Tag: training

New Features for Action Target Website

We received some great feedback following the launch of our new Action Target web site a few months ago. We know that the firearms industry is constantly growing and developing new ideas, products and solutions, which is why we are continually improving and adding new features and offers on our site.

Screenshot of the new Action Target Home Page

These great new features include:

Search: Have you ever wondered if our Action Target Journal has an article discussing a specific question or training need you may have? Or maybe you are looking for a certain target but are not sure which category it is under? To make navigating through our site easier, we have added the search bar to the top of every page to help you find the information you want faster. → Search for Action Target Journal Articles

Home Page: Another way we’ve made navigation easier is by updating our Home Page. The new Home Page design provides access to our three most recent Action Target Journal articles. There are also new scrolling boxes that contain information and specifications about recent Action Target builds, highlight featured products and feature our high-quality range products. A scrolling ticker also informs of recent Action Target and industry news. All of this information is just one click away when you visit www.actiontarget.com. → Visit the Home Page

Webinar: Action Target now presents webinars, or free online trainings. Each webinar is highly informative and entertaining, presented by various experts on topics that help you have the most successful range and training programs possible. Our recent webinar introduced the Total Containment Trap. During the webinar, Addison Sovine (co-founder of Action Target, Inc.) gave critical information and tips for those considering a new bullet trap, answered common questions concerning bullet traps, presented an overview of the Total Containment Trap, and explained why Action Target is an invaluable partner in shooting range planning and construction. Our Online Training page also provides information about upcoming trainings and hosts archived videos of past webinars. → Visit our Online Trainings Page

Partners Page: At Action Target, our top priority is to provide high quality firearms training products and solutions. To ensure this high level of standard in all we do, we have taken great care to only partner with companies that uphold these same standards. We are proud to be partners with some of the greatest companies in this industry and we look forward to working with you to provide the best shooting range equipment and training solutions available in today’s market. To get to know our partners better, visit our Partners Page where you can access their web sites and other great sources of information in the “Links of Interest” section. → Visit the Partners Page

Careers Page: Be a part of our team! Action Target is built around a team of proven executives, skilled engineers and machinists, dedicated sales representatives and tireless customer service technicians. Our team has passionate, knowledgeable and skilled people who are creative and driven to develop innovative new firearms training technology and support in this industry. Now you can be a part of our team by visiting our Careers Page and applying for open positions today! → Visit the Careers Page

Programs Page: We have added a new page devoted to our exclusive Action Target programs. Currently there are two programs, the Brass, Ammo & Firearms Trade-In Program. Check back soon as we will be adding more programs in the near future. → Visit the Programs Page

Online Contact Form: In addition to providing contact information for all of our Territory Managers, we have provided another easy way to contact us – our Online Contact Form. Submit your question, comment, or praise, and we’ll get back to you quickly. →Visit the Online Contact Form

We are incredibly excited about the new changes we have made and we will continue to add more features to ensure the best online experience possible for our customers. If you have any feedback regarding our improved site, we want to hear from you! Simply leave a comment telling us what else you would love to see on our site, what you like about our new design or anything else you want to address.

Action Target Named Official Target of the Scholastic Steel Challenge

For the past two years, Action Target has been the official target supplier for the youth shooting program, Scholastic Steel Challenge (SSC). “We’re very pleased to have Action Target as our official target. Not only have they provided us with an excellent promotional target package that clubs can manage, they are also bringing their 20-plus years of range and target expertise to the aid of coaches and clubs to make sure our kids are competing in a safe and fun environment,” said Scott Moore, director of SSC.

We are one of many companies that play an active role in the success of the Scholastic Steel Challenge event. Other supporters include The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), Smith & Wesson, and the Outdoor Wire Digital Network—all have provided significant amounts of funding and shooting products in support of this event.

“Action Target is very excited about the Scholastic Steel Challenge and the expansion of the pistol shooting sports it represents. We’re proud to be part of this growing, industry-wide effort to bring new shooters into the world of competition shooting and we look forward to working with ranges and teams all across the country,” said Chad Burdette, Portable Target consultant for Action Target.

Scholastic Steel Challenge Logo

The Scholastic Steel Challenge is a national team-oriented youth shooting program developed by the Steel Challenge Shooting Association (SCSA) and is partly funded by a grant from the National Shooting Sports Foundation. This program is open to young men and women ages 12 to 20 and offers the opportunity for a four person team to compete for the national title in the Action Pistol Discipline of Speed Shooting. The SSC competition is a family sport of “speed steel” designed with an supportive environment taught by trained adult coaches who focus on the safe handling and use of handguns.

The SSC competitive format is based on the Steel Challenge, the nation’s most successful handgun competition. We adapted the competition format to provide an enjoyable, safe, and action packed competition for both beginner and experienced shooters.

Click each link below to view the Scholastic Steel Challenge stage diagrams:

This year, Action Target is offering a discounted steel target package for teams and ranges participating in the program and will provide technical support during the question and answer section of the program’s website. This allows the opportunity for company experts to assist ranges and teams in their efforts to expand shooting opportunities.

If you have questions regarding the target packages offered at discounted rates for SSC affiliates, please contact Chad Burdette at chadb@actiontarget.com for more information.

For more information about the Scholastic Steel Challenge, please visit their website.

Action Target Announces Early Registration for 2011 Law Enforcement Training Camp

Law Enforcement Training

For 20 years, Action Target has hosted one of the most comprehensive training camps for law enforcement in the United States. Law Enforcement Training Camp (LETC) is a week-long curriculum consisting of four eight-hour classes that are taught by world-class firearm instructors.

Law Enforcement TrainingThis year’s LETC provides highly qualified instructors with backgrounds consisting of the Safariland Shooting School, Hoffner’s Training Division, Team Spartan, GLOCK Training, Bill Rogers Shooting School, and the Action Target Academy. Combining high caliber instruction with an effective and comprehensive curriculum makes LETC one of most anticipated events among law enforcement agencies from the U.S. and abroad.

This event creates an opportunity for more hands on practical application of training, idea sharing, the exchange of great stories among advanced trainers and fellow law enforcement officers, and of course, the most trigger time. Each year, those participating in LETC take what they learned and incorporate that knowledge into their existing firearms training programs to help their academy and in-service personnel become more effective.

LETC provides students the opportunity to select a different course to take each day. Some of the courses available this year at LETC are:

  • LETC TrainingHigh Performance Handgun
  • Patrol Rifle/Carbine
  • Ultimate Shotgun
  • Rapid Deployment Patrol Rifle Operator
  • Emergency Medical Response for Firearm Instructors
  • Shoot, Move, & Communicate
  • Glock Armorer
  • Reactive Shooting on Steel for Speed & Accuracy
  • Advanced Practical Handgun
  • Success with Remedial Shooters

LETC

LETC will be held September 12-16, 2011 in Provo, UT. Don’t waste any time! Register by July 31, 2011 and only pay $450 to enjoy a week of shooting and learning from the best law enforcement firearms instructors in the US. Regular admission pricing for LETC begins August 1. Hosting sponsors provide for some scholarships, so please contact your territory managers to see if you qualify.

For more information on LETC, or to take advantage of early registration savings, visit the Training Calendar on our website, or download our information packet and registration form (PDF).

Action Target at the 2011 Bianchi Cup

2011 Bianchi Cup Logo

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

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

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

The Course of Fire consists of four separate matches:

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

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

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

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

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

Action Target Selling Paper/Cardboard Targets and Backers at Discounted Price

Action Target is selling its existing inventory of all paper, cardboard, plastic and foam targets and backers at a discounted rate for newsletter subscribers, available through the online store. This offer will run the entire month of May. After the sale is over, we will be moving our inventory to Law Enforcement Targets.

Here are the items that are available:

Type Product Description MSRP/ea Liquidation Price/ea
Cardboard Targets B21 E – White Perforated Silhouette (23”wide x 34” tall) $0.80 $0.59
B27 E – Black (23”wide x 35” tall) $0.75 $0.63
FBI-Q – Die Cut for Turning Target Systems (19”wide x 39” tall) $0.65 $0.50
Transtar II – Blue Color Image; Die Cut for Turning Target Systems (24”wide x 39”tall) $0.95 $0.70
Paper Targets B21 E – Black (23”wide x 35” tall) $0.35 $0.29
B21 E – Blue (23”wide x 35” tall) $0.35 $0.29
B27 E – Black (23”wide x 35” tall) $0.35 $0.29
Plastic Backers Vertically Fluted Backer – White; (24” wide x 36” tall x 4mm thick) $2.75 $2.00
Vertically Fluted Backer – White; (24” wide x 36” tall x 8mm thick) $7.50 $4.75
Foam Backers Foam Backer – Cut for Turning Target Systems; White (24” wide x 48” tall x 3” thick) $40.00 $30.00

These prices are ONLY available through the Action Target Online store . If orders are placed with Law Enforcement Targets, you will be charged full retail price. No coupon code required; discount automatically given upon checkout.

After Action Target sells the inventory set aside for the sale, they will move their inventory to Law Enforcement Targets. After May, you can continue to place all future paper and cardboard target/backer orders by visiting the Law Enforcement Target website or by calling the following individuals at (888) 489-7830:

  • Federal & Military – Kara Hale
  • International – Dan Swanson
  • Western US – Kathy Dube
  • Texas to Southeast US – Louanne Slattery
  • Midwest to Northeast US – Jennifer Deelstra

Please note: Action Target will continue to inventory and sell the 3D cardboard targets and the cardboard target holder used for indoor shooting range retrievers, even after May.

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

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

About the Webinar

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

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

Event and Registration Details

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

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

AT Presents First 2011 National Rangemaster of the Quarter Award

Eric Clapsaddle of the Orlando Police Department recently made the journey with his wife to Action Target’s corporate offices located in Provo, Utah. During his visit, Clapsaddle attended an award ceremony where he received the first 2011 Action Target National Rangemaster of the Quarter Award for Quarter-1, 2011.

This event was one that Provo City Mayor John Curtis was not going to miss. As a public official, Mayor Curtis has a vested interest in the safety of his constituents. Following the announcement of this award ceremony, he cleared his busy schedule to attend and present the award to Clapsaddle.

There was standing room only in our Action Target main hall as Mr. Clapsaddle received his award. Other distinguished guest that attended this event included Action Target’s President, Tom Wright and the Co-Founder / Executive Vice President, Addison Sovine.

AT Presents First 2011 AT Rangemaster Award of the Quarter

From Left to Right: Mrs. Clapsaddle, Eric Clapsaddle, Addison Sovine,
Mayor John Curtis, Tom Wright

This award ceremony marks the first of four that Action Target will present this year as part of their recognition program. At Action Target, we are deeply involved with many Rangemasters and want to your feedback about which types of individuals should be considered for these awards in the future. Nominations from peers and a deep knowledge of the individuals being considered play a significant role in our selection process.

