RANGE READY

MAKE YOUR HAND­GUN PRAC­TICE SES­SIONS MORE FUN AND EF­FEC­TIVE BY ADDING VA­RI­ETY TO YOUR

Concealed Carry Hand Guns - - TABLE OF CONTENTS - STORY AND PHO­TOS BY CCH STAFF

Make your hand­gun prac­tice ses­sions more fun and ef­fec­tive by adding va­ri­ety to your tar­gets. By CCH Staff

The more you prac­tice good fun­da­men­tals, the bet­ter shooter you’ll be­come.

That should be ob­vi­ous. But once you’ve re­ceived some train­ing on what those proper fun­da­men­tals should be, what is it that will keep you re­turn­ing to the range on your own for prac­tice ses­sions that will not only main­tain, but en­hance your skills?

Cer­tainly, de­ter­mi­na­tion to be a bet­ter com­pet­i­tive shooter or to be bet­ter pre­pared for a self-de­fense si­t­u­a­tion can play a part. So too can the need to test new guns and loads. Sim­ply put, how­ever, the more en­joy­able your prac­tice ses­sions, the more you’re likely to prac­tice on a reg­u­lar ba­sis.

A big part of that en­joy­ment is what you’re shoot­ing: your tar­gets. Here’s a look at some of the types of tar­gets and how they can ben­e­fit your range ses­sions.

PA­PER

Pa­per tar­gets, espe­cially when at­tached to a larger card­board backer, are great for sight­ing in your hand­gun—find­ing out how your sights are reg­u­lated to see where par­tic­u­lar ammo loads im­pact in ac­cor­dance with your point of aim. Pa­per tar­gets are also good in help­ing you to iden­tify prob­lems in your fun­da­men­tals. De­pend­ing on where your hits are group­ing, you can tell if you have a prob­lem, such as yank­ing on the trig­ger, an­tic­i­pat­ing the shot or limp-wrist­ing.

Tar­gets like the Shoot-N-C tar­gets from Bir­ch­wood Casey and oth­ers pro­vide splat­ter or a ring of color around a bul­let im­pact so that you can more read­ily see your hits from a dis­tance. To ex­tend the life of these types of tar­gets, some come with self-ad­he­sive pasters, round pa­per patches to stick on the tar­gets to cover the bul­let holes.

New shoot­ers should start on pa­per un­til they’ve mas­tered the ba­sics. Then it’s ad­vis­able to tran­si­tion them to re­ac­tive tar­gets—tar­gets that clang or move when hit—to main­tain their in­ter­est.

STEEL

There many types of steel tar­gets: fall­ing plate racks, hang­ing gongs, spin­ners, fall­ing pep­per pop­pers, sil­hou­ettes and du­el­ing trees to name a few. All have two things in com­mon: longevity and in­stant feed­back.

A typ­i­cal steel tar­get will last for thou­sands of rounds. When the paint be­comes worn away, you can ei­ther stick new pa­per bull’s-eyes on them or sim­ply ap­ply some spray paint in a high-vis­i­bil­ity color.

A hit from a bul­let will typ­i­cally dis­turb the painted sur­face to show you the lo­ca­tion of the im­pacts, but for gen­eral con­fir­ma­tion of a hit, the steel will make a pleas­ing “clang” sound, and many will then ei­ther top­ple, swing or spin de­pend­ing on the type of tar­get.

An­other ben­e­fit is that you don’t have to walk down range or scan the tar­get through a spot­ting scope to see

“...YOU CAN MAKE YOUR OWN TAR­GETS, WHICH OF­FERS THE GREAT­EST VA­RI­ETY FOR THE LEAST AMOUNT OF MONEY. YOU’RE LIMITED ONLY BY YOUR IMAG­I­NA­TION.”

if you’ve hit the tar­get. You’ll know in­stantly if you’ve hit steel.

Some steel tar­gets, such as hang­ing plates, never have to be re­set. Oth­ers, such as spin­ners, re­set au­to­mat­i­cally. Still oth­ers—plate racks for in­stance— of­ten have long pull ropes to al­low you to re­set the tar­gets without the need to walk down range.

Plate racks are great for build­ing speed at tar­get tran­si­tions. Du­el­ing trees are great for shoot­ing fast and ac­cu­rately un­der pres­sure as you go head-to-head with an­other shooter where each of you tries to swing all of the metal tar­gets to the op­po­nent’s side.

PLAS­TIC

Plas­tic tar­gets are of­ten a great al­ter­na­tive to steel. They are light­weight, mak­ing them very portable com­pared to the some­times very heavy steel set­ups. Plas­tic tar­gets in­clude swing­ing plates and an­i­mal fig­ures, but the ones that seem the most pop­u­lar are the mul­ti­ple-facet plas­tic balls.

