Month: June 2024

Discover The Thrill Of Reactive Steel Targets

What is a Reactive Steel Target?

A reactive steel target is a sophisticated training tool designed to enhance your shooting experience by simulating real-world shooting scenarios. Unlike static targets, these are typically mounted on a pivot system, allowing certain components to rotate or turn in various directions. These dynamic movements challenge shooters to adapt quickly, improving their accuracy, target acquisition speed, and decision-making skills. These targets are invaluable for training in law enforcement, military, and competitive shooting, providing an immersive and challenging shooting experience. Beyond that, these targets are fun to shoot at and provide an exhilarating experience for any range day.

reactive steel target dueling tree heavy duty

Why is a Reactive Steel Target Important?

Reactive Steel targets are vital for advanced marksmanship training due to their ability to create dynamic and unpredictable shooting scenarios. The dynamic movement of reactive targets requires shooters to maintain focus, track moving targets, and make rapid, accurate decisions. This challenges shooters to enhance their skills in target engagement, trigger control, and situational awareness. By simulating real-world movements, reactive targets prepare shooters for the complexities of live encounters, ensuring they are well-equipped to handle various shooting situations effectively.

When Should I Use a Reactive Steel Target at My Shooting Range?

These targets should be incorporated into training sessions focused on enhancing precision, speed, and adaptability. They are especially valuable for law enforcement and military personnel, where split-second decisions can be the difference between success and failure. Competitive shooters also benefit from using these targets as they provide a unique and challenging element to shooting competitions. Additionally, they are excellent for scenario-based training, allowing shooters to practice engaging multiple threats and improving their overall marksmanship skills in a controlled and realistic environment.

Turning Target and Action Target

At Action Target, we revolutionize marksmanship training with our cutting-edge reactive steel targets. Crafted with precision and durability, our reactive steel targets offer realistic and versatile movements, challenging shooters to excel in various shooting scenarios. Action Target’s reactive steel targets are engineered for reliability, ensuring consistent and smooth rotations during training sessions. By integrating our reactive targets into your shooting range activities, you empower shooters to adapt to dynamic situations, refine their skills, and master the art of marksmanship in the most realistic and effective manner possible. Experience the evolution of marksmanship training with Action Target’s innovative reactive steel target solutions.

Rimfire Hostage reactive steel target
Reactive IPSC Target


Welcome to Action Target’s definitive guide to dueling trees! In this post, we’ll delve into everything you need to know about dueling trees, from their fascinating history to their modern-day applications. Whether you’re a seasoned shooter or a curious novice, join us as we explore the ins and outs of this iconic target system.

What is a Dueling Tree?

First things first, let’s define what exactly a dueling tree is. At its core, a dueling tree is a target system typically used in shooting sports and training scenarios. It consists of a central vertical post with several horizontal arms extending outward like branches on a tree. Targets are mounted on each arm, and the goal is to shoot your targets faster than your opponent, causing them to swing to the opposite side of the tree.

History of the Dueling Tree:

The origins of the dueling tree can be traced back to the early days of cowboy duels in the American West. As sharpshooters honed their skills in friendly competitions, the dueling tree emerged as a popular target system for testing speed and accuracy in simulated dueling scenarios. In these competitive environments, shooters needed a dynamic and challenging target system that could accurately reflect their abilities while adding an element of excitement to their practice sessions. The dueling tree provided the perfect solution, allowing shooters to engage multiple targets in rapid succession while competing against their peers.

As the popularity of shooting sports grew and evolved, dueling trees found their way into various shooting environments beyond the Wild West. They became fixtures in shooting ranges, law enforcement training facilities, and competitive shooting events worldwide. The versatility and effectiveness of dueling trees in improving speed, accuracy, and target transition skills made them invaluable tools for shooters of all backgrounds and experience levels.

