Tag: NRA

NRA’s American Rifleman Tests the AWD Pro

Training With the Action Target AWD Range System

Training With the Action Target AWD Range System

Although we spend a good deal of time discussing firearms and ammunition on this site, they wouldn’t be all that interesting to own without quality shooting ranges where we can exercise our rights. One company that’s often overlooked by the average shooter for its important contribution to the industry is Action Target of Provo, Utah.

 

Founded in 1986, Action Target started out by providing a pneumatic turning-target system for the Provo Police Department to use for training its officers. Over the years, this company has developed top-grade range technology favored by military and law enforcement around the world.

 

If you attend SHOT Show, you’ll find that Action Target takes up a section of floor space more like a city block than a booth slot. Today’s in-house options from Action Target include a variety of equipment such as portable interactive steel targets, eco-friendly bullet traps and entire training structures like the ALERRT shoot house. A tour of its production facility revealed just how much steel the company processes into range equipment.

   

As much as we can appreciate the services and facilities that help keep our country’s service personnel sharp, most of us will never get to use them. I wanted to learn more about how Action Target is tackling the training needs of John Q. Public. To answer this question, I was invited to company headquarters where I was introduced to the AWD Range System, one of the more advanced options currently installed at commercial indoor ranges.

The AWD, or All Wheel Drive target support (called a target retriever), was just one part of the complete set of furniture at the test range I visited. The shooting stalls, ceiling-mounted rails, noise abatement, bullet trap and ventilation were all selected from Action Target Offerings. These elements all came together to form a professional grade, clean-lined shooting environment that was comfortable and convenient to use.

Traditional square ranges, which wheel paper targets back and forth, are useful for developing important marksmanship skills such as forming a sight picture, trigger press and reloading. Paper targets also have the advantage of being fairly inexpensive. However, back-and-forth targets don’t offer much more than that. Even the most devoted shooting enthusiast can, at times, find traditional square ranges to be a little tedious.

The AWD system employs the rail-mounted target retriever paired with a programmable, wireless touch-screen control pad. The retriever is fast, smooth and quiet, traveling at up to four yards per second. It’s also accurate, consistently stopping along the rail within 0.5″ of its programmed position. The retriever’s paper-target clamp is motorized to rotate 360 degrees. This allows it to display the front, back and side edge of the target toward the shooter and present a variety of shoot/don’t shoot configurations as the target changes locations.

What makes the AWD system such an interesting and useful update to square-range shooting is software programmed into the wireless touch control. To keep folks engaged, it’s preloaded with more than two dozen different games and drills developed by professional instructors. Beginner, intermediate and advanced formats are available for pistols and rifles. The Pistol Qualification Drills can be used by civilians or law enforcement to practice using standardized qualification scenarios. The personal-defense programs provide self-guided training with charging, reload and decision-making drills, while the game programs keep things interesting.

One of the system’s programmed behaviors that was refreshing and challenging to work with is called a “tease” function. There are times that when the target is turned edgewise, it will twitch as if it’s about to turn, but then it doesn’t. In other words, it tries to fake you out once in a while! If you’re too quick on the trigger you’ll send a round hurdling downrange into empty space.

The AWD’s programmable controls and the option to use a wide variety of different paper targets make the system one of the most flexible indoor shooting experiences available. Using a duty-size Smith & Wesson M&P 9 mm pistol provided by the staff, I started off with a basic shoot/don’t shoot drill with the target stopping, turning to face me and then moving further away for the next series of shots. Simple exercises are a great place to start for the beginner or to get warmed up.

Then we switched over to an intermediate skills drill using a target with much smaller round strike zones. The target’s face times were much shorter, varied in length, and the target would tease me from time to time. This was much more challenging. For those ranges that choose to add it, the system includes advanced lighting features. Choose from a constant on “daylight” white light, or low-light situations that include simulated muzzle flashes or police-car strobe lights.

The shooting session wrapped up with self-defense scenarios, which can provide a real eye-opening experience. Unlike most ranges, where the targets usually rest a good ways out, the AWD can be programmed to drive a paper target straight toward the shooter at high speed to simulate the charge of an assailant. In my case, we used an image of an attacker wielding a knife. I caught myself “rubber necking” with this target a couple of times.

When drivers become focused on an accident at the side of the road, their hands will turn the steering wheel toward that spot, causing the car to drift out of its lane. As the target charged me from several yards away, I had a few shots drift from center to the left side of the target as it rushed up to me. That’s where the knife was, over on the left side. As the threat drew closer, I let my attention drift from center mass to the knife. As a result, the shot placement followed. Details like these can only be learned through personal experience.

 

The Action Target AWD system has been installed at commercial shooting ranges all around the country. Just follow this link and use the map at the bottom of the page to locate a facility near you. And as long as you’re on the site, take a few minutes to look over the top-notch selection of portable steel targets the company offers as well.

Action Target upgrades moving target systems at the 2014 Midway USA & NRA Bianchi Cup

Action Target is proud to celebrate another year as the official target sponsor of the Midway USA & NRA Bianchi Cup. This year the prestigious match celebrated its 35th anniversary, and Action Target was pleased to support the match with continued upgrades to the target systems.

