Tag: firing range

Looking Downrange: Miles Hall Takes a Look at the Shooting Range Industry

H&H Shooting Sports Complex owner Miles Hall gives us his take on being a range owner, and his thoughts about the current and future state of the shooting range industry.

We sat down with Miles Hall, Founder and President of H&H Shooting Sports complex, and asked him some questions about his experiences as a range owner and the unique nature of the shooting sports industry. Here’s what he had to say:

The History of H&H Shooting Sports Complex

Miles Hall was not always a gun owner. He and his wife, Jayne were young and just starting their life together when neighbors encouraged them to learn how to use guns and become gun owners. Miles and Jayne decided to visit a local shooting range. Hall says, “We really enjoyed the magic of shooting but found the facility left much to be desired. It was very dirty and obviously hand-made in appearances. But what finally made the decision for us was that we felt we could provide a better place and serve the long-term interest of the sport of shooting.”

Miles and Jayne Hall opened their range in 1981 with the idea of promoting shooting sports. They wanted to be a shooting range, but also an H&H-ShootingRangeeducation center. When Hall opened his doors, he had 10 lanes at 50 feet with a lobby and a classroom. Those who originally built the range told him he would never need to add more lanes or increase the range space. Over the years, he has proven that initial statement wrong as they have expanded the facility to meet the demand of the increasing customer base. Last year they had 742,000 people visit their complex that boasts 61 lanes and 90,000 square feet.

As they have run their business over the years, the Halls have tried to meet client demand. Hall says, “It wasn’t good enough to just do handguns. They wanted to do rifles. They wanted to come in and be able to shoot their shotguns even though it’s not a skeet range, and they wanted it to handle their black powder guns. And then archery stepped into the fold and air guns also. That was another one too for those folks who shoot pellet rifles and so forth.” The Halls have tried to develop a complete solution for anyone interested in shooting sports, and in doing so, have become among one of the largest retailers in the country. Hall says, “The shooting sports has changed, and you have to either be changing with it or you’re going to die in the past… A lot of things have changed since 1981 when we started.”

Although they service a high volume of guests, H&H tries to make it an enjoyable experience for each person who comes to the complex. Hall says because they are in the entertainment business and no one has to be there, they try very hard to make the time people spend at the range memorable. Their philosophy concerning customer service, or guest service as Hall refers to it, has remained unchanged throughout the years.

The Value of Guest Service

Hall says guest service is the biggest key to his continued growth. At H&H, they don’t call the clients customers. They refer to them as guests. He relates guest service to inviting people into your home. People want to be taken care of and feel welcome. Hall says he listens to what his guests are saying and what they want, and in turn, they have always taken good care of him and his business. He says, “I find it odd that businesses in the gun industry don’t put more focus on what their guests (and their changing guests, by the way) are telling them.”

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H&H has a process where guests can contact them at any time and give their feedback and concerns. Hall also teamed up with a local university to survey his guest base. When the university provided the results of the survey, the company implemented changes based on the information to try and improve their processes and business. For H&H, guest service is an integral part of their day-to-day operations and business model and not just an afterthought.

Hall also discusses the importance of catering to the women demographic. He says 47% of those using the range and purchasing product are women. After all, H&H stands for Hers and His, and it’s said “Hers and His,” not “His and Hers.” Hall says women are a large part of the sport’s growing population, and it’s important their opinions are heard and they are taken care of.

The Future of the Industry

When asked what goals he has for the future, Hall says he wants to keep growing the sport. He says, “We love being the center of everything. We would love to be a hub… a hub of the shooting sports. The gun industry still has validity. Not just in Oklahoma, but everywhere else. It’s still all about growing the sport.” Future expansion plans for H&H include upgrading their 90,000 square foot facility, and possibly adding two more bays. In the end, Hall again stresses that it’s all about meeting and exceeding the expectations of guests who come visit their complex.

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“Ultimately, we’re in the business to make a profit, but we actually look at it a little differently. It’s all about growing the sport.

The tagline on H&H’s website summarizes perfectly what Hall is trying to accomplish: “H&H Shooting Sports Complex is a community, educational and retail facility for developing and promoting the sport of shooting, and it’s to the people of Oklahoma we dedicate our business.”We give them an outlet… the guests, anyway… an outlet to feel pride and go back to their friends and talk about shooting. The fact that they’re shooting at H&H is a good thing, but the real good thing is that they’re shooting period instead of riding a jet ski or bowling or whatever else.”

Thinking About Building a Shooting Range?

Building a shooting range can be an overwhelming process. Your time and resources deserve a partner who will listen to your ideas and turn your dreams and plans into a successful, thriving business. If you are considering building a range, talk to the Action Target Range Consultant 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 project today.

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.

 

Action Target Increases H&H Shooting Sports’ Lane Count

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PROVO, Utah – Aug. 15, 2013 – H&H Shooting Sports of Oklahoma City recently teamed up with Action Target, the world leader in shooting range development, equipment and services, to increase their shooting lane count from 55 to 61 making them one of the largest gun range and retail firearm stores in the nation.

Action Target’s six-lane addition to the H&H Shooting Sports Complex brings them to a total of 82,500 square feet and is the physical embodiment of their goal to grow the shooting sports. The 61 current lanes are not the typical shooting range variety, either. They have specific uses assigned to them from pistols to shotguns, archery, air guns and even black powder rifles.

“It wasn’t good enough to just do handguns, guests wanted to be able to shoot rifles, shotguns, black powder guns and bows too,” H&H founder Miles Hall said. “We really listen. Guests told us what they wanted and we kept adding lanes to meet those needs.”

For their guests (a term they use they use exclusively instead of customer), H&H is the mecca of the shooting sports world, a destination that attracted nearly 750,000 visitors in 2012 alone. H&H has also influenced the business side of the industry by becoming the model upon which many new ranges and stores are based.

“This complex shows the world that the gun industry still has validity, not just in Oklahoma, but everywhere,” Hall said. “These complexes are the new face of the industry and it is awesome that some folks want to duplicate what we have here back in their home states.”

