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Minimum Safe Distance to Shoot Steel Plate Targets & Methods Such as Bullet Traps, Angled Design & More to Avoid Being Hit By Ricochet!

In many shooting sports and even the recreational shooter, switching to steel targets verses the paper or board targets is becoming more popular. Many shooters are becoming addicted to the lovely ting, bong or clank the bullet makes when the target gets hit. Additionally, shooters can simply repaint the surface of each target revitalizing it for the next range day. They last forever and are reusable. But however great the steel target may seem, there have been some accidents with ricochets where the shooter or others have been injured. This was due to improper safety protocols. This is why Shooting Range Industries would like to share the proper way to use steel targets. We would like to ensure that each shooter uses all the safety measures and protocols when using them.

Wood or Sand Filled Bullet Traps

Ricochets do happen. From the various distances and caliber of bullets used, more indoor or outdoor ranges make an effort to prevent ricochets by using wooden or sand backdrops to catch and hold the bullet. However where some steel targets are getting a bad reputation, you must also consider that not all steel targets are created equal.

Steel Target Design & Construction

Most people believe because you’re shooting at steel targets there is a high risk of ricochets but that isn’t entirely true. When using steel targets it is important to use the right ammunition and within the right distance, steel can actually be safer than other ranges that use dubious materials. One of the other factors that help reduce risk of ricochets is the stand’s design, the steel material used, and smoothness of the surface as well as the angle of the steel itself.

AR500, AR550 & Action Steel Targets Composition

There are several companies that are selling the popular steel target of the AR500 and the AR550 series. However, some will say that the Action Target makes the best effort of creating the safest steel targets available. Some may overlook various splash points or ricochet risks such as exposed bolts, screws and rivet heads. That is why the smoother of the front side of the target makes for a safer target. The AR500 and the AR550 are made with their own steel and thickness. The steel used for these targets are the same steel used on handguns and rifles. The steel is rated by its hardness. A target should range from either 500 to 550, which in most cases can handle a rifle round. Anything softer will become impacted by bullets and create divots that can cause ricochets. It is important to maintain that smooth surface for this reason.

Shooting Steel Targets Safely Involves Using Right Ammunition & Angle

That’s why when using steel targets, using the right type of ammo is important. Anything strong enough to damage the surface of your target should never be used. Shooting too close can also damage and cause divots in the steel target again causing ricochets. Once a target has been deformed it should no longer be used or grinded down or smoothed out. The angle of the target also greatly matters to reduce ricochets. Depending on the firearm used and its caliber, you need to know the correct distance from which to fire your gun, along with the proper angle of the targets. It has been proven angle targets are much safer and very few ricochets have ever been documented. Make sure to do your homework. Know the right angle for your firearm that you are using on and stick with it.

Custom Shooting Ranges with Bullet Traps, Target Retrieval, Stalls & Other Quality Equipment & Accessories

Additionally, always wear eye protection and heavy clothing to reduce the impact of ricochets if they may occur. Safety is important when being a gun owner and for those who love using those steel targets that means knowing how to use them properly. Shooting Range Industries hopes to improve everyone’s shooting experience and to advise proper safety and protocols as well. We build safe shooting environments for our fellow shooters and know how important safety while shooting is. Contact us to learn more today!

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