Prior to launching this year’s award, we spoke with many industry professionals to help establish some aspects a nominee must have to qualify for this award. Listed below are a few aspects that will be considered during the nominating process.

Each nominee should have 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

As stated, these are only some of the characteristics we consider prior to deciding upon a recipient. This recognition program includes our clients, all Commercial Ranges and US Military and law enforcement organizations in the US. Those selected for the award will receive recognition in our weekly newsletter, on our website, in our main office and will receive a personalized award.

If you would like to nominate a peer, please write a letter using your organizations letterhead and send the letter via email to ATNewsletter@actiontarget.com detailing why we should consider the person you are nominating, or visit our Programs page for more information and to fill out a nomination form online. Upon receipt, our marketing department will do their due diligence regarding each nomination before making a decision.

We want everyone to help spread the word that at Action Target, we fully support firearms training programs and the individuals who have had a profound impact within this industry.

This customized award is only a small token of gratitude, recognition and appreciation we have for Eric’s contributions to law enforcement firearms training.

Congratulations Eric Clapsaddle for being selected as the first 2011 Action Target National Rangemaster of the Quarter.

Action Target Installs Total Containment Trap for Livonia PD

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

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

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

Action Target's Total Containment Bulle Trap

Back of the Total Containment Bullet Trap

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

Congratulations to Livonia PD and all those involved!

Other Recently Completed Projects

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

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

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

Action Target Completes New Shooting Range and Retail Store in Piney Flats, TN

Action Target is excited to announce the completion of the Shooters Edge Commercial Shooting Range and Retail Store located in Piney Flats, TN. This facility offers 5 Star accommodations and a clean and well designed atmosphere with extraordinary customer service.

Having the help and dedication of Joseph Bush, Don Reimer, Action Target Great Lakes Territory Manager Jason Snell, Project Manager Bryan Dahlberg, Bill Provencher from Carey’s Heating and Air Conditioning and many others, allowed us to create a range that is innovative, effective and accommodating to all types of shooters.

Equipment provided and installed by Action Target in this Action Target shooting range includes the following:

  • Tactical Baffle Layout: Provides for realistic training, including movement and shooting from any given point on the range with full errant round containment.
  • 360 Degree Turning Target Retrievers: These retrievers for shooting range targets are perfect for decision making drills, qualifications, and tactical training. Also, includes Master Control for RSO.
  • Track Runner: A running target that moves back and forth the width of the range.
  • Shooting Stalls: Installed stalls came with lighting, keypads, barricades, and signal lights.
  • Photo Eye Beam Security: Ensures all civilian shooters remain behind the firing line.
Stalls with new lighting, keypads, barricades and AT 360 degree target receivers
Stalls with lighting, keypads, barricades, and signal lights looking at one of the targets hanging from the 360 degree turning target retrievers.

New stalls with lighting, keypads and signal lights
Stalls with lighting, keypads, barricades, and signal lights, including Photo Eye Beam Security.

Congratulations Shooters Edge for a beautiful facility and phenomenal shooting range!

Other Recently Completed Projects

  • Martin CSO – Robb Anderson
  • PA State Police Academy – Matt Brinkerhoff
  • Shelby County Sheriff’s Department – Jason Snell
  • Fairfax County Law Enforcement Academy, VA – Mike Stillwell
  • Odessa Police Department, TX – Aaron Ludwig
  • Appleton Police Department, WI – Chris Hart

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

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

Introducing the Pelvic Torso

As a leader of innovative solutions for firearms training, we recently announced the addition of two new items to our product line, the Pelvic Torso and Sport Rack, at the 2011 Shot Show in Las Vegas, NV. In this week’s newsletter, we will highlight the Pelvic Torso and how to utilize it to enhance your training.

AT Pelvic Torso and Mini PlateUntil recently, there were only paper targets replicating the pelvic area of the body, but with the Pelvic Torso, you now have the first and only steel target option in the world that simulates this area. The steel provides instant feedback to multiple senses as you hear the bullet strike and see the steal plate swing upon impact.

The idea to design the Pelvic Torso came from inquiries from law enforcement and the military for a training element that gave them a tactical solution when engaging with a specific type of threat. As they engaged with threats wearing body armor and no clear head shot, the pelvic girdle became the optimal target area. When an individual is struck in the pelvic girdle, the bullet strikes the ball-and-socket area, which not only causes immense pain but immobilizes the threat completely. If you are participating in disabling drills, the Pelvic Torso is the best training option in the market.

The Pelvic Torso is designed to have two 4” round reactive and auto-resetting head plates added to a non-reduced torso-type head plate. These “bolt-on” options are able to attach to your existing Static Target Stand or PT Practice Stand . We recommend using the torso head plates to protect the reactive components and keep all bolts/brackets out of the shooting zone, although it can be used with the Hostage and Full Size IPSC Torso Head Plates . This allows the splatter to continue to be directed down from the head plate and will not be redirected toward the shooter.

Since the Pelvic Torso is still in prototype mode, it is not yet available for sale. However, if you are interested in purchasing one of these in the future, please let us know:

Person Information
First Name *
Last Name *
Email *
Options
Please select one:
Yes, I am interested in the Pelvic Torso and would like to be added to the list so I will be sent more information about the final products price and release date when it becomes available.
Yes, this looks like a product that I would buy when it is released, but I do not want to be sent more information about it.
No, I don’t imagine ever purchasing this product and would prefer not to receive any more information about it.

For more information, download the Pelvic Torso Cut Sheet here (PDF). Stay tuned to for next week’s newsletter focusing on our new Sport Rack.

Five New Action Target Products Revealed at Shot Show 2011

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

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

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

Action Target Sales and Marketing Teams

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

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

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

Reactive Target Systems

At the 2011 Shot Show in Las Vegas, NV, we announced that Action Target is now the worldwide exclusive dealer of Reactive Target Systems (RTS) products. The great advantage RTS has over other systems currently on the market is the ability to build upon a base system. Shown below are all color options of the Static Package that includes a Self-Healing Torso Target , pole and base .

These self-healing Torso Targets can take approximately 2,000 rounds or more, depending on the caliber and distance, before needing replacement. The targets are lightweight and can be left outside all year long making them a great addition for any shooter.

The Static Package becomes reactive when adding the RTS Smart Joint . This innovative joint allows the shooter to engage the target at any distance, falling when struck. For scenarios when a falling target isn’t ideal, a pin can be used to keep the target upright. Shown below is the Smart Joint mounted into the base:

If you want to make your training even more dynamic, add the hit-counting capability to your target.  Using a specific algorithm, the RTS hit sensor reads each hit through a transmitter, sends the hit to a digital display , and informs you how many rounds struck the target. The hit-counting ability reads all calibers, including paintballs, Simunitions and Airsoft. As seen below, the digital numerator uses the same pole and stand as the target, allowing you to have your display stand out of the line of fire, yet remains visible.

As one of the most economical hit sensor/hit counting target systems available, available, this system can increase throughput for training and qualifications by 20-40%, allowing for more “trigger time.”

The RTS system has so many possibilities and applications for all segments of the shooting market, and we want to help you incorporate it into your training programs. RTS makes the difference, so contact a member of our team today!

Free Action Target Webinar featuring Hufcor’s FlexTact

We know that scenario training can be expensive and difficult to create. In most cases, staff members are required to travel to off-site facilities and spend an average of 4-8 hours reconfiguring a single scenario, shortening time spent actually training.

That is why we are proud to offer you a scenario training system that configures scenarios in less time increasing your training time – Hufcor’s FlexTact.

What’s even better is that Action Target is holding a free webinar entitled “Scenario-Based SIMS Training with FlexTact” to help you understand more about the product, how it saves you time, improves scenario training, and better prepares your organization for the myriad of threats and situations they will find themselves up against.

About Hufcor FlexTact

The Hufcor FlexTact is an innovative, affordable and moveable panel and track system that is designed for public safety training centers. It allows law enforcement and military trainers to quickly reconfigure layouts on its rugged tracks and trolleys to create different scenarios for various room-entry and clearing techniques. The system allows room changes to be completed in minutes. It effectively creates scenarios that presents the training needs of police, fire, rescue, SWAT teams, homeland security and military police. Currently, the FlexTact is being used by criminal justice colleges, regional training facilities, local law enforcement agencies and commercial range owners.

About the Webinar

During this 30 minute webinar, Scott Staedter, National Commercial Accounts Manger for Hufcor, Inc. will:
·      Introduce the Hufcor FlexTact
·      Discuss the benefits of the FlexTact system
·      Explain how the FlexTact system is installed within existing facilities
·      Present testimonials from current clients using the system

Update: This webinar has passed, so please visit our Online Trainings page to view the full, archived video of the webinar.

Electronic Scoring: Kongsberg Mikroelektronikk

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in February 2011. As of March 2013, Action Target no longer distributes or sells Kongsbert Mikroelektronikk electronic scoring targets.

At Action Target Inc., we are proud to be the US distributor of Kongsberg Mikroelektronikk electronic scoring targets. These targets are specifically designed to meet police and military marksmen, long-distance competitive shooters and club requirements. Through the use of acoustic technology, the targets accurately calculate every shot’s point of impact. We have targets for big and small bore applications with additional target sizes for various distances being shot.

Targets

Target sizes range from 280mm to 1500mm (approx. 11” to 60”) with three to four target sensors in each target. There are target options for all calibers including air rifles, big bore rifles and both static and lateral moving targets.

Monitors

Each target connects to a monitor that displays the hit locations to the shooter. Easy push-button controls allow the shooter to cycle through hits and options without having to change positions. The monitor is well protected by its aluminum frame that acts as a shade ensuring good visibility for the shooter. Thick non-glare glass adds additional protection to the display. These units come with a flexible carrying handle with adjustable stand.

Communication

The Signal Distribution Unit (SDU) is the communication link between the targets and monitors. It converts data from the hit sensors and gives precise readouts of hit locations on the monitor. An optional printer connection allows target and hit printouts to be made using the SDU.
For more information, please contact us, visit our Electronic Scoring page, or visit Kongsberg Mikroelektronikk’s website.

Reducing Lead & Noise at Indoor Firing Ranges

A major concern when shooting at an indoor range is the contained nature it requires and the hazards present.  Workers and users of indoor firing ranges may be exposed to hazardous levels of lead and noise. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends steps for workers and employers to reduce exposures.

