Action Target is pleased to announce the launch of a new online store. In an effort to make things more convenient and efficient for our customers, we have been working hard to improve our online store and to increase its functions. The new store not only looks better, but will hopefully make the purchasing and customer service processes easier for our customers.
Here is a look at what’s new:
Increased User Friendliness
We’ve been listening closely to your suggestions, and we’ve done our best to make this new interface easier to use and even more organized.
If you already know what you want, you can now add it directly to your cart from the multiple product page with the new quick add to cart button.
Less Time Spent on the Phone With Customer Service
The new online store makes it easier to get the help you need without having to spend time calling customer service.
Product parts and pieces are now available for order through the online store. You can browse parts and accessories from the dropdown mega-menu like feet, stands, hardware packages, and accessories like the Pelvic Hit Zone.
You can also find all of a target’s parts and pieces for sale individually at the bottom of the product page. Now you can purchase extra feet or target plates when you buy a PT Dueling Tree or purchase a package of bolts and nuts if you happen to lose one.
(Note: this feature is still in the process of being implemented. Product parts will be made available for purchase on the online store as soon as they are ready.)
Whether you just decided to upgrade from tin cans or you’re training for an international speed shooting competition, we’re making sure you have the information you need.
With more detailed descriptions, photos, and videos for each product, you can see exactly how your target will work and what you can do with it. If you shoot a video using one of our targets and send it our way, we may even feature it on our website!
The new online store will also have frequently asked questions for each product to make it easier on you when deciding how to best design your training program. (Note: this feature is still in the process of being implemented. Frequently asked questions will be added to products chronologically.)
Visit our new online store today and let us know what you think! We value your feedback and we’ll do everything we can to make sure you have a pleasant experience while shopping with us.
Everybody has their own preference when it comes to shooting ranges. Some people like the open-air feel of an outdoor range where they can shoot steel targets at 500 yards while others prefer the air conditioned comfort of indoor ranges where target distance can be controlled with the push of a button. Both have pros and cons and there’s not necessarily a right or wrong answer, but there are some things you need to consider before building a range to make sure you are providing your future customers with what they want and need. To better help you in the decision making process, here are some pros and cons for both outdoor and indoor shooting ranges.
Outdoor ranges generally require less expensive equipment. An outdoor shooting range can be as simple as a shooting line and a dirt backdrop or as complex as a law enforcement proving ground with moving targets and realistic tactical simulations. Either way, the equipment you need for an outdoor range will probably be less expensive than an indoor range because you don’t need a building to house it in.
Outdoor ranges can provide a greater range of shooting with appropriate berms. While indoor ranges are generally limited to shooting straight ahead from a fixed position, outdoor ranges allow shooters to participate in tactical training with up to 180 degrees of firing mobility. The more flexibility your range offers, the more realistic your training scenarios will be.
In addition to increased firing mobility, outdoor ranges also allow for greater tactical training freedom. Training at an outdoor range can include multiple firing stations, a greater range of distance, vehicle scenarios, and terrain-based exercises.
With an outdoor range, you are less limited in the ammo you can use. While indoor ranges are sometimes restricted to bullets within a certain muzzle velocity and bullet type, most outdoor shooting ranges are virtually unrestricted. Some outdoor ranges are even capable of handling incendiary rounds and artillery fire. While training of this kind may not be necessary or even desirable at your range, the capability is available. Outdoor ranges can also more safely accommodate shooting steel targets.
Building an outdoor range requires expensive earthwork and soil engineering. Not all sites are immediately suitable for an outdoor shooting range and may require extensive excavation to ensure bullet containment. The less suitable the site, the more money you will have to spend to make sure the backdrop and containment systems meet federal regulations and local statutes. You also may have to bring in power, water, and sewage hook ups from a long distance away, thus increasing the cost and adding to the needed infrastructure of roads, parking lots, and other development.
Due to the open-air nature of outdoor ranges, however, complete bullet containment is usually impractical due to expense. This is why location is such an important element in the building of an outdoor range. Outdoor shooting ranges must be built in an area where an errant shot that goes over the backstop is incapable of doing damage; this is referred to as Surface Danger Zone (SDZ). This can require building the range in a remote area far from the city, and being far from civilization means your customers are going to have to travel a longer distance to use the range.
It is inherently difficult to contain lead and noise at an outdoor range, and as housing encroaches on formerly uninhabited areas, more and more outdoor shooting ranges are being shut down. While the location of your outdoor range may seem safe from housing development, conditions can quickly change and endanger the future of your range. You must try to plan for variables that could affect your outdoor range in the long term future.
