World champion shooter Rob Leatham knows being a well-rounded competitor takes a lot more than just speed. Accuracy is essential because it doesn’t matter how many shots you fire, it’s how many times you hit the target. In this video Rob shows how to increase accuracy while shooting fast with the AT Static Target.
By John Krupa III of Spartan Tactical Training Group and Action Target Academy
Editor’s Note: The views in this article are the author’s own and don’t necessarily represent those of Action Target, Inc.
As a professional trainer, my research and experience have brought me to the conclusion that shooters use sights three different ways when responding to deadly force situations. I call them Sight Gears, as the shooter switches or changes “gears” in how they use their sights based on reaction to existing threats.
Sight Gear #1 = Perfect Sight Alignment – Is typically used under controlled conditions where the shooter is not subject to stress related factors that are conducive with the physiological response of the body under stress. The heart rate is under 140 BPM and the shooter minimizes movement, seeking the “perfect” shot. This gear is most commonly used during shots involving distance (usually 25 yards and beyond) or surgical shot placement where the shooter needs to make a partial body shot or head shot on a threat up close.
Sight Gear #2 = The Flash Sight Picture – This gear rules the world of gun fighting, especially with handguns! It is considered a complex motor skill where the shooter still has the ability to see/use their sights and is not affected by vasoconstriction. The heart rate is around 140 to 160 BPM and combat breathing is required to control the heart rate and flood the body with oxygenated blood to keep vasoconstriction at a minimum. The sight picture is no longer perfectly still during execution of the shot (usually due to dynamic action) and the front sight “wobbles” in the rear sight box, independently from the overall movement of the sight picture. Combat hits come quicker using this method; however, shot placement is managed by selecting an area to hit on the threat vs. a precise point of impact. We call this application Tactical Speed Shooting. This sight gear is most commonly used with handguns from 15 yards to as close as two yards.
Sight Gear #3 = Front Sight Proximity Shooting – This gear is used when the shooters heart rate is roaring at about 165 to 180 BPM. The shooter is limited to gross motor skills and vasoconstriction has temporarily impaired the ability to focus on the front sight. Binocular vision and focus will remain on the threat until combat breathing reduces the heart rate and oxygenated blood is restored back to the eyes. We call this Front Sight Proximity Shooting, as the top of the handgun and front sight area are visible to the shooter in the peripheral, but completely out of focus (when the pistol is at full extension and indexed on target). Using this technique, the shooter is conditioned to be aware of the handguns proximity in relation to the threat and is able to get multi-shot, devastating hits on the threat quickly by indexing the pistol to where the shooter is looking. When we run the 6-shot drills in our pistol courses using this sight gear, we are seeing shooters get six hits on target, in about a 4” to 6” group on the threats center mass in an average of 1.00 to 1.25 seconds! Conditioned shooters are applying six rounds in sub .90 seconds! This gear is most commonly used by shooters during spontaneous deadly-force confrontations at three yards and in.
While this is a general summary of what we teach in our training courses, the goal of this article is to encourage instructors to prepare students to learn how to use their sights other than just perfect sight alignment!
John is an active duty police officer with the Orland Hills Police Dept. (IL.) and has more than 21 years of experience in LE. He has previously served as a patrol officer, rapid response officer, FTO, and firearms instructor with Chicago PD. He is a graduate firearms instructor from the Secret Service Academy, FBI, DEA, and FLETC. John is founder and president of Spartan Tactical Training Group, Director of Training for the DS Arms LE Training Division and has previously presented at training conferences across the country with the AFTE, ASLET, GTOA, IALEFI, ILEETA, ISOA, LETC, MidTOA, NTOA, and TTPOA.
More than 20 wildfires have been started by target shooting this year in Utah alone with dozens more started in Idaho, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and Washington. Many of those fires could have been prevented or stopped had the shooters been prepared. Here is a list of 10 things shooters can do to prevent wildfires while target shooting:
Bring a bucket of water – This may seem obvious, but often, shooters fail to bring enough water to put a fire out. A five gallon bucket of water at the ready while shooting could prevent a disaster if a fire does start. We recommend placing the bucket near the targets you’ll be shooting. That way, if a fire starts, you won’t have to waste precious time carrying a heavy bucket all the way to where your targets are set up.
Shoot on quality steel targets – Action Target’s steel targets are designed to minimize risks to both the shooter and the environment. The flat target surface with no exposed clamps or brackets allows for a predictable bullet splatter, and the 30 degree angle of the target plate forces bullet fragments down toward the feet of the target. Uneven shooting surfaces produce unpredictable splatter and ricochet which increases the surface area exposed to sparks and hot bullet fragments.
Place your targets on dirt or gravel – Make sure your target is placed on a level, unvegetated surface of dirt or small grained gravel. Placing a target in tall grass increases the risk of fire.
Don’t shoot trash – Trash like old couches and TVs can often be found on public land but are dangerous fire hazards when shot. Because there is no hard surface to cause the bullet to break up, hot rounds can build up inside and create enough heat to cause a fire.
