Tag: training

Team Building Concepts: Training Exercises That Will Bring Your Team Together

BY SGT. BRIAN C. SMITH

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in S.W.A.T. magazine in September 1999. The views in this article are the author’s own and don’t necessarily represent those of Action Target, Inc.

Over the years, I have trained many police and private security officers in tactical-team operations. I find that the most difficult phase of the training class is the beginning, where I stress teamwork to a group of individuals who are reluctant to cooperate during the first phase of training. This can be due to a lack of familiarity with the other participants in the class, a lack of experience with team concepts, or individual ego problems.

When the topic of teamwork comes up, my first thought, like that of most other people, is of athletic teams, such as basketball and football. My conceptualization of exactly what a team is became somewhat more enlightened when, recently, I watched a team of fire department paramedics work frantically to treat a gunshot victim on a police call that I responded to. The medical jargon, coordination, and smooth choreography of their actions while using their emergency equipment, were a strong indication that they had practiced this scenario before. This incident prompted me to inquire about how often firefighters from several different fire departments trained together to prepare for a crisis. To my surprise, they trained as a team more often than the patrol division of the police department in my area. At the police agency where I’m employed, a five-minute roll call is not sufficient time to discuss topics of survival or practice a tactical scenario that the officer might encounter during his tour.

I also recently attended a circus with my two-year old daughter and watched the high-wire event, where an acrobatic team of four balanced themselves on one bicycle and rode on a tightrope from one platform to another without a mishap. This feat could not have been accomplished without many hours of practicing together as a team, bringing all the principles of teamwork into play. These principles are referred to as The Three C’s: Communication, Coordination, and Cooperation.

Our team’s philosophy of team-building, attempts to phase out the individual mind-set and bring all the members of the team together as one to complete a difficult task. The team members must have confidence that each member will do his part in any given assignment. Each member must know his individual responsibility and what is expected of him in order to perform the task successfully.

Communication is extremely important; a team, organization, or group cannot operate efficiently without communication. This can take the form of verbal or written communication, hand signals, or facial expressions, and must be comprehended by everyone involved to be effective. Coordination follows when each person is assigned a responsibility and performs when expected to. Cooperation is the final step in this team-concept triad. Here, everyone involved is willing to perform and participate.

Discipline is another concept that helps develop team camaraderie during the introduction of the class. A series of guidelines is presented to the group, along with the degree of discipline the group will endure as a whole. In our tactical-team training class, violation of any stipulation in the guidelines would result in a maximum of five push-ups, depending on the severity of the violation.

It’s inevitable that, at some point, someone in the group will commit an infraction for any number of reasons, and, as the group is subject to serving its punishment, one can see the camaraderie developing and the group coming together as a team.

Provided in this article is a low-cost program of team-building events that has proved effective and beneficial in our tactical-team training. It has also been helpful for other types of groups that aim to create a team mind-set among their members, and can, likewise, do the same for your team. The objective of these exercises is to enhance planning, coordination, and communication. This will also create confidence and trust among team members and is what makes the difference between a mere group of individuals and a real team.

LIVE-WIRE EVENT

  • Details: Must get the entire team inside the three-sided structure without touching the ropes or poles. Once inside the structure, the entire team must exit again without touching the structure.
  • Penalty: If any team member touches any part of the structure, the team must start the entire exercise from the beginning.
  • Equipment: Rope, dowel rods, and tent stakes. Structure is in a triangular formation.

CONFIDENCE FALL

  • Details: A member stands on a ladder or platform at an estimated height of four feet. The remaining members must form a human net to catch the person falling backward. Note: the faller must put his hands in his trouser pickets, as a safety precaution, to prevent members of the human net from being struck in the face during the fall. The faller must alert the human net when he is ready to start so that they are prepared to catch him. The participants should be advised not to make jokes about not catching the faller due to the anxiety this creates. Such negative comments could prove to be counterproductive.
  • Penalty: If the faller bends at the waist as he falls, this reflects a lack of confidence and trust in the team, they must repeat the exercise.
  • Equipment: Stepladder or stationary platform.

BLINDMAN’S SOCCER

  • Details: The group is divided into two teams, which are distinguished by colored bandannas; these are also used as blindfolds. One member is selected from each of the two teams to post as the blindfolded player, and one member from the same team is designated to give voice commands for the player to follow on where to kick the ball.
  • Penalty: Player must remain blindfolded while the exercise is in session or forfeits the game.
  • Equipment: Soccer ball or equivalent and bandannas of two different colors to blindfold the players.

LOG MOVEMENT

  • Details: With a regimented effort, the team must move an eight-foot, 4″x 4″ wood beam with 16 feet of heavy rope that is tied at both ends of the beam. This exercise cannot be completed until the team comes together as one, which sometimes takes a while. You will witness frustration at the start of this event. The maximum number of members on a beam is ten; the minimum is four. Each member faces the same direction with the same foot resting on the beam, and the rope must rest over the same shoulder. The members must move the beam a distance of 75 feet without their hands, then, on command of the instructor, switch positions, facing the opposite direction with the opposite foot on the beam and the rope resting on the opposite shoulder. The team then proceeds back to the starting point.
  • Penalty: Should any member’s foot come off the beam or the rope come off the shoulder, the team must return to the starting point.
  • Equipment: One eight-foot 4″ x 4″ wood beam per ten people and one 16 foot rope per team.

BALANCE-BEAM SHUFFLE

  • Details: Six to eight members line up randomly on a eight-foot, 6″x 6″ wood beam or railroad tie. Each person faces in the opposite direction of the person beside him. Without verbal communication or stepping off the beam, the members are to determine who’s the oldest and youngest, then maneuver their positions so that the oldest person is at a designated end of the beam, with the younger members following in sequence to the opposite end.
  • Penalty: If any member’s foot touches the ground or if he makes any verbal sounds, all team members must stop and return to their original positions.
  • Equipment: One eight-foot, 6″x 6″ wood beam or a railroad tie per six to eight team members.