Because indoor ranges can easily be built in the middle of cities, they are much more convenient for customers. For commercial ranges, that means increased visibility and accessibility. For law enforcement, that means a cut in overtime costs for police departments because officers don’t have to travel as far as they would to train at an outdoor range. They can also easily train during inclement weather conditions that would be more difficult on an outdoor range.
Technological improvements are making indoor ranges a more viable option for tactical training. Ballistic doors can allow vehicles to enter the range for training scenarios, lighting can be adjusted to simulate daylight and low light situations, sound effects can be played over the loud speakers to induce stress or simulate a combat environment, and bullet traps like the Total Containment Trap from Action Target allow for increased flexibility in shooting across firing lanes or at moving targets.
For commercial ranges, an indoor shooting range can provide a significant retail avenue. When combined with a retail firearm and an ammunition store, indoor ranges can be highly profitable ventures. Customers are more likely to buy ammo at the range where they shoot and are more likely to buy a gun if there is an opportunity to try it out on a shooting range first.
Indoor shooting ranges are more expensive to build and require a building to house them. For an indoor range you need to either build a new building from scratch or find a building that meets municipal requirements for parking, sound, and zoning that can be properly retrofitted to house an indoor range. Indoor shooting ranges also often require a target retrieval system, ceiling baffles, fully ballistic walls, bullet traps, a ventilation system, and lighting. All together, the equipment and facility costs can greatly exceed that of an outdoor range.
Indoor ranges are sometimes limited in the caliber and type of bullet that can be fired, depending on the range equipment chosen. The use of old or home-made bullet traps and the increased risk of ricochet that comes with an indoor shooting range naturally limits shooting capabilities. While modern bullet traps provided by Action Target can handle up to .50 BMG, many older indoor ranges cannot allow the use rifle calibers because their old range equipment designs will not safely stop rifle rounds. Because of size and sound constraints, some ranges don’t allow rifle shooting at all.
Indoor ranges also require costly range ventilation systems to meet OSHA and EPA requirements. For the health of yourself and your future customers, I should mention that your typical local HVAC contractor usually cannot properly design and install the type of system required for a clean and safe indoor range that I would shoot in with my own family. Ask your ventilation contractor how many indoor range ventilation systems they have designed and also ask them what design criteria is required to meet OSHA and EPA requirements. If they cannot guarantee that their system will meet these requirements, you might be making a costly mistake.
Rely on the Experts for Help
Whether you are deciding to build an indoor or an outdoor range, I recommend you contact the Action Target representative in your region and they will be happy to answer any questions you have and will help you determine what type of range and what equipment will best fit your needs and budget. They build hundreds of new ranges every year and will be able to draw on their vast experience and resources to help advise you with your project.
Please note, the tips included in this message have been found to be helpful for many clients throughout the years but may not apply in all situations. Please use judgment in determining which tips will be helpful in your particular situation.
Action Target recently completed one more year as the official target sponsor of the Midway USA & NRA Bianchi Cup. The National Action Pistol Championship, now in its 33rd year, was held in Columbia, MO, and featured many of the world’s top shooters competing for the prestigious cup. Action Target provided products and services again this year to ensure the range was in top operating condition.
“The Bianchi Cup is unique from other shooting competitions because it uses turning targets and other target systems a bit more advanced than you would normally see at a competition,” said David Mathis, Director of Marketing for Action Target. “Those systems are what we specialize in at Action Target, so working with the NRA to support this match is something we are proud to do each year.”
The Green Valley Rifle and Pistol Club (formerly the Chapman Academy) has hosted the Bianchi Cup every year since its inception and has used Action Target products and systems for nearly 20 years. This year, Action Target added new target clamps to speed up changing targets and provided maintenance for all of the range’s target systems. The Green Valley Rifle and Pistol Club also offered a practice range, separate from the main range, where competitors could arrive early to check their equipment and practice for the match. Action Target provided plate racks and paint for competitors to use as they warmed up on the practice range.
Founded in 1979 by law enforcement veteran and holster innovator John Bianchi, the Bianchi Cup began as a shooting competition designed to test law enforcement officers’ skill with a pistol. The competition challenged shooters’ speed and accuracy using barricades, alternative positions, and timed events. It did not take long for the match to gain popularity among the shooting community with many top shooters attending from all over the world.