The HallsWhile H&H Shooting Sports now boasts one of the largest commercial shooting ranges in the nation, it came from very modest beginnings. When Hall and his wife founded H&H in 1981 at the young ages of 20 and 18, it had a mere 10 50-foot shooting lanes. And it wasn’t until 15 years later, in 1996, that a retail store was added—a decision that set H&H on the path to becoming a hub of the shooting sports.

H&H now features a store with more than 2,000 firearms, a restaurant, virtual simulators, an online newswire and even the occasional wedding. Hall said he wishes he could take credit for the range’s success but that it all comes down to customer service and the simple act of listening.

“If you listen to people and watch who they are and do what they want you to do, they’re going to take good care of you,” Hall said. “They’ve taken good care of us here.”

H&H (which stands for “Hers and His”) is especially conscientious of women shooters who now make up nearly half of its customer base.

“Shooting is not a men’s only club anymore,” Hall said. “47 percent of our customer base is women, and ethnically, it is all over the board. We love that our guests are as diverse as they are.”

Even with the evolving landscape of new guests, technology and products, H&H stays true to their educational goal which includes training and teaching shooters how to safely use firearms while keeping it fun.

“We understand the entertainment factor, but its really all about education,” Hall said. “No one has to participate in shooting sports. They do it because they want to, and we try very hard to make it a fun and enjoyable time for them.”

H&H has plans to add more shop space to accommodate a larger selection of gun safes that will increase their size to 90,000 square feet. Plans are also being made to add another six shooting lanes after retrofitting some of the older ones.

2363A4E5-A751-4890-B362-D2A2413EF533[5] The grand opening of the new shooting lanes will be held Labor Day Weekend during normal business hours.

Between The Berms: Athena, Goddess Of Gun Ranges

Editors Note: This article was originally published in The Shooting Wire on December 5, 2012. It is being republished here with permission from Editor Paul Erhardt.

The Athena Gun Club is the range your range hopes to be when it grows up.

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Houston’s Athena Gun Club is setting the bar very, very high. Photo: P. Erhardt

Located in Houston, Texas, with something like 100,000 oil industry execs within a few minutes drive, the Athena Gun Club is 39,000+ square feet of ranges, retails space, classrooms, and amenities that sets it far apart from other ranges you’ve visited.

The design and layout of Athena is the brainchild of CEO John Boyert, and his wife (and CFO) Susan Cho, who worked with Houston-based firm Acumen Design to create an overall space and flow – along with a non-traditional firearms shopping experience – that gives the club its very upscale feel.

Upon entering the club the first thing you notice is the front desk, which is more akin to one you’d find in a hotel lobby than at any gun club you’ve seen. It’s located in a huge, open foyer that’s brightly lit, inviting, quiet and immaculate.

It’s at that front desk where you are immediately greeted by one of the club’s 49 uniformed employees who project both professionalism and warm hospitality – again, more akin to that of a hotel than a range – and leave you with the feeling that this is the place you want to come and shoot.

And that first impression, the importance of it on you as a potential member, is something Boyert borrowed from Conrad Hilton’s book. Hilton, of the Hilton Hotels empire, knew a thing or two about the value of first impressions, and considering that the Athena Gun Club sits next door to one of the richest zip codes in the country, Boyert understands how valuable that first impression is to the success of his business.

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The front desk looks like it came straight out of a high-end hotel. Photo: P. Erhardt

To put it simply, everything about the Athena Gun Club is geared towards creating a high-end experience for the visitor – regardless if you are a multi-millionaire executive in the oil industry or the clerk from the mailroom.

Great attention to detail has gone into giving each and every visitor a world-class experience. And why not? They want you to come back.

Boyert has pored over all the available data from the National Shooting Sports Foundation that they’ve compiled to help firearms retailers and ranges. With that data in hand, and Conrad Hilton’s expert observations, Boyert has envisioned the club to be the place you don’t visit just once a month to shoot, but every week.

He explained that the Athena Gun Club is going after “a demographic that other ranges aren’t even targeting” and probably never considered.

For instance, because of the oil industry and corporate rules they have established about firearms on their property, Athena Gun Club will store firearms for its Executive and VIP members. These are individuals who pay a hefty membership fee and a regular monthly fee which provides them access to seven private VIP shooting lanes, on-site firearms storage, a cigar room with fully stocked humidor, private entrance and gun valet services, on top of other amenities and Athena’s always attentive staff.

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To the right of the front desk is the fully computerized rental counter. Photo courtesy of Athena Gun Club

A tour through the VIP area was like walking through the clubhouse or members locker room at a private country club.

In addition to luring in Houston’s business executives, Boyert is also targeting the corporations themselves by providing them a unique off-site meeting place where a sales team can easily have their meeting thanks to standard business tools like WiFi, AV systems, a conference room, and catering (of course).

Though a brand new business that just had it’s grand opening this past weekend, the Athena Gun Club has reached out to build relationships with other local businesses. Not only has Boyert sought out the advise of local restauranteurs – again stealing from the hospitality industry – but he has also lined them up to help cater Athena’s special events and the range’s soon-to-be-opened cafe.

I know what you’re thinking, “Will they have that fried baloney you keep mentioning?”

No, you’ll have to make do with food from the likes of Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches and Carrabba’s Italian Grill, as well as other local venues Boyert is reaching out to in order to better service the Athena Gun Club members.

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If we told you it was a fine jewelry store you couldn’t tell the difference. Photo: P. Erhardt

Building partnerships is a key element of the business philosophy employed by Boyert and Cho to help them deliver on the Athena promise. One of those relationships, and perhaps the most important one after that with Acumen Design, is with Action Target.

You can’t have a gun club without a range and Boyert literally met with every major shooting range company before settling on Action Target and putting his faith in them to deliver the best shooting experience possible.

And that faith paid off big time as contractor issues put the gun club build-out behind schedule, forcing Boyert to turn a 12-week range install into a 4-week rush job for Action Target.

For those familiar with the Utah-based Action Target, a company with one of if not the best reputations in the industry, it will hardly come as a surprise that not only did the Action Target team get the new state-of-the-art ranges – 26 lanes in all – installed in the 4-week window, but they did it without additional staff or going over budget.