BLINDMAN’S FORMATION LINE

  • Details: The team is instructed to line up and sound off in numerical order. An area, such as a wall or fences, is designated as the starting point, where the team is to line up in sequence perpendicular to the starting point in the same numerical order. The members are blindfolded and spread out, then given the command to start. Without verbal communication, the members are to find the starting point and then line up in order. The first attempt will appear chaotic, but if the team is allowed to orchestrate a plan just prior to the second attempt, this exercise will appear a lot less complicated.
  • Penalty: If any verbal comments are made or if anyone removes his blindfold, the exercise is stopped and resumed from the beginning.
  • Equipment: Cloth bandannas to use as blindfolds.

BLINDMAN’S CONFIDENCE RUN

  • Details: One member is blindfolded and positioned to run toward a fixed structure (such as a wall or fence) from a distance of approximately 50 feet. The remaining team members are to line up in front of the structure to catch the runner and prevent the runner from colliding with the structure. No verbal sounds are to be made by the team so that the runner isn’t able to judge distance when approaching the structure.
  • Penalty: If the runner slows down prior to approaching the structure, this indicates a lack of trust or confidence in the team, and the exercise must be repeated.
  • Equipment: One bandanna to blindfold the runner.

About the Author

Captain Brian C. Smith is a 28-year veteran of the Chicago Heights Police Department and is currently serving as Commander of Training and Special Operations. He has 21 instructor certifications and four armorer certifications. Captain Smith has an associate degree in law enforcement from Thornton Community College and graduated from tile 184th session of the FBI National Academy. He is member of the Illinois Tactical Officers Association, National Tactical Officer Association, ASLET, IALEF, and the American Federation of Police and Concerned Citizens, where he serves as Chairman of the Survival Tactics Committee.

—————-

LETC 2012

For over 20 years, Action Target has been holding the Law Enforcement Training Camp (LETC) to help law enforcement departments across the nation get the quality firearms training they need and deserve. This year’s LETC will be held September 10-14 in Utah County.

The registration form for LETC can be found at http://www.actiontarget.com/calendar under the “More Info” column for Sept. 10-14. Instructions on how to submit your registration can be found at the bottom of page.

Registration will be reserved for the first 160 applicants, so apply today!

 

Click to watch highlights from LETC 2011.

Action Target Reveals First Reactive Steel Target Under $50: The Spinning Jack

You asked for it, so we’re giving it to you: our first reactive steel target under $50. The Spinning Jack is the perfect target for recreational shooters and families, and at the super low price of $35, it’s affordable on almost any budget.

A great portable steel target for shooting with the whole family! The Spinning Jack combines the simplicity of a static target with the excitement of a reactive target and is guaranteed to provide hours of fun.

The Spinning Jack is a safe way to enjoy shooting with the family without having to go down range to reset or replace your target. With alternating circle and square plates, the jack spins in its stand when shot so there is always an exposed paddle to engage. Made of 1/4″ AR500 armor steel, the Spinning Jack can be shot with anything from .22 rimfire to .44 magnum.

The Spinning Jack comes in three pieces with no assembly needed. Using the provided foot step, pushing the frame into the ground is easy and doesn’t require the use of a hammer. Once in the ground, all that’s left to do is place the jack in the hole at the top of the stand and watch it spin with each hit.

Get your Spinning Jack now!

These Girls Wanted a Fighting Chance

By Captain Brian C. Smith

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in The Chief of Police, Volume XIX. The views in this article are the author’s own and don’t necessarily represent those of Action Target, Inc.

A good friend, Deputy Gloria Anderson of the Cook County Sheriff’s Police Department, who is aware of my background in firearms training, expressed on several occasions about several of her female co-workers who were experiencing difficulties in passing their departmental service weapon range qualification. During one of these conversations, when the topic arose, I began to pry into some of the problems the female co-workers were experiencing with their weapons and departmental qualifications. I later determined that it appears the problem of the ladies in mention, may be a fear of their weapon due to lack of familiarization.

I extended an offer for the female deputies to attend a class that was designed and developed for shooters to become more familiar with their weapons, whether it’s their duty or off-duty weapon. This course was developed for the Chicago Heights Police Department, during that period of time in the mid 1990’s, when former United States President William Clinton signed the bill that proposed to increase the population of police officers nationwide by 100,000. On a local level, our agency’s sworn personnel had increased by 25 percent with a constant flow of turnover of police officers leaving other police agencies to join our agency and vice-versa. Our police personnel were leaving this department to seek better job opportunities and all the police agencies in our area were experiencing the same problem.

Our agency’s rules and regulations specified what weapons were approved for duty and off duty carry. Therefore, police officers from other agencies that were seeking employment with the Chicago Heights Police Department that were sworn in to serve on this police department must adhere to the current weapons policy and could only carry the two weapon manufacturers that we’re specified.

That’s why this eight-hour course was designed to familiarize the newly appointed police officer with the operations of his/her weapon, if they had to trade or purchase a weapon that would meet department specification. This course would allow a newly appointed police officer transitioning from another police agency to participate with their new firearm and challenge the many scenarios that the course had to offer and to familiarize themselves with their weapon.

Deputy Anderson organized a group of female police officers to participate in the class with hopes that the females would be more familiar with their firearm and overcome their fears. The class was scheduled for October 15, 2005, at the Harvey Police Department outdoor range. The women who reported to the range were all seasoned veterans and displayed an attitude, a degree of cockiness, and at the same time somewhat apprehensive because of not knowing what to expect. The female officers were from Cook County Sheriff’s Police, Markham Police, and the Federal Reserve’s Bank Police. The class was briefed of the overall class itinerary, along with range rules and expectations.