At shooting ranges, dueling trees offer shooters a dynamic and interactive target system that adds an element of challenge and excitement to their practice sessions. Law enforcement agencies utilize dueling trees as part of their firearms training programs to simulate real-world shooting scenarios and improve officers’ reaction times and accuracy under pressure. In competitive shooting events, dueling trees provide shooters with a competitive edge by testing their speed and accuracy in head-to-head competitions.

The enduring popularity of dueling trees can be attributed to their effectiveness in improving shooting skills and their ability to provide instant feedback to shooters. By engaging multiple targets in rapid succession, shooters can hone their target acquisition, sight alignment, and trigger control skills while developing muscle memory and confidence in their abilities.

Meaning and Symbolism:

Beyond its practical applications, the dueling tree holds significant symbolic meaning within the shooting community, embodying the competitive spirit of marksmanship and serving as a testament to the camaraderie and rivalry shared among shooters. The dueling tree represents more than just a target system; it symbolizes the pursuit of excellence, the thrill of competition, and the dedication to honing one’s shooting skills to the highest level.

Competitive Spirit of Marksmanship:

  • The dueling tree epitomizes the competitive nature of marksmanship, where shooters engage in friendly rivalry and test their skills against one another in head-to-head competitions. Whether it’s a casual match among friends or a formal competition at a shooting range or event, the dueling tree brings shooters together in the spirit of camaraderie and sportsmanship.
  • The challenge of facing off against an opponent on the dueling tree adds an extra layer of excitement and intensity to the shooting experience, fueling the competitive drive of shooters and inspiring them to push their limits in pursuit of victory.

Dynamic Movement and Thrilling Challenge:

  • The dynamic movement of the targets on the dueling tree adds an element of excitement and unpredictability to each engagement, making every shot a thrilling test of skill, precision, and reflexes. As shooters engage multiple targets in rapid succession, they must maintain focus, control, and accuracy to effectively neutralize each target while adapting to the changing landscape of the dueling tree.

  • The challenge of mastering the dueling tree’s movement patterns and timing adds an extra dimension to the shooting experience, requiring shooters to develop a keen sense of anticipation and coordination to achieve success. Whether it’s hitting targets on the move or reacting quickly to target transitions, the dueling tree offers a dynamic and immersive shooting experience that keeps shooters coming back for more.

The dueling tree holds profound symbolic meaning within the shooting community, representing the competitive spirit of marksmanship and the thrill of engaging in friendly rivalry.


Uses of Dueling Trees:

Dueling trees are incredibly versatile target systems that serve a multitude of purposes across various shooting disciplines, catering to recreational shooters, law enforcement agencies, military units, and competitive marksmen alike. Their adaptability and effectiveness make them indispensable tools for improving shooting skills, enhancing training scenarios, and providing an engaging shooting experience for individuals and groups.

Recreational Shooting:

  • In recreational shooting settings, dueling trees offer an entertaining and engaging activity for shooters of all ages and skill levels. Whether it’s a casual outing with friends or a family-friendly competition, dueling trees provide a dynamic and interactive target system that adds excitement and challenge to the shooting experience.

  • Shooters can take turns engaging the targets on the dueling tree, testing their speed, accuracy, and reflexes while enjoying friendly competition and camaraderie. The thrill of seeing targets swing and react to well-placed shots adds an extra layer of excitement to the shooting session, making it a memorable and enjoyable experience for everyone involved.


Training Environments:

  • In training environments, dueling trees play a crucial role in developing essential shooting skills and techniques. They provide valuable practice in target acquisition, sight alignment, trigger control, and rapid-fire engagement, helping shooters improve their marksmanship fundamentals and build confidence in their abilities.

  • Law enforcement agencies and military units utilize dueling trees to simulate real-world scenarios and enhance tactical proficiency. By incorporating dueling trees into firearms training programs, officers and soldiers can refine their shooting skills under simulated stress conditions, improve decision-making abilities, and enhance teamwork and communication skills.