This year Action Target worked with the Green Valley Rifle & Pistol Club, the home of the Bianchi Cup since its inception, to upgrade the moving target systems. The moving targets were previously supported by a cable and string system. The targets now travel securely and smoothly on a ground anchored track system. The new systems also feature simpler controls, and more advanced tracking for the speed and movement of the targets. With the addition of the moving target systems, all of the events at the Bianchi Cup now feature Action Target products.These new moving target systems will be available to the broader Action Target customer base in the fourth quarter of 2014.

“We are excited to have these new moving target systems in place for the Bianchi Cup, and for every range to now have Action Target products for the Bianchi Cup.” said Kevin Tomaszewski, Vice President of Engineering & Marketing for Action Target. “We’re very happy with the performance of the new moving target systems to help the match run more effectively, and for the opportunity to showcase our products at such a high-level event like the Bianchi Cup,” added Tomaszewski.

In addition to the upgrade, the Green Valley Rifle & Pistol Club also worked with Action Target to add one more shooting bay with moving targets, which allowed more shooters to shoot the match within the scheduled championship dates. This year the NRA reported 300 shooters participated in the annual event.

“Action Target’s continued support of the Midway USA & NRA Bianchi Cup has been a huge boost for the match in ensuring the equipment runs smooth and is consistent for every shooter for the duration of the competition year after year,” said Tom Hughes, National Manager-Pistol Department and Competitive Shooting Division for the NRA. “The new mover targets this year were a great addition, allowing us to run all the competitors through easier, and even allowing more capacity for the competition so more shooters could participate this year and in the years to come.”

The 35th anniversary match brought added excitement to shooters and spectators alike, with a new first-time champion, Kevin Angstadt. Angstadt has been a top competitor in NRA Action Pistol competitions for many years, and this year he was the only shooter to shoot the entire match with a perfect score of 1920. Doug Koenig, the annual favorite to win, shot his last shot of the match just outside the 10 ring, scoring an 8 on the shot and leaving Koenig with a final score of 1918. Other top contenders like Bruce Piatt and Kyle Schmidt struggled with weapon malfunctions that cost them valuable points.

Action Target also continued its support of the women’s championship at the Bianchi Cup this year, with top honors going to Team Taurus’ Jessie Duff. Duff edged out New Zealand’s Tiffany Piper in a decision that came down to a two point advantage favoring Duff. This victory marks Duff’s fourth win at the Bianchi Cup.

About The Bianchi Cup

Founded in 1979 by law enforcement veteran and holster innovator John Bianchi, the Bianchi Cup began as a shooting competition designed to test a law enforcement officer’s skill with a pistol. The competition challenged shooters’ speed and accuracy using barricades, alternative positions, and timed events. It did not take long for the match to gain popularity among the shooting community with many top shooters attending from all over the world year after year.

 

Action Target at the 2012 Bianchi Cup

Action Target recently completed one more year as the official target sponsor of the Midway USA & NRA Bianchi Cup. The National Action Pistol Championship, now in its 33rd year, was held in Columbia, MO, and featured many of the world’s top shooters competing for the prestigious cup. Action Target provided products and services again this year to ensure the range was in top operating condition.

“The Bianchi Cup is unique from other shooting competitions because it uses turning targets and other target systems a bit more advanced than you would normally see at a competition,” said David Mathis, Director of Marketing for Action Target. “Those systems are what we specialize in at Action Target, so working with the NRA to support this match is something we are proud to do each year.”

The Green Valley Rifle and Pistol Club (formerly the Chapman Academy) has hosted the Bianchi Cup every year since its inception and has used Action Target products and systems for nearly 20 years. This year, Action Target added new target clamps to speed up changing targets and provided maintenance for all of the range’s target systems. The Green Valley Rifle and Pistol Club also offered a practice range, separate from the main range, where competitors could arrive early to check their equipment and practice for the match. Action Target provided plate racks and paint for competitors to use as they warmed up on the practice range.

Founded in 1979 by law enforcement veteran and holster innovator John Bianchi, the Bianchi Cup began as a shooting competition designed to test law enforcement officers’ skill with a pistol. The competition challenged shooters’ speed and accuracy using barricades, alternative positions, and timed events. It did not take long for the match to gain popularity among the shooting community with many top shooters attending from all over the world.

The Midway USA & NRA Bianchi Cup features four different matches shooters can compete in: The Practical, The Barricade, The Moving Target, and The Falling Plate events. Shots are fired from 10 yards up to 50 yards with the shooters’ scores determined by their accuracy on each target. The shooters’ final scores are the sum of their scores for all four matches. This year 237 shooters competed for the national title with the Bianchi Cup going to Doug Koenig, who has won it a record 14 times.

In addition to being the official target sponsor, Action Target is also the sponsor for the women’s championship, won this year by Julie Golob for the third time.

Three of Action Target’s staff also participated by shooting in the competition. David Mathis, Mike Stilwell, and Chris Hart competed more for bragging rights around the office than to win a national title with Mathis coming out ahead.