Boyert’s appreciation for Action Target is apparent in the way he speaks about their work as one of their customers, and it reflects the way he sees Athena Gun Club’s members speaking of the club.

In picking other industry partners whose work and reputation reflects the appropriate image for the club, Boyert chose carefully when selecting the brands he’d carry in Athena Gun Club’s store.

When you decide to back everything you sell to your customers with a lifetime warranty you had better pick the right brands. In a retail space laid out more like an Apple Store with gun kiosks reminiscent of SHOT Show displays (instead of those dreary standard glass gun cases), you’ll find Glock, Smith & Wesson, HK, Sig Sauer, Wilson Combat, Kimber, SureFire, Magpul, Galco and others.

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This is what retail product merchandising should be. Photo: P. Erhardt

And all of it at prices competitive in an area serviced by numerous firearms retails, including no less than 20 Academy locations.

It’s difficult to fully capture the essence of the Athena Gun Club experience but it’s one that is totally different than what most shooters have come to expect from their local indoor range. It is refreshing and hopefully inspires other range owners to up their game.

Of course, the obvious question is can an upscale shooting club of this nature survive as a going business concern. I asked Boyert directly how long he thought it would take to reach profitability considering the tremendous investment made in the facility by him and his shareholders. While I fully expected a three, four, or even five year response, I was delighted to hear not only does he see it taking one year, but that expansion to new locations is part of the vision for the future of the Athena Gun Club.

With something like 4,000 people visiting the facility during its grand opening, it looks like the Athena Gun Club is well on its way. And I won’t be surprised if more than a few industry execs find their way to the new club next year when they gather in Houston for the annual NRA Show.

….Hmmm, what an interesting place to hold a new product introduction and media event during the NRA Show.

– Paul Erhardt, Editor, the Outdoor Wire Digital Network

Omaha Law Enforcement Trainer Recognized For Exceptional Performance

Officer David Staskiewicz receives Range Master of the Year Award from Action Target

PROVO, Utah – Officer David Staskiewicz was recognized by Action Target as the 2012 Range Master of the Year for his continued excellence in law enforcement training.  Action Target founder Addison Sovine presented Staskiewicz with the award at a ceremony held in his honor on December 13th.

“Officer Staskiewicz has done an incredible job in with the Omaha Police Department,” Sovine said. “Action Target has had the pleasure of working with him on several projects in the past, and we hope to continue our relationship in the future.”

For the past ten years, Officer Staskiewicz has been the Omaha Police Department’s range master. During that time, he has overseen the closing of the department’s 30-year-old indoor range and was instrumental in the opening of the new Public Safety Training Center ranges four years ago.

The new center includes a firearms simulator room, rooms for weapon, ammo and target storage, a room with 20 stations for weapon cleaning and two indoor shooting ranges equipped by Action Target with advanced tactical training technology.

“Coordinating the fair use of all three ranges can keep you busy, but these facilities are an incredible training tool,” Staskiewicz said. “We have up to 25 local and federal agencies that train on one of our ranges throughout the year.”

According to Staskiewicz, the last thing a police officer wants to do is discharge his or her firearm, but training for those occasions where force is necessary is extremely important.

“Shooting is a perishable skill that needs to be practiced on a regular basis”, Staskiewicz said. “It’s extremely important to train our officers under similar conditions, especially elevated heart rate shooting.  It’s our job to prepare our officers to react to a situation so they can go home to their family at night.”

In addition to running his agencies three ranges, Staskiewicz oversees the firearms curriculum for his 800 officer department.  He has always been willing to share his lesson plans and training tips with other agencies and trainers over the years.   Some drills they conduct on the indoor tactical range include split-second threat identification, accuracy and speed training, as well as ambush drills in a patrol car with the windshield removed, drop targets and flashing lights to add to the stress.

“Along with providing common sense firearms training, our goal is to provide a safe training environment,” Staskiewicz said. “I’m honored to have won Range Master of the Year, but the best reward is seeing our officers go home at night after a situation.”

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 LETC 2012 a Great Success

Action Target’s annual Law Enforcement Training Camp ended Friday as instructors and trainees parted ways after another year of advanced law enforcement training.

This year’s LETC was attended by 147 law enforcement officers and firearms instructors from across the country and the world. More than 20 states were represented with officers from California and Oregon to Florida and New York. While LETC is traditionally a domestic law enforcement camp, as its fame has spread throughout the world, we’ve increasingly received requests to attend from foreign law enforcement agencies. As in years past, we were pleased to welcome officers from Canada, but this year was especially unique with the addition of participants from Brazil and China.

On Monday, Sept. 10, officers arrived at Action Target’s headquarters to sign in and pick up their gear which included personalized water bottles and dog tags. They were also able to tour the facilities where all of Action Target’s products are designed, engineered, and manufactured.

Classes started Tuesday morning at the Utah County Sheriff’s Office Thistle Firing Range. New to this year’s training classes were George Harris’ Combat Skill Drills for Firearms Instructors, Bob Schneider’s Shoot House Training, James Washington’s Training for the Fight with the Pistol, and Brian Hoffner’s Extreme Close Quarter Battle Tactics with Hands, Knife, and Pistol. A total of 12 instructors participated from a variety of organizations including Spartan Tactical Training Group, Safariland Shooting School, Hoffners Training Academy, Glock Training Division, Police Training Division, JDS Tactical, and Fusion Tactical and Combatives.

On the first day of class, the Utah County Sheriff’s Office explosives department set up a demonstration to kick things off with a bang. A charge was placed on the hill next to the uppermost firing range and was connected to several additional charges that ran down the hill and along the periphery of the range. To demonstrate the delay mechanism’s non-electric shock tube technology, a sniper shot the main charge from atop a storage container setting off a series of explosions down the hill. The explosives department also demonstrated several forced entry explosive mechanisms as well as a unique steel puncturing technology consisting of a coil of explosives wrapped around a beer can.

Wednesday night, more than 50 officers at the camp put their skills to the test in the Dirty Harry shooting competition as they vied for free tuition at next year’s LETC. Participants were required to shoot 21 colored knock down targets from three corresponding colored boxes. Shooting the wrong color or shooting one of the six no-shoot targets meant instant disqualification. Law enforcement officers from Utah crushed the competition taking first, second, and third places. Officer Rob Wilkenson of the Utah Highway Patrol took the grand prize winning by more than five seconds with a time of 23:19.