Competitive Shooting:

  • In competitive shooting events, dueling trees offer a challenging and dynamic target system that tests shooters’ speed, accuracy, and consistency. Whether it’s a timed match or a head-to-head competition, dueling trees provide a level playing field for competitors to showcase their shooting abilities and vie for victory.

  • Competitive shooters can use dueling trees to practice specific drills and exercises designed to improve speed, accuracy, and reaction time, helping them gain a competitive edge and excel in their respective disciplines.

Dueling trees serve a variety of purposes across different shooting disciplines, providing recreational shooters with an entertaining activity, offering valuable training opportunities for law enforcement and military personnel, and offering competitive shooters a challenging and dynamic target system. At Action Target, we’re committed to providing shooters with high-quality dueling tree target systems designed to meet the diverse needs of shooters and provide an unparalleled shooting experience on the range.

Who Should Consider Buying a Dueling Tree?

Anyone with a passion for shooting sports or firearms training can benefit from owning a dueling tree. Whether you’re a recreational shooter looking to add excitement to your range sessions or a professional seeking to sharpen your skills, a dueling tree provides a dynamic and challenging target experience. Additionally, shooting instructors, gun clubs, law enforcement agencies, and military units can all integrate dueling trees into their training programs for enhanced effectiveness.

Usage and Techniques:

Dueling trees are versatile shooting targets that offer a dynamic and interactive shooting experience for shooters of all skill levels. Whether you’re a novice shooter looking to improve basic marksmanship skills or an experienced marksman seeking to refine speed and accuracy, dueling trees provide a variety of usage options and techniques to enhance your shooting practice.

How to Use a Dueling Tree for Shooting Practice:

  • Start by positioning yourself at a safe shooting distance from the dueling tree, ensuring proper angle and alignment with the target plates.

  • Engage the target plates by shooting the paddles with your firearm. Each successful hit will cause the target paddle to swing to the opposite side, creating a reactive and dynamic shooting scenario.

  • Focus on maintaining consistent sight alignment and trigger control while engaging multiple targets on the dueling tree. Practice transitioning between targets quickly and efficiently to improve target acquisition and engagement speed.

  • Use a variety of shooting positions, such as standing, kneeling, or prone, to simulate real-world shooting scenarios and challenge your shooting skills from different angles and distances.


Drills and Exercises to Improve Speed, Accuracy, and Reaction Time:

  • Speed Drill: Time yourself as you engage all the target plates on the dueling tree as quickly as possible while maintaining accuracy. Record your time and track your progress over multiple repetitions to gauge improvements in speed and efficiency.

  • Accuracy Drill: Focus on precision shooting by aiming for specific target zones on the dueling tree, such as the center or edges of the target plates. Challenge yourself to hit each target with minimal deviation from the desired point of impact.

Competitive Scenarios and Games Involving Dueling Trees:

  • Dueling Tree Races: Compete against fellow shooters to see who can clear all the target plates on the dueling tree in the shortest amount of time. Set up multiple dueling trees side by side for head-to-head competitions or relay races.

  • Target Tag: Play a game of target tag where shooters take turns engaging target plates on the dueling tree. The objective is to hit as many target plates as possible within a designated time frame while avoiding hitting the same target plate twice.

  • One-on-One Matches: Challenge a shooting partner to a one-on-one match using the dueling tree. Each shooter takes turns engaging target plates, and the first shooter to clear all the target plates on their side wins the round. Rotate positions for multiple rounds to determine the overall winner.

By incorporating dueling trees into your shooting practice routine and utilizing drills, exercises, and competitive scenarios, you can improve speed, accuracy, and reaction time while enjoying a fun and challenging shooting experience on the range. At Action Target, we offer a variety of dueling trees designed to meet the diverse training needs of shooters and provide endless opportunities for skill development and competition.

  • Reaction Time Drill: Practice reacting to auditory or visual cues to engage the target plates on the dueling tree as quickly as possible. Use randomized target presentations or partner-assisted target activation to simulate real-world shooting scenarios and improve reaction time.