Shooter at Indoor Firing RangeAccording to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, more than 1 million Federal, State, and local law enforcement officers work in the United States [DOJ 2004]. They are required to train regularly in the use of firearms. Indoor firing ranges are often used because of their controlled conditions. In addition to workers, more than 20 million active target shooters practice at indoor firing ranges. Law enforcement officers may be exposed to high levels of lead and noise at indoor firing ranges. NIOSH estimates that 16,000 to 18,000 firing ranges operate in the United States.

Several studies of firing ranges have shown that exposure to lead and noise can cause health problems associated with lead exposure and hearing loss, particularly among employees and instructors. Lead exposure occurs mainly through inhalation of lead fumes or ingestion (e.g., eating or drinking with contaminated hands).

Action Target has been a pioneer, innovator and industry leader for limiting lead exposure and the reduction of noise at indoor shooting facilities.  Our ventilation systems are designed to ensure proper airflow across any range. Through our partnership with Carey’s Ventilation Systems, we provide the best performing and most efficient systems available on the market today. Our design exceeds NIOSH standards, and maintains a 100% success rate in industrial hygiene utilizing:

  • Ceiling Mounted Unique 180 degree Air Delivery Systems.
  • A design which makes plenum walls obsolete.
  • Digital and Analog control systems which adapt to changing environmental conditions to maintain the required air velocities and building pressures.
  • Upgrade packages for existing Firing Ranges available.
  • Custom designed systems to meet any type of application.

Carey’s has constructed our own Plexiglas-walled test range, which allows us to test air speeds, diffuser angles, ceiling heights and transitions, supply and return locations, duct sizing, and vortex settings to determine the optimal configuration for any type of range.

As another example of Action Target’s industry-leading partnerships, we have teamed with numerous sound abatement companies to meet the requirements of our customers.  Our sales staff can provide you with detailed information on past projects that required the expertise of our sound abatement partners.

We will work with you to design and build the indoor range that meets your needs.  If you would like to speak with an Action Target representative about the proven solutions we have for reducing lead and noise at your indoor facility, go to our Contact Us page.

To read more from NIOSH on this subject, Reducing Exposure to Lead and Noise at Indoor Firing Ranges

Pneumatic Target Systems

What is a Pneumatic Target System?

Being in the business of providing world-class target systems, Action Target has numerous options to choose from. When you work with a member of our staff, they will help you design and build the best target solution to meet your training needs.  A staple among our diverse line of target systems are those that are pneumatically operated.

Action Target’s pneumatic target line is designed to be a modular, component system. This means that there are many different building blocks to choose from. By putting the pieces together in different ways, you can build a system large or small, simple or complex. Everything is based on your individual needs.

In order to design your own custom system, you must first understand how the different building blocks fit together – the main power source (air pressure) flows from the air supply, through the controller, and on to the actuator.

What Is An Air Source?

With the exception of the AT Runner and “PT” products, Action Target actuators use air pressure as the driving force required to operate the target itself. Air is a clean and simple source of power which is very reliable and easy to use.

If you are designing a portable system, you will probably want of use compressed CO2 tanks as your air source. In this case, you will want to order an REG-1 from Action Target. This is a pressure regulator that converts high pressure from the tank (about 750 psi), to the lower pressure used by tour target components (40-100 psi).

More permanent applications benefit greatly from the use of an air compressor that runs on regular AC power. It doesn’t take a very large compressor to operate even the most specialized and involved ranges effectively. For most fairly large applications, a two horsepower compressor will provide more than enough capacity to meet your needs. Compressors can be ordered through Action Target, or obtained through any local vendor you desire. If you have questions about the suitability of a particular air compressor, feel free to contact an Action Target salesperson.

What Is An Actuator?

The actuator is the part of the system that you shoot at, or moves the target you shoot at. Some Action Target actuators move a cardboard or paper target into view on command. Others move a steel plate up and down. Others may simply reset a target you have already knocked down. The thing they all have in common is the compressed air they all use to do the work.

Each actuator has been designed with particular types of training in mind. Some work better in portable applications, while others are designed for more permanent use. Some actuators are designed for reaction training, while others are better suited to precision training. Read through the descriptions of each of the Action Target actuators and decide which ones will best perform the tasks you require for your own training needs.

What Is A Controller?

Every target system has to have an operator. Someone has to press a button, step on a board, shoot down a plate, or open a door to make a target function. Controllers are the devices that form the link between a human operator and the rest of the system.

The ultimate function of a controller is to switch the air pressure on or off at the command of the operator. There is a wide range of Action Target controllers that serve this function, from simple push-button air switches to sophisticated computer controlled systems. Controllers can be hard-wired to the rest of the system, or you can use a radio controlled device to give you even more flexibility. It all depends on your individual training needs.

Which Components Are Compatible With Each Other?

In order to help you understand how the different parts of a system fit together, “Function Codes” have been assigned to each of the various components. By understanding how the Function Codes work, you can easily determine how to put the proper components together into a system.

With all Function Codes, the first letter represents an input, and the second letter represents an output or action. For example, the VERSATARGET actuator uses the Function Code “A-T.” The “A” means the unit’s input is Air, and the “T” means the output or ultimate action is to move the Target. So, by seeing the code A-T used with the VERSATARGET, you know that it is a device that uses air pressure to move a target.

As another example, the HS-1 hand switch controller has the Function Code “C-A.” The “C” means the unit receives a Control signal at its input, and releases Air as its output. The Control signal in this case would simply be the operator pushing the button on the HS-1.

If you lay your system out on paper with the operator on the left and the targets on the right, you can easily use the Function Codes to make sure you have connected compatible parts together.

Controllers With Multiple Parts

Often, the part of the system referred to as the controller actually consists of more than one component. A good example of this is the combination of the PRO-INT shot timer and the TI-1 timer interface. The shot timer is a device that can be “set” much like an alarm clock to go off at a certain time. During the time before it goes off, it outputs a 12 volt signal down a wire. Because the input of the PRO-INT is a Control signal from a human operator, and its output is an Electrical signal, its Function Code is “C-E.”

The TI-1 timer interface has a Function Code of “E-A.” This means that it receives an Electrical signal at its input, and sends Air pressure from its output. By connecting a PRO-INT (C-E) to the TI-1 timer interface (E-A), you have created a two-piece controller with an ultimate Function Code of “C-A”, just like the HS-1 hand switch described earlier.

If you have any questions about setting your range equipment, please feel free to contact the Action Target Representative for your area.

Why Train on Moving Targets?

Written by Dennis Tueller

Too much of our firearms training is static. That is to say, we seem to spend most of our time and ammunition shooting at single, motionless targets standing directly in front of us. Since this scenario has little to do with what we encounter on the street, why do we continue to train this way? One reason may simply be tradition, or “…because that’s the way we’ve always done it.” That’s not a good enough reason for me either, so what say we just forget that one. Other reasons might include: “We don’t have any moving target equipment” or, “We have enough trouble just getting our trainees to hit the targets that are standing still!” These are valid concerns, and in this article I hope to offer some suggestions and advice that will help you to overcome them both.

First, we should consider the reasons why we need to include moving targets in our firearms training. Let’s review some of the common dynamics we now recognize from the hundreds of real-life police gunfights studied over the years. The vast majority of these confrontations happen within 10 feet or less, and the time span of actual shooting is usually less than 3 seconds. 60% to 70% of these altercations occur in an environment of low, altered, or failing light. Nearly half of the time there are multiple adversaries to contend with. While the statistical studies don’t usually specify the type or degree of the movement involved, we know that people move – especially when they are fighting. Movement to retrieve a weapon, movement to attack, movement to or from a covered position, movement to break physical contact. The fact is, real targets in the real world really move, and our firearms training needs to prepare us for this reality.

Clint Smith, internationally known firearms instructor and the Director of Thunder Ranch, often uses this simple demonstration. He will raise both of his hands up about head high, palms forward. His left hand remains motionless, but he moves his right hand erratically up, down, and back and forth. While doing this, he asks the class, “If one of my hands represents you as a target that is about to be shot at, which target would you rather be?” The answer (for most of us) is obvious. We would choose to be the moving target, because we know that it is much more difficult to hit a moving target.

For years, Clint and many other enlightened firearms instructors have trained their students to move as part of a reflexive response to an armed attack. This is one of the best ways to include movement into your range work. Even if the targets on your range are simply attached to posts in the ground, and the only time they move is when the wind is blowing really hard, your shooters must learn how to move. Taking a lateral step to the right or left while presenting the firearm and issuing a verbal challenge is a simple and worthwhile tactic which should be introduced when your trainees have demonstrated an ability to safely draw, fire, and hit a close-range target in a timely fashion.

Now that you have your shooters moving themselves, you can also teach them to accurately engage moving targets. It’s best to start close, three yards or so, with the target moving at a moderate pace. This is both to instill confidence in the shooter’s ability to hit an animated target, and to create a realistic representation of the kind of target they might have to engage in an actual gunfight. At first, the shooter remains stationary (preferably working from behind some kind of cover prop) while shooting at the mover.

To hit a moving target, one must apply the same basic principles of marksmanship needed to hit a stationary target, i.e.: sight alignment, trigger control, and smooth follow-through. Keep the sights aligned in the center of the target as you track its movement. At the same time the trigger finger is applying steady, even pressure on the trigger until the shot breaks. Here’s the critical part: as the shot breaks, continue to smoothly track the target as you recover from the recoil and reacquire your sight picture and allow the trigger to reset as you prepare to make additional shots. The tendency is for us to stop swinging the gun with the target at the moment of firing, thus resulting a shot going where the target was, instead of where it is going. In my experience, this lack of follow-through is the most common cause for missing shots at a laterally moving target. Yes it is challenging, but the only way to learn to do something well is to practice doing it. As skill and confidence improve, we can increase both the speed of, and the distance to the target, and eventually reintroduce movement by the shooter.

For this sort of training to be possible, of course, you will need some kind of a moving target system. For those of you with an extremely tight budget, a bit of imagination and resourcefulness are in order. Here’s an example: with a little red wagon, a target and stand, some clamps, stakes, pulleys, and a length of rope (don’t forget the duct tape and bailing wire) you can put together a crude but effective moving target system powered by manual labor. If you train on an indoor range, there is probably a target retrieval mechanism in place that can be used to simulate a target that is charging or withdrawing, often with more than a little swinging and bouncing movement included for good measure.

For more advanced solutions, Action Target offers several options for animating your targetry. One of the simplest is the AT Swinger . This is a single, portable target stand with a pivoting mechanism and a weighted counter-balance that allows the target to swing back and forth through a 180 degree arc. The movement of the target is controlled by simply pulling on a cable which is attached through a pulley at the base of the stand. Several of these PT-Swingers can be linked together so the range officer can pull a single cable that will cause the entire bank of targets to swing back and forth in unison. This can allow you to work with a full line of shooters all at the same time.