A banquet was held Thursday evening to honor the dedication and sacrifices of law enforcement officers throughout the nation and the world. McKenzie Matthews began the banquet by singing the “Star Spangled Banner” and was followed by Provo Mayor John Curtis who gave the welcome speech. The night’s program centered around the memory of the brave men and women who lost their lives in the protection of our freedoms. The Payson High School Pipe Band performed ‘Amazing Grace’ as photos of law enforcement officers who died by gunfire this year were shown on a projector screen during a special memorial for fallen officers. A memorial was also held for law enforcement who lost their lives in the 9/11 attack. Deputy Chief Steven J. Silks of the New York Police Department, a participant in this year’s camp, spoke of his experiences that day and shared a firsthand account of the bravery exhibited by the brave men and women he served with during that catastrophe.

The camp ended Friday afternoon with a few final classes before attendees began their long journeys home to locations across the nation and the world.

We at Action Target were honored to have so many exceptional officers at this year’s camp, and we hope that each one took home something new that they can share with the men and women they serve with. Superior law enforcement training has always been one of our corporate missions, but we couldn’t make that happen without the continued assistance of our instructors and the participation of the world’s finest. To everyone that attended, instructed, or helped, we thank you and hope you enjoyed your time with us.

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The Equipment You Need to Make a Good Shooting Range Great: Pt. 2

By Matt Brinkerhoff, Action Target Range Consultant

When it comes to shooting ranges, bullet containment is the paramount concern. As we discussed in our last article, the appropriate bullet traps and safety baffles need to be in place in order to keep your customers and employees safe. That means bullet traps that reliably collect and store bullets and allow for safe disposal of collected lead. That also means ballistic paneling on the walls and ceilings to ensure any shot that misses the bullet trap has no chance of exiting the building. But once you’ve established a strong foundation with the help of Action Target, you can move on to the more glamorous aspects of building a shooting range, like target retrieval systems and computer controlled reactive targets.

Here at Action Target, we provide a wide array of shooting range equipment from moving targets and shooting stalls to sound abatement and ventilation. With the help of our many corporate partners, we do our best to give you the most complete shooting range package on the market.

Target Systems

With the assistance of our business partner Mancom, Action Target has worked to provide several different target retrieval systems to meet the specific needs of customers. Our Standard Smart Target Retriever eliminated the problem with sag and sway that are inherent in many cable guide designs with the use of a rigid steel track and armored trolley system. Distance control is also made easier with two different operation options. With our toggle option, a simple flip of a switch send the target back to a pre-determined distance, while our Smart Pad gives the shooter complete control over distance and movement. With the addition of our Deluxe Smart Retriever, which allows 180 degree turning action, the shooter or range master also has the ability to program and replay a series of target positions and turning actions.

If your shooting range needs to facilitate tactical training, however, you may want more than just a static position in a stall. Proper tactical training requires realistic scenarios, which means shooter movement and target movement. Training on moving targets hasbecome mandatory for law enforcement agencies across the country. Because running seems to be a part of most gunfights, the ability to fire safely and accurately at moving threats can be one of an officer’s greatest assets. To better facilitate quality tactical training, Action Target provides two types of running man systems: the portable Runner family and the more permanent Track Runner. The portable Runner systems not only simulate horizontal running scenarios, but armed charging scenarios as well. With two AT Builds New Shooting Range and Storedifferent portable systems to meet your budget and needs, running targets can easily be incorporated into your training program. The Track Runner provides the tools for a wide variety of situation with single or double track configurations, cardboard and steel target compatibility, variable speed and electric braking, and remote hand held control of movement.

Action Target also provides turning targets to foster quick and accurate reactions with good guy / bad guy threat identification. Drawing and firing at a target you already know is a threat is fairly easy, but real life scenarios aren’t always so simple. To eliminate the inaccuracy of this scenario, law enforcement demanded targets that turn toward and away from the shooter at specific time intervals. Turning targets allow trainees to practice evaluating the target quickly while performing tactical maneuvers. With six different turning target systems, Action Target can design the perfect system to fit your needs.

Ventilation

Ventilation is extremely important on indoor shooting ranges. Lead and other airborne toxins are introduced to the environment during shooting and can be hazardous to the health or your employees and customers if inhaled. Any enclosed area where shooting is done must be properly ventilated in order to meet NIOSH, EPA, and OSHA standards. Installing a ventilation system for your range may be beyond the abilities of your friend George who does air conditioning. Improperly designed systems may just stir up the air rather than replace it.

Action Target provides you with the best and safest ventilation system. Our ventilation systems are the best-performing and most efficient systems available on the market today and are designed to exceed NIOSH, EPA, and OSHA air quality standards. Through the use of a ceiling-mounted 180 degree air delivery system as well as digital and analog control systems which adapt to changing environmental conditions to maintain the required air velocities and building pressures, Action Target’s ventilation systems push and pull air downrange at a rate fast enough to completely replace the air within a large range in less than two minutes. The air then goes through preliminary filters to remove large impurities before passing through a HEPA filter to eliminate 99.97% of remaining contaminants, making the exhausted air even cleaner than the air outside.

Sound Abatement

Sound abatement is one of those things many shooting range owners ignore initially and then wish they hadn’t when neighbor relations begin to decline. If your shooting range is near residential areas or if housing begins to develop around your range, proper sound abatement is absolutely vital to your future success. If too many people begin to complain about the noise level, you could be shut down permanently.

But sound abatement is not only important for the people outside the range, but for people inside the range as well. Gunshots have an extremely high decibel level which is only compounded on an indoor range when the sound waves bounce off the hard floor, walls, and ceiling. Ear protection is absolutely necessary on any range, but it may not be enough to protect your employees who spend hours and hours in the range every day. The constant reverberation of gunshots within an enclosed area can actually produce negative physical effects on the body other than just hearing loss. Prolonged exposure to high decibel percussive noise such as gunshots can cause nausea or fatigue if the reverberation isn’t properly dissipated.