Materials and Construction:

When it comes to dueling trees, the choice of materials and construction plays a critical role in determining the overall performance, durability, usability, and safety of the target system. Understanding the common materials used in manufacturing dueling trees, as well as their impact on various factors, can help shooters make informed decisions when selecting a dueling tree for their shooting needs.

Common Materials Used in Manufacturing Dueling Trees:

  • Steel Types: The most common material used in dueling tree construction is steel, specifically AR500 or AR550 steel. These grades of steel are known for their high hardness and abrasion resistance, making them suitable for withstanding the repeated impacts of bullets without deformation or damage.

  • Thickness: Dueling trees are typically constructed from steel plates ranging in thickness from 3/8 inch to 1/2 inch, depending on the intended use and caliber compatibility. Thicker steel plates provide increased durability and longevity, especially when used with higher-caliber rifles.

Impact of Material Choice on Durability, Usability, and Safety:

  • Durability: The choice of steel type and thickness directly affects the durability of the dueling tree. AR500 and AR550 steel are highly durable and resistant to deformation, ensuring that the target plates maintain their shape and integrity even after repeated use. Thicker steel plates provide additional strength and durability, reducing the risk of target damage or failure.

  • Usability: High-quality steel construction contributes to the usability of the dueling tree by providing reliable target engagement and feedback during shooting sessions. Steel plates with smooth surfaces and precise dimensions ensure consistent target movement and reliable performance, allowing shooters to focus on their training without concerns about target malfunctions.

Safety: Choosing the right materials for dueling tree construction is essential for ensuring safety on the range. High-quality steel targets are designed to withstand bullet impacts without fragmentation or spalling, minimizing the risk of ricochets and projectile splatter. Additionally, proper design and construction techniques, such as reinforced welds and sturdy support structures, enhance the overall safety and stability of the dueling tree during use.

In conclusion, the choice of materials and construction techniques significantly impacts the performance, durability, usability, and safety of dueling trees. By selecting dueling trees constructed from high-quality steel, such as AR500 or AR550, with appropriate thicknesses and reinforced designs, shooters can enjoy reliable target engagement and enhanced safety on the range. At Action Target, we prioritize quality and durability in our dueling tree designs, utilizing premium materials and construction methods to ensure optimal performance and longevity in any shooting environment.

Types of Dueling Trees:


Dueling trees are popular shooting targets that offer an engaging and competitive shooting experience for both recreational shooters and professional marksmen. Understanding the different types of dueling trees and their features can help shooters choose the right option for their specific training objectives and preferences.

Handgun vs. Rifle Dueling Trees:

Handgun dueling trees are designed specifically for use with handguns and pistols, featuring smaller target plates and lighter construction to withstand the lower impact force generated by handgun rounds. These dueling trees are suitable for calibers such as 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP, providing shooters with rapid target acquisition and feedback during training drills.

Rifle dueling trees, on the other hand, are designed to withstand the higher impact force of rifle rounds and are typically constructed from heavier materials such as AR500 steel. Rifle dueling trees feature larger target plates and sturdier construction to withstand the recoil and velocity of rifle calibers such as .223 Remington, 5.56 NATO, and .308 Winchester. These dueling trees offer shooters a challenging and dynamic shooting experience, allowing for rapid engagement of multiple targets at varying distances.

Reactive Steel Targets:

Reactive steel targets are a type of dueling tree that offer instant feedback and visual confirmation of hits, making them popular choices for competitive shooting events and training exercises. These targets are designed with swinging or spinning target plates that react to bullet impacts, providing shooters with immediate feedback on shot placement and accuracy.

Reactive steel targets are beneficial for developing speed, accuracy, and target transition skills, as shooters must quickly acquire and engage multiple targets while maintaining precision. Additionally, reactive steel targets are durable and long-lasting, making them ideal for frequent use in training scenarios.

Portable vs. Fixed Dueling Trees:

Portable dueling trees are designed for easy transport and setup, making them ideal for shooters who frequent multiple shooting locations or participate in shooting competitions and events. These dueling trees typically feature collapsible or modular designs that allow for compact storage and transport, while still providing sturdy and stable target engagement on the range.