The Action Target Track Runner is a premiere moving target system designed to be part of a permanent installation. It provides a smooth, wind-proof way to move one or more target carriers laterally at variable speeds. The range officer uses the control box, which is connected to the target system’s electric motor, to start and stop the targets and change their speed and direction. Because of the Track-Runner’s power and advanced design, steel targets can even be incorporated on the target carrier to provide instant visual and audible feedback.

One of our most versatile pieces of equipment is the portable AT Runner . This system uses a motor and control system similar to the Track Runner, but instead of being mounted on a permanent track, the target carrier is suspended by an overhead steel cable. The motor and pulley mechanisms are each supported by single piece of 8-foot long 2×4 lumber. The whole thing can be set up, virtually anywhere, in less than 20 minutes. Because of its portability, the target can be set to run perpendicular to the line of fire, or at differing angles. One of my favorite uses of the Portable-Runner is to set it up as a charger. We can run the target directly at the shooter, who must smoothly back up away from the attacking target while drawing and shooting. Combine this setup with the Action Target 3-D (cardboard torso supported by balloons) silhouette target, and you have a realistic looking threat that will now react to accurately placed shots by by falling to the ground.

No matter what kind of range equipment you may have, I hope you recognize the critical need for instructing our trainees in the important tactical and marksmanship skills they need to accurately and effectively engage moving targets. In our earlier review of police gunfight statistics, I didn’t mention the numbers that reflect our real-world marksmanship performance. These numbers will vary a bit from year to year, but the U.S. national average hit-ratio is about 1 out of 6, or roughly 15%. That is, for every six shots deliberately fired by officers during armed confrontations, only one of those six shots will hit its intended target. That means that 85% of the shots fired during these gunfights are hitting something other than the intended target, often causing expensive property damage, injury, and sometimes death. You don’t need me to tell you about the unpleasant financial, political, and emotional consequences that can result from these errant bullets. Do you think that our officers would achieve better results in their real-world shootouts if they were regularly training on moving targets? I do too. It is up to us as firearms instructors to provide these kinds of training opportunities. We can do better. We must do better. Many lives depend on it. ‘Nuff said. Now, let’s get moving!

Training on Steel (Part Two)

Written by Ben Kurata

In a previous article I discussed the advantages of training on reactive steel, the primary one being a dramatically shortened learning / performance improvement curve.  Other advantages include cost effectiveness.  Say WHAT?  Isn’t steel expensive?  Well, if you are your department’s Range Master or Chief Firearms Trainer, how much do you budget a year for paper or cardboard targets?  Cardboard or foam backers?  Staple guns and staples?  1” x 2” sticks to staple the targets to or 2” X 4” frames and particle board?  How many staple guns grow feet and walk off the range each year?  How much time is spent per relay stapling up new paper or cardboard targets?  What about high wind and rain?  The point is, you can shoot on steel in all kinds of weather, and all you need is a spray can of paint to re-spray the target(s) for the next shooter(s).

I’m going out on a limb here, but I would like to toss out the idea that all in service training for patrol officers can be done on steel and not use a paper or cardboard target at all.  I’m even going to take the idea further and say that qualification can be shot on steel.  If you are like most departments, 70 – 80% hits in an acceptable area of the target and the officer passes qualification until the next time.  All you have to do is measure the surface area (square inches) of the acceptable target surface on your qualification target and find a steel target that is the same shape and has the same surface area.  When firing qualification, each officer firing has a coach (another officer) behind the shooter that has a score sheet of rounds fired at each stage.  All the scoring officer has to do is count the number of hits and record the number of misses at each stage.  At the end of the course, tally up the misses, multiply by your factor (50 rounds, each round worth 2 points, etc.) and you have the qualification score.

Now, I understand that for documentation purposes, some departments are locked into shooting a paper target that can become a part of the officer’s documentation.  I’m just saying that after working with problem shooters for over two decades, I’ve had the quickest and best results by giving the “problem” shooter a steel target that was smaller than their qualification target, bringing them up to accuracy and speed on the smaller steel target, and then having them shoot on their qualification target.  Every “problem” shooter that I worked with in this fashion had no problem going back to their department and easily passing qualification.

I have no explanation for why this works, other than a famous line from a Mel Gibson movie, “Aim small, miss small”.  If your department still uses a qualification target the size of a horse blanket, you’ll always have a certain percentage of shooters who will miss even at the 3 yard line.

To train / shoot on steel safely at CQB distances (less than 10 yards with a handgun), you need two things:

1.     High quality, well designed steel targets;

2.     Pulverizing ammunition.

At the end of this article I’ve attached the Steel Safety Rules that Bank Miller and I wrote a few years ago.  Keep in mind that they were written for conventional ammunition.  The most consistent splatter patterns are with FMJ (ball) ammo.  A 100 yard standoff safe distance when shooting rifle or shotgun slugs seems excessive, but I personally saw a 5.56 mm jacket come off a steel target and cut a shooter at 47 yards from the target, and know another Range Master that had a similar mishap at 60 yards.

First, the steel:

–        At least AR 500 (nobody reputable in the industry uses anything less).

–        Completely smooth and flat target surface, free of any dimples, pock marks, etc..  (Dimples and pock marks will turn an incoming round right back at the shooter.)

–        No protruding bolts, brackets, etc..  These will cause erratic splatter patterns.

–        Target face turned downward at about a 20 degree angle.  This will cause about 80% of the splatter to go downward.

–        Targets should be secured at the end of each training session.  If not, you-know-who will show up with green and black tip 5.56 mm and there goes a $200 or $300 steel target.

You can read the rest in the Steel Safety Rules at the end of this article.  Now I’d like to turn to pulverizing projectiles.  Chances are you’ve never heard of the term “pulverizing projectiles” unless you’ve been around myself or Bank Miller.  Well, for some time, we have taught in our Range Master class that the term “frangible” is misleading for two reasons:

1.     SAMMI, who sets the standards for modern ammunition, has not determined a standard for “frangible”.

2.     Even conventional ammunition is frangible if it hits something hard and dense enough.  If you shoot a 50 BMG into a granite boulder big enough, the projectile will “frange”.  It’s just a question of how big and sharp the “franged” pieces are and how far back they will travel.

Here’s what I mean by “pulverizing projectile”:

1.     No jacket!  If is has a jacket, the jacket will peel off and come back.

2.     When the projectile hits the steel, it completely pulverizes into fine particles like sand, with no pieces larger than a pencil lead, and no broken skin on the shooter or the people standing to the left and right of the shooter.

Since the days when the SIGARMS Academy was the first totally non-toxic frangible range in the country, Mr. Miller and I have tested all “frangible” ammo that comes into our possession by a stringent protocol.  I won’t go into it here, but if you are interested, contact me through Action Target.

Just for clarification, most manufacturers of high quality frangible (pulverizing) ammo manufacture non-toxic variants.  That means that there is no lead or other toxic heavy metals in the primer or cartridge.  If you are shooting on a “clean” (lead-free) range, this is what you want.  But if you are shooting on a conventional range that has had leaded ammo shot on it, you can save some money by purchasing the same ammo with leaded primers.

Here are the Steel Safety Rules:

FIREARMS SAFETY RULES

1.             Treat all firearms as though they are loaded.

2.             Keep your finger outside the trigger guard until you are on target and have decided to fire.

3.            Point the muzzle in a safe direction at all times.

4.             Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.

STEEL TARGET SAFETY RULES

1.             Always obey the Firearms Safety Rules listed above.

2.             Always wear hearing protection and wrap-around shatter resistant eye protection

3.             Always stand at least 10 yards from the target when using handgun calibers.

4.             Always stand at least 100 yards from the target when using shotgun slugs.

5.             Always stand at least 100 yards from the target when using rifle calibers like .223 and .308.

6.             Never use rifle calibers on handgun rated targets.

7.             Never use ammunition that exceeds 3,000 feet per second at the muzzle.

8.             Never use ammunition that travels below 750 feet per second.

9.             Never shoot BB’s, steel shot, or air gun pellets at steel targets.

10.             Never use more powerful ammunition than the target is rated for.   (Green tip, armor piercing, etc.)

11.             Never shoot on steel that is cratered, pitted, or damaged in any way.

12.             Hard ground surfaces under the target should be covered with plywood or boxed pea gravel.

13.             Targets should be placed with a 3 foot lateral and deep offset from the adjacent target.

14.            If shooting multiple targets, angle of engagement should not exceed 20 degrees.

15.             Use only non-toxic paint on steel targets.

16.             Inspect all targets before using for damage, functionality, etc.

17.             Shooters and observers must wear long pants (no shorts), long sleeve shirts, a cap or hat with a brim, and closed toed shoes.

18.             Instructors and observers should stand behind the shooter and observe all safety rules.

19.            If using frangible ammunition, make sure it is designed to disintegrate into powder on impact.

The same velocity rules apply to frangible ammunition as well.

Rangemaster: Behind the Scenes in Firearms Training

Those of us who have either worked in law enforcement or closely with public safety personnel know there are many other positions that support a first responder.  Courts have bailiffs, the jails and prisons have correctional deputies/officers, all of which are sometimes the “forgotten cops” since they are not always in the public’s view.  There are a host of supporting positions as well.  Some of these are detectives, gang, drug, multi-jurisdictional task forces, air units and SWAT.  Action Target recognizes and respects public safety personnel at all levels, whether in a highly visible position or not.

One of the segments of public safety that is vital to a first responder’s success is training.  When a peace officer is on or off duty, they are usually carrying a firearm.  Therefore, firearms training is paramount to their surviving a critical incident.  The training program designed for most agency is specific to the threats they encounter.  These programs are developed within the state Police Officer Standards and Training (POST) requirements, but are still unique to the agency.  Most of the time, the coursework is established by the Rangemaster.

What is a Rangemaster?  What do they do?  If you are Orlando Police Departments Rangemaster, your work never ends.  You are responsible for  training and qualifying 750 officers with handguns, shotguns, and rifles, specialized weapons training, less lethal weapons, as well as maintenance, repair and armorer inspection of over  1800 weapons. You are responsible for all daily and long term operations of one of the largest indoor gun ranges in the country, coordinating training with local, state, federal and military organizations, and the list goes on and on.  The ultimate goal with this title though, is to help prepare officers with the skills they need, to survive the challenges they face in today’s world.

Eric Clapsaddle is Action Targets “Rangemaster of the Quarter” because he does just that.  The efforts made by him, and ultimate results of those efforts,  have far exceeded national averages in a positive way.  He has gone above and beyond, and continues to constantly re-evaluate and improve.  Who benefits…..the Citizens of Orlando and the Officers who serve that community.