These expectations included our philosophy on a military style of regiment discipline in the class where any infractions that occurred on the range will result in penalties and the shooters as a class must suffer the punishment of three push-ups per penalty. Once the logistics were covered and the shooters’ equipment was inspected, the class proceeded to the firing line. The class is titled SURVIVAL SHOOTING TACTICS FOR ARMED CONFRONTATIONS, where each shooter is expected to bring approximately 300 rounds and anticipate getting dirty by shooting in a variety of shooting positions.

The class started by practicing reloading drills with dummy rounds and later progressed to live fire. Then after a series of live fire exercises, where the shooters were directed to reload quickly, some shooters were still reloading with nonchalant attitudes. The class then progressed to the next stage of a dueling drill where each shooter stood ten feet apart and was armed with “Simunitions”—converted semi-auto pistols with empty magazines in the weapons with one magazine loaded with one “Simunition” round and placed in the shooter’s mag pouch. The shooters were wearing paintball masks for safety, when on the command; the shooters faced each other, reloaded quickly to shoot their opponent before being shot.

During this drill, the feedback from the class was they now understood the importance of the quick reload and this drill began the humbling process among the women and the attitudes and their resistance began to diminish. We estimated that by the conclusion of the class, the group must have performed approximately 60 pushup for the penalties committed by the class members. Also at the conclusion of the class, the female officers openly admitted that prior to attending this class, that they thought they were familiar with their weapons. They also expressed that they now realized that their departmental qualification is only to test their accuracy in achieving a qualifying score for department records, which does not prepare them to shoot under stress or manipulate the weapon under stress or challenge themselves in job related scenarios.

The female officers were very appreciative and expressed a desire to establish an advanced class to further challenge and enhance their skills. It was a fulfilling moment to witness the women during the pushups and challenges that we put forth to members of this class, that this training may save their lives. They left the class enlightened, humbled, and confident in what they had achieved this date.

About the Author

Captain Brian C. Smith is a 28-year veteran of the Chicago Heights Police Department and is currently serving as Commander of Training and Special Operations. He has 21 instructor certifications and four armorer certifications. Captain Smith has an associate degree in law enforcement from Thornton Community College and graduated from tile 184th session of the FBI National Academy. He is member of the Illinois Tactical Officers Association, National Tactical Officer Association, ASLET, IALEF, and the American Federation of Police and Concerned Citizens, where he serves as Chairman of the Survival Tactics Committee.

 

Action Target Steel vs. Backyard Targets

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

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

Steel is Steel Right?

Action Target Line of Fire Static Steel

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

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

Action Target Steel Target Design

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

Our target designs include:

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

Pay Today, Save Tomorrow

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

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

The Timeless Debate: Law Enforcement Use of Range Facilities?

Range owners who are preparing for a new build must consider every possible revenue stream since it is their responsibility to ensure the range is profitable. During this process, many range owners believe they will be able to entice local law enforcement into using their training facilities and have this be a major source of revenue. This timeless debate–whether or not a relationship with the local law enforcement should be a major part of a range’s business plan–should be carefully considered before embarking on range construction.

AT Firearms ProficiencyThe main thing to remember when considering whether or not to form an engagement with law enforcement is “don’t assume anything.” While developing a business plan, if it is assumed that law enforcement will participate in the range’s program and will, therefore, help the financial plan of the facility, firm commitments must be made. Even if an owner has a good relationship with the local law enforcement, commitments should be put in writing so they become binding. Keep in mind that typically, a law enforcement agency cannot give a firm commitment to a facility that is in the process of construction, so range owners must understand that they take upon themselves this risk until a written agreement can be met.

However, if for some reason a range is lucky enough to be an exception to these common procedures and a binding engagement with law enforcement is formed, the build must include the installation of turning target systems. Turning target systems are imperative due to the fact that most law enforcement agencies require officers to qualify on a timed course that has the ability to turn targets from edge to face in a set amount of time.

Another consideration while planning should be the total cost of the range facility. Range owners must take into account the maintenance, service, utilities, and other expenses that are associated with the upkeep of the facility. Experience shows that these many expenses, in addition to the increased expense required to enable law enforcement to use the range, often render it unprofitable for the range to contract with law enforcement. Now, this is not to say that a range shouldn’t support local law enforcement, but what a range owner must realize from the very beginning is that the business plan should not be structured around an agency. Generally speaking, law enforcement use is not a viable solution in a business model.

Lastly, always remember that there is a crossover point on the return on investment compared to the operating costs and the potential income. One of the greatest values of the range is when it is used as a marketing and sales tool for a quality store. Both need to work as a team in order for them to reach their maximum potential. Range operations can seldom stand on their own on an indoor range complex and law enforcement can seldom be included as a key contributor in the range’s business plan.

Before beginning your next project, speak with one of Action Target’s Territory Managers to ensure that your range is optimized for maximum performance and results.

LETC 2012: Advanced Firearms Training for Professionals

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

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

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

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

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

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

This year’s classes include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We hope to see you there!

Perfect Practice Makes Perfect (Part 2)

BY ABNER MIRANDA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About the Author

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

Perfect Practice Makes Perfect (Part 1)

BY ABNER MIRANDA

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

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

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

Practice Makes Permanent

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

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

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

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

About the Author

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

Raising Returns on the Range

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Action Target Produces Portable Target Course Book

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

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

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

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

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

Removing Roadblocks with the Action Target Academy

In 650 B.C., Archilochus said, “We don’t rise to the level of our expectations; we fall to the level of our training.” Although this saying is thousands of years old, it still holds true today. In a way, it governs Action Target in its training development.