Fixed dueling trees are designed for permanent installation at shooting ranges or training facilities, offering robust construction and durability for long-term use. These dueling trees are ideal for shooters who have dedicated shooting areas or ranges and require a reliable and consistent target setup for regular training sessions. Understanding the different types of dueling trees, including handgun vs. rifle dueling trees, reactive steel targets, and portable vs. fixed dueling trees, can help shooters choose the right target system for their specific needs and preferences. At Action Target, we offer a variety of dueling trees and reactive steel targets designed to enhance the shooting experience and provide shooters with challenging and dynamic training opportunities on the range.

Safety Considerations:

When it comes to shooting activities, safety should always be the top priority. Understanding and implementing proper safety considerations is crucial for preventing accidents, injuries, and damage to property. Here are some key safety considerations to keep in mind when using dueling trees or engaging in target shooting:

Safe Shooting Distances for Different Calibers:

  • It’s essential to maintain safe shooting distances based on the caliber of ammunition being used. Different calibers have varying levels of velocity and energy, which can affect the distance at which projectiles remain safe and effective.

  • As a general guideline, shooters should maintain a minimum distance of 10 yards for pistol calibers (e.g., 9mm, .40 S&W, .45 ACP) and 100 yards for rifle calibers (e.g., .223 Remington, 5.56 NATO, .308 Winchester) when engaging dueling trees or steel targets.

Importance of Proper Angle and Construction to Avoid Ricochets:

  • Proper angle and construction of dueling trees are essential for minimizing the risk of ricochets and ensuring shooter safety. Targets should be positioned at a slight downward angle to deflect bullet fragments downward and away from shooters and bystanders.

  • Choose dueling trees with sturdy construction and reinforced components to withstand the impact of high-velocity projectiles without deformation or damage. Smooth target surfaces and precise target movement mechanisms help reduce the likelihood of bullets ricocheting off the target plates.

  • Inspect dueling trees regularly for signs of wear, damage, or misalignment that could increase the risk of ricochets. Repair or replace damaged components promptly to maintain safety and performance on the range.

Personal Protective Equipment Recommendations:

  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) is essential for ensuring shooter safety during target shooting activities. Recommended PPE includes eye protection, ear protection, and appropriate clothing to protect against debris and splatter.

  • Wear impact-resistant safety glasses or goggles to protect your eyes from flying debris and bullet fragments. Choose ear protection, such as earmuffs or earplugs, that provide adequate noise reduction for the caliber of ammunition being used.

  • Additionally, wear closed-toe shoes and long sleeves to protect against hot brass casings and other hazards on the range. Consider wearing a hat or cap to shield your face and head from sunlight and debris.

Always adhere to manufacturer recommendations and guidelines regarding safe shooting distances for specific target systems and calibers to prevent damage to targets and minimize the risk of ricochets.


By prioritizing safety considerations, maintaining safe shooting distances, ensuring proper angle and construction of dueling trees, and using appropriate personal protective equipment, shooters can enjoy a safe and enjoyable shooting experience on the range. At Action Target, we’re committed to promoting safe shooting practices and providing shooters with high-quality target systems designed with safety and durability in mind.

Maintenance and Care:

Proper maintenance and care are essential for ensuring the longevity and optimal performance of your dueling tree target system. By following recommended maintenance practices and addressing common issues promptly, you can keep your dueling tree in top condition and extend its service life on the range.

Tips for Maintaining a Dueling Tree for Longevity:

  • Regular Inspection: Conduct routine inspections of your dueling tree to check for signs of wear, damage, or misalignment. Inspect target plates, hinges, bolts, and support structures for any visible issues that may affect performance or safety.

  • Lubrication: Apply lubricant to moving parts, such as hinges and pivot points, to ensure smooth and consistent target movement. Use a high-quality lubricant suitable for metal components to reduce friction and prevent corrosion.