Plas­tic ball tar­gets come in var­i­ous sizes. Throw them out on the ground ahead of you. De­pend­ing on where you hit them, they will dance, spin, fly or skid along the ground. The balls are espe­cially great for prac­tic­ing quick fol­low-up shots as you try to keep the ball rolling, never know­ing in ad­vance where the ball will move.

Most plas­tic tar­gets are self-heal­ing. Bul­lets pass through them and the holes close. They’re usu­ally good for thou­sands of rounds. An­other ben­e­fit is that there is less of a chance of a danger­ous ric­o­chet with plas­tic com­pared to steel, mak­ing them more ap­pro­pri­ate for closer-range shoot­ing.

IM­PRO­VISED

Of course, you can make your own tar­gets, which of­fers the great­est va­ri­ety for the least amount of money. You’re limited only by your imag­i­na­tion. Take scrap pa­per or card­board boxes and draw crosses or bull‘s-eyes on them with a marker and you have

tar­gets. If you want fancier pa­per tar­gets, many can be down­loaded from the In­ter­net. The Na­tional Sport Shoot­ing Foun­da­tion (NSSF) at www. NSSF.org/Shoot­ing/Tar­gets is one source.

Alu­minum cans and plas­tic bot­tles and jugs make great tar­gets and are avail­able in a va­ri­ety of sizes. You can fill a plas­tic jug with col­ored wa­ter, seal it and it will pro­vide a spec­tac­u­lar burst on the first im­pact. And like the im­pro­vised pa­per tar­gets, the cans and bot­tles can go back in your re­cy­cle bin when you’re done with them. Other pop­u­lar im­pro­vised tar­gets in­clude old bowl­ing pins, base­balls and golf balls.

Tar­get stands to mount back­ers or hang tar­gets can be fash­ioned from wood or for a more portable op­tion: PVC pipe. Shower cur­tain hooks can be used to hang many types of tar­gets and back­ers. You can also de­vice hooks from old wire clothes hang­ers to hang clay pi­geons from your tar­get stand. Clay tar­gets are very fun to shoot with a hand­gun.

A key thing to re­mem­ber with im­pro­vised tar­gets is to use items that are easy to clean up and won’t cre­ate a haz­ard. That means no glass con­tain­ers.

KEEP IT IN­TER­EST­ING

Once you’ve mas­tered the shoot­ing fun­da­men­tals and you know where your hand­gun is hit­ting with a par­tic- ular load, switch to re­ac­tive tar­gets to in­crease your speed and en­joy­ment level. Adding va­ri­ety to your tar­gets will keep you com­ing back and it’s a great way to ce­ment the in­ter­est of new shoot­ers. It’s easy to get peo­ple to try shoot­ing once. Get­ting them to come back time af­ter time for the fun of it is the big­ger chal­lenge.CC

“THERE MANY TYPES OF STEEL TAR­GETS... ALL HAVE TWO THINGS IN COM­MON: LONGEVITY AND IN­STANT FEED­BACK.”

Above: Not all pa­per tar­gets have to be bor­ing. From an­i­mal fig­ures to zom­bies, com­pa­nies of­fer just about any­thing you can imag­ine. Jef­freymet­calf31/ Dream­stime.com

Not all hang­ing tar­gets are steel. This DuraSeal In­ter­lock­ing Di­a­mond Spin­ner Tar­get from Cham­pion Tar­gets can last for thou­sands of rounds and presents lit­tle chance of ric­o­chets. Cham­pion Tar­get photo

The old standby: an alu­minum can still makes one of the best tar­gets. Many im­pro­vised tar­gets can be found in the av­er­age re­cy­cling bin. Gual­berto Be­cerra/Dream­stime.com

Pep­per pop­pers are nar­row sil­hou­ette tar­gets of steel de­signed to fall over when struck by a bul­let. They are of­ten used in var­i­ous shoot­ing com­pe­ti­tions. Guy Sagi/Dream­stime.com

Above: Shoot­ing steel tar­gets pro­vides a sat­is­fy­ing “clang” for in­stant feed­back of a hit. And steel tar­gets will last through years of hard use. Ac­tion Tar­get photo Right: Steel plate racks are of­ten used in shoot­ing com­pe­ti­tions and are a good test of speed and ac­cu­racy. Ac­tion Tar­get photo

Be­low: Plas­tic tar­gets are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar as they’re rea­son­ably priced, light­weight and portable, and can with­stand thou­sands of bul­let im­pacts. CCH Staff photo

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