Tag: turning targets

Myths About Rubber Berm Traps

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rely on the Experts for Help

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

Please note: the information included in this article has come from both documented studies and the personal experience of Action Target shooting range specialists. This information has been found to be helpful for many clients throughout the years but may not apply in all situations. Please use judgment in determining which tips will be helpful in your particular situation.


New Local Shooting Range Promises a Clean Environment

Field Time Target and Training in Stanton, CA, has teamed with Action Target to create a state-of-the-art shooting range for firearms training. The new facilities include a firearms and ammo retail store, two indoor shooting ranges, and classrooms for in-depth instruction.

“Orange County is range deprived,” said Field Time owner Greg Caringella. “There was a great need for another range in the Orange County area and I think our range is going to have an extremely positive effect on the community.”

Field Time Target and Training includes two 25-yard indoor ranges with 14 lanes each. One side was specifically designed for civilian use and utilizes digital target retrieval systems for fast results. The other side was designed with local law enforcement in mind and includes a pneumatic target system from Action Target capable of turning 180 degrees. In the future, police departments will be able to use this system to test officers’ decision-making abilities in tactical situations with hostile and friendly turning targets.

The tactical shooting range also includes ballistic doors that open to the outside to allow the use of police cars in vehicle training situations. With the option to have a vehicle actually in the shooting range, police officers can practice drawing their weapons while exiting a car and firing from protected positions.

With the help of Action Target, the world’s largest manufacturer of shooting range equipment and technology, Caringella made sure that his range is up to par with law enforcement standards as well as safe and comfortable for all of his customers.

“I’ve been inside shooting ranges my whole life, and I would always come out feeling like I breathed in half of all the debris that went down range,” Caringella said. “I wanted to create a shooting range where you could leave without feeling like you needed to take five showers.”

Caringella said he feels like he has accomplished his goal through the use of quality materials and safety technology. Both ranges are equipped with Carey’s air ventilation systems to protect shooters from lead dust contamination and debris.

“The air coming out of our range is much cleaner than the air you breathe outside,” Caringella said. “Our range presents itself as something you would find in your living room.”

Field Time Target and Training officially opened to the public on May 26. For more information about memberships, hours, and classes, visit their website at www.fieldtimetargetandtraining.com.

The Timeless Debate: Law Enforcement Use of Range Facilities?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Law and Order (Part One)

Written by Keith Mehlin

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

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

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

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

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

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

Action Target Law and Order

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

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

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

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

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

(This article continues in next week’s newsletter)

Range Project Spotlight: New Range In Pinellas County, Florida

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Action Target at the Bianchi Cup

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Action Target 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.

801-377-8033 ext. 158
801-809-6966 cell

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.

801-377-8033 ext. 158
801-809-6966 cell

Latest Projects in the Great Lakes Region

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

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

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

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

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

Equipment provided and installed by Action Target includes the following:

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

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

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

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

Equipment provided and installed by Action Target includes the following:

Congratulations to Metro Nashville Police Academy and all those involved!

AT Installs Power 90 Turning Targets

AT Installed Track Runners for Nashville PD

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

801-377-8033 ext. 158
801-809-6966 cell