  • Tighten Loose Fasteners: Periodically check and tighten any loose bolts, nuts, or fasteners on the dueling tree to prevent component failure or detachment during use. Use a wrench or screwdriver to secure fasteners as needed, paying attention to torque specifications recommended by the manufacturer.

Cleaning and Repair Advice for Common Issues:

  • Remove Debris: Regularly clean dirt, debris, and lead residue from the target plates and support structures using a soft-bristled brush or cloth. Avoid using abrasive cleaners or solvents that may damage the steel surface or protective coatings.

  • Address Surface Damage: If you notice any surface damage, such as dents, scratches, or rust spots, address it promptly to prevent further deterioration. Use a wire brush to remove rust and apply a rust-inhibiting primer followed by touch-up paint to protect exposed areas.

  • Repair Hinges and Moving Parts: If hinges or moving parts become loose or malfunction, tighten or replace them as needed to restore proper functionality. Use replacement parts provided by the manufacturer or consult a professional gunsmith for repairs if necessary.

Storage: Store your dueling tree in a dry and climate-controlled environment when not in use to prevent exposure to moisture, humidity, and extreme temperatures. Consider covering the target system with a protective tarp or storage bag to shield it from dust, debris, and potential damage.

By implementing proper maintenance and care practices, you can prolong the life of your dueling tree and ensure reliable performance for years to come. At Action Target, we’re committed to providing shooters with high-quality target systems designed for durability and longevity, backed by comprehensive maintenance guidelines and support resources to keep your equipment in optimal condition.

Choosing the Right Dueling Tree:

When purchasing a dueling tree, it’s essential to consider several factors to ensure that you select the right option that meets your shooting needs and preferences. From caliber compatibility and portability to durability and brand reputation, there are various aspects to evaluate before making your decision.

Factors to Consider When Purchasing a Dueling Tree:

  • Caliber Compatibility: Choose a dueling tree that is compatible with the calibers of ammunition you intend to use. Different dueling trees are designed to withstand varying levels of impact force, so it’s crucial to select a model that can handle the velocity and energy of your preferred caliber.

  • Portability: Determine whether you need a portable dueling tree that can be easily transported to different shooting locations or events. Portable models typically feature collapsible or modular designs that allow for compact storage and transport, making them ideal for shooters who frequently travel or participate in competitions.

  • Durability: Select a dueling tree constructed from high-quality materials, such as AR500 or AR550 steel, with reinforced components and sturdy construction. Look for models with smooth target surfaces, precise target movement mechanisms, and corrosion-resistant coatings to ensure durability and reliability on the range.

What to Look for in Customer Reviews and Product Ratings:

  • Pay attention to customer reviews and product ratings to gauge the overall satisfaction and reliability of different dueling tree models. Look for feedback on factors such as durability, ease of use, target visibility, and customer support.

  • Consider reviews from verified purchasers who have firsthand experience with the dueling tree, as they can provide valuable insights and recommendations based on their usage and testing.

  • Look for patterns or recurring themes in customer feedback to identify any common issues or concerns that may influence your purchasing decision.

By carefully considering factors such as caliber compatibility, portability, durability, and brand reputation, as well as comparing popular brands and models on the market and reviewing customer feedback and product ratings, you can confidently choose the right dueling tree that meets your shooting needs and expectations. At Action Target, we offer a wide range of dueling trees designed to deliver reliable performance, durability, and versatility on the range, backed by our commitment to quality and customer satisfaction.


In conclusion, dueling trees stand as iconic symbols of marksmanship and competition, offering shooters of all backgrounds an exhilarating and challenging target experience. Whether you prefer the simplicity of static targets or the dynamic action of reactive systems, there’s a dueling tree to suit your needs and preferences. At Action Target, we’re proud to offer a wide selection of high-quality dueling trees designed to enhance your shooting skills and elevate your range sessions. So why wait? Step up to the challenge and master the dueling tree today!