Action Target to Exhibit at April’s NRA Convention

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

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

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

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

Action Target and the NRA Continue Long-Lasting Relationship

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

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

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

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

Action Target at the Bianchi Cup

Action Target, Inc. recently upgraded the target systems used at this year’s NRA/Midway USA Bianchi Cup match range in Columbia, MO. This year’s upgrade was completed as part of Action Target’s sponsorship of this prestigious championship, preserving the long standing relationship Action Target has with this event.

Nearly 20 years ago, Action Target’s Co-Founder, Addison Sovine, traveled to the Bianchi Cup to install new target systems at the Chapman Academy Ranges. Since then, Action Target equipment has powered all the range systems for this event.

“I remember when we first arrived at the range, Ray Chapman took a look at what we were doing and you could tell he was a bit skeptical,” said Sovine, recounting his first year at the Bianchi Cup. “But by the end of the week, everything had worked great, Ray was convinced, and he and I became good friends.”

Even though Green Valley Rifle & Pistol Club has taken over range operations, Action Target continues to provide the target systems for both the range and the Bianchi Cup. This year, Action Target upgraded the turning target systems on the Practical and Barricade ranges by including a new control system that retains compatibility with the previous shot-timer controls while adding the option of computer or wireless controls for the future.

Action Target also manufactured new steel plates for the Falling Plate and Colt Speed events. They also upgraded the control system for the Falling Plate event. This event was controlled by a computer for the first time this year.

In addition to the main event ranges, Action Target provided a new Reactive Target System (RTS) to the Bushmaster Tactical Carbine side match and new portable plate racks to the Bianchi Cup Practice Range. RTS targets are designed from a self-healing polymer capable of receiving several thousand rounds each and also features an electronic scoring system to record hits on each of the targets.

“It’s been a great privilege for us to be involved with the Bianchi Cup. This is one of the longest running championships in the shooting world and Action Target is honored to be able to add our name to the list of organizations that support and sponsor the match,” stated attendee David Mathis, Director of Marketing at Action Target. “The match has operated with Action Target systems for years and we plan to continue our support to keep the Bianchi Cup going for many years to come.”

In addition to being the official target sponsor of this year’s match, Action Target also sponsored the Women’s Award with Jessie Abbate winning the Women’s Championship.

Dave Mathis and Jessie Abbate
Director of Marketing for Action Target, Inc. David Mathis with the 2011 Women’s Champion, Jessie Abbate.

Action Target at the 2011 Bianchi Cup

2011 Bianchi Cup Logo

Action Target is proud to support and sponsor this year’s 2011 MidwayUSA/NRA Bianchi Cup. For the past 25 years, Action Target has sponsored and provided target equipment for firearms competitions across the U.S. and throughout the world. Action Target equipment has been used at the Bianchi Cup for over 20 years and we are proud to be expanding that role and are pleased to continue to support this event.

The Bianchi Cup began as a law enforcement training match in 1979. It was created by former police officer John Bianchi of Bianchi International, the holster manufacturing company. Ray Chapman worked with John and developed this world-class event. Action Target worked with Ray at his facility to provide a target system fit to meet the needs of the cup in the late 80’s. Over the years, this event has brought together shooters from all over the world. Last year’s competitors came from Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Netherlands, Switzerland, and the United States.

The 2011 Bianchi Cup is a competition of speed and accuracy. This year’s awards include the World Famous Silver Bianchi Cup and Division Champion Trophy Cups for the Metallic and Production Division. Class awards are awarded to various categories including High Law Enforcement, High Woman, High Junior, High International, High Newcomer, High Senior, High Grand Senior, High Service, High Semi-Auto, High Revolver, and Aggregate.

The Course of Fire consists of four separate matches:

  • The Practical Event: From the appropriate shooting line, the shooter fires at distances of 10 to 50 yards under varying time limits.
  • The Barricade Event: From within shooting boxes and behind barricades, a shooter fires at targets on either side of the barricade under varying time limits and distances.
  • The Falling Plate Event: From the appropriate shooting line, the shooter fires at 8 inch round steel plates arranged in banks of six at distances of 10 to 25 yards under varying time limits.
  • The Moving Target Event: From within shooting boxes at distances ranging from 10 to 25 yards, the shooter fires at a target moving from left to right, with the target being exposed for only six seconds.

Throughout all matches, competitors shoot from standing and prone positions and are required to shoot with both strong and weak hands at various stages.

The 2011 competition runs from May 25th through May 28th in Columbia, MO. To assist new shooters in their first attempt for the Bianchi Cup, a Newcomer Orientation will be held at the Competitors’ Meeting, also attended by former and current champions and the Match Staff.

To help during these tough economic times, we have instituted a lower entry cost and a “bring a buddy” option. If a competitor brings a friend who has never competed in the Bianchi Cup before, each competitor receives a reduced entry fee. We have also reduced fees for juniors, production firearms, active duty military, and those who register early.

For more information about the 2011 MidwayUSA/NRA Bianchi Cup or to compete, please visit the NRAhq website.