Saturday, August 31, 2013

Product Review – TacStrike ¼ Scale Steel Target System

The TacStrike 1/4 Scale Target System
(It was straight before I started to take it down and realized I hadn't taken a picture of it.)
There are a lot of companies out there producing steel targets for the shooting industry. I personally don’t think you’ll come across a better steel target than the TacStrike ¼ Scale Steel Target System. It truly is a “system” in that it functions as a steel target as well as a stand for cardboard IDPA and USPSA targets. Designed and built to take the beating professional training classes dish out, this target should last an individual a lifetime.

I came across TacStrike about a year ago while researching another blog post. They are a small, family run business that sprouted from, and is still based on, their firearms training business. TacStrike’s customer service is amazing. If you call or email them, you get a prompt answer usually from Rob, the owner. Every order delivers with a pocket copy of the US Constitution, some TacStrike decals, and a personal note written and signed by Rob thanking you for the business.

I have loved shooting steel since the first USPSA match I shot 2 years ago. I love to hear the ring of a good solid hit. What I don’t like is waiting for the range to go cold to change out a paper target. With the ¼ scale target, that is a thing of the past. Now, once I get it set up, I can shoot until my hands hurt.

The target system comes in a single heavy duty cardboard box that will have your employer’s receiving clerk hating you for weeks. (Sorry Gene.) I was pleasantly surprised to see that not only did I get the steel target, stand, and upright, but I also got two wooden 2”x 2” stakes.

Construction of the ¼ scale is very sturdy and well thought out. As a fab shop welding inspector for many years, the first thing I looked at were the welds; no ugly welds, no cracks, no stuck wires, and only a few pieces of spatter. The target system consists of three pieces, the base, the upright, and the target plate. The base is a typical “H” shape with holes for staking to the ground. I use ½” x 8” L-shaped concrete anchors. There is one piece of square tube in the center for the steel target upright, and two on the sides to insert wooden 1” x 2” or 2”x 2” target stakes. These two are spaced for IDPA or USPSA targets and have screws to hold either size stake in place. All three of these have holes drilled in the bottom to allow water to drain out. The upright is a piece of square tube with a protective piece of AR500 that extends down from the target area, just in case you have a low round. The target plate just drops into four brackets on the upright.

The ¼ scale is as the name implies, one fourth the size of a regular IDPA target. It’s made of AR500 steel that if used properly, can take the abuse of most rifle and handgun ammunition from .22LR up to .308. I can’t find anywhere on the web that explains the size perspective to distance. In other words, what distance does this target represent? With it being ¼ the original size, I’m not sure if it simulates the same full size target twice the distance from the shooter or four times the distance from the shooter. (Any math/science wizards out there know this?) All I know is that it forces me to aim smaller. It also helps me with trigger control and sight picture. If I don’t hear that ring after a shot, I know I have done something wrong. So I work to correct it. Try that with a paper target with 50+ holes in it.

I bought this target back in April of this year, and just got my first opportunity to take it to the range for a test drive this past weekend. A friend and I launched countless .22LR, .38 special, .45ACP, and .223 frangibles at it without it even having a hiccup. It was a good thing that I staked it down to the ground, as the .45’s would rock it a little when shot with speed. The soft ground from all of the recent rain didn’t help matters with that, but I don’t think the target wavered more than an inch. I might see if I can find 10” concrete anchors to help alleviate the problem in the future.

I’m thinking I might like the full size version for longer distance rifle work. It’s currently unavailable as Rob is redesigning it, but we shall see. I’ll have to start saving up. If you’re in the market for a target like this, a swinger, or target carriers, take a look at TacStrike. I think you’ll be impressed.

Be safe.