Action Target Academy LogoAction Target developed the Action Target Academy (ATA) to provide world-class firearms and range development training to agencies and individuals throughout the country who have not had the opportunity to train with Action Target Portable Targets. The entire foundation of Action Target’s approach to firearms is embodied in the Action Target Academy. In today’s industry, there are many roadblocks to having successful firearms trainings, but ATA courses examine the challenges facing today’s firearms training requirements, shooting range management issues, and also demonstrates how using modern shooting range equipment helps alleviate roadblocks, creating safe and efficient firearm programs.

Action Target found recent success through their academy. Both the Phoenix Police Department and Maricopa County in Arizona invited Action Target to come and teach some of their firearms instructors. The course gave both law enforcement departments a chance to experience a full line of portable targets under various scenarios that tested and evaluated their combat shooting skills. In addition to learning how Action Target Portable Targets can be used in everything, from basic marksmanship to advance combat tactics, both groups participated in live fire drills, creating a more realistic approach to training. More importantly, they learned how easy designing an effective job-related firearms training scenario can be. ATA realistic training scenarios prepares shooters for the real thing and also allows participants to mirror the psychological response of combat stress, helping them to define how they would engage in real life combat.

Host an Action Target Academy event and learn more about topics such as: the realities of today’s gunfight, qualifications versus training, legal and financial consequences of inadequate training, shooting range design, and equipment. To find out more about removing the obstacles keeping your agency from training as you would fight, please visit: http://www.actiontarget.com/shooting-academy or contact Richard Matthews at richardm@actiontarget.com.

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!

Remington Wins 2012 Action Target Safety Award at SHOT Show

Now in its sixth year, the Media Day at the Range is the biggest media event in the world for the hunting and shooting industry and Action Target has been a supporter from the beginning. The Action Target Safety Award was created to acknowledge the Media Day exhibitor that fostered the highest level of firearms safety during the shooting event. Receiving the only perfect score among 70 fellow exhibitors, Remington Arms earned this year’s Action Target Top Safety Award.

Tactical Innovations was hired by Media Day at the Range to develop a scorecard and provide eight safety auditors to judge the 70 plus shooting exhibitors. The score was determined by basic safety criteria such as providing hearing and eye protection, controlling ammo, and safe handling of firearms on the firing line. The scorecard also awarded points for higher levels of safety such as posting rules, having a first aid kit at the shooting station, having a shooting coach at the station, and other necessary safety procedures.

Remington Arms was awarded the trophy at the Action Target SHOT Show booth during the first day of SHOT Show 2012. Not only did Remington win the trophy and bragging rights, but they received $3,500 toward next year’s fees. Congratulations to Remington Arms for a job well done!

New Addition to The Action Target Journal

To Our Action Target Journal Readers:

We want to thank each of you for making 2011 a great year for Action Target. Over the last 26 years, Action Target has been proud to provide training equipment for the police, for the military, and for the sport shooting industry as a whole. We are thrilled by the success of our weekly newsletter, The Action Target Journal, which has now kept our law enforcement, military, and the general shooting industry informed for more than a year.

The goal of our weekly newsletter is to inform our loyal readers about the happenings and developments within the firearms industry. Due to the enormous success and participation in our newsletter and to better fulfill the needs of our readers, Action Target is proud to announce that starting March 2012, we will begin publishing two separate Action Target Journal newsletters each week.

Because our readership has grown to cover a diverse group of readers, having two weekly articles allows us to better meet the different needs of a greater number of our readers. One newsletter will focus on law enforcement news and events while the other focuses more on the sport shooting community. Both newsletters will continue to offer Steel Deals and readers are more than welcome to participate in both newsletters. We are confident the additional newsletter will continue to be beneficial in delivering timely and relevant articles to readers.

Again, thank you to everyone who has participated in the newsletter and has offered suggestions and input. We want you to know that we do listen and value your needs and opinions. If you have any comments or feedback regarding our exciting new newsletter addition, please contact us or post your comment to this article.

Sincerely,

Addison Sovine
Co-Founder
Action Target, Inc.

Law and Order (Part Two)

Written by Keith Mehlin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Law and Order (Part One)

Written by Keith Mehlin

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

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

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

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

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

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

Action Target Law and Order

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

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

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

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

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

(This article continues in next week’s newsletter)

The Head-Shot Cadence Drill

By Richard Mann

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Action Target Renovates Ohio Indoor Range

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

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

Action Target Gears Up for Shot Show 2011

ATTENTION LAW ENFORCEMENT:

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

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

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

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

Military Contact

Action Target's Military Contact Clay Smith

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

Law Enforcement Contacts

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

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

Contact Info for AT Chad Burdette

Action Target Announces New Training Schedule

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tactical Training Tips: Key Points for Instructors & Shooters

By Jeffrey Denning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Jeffrey Denning

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

Action Target Holds Successful LETC 2011

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

Dear Rick,

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

Sincerely,

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

Dear Action Target,

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

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

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

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

Respectfully Submitted,

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

Dear Mr. Matthews,

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

Sincerely,

Juan Lopez
Detective
Commerce City, CO

Rick Matthews,

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

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

Congratulations and well done.

S/Sgt. Mark Horsley
Patrol District 2

Vancouver, WA

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

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

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

by Jeffrey Denning

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

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

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

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

So here it goes.

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

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

So, how can we change our thinking and training?

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Jeffrey Denning

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

Shooting Steel Targets (Part 2)

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

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

Why are portable steel targets important?

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

Sight

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

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

Sound

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

Shoot More, Waste Less Time

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

If You Build It, They Will Come

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

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

The Muzzle-Discipline Solution

By John Krupa III & John Farnam

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About John Krupa III

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

About John Farnam

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

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

Identifying and Pursuing Funding Opportunities

by Ian A. Reeves, AIA | Vice President | Architects Design
and
Jean Pierre LeBlanc | Research Coordinator | Group Research Coordinator – Center for Public Safety

*This article first appeared in the Spring 2011 issue of Florida Police Chief Magazine and has been republished with their consent.

