Monday, October 17, 2016

Why You Shouldn’t Shoot DIY Targets

It can be tempting to take household items out to your gun range and start firing away. But, one of the most important rules of gun range safety is to only shoot approved targets. There is no way to predict how DIY targets will respond upon impact and dangerous ricochets can cause serious injury and even death. Now, if you head out to the country to shoot milk jugs full of water, that’s probably fine and won’t cause anyone any harm. But going to the garage to take an old lawn mower engine apart and firing at its components is never a good idea. Even from a safe distance, target stands can be damaged and metal fragments will fly in every direction. That’s why we only recommend shooting steel targets specially designed to reduce the dangerous ricochets caused by high-powered ammunition and the targets themselves.

It’s possible to cut your own targets or your local welder may offer to cut you targets in a shape and size that resembles professionally made steel targets. While their intentions may be pure, they likely don’t have the knowledge necessary to understand how various calibers will affect different materials. If your local welder is using plasma torches to cut their targets, this will greatly increase the heat affected zone (HAZ) around the edges of the targets. This compromises the integrity of the metal which causes premature cracking that can lead to dangerous fractures and ricochets. Even with higher grade medals including steel plating, your local welder can unnecessarily weaken the medal using inferior techniques. We only use AR100, AR200 and AR500 steel for all of our targets and CNC lasers for cutting to ensure they maintain their durable structure throughout. Even though our targets are able to withstand thousands of rounds, it’s important to maintain a safe distance at all times.

DIY targets may seem like a great way to save money, but they can also cause serious injury to even experienced firearms enthusiast. The only way to ensure you stay safe at all times on the gun range is only shooting steel targets designed for the firearm you are using at the recommended distance. Since our steel targets are extremely affordable, there’s no reason to use questionable household objects or targets made from inferior materials that will cause unpredictable ricochets. So, stay safe out there on the gun range and only use approved XSteel Targets AR100, AR200 and AR500 steel targets.

Share your gun range safety tips and stories in the comments below. We’d love to hear your thoughts!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Tips for Safely Shooting Steel Targets

Shooting steel targets can be the safest and most enjoyable way to engage in target practice. Steel targets provide an audible ring once they’ve been struck that gives you the immediate and satisfying knowledge that your goal has been achieved. But, shooting steel targets is not as easy as grabbing scrap steel and setting it up on your firing range. It’s important to understand how your ammunition will react to the targets being used. Softer steel will inevitably prematurely buckle if you are using higher caliber rounds. That’s why we only use AR100 steel for our rimfire targets and AR500 for all of our targets rated for higher calibers. This ensures that bullet fragments will not penetrate our targets, which allows for increased control over where ricochets are directed. We’ve put together the most important tips for shooting steel targets in an effort to help keep our fans safe while on the range.

  • Proper Target Angle – Always angle steel target stands slightly forward to ensure all bullet fragments are directed into the ground. When using AR500 steel for your targets, the bullet will fragment upon impact. The forward angle will not stop bullet fragmentation, but will make sure that the fragments strike the ground and do not cause serious injury. A 20 Degree angle is considered by most to be the proper angle for shooting steel targets.
  • Maintain Safe Distance – When shooting AR500 steel targets, it’s important to maintain a distance of at least 12 yards for all pistols and a minimum of 100 yards for rifles. Even with your targets angled slightly forward, ricochets will be an issue. Maintaining a safe distance will ensure that even with a dangerous ricochet, the chance of an injury is greatly reduced. If you are using a less durable grade of steel, a much greater distance will need to be maintained due to the unreliable nature of weaker grades of steel.
  • Only Shoot Real Targets – We do not recommend shooting scrap metals and other objects, especially when affordable steel targets are so readily available on our website! Shooting soft steel targets and other metals will send uncontrollable fragments of ammunition and metal in every direction no matter how safely targets are set up. While your local welder may offer to cut metal in the shape of a standard target, they may not understand the changes multiple impacts will have on a particular type of metal. Even at long distances, scrap metal “targets” can produce ricochets that can be dangerous and even life-threatening.
  • Keep Target Stands Relaxed – Steel target stands should be set up to be a bit loose, which will allow for the absorption of the rounds in order to reduce ricochets and the need for constant resetting. AR500 steel targets are able to fragment bullets upon impact, which will aid in keeping dangerous ricochets to a minimum. The target should also be surrounded by sand or soft objects that can safely absorb missed shots and ricochets.

