eliminating Lead in Indoor Ranges (Part Two)

Written by Clark Vargas

(Continued from last week…)There are inherent legal problems training with non-carry ammunition. The weight of non-lead bullets, are on average 25% less than that of standard lead projectiles by caliber and therefore accuracy is reduced at the firearms effective distances (long distances). Pistol harmonics and point of aim, likewise, change and occur at the shorter distance. So if a different practice round is trained with, the arguments can always be raised that it is different than the carry ammunition and the legal argument is created.

Military doctrine has always required engaging the enemy with mass firepower at the maximum effective distance of the firearm (whoever puts the most steel down range wins). Police trainers’ doctrine should also do the same. But, even if you are practicing and not hitting to the same point of aim with the duty and practice ammo, the lighter, non-lead practice ammo won’t do.

A lead-free indoor shooting rangeTraining with firearms requires developing proficiency at the weapons tactical or practical longest distances. That must be learned first. Close in rapid tactical drills come in second. However, if perceived recoil is different between a 100-grain and 140-grain bullet, a legal argument is again created.

Non-lead practice ammunition has no military value for combat. Lead again is and remains because of its weight and position in the periodic table, the main component for small arms projectiles of choice.

In our [Clark Vargas & Associates] opinion, LEO’s need to practice and qualify with what the less expensive issue ammunition or be subject to lawsuit, especially after a “bad” shooting incident. From a cost stand point, why shoot more expensive copper frangible and then have to qualify with lead on the same range when what you end up doing is contaminating the existing copper dust deposits with lead and then you can’t recycle any of it?

A lead-free indoor shooting rangeThe big break in ammunition technology, with respect to LEO training and environmental concerns, has only been the development of the lead heavy metal free reliable primers. Air sampling conducted at live shoots, with various totally encapsulated projectiles and lead free primer products is reported to have consistently proven to totally eliminate breathable lead exposure at the firing line.

The problem with the acceptance of the non-lead primed ammunition for tactical use has been that the non-lead primers are less sensitive than those with lead styphnate primer and increases the chance of misfires occurring, due to no ignition. This problem is being worked on. We certainly do not want misfires happening in a shoot out. Another problem is that non-lead primers were and are hydroscopic and may not store well.

Blount, Remington and Winchester as well as others, continue development with new ways of manufacturing propellant charges with non-metallic and non-lead bullets. Blount, CCI Blazer’s appear to be setting the standards in this area of technology with their more reliable lead-free primers. Lead free primers have little effect on velocity and points of aim, thus maintaining weight and velocity consistent to that of standard lead primed current carry ammunition.

A lead-free indoor shooting rangeIf a department is unwilling or unable to implement the lead management practices that we have known of for 12 years now, then perhaps they should use non-lead “green ammunition”. It should be realized though that the use of green ammunition is only one of the many alternative Best Management Practices for shooting ranges. It is not, however, the panacea and their use will have unintended consequences. The problems with non-lead alternative projectiles go far beyond the cost of the round. There are the ballistic performance shortcomings as previously discussed and yet unknown health and environmental risks. We know the risks for lead and know how to handle them.

A fine point, but points to be considered by the industry are non-lead ammunition. It is available to the military and law enforcement but is illegal for the public to purchase or possess. Frangible copper ammunition is not designed for hunting and if used, a brush buster shot or a bad hit would result in only wounding and animal cruelty. Non-lead ammunition is not accurate enough for competitive target shooting.

We now believe that zinc ammunition will be removed from the market place shortly so we won’t discuss that further. However, the Army’s tungsten “green bullet” a more recent debacle is a perfect example of the unknown risks of proposed “wondermetals”. On paper the tungsten metal compound proposed for the Army’s “green bullet” program looked great and development went forward. When real-world fate and transport studies were done, it turned out that the tungsten compound created unintended consequences worse than lead. Soil pH dropped as much as 5 full points, resulting in negative impacts on vegetation and organisms in the environment, as well as having 100% cancer rates in test rats. Can you imagine what could have happened if implemented for existing military ranges? The use of the Army’s “green bullets” on an existing lead range would have decreased soil pH and INCREASED lead mobility in large sites. Clearly not the intended result!

A Man Shooting in a Lead-free RangeThe Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, FLETC, has committed to 16 million rounds per year and is “the driving force behind the development of lead alternative ammunition”, but FLETC also has also acknowledged that lead alternative ammunition technology is NOT acceptable for duty use; they express a desire and opinion that it will be someday. FLETC developed their lead abatement strategy because of citations by EPA prior to the EPA’s development of lead Best Management Practices (BMP’s) and an EPA action due to FLETC’s past problems managing lead.

We have come through the zinc experiments and now in light of the Army’s green bullet test results, if, any assertion that non-lead ammunition is comparable to lead ammunition remarks is just plain wrong.

Balancing firearms training requirements vs. environmental stewardship is the balancing process the range design engineer and owner have to achieve. Completely eliminating an environmental risk is not possible. Minimizing risk certainly is.

