Suppose you get invited to try out some steel IPSC silhouettes. Spring has sprung, and you’re getting pumped for sunshine, trigger time, and the sweet smell of spent shells. I mean, what else can you do besides count down until range day?
I’m Jordan, and this is my first guest post and product feature. Join me as we head to Tier 1 Targets to check out their steel IPSC silhouettes. We’re gonna touch ‘em, hold ‘em, and shoot the crap out of ‘em.
But first, a disclaimer about Michigan: It doesn’t care about your idea of what Spring weather should be like. Forget your thoughts of afternoon sunlight gently warming your skin, a soft breeze caressing your face, or any of that stuff. Just forget it. Now grab your winter coat, gloves, hand warmers, a thick hat, scarf, heavily-insulated pants, thermal socks, boots…
Setting up steel targets
It’s range day.
12 o’clock, 34 degrees, 10mph winds in your face.
Actually it is perfect, because on the table sits an assortment of pistols, rifles, ammo boxes, and 3/8” AR500 IPSC silhouettes. It doesn’t matter if you shoot once a year or every day — a sight like this sparks that warm, fuzzy feeling that gets you prepped for the firing line.
While the wind throws chilly raindrops against the windows, we’re loading up on mags and excitement. But what really gets you are these targets.
These ones are IPSC silhouettes. A half-size B/C zone, a 15” x 9” (1/2 scale), and a 20” x 12” (2/3 scale). And they’re each covered in a paper-white coating of paint, a blank canvas just waiting for you to try your hand at the arts of sight alignment, breathing, and trigger control.
When you pick them up they’re cold and heavy, but they’re precisely cut and smoothly finished on both sides. I’m not an expert when it comes to steel, but I can say that these are the finest steel targets I’ve handled. It’s just a different level of quality and craftsmanship, and you’ll see why soon.
We’re ready to set up the range. This is when the guys give a quick demonstration of the easy and flexible mounting solution they’ve thought up.
Grab a common fence post from your local hardware store. Plunge that sucker into the ground where you want your target to be. Next, put your t-post target hanger on the fence post (these things are spec’d to slide right on and fit snugly). Use the square cutout in your target to mount it on the target hanger, and you’re done.
We set up targets for pistol work at about seven yards. For rifles, we set up right around 200. It doesn’t take long at all because we don’t have to fiddle with cumbersome bases or mounts, wooden frames or posts, nuts or bolts, or anything like that. Just slam down a post, slide on the target hanger and the target, and move on to the next one.
Shooting AR500 IPSC silhouettes
Cold gusts pry at your collar. The persistent drizzle surges from freezing to are-you-freaking-serious. But the ring of each shot landing on target as you stare over the slide of your pistol — that’s like chicken soup for your soul.
Weather be damned, you’re gonna string hits on those half-size B/C zone silhouettes. As the recoil quivers through you, your plain-white canvas quickly morphs into a splotchy masterpiece showcasing your skill.
Mags emptied and range cleared, you survey your work up close.
These targets take a beating. They seem to just swallow up bullets like it’s nothing. Even after hundreds of rounds and a target that’s gone from white to gray, you can tell that there’s plenty of life left in them.
You can judge the quality of a steel target by looking at how it splatters lead. Even, consistent patterns mean you’re shooting a target that’s going to keep you safe from lead splatter and ricochets.
We’re shooting .22s, a variety of common 9mm pistols (Glock, Walther, HK), a 9mm AR pistol from PSA, an M&P 45, and a Remington 1911 (in .45acp). We’re really trying to break these targets, at one point even blasting away at the same target in quick succession.
But it’s no use. They just absorb the final shot and slowly swing until they’re still again.
Which makes you wonder: How do they hold up to rifle rounds?
After packing the pistols away, we bring out the portable awning, secure it from the wind, and squeeze in prone under its limited coverage.
We’re shooting ARs from Colt, Daniel Defense, and BUIS Rifle. We’ve also got a mini-14, Savage .308, Remington 700 police variant, and a Mosin carbine.
Downrange there’s one of each target, even the half-size B/C zone silhouette. They look tiny, but grab one of the rifles topped with a Leupold, ACOG, or SWFA and watch them come into focus nicely. More clean canvases. You can appreciate the white coating that really pops, even under the gray Michigan sky pouring down buckets.
The rain comes in nearly horizontal with each burst of wind, spraying your cheeks with tiny pinpricks. That’s ok. You’ve got a decent sight picture. You ease the trigger back until it breaks, the stock jumps against your shoulder, and your target flinches.
It’s one of the best parts the best part of shooting steel. Audible confirmation that you did your job behind the barrel. Like it’s yelling back at you, “Great work! Keep it coming!”
And you do.
Through your scope you see instant feedback on your groups. Try to land a long string of hits, maybe an entire mag. Your ears relay the sounds of success, or let you know to ease off and slow down.
Next to you the Savage sends one with a boom, then the Mosin plays one-up with a bigger boom as it spits a fireball. Cold showers blast off the awning and fly back into your face with each shot. The barrels steam and the targets keep ringing.
In typical Michigan fashion, the rain stops right after the ammo runs out.
Tier 1’s IPSC silhouettes hold up. After hundreds of rounds of .223/5.56, .308, and steel-core 7.62x54R, all that’s different about these targets is the color. (We grabbed a 15″ x 9″ after only a few rounds so you can really see how they break up bullets).
You can see the even splatter patterns on each target, meaning they sent each round safely into oblivion.
Heck, the half-size B/C zone target (not pictured) took plenty of steel-core rounds and kept going without issue.
We put hundreds of rounds into these, and they’ve got a lot of life left in them.
Any amount of range time can turn a cold, depressing day upside down, especially when you’re shooting steel. Tier 1 Targets makes it a whole lot easier and satisfying. Just grab some of their IPSC silhouettes and their simple mounting system. Set up your range quickly, and shoot quality targets that’ll last a long time.