Following these tips is sure to help you get started safely setting up and shooting steel targets. What are your favorite tips for shooting steel targets? Share your thoughts below! 

Friday, August 12, 2016

5 Reasons to Practice Target Shooting

Whether you’re a seasoned expert or just starting out, target practice is an important aspect of gun ownership and gun safety. This is especially true if you’ve just gotten a new gun or haven’t used one in a long time. Although some people believe you don’t have to practice often to maintain your shooting skill level, you should be going to a gun range at least every couple of weeks to remain comfortable handling and firing your weapons. Going to the range doesn’t have to be a chore, though – in fact, there are plenty of benefits to regular visits. To help give you an idea, here are the top five reasons you should practice target shooting.

Increase Accuracy
Shooting a gun is just like any other skill: the more you practice, the better you’ll get. When first starting out, you may be disappointed to find that you’re not very accurate at hitting targets. With practice and proper instruction, you’ll find that frequent use will allow you to better refine your technique as you gain experience on the range. Saving your target sheets is a good way to monitor how far you’ve come over time. Before long, hitting your targets will be easy and you’ll gain a new level of confidence you didn’t have before!

Gain Familiarity with Weapons
If you aren’t used to handling a gun, it can seem complicated and overwhelming at first. There’s no safer place to practice handling your weapon than at a gun range where seasoned experts can help guide you through proper etiquette and technique. After a couple of magazines, you’ll start feeling more comfortable with handling a weapon, and before long, the proper techniques will become second nature to you.

Increase Ability to Remain Calm
Remaining calm is imperative to staying safe at the gun range and anytime you handle a weapon. Nerves are a common part of firing a gun, so don’t feel bad if you suddenly feel nervous when it’s time to pull the trigger. Guns are powerful and should be handled with care, but you’ll find that the more you educate yourself, the more confident you will be. Familiarity with your weapons will increase your ability to remain calm in the unlikely and unfortunate event you have to draw a firearm in a self-defense situation.

It’s Good for Your Health
Many people don’t know this, but target shooting is good for your health! Though you don’t actively move too much while shooting, your heart rate increases as a result of the adrenaline rushing through your body. Focusing in on the target can also help strengthen your eye muscles and helps with concentration, all while exercising your stomach and arm muscles! Although it’s not as good of a cardiovascular workout as going to the gym, target practice is still a great way to get out of the house and do something positive with your time!

It’s Fun!
Last but not least, target shooting is fun! Most people practice just because they enjoy the ritual of going to the firing range and the comradery that comes from the gun community. It’s a great stress reliever and hitting the target is an exhilarating experience. No matter if you hit the mark every time or can’t seem to get it just right, the practice and experience will encourage you to continue until you’ve perfected your technique.

Regular target practice is the most important aspect of gun safety and will help keep your reflexes sharp while improving your aim and increasing your comfort with your weapons. Now that you know some of the benefits of regular target practice, you should be even more motivated to start! Comment below to share some of the benefits you’ve seen from your time at the firing range and don’t forget to use our American Made steel targets!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Tips for Properly Gripping a Handgun

Learning how to properly grip your handgun is the best way to improve your accuracy while keeping yourself safe when firing in practice, competition and high-stress situations. The proper handgun grip will reduce the possibility of accidents including misfires and losing control of your weapon while training your body to begin to naturally react using the right muscles in the right way. So, we’ve put together some helpful tips that we feel will help improve your handgun grip for improved accuracy and optimal handgun safety.