I suggest totally encapsulated lead projectiles, non-lead primed ammunition for our designs. I take the common sense approach to the minimization of lead impacts on humans and the environment, and adopting range BMP’s as follows:

  • Utilize totally enclosed jacketed ammunition
  • Utilize lead-free primers
  • Install proper ventilation to assure adequate air movement and pressure in the breathing space and HEPA filter the air to be breathed
  • Instituting Range Operational Rules only proper ammunition used, wash hands, etc.
  • Eliminating lead dust generation at the bullet trap by proper choice of traps.
  • Recycle whatever you use

Utilizing the above BMP’s will eliminate 100% of the lead health safety problem in the range, due to projectiles.

Clark Vargas is a professional engineer and President of a successful 23-year-old civil/environmental engineering firm and has designed more than 30 shooting ranges in Florida, New York, Virginia, Tennessee and Kansas.

C. Vargas & Associates Logo

(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. Our line of indoor range products, which include our steel Total Containment and rubber traps, ventilation and dust collection meet and/or exceed all of Mr. Vargas’ recommendations/conclusions.)

If you have an article that you would like to see in our newsletter, please contact atnewsletter@actiontarget.com

If you are interested in talking to a Territory Representative about your existing range or to discuss designing/building one, please click here.

Eliminating Lead in Indoor Ranges (Part One)

Written by Clark Vargas

The significant source of particulate lead in an indoor range is the ammunition used. There are four ways lead is generated in the shooting range.

The first and worst, also because of particle size, is the primer that starts the powder ignition. It contains the chemical lead styphnate and other heavy metals that insure a proper and reliable ignition.

The second, and second worst, because of particle size, is the lead burn of the lead bullet tail of jacketed ammunition. The hot propelling gases result in atomization of molecular lead possibly the most dangerous because of great gas volumes if in haled because of range eddy currents.

The third is the lead particles spiting out of revolvers and barrel friction on all firearms. It results in varying size lead particles downrange of the firing line on the floor. The lead will be picked up by shoes and tracked elsewhere, where they may or may not be ingested.

The fourth method, and the one that generates up to 95% of the particulate lead, is the lead bullet collision with the so commonly used, “hard” 30° to 45° incline steel traps.

It is just not prudent any longer to simply design hard steel bullet traps unless “tracer ammunition” is going to be used for machine gun training.

Just by changing the projectile to totally encapsulated copper jacketed projectiles, it produces a 97% reduction in lead particulate when compared to using solid lead bullets. The use then of both lead-free primers and totally encapsulated projectiles results in airborne lead being totally, eliminated at the firing lines and breathing zone.

Military and law enforcement are the high consumers of ammunition and will still continue to utilizes jacketed bullets with lead primers for some time to come. The many calibers of ammunition used and trained with are, the 9mm, .38, .357, .45 calibers, 5.56mm and 7.62x51mm. 12ga slugs and double ought buck. Ammunition comes from a variety of manufacturers.

Although lead-primed, jacketed ammunition is the standard, it won’t be long before reliable non-lead primers become the new standard, along with totally encapsulated lead projectiles.

Hard bullet traps are the major reason, as much as 95% of for the unintended generation, of lead in dust and waste streams in firing ranges. Most existing bullet traps terminate the bullets energy with a metal to metal hard collision generating heat, lead slatter and fragments and dust.

Softer termination schemes such as the 12° to 17° dry or wet funnel type traps with deceleration chamber and/or swirl chamber or snails are much gentler and produce no dust.

There are three antiquated metal bullet traps most common and still in use today; the escalator type, the venetian blind type and a “pit and plate” type. Each of these type backstops has advantages and disadvantages, however the net results remain the same: hard impacting lead projectiles on hard steel, causes extreme fragmentation of the lead and production of lead dust. Gene Fabian reported in 1996 that a full 20% of the lead bullet weight shot downrange on hard steel backstops do not end up as large enough lead pieces that can be recycled. A full 20% of the lead turns to small fragments, powder and molecular lead not captured in the trap. It ends up as settled dust or in the bag house. Downrange contamination becomes the major reason that hazardous conditions have resulted in firing ranges. Unless, these steel bullet traps are frequently maintained and HEPA vacuumed, lead dust accumulates to the point that it becomes stirred each time the ventilation system is used. It has been observed that human overexposure in such cases can occur even in the absence of shooting.

The major improvement over the antiquated steel traps discussed above are the soft traps of 30° and less angle plate dry or wet funnel type bullet traps. The collision is a lot softer on projectiles since bullets impact the plates at a 12 to 17 degrees or less incline and slide into a swirl or deceleration chamber. Any dust that is produced can purportedly be vacuumed by an exhaust fan and directed to a filter chamber or washed into a water oil mixture.

Two problems can occur with the dry-funnel design. The first is, the shooting range is designed as a negative pressure room that can easily overcome the bullet traps aspiration fan capacity and may result in lead dust settling in the range room anyway.