Why is his Training so good?

Because he prepares his officers for “REAL WORLD” situations.  The National averages show that about 90% of police gun fights occur at night.  Therefore, Orlando does about 90% of their training in “low light to no light” conditions.   Why…..because it is what they will face.

This training includes “Multiple Adversaries” because again, in the real world, 67% of all gun fights have 2 or more bad guys.

Additionally, officers training and qualifications include live fire combined with decision making under significant stress. This helps prepare them for real life shoot/ no shoot incidents. Is that a cell phone or a gun?  Remember, the time to make these decisions is about 1/4 of a second. Realistic training helps prepare them too make the right decision.

The scenario’s used are replica’s of real life situations re-created.  They include moving adversaries, because the bad guys don’t just stand still.  Innocent bystanders get in the way, and have to be worked into the scenario’s as well.  You have to work and look for cover, and the scenario’s include these props as well.

Eric, who has an Engineering degree,  designed several unique features in the equipment used at the facility that help make the training more real, and better fit the training needs of today’s officers.

The training that is done becomes very real and recreates the stress felt in a real gunfight.  It thereby prepares the officers so they can deal with adrenaline dumps, tunnel vision, and hearing issues, to better defend themselves and the public they serve.

The bottom line to all of this is…..Officers return home at the end of their shift, and the Public is better protected from criminals.

The Ultimate compliment a Rangemaster can receive is when his training efforts have paid off…..and an officer knows it, saving his life or the life of a citizen.  The results of Eric and his staff, will never know the unspoken “thank-you’s” for those they have saved.

At the recent Chiefs of Police convention held in Orlando, many Top Notch Trainers were able to see first hand some of the techniques and scenarios used by the Orlando Training Department on their Tactical range.  Now, months later, I am still getting phone calls about how fantastic that was.

Agencies from not only the United States were blown away, but representative’s from Taiwan, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Brazil, New Zealand, England, Spain, and the list continues, were impressed as well.  They were impressed with the Facility, but more importantly, how the facility was used with real world scenario’s.  This was where the rubber met the road, and this is where we have seen no finer training anywhere.

An example of the results are this…..

The National average for misses in gunfights (at a distance of about 9 yards or less) is approximately 80% based upon statistics from the FBI’s study on gunfights.  For the Orlando Police Department, their hit percentage is around 86%.  This is a result of the efforts of Eric and his staff.  What a fantastic job!  Our hats are off to him and that is why we recognize “Eric Clapsaddle” from the Orlando Police Department as Action Targets ” Rangemaster of the Quarter.”

Range Training – Orlando Police Department

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

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

AT Builds New Orlando Firing Range

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

AT helps construct innovative range for Orlando PD

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

Orlando Police shot at indoor Range

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

AT Constructs Indoor Shooting Range for Orlando

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay Safe!

Training on Steel (Part One)

Written by Ben Kurata

Why train on steel?

The shooter learns faster. Traditional cardboard or paper targets only give the shooter and the coach one feedback, visual. If the bullet holes on the target are not visible (example: 5.56 mm at 100 yards), then the shooter and the coach have to play instant recall to try and determine what the shooter did well and what needs improvement. There is often a delay of several seconds if not minutes before the shooter receives feedback on how (s)he did, and it is difficult if not impossible for the shooter to remember what the sight picture, grip, and trigger press looked and felt like for each and every shot.

Why does the shooter learn faster on steel?

Let’s assume that we are conducting handgun training at traditional handgun fight distances, 15 yards and closer. When training on steel, when the shooter hits, they receive immediate feedback not only visually (the strike of the bullet on the steel) but also auditory feedback (the distinct “ping”).

If the target is a reactive steel target, the shooter also gets the additional feedback of having the target fall or move.

I would also argue that at Close Quarter Combat distances feedback is so immediate that the shooter remembers what the sight picture, grip, and trigger press looked and felt like for each successful shot.

While coaching by the instructor on cardboard or paper tends to be diagnostic, I find that coaching by the instructor on steel tends to be faster and more immediate. (“On the second shot you pulled low and left,” etc. vs. “Low. Low. Hold higher.”) Rather than concentrating on the not so good shots, the shooter and the coach can concentrate on the HITS.

More than one experienced instructor / shooter has put forth the idea that feedback provided by shooting on steel is so immediate that it actually enters the subconscious mind faster than the conscious mind can process all of the stimuli associated with conscious sight picture, grip, trigger press, etc.1 I can speak from my own experience that based thousands of dry fire repetitions with tens of thousands of live fire rapid fire strings, when firing a semi-automatic pistol in rapid fire I am not conscious of sight picture or trigger press as traditionally defined. I am very conscious of the rear outline of the slide (as it is in constant motion), the feel of the pistol in my hands and the trigger reset. With traditional cardboard or paper targets I do not get any feedback until I shoot the pistol to slide lock or the pre-determined number of shots and lower the muzzle. When shooting on steel, I get immediate feedback on each and every shot I fire and if I don’t hear an immediate “ping” after firing a shot, I know that I didn’t hit, and I need to do something differently for the next shot.

In other words, as the student progresses in his/her skill level, (s)he starts correcting him/herself before the coach can diagnose and offer suggestions. At this level, the shooter becomes his/her own coach. I have found that with a little practice, any individual who is motivated enough can easily fire 4-6 rounds a second from a semiautomatic pistol and have all the rounds strike in an acceptable area of the target at 7 yards. When firing this rapidly, you can’t be consciously thinking of “front sight focus, surprise trigger break” for each and every shot or the rate of fire will drop to 1-2 shots per second.

So What?

Well, assuming that both the Officer and the armed assailant in a shooting encounter are equally motivated, would you rather be sending or receiving 4-6 hits per second?

When firing at this rate on steel targets, the auditory response takes third place in perception after the visual (the blur of the rear of the slide crossing into an acceptable target area) and the tactile (the reset and pressing of the trigger). The reason is, if you wait for the “ping” on the steel, you will have delayed your response time by about a half a second or 2 outgoing / incoming rounds. I learned a long time ago while shooting on the Action Target Dueling Tree or Plate Rack that if I waited for the “ping” of my first target, my opponent was usually hitting his second, or even third target. I learned to see an acceptable sight picture for the first shot, press the trigger and immediately shift my eye focus to the second plate while muzzle of the handgun, rifle, or shotgun was still lifting.

Another, more practical reason for trusting your first shot is that in a real-life encounter, you probably won’t hear a “ping” from your adversary. You may not see any immediate reaction at all. There can be many reasons for this. First, and most likely (about 80 – 85% of the time nationally), is the possibility that you missed the threat entirely. That is why we train, train, and train some more. The second reason is that you hit, but did not hit a part of your attacker’s anatomy that would trigger an immediate reaction. (If you have the opportunity to attend one of Dr. James William’s excellent seminars, “Shooting with X-ray Vision”, do so.) The third reason may be that you hit, but the caliber / projectile configuration just didn’t perform as advertised. All of the above are good reasons for training to shoot and hit fast and repeatedly, and the quickest way to do so is to shoot on reactive steel.

In a subsequent article, I will go over how to shoot on reactive steel safely.

Sources:

  1. Bank Miller, Conscious and Subconscious Training on Reactive Steel, The Firearms Instructor, Issue 47.

Reactive Steel Shooting – Auto Popper

Reactive shooting is the skill a police officer must rely on when confronted with a suddenly hazardous situation. It is a critical skill that can save officers’ lives, and it is the result of conditioned hand-eye coordination developed by training on Action Target air-powered reactive steel systems.

As we learn more and more about the human dynamics involved in armed

confrontations, we understand that physical skills that require conscious thought or intellectual processing tend to break down rapidly under high levels of stress. If defensive skills and responses are not programmed in at a subconscious level, the sudden stress may cause us to fumble, freeze or panic. It is in this environment that reactive shooting skills are needed.

Such reflexive shooting skills can be taught through the use of extremely short time limits, thus pushing the shooter to function at the limits of reaction and response time. This can be compared to learning how to hit a fast moving ball with a bat or racket, or developing the reflexes to block a punch or kick at full speed. Reactive steel targets provide the instant feedback required to program an officer’s reflexive shooting skills effectively and efficiently.

In the effort to provide more insight into Action Target’s line of Reactive Steel targets, you are presented with the Auto Popper™.

Auto Popper™

AutoPopper for Steel Targets

  • Reactive steel with automated reset
  • Multiple control options
  • Knock-down action
  • Through hardened AR500 or AR500 Brinell S
  • Multiple target head options
  • Portable or permanent installation
  • Tall or short legs

The Auto-Popper™ is an extremely versatile generalpurpose actuator that is used to lift a wide variety of targets. Instead of walking down range after each drill to reset your pepper poppers by hand, you can now reset them automatically with the just the push of a button.

If your scenario requires something other than steel targets, you can quickly change the head attachment to a lifter arm that will accept any size paper or cardboard target. You can even configure the unit for use with military E targets or full size three dimensional targets.

You can add an optional control valve to each Auto-Popper™ for independent control over each target, or you can use a single valve to control a group of targets simultaneously.

The Auto-Popper is an adjustable actuator that lifts a steel or cardboard/plastic target into view of the shooter by remote control. The rise time of the target can vary from 0.50 seconds to 10 seconds. The power is adjustable to allow the actuator to be used with all types of handgun loads. The Auto-Popper has about 60 ft-lbs of torque in the horizontal position tapering proportionally to 0 when vertical. It can be used with steel, paper, cardboard, and large 3 dimensional targets. The Auto-Popper is capable of independent or tandem operation, it can be used with hit sensors, and it can be controlled by our SmartRange control software. The unit is self-armoring, protecting itself against bullet hits from standard handgun loads coming from a direction within +/-25 degrees of perpendicular.

A Row of AutoPopper for Training

The Auto-Popper is pneumatic powered with a pressure operationTarget Type that Can Use AutoPoppern range of 40 psi to 100 psi. It can also be triggered by a 12V signal of less than 60mA. The actuator uses 10.6 cubic inches of air per actuation. It utilizes a “proportional force” cam lifter system to control the reset action and lift action smoothly and reliably. The Auto-Popper is totally field repairable – a complete field rebuild operation can be done by standard range personnel using standard hand tools. The target plate is reversible and easily changeable.

The actuator body and front shielding are both constructed of sandblasted and painted 3/8” armor plate steel (AR500). A lumber façade is attached to the actuator to cover the primary steel structure and prevent splatter. The hose and control wires are in a protective sheath. The hose connections use simple push-in type connectors. The actuator provides an interface to EMT carrier for simple installation. The actuator is easily mounted on any flat surface, or it can be placed on legs to elevate the target.