·        Grip for Recoil – Pistols recoil in an up and down motion, but many people place most of their grip on the left and right sides of the pistol grip. While it is important to have a firm grip on the sides of the pistol grip, the best way to control recoil is to brace along the backside of the pistol grip. The palm of your firing hand should be placed as high on the backside of the pistol grip as possible and the fingers of that hand should grip tightly to the front of the pistol grip.
·        Support Hand Grip – While both hands should grip tightly, the support hand should be the dominant hand when it comes to tightness. The tightness of the firing hand should be adjusted according to how that hand moves when pulling the trigger. With the support hand controlling the majority of the recoil, you will be free to adjust your firing hand more freely.
·        Left and Right Side Grip –   As we mentioned before, the left and right sides of a pistol grip is usually where in-experienced shooters apply the most pressure. Both hands should be adjusted according to how bullets are hitting the targets – if shots pull left, try gripping tighter with the left hand, and if shots are pulling to the right, consider increasing pressure on your right hand – or slightly reducing pressure with your left hand (this should be used as a general rule of thumb and adjustments will be specific to your grip technique).
·        Lock it Up – An important aspect of controlling recoil and improving accuracy is to keep your elbows and wrists in a locked position. This doesn’t mean your elbows are fully extended, but that the muscles are evenly bracing for the impending recoil. Practice returning your upper body to the original firing position immediately after each pull of the trigger. Over time, this will tighten groupings and allow you more control over you weapon before, during and after each shot.

These are just a few tips for improving your handgun grip. Learning the proper handgun grip is an important aspect of handgun safety and increased awareness and knowledge is key to being a responsible gun owner. Tell us your favorite tips for improving your handgun grip in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

How to Safely Setup Steel Targets

For firearm enthusiasts, shooting steel targets provides much more satisfaction than shooting other types of materials including paper targets and rubber plates or paddles. Steel targets provide the satisfying sound that lets shooters know their target has been hit and easily outlast every other type of material used to make targets. At XSteel Targets, we use AR500 steel to manufacture our targets, stands and target accessories, due to its ability to withstand thousands of impacts from even the larger caliber rifles. Steel targets are extremely reliable, but many people have serious concerns about shooting steel, so we thought we’d go through some of them here to alleviate misconceptions.

  • The Rounds Bouncing Back – When steel targets are properly set up, projectiles should bounce down, not back. When static targets are set up, they should be slightly tilted forward to force all rebounding shots towards the ground. Once a round has struck the target, bounced down to the ground and continued on, the speed of the projectile should have slowed enough to minimize any risk. You will notice that some fragments end up in your 2x4 or 4x4 wooden posts, so we sell protective plates made of the same AR500 steel material.

  • Staying Far Back from Steel Targets – It’s a good idea to stay far back from any target on a shooting range; even rubber targets can be dangerous if not properly set up. With AR500 steel targets, your distance will depend on what you are shooting. For example, when shooting .45ACP handgun rounds, a minimum distance of 10 yards should be maintained. When shooting the 308Win or AR15, a minimum distance of 100 yards should be maintained to minimize any risk of injury.

  • AR500 Steel Targets are Expensive – Have you seen our prices? Modern technology has made manufacturing AR500 steel targets extremely affordable and buying steel targets is an investment that, depending on how often they are used, can last for years. We also use CNC machining to cut our steel targets, which is faster, much more accurate and allows the steel to maintain its integrity. Buying AR500 steel targets also means you will be buying fewer targets.

  • I Don’t Need Steel Targets – Yes, you do. Using AR500 steel targets is the best way to monitor and improve accuracy. Applying a coat of spray paint to your steel targets allows you to see how your groupings are improving by focusing on separate sections of a single target. Using steel targets allows you to adjust your technique or equipment without constantly setting up new paper targets or buying new rubber targets that can only withstand a minimal amount of high impacts. 

We have been manufacturing and using AR500 steel targets for years and have designed our targets, stands and accessories to provide the safest, most reliable shooting experience on the market. When our stands are properly set up and proper distances are maintained, these targets should provide years of safe use as you improve your accuracy with each shot. What are your experiences with shooting steel targets? Share your thoughts below!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Tips for Choosing the Right Steel Targets

The most satisfying targets to shoot have to be steel targets. The impact on steel provides an audible ‘ding’ letting you know you’ve successfully struck your target. They are also extremely durable and able to withstand thousands of impacts before showing any signs of wear and tear. But, not every type of steel is designed for use with firearms and using an inferior material can cause serious injuries caused by dangerous ricochets and shattering of metal plates. So, we’ve put together a list of tips for choosing the right steel for your firing range.

