Tag: firearms

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

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.