These problems can be easily avoided by limiting the length of shifts for employees working in the range and by installing proper sound abatement material. All ceiling and wall baffles installed by Action Target are covered with acoustic tiling to help reduce the amount of reverberation within the range. We’ve also teamed up with Troy Sound Wall Systems, the creator of the highest acoustically rated wall systems in the world, to bring you one of the most viable options on the market. By installing the Troy Sound Wall System in ranges, we have managed to reduce reverberation by 98%. That’s 98% percent of reverberation you don’t have to worry about threatening the health of your employees and customers.

Rely on the Experts for Help

Action Target LogoThere 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.

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.

Action Target’s Law Enforcement Training Camp is Just Around the Corner!

For more than 20 years, Action Target has held the Law Enforcement Training Camp (LETC) to help police departments across the nation get the quality firearms training they need and deserve. With this year’s training camp starting in just a few days, we’re excited to get things rolling. For those of you who will be attending, here’s what you can look forward to (and for those of you who didn’t register in time, this is what you’ll be missing!).

The training camp officially begins Monday, September 10 with registration starting 2 p.m. at the Action Target headquarters in Provo, UT. Since participants will be arriving from all over the nation and a few from across the world, Monday is considered a travel day, and no classes will be held. After registration, participants will be allowed to tour the Action Target facilities where we manufacture the target systems and shoot houses trainees will be using throughout the week.

Classes start Tuesday morning and will be held every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Friday the 14th. Lunch will be provided at the range as well as a BBQ dinner Tuesday night and a catered banquet Thursday night. Thursday night’s festivities also include the “Dirty Harry” shooting competition and a raffle for Action Target gear and other prizes.

The greatest prize you’ll receive at LETC, however, is invaluable experience and training. All courses offered at LETC are taught by highly qualified professional instructors, many of whom have decades of experience in firearms training.

This year’s classes include:

  • Advanced practical handgun
  • Combat skill drills for firearms instructors
  • Ultimate shotgun
  • Extreme close quarter battle tactics with hands, knife, and pistol
  • Rapid deployment patrol rifle operator
  • Training for the fight with the pistol
  • Emergency medical response for firearms instructors
  • Shoot, move, communicate
  • Glock armorer’s course
  • Reactive shooting
  • Shoot house training
  • Ground combatives and weapons retention training

If you are already signed up for this year’s training camp, we look forward to seeing you in just a few days. We guarantee this will be one of the greatest training experiences you will ever have. If you somehow missed the deadline, don’t worry. There’s always next year.

The Equipment You Need to Make a Good Shooting Range Great: Pt. 1

By Matt Brinkerhoff, Action Target Range Consultant

Anyone who has been to a quality shooting range knows it requires much more than a line drawn in the dirt and a few paper targets. Great shooting ranges are designed to protect customers, employees, and the environment. Here at Action Target, we specialize in designing, manufacturing, and installing superior shooting range equipment to meet all of your ballistic needs from bullet containment to target retrieval systems. Quality matters when the safety of your customers and employees are in question, so don’t settle for good when your shooting range could be great with the help of Action Target.

Bullet containment is the number one concern on any shooting range, and without the proper designs and equipment, it can be nearly impossible to ensure the safety of those inside and outside the range. Bullet containment basically comes down to two elements: bullet traps and baffles. The bullet trap should be designed to stop any high powered round and handle the level of traffic expected at your range while safely collecting all projectiles for proper disposal. Any shot downrange should be stopped by the bullet trap, but safety baffles are also needed to keep bullets from exiting the ceiling of your range or ricocheting off the walls in the event of an errant shot. With the right combination of bullet trap and baffles, you can rest easy knowing no matter where a shot is fired on your range, it won’t have a chance to escape.

Bullet Traps

Action Target offers two different kinds of bullet traps, the Rubber Berm Trap (RBT) and the Action Target Total Containment Trap (TCT). A rubber berm trap consists of an angled metal plate covered in chopped rubber two feet thick. Action Target’s rubber berms utilize a patented combination of fire retardant and nonflammable adhesive to minimize fire danger and prevent migration. Being a softer collection medium, rubber significantly reduces ricochet and lead dust in some applications which makes it a great option for ranges that don’t see excessive everyday use. Due to the simplicity and relatively low cost of the materials used, a rubber berm can be extremely economical. But if you start having more shooters than you originally planned for, it can also become a wrench in your wallet. Rubber berms have to be cleaned and the bullets lodged in them mined every 80,000 rounds. Not only does it cost money to clean the rubber berm and replenish the chopped rubber periodically, but the more days you have to close your range for maintenance, the more money you lose.

Action Target's Total Containment Bulle TrapThe Action Target Total Containment Trap can be a great solution to this problem if your daily foot traffic is able to balance the expense of installing and maintaining it. With two different types of lead removal systems, the TCT allows for varying levels of use and greatly diminishes the time you have to spend maintaining your shooting range. Essentially, the TCT is a giant armor steel funnel that directs every shot fired into a small gap at the rear of the trap. Once a bullet passes through that gap, it enters an elliptical deceleration chamber where it spins until it loses energy and falls into the collection trough through the bottom of the chamber. All of the lead is then collected and stored using one of two systems, the hands-free Screw Conveyor System or the Canister System. These two systems are designed to prevent lead exposure and make disposing of hazardous range debris as simple and easy as possible. The TCT is perfect for high traffic ranges, and when combined with our unique Dust Collection Unit, it is the safest and most environmentally friendly bullet trap on the market.

Safety Baffles

Safety baffles are often one of the most neglected areas of shooting range design, but they are absolutely crucial to the ballistic security of your range. In addition to keeping fired bullets from exiting the range, baffles offer protection for overhead lights, pipes, ventilation ducts, and other structures. As much as you would like them to, shooters at your range are not always going to shoot perfectly straight, and when they inevitably hit the ceiling, you’ll be glad you had them installed.