Editor’s Note: It seems as if anything related to firearms is controversial. If you want to sell, carry, train with, or build a shooting range, you will always be confronted with some type of challenge. Therefore, it is vital that when key information becomes available to help navigate the complexities and minutia of firearms-related issues, it be passed on through multiple mediums to further educate us all. We know this information is important and our subscribers would appreciate it, which is why Action Target has chosen to republish this article in our own weekly newsletter, The Action Target Journal.

One of the primary factors in the consideration of any new Law Enforcement or Public Safety facility is the necessity to identify a funding source, or as is true in most cases, a variety of funding sources. In essence, it is important to not only qualify a project’s spatial needs, but to also provide meaningful information as to how a project can be funded.

Assistance, in this regard, can generally be provided by City/County staff, either a Budget or Finance Director, or by City/County Administration. The more you can assist them in this endeavor, the greater are your chances to see your prospective project move forward.

While Federal grant funding has traditionally been rare for local facilities, the events of September 11th, coupled with the current economic expansion, created an environment which resulted in funds becoming available in a wide variety of locations. Many cities and counties, in that respect, have initiated studies in order to have appropriate documentation assembled for Federal grants. Additionally, they have contacted their respective legislative delegation members in order “to make their case.” Clearly, time becomes of the essence, as when Federal Funds become available, they will go to those that are prepared and who are situated in a geographically and politically important location.

Current Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) philosophy is patterned along these lines: If your community feels the need to support the premise of public safety, then it should be willing to provide the basic necessities for that to occur.

These basic necessities include:

  • Buildings to work from and house equipment
  • Manpower; in the form of either paid employees or volunteers
  • Vehicles/Specialized Equipment

While there are a multitude of potential funding sources, such as Development Impact Fees, General Obligation Bonds, Law Enforcement Trust Funds, Franchise Fees, and Federal Legislative Requests, this article focuses on Grants which can provide some funding for the development of new Law Enforcement/Public Safety Facilities. Below is an applicable outline, including links for more information. Several of these grant programs have closed for FY 2011, but are expected to be available for FY 2012. We suggest you begin planning now, as this process requires a strategic approach that takes time to develop.

1. State Homeland Security Program (SHSP)
Funding Agency: DHS, FEMA
Forecasted Deadline: Deadline has passed, but anticipate similar deadline of 4/2012
Total Estimated Funding Available in FY 2011: $890 million

Purpose: SHSP is a core assistance program contained within the overarching Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP). SHSP provides funds to build capabilities at the state, local, tribal, and territorial levels and to implement the goals and objectives included in state homeland security strategies and initiatives in their State Preparedness Report (SPR). Activities implemented under SHSP must support terrorism preparedness by building or enhancing capabilities that relate to the prevention from, or response to, and recovery from terrorism in order to be considered eligible.

Eligible Applicants: Applicants to SHSP are the designated State Administrative Agencies (SAAs) of each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and the Virgin Islands. Available funds are distributed to each state based upon the risk and effectiveness scores associated with each application and also on a minimum allocation consistent with the statutory formula set by the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007.

For More Information: http://www.fema.gov

2. Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI)
Funding Agency: DHS, FEMA
Forecast Deadline: Deadline has passed, but anticipate similar deadline of 4/2012
Total Estimated Funding Available in FY 2011: $930 million

Purpose: The FY10 UASI program focused on enhancing regional preparedness in 64 major metropolitan areas, and the list of areas is expected to remain relatively unchanged in 2011. The UASI program directly supports expanding regional collaboration in the National Preparedness Guidelines and is intended to assist participating jurisdictions in developing integrated regional systems for prevention, protection, response, and recovery. In 2010, DHS elevated three previous Tier II areas to Tier I (Boston, Philadelphia, Houston, and the Dallas/Fort Worth/Arlington Area), bringing the Tier I area list to 10, and added two new areas (Bakersfield, Calif., and Omaha, Neb.) to Tier II.

Eligible Applicants: Applicants to UASI are the designated SAAs of each state/territory containing a UASI Area. Eligible area candidates for the UASI program are determined through an analysis of relative risk of terrorism faced by the 100 most populous metropolitan statistical areas in the United States, and funds are allocated to each area based on risk analysis and the anticipated effectiveness of proposed investments by the applicants. Similar to previous years, the FY11 program is expected to direct approximately $598 million, or 63 percent of the total funding, to the 10 highest risk urban areas (Tier I), and the remaining urban areas (Tier II) will receive approximately $352 million.

For More Information: http://www.fema.gov/government/grant/uasi/index.shtm

3. Emergency Operations Center Grant Program (EOC)
Funding Agency: DHS, FEMA
Forecast Deadline: Deadline has passed, but anticipate similar deadline of 2/2012
Total Estimated Funding Available in FY 2011: $31.5 million

Purpose: The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Grant Program is intended to improve emergency management and preparedness capabilities by supporting flexible, sustainable, secure, and interoperable EOCs with a focus on addressing identified deficiencies and needs. Funding is intended for construction or renovation of a state, local, or tribal government’s principal EOC. Similar to FY10, it is expected that if EOC receives funding in FY11, a portion will be allocated via congressionally directed spending (earmark) and the remainder competitively awarded.

Eligible Applicants: SAAs apply for EOC funding on behalf of eligible state, local, and tribal EOCs.