If you would like some more information about the Auto Popper™ or other Reactive Steel products, please contact the Territory Manager for your region.

Crucial Equipment Placement

Written by Ben Kurata

Thoughts on equipment placement, conditioned response, reaction time, Hick’s Law, the 21 foot guideline, and the OODA loop

Disclaimer 1: I do not consider myself to be an expert on any of the above topics. I am, however, really good at asking questions. I am a serious student of human behavior under stress.

Disclaimer 2: In no way what I write should be misinterpreted as passing judgment on the Officer(s) involved. In the past, I have been judged by people who were not beside me when bad things happened. I refuse to be a “Monday morning quarterback” to situations I was not involved in.

Disclaimer 3: The above title gives the reader an insight into how my mind works. I struggle on a good day to have an independent thought. I have had the privilege, however, to have trained with some absolutely brilliant thinkers / operators / teachers. I will attempt to give them the credit they deserve.

Recently, a transit Officer was convicted of homicide after he shot an individual to death while attempting to control the subject’s behavior. According to the Officer’s testimony, he thought he was reaching for his Taser but discharged his duty firearm instead, killing the subject.

Now, I am not here to pass judgment on the Officer’s actions, as I was not there. But for some time, I have recommended that Tasers be mounted on the duty belt on the non-dominant side, with the grip pointed backward, NOT in a cross-draw position. Why? Well, over the course of his / her career, a LEO may pull their handgun from its holster hundreds, maybe thousands of times during in-service training and qualification. A LE Trainer may pull a handgun from its holster tens of thousands of times.

Question:

How many times does an average LEO pull a Taser from its holster and discharge it? In most departments that I have trained with, after initial training (with its “special” videotaped moments), the only time a Taser gets pulled from its holster is when it is used on a subject. I know of no in-service or qualification live fire course of fire for the Taser.

What’s the point?

Well, many years ago, someone much wiser than I will ever be said:
“Under stress, you will revert to what you do most often or most recently.”
I only wish I could remember who told me that so I could give them credit. The point is, the dominant hand has been conditioned by hundreds (if not thousands) of repetitions to access and fire the handgun, not the Taser.

Similarly, I wish I could have a dollar for every time I saw on the range a cell phone or pager get pulled from the belt and forcibly stuffed into the magazine well of a weapon. Why? Because the operator was reverting back to the location and object on his / her duty belt that (s)he accesses most often in the course of a day – dozens of times.

Many years ago, fellow Action Target Instructor Dennis Tueller established the 21 foot guideline which has been misinterpreted over the years as the “21 foot rule”. While not diminishing the validity of what Dennis established, I can say that for the average LE Instructor (who, in theory, should be smoother and quicker at presenting the duty handgun from the duty holster) the average reactionary gap when wearing a Level II or Level III retention holster is more like 40 – 60 feet. That is with the outcome pre-determined – draw the handgun and place one or two well-placed shots on an inert practice target. Under the stress of a life -threatening attack, reaction time can double, quadruple, or deteriorate even more. Why? Well, some definitions may be useful:

Reaction Time:

“Reaction time has sometimes been described as a function of Hick’s law:
(1) H = log2(n + 1).
(2) H = Σ pi log2(1/pi + 1).
H = the information-theoretic entropy of a decision.
n = the number of equally probable alternatives.
pi = the probability of alternative i for n alternatives of unequal probability.
The time it takes to make a decision is roughly proportional to H, the entropy of the decision (the log of the number of alternatives), i.e. T = k H, where k ~ 150 msec” 1

Now, I have no idea what that means, but it may be useful in calculating the probability of getting a raise or the budget you submitted. “Entropy of the decision” is the scientific way of saying “brain cramp”! What is important to note is that formula was established by test subjects that were not being presented with life-threatening stimuli, and under ideal conditions, reaction time is a logarithmic, (12, 22, 32, etc.) not an arithmetic (1 + 1, 2 + 1, etc.) variable.

Now, how many use of force options does the average Officer have?

  1. Presence;
  2. Verbal instructions / commands;
  3. Empty hand techniques;
  4. Aerosol spray;
  5. Baton;
  6. Taser;
  7. Radio;
  8. Lethal force, which can include:
    1. Handgun;
    2. Folding knife;
    3. Baton, if targeted on “red” areas of the anatomy;
    4. Shotgun;
    5. Patrol Rifle;
    6. Improvised weapons (“Bumper – 06”);
    7. Etc.

And, let us not forget that word that has been pounded into every Officer’s head (and we have to share the responsibility for this one): Liability.

Now, let’s add the one factor that throws almost all probability theory out the window: Life – threatening stimuli.

A concept which may be more useful in understanding actual reaction time under life – threatening circumstances may be USAF Lt. Col. (Ret.) John Boyd’s OODA loop. It is not my intention here to recap my understanding of the OODA loop. (For an excellent summary, please locate and read Ken Good’s article, “Got a Second? Boyd’s OODA Cycle in the Close Quarter Battle Environment”.) Suffice it to say that after being in and running a few force-on-force simulations, most people (including myself) make mistakes in the initial Observation phase and then get caught in what Ken Murray describes as a “goofy loop” 2 – unable to make an appropriate decision as to what to do next. Or, caught on the reaction (wrong) side of the action / reaction curve.

So What?

Well, let me just throw this out for thought:

  • All less lethal tools (including radio, pager, and cell phone) on the non – dominant side of the duty belt / LBE, etc., accessed and practiced with the non-dominant hand.
  • All lethal force tools on the dominant side of the duty belt, accessed and practiced with the dominant hand.

Now, please don’t misinterpret me. I am not saying to stop practicing wounded / disabled drills. Now, more than ever, I practice accessing, shooting, reloading, and clearing stoppages with the non – dominant hand AND EYE only. It all boils down to, “Under stress, you will revert to what you do most often or most recently.”

(If you are the trainer who said that to me many years ago, please contact me so that I can give you proper credit.)

Notes:

1.   http://www.usabilityfirst.com/glossary/hicks-law/
2.   Kenneth R. Murray, “Training at the Speed of Life, Volume 1”, copyright Armiger Publications, 2004.

Enhance Training Realism

Be honest. How many people reading this have attended or even taught a training course where you have used 2’X4” pieces of lumber to outline a room? How many of you have used this wood-outlined configuration for dynamic or static entry training? What about searching rooms outlined by strips of wood? These concepts are good at building on classroom instruction and enhancing the fundamentals necessary for entry and clearing. But is it great? Realistic?

Don’t worry, we both know the answers.

It is time to demand more out of training. The list of “props” that have been used by law enforcement and the military in training to add realism would take too much time to list. The days of telling an academy recruit, “Now simulate these pieces of wood are a room and this is the door,” are over. The technology of today allows us to have better training materials. Current technology allows us to have more realism added to our training scenarios. It allows us to train in controlled settings that are as real as possible without actually being in a free-standing structure, which has been vacated for your coursework.

There is nothing wrong with conducting your training in a real building. Personally, in the past I have run my recruits to several locations in various cities for them to get the most realistic training possible. If your organization is lucky enough to have established relationships with businesses, warehouses, apartment buildings and private homes, then you know just how challenging having a training course in those locations can be. It takes a significant amount of time and effort to set training dates, coordinate with all parties involved, ensure your class know the location, have enough parking space, obtain approval from the neighbors and/or city if necessary. Wouldn’t it be much easier to have training that encompasses all of those types listed in a single structure?

Of course! It would be great to have that type of capability in a single location. Is it possible and is it cost effective? Those are the key questions. And, by the way, the answer is yes, it is!

The days of training our first responders, SWAT, corrections and military personnel with the most realistic and safe training using only one building are here! The answer can be found with Action Target and our newest product, FlexTact®. Action Target has recently partnered with Hufcor to be the Exclusive World Wide vendor for their FlexTact® movable wall training system.

The FlexTact® system is currently used for non-live fire training only. Since non-live fire training can really be conducted anywhere, what is so great about this system? It’s simple. The system can be completely be reconfigured within minutes. For example, in a matter of a few minutes, you can transform your office scenario to a warehouse then into a residential setting. If you need to serve a high risk warrant and want to realistically structure your breach training, the physical layout of the residence can be duplicated with the FlexTact system.

Since FlexTact® is only available from Action Target, we have been receiving requests from all areas of the world on how to incorporate this revolutionary training system into a new building or existing structure. The great aspect of FlexTact® is that it can be placed in either! Those interested in FlexTact® are from the commercial, military and law enforcement communities. The FlexTact® system compliments our core expertise in live fire ranges and shoot houses such as the M.A.T.C.H. (Modular Armored Tactical Combat House) live fire structure shown below.

Top View of FlexTract Training SystemThe FlexTact® system employs the following:

  • Rugged 16 ga. welded steel frames resist impacts
  • High Pressure Laminate surfaces are easy to clean and resist impacts
  • Quickset bottom seals hold walls in place during exercises
  • Overhead architectural aluminum tracks allow panels to move smoothly and quickly into place
  • Side bulb seals allow panels to be configured quickly
  • Specially designed passdoors for entry exercises.
  • Optional window inserts and glass walls panels for diversified training scenarios.

FlexTract Moveable Training SystemPlease notice from the picture that everything is suspended from above. There are no grooves in the floor, which means there are no tripping hazards. The FlexTact® system has an overhead railing system built on a grid pattern that can be self-sustaining or tied into the existing beams of a building. The panels can be moved quickly and set onto the floor with rubber feet that keep them in place. These panels accommodate full impact breach doors for entry training. They have frangible window options that can be struck with shotgun less than lethal rounds, training with explosives like Stingball Grenades or Flash Bang technology.

In addition to those already listed, you can enhance the realism of FlexTact® even further with the following options:

  • Low light / No light capability
  • Doors with handles that actually shut
  • Wall graphics for custom scenes / murals
  • Standing targets
  • Foam furniture / props

This system has already been installed and used in many locations. It has been used by more than just law enforcement and military. This technology allows for firefighter training by filling the structure with smoke and having to search. Fire Departments from local, state and federal agencies are discovering the multiple uses for FlexTact®. They are also finding it is easier to obtain funding for a training structure that can be used for multiple purposes.

Man Training in FlexTract Training SystemImagine having a 40’x40′ room, like a typical gymnasium. It is a big box with a wooden floor. How many of you have a room like this somewhere? I would bet that most of you have something similar that is the property of your agency. What is that space being used for? Storage? Offices? Mat room for Arrest Techniques / Defensive Tactics? Classroom? Now imaging having all of those capabilities in just one room! With FlexTact®, you can quickly reconfigure that room into anything that supports your training needs.