Action Target Safety Baffles used in LAAction Target’s patented wall and ceiling baffles are designed to reduce noise, eliminate ricochet, and ensure complete bullet containment. Our baffles are composed of four layers: acoustic paneling, plywood, an air gap, and steel. Acoustic panels are placed on the outside of our baffles to minimize gunshot reverberation within the range and prevent sound transmission beyond the range. Plywood is then used to contain shots fired into the baffle. Bullets can easily pass through these two layers, but once a bullet hits the steel and shatters, the plywood effectively contains the fragments. The air gap works as a buffer to allow the bullet room for fragmentation before bouncing back against the plywood. The most important part of the baffle is the steel plate. Action Target offers four grades of safety baffles ranging from 10 gauge steel to abrasion resistant armor steel to meet your range’s ballistic specifications and budget. If you know what ammunition and firearms will be allowed on your range, we can help you find the right baffles to complete it.

The type of training your range is expected to accommodate will dictate the configuration of your safety baffles. Action Target offers both static and tactical configurations based on the “no blue sky” principle. According to this principle, a shooter who is facing downrange on an outdoor range (though, this principle also applies to indoor ranges as well) should not be able to see any blue sky. If shooting on your range will only be from a static point on the firing line, the ceiling baffles are placed in a static configuration meaning they are spaced closer together near the firing line and further apart near the bullet trap. Even though there are large gaps between the baffles at the end of the range, no blue sky can be seen from the static shooting position at the firing line which means it’s impossible for a bullet to escape vertically.

If your range is expected to accommodate tactical training where shooters will be moving downrange, having gaps in the ceiling baffles anywhere on the range isn’t acceptable. With a tactical baffle configuration, baffles are place close together and overlap one another so even if a bullet is fired straight up, a baffle will be there to stop it no matter where it is on the range. This tactical configuration allows shooters to move freely without any danger of rounds exiting the ceiling. Wall baffles are also highly recommended if tactical training will be conducted on your range. While hardened concrete is balistically sound, wall baffles add an additional level of protection and completely eliminate ricochet while also decreasing reverberation within the range.

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.

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.

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.

Action Target Founders Named Finalist in Entrepreneur of the Year Award

Action Target LogoPROVO, Utah— In today’s hard-hit economy, two local Utah businessmen have been named finalists of the 2012 Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Kyle Bateman and Addison Sovine of Action Target, Inc. are among a handful of entrepreneurs to be named finalists in the Utah region, which includes Wyoming and half of Idaho. These local businessmen were selected from more than 1,700 applicants because of their significant impact on their surrounding business community.

“It is an honor,” stated Sovine. “There are so many great companies in this area and I am grateful to be listed among them.”

But being a successful entrepreneur in today’s economy does not come easy. “It has required a lot more work than I might have imagined early on,” said Bateman. “It is hard to comprehend how many things there are to do and how much work you will have to put into your business to make it successful. Having said that, I am still amazed that things have worked out as well as they have.”

Sovine and Addison founded Action Target out of an auto body shop in 1985. Their business idea was created atop the hood of a police vehicle, followed by their tireless work and hours to bring their ideas to the country. Since that time, Action Target has become the industry leader in shooting range design and Portable Steel Targets.

Sovine and Addison are in the running with 32 other finalists for this year’s top honored award. Ernst and Young developed the Entrepreneur of the Year Award program to celebrate successful entrepreneurs. It has grown into an award program that spans more than 140 cities in 50 countries. This year’s Utah region winners region will go on to compete against winners from other regions around the country, and subsequently the world. Utah Region winners will be announced on June 7, 2012.

Action Target Media Contact:

Sheryle Coray
sheryle.coray@818group.com

About Action Target Inc.

Based in Provo, Utah, Action Target is the leading manufacturer of custom shooting ranges and portable steel targets for military, law enforcement, Special Forces groups, tactical training schools, and commercial applications. Since its founding in 1985, Action Target has become the world’s largest shooting range equipment manager.

Which System is Better for the Total Containment Trap: Conveyor or Bucket?

The goal of every range should be to increase facility revenue. In order to achieve this goal, all range products and features should be carefully evaluated to ensure they maximize revenue and are aligned with the volume of range use. While the bucket system is the ideal solution for some ranges, Action Target recommends that all facilities with a Total Containment Trap engaged at a rate of 70% or greater should use the conveyor system. In these ranges, the conveyor system is the best solution to increase range revenue.

Action Target Total Containment Trap with CanistersTime is money. The more time the range is shut down for service, the less money the range is making. In other words, each time a range has to shut down should be viewed as a potential loss of revenue. A range using a conveyor belt doesn’t have to shut down in order to service the trap because the conveyor is constantly collecting the fired rounds. When the range does shuts down for general maintenance, the workers don’t have to deal with clearing buckets and can better spend their time elsewhere.

It’s important to remember that labor is not free. Using buckets or canisters is seldom a viable solution because of the high amount of manual labor that is required, which greatly increases the cost of a bucket system beyond initial construction. Each of the canisters underneath the trap, when full, can weigh over 100 pounds. Due to the heaviness and awkwardness of these canisters, lead is often spilled and the canisters often become damaged. Workers then have to spend more time cleaning up the spilled contents. On a standard 10-lane range, there are more than 30 canisters to remove. If each of these canisters weighs about 100 pounds, there will be more than 1.5 tons of lead. By design, the canisters are meant to have a lid hammered on before removal. However too often, range operators choose to dump each of these buckets into a larger barrel or bin for removal. This creates an undue risk and safety issue as well as the potential threat of lead spillage, which again, requires additional cleanup and special handling. In short, while a bucket or canister system is less expensive initially, the cost of labor and upkeep quickly piles up.

Contrarily, a screw conveyor removes the spent rounds and lead to a single location to be removed. The movement of the lead and spent bullets in the screw conveyor is hands-free; the only engagement is removing and replacing the large barrel after it is full. This can be done easily with a small forklift or a pallet jack and requires far less time and effort than that required with a bucket system.

A final reason why the conveyor system is recommended in Total Containment Traps is safety. If a canister is allowed to overfill, the rounds will remain in the bullet trap and can potentially cause ricochet and/or clogging. Barrels can become filled with lead in as little as two weeks. The more the lead piles up, the bigger the safety issue. Range safety is critical and the screw conveyor system is the best choice for optimal safety.

To learn more about Actions Target’s Total Containment Trap, its bucket system, or its conveyor belt system, visit the Bullet Traps page.