Don’t shoot with steel core ammo – Ammo that contains a steel core will spark when it hits a rock or a steel target. To avoid any chance of sparking, do not use steel ammunition and avoid shooting in rocky areas.
Bring a shoveland an old blanket– Use the shovel to dig a trench around your targets before shooting to ensure that any fire caused by sparks can be easily contained. Place the blanket near the targets you’ll be shooting so it’s easily available if needed. A blanket is one of the best ways to smother a fire and can be even more effective than water.
Never shoot exploding targets – Binary exploding targets made of ammonium nitrate and aluminum powder (commonly known as Tannerite when combined) are popular among recreational shooters, but can be highly destructive. Never use exploding targets in flammable areas. Exploding targets (listed as “other pyrotechnic devices”) are outlawed on public lands by the Bureau of Land Management’s Fire Prevention Order.
Don’t use incendiary or tracer ammo – Incendiary and tracer ammo are also outlawed on public lands by the BLM’s Fire Prevention Order. Any ammo that “burns” can easily ignite grass and brush and should not be used in flammable areas.
Don’t smoke – Even if you’re following all safety precautions in regard to shooting, you can still easily start a wildfire by smoking. If you’re shooting in a dry location, make sure that all cigarette butts are properly extinguished or avoid smoking at all.
Park your vehicle away from dry grass – Several fires this year have been started by vehicles parked over grass. Many people don’t think about it, but the hot undercarriage of a car or truck can easily create enough heat to ignite dry grass.
About Action Target, Inc.
Action Target, Inc. is a privately owned business headquartered in Provo, Utah. As a world leader in shooting range technology with more than 4,000 products and 40 patents for the systems it designs and manufacturers, Action Target has installed thousands of shooting ranges across the United States and in 25 other countries around the world. Action Target also designs systems and conducts firearms training for law enforcement and various military divisions. For more information on Action Target, visit www.ActionTarget.com. To learn more about Action Target products or to purchase items online, visit www.ActionTarget.com/store .
Action Target is pleased to announce its newest target – the AT Tactical Torso. The AT Tactical Torso is the upgraded version of the popular AT Torso. With two swinging plates to simulate the lethal head and center mass zones, you get instant visual feedback from hitting the right spot. Unlike similar targets, you do not have to shoot the swinging plates back into place. The two plates swing vertically from hinges above the shoot zones allowing them to fall back into place after each hit.
The AT Tactical Torso’s target-within-a-target design is perfect for realistic tactical training situations. Instead of just firing at a large torso target where anything that hits counts, the AT Tactical Torso forces shooters to focus their aim on the small lethal areas of the torso increasing accuracy and precision.
The torso and swinging plates are made of through hardened AR550 armor steel with no exposed bolts, clamps, or brackets allowing you to shoot safely without fear of ricochet or splatter. The rear hinge brackets are also made of armor steel (AR500) to minimize wear and tear from daily use and provide you with a lifetime of tactical training.
Everybody has their own preference when it comes to shooting ranges. Some people like the open-air feel of an outdoor range where they can shoot steel targets at 500 yards while others prefer the air conditioned comfort of indoor ranges where target distance can be controlled with the push of a button. Both have pros and cons and there’s not necessarily a right or wrong answer, but there are some things you need to consider before building a range to make sure you are providing your future customers with what they want and need. To better help you in the decision making process, here are some pros and cons for both outdoor and indoor shooting ranges.
Outdoor ranges generally require less expensive equipment. An outdoor shooting range can be as simple as a shooting line and a dirt backdrop or as complex as a law enforcement proving ground with moving targets and realistic tactical simulations. Either way, the equipment you need for an outdoor range will probably be less expensive than an indoor range because you don’t need a building to house it in.
Outdoor ranges can provide a greater range of shooting with appropriate berms. While indoor ranges are generally limited to shooting straight ahead from a fixed position, outdoor ranges allow shooters to participate in tactical training with up to 180 degrees of firing mobility. The more flexibility your range offers, the more realistic your training scenarios will be.
In addition to increased firing mobility, outdoor ranges also allow for greater tactical training freedom. Training at an outdoor range can include multiple firing stations, a greater range of distance, vehicle scenarios, and terrain-based exercises.
With an outdoor range, you are less limited in the ammo you can use. While indoor ranges are sometimes restricted to bullets within a certain muzzle velocity and bullet type, most outdoor shooting ranges are virtually unrestricted. Some outdoor ranges are even capable of handling incendiary rounds and artillery fire. While training of this kind may not be necessary or even desirable at your range, the capability is available. Outdoor ranges can also more safely accommodate shooting steel targets.
Building an outdoor range requires expensive earthwork and soil engineering. Not all sites are immediately suitable for an outdoor shooting range and may require extensive excavation to ensure bullet containment. The less suitable the site, the more money you will have to spend to make sure the backdrop and containment systems meet federal regulations and local statutes. You also may have to bring in power, water, and sewage hook ups from a long distance away, thus increasing the cost and adding to the needed infrastructure of roads, parking lots, and other development.