The Midway USA & NRA Bianchi Cup features four different matches shooters can compete in: The Practical, The Barricade, The Moving Target, and The Falling Plate events. Shots are fired from 10 yards up to 50 yards with the shooters’ scores determined by their accuracy on each target. The shooters’ final scores are the sum of their scores for all four matches. This year 237 shooters competed for the national title with the Bianchi Cup going to Doug Koenig, who has won it a record 14 times.
In addition to being the official target sponsor, Action Target is also the sponsor for the women’s championship, won this year by Julie Golob for the third time.
Three of Action Target’s staff also participated by shooting in the competition. David Mathis, Mike Stilwell, and Chris Hart competed more for bragging rights around the office than to win a national title with Mathis coming out ahead.
The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office will soon train in their new state-of-the-art outdoor baffled firing range. This new range includes Action Target’s high quality outdoor Total Containment Trap with a Screw Conveyor collection method. Both innovative systems make recycling much easier by catching all fired bullets in one 55 gallon barrel.
The new outdoor baffled firing range has a variety of tactical target systems, creating a multitude of training scenarios and environments that increase the range’s ability to do more than simply “qualifying” police officers.
Both ranges at the Pinellas County Sherriff’s Office include the follow training equipment and scenarios:
Running Targets—Essential for training since real-life threats do not stand still
Turning Targets—Used to create training environments promoting quick decision-making on how and when to take the shot
Multiple Threats—Programming “multiple adversaries” into gun fights and combat courses enhances training beyond single threat scenarios
Each training technique and target system is controlled by SmartRange—a computer software system that allows replication of “real world” scenarios. When engaging in a gun fight, officers experience several physiological changes to their bodies. Training in these realistic scenarios replicates this type of stress to help the officers learn how to handle it in a way that is safe and successful. When the moment does arise to put their training into action, they will have already learned how to more effectively manage their stress during action.
The range design includes input from Lt. Pupke (Pinellas County Sheriff), Lt. Littlejohn, Sgt. Chaisson, and Action Target. Everyone involved is pleased with the results of this fine training center. Action Target hopes to hold a training seminar at the range this coming spring, inviting local agencies to come and enjoy some great training on some great equipment.
We are proud of the foresight and planning done by Pinellas County, their leadership, their officers, and the citizens they serve. Thanks to the efforts of this agency, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office is now ready for anything the future holds for their department, putting the Action Target motto into action: “Better Equipped, Better Prepared.”
Too much of our firearms training is static. That is to say, we seem to spend most of our time and ammunition shooting at single, motionless targets standing directly in front of us. Since this scenario has little to do with what we encounter on the street, why do we continue to train this way? One reason may simply be tradition, or “…because that’s the way we’ve always done it.” That’s not a good enough reason for me either, so what say we just forget that one. Other reasons might include: “We don’t have any moving target equipment” or, “We have enough trouble just getting our trainees to hit the targets that are standing still!” These are valid concerns, and in this article I hope to offer some suggestions and advice that will help you to overcome them both.
First, we should consider the reasons why we need to include moving targets in our firearms training. Let’s review some of the common dynamics we now recognize from the hundreds of real-life police gunfights studied over the years. The vast majority of these confrontations happen within 10 feet or less, and the time span of actual shooting is usually less than 3 seconds. 60% to 70% of these altercations occur in an environment of low, altered, or failing light. Nearly half of the time there are multiple adversaries to contend with. While the statistical studies don’t usually specify the type or degree of the movement involved, we know that people move – especially when they are fighting. Movement to retrieve a weapon, movement to attack, movement to or from a covered position, movement to break physical contact. The fact is, real targets in the real world really move, and our firearms training needs to prepare us for this reality.
Clint Smith, internationally known firearms instructor and the Director of Thunder Ranch, often uses this simple demonstration. He will raise both of his hands up about head high, palms forward. His left hand remains motionless, but he moves his right hand erratically up, down, and back and forth. While doing this, he asks the class, “If one of my hands represents you as a target that is about to be shot at, which target would you rather be?” The answer (for most of us) is obvious. We would choose to be the moving target, because we know that it is much more difficult to hit a moving target.
For years, Clint and many other enlightened firearms instructors have trained their students to move as part of a reflexive response to an armed attack. This is one of the best ways to include movement into your range work. Even if the targets on your range are simply attached to posts in the ground, and the only time they move is when the wind is blowing really hard, your shooters must learn how to move. Taking a lateral step to the right or left while presenting the firearm and issuing a verbal challenge is a simple and worthwhile tactic which should be introduced when your trainees have demonstrated an ability to safely draw, fire, and hit a close-range target in a timely fashion.