What is the Best Bullet Trap for my Range?

Choosing a bullet trap is an important decision that will directly impact a range’s profits. However, it is a decision that often seems overwhelming given the number of options available. To truly understand how important a bullet trap is to range operations and budget, it is helpful to think of the range as a large lead processor and to answer the following eight questions:

  1. Will the range be limited to handguns only, or will rifles be allowed?
  2. What other kinds of ammunition will be used?
  3. How many rounds will be fired each month? Each year?
  4. How do you plan to collect the lead from the trap?
  5. What about lead dust and other airborne particles?
  6. What kind of budget are you working with?
  7. Are there any size limitations?
  8. What about local fire codes and other restrictions?

Once these questions are answered, it becomes much easier to choose the optimal bullet trap that aligns with the range’s goals. Luckily for range owners, Action Target provides different bullet trap choices that cater to the many possible range uses. The two most common options for commercial range use are the Total Containment Trap (TCT) and the Rubber Berm Trap (RBT). Each has obvious benefits for any range, but the difference still depends on the use of each range and the answers to the above questions.

For example, if the range’s business plan calls for a small, low-use facility, then the Rubber Berm Trap is a great option. The RBT requires a smaller footprint than the Total Containment Trap and uses a smaller amount of floor space. It takes advantage of a hassle-free design that requires very little upkeep. It utilizes the practical and beneficial properties of rubber, while eliminating weaknesses and unnecessary elements of other designs. The RBT can also be serviced from the front, whereas the TCT must be serviced from the rear. The bottom line—The Rubber Berm Trap is cheaper to build and easier to maintain.

However, if the range has a high-volume, heavy-use facility, then the Rubber Berm Trap will quickly become a frustration and a large expense. In these types of ranges, the Total Containment Trap is the optimal choice.

AT Bullet Traps Used IndoorThe Total Containment Trap is the dominant industry standard for modern, heavy-duty, steel bullet traps. It is the superior choice for ranges where safety, reliability, simple maintenance, and ease of use are top priorities. The TCT can be used both indoors and outdoors in all types of law enforcement, military, and commercial shooting ranges. The TCT funnels fired rounds into a deceleration chamber, which increases safety for everyone on the range. Action Target’s patented Dust Collection Unit can be installed in the Total Containment Trap, protecting the range from lead dust contamination. The bottom line: Although more expensive than the Rubber Berm Trap, the Total Containment Trap is longer lasting and better for high-use ranges.

Before deciding on a trap, it is imperative to understand exactly what the requirements are to find the trap that supports the range goals. In today’s industry, too many owners are initially enticed by a low price only to be disappointed in the end due to the amount of unforeseen problems. For more information, Action Target has provided multiple whitepapers and a video to help choose the optimal bullet trap—visit the “Related Pages” section of our Bullet Traps page to access these resources.

Action Target Becomes an NSSF Voting Member

Action Target is proud to announce its recent acceptance as a voting member of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF).

Founded over 25 years ago, Action Target began with two high school friends working out of their garage. Today, Action Target has become the world’s largest shooting range equipment manufacturer.

Holding more than 40 patents, Action Target has steadily increased its inventory to include over 4,000 products. In addition to manufacturing, Action Target also designs, delivers, and installs indoor and outdoor range equipment throughout the world. Action Target is the preferred choice for the firearms training programs of US & international commercial/sport shooters, law enforcement, military, Special Forces groups, and tactical training schools.

Action Target is honored to be accepted as a voting member by the NSSF’s Board of Directors. It is our pledge to assist in the NSSF’s ongoing mission to promote, protect, and preserve both the shooting industry and the heritage we all share. As private ownership of firearms increases, the need for safe facilities to practice shooting has become crucial. Action Target and the NSSF will work together to enhance the presence of commercial shooting ranges in the USA while supporting the many programs they offer.

About the NSSF

Following a series of industry meetings in the late 1950’s—sponsored by Field & Stream Magazine—the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) was chartered in 1961 to promote a better understanding of and a greater participation in hunting and shooting sports.

In 1963, the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI) merged its promotional arm into the NSSF enabling the foundation to expand its efforts and establish its own headquarters in Riverside, CT.

Recognizing the growing urbanization of America, NSSF first sought to build public awareness of the sportsman’s role in conservation and their contributions to wildlife management through landmark efforts such as the annual National Hunting and Fishing Day, established in 1973.

Over the years, the foundation has continued its public outreach efforts while also developing a wide array of programs to encourage new and added participation in hunting and target shooting sports. In the early 1980’s, NSSF was at the forefront of promoting the then-new sport of sporting clays and generating widespread publicity for shooting games of all kinds. An example was the 1988 “Sportsman’s Team Challenge”—the first made-for-TV shooting competition appearing on ESPN, which continued through the 1990’s.

Over the past several decades, NSSF has greatly expanded its efforts to strengthen hunting and shooting sports traditions through nationally based efforts such as STEP OUTSIDE, the Families Afield initiative, First Shots, and the Hunting Heritage Partnership, which provides grants to state wildlife agencies for programs that improve access and opportunity.

Since its inception, NSSF has been a leader in building opportunities so future generations can continue to enjoy hunting and shooting sports. NSSF is a major supporter of the nation’s youth shooting programs and has created its own programs such as the Scholastic Clay Target Program along with other similar efforts at the collegiate level.

Firearms safety education has also been a fundamental mission of NSSF throughout its history. Over the years, the foundation has distributed millions of safety brochures and delivered safety messages through television, radio, and print media outlets. Initiated in 1999, NSSF’s Project ChildSafe has distributed more than 35 million firearm safety kits throughout all 50 states.

The NSSF is actively engaged in representing its members in respect to key legal, regulatory, and legislative issues through its Government Relations division.

Since 1979, critical funding for NSSF’s many programs and activities has come from the NSSF-owned industry trade show, SHOT Show. From an inaugural event of only 50,000 square feet of exhibit space, the show has grown to some 700,000 square feet of exhibit space today and is the largest trade exposition of its kind in the world.