Due to the open-air nature of outdoor ranges, however, complete bullet containment is usually impractical due to expense. This is why location is such an important element in the building of an outdoor range. Outdoor shooting ranges must be built in an area where an errant shot that goes over the backstop is incapable of doing damage; this is referred to as Surface Danger Zone (SDZ). This can require building the range in a remote area far from the city, and being far from civilization means your customers are going to have to travel a longer distance to use the range.
It is inherently difficult to contain lead and noise at an outdoor range, and as housing encroaches on formerly uninhabited areas, more and more outdoor shooting ranges are being shut down. While the location of your outdoor range may seem safe from housing development, conditions can quickly change and endanger the future of your range. You must try to plan for variables that could affect your outdoor range in the long term future.
Because indoor ranges can easily be built in the middle of cities, they are much more convenient for customers. For commercial ranges, that means increased visibility and accessibility. For law enforcement, that means a cut in overtime costs for police departments because officers don’t have to travel as far as they would to train at an outdoor range. They can also easily train during inclement weather conditions that would be more difficult on an outdoor range.
Technological improvements are making indoor ranges a more viable option for tactical training. Ballistic doors can allow vehicles to enter the range for training scenarios, lighting can be adjusted to simulate daylight and low light situations, sound effects can be played over the loud speakers to induce stress or simulate a combat environment, and bullet traps like the Total Containment Trap from Action Target allow for increased flexibility in shooting across firing lanes or at moving targets.
For commercial ranges, an indoor shooting range can provide a significant retail avenue. When combined with a retail firearm and an ammunition store, indoor ranges can be highly profitable ventures. Customers are more likely to buy ammo at the range where they shoot and are more likely to buy a gun if there is an opportunity to try it out on a shooting range first.
Indoor shooting ranges are more expensive to build and require a building to house them. For an indoor range you need to either build a new building from scratch or find a building that meets municipal requirements for parking, sound, and zoning that can be properly retrofitted to house an indoor range. Indoor shooting ranges also often require a target retrieval system, ceiling baffles, fully ballistic walls, bullet traps, a ventilation system, and lighting. All together, the equipment and facility costs can greatly exceed that of an outdoor range.
Indoor ranges are sometimes limited in the caliber and type of bullet that can be fired, depending on the range equipment chosen. The use of old or home-made bullet traps and the increased risk of ricochet that comes with an indoor shooting range naturally limits shooting capabilities. While modern bullet traps provided by Action Target can handle up to .50 BMG, many older indoor ranges cannot allow the use rifle calibers because their old range equipment designs will not safely stop rifle rounds. Because of size and sound constraints, some ranges don’t allow rifle shooting at all.
Indoor ranges also require costly range ventilation systems to meet OSHA and EPA requirements. For the health of yourself and your future customers, I should mention that your typical local HVAC contractor usually cannot properly design and install the type of system required for a clean and safe indoor range that I would shoot in with my own family. Ask your ventilation contractor how many indoor range ventilation systems they have designed and also ask them what design criteria is required to meet OSHA and EPA requirements. If they cannot guarantee that their system will meet these requirements, you might be making a costly mistake.
Rely on the Experts for Help
Whether you are deciding to build an indoor or an outdoor range, I recommend you contact the Action Target representative in your region and they will be happy to answer any questions you have and will help you determine what type of range and what equipment will best fit your needs and budget. They build hundreds of new ranges every year and will be able to draw on their vast experience and resources to help advise you with your project.
Please note, the tips included in this message have 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.
Addison Sovine and Kyle Bateman of Action Target, Inc. both received the Utah area Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award on Thursday, June 7, 2012, at a ceremony held in Salt Lake City. They were selected from among several applicants for the significant impact they have had on the surrounding business community.
“Receiving this award means a lot to me personally and to Action Target as a company,” Sovine said. “I feel honored that we’re in the company of so many other great businessmen.”
Sovine and Bateman were among 13 winners chosen from the Utah region which also includes Wyoming and half of Idaho. As regional winners, they will have the opportunity to attend the Strategic Growth Forum in Palm Springs, Calif., this November where the national Entrepreneur of the Year will be announced.
Sovine and Bateman founded Action Target in 1986 based on local law enforcement’s need for better training equipment. Basements and garages became the first fabrication shops for Action Target, Inc. as the two friends pioneered new target systems for firearms training.
“It was a ton of work, more work than we thought it was going to be,” Sovine said, “but seeing the company grow the way it has and winning this award makes it all worth it.”
The Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Program honors entrepreneurs who have demonstrated excellence in innovation, financial performance, and personal commitment to their businesses and communities. The Entrepreneur of the Year Award, now in its 26th year, includes more than 140 cities in 50 countries and is considered the most prestigious entrepreneurial award in the world.
About Action Target, Inc.
Action Target, Inc. is a privately owned business headquartered in Provo, Utah. As a world leader in shooting range technology with more than 4,000 products and 40 patents for the systems it designs and manufacturers, Action Target has installed thousands of shooting ranges across the United States and in 25 other countries around the world. Action Target also designs systems and conducts firearms training for law enforcement and various military divisions. For more information on Action Target, visit www.actiontarget.com. To learn more about Action Target products or to purchase items online, visit www.actiontarget.com/store/.