  • Know What You’re Ammo Can Handle – It’s important to be intimately familiar with the ammunition being used when on a gun range. If jacketed, armor piercing or magnum ammunition is being used, a harder steel will be necessary to avoid damaging the steel, which can cause the metal to crack and pit.
  • Always Use Abrasion Resistant Steel – It’s a good idea to use abrasion resistant steel for all shooting targets, as it is designed to allow bullets to disintegrate upon impact. Using less durable metals including aluminum or copper targets can cause punctures as well as dangerous ricochets. Using abrasion resistant steel to manufacture targets ensures they will last for years to come without any signs of compromise or fatigue.
  • Always Use the Proper Accessories – If you’re going to safely shoot steel targets, make sure to only use target stands and accessories designed for the firearms being used. Proper setup of targets and stands will provide additional safety and ensure an injury-free shooting experience.
  • Perform Your Own Tests – Performing your own tests will help determine which steel targets will be needed for the types of ammunition you enjoy using. After performing tests using different calibers & grades of steel, you’ll have a better understanding of how your ammunition performs when striking the various types of AR steel.

Choosing the right type of steel targets can be confusing, and understanding what to consider when buying steel targets can be a nightmare. We use AR200 steel for our 1/4" rimfire targets and AR500 steel for larger calibers & magnum ammunition. Always make sure to start from a safe distance & use protective gear when shooting targets to reduce the likelihood of accidents and injuries. How do you choose what type of steel targets you’re going to use? Share your thoughts with us below!

Monday, May 2, 2016

The Benefits of Using AR500 Steel for Targets

The Benefits of Using AR500 Steel for Targets

When it comes to target practice, few things are more rewarding than the sound of the bullet striking a steel target and seeing it react as a result of your accurate shot. If you’re considering a purchase of steel targets for use on your property or private range, be sure they are constructed out of AR500 steel. While mild steel targets are cheap and readily available, they lack many important features provided by AR500 steel targets.

AR500 Steel Construction

AR500 steel is an abrasion resistant alloy constructed specifically for harsh conditions and long-term use. It is heat treated for through-hardening purposes and resistant to high impacts for a range of distances and calibers. The AR500 plating is so strong and reliable, it’s used in the development of critical components in power plants and is commonly used for ballistic plate body armor.

Our targets made from AR500 steel are cut using CNC lasers. Unlike plasma torches and other cutting methods, lasers minimize the heat transferred to the metal which can cause metals to become brittle after cutting. This reduces hardness and increases the likelihood of cracking after repeated impacts. The area most affected by cutting the material is called the heat affected zone (HAZ). CNC lasers greatly reduce the HAZ, thereby keeping the steel as close as possible to its originally hardened state.

AR500 Steel Target Benefits

The rigorous development process of AR500 steel makes it a great material to use in the production of steel targets. Some of the benefits include:
·       Will not crater or pit upon impact
·       Greatly reduces chance of ricocheting bullet parts
·       Does not lose its audio response over time
·       Highly rust resistant
·       Will outlast the competition

AR500 steel targets will not form craters or be pierced through upon impact, which is fairly common when using mild steel. Craters and pits are dangerous because they create the possibility of spraying part of a bullet or jacket back to the shooter. This doesn’t happen with AR500 steel due to the hardness of the material. Piercings can also cause the target to lose its audio response over time making it difficult to discern if the target was hit. Since AR500 steel is so difficult to pierce, this concern can be eliminated when the right materials are being used to make steel targets. The final and perhaps most important feature of AR500 steel targets is that they will last a lifetime. This is a feature that is only accomplished through rigorous development and the highest quality standards. With AR500 steel targets, you can rest assured that you are getting a product that’s safe, reliable and the best in the industry! Shop our selection today to find the highest quality AR500 steel targets and target accessories.