This is the most revolutionary new product for public safety training! The capabilities are so substantial, that it warrants a further look. Action Target welcomes you to review it for yourself. Here is the FlexTact® Brochure for you to review.

Two Shooters Training in FlexTract Training SystemTake a look and you will see that FlexTact® will meet your training needs and can be placed in almost any existing building or incorporated into new builds. If you have a project currently underway and want FlexTact® installed, our lead time is as little as (5) five weeks from design approval to installation!

You will not find a better option for a realistic structure that can be used for such diverse applications. As the industry leader, Action Target asks you to contact us today to learn how we and the FlexTact® system can support your training needs. Enhance your training realism today with FlexTact® by contacting Action Target!

To learn more about Action Target and its full line of products, please visit www.actiontarget.com. For additional information on Tactical Breaching Door technology, please contact one of our Action Target Representatives, Law Enforcement & Commercial, Federal, Military or International.

Reactive Steel Shooting – Bobber X-treme™

Reactive shooting is the skill a police officer must rely on when confronted with a suddenly hazardous situation. It is a critical skill that can save officers’ lives, and it is the result of conditioned hand-eye coordination developed by training on Action Target air-powered reactive steel systems.

As we learn more and more about the human dynamics involved in armed confrontations, we understand that physical skills that require conscious thought or intellectual processing tend to break down rapidly under high levels of stress. If defensive skills and responses are not programmed in at a subconscious level, the sudden stress may cause us to fumble, freeze or panic. It is in this environment that reactive shooting skills are needed. Such reflexive shooting skills can be taught through the use of extremely short time limits, thus pushing the shooter to function at the limits of reaction and response time. This can be compared to learning how to hit a fast moving ball with a bat or racket, or developing the reflexes to block a punch or kick at full speed. Reactive steel targets provide the instant feedback required to program an officer’s reflexive shooting skills effectively and efficiently.

Over the next several months, we will be showcasing our entire Reactive Steel line of targets. First one to be discussed is our Bobber X-treme™:

Bobber X-treme ™

  • Reactive steel with automated reset – Independent target control
  • Multiple AR500 steel target plates – Variable exposure times
  • Choose knock-down or “flop” heads – Computerized scenarios

The basic function of the Bobber X-treme™ will probably sound familiar. A steel plate is presented to the shooter from behind cover. This plate can be hit at any time while it is exposed, and a computer interface is used to control the frequency and duration of the target exposures.

Speed – The exposure times with the Bobber X-treme™ can be as short as a ½ second, so speed is of the essence. The whole idea behind reactive shooting is to train the body to automatically carry out the complex action of firing a gun without having to process the whole sequence with your conscious mind.

Accuracy – Not only is missing the intended target inefficient and ineffective, it is a staggering liability during an actual armed conflict. Because the 8-inch target plates on the Bobber X-treme™ jump up from and retreat behind total cover, only accurately placed shots will have any effect. Painting the chest plate and assuming it to be an innocent bystander or hostage increases the pressure for accuracy even more.

Judgment – Split-second judgment and threat analysis may be the most important elements of the training triangle. The revolutionary Bobber X-treme™ addresses this issue by presenting the shooter with two separate target plates, one directly behind the other. One plate is an 8-inch circle, and the other is an 8-inch octagon. Depending on your training scenario, you can classify all the circle plates as hostile, and all the octagon plates as friendly. When one of the plates jumps up from behind cover, the shooter must quickly determine whether the plate is hostile or friendly and then take the appropriate action. The circles and octagons look enough alike to force the shooter to be sure.

If you would like some more information about the Bobber X-treme™ or other Reactive Steel products, please contact the Territory Manager for your region.

Function Testing: Why and How

Written by Benjamin Kurata

I’ve had the benefit of traveling to many different locations and training with many different departments and agencies. It’s been a pleasure and an honor to train with the men and women who are on the front line protecting our country and society. That being said, a universally neglected area is proper preventative maintenance of the semiautomatic pistols, rifles, and shotguns issued and carried. IF YOUR WEAPON DOESN’T WORK, YOU CAN’T PROTECT YOURSELF, YOUR PARTNER, OR OTHERS!

Cleaning and Lubrication:

Here, I have to defer to, and ask you to do that most unnatural thing: read the Owner’s Manual that comes with every firearm. If you don’t have a copy, you can go to the manufacturer’s website and download a copy, or see your department RangeMaster. (S)he will likely have a copy. The other unnatural thing that I will ask of you is to follow the instructions. Light lubrication means a light coat of lubricant, not half of the 4 oz. squeeze bottle of CLP. We all have our favorite concoctions and potions to use on our firearms, just keep in mind two things:

1. In general, solvents are good at dissolving carbon, fouling, and copper from the surfaces of your firearm. They are not good at lubricating the same surfaces. A really good solvent will strip away all the residue on the surface being treated and LEAVE THE METAL BARE AND UNPROTECTED.

2. In general, lubricants are good at protecting metal-to-metal contact surfaces and metal parts / finishes from corrosion, but they are not necessarily good as a solvent.

Firearms Function Test

Which means, yes, in general, you will have to use two bottles of magical mystery stuff. I’m sure in saying this I will get barraged with spam about the latest and greatest whatever, and if it’s out there, please feel free to hook me up with lots of free samples. I’m just saying that I haven’t encountered the ultimate all-in-one product yet.

In a future article I’ll go over general guidelines for preventative maintenance for semiautomatic pistols, but for now, let’s assume that you have successfully disassembled, cleaned, and lubricated both your weapon and any associated magazines. Yes, I am a proponent of cleaning and lightly lubricating your magazines every time you clean and lubricate your weapon. Let’s think about it. Magazines are your weapon’s ammunition feeding system. If a magazine fails, your weapon will likely no longer fire with that magazine. That’s why we practice stoppage clearance drills every time we practice. (See previous article on magazine maintenance and function testing.)

To Function Test a Semiautomatic Pistol:

  1. Make certain that there is no live ammunition in the pistol or any of the associated magazines. Check a second time.
  2. How and Why Firearms Function Test

  3. With the hammer down / striker in the “fired” position, insert and lock an empty magazine into the magazine well. This checks to see that the magazine locking notch(es) line up with magazine release, and the magazine release spring has enough power to retain the magazine in the magazine well..
  4. How and Why Firearms Function Test

  5. Smartly rack the slide to the rear. The slide should stay open. This tests the magazine follower, magazine spring, and the alignment of the follower with the slide stop. If the slide does not stay open, you may have reassembled the magazine with the spring backwards or upside down.
  6. Function Test Magazine Release Step

  7. Press the magazine release. The magazine should fall free of the magazine well under its own weight. If it doesn’t, the magazine tube may be bent.
  8. How and Why Function Test Firearms

  9. Using the slide stop / catch, release the slide and let it fly forward under it’s own action. DO NOT “RIDE” the slide with the support hand. You are testing the recoil spring’s capability to drive the slide into battery and lockup.
  10. If your handgun has an external hammer and full cock notch, press under the hammer spur, attempting to push the hammer into the fired position without pressing the trigger. If the hammer slips or wobbles, the handgun is unsafe, do not use it, turn it over to a qualified armorer immedi ately!
  11. How and Why to Function Test Firearms

  12. If your handgun has a safety lever, put it on “safe”. Press the trigger. Nothing should happen.
  13. How and Why to Function Test Firearms

  14. If your handgun has a decock lever (like a SIG), decock. Again, nothing should happen except the hammer being lowered safety to the decock notch.
  15. With the muzzle pointing in a safe direction, take the safety off (if applicable), and press the trigger AND HOLD THE TRIGGER IN THE REARMOST POSITION OF ITS TRAVEL. The hammer / striker should fHow and Why Function Firearm Test all normally.How and Why to Function Test Firearms
  16. Continue to HOLD THE TRIGGER TO THE REAR and manually cycle the slide.
  17. SLOWLY let the trigger go forward until you feel / hear the disconnector reset “click”.
  18. Press the trigger. Again, you should get a normal hammer / striker fall. Steps 9 -12 test the disconnector, the integrated safety mechanism that makes the semiautomatic weapon semiautomatic. A broken disconnector means your wea pon may go full auto on you. While that sounds exciting, it really is a nasty suprise!
  19. Repeat steps 1 – 12 with all remaining magazines.

If you are thinking, “That’s a lot of work!”, consider the following:

1. When you get the hang of it, it will take you 5 – 10 seconds to function test your weapon with each magazine. Most officers carry 3 magazines, so 15 – 30 seconds total!

2. Do you really want to charge your weapon with live ammo, holster it, and not know if it is mechanically functioning properly? A gunfight is not the place to perform a function test!

Next up: function testing the AR-15 (and similar) patrol rifle and the semiautomatic or pump shotgun.

Weapon Clearing

How to Clean Your WeaponThere is no shortage of techniques for clearing a stoppage or malfunction; just trying to explain the difference between the two sets off a never ending debate. Unfortunately, those who have time to engage in never ending debates lose track of what is important. You’re fighting for your life. Whatever works is what is important.

Stoppages usually occur in the cycle of operation of the semiautomatic pistol or rifle, usually caused by a dirty, un-lubricated weapon, bad magazines (covered in a previous article) under powered ammunition, poor grip (including unlocking the wrist while shooting). There are other contributing factors, but these are the primary ones.

A malfunction relates to a mechanically broken weapon that usually cannot be fixed on short notice. I would like to deal with the stoppage techniques in this article.

First, prevention or at least steps we can take to prevent this from happening are important, but please keep in mind there are no guarantees. It is hard to believe that in 2010 the primary cause of stoppages is still dirty, un-lubricated firearms. With all the training and preaching about the importance of cleaning and maintaining our weapons systems many of our fellow officers continue to not take this seriously. A properly maintained and lubricated firearm following the manufacturer’s guidelines is as important to you and those that rely on you as understanding sound tactics and techniques to survive a firefight on the street.

Every time a firearm is taken apart, cleaned, lubricated, and put back together, you should perform a function check. Often at the beginning of a training class I will have the students unload, make the weapon safe and perform a function check. I am often surprised by the number of officers that have been “trained” and carrying the firearm for some time that still do not know how to properly perform a function check on their side arm or a shoulder mounted weapon they may be using. While specific firearms require specific manipulation for a weapon-specific function check, general guidelines for a function check will be covered in a later article.

Inspection of duty ammo as we load our magazines is as equally important. The primary objective is to keep our weapons at peak operational readiness so when we draw the firearm we are confident it will go BANG! (Preventative maintenance guide coming soon.)