For More Information: http://www.fema.gov/government/grant/eoc/index.shtm

4. Interoperable Emergency Communications Grant Program (IECGP)
Funding Agency: DHS, FEMA
Forecasted Deadline: Deadline has passed, but anticipate similar deadline of 2/2012
Total Estimated Funding Available in FY 2011: $50 million

Purpose:
IECGP provides funding to states, territories, local, and tribal governments to carry out initiatives to improve interoperable emergency communications. All activities proposed under IECGP must be integral to interoperable emergency communications and must be aligned with the goals, objectives, and/or initiatives identified in the grantee’s approved Statewide Communication Interoperability Plan (SCIP). If an SAA and SCIP certify that its state or territory has fulfilled its SCIP’s governance, planning, training, and exercise objectives, the program provides the flexibility to purchase interoperable communications equipment with any remaining IECGP funds.

Eligibility: All 56 states and territories are eligible to apply for IECGP funds. SAAs are responsible for the administration of this program. SAAs are required to coordinate with the Statewide Interoperability Coordinator (SWIC) and/or SCIP point of contact to ensure IECGP program requirements are met. The SAA must obligate 80 percent of the funds awarded under the IECGP to local/tribal governments within 45 days of receipt of the funds.

For More Information: http://www.fema.gov/government/grant/iecgp/index.shtm

5. Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) Grants
Funding Agency: DHS, FEMA
Forecasted Deadline: 12/01/2011
Total Estimated Funding Available in FY 2011: $75 million

Purpose: PDM is one of the FEMA Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) programs. Hazard mitigation is any sustained action taken to reduce or eliminate long-term risk to people and property from natural hazards and their effects. The PDM program provides funds to states, territories, federally recognized Indian tribal governments, and communities for hazard mitigation planning and the implementation of mitigation projects prior to a disaster event.

Eligible Applicants: The state emergency management agency or a similar office (i.e., the office that has primary emergency management or floodplain management responsibility) of each state, the District of Columbia, the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and federally recognized Indian tribal governments are eligible to apply. Each state, territory, or tribal government designates one agency to serve as the applicant for each HMA program.

For More Information: http://www.fema.gov/government/grant/pdm/index.shtm

6. HMGP – Hazard Mitigation Grant Program
Funding Agency: FEMA/DHS
Forecasted Deadline: 12/01/2011
Total Estimated Funding Available in FY 2011: $23 million
Purpose: Authorized under Section 404 of the Stafford Act, the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) provides grants to States and local governments to implement long-term hazard mitigation measures after a major disaster declaration. The purpose of the program is to reduce the loss of life and property due to natural disasters and to enable mitigation measures to be implemented during the immediate recovery from a disaster declaration.

Eligible Applicants: The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funding is only available in States following a Presidential disaster declaration. Eligible applicants are: State and local governments, Indian tribes or other tribal organizations, and certain private non-profit organizations. Individual homeowners and businesses may not apply directly to the program; however, a community may apply on their behalf. HMGP funds may be used to fund projects that will reduce or eliminate the losses from future disasters. Projects must provide a long-term solution to a problem, for example, elevation of a home to reduce the risk of flood damages as opposed to buying sandbags and pumps to fight the flood. In addition, a project’s potential savings must be more than the cost of implementing the project. Funds may be used to protect either public or private property or to purchase property that has been subjected to, or is in danger of, repetitive damage.

For More Information: http://www.fema.gov/government/grant/hmgp/index.shtm

7. CDBG – Community Development Block Grants
Funding Agency: DOA (Department of Agriculture)
Forecasted Deadline: 12/01/2011
Total Estimated Funding Available in FY 2011: $3.804 billion

Purpose: The CDBG funds may be used for activities which include, but are not limited to: acquisition of real property, relocation and demolition, rehabilitation of residential and non-residential structures, construction of public facilities and improvements, such as water and sewer facilities, streets, neighborhood centers, and the conversion of school buildings for eligible purposes, public services, within certain limits, activities relating to energy conservation, and renewable energy resources.

Eligible Applicants: Principal cities of Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA’s), other metropolitan cities with populations of at least 50,000, and qualified urban counties with populations of at least 200,000 (excluding the population of entitled cities) are entitled to receive annual grants. HUD determines the amount of each entitlement grant by a statutory dual formula which uses several objective measures of community needs, including the extent of poverty, population, housing overcrowding, age of housing and population growth lag in relationship to other metropolitan areas.

For more Information: http://www.hud.gov/offices/cpd/communitydevelopment/programs/

8. USDA – Rural Facilities Block Grant Program
Funding Agency: DOA
Forecasted Deadline: 12/01/2011
Total Estimated Funding Available in FY 2011: $25 million

Purpose: The Community Facilities Grant Program is typically used to fund projects under special initiatives, such as Native American community development efforts, child care centers linked with the Federal government’s Welfare-to-Work initiative, Federally-designated Enterprise and Champion Communities, and the Northwest Economic Adjustment Initiative area. In most cases, grantees are able to leverage Community Facility funds with private and state dollars to enable completion of more construction than might have otherwise been possible.

Eligible Applicants: Community Programs provides grants to assist in the development of essential community facilities in rural areas and towns of up to 20,000 in population. Grants are authorized on a graduated scale. Applicants located in small communities with low populations and low incomes will receive a higher percentage of grants. Grants are available to public entities such as municipalities, counties, and special-purpose districts, as well as non-profit corporations and tribal governments. In addition, applicants must have the legal authority necessary for construction, operation, and maintenance of the proposed facility and also be unable to obtain needed funds from commercial sources at reasonable rates and terms. Regarding Essential Community Facilities, the USDA Rural Development Community Programs has invested $1.2 billion in rural communities. Of the $1.2 billion in the loan portfolio, 33% was invested in rural health care, 12% in public services, 27% in public safety, 9% in cultural and educational facilities, and 4% in transportation services.