Now that you have your shooters moving themselves, you can also teach them to accurately engage moving targets. It’s best to start close, three yards or so, with the target moving at a moderate pace. This is both to instill confidence in the shooter’s ability to hit an animated target, and to create a realistic representation of the kind of target they might have to engage in an actual gunfight. At first, the shooter remains stationary (preferably working from behind some kind of cover prop) while shooting at the mover.
To hit a moving target, one must apply the same basic principles of marksmanship needed to hit a stationary target, i.e.: sight alignment, trigger control, and smooth follow-through. Keep the sights aligned in the center of the target as you track its movement. At the same time the trigger finger is applying steady, even pressure on the trigger until the shot breaks. Here’s the critical part: as the shot breaks, continue to smoothly track the target as you recover from the recoil and reacquire your sight picture and allow the trigger to reset as you prepare to make additional shots. The tendency is for us to stop swinging the gun with the target at the moment of firing, thus resulting a shot going where the target was, instead of where it is going. In my experience, this lack of follow-through is the most common cause for missing shots at a laterally moving target. Yes it is challenging, but the only way to learn to do something well is to practice doing it. As skill and confidence improve, we can increase both the speed of, and the distance to the target, and eventually reintroduce movement by the shooter.
For this sort of training to be possible, of course, you will need some kind of a moving target system. For those of you with an extremely tight budget, a bit of imagination and resourcefulness are in order. Here’s an example: with a little red wagon, a target and stand, some clamps, stakes, pulleys, and a length of rope (don’t forget the duct tape and bailing wire) you can put together a crude but effective moving target system powered by manual labor. If you train on an indoor range, there is probably a target retrieval mechanism in place that can be used to simulate a target that is charging or withdrawing, often with more than a little swinging and bouncing movement included for good measure.
For more advanced solutions, Action Target offers several options for animating your targetry. One of the simplest is the AT Swinger . This is a single, portable target stand with a pivoting mechanism and a weighted counter-balance that allows the target to swing back and forth through a 180 degree arc. The movement of the target is controlled by simply pulling on a cable which is attached through a pulley at the base of the stand. Several of these PT-Swingers can be linked together so the range officer can pull a single cable that will cause the entire bank of targets to swing back and forth in unison. This can allow you to work with a full line of shooters all at the same time.
The Action Target Track Runner is a premiere moving target system designed to be part of a permanent installation. It provides a smooth, wind-proof way to move one or more target carriers laterally at variable speeds. The range officer uses the control box, which is connected to the target system’s electric motor, to start and stop the targets and change their speed and direction. Because of the Track-Runner’s power and advanced design, steel targets can even be incorporated on the target carrier to provide instant visual and audible feedback.
One of our most versatile pieces of equipment is the portable AT Runner . This system uses a motor and control system similar to the Track Runner, but instead of being mounted on a permanent track, the target carrier is suspended by an overhead steel cable. The motor and pulley mechanisms are each supported by single piece of 8-foot long 2×4 lumber. The whole thing can be set up, virtually anywhere, in less than 20 minutes. Because of its portability, the target can be set to run perpendicular to the line of fire, or at differing angles. One of my favorite uses of the Portable-Runner is to set it up as a charger. We can run the target directly at the shooter, who must smoothly back up away from the attacking target while drawing and shooting. Combine this setup with the Action Target 3-D (cardboard torso supported by balloons) silhouette target, and you have a realistic looking threat that will now react to accurately placed shots by by falling to the ground.
No matter what kind of range equipment you may have, I hope you recognize the critical need for instructing our trainees in the important tactical and marksmanship skills they need to accurately and effectively engage moving targets. In our earlier review of police gunfight statistics, I didn’t mention the numbers that reflect our real-world marksmanship performance. These numbers will vary a bit from year to year, but the U.S. national average hit-ratio is about 1 out of 6, or roughly 15%. That is, for every six shots deliberately fired by officers during armed confrontations, only one of those six shots will hit its intended target. That means that 85% of the shots fired during these gunfights are hitting something other than the intended target, often causing expensive property damage, injury, and sometimes death. You don’t need me to tell you about the unpleasant financial, political, and emotional consequences that can result from these errant bullets. Do you think that our officers would achieve better results in their real-world shootouts if they were regularly training on moving targets? I do too. It is up to us as firearms instructors to provide these kinds of training opportunities. We can do better. We must do better. Many lives depend on it. ‘Nuff said. Now, let’s get moving!