Shoot Houses and Shoot House Training

By Bob Schneider

I was first introduced to live fire shoot house training in 1986 at the world famous Gunsite Academy in northern Arizona. I had already been a Denver, Colorado, police officer for more than 10 years and was then a member of its full-time special weapons and tactics team (SWAT). Prior to transferring to SWAT, I was a patrol officer assigned to the northeastern quadrant of the city and county of Denver.

As a police officer, I had to search many businesses after silent alarms had been tripped as well as respond to calls that put me inside someone’s house. I had been trained to conduct building searches and how to handle calls inside structures, but I had not been exposed to firing live ammunition in that training arena. Was I sufficiently trained to conduct such police actions? I believed I was, but my eyes were opened to a higher level of training that my department had not exposed me to.LETC 187

In 1993, my department received a civil judgment against it for not providing adequate training to its police officers. My department had not provided “periodic target course shoot/don’t shoot live training under street conditions, particularly for officers on the front line.”1 We had required our officers to qualify once a month (later changed to quarterly) on a live fire course on a square range. This traditional range is exactly the same as all firearms ranges in the country used for law enforcement qualification and training. But our qualification courses did not require decision making, had little to no movement by the shooter, and was performed under adequate lighting conditions. The qualification target would turn and face the shooter which initiated the officer to present his/her weapon and fire the required number of rounds into the target before it edged away. This is the standard for all law enforcement agencies in the country. Then, some type of score is given for the officers’ records. If the officer passed, no further action was required. No additional training was given.

We know today that periodic qualification is just the beginning for our officers’ records. Continuing education is required in subject areas such as changes in the law or department regulations relating to the use of force, other options available other than the use of deadly force, and the list goes on. We now know we have a responsibility and obligation to expose our officers in training to as many situations as possible that they may encounter on the street.

If you believe you do have a responsibility and obligation to train your officers to the highest possible level, and your officers may find themselves in a structure like a building or house or business, then you need a live fire shoot house.LETC 190

Historically, live fire shoot houses have been made out of old automobile tires, plywood, cinder blocks, and other material that stops bullets. My SWAT team even made portable bullet traps that allowed us to make any building into a live fire shoot house. With today’s modern technology in clean ammunition and live fire shoot house construction, we have no excuse not to train our officers in live fire indoor simulators.

Companies such as Action Target make an excellent portable bullet trapcart Small. Its design and construction allow law enforcement agencies to tailor a structure to their environmental and economic needs.

I call it the “pay now or pay later” program. You can either pay now to build an indoor live fire simulator or you can pay later for not providing this level of training to your officers. You make the decision. If it was my decision, I would pay now. I would play every possible card in my deck to get a live fire shoot house.

Contact Action Target for options about getting your shoot house. I am confident that they will help you with your needs.

About Bob Schneider

LETC 191
Bob Schneider conducting training at the Action Target Law Enforcement Training Camp in 2012.

Bob Schneider retired from the Denver, Colorado, Police Department after 21 years of service. He spent 18 years assigned to his department’s full-time special weapons and tactics team. He is a certified firearms and less-lethal weapons instructor and has taught classes to federal, state, and local law enforcement officers as well as to U.S. and foreign military units here and overseas. Bob has developed several firearms and tactics courses to include training scenarios that are being used by popular simulator manufacturers. He currently lives in Denver, Colorado, with his two sons, Dylan and Jake.


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Action Target as a company.

1. Zuchel v. City and County of Denver, Colo., 997 F. 2d 730 – Court of Appeals, 10th Circuit 1993.

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

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.

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.”

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 at IWA in Nuremberg, Germany

Action Target’s International Department recently returned from a very successful trip to Nuremberg, Germany for the annual IWA show. Similar to the Shot Show held annually in the USA, IWA has been one of the world’s leading exhibitions for the hunting, shooting, sporting and outdoor industry for over 30 years.

Action Target's Adam White Showing the RTS Hit CounterIWA is the abbreviation for Internationale Waffen Ausstellung or International Weapons Exhibition. For 2011, over 1,100 exhibitors were revealing their newest products and services to the world. IWA traditionally attracts more than 30,000 visitors from over 100 different countries. Due to the interest IWA draws from the international community, it was a great place for members of the Action Target International team to showcase some of the newest products. A few items generating the most interest were the FlexTact reconfigurable shoothouse system by Hufcor, the Self-Healing reactive targets from Reactive Target System (RTS) and the economical hit counting mobile wireless shooting range system also from RTS (shown left).

