That is just one way to do this, not automatically “the” way. But what makes this type of training possible is the use of lightweight, affordable polymer targets like those made by Newbold. For this string of targets, which can be set up in various ways, you’ll spend about $550. Just for an “economy” plate rack of steel targets you’ll spend more than $900, plus the cost of the poppers.
You also have to deal with the bullet fragments and weight of steel targets. Have you ever tried to move a plate rack? Maybe you have a range where you can leave it out all the time, but then it is exposed to the elements. And steel targets wear out. If you use FMJ ammo against the polymer you’ll be shooting each target thousands and thousands of times before you’ll need to replace them. Yes, the wooden 2×4 rack for the polymer targets is not as strong as a steel base, but it is easy to build and rebuild and, if someone hits the rack, simply assess a time penalty as motivation to shoot straight and replace the boards as you need to.
For this story, I opted to shoot the course with .22 caliber versions of popular LE weapons: The GSG-5, a near clone of the MP-5 and my Glock 22 with the Advantage Arms .22 caliber conversion kit. I wanted to see how the targets reacted to .22 caliber hits. In the case of the poppers, they didn’t react to the hits as I would have liked. We had to adjust the bases to make sure the poppers fell with the lightest touch. But that also meant the poppers would fall over with the slightest breeze.
Running through the short scenario was not only good training, but is showed the value of the Newbold targets as versatile training tools. We could move them anywhere we wanted, change shooting angles, distances and target requirements. We could even call out something like, “Red targets are all friendly. Orange are hostile. Engage only the orange.” The training really was limited only by imagination.
Post shooting inspection showed the very typical tiny holes, really nothing more than black specs on the self-healing polymer. These targets will hold up to all sorts of abuse and thousands of rounds. And in all that time, after absorbing all those rounds, you won’t have to deal with a single sharp edge or worry about splashback or bullet fragments. Truly versatile and easy to incorporate into any training situation.
For more information on Newbold targets, check out www.newboldtargets.com.
Recommended Tactical Rifle Resources
Gun Digest Book of The Tactical Rifle