NSSF’s foundation represents the broad scope of the hunting and shooting sports industry. Members include manufacturers of sporting firearms, ammunition, a wide array of accessories, and equipment manufacturers as well as distributors, retailers, shooting ranges, and many other companies and organizations in the hunting and shooting sports community. Today’s membership includes more than 5,500 companies and organizations.

Shooting Steel Targets (Part 2)

*Note: This is the second of a three-part series entitled “Shooting Steel Targets.” Part One was published in the Action Target Journal in September and Part Three was published in October.

Action Target produces the finest and most sought after portable steel targets in the world. As a world leader for shooting range development, our steel targets have been developed in conjunction with law enforcement and the US Military for the last 26 years. As a result, our steel targets are among the safest around, which allows you to predict splatter patterns and ricochet. We do not allow any exposed bolts or brackets on the shooting surfaces. This is a limitation to many designs, but the result is the safest possible steel target available.

Why are portable steel targets important?

Instant feedback reinforces positive behavior and programs muscle memory. Just like hitting a baseball, your body subconsciously remembers how to orchestrate all the variables required for a successful shot. If you do not get instant feedback, your mind and body are not able to accurately correlate which variables produce positive results, and which produce negative results. The more senses you involve in the process, the more powerful and more rapid the conditioning becomes.

Sight

The target shouldAction Target 3-D Targets bounce, spin, rock, wobble, explode, fall, or give some other visual indicator when hit. High contrast paint on a shooting surface will increase visual feedback, but paint must be reapplied frequently. Paint can also be used to reduce visibility if desired.

Targets do not have to be made of steel to provide visual feedback. Plastic can provide some of the same effects, and cardboard targets can be equipped with various types of hit sensors. Balloons by themselves can be simple reactive targets, and they become even more effective when used with a three dimensional cardboard torso like our reactive 3D Target .

Sound

Steel is required for a target to produce a “gong” sound when hit. The size and thickness of the steel will affect the quality of the sound produced, as will the method by which the target is mounted or suspended. If the target is mounted so it is not too restricted and can move when hit, the gong will be louder and more effective. Although quality steel targets will cost more upfront, the savings in training time and ongoing cardboard and paper target replacement will more than pay for your original investment.

Shoot More, Waste Less Time

Action Target Evil Roy Practice TargetIn addition to providing effective visible and audible indicators when hit, steel targets greatly enhance the steel efficiency of your training as well. Instead of changing out paper or cardboard targets, you can spend more time actually shooting. The 30 or so minutes you save each day really add up over the course of a year, especially if you are working with a large department.

If You Build It, They Will Come

A final benefit of reactive targets is the pure entertainment factor. This may seem frivolous, but it can provide an enormous benefit to your training program. Would you rather shoot holes in paper all day, or would you rather participate in tactical shooting scenarios that involve movement, communication, and targets that drop, fall, spin, dodge, and charge you? The more enjoyable the training process is, the more often people will come to the range.

If you are looking for information about a specific target, visit our Portable Targets page of our website.

The Muzzle-Discipline Solution

By John Krupa III & John Farnam

At a recent Urban Rifle Course held at an outdoor range, a student with the muzzle of her AR (patrol rifle) elevated had a ND (negligent discharge), which put a single 5.56 x 45 bullet over the berm and off-property. The bullet in question subsequently impacted, at a high angle, a lake a half-mile downrange. No injury or property was damaged as a result, but several local fishermen reported the incident to the local sheriff’s office, and I heard about it shortly thereafter.

Berm heights vary widely from range to range. Most are 10 feet or higher. Even so, sending a bullet over the berm is still easily done, no matter the height. Some fancy ranges even have downrange, overhead “baffles” designed to keep bullets–inadvertently launched at a high angle–from leaving the range; however, even at these facilities, bullets occasionally seem to find a way off-property. Additional efforts to contain them invariably convert the “outdoor range” into an indoor range!

The better solution to this issue is muzzle-discipline.Action Target September Newsletter

“Muzzle-Down” is the by-word on all DTI (Defensive Training Institute) Ranges. All rifle, pistol, and shotgun handling is with the muzzle no higher than horizontal. Elevating muzzles past horizontal during administrative processes, and during reloading and stoppage-reduction, is commonly taught in some quarters, but it is wrong and dangerous!

In the incident described above, a rifle muzzle was inadvertently elevated during the loading process, as the student was relying on previous training. We corrected it, of course, but not before that single round departed range property.

When ND’s occur with the muzzle down and angled toward the berm, the bullet hits the ground between the shooter and the berm and can still subsequently jump over to the other side. However, these ricochets are typically low energy and far less dangerous than direct launches. “Muzzle-Up” is bad practice for other reasons too. Handling guns with the muzzle up is an invitation to a disarm, and rifle barrels angled upward will reliably betray an operator’s position and intentions, particularly when he/she is behind cover.

So, our students need to become accustomed to keeping all muzzles continually at a downward angle, coming up to horizontal only when aiming at a target. All administrative processes-loading, unloading, and performing a chamber-check can be (and must be) done with the operator facing in a relatively safe direction with the muzzle angled downward.

With escalating numbers of novice gun owners, preventing gun accidents is rapidly emerging as a critical priority. Gun-fear, trigger-locks, and the “empty-gun/never-ready” philosophy represent only a false and fraudulent myth. Genuine Operators, who carry and deal with loaded guns every day, need a legitimate and dependable gun-handling procedure that is adhered to without fail, and keeping muzzles down is an integral component.

About John Krupa III

John is a police officer with the Orland Hills Police Dept. and has over 20 years of experience in LE. He has previously served as a beat officer, rapid response officer, 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 ASLET, GTOA, IALEFI, ILEETA, ISOA, LETC, MTOA, NTOA, and TTPOA training conferences. To learn more about John Krupa III or Spartan Tactical Training Group, click here.

About John Farnam

John has been a police officer since 1971, when he joined the City of Elroy Police Department as a patrolman. He is presently a fully commissioned deputy sheriff Training Officer for the Park County, Colorado Sheriff’s Office. John has written articles about defensive shooting and tactics in addition to several books. To learn more about John Farnam or Defensive Training Institute (DTI), click here.

* The views are the authors’ own and don’t necessarily represent those of Action Target, Inc.