For More Information: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/HCF_CF.html

10 Tips for Getting More Grants
Source: Homeland Security Today
1.    Learn as much as possible about each program to which you intend to apply.
2.    Involve others in your project but be judicious-have a purpose for their involvement.
3.    Customize each proposal to the requirements of the funder.
4.    Include only support letters that demonstrate a real commitment on the part of the sender.
5.    Get reviewers’ comments for rejected proposals and use their feedback in future proposals.
6.    Make grant seeking part of your agency’s strategy–don’t put all your eggs in one basket and look for funding from only a single program.
7.    Be specific in your budget–most foundations have generous allowances for budget length.
8.    Don’t include materials other than those specifically requested by the funder.
9.    Have an outsider edit your proposal before you submit it.
10.    Follow the funding guidance meticulously.

“New Age” Strategy
There are a number of things you can do to properly cope with these new challenges:

  • Re-educate yourselves and your governing bodies to the new landscape that exists regarding federal funding.
  • Do the research and learn what is available now for you to consider.
  • Learn what the grants will or will not fund. Look at past grants to see what they funded in previous years, and match your needs to those programs.
  • Set aside local match monies so that you can apply and more importantly, accept an award when you are offered a grant contract.
  • Adjust your budgets to eliminate using your own funding for items that grants will supply and then re-invest those monies into capital investment funds that are managed by professional money managers. This will allow you to have a 10 year replacement program for vehicles, building improvements etc. and will let you take advantage of the miracle of compound interest.
  • Stop procrastinating and quit “bellyaching” about what the other guy got and figure out what you need to do to get what you need.
  • Apply! Grants are like the lotto-you can’t win if you don’t play!

While grants can provide the “seed” money to get a project initiated, very rarely will it provide necessary to complete construction of a project. There are a multiple of other funding options that should be considered for, as we know, there is not a singular source of revenue that represents a “silver bullet.”

ADG and CPS take pride in assisting our clients and colleagues in the Public Safety Community with pursuing and achieving supplemental funding for their projects. Please consider us as a resource in your pursuits of launching these important projects.

Biographies

Ian A. Reeves, AIA is the Law Enforcement Design Specialist for Architects Design Group (ADG). Mr. Reeves received his Bachelor of Architecture from the University of New Mexico and a Master of Architecture from the University of Florida. He has dedicated his architecture career to Public Safety facility design, was the project manager for the recently completed Sarasota Police Department Headquarters and the Sanford Public Safety Facility, and has served as project manager for numerous other projects among the last ten years. Mr. Reeves is a graduate of the City of Winter Parks Citizen Police Academy and the Orange County Citizens Sheriff Academy. He is a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police Chiefs, the Florida Police Chief’s Association, and the International CPTED Association.

Jean Pierre LeBlanc joined the Center for Public Safety (CPS) as the grants researcher and coordinator. He brings a unique skill set to CPS, able to blend his years of private sector business leadership experience while working with federal government agencies. His area of expertise focuses on research and knowledge in the field of public safety grants at the state regional and federal levels for law enforcement, fire service, emergency communications, and dispatch clients. Mr. LeBlanc tracks a multitude of grants and works with ADG and CPS clients to assist them in grant awareness, applications, and management.

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

Rangemaster of the Quarter – Nicholas Roberts

We were astonished at the number of submissions we received for our Rangemaster of the Quarter award. After careful consideration, Action Target is pleased to announce that Nicholas Roberts of the Unified Police Department of Greater Salt Lake, UT has been selected as Action Target’s National Rangemaster of the Quarter for Q2-2011.

The National Rangemaster of the Quarter program obtains feedback about individuals worthy of consideration from the Action Target staff, but most importantly, from other Rangemasters. These peers have a deep knowledge of the individuals being considered and play a significant role in Action Target’s selection process.

Rangemaster Roberts has been an active member of law enforcement for over 32 years and currently serves as Rangemaster for the Office of the Sheriff of Salt Lake County and the Unified Police Department of Greater Salt Lake, UT. He oversees all firearms-related training for the following organizations:

  • Unified Police
  • Protective Services Officers of Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office
  • All the weapons-certified Corrections Officers for the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office

He has also provided instruction to the following:

  • 3rd District Court Judges and Juvenile Court Judges
  • Salt Lake County Fire Department
  • Salt Lake City Division of the F.B.I.
  • Union Pacific Railroad Police
  • Salt Lake City Airport Authority Police
  • 625th Military Police Company of the Utah National Guard
  • West Valley City Police SWAT team
  • U.S. Army Special Forces
  • Weber County Sheriff’s Office
  • U.S. Coast Guard Unit small arms training program.
  • Firearm instructors and armorers for other outside law enforcement agencies

Captain Kendra L. Herlin of the Unified Police Department and the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office stated, “Rangemaster Roberts is a very proud member of the Unified Police Department and the office of the Sheriff of Salt Lake County. He represents the departments well and is a fine example of a member who has dedicated his career to public service. His passion for safety and exceptional ability for all those who train under his direction is unmatched anywhere.”

Rangemaster Roberts began his service in this field as an armorer and firearms instructor in 1978 for the Riverton City Police Department. In 1989 he was transferred to the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office Firearms unit. In 1990 through 1993 Roberts was promoted to Corporal of the Firearms Unit and served as the Firearms Unit Supervisor from 1993 to 1996. He has served as the director of the Firearms Unit and Rangemaster since September of 1996. He graduated from Session 192 of the F.B.I. National Academy in March of 1998 and is a Master Instructor for Colt LLC, Sig Sauer, Pepper Ball Tec., and Security Equipment Corp. (Sabre). As such, he protects officers throughout the country by teaching all over the United States to increase the knowledge of armorers and instructors. Roberts is also a certified NRA Instructor and was invited to Israel where he trained with I.M.I. and Sturm Ruger to develop a new police carbine.

Rangemaster Roberts also serves on the National Institute of Justice TWG regarding body armor. He was selected to sit on this board when the failure of soft body armor occurred in 2002. Rangemaster Roberts was influential in the new standards for the NIJ 06 Body armor standard throughout the law enforcement community.