For many years, Action Target has been increasing its position of dominance in the international community. The entire complement of Action Target products have been sold throughout the world. Those most prevalent are the MATCH (Modular Armored Tactical Combat House) shoothouses that have been incorporated into multi-story, cross-functional and fully automated structures. When these have been placed in close proximity of each other for CQB (Close Quarter Battle) and MOUT (Military Operations in Urban Terrain) training purposes, they are exalted to what we term a ‘MATCH Village’. These structures have been built and utilized for years by foreign customers, their military, secret police, special forces and other groups requiring the best training equipment.

Overall, IWA was a huge success for Action Target with thousands of past, current and future customers stopping by to say hello and investigate new products. To read the IWA News Daily (PDF) about the event, click here.

Five New Action Target Products Revealed at Shot Show 2011

Action Target was recently represented at Shot Show 2011 at the Sands Expo & Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV from Jan 18-21. The overall scope and size of our booth represented the overall growth success of our company for the last 25 years. The amount of traffic generated this year was astounding. We hardly had a minute to catch our breath and we are grateful for it.

Many of the attendees were drawn in by the impressive design of our booth. It stood 20 feet tall and 60 feet wide, contained two meeting rooms, impressive graphics with accurate reductions of a Modular Armored Tactical Combat House (MATCH) and Total Containment Trap (TCT).

Here is a photo shot of our both taken about an hour before the show opened on the last day:

Action Target Sales and Marketing Teams

We rolled out many new targets, systems and concepts during Shot Show 2011. Some included:

  • Reactive Target System (RTS)These self-healing targets are best fit for close quarter live fire engagements. We wanted to create a viable solution to meet the significant demand we have received from organizations and agencies all around the world. Some of the benefits of the RTS are the ability for the target to fall when struck, count the hits a target takes in a cost effective manner and you will not need to manually count the holes anymore during qualifications. Major benefits of the RTS include the ability of the target to fall when struck and the ability to count the number of hits to a target in a cost effective manner rather than manually counting the holes after qualification rounds. We devoted an entire article to this innovative product line last week.
  • Real Terrain Range (RTR) – Chuck Habermehl helped to develop the concept of the Real Terrain Range to bring a complete realism to training scenarios. At Action Target, we scoured the globe looking any current option narrowing our focus to a company that has been designing Hollywood movie sets for years. Their unique approach and materials allow pullets to pass through a simulate such as a rock, tree or wall causing no ricochet, splatter, inhalation or visibility hazard if any negligent discharge occurs. The RTR design allows Action Target to recreate any training environment you need.
  • FlexTact by Hufcor – FlexTact is the quickest and easiest reconfigurable shoothouse on the market today. As the exclusive worldwide distributor of FlexTact, Action Target was fortunate to have this small example of the system in the booth along with Hufcor’s training staff. The FlexTact increases the quality of your training and throughput and can benefit law enforcement, military and fire departments. The panels are suspended by an overhead railing system which allows you to recreate any building layout in minutes. There are panels are designed with doors, windows and graphics to truly enhance the realism. This is a great compliment to Action Target’s MATCH.
  • Pelvic Torso – The Pelvic Girdle was one of two new steel target prototypes brought to the show. It received a great response, and gave us the opportunity gather feedback that we will put to good use as we continue working on this target as a training solution. This prototype can be added onto an existing Action Target Hostage , IPSC Torso or Full-Size IPSC Torso target. It easily bolts onto the stand, has no welds and replicates the pelvic girdle.  There are two swinging plates that will react when hit. With many agencies training on disabling drills, the Pelvic Torso is the only steel target on the market that addresses this training need. Look out for an article on this product next week.
  • Sport Rack – As a world leader, Action Target has been asked time and again for a portable plate rack. Our existing Plate Rack has the highest quality and design that organizations all around the world over have used with much success. It is however, difficult to carry for long distance shooting which is why we were excited to announce our new Sport Rack. It looks just like a miniature version of our larger model, but it does not have true plate rack properties. The Sport Rack has four inverted round target heads, with no welds, so that when struck they swing upward, similar to the target movement on our horizontal dueling trees . Once again, there was a great deal of interest in this prototype, and look out for a full article about it in two weeks.

If you are interested in the Sport Rack or Pelvic Girdle and would like to add your name on our waiting list to be notified when they are for sale, email chadb@actarg.com. If you have questions or are interested in speaking to one of our Range Consultants, please Contact Us.