So, let’s move on to some more terms such as slide forward, slide to the rear, primary stoppage, secondary stoppage, etc. Slide (or bolt on a semi-automatic rifle or shotgun) forward means that the slide or bolt is all the way forward in the normal locked (firing) position but the weapon did not go BANG! Slide (or bolt) to the rear means that the slide is locked to the rearward position. Primary stoppage means that when you pressed the trigger you heard or felt a hammer / striker fall. Secondary stoppage means that when you pressed he trigger you did not hear or feel a hammer / striker fall.

First, if you have to press the trigger and the weapon doesn’t go “BANG!”, your first immediate action is to MOVE!, preferably toward cover, but if none is available, remember that a moving target is harder to hit than a stationary one.

Reload:

If the indicators are:
(1) Slide or bolt locked to the rear, AND
(2) no hammer or striker fall, chances are that the weapon is empty and needs to be reloaded.
The fix is to reload the weapon and get back into the fight! Sounds simple enough, but how many times have you seen in training shooters; (a) catch an empty magazine, (b) place an empty magazine in a pocket, etc.? If you need to continue shooting, the most important thing is to get the fresh magazine into the weapon and chamber a round. The empty magazine is worthless!

Also, some shooters practice the method of pointing the muzzle of the semiautomatic pistol straight up and flipping it in their hand so the magazine well points out at a ninety degree angle. The theory is that you can see the opening of the magazine well out of your peripheral vision or “combat window” and are less likely to fumble a reload. I can’t say that I’m a big fan of this technique, as pointing the muzzle straight up on a semiautomatic pistol with the slide locked to the rear tells the whole world (including, possibly, your assailant(s)) that YOU’RE EMPTY. I’ve also seen shooters that get the steps wrong and flip the pistol to the ninety degree angle before pressing the magazine release, and then wonder why the magazine doesn’t fall out. (Sir Isaac Newton figured this out a few centuries ago.) I prefer to keep the muzzle pointed at the threat / threat area with the magazine well pointed down while executing the reload.

Primary Method of Stoppage Clearing:

If the indicators are:

How to Clean Your Weapon(1) Slide or bolt forward, AND
(2) hammer or striker fall, your primary method of immediate action is to:
(a) TAP and TUG on the magazine to make sure it is seated;
(b) RACK the slide or bolt,
(c) READY.

All of this should happen as you are moving and the weapon is still up, pointed toward to threat or threat area. With a semi-automatic pistol, a good “par time” for a tap, rack, ready is about 1.0 – 1.5 seconds. With a semiautomatic rifle, about 1.5 seconds. Dipping the muzzle toward the ground and staring at the weapon does nothing except alert your assailant(s) that you are out of the fight.

Secondary Method of Stoppage Clearing:

If the indicators are:
(1) Slide or bolt locked to the rear, AND
(2) no hammer or striker fall, AND
(3) When you press the magazine release, the magazine does not fall out of the weapon, you may have a failure to extract combined with a failure to feed, also known as a “double feed”. We refer to it as a “secondary stoppage”.

The traditional steps to correct this have been:

(a) LOCK the slide / bolt to the rear,
(b) RIP the magazine out,
(c) RACK the slide / bolt to clear the chamber, then
(d) TAP a new magazine into place,
(e) RACK the slide / bolt and
(f) READY.

That’s a lot of moving parts to memorize, and under low stress on the range we’ve seen a lot of shooters get the steps out of order, making the stoppage even worse.

We’ve simplified this “secondary method” into three steps that are more easily remembered under stress:

(a) UNLOAD the weapon, which usually means removing the
magazine, sometimes forcefully;
(b) CLEAR THE CHAMBER (I prefer a physical check with a fingertip
as opposed to a visual check, which assumes that you will have
sufficient light to see the chamber);
(c) RELOAD the weapon, preferably with a fresh magazine, as a faulty
magazine may have caused the stoppage in the first place.

To recap, the best way to minimize the need for stoppage clearing is to:

(a) Have your weapons clean and properly lubricated;
(b) Function test all of your magazines;
(c) Make certain that all of the cartridges in the magazines are
defect-free.

That being said, practice your stoppage drills. You can do them in any safe area that allows movement and has simulated cover. Make certain to remove all live rounds from the area and use only inert training cartridges.

Firearms Proficiency Skill Levels (Part Two)

Written by Benjamin Kurata

(Continued from last week…)The following are arbitrary levels and goals of shooting performance. I use the word arbitrary as I have chosen them with no other intent than to place a stake in the sand so that the shooter can think about where (s)he is and where (s)he wishes to go with his / her training. What follows can be applied to shooting paper targets on a square, flat range (SFR) up through diminished light force-on-force scenarios.

BEGINNER LEVEL:

Emphasis:

  • Basic skill development (consistency in shooting position, grip, sight picture, trigger manipulation, follow through);
  • Safe, correct gun handling skills.

Shooter Position:

  • Static, i.e.,
  • Modified Isosceles
  • Weaver
  • Chapman
  • Etc.

Conditions:

  • Bright, well lit.

Target(s):

  • Static, known distance from shooter, high contrast (bullseye, PPC, Q, etc).

Time:

  • Unlimited or generous.

Acceptable outcome or goal:

  • All shots impact upon designated target area (target face, scoring rings, qualification area, etc.). NO MISSES!

INTERMEDIATE LEVEL:

AT Firearms ProficiencyEmphasis:

  • Introduce / develop dynamic target / environment skills;
  • Introduce / develop dynamic decision making skills.
  • Safe, correct gun handling skills.

Shooter Position:

  • Static (see above) between 75% and 50% of the time (gradually decreasing);
  • Dynamic or moving between 25% and 50% of the time (gradually increasing).

Conditions:

  • Bright, well lit, 50% of the time;
  • Diminished light 25% of the time;
  • No light 25% of the time (requires auxiliary lighting source).

Target(s):

  • Static, 50%;
  • Moving, uniform rate, known distance, 50%;
  • Uniform appearance 50%;
  • Non-uniform appearance (requiring shoot / no shoot decision) 50%.

Time:

  • Set time limits, challenging but achievable.

Acceptable outcome or goal:

  • No misses;
  • No no-shoot targets hit.

ADVANCED LEVEL:

Emphasis:

  • Sound decision making skills (shoot / no shoot);
  • Sound use of environment (cover, concealment, light, darkness, movement);
  • Safe, correct gun handling skills.

Shooter Position:

  • Static 20% of the time (behind cover, prone);
  • Dynamic or moving 80% of the time.

Conditions:

  • 100% diminished or no light (requires auxiliary lighting source).

Target(s):

  • 100% humanoid threat / no threat / varying levels of threat unless skill development is indicated – then bullseye, Q, etc.
  • Static but reactive, 50% (fire until threat is gone);
  • Moving, non- uniform rate, unknown distance, 50%;
  • Non-uniform appearance 100%.

Time:

  • Tight, dependent upon scenario. Shoot / no shoot available for short period of time before disappearing.

Acceptable outcome or goal:

  • Sound decision making:
    • Shoot / no shoot;
    • Use of environment / movement;
  • No misses on threat targets;
    • All shots in vital area or threat down (reactive)
  • No no-shoot targets hit.

Now, your first reaction upon reading this may be; “Nobody shoots at the Advanced Level.” Two responses:

1. Yes, there are entire people that shoot at the Advanced Level consistently, both as individuals and as teams. I will not be so arrogant as to claim that I shoot at this level, but I have had the benefit of training with individuals and teams that do.

2. As trainers, if we do not expect / demand better performance of those we train, will they ever improve? Again, as humans, we rise or fall to the level of expectation. So, as trainers, part of our job is to keep introducing more challenging, more realistic, and MORE DIFFICULT problems for the operator(s) to solve.

(Author’s Note: I started this article in 2000, but shelved it because nobody in my organization at that time was interested in discussing proficiency. Recently, a nationally published writer called and asked us about proficiency levels and evaluation, so it might be a good time to visit this subject again.)

*Note: Action Target has recently been offering firearm training manuals for sale at our online store. We only charge the cost to produce and ship the item. There are no hidden fees. We believe that your safety is that important, so we elect not to capitalize on the manuals. To get your own hard copies of these training manuals, please click here.

Firearms Proficiency Skill Levels (Part One)

Written by Benjamin Kurata

Three Men Engaged in Firearms TrainingWhen we talk about using firearms against lethal force threats, there is only one real measure of proficiency and an endless number of pseudo measurements. I do not say that in a negative way, as pseudo measurements save a lot of wear and tear on our personnel. However, we have to remember not to substitute the pseudo measurements for the real measurement.

The only real measurement of firearms proficiency in the realm of engaging and stopping lethal force threats is this: Did the officer / operator win the fight, and the threat(s) to the officer / operator lose the fight? Sub measurements of proficiency that fall under this can include:

  • Number of rounds fired / hits on threat(s);
  • Number of rounds fired by threat(s) / hits on officer / operator;
  • Unintentional hits on non-involved bystanders;
  • Unintentional hits on property (cars, houses, storefronts, etc.)

Any other measurement is a pseudo measurement. Within this broad area of pseudo measurements, some come closer to simulating actual fighting conditions and some have very little to do with actual fighting conditions. These include:

  • Qualification courses;
  • “Tactical” courses of fire;
  • Formal competition;
  • Etc.

Action Target Firearm ProficiencyPlease note that I do not see any of the above as a negative. Any time you are pressing trigger and getting hits on target you are reinforcing fundamental skills, and that is a good thing.

In my opinion, the most accurate, predictive live fire activity that the officer / operator can engage in short of an actual gunfight is force-on-force scenarios using dye marking cartridges and converted service weapons. Here, the hit ratio is very close to the actual hit ratio in gun fights. However, force-on-force scenarios have to be carefully scripted and controlled or they quickly degenerate into very expensive paintball games. An integral part of a well scripted scenario includes specific behavioral performance measurements that the trainer can document while the scenario is in progress.

We are all creatures of (1) comfort, (2) habit. We tend to do what is comfortable to us and avoid what is uncomfortable. If we receive enough positive feedback while performing what is comfortable to us, it becomes ingrained or a habit.

The same is true with shooting. We tend to rise to our individual level of comfort and then rationalize our level of performance. (“That’s close / good enough.”) We choose and repeat goals that we know we can routinely achieve.

(Author’s Note: I started this article in 2000, but shelved it because nobody in my organization at that time was interested in discussing proficiency. Recently, a nationally published writer called and asked us about proficiency levels and evaluation, so it might be a good time to visit this subject again.)

(This article continues in next week’s newsletter)

*Note: Action Target has recently been offering firearm training manuals for sale at our online store. We only charge the cost to produce and ship the item. There are no hidden fees. We believe that your safety is that important, so we elect not to capitalize on the manuals. To get your own hard copies of these training manuals, please click here.