Rangemaster Roberts has benefited the Office, community and surrounding states by designing and building the first environmentally safe firearms range in Utah, and has been invited to teach at both the state and federal levels. He is responsible for donations of land and continued construction of new range facilities in Salt Lake County. Furthermore, he instituted new non-lethal weapons systems for the 2002 Winter Olympics that were later used in patrol functions.

Rangemaster Roberts has been recognized for his service and training by many citizen groups. Some of these groups and individuals include U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch, the Utah Law Enforcement Olympics, the Salt Lake City YWCA Battered Women’s Shelter, the Murray City Civil Service Commission, the Salt Lake City Downtown Alliance Board, and the Salt Lake Community Advisory Board.

Responsible for instituting training that exceeds the required legal standards of POST, Rangemaster Roberts also directs all personalized training not only on firearms, but other weapons as well. Recently, Rangemaster Roberts supervised the implementation of the training of additional firearms instructors to increase the number of instructors to trainee ratio.

With Rangemaster Robert’s extensive experience and training, he is commonly called upon as an expert witness in numerous firearms, OC, and Taser incidents involving police agencies. He has testified in front of city, county, state and federal courts. He is also considered an expert in these areas for development of new and better firearms and related products to increase the safety of officers in the field.

With such an impressive career, we want to congratulate Nicholas J. Roberts for being selected as the Q2-2011 Action Target National Rangemaster of the Quarter!

About the Rangemaster of the Quarter Program: Prior to launching this award program, Action Target spoke with many industry professionals to help establish aspects a nominee must have to qualify. Each nominee should have at least several of the following:

  • Lifetime of service/years of Service
  • Contributions to their department’s firearms training
  • Contributions to their region, state, and industry in firearms training
  • Changes to POST requirements
  • New/innovative training standards
  • New/innovative tactics
  • Expert witness testimony
  • Subject Matter Expert for firearms and/or training
  • Active resource for feedback on training, tactics, equipment, and standards
  • Partner to develop/modify equipment to enhance training effectiveness

This recognition program is not exclusive to law enforcement or Action Target customers. It is for Rangemasters of U.S. Military and Law Enforcement organizations in the U.S. Those selected for the award receive recognition in the Action Target weekly newsletter, the Action Target website, and travel to the Action Target main office to receive a personalized award.

If you would like to nominate a peer, first provide some preliminary information located at the Action Target Program Page. Second, send a letter written on your organization’s letterhead via email to Action Target’s National Rangemaster of the Quarter detailing your nomination’s qualifications and accomplishments. We look forward to getting more nominations for Quarter 3.

YouTube Training Videos with Rob Leatham

Action Target has recently released the first of five training videos on YouTube featuring world champion shooter Rob Leatham. The videos feature instruction from Rob and the drills he uses in his own training. Each video showcases a different type of steel target in Action Target’s Portable Target line.

The first video includes drills and skill demonstrations as Rob practices on the PT Plate Rack . The remaining four videos, to be released in the upcoming weeks, will emphasize how to train on other steel targets like the PT Static and PT Dueling Tree . This group of training videos was filmed at Rob’s home range located at the Rio Salado Sportsman’s Club in Mesa, AZ.Screen shot of Action Target's YouTube Channel

“The cool thing about these videos is that they are real training videos and not some promotional piece where we only talk about Action Target,” said David Mathis, Marketing Director at Action Target. “Rob shows you some of the drills he uses in his own practice, and explains the purpose and relevance of each one.”

Rob’s resume proves that these drills work. Rob began shooting in the late 70’s and soon became one of the top shooters to watch at local and national competitions. He currently holds 24 national titles, including five world titles and 16 consecutive years as the Single-Stack National Champion. A professional shooter for over 20 years, Rob currently shoots for Springfield Armory and Safariland. When Rob is not competing, he is a sought after firearms instructor for both law enforcement and military.

“Working with Rob on this was a great experience and it really showed his level of skill,” added Mathis. “Except for one or two drills later in the day when we were all hot and tired, each of the drills you see was shot in one take. Rob is just that good. And his level of understanding of the mechanics and what is going on while you are shooting matches his shooting ability.”

We are excited to bring this form of virtual firearms training to shooters around the world through the Action Target YouTube page. Whether viewed by a law enforcement officer, a casual shooter, or a serious competition shooter, these training videos are designed to help all shooters increase their skills when using a pistol.

Go to www.youtube.com/actiontarget to view the first training video with Rob. To receive updates on when other videos are released, visit the sign-up page for the free Action Target Journal newsletter or subscribe to the Action Target YouTube channel.

End of the Fiscal Year Drawing Near

With the end of this fiscal year right around the corner, now is the best time to obtain one of our innovative training solutions with your remaining budget. At Action Target, we understand that each company’s internal dynamics have different needs and time lines. That is why weapons training units, Rangemasters, firearm instructors, and others associated with their organization’s training division continually reach out to us during this critical time of year.

Action Target Conducts Firearms Training

Spending your remaining training budget at the end of a fiscal year – to minimize the risk of losing it next year – sometimes takes creativity. Last year, we worked with an agency whose training budget consisted of five different accounts. Each account had varying levels of funds still available requiring an invoice for each one. With a little strategic planning, this agency placed five different orders with Action Target that were shipped at same time but charged to their different training accounts. Our dedicated sales staff helped this agency with their complex purchase and provided them with the equipment they needed. We are ready to do the same for you.

Whatever your training needs, we have the solution. If you are under a significant time constraint, we can help. Call us today and let our sales staff help you maximize your remaining budgets by providing the best training solutions available.

For an immediate purchase, visit our online store: www.shopactiontarget.com

Our current online specials:

For product requests not available through our online store, please contact the Range Consultant for your geographic territory. They will work with you to stretch those last few budget dollars into your training solution.

Go online or call today!