The second problem that occurs is that over the life of the trap, lead smearing will occur even with jacketed and hollow point ammunition. When the range is finally closed, all the steel will have to be disposed of as hazardous waste or cleaned.

Because of the concern for lead dust generation at steel bullet traps, the bullet trap manufacturers have made efforts to do research and develop new traps. In 1989, Ron Coburn designed a funnel trap utilizing water and oil film on the impact plates to totally eliminate the dust generation from the projectiles impact on the steel impact plates. Although very effective in reducing downrange contamination, it is believed to increase long-term maintenance cost. Cost, due to the creation and the recovery and disposal of a hazardous water oil waste, increase in humidity and clogging of the recirculating system with paper bits. That has made it difficult for designers to fully accept this method as being the answer to bullet traps. However, it has promise aesthetically. Increased (oil/water) humidity in the range, we are told by users, makes the range seem slippery and paper pieces in the water that make it a past the screens stops flow and burns out the pumps.

Probably the closest to desirable to date of the soft traps that works best are the low volume shooting chopped rubber traps. These bullet traps capture projectiles intact and allow for full recovery without generating a mixed waste stream. The bullet trap is constructed on a concrete sloped floor or preferably with a steel support frame and a soft rubber sheet front, which allows all bullets to penetrate intact 4 to 6 inches into the matrix. The space created between the steel and rubber sheet is filled with pieces of recycled rubber tire sidewalls. Bullets pierce the front rubber sheet and then the square rubber pieces stop the bullet intact through friction by about 6” deep from the surface. The bullets and the rubber pieces are periodically extracted from the bottom through a slide gate fully intact, ready for recycling. The trap must be recycled monthly to preclude the hard armorizing packing of the rubber surfaced with lead. Once every 18 months or so, the rubber must be shoveled out and a complete sifting must be done. These traps can also catch fire so a fire retardant is added to eliminate that condition. If these traps, which are labor intensive, are not maintained they wouldn’t work as intended.

Tests performed on soft rubber traps reveal that there are no lead emissions generated at the trap; furthermore, the rubber pieces do not exhibit a hazardous characteristic for lead under the RCRA TCLP definition. The rubber material can be reused for the life of the trap and not result as a hazardous waste upon closure.

The choice of bullet trap also very much affects the ventilation design and cost. Rubber traps require two (2) stage filtration and steel backstops require three (3) stage filtration. Both require HEPA filtration as the last filter.

LEO’s need to train with their carry ammunition. In my opinion, round nose totally encapsulated ammunition introduced in the 1960’s or jacketed hollow point with no lead primers fit that bill, both at economic prices. They are fully equivalent, ballistically to any of the duty ammo. That is what I recommend in my designs.

Ammunition manufacturers have taken the initiative but perhaps sometimes in the wrong direction, at the behest of the Federal Government over the last 12 years, to research lead-free bullets and lead-free primers. “Green ammunition” is the result.

“Lead free bullets”, the “Green Ammunition” are the politically correct, all encompassing terminology applied that does not offer much definitive information on how to solve the problem. Green ammunition includes zinc ammunition, frangible copper ammunition, solid copper ammunition, soft nose zinc ammunition, jacketed wound zinc ammunition and jacketed tungsten ammunition, etc. Each provides alternatives for trap and ventilation design but does not eliminate the recycle problem and each has unintended consequences. Bullets manufactured out of non-lead ingredients appear to pose less of a risk to humans, when the ammunition also incorporates lead free primers, but pose equal or greater risk to the environment than the lead munitions.

None of the metals used for “green ammunition”, when out of place, are environmentally benign. For example sintered copper bullets the one “green bullet” out of the bunch, which still seems viable turns to fine powder upon impact with the trap or steel target. The fine copper now has to be collected and recycled in its entirety or environmental problems will result. Copper acts is a fungicide and is detrimental to marine organism larvae.

When zinc projectiles are used and are shot into existing lead deposits, the value of the lead deposit goes to zero since that deposit can no longer then be recycled. It must now be disposed of as hazardous waste. We also understand that shortly wound zinc projectiles will no longer be manufactured. How many recyclable lead deposits on ranges have been ruined and are now hazardous waste, because zinc bullets were used?

(This article continues in next week’s newsletter)

Clark Vargas is a professional engineer and President of a successful 23-year-old civil/environmental engineering firm and has designed more than 30 shooting ranges in Florida, New York, Virginia, Tennessee and Kansas. He also is President of the Florida Sport Shooting Association, the NRA’s official state association. He shoots conventional and international pistol competitively and has been invited to shoot for the U.S. Pistol Team try-outs. Mr. Vargas is Past President of the Gateway Rifle and Pistol Club, a 2,200-family member shooting club in Jacksonville, Florida, an endowment member of the NRA, and the NRA’s 1999 Achievement in Range Development Marlin R. Scarborough Award recipient.

(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. Our line of indoor range products, which include our steel Total Containment and rubber traps, ventilation and dust collection meet and/or exceed all of Mr. Vargas’ recommendations/conclusions.)