SHOT Show 2019: Best New Targets
Good targets make for a good range experience, and some of the modern innovations at this year’s SHOT Show are really interesting and can add a new level to your range time.
SHOT Show coverage usually focuses on the implements that throw the bullets, but having somewhere for them to go safely is an important part of the equation. A new bullet trap made its debut, touting its ability to halt even the largest of rounds from the closest distances. AR500 steel permeated the field, due to its ability to withstand years of hits without the need for replacement. Even the humble paper target got a reflective upgrade. Check out some of the newest rifle, handgun, and shotgun targets for 2019.
American Range Systems
American Range Systems advertise that their products “stop anything,” including .50 caliber rounds and full-auto fire. Based on the video above, I’m inclined to believe them.
American Range System’s bullet traps use a three-phase process to slow and stop bullets. In the first phase, a uniquely designed, self-healing ballistic face front slows down projectiles on impact. Next, the projectile collides back and forth with the ballistic compound medium, rapidly slowing its momentum. Finally, in the rare event a projectile reaches the back of an ARS unit, patented rear-angled AR-500 steel panels deflect back into the ballistic medium.
American Range Systems bullet traps are weatherproof, fireproof, and environmentally friendly, with an easy-to-replace front. Quality comes at a cost, with the full-featured traps starting at $2,000.
Caldwell Target Flipper
Caldwell invites you to add another dimension of fun to your trips to the range with the Target Flipper.
The Target Flipper rotates 90 degrees to create new games of skill, adding challenge as the target spins away from you. You can also use the target as a “quick-draw” competitor, seeing how quickly you can get a shot off at the first signs of motion. Members of the Caldwell staff have had a great time tying balloons to the uprights, racing each other to pop them as they spin about. The motorized base uses AA batteries, so you don’t have to worry about charging it between range visits.
The Target Flipper should be released around March. Prices haven’t been set yet.
Champion Wheelybird 2.0 Electronic Trap
There’s just something fun about watching clay discs turn to dust. Champion Target made the less entertaining part of the equation—throwing them—easier with the Wheelybird 2.0 Electronic Trap.
Shotgun enthusiasts have long been fans of the original Wheelybird for its portability and ease of use. The Wheelybird 2.0 retains all the traits that shooters have come to love, such as light weight and the ability to run off a deep-cycle 12 volt battery when power isn’t nearby, and added motorized angle adjustment to vary the throwing angle. The upgraded edition also includes a wireless remote, which opens up more shooting scenarios.
The Wheelybird 2.0 carries a suggested retail price of $590, which is a good value for an electronic thrower with this many features.
Caldwell Ballistic Precision Sight-In Camera
Caldwell introduced a long rang camera system last year to the delight of shooters that really like to air it out on longer pokes. Now they’ve incorporated similar technology into a camera system with a shorter range, significantly cutting costs.
The Ballistic Precision Sight-In Camera provides a real-time view of your target from up to 400 yards away, using your existing tablet or smartphone as a monitor.
You can watch hits—and misses—as they occur, and make adjustments accordingly. And unlike a spotting scope, multiple people can use the same monitor so they can offer instruction—or a good-natured ribbing. The software can even measure group size, so you don’t have to wait until the Range Officer calls all clear to see ascertain your performance.
Don’t expect to see the Caldwell Ballistic Precision Sight-In Camera in stores until March. The price should be around $200, but it hasn’t been set yet.
Allen EZ Aim Reflective Targets
Reactive targets are already a big hit with shooters because hits are easy to see. Allen makes it even easier with reflective backgrounds indicating your point of impact.
Allen has revamped their line of EZ Aim targets with Splash Reflective technology. Instead of the traditional colored background, the new targets feature a reflective coating that makes hits easy to see, even at a distance. Included in the new line up are silhouette, bullseye, sight-in targets, and aiming dots.
Look for the new targets to start around $5 and go up from there, with an expected street date of early spring.
For 2019, Taylor Targets has revamped their line of targets, with an emphasis on quality AR500 steel.
Taylor’s gongs and silhouettes are constructed from heavy-duty AR500 steel to withstand hits from firearms up to .30 caliber—even their popper can handle big bores. Each comes with two holes in the upper corners to facilitate hanging from the company’s brackets—or a convenient tree branch. There’s plenty of fun reactive targets, with spinners and resetting targets capable of withstanding .44 Magnum rounds, and lower priced rimfire models.
Taylor Targets start at $40 and go up from there.
Birchwood Casey Rimfire Dueling Tree
Take on your friends and family with in friendly completion with the Birchwood Casey Rimfire Dueling Tree.
The Rimfire Dueling Tree sets up easily, by driving the one-piece 38-inch steel post into the ground and slipping the four 3.5-inch metal target paddles in to slots on the back of the post. Once assembled, move two targets to each side and see who can shoot theirs over the fastest. Or, put all the paddles on one side and determine who rules the roost through a series of time trials. The games are only limited by your imagination.
Birchwood Casey’s Dueling Tree is sure to provide hours of shooting fun, for around $95.
Birchwood Casey Back Drop Precision Rimfire Target
The Back Drop Precision Target from Birchwood Casey is a shoot-up, knock-down design that offers hours of shooting fun without having to reset the target or change paper targets.
Designed for.22 rimfire pistols and rifles, the Back Drop Precision Target encourages smooth transition from one paddle to the next. The targets descend in size as they go from left to right, increasing the challenge. When the paddle inside the port is hit, it is knocked up to a bar on the top of the target. Once all of the paddles have been hit, shooting the top bar knocks them back down, starting the process over again.
Sold fully assembled for easy set up, the Back Drop Precision Target carries a suggested retail price of $55.
Birchwood Casey Rimfire Popper Target
Birchwood Casey invites rimfire shooters to have big fun for small coin with their new popper target.
Steel popper targets have become exceptionally popular with centerfire shooters, used both for fun and competition. They are ideal for use on busy firing lines, as there’s no need to manually reset the target; the strength of the spring forces the steel plate to return after the impact of the shot knocks it backward. The Rimfire Popper Target is designed for softnose .22 rimfire rounds, letting you get in on fun without the recoil and expense of the bigger rounds. The four-inch paddle provides a challenge, and will withstand thousands of rounds.
The Birchwood Casey Rimfire Popper Target comes with two stakes designed to hold it in the ground, for only $21.
Champion Targets Center Mass AR500 Steel Targets
Champion offers shooters looking to put together their own range affordable options with their Center Mass line of AR500 steel targets.
AR500 steel is hard enough to withstand multiple calibers at the appropriate distances. Champion has 3/8-inch thick centerfire rifle-rated gongs, as well as ¼-inch thick pistol-rated models, in three different shapes and sizes so you can customize your backyard range. The laser-cut gongs feature square holes sized for ½-inch carriage bolts, so hanging them is simple.
Let Champion’s Center Mass AR500 Steel Targets provide years of fun, starting at $30.