So Many Targets In So Little Time…

February 2016

3 gun shooting drills on Salute Targets

Friendly competition and 3 gun shooting drills on Salute Targets: By Tracy Barnes

It’s a bitterly cold spring morning in Durango, CO. Snow still clings to the mountains, although the foothills are now blanketed in a green hue. The clang of metal can be heard as we put up some of our Salute Targets. No one says a word, partly because of the cold, and partly because of the anticipation. I for one am getting antsy. There’s nothing like trigger time to clear the brain and nothing like a little competition to get the heart pumping. The competition for me, in this case, is just one inch shorter, but almost a mirror image, my twin sister. You could say we’d been competing since birth as we both argue as to who was supposed to be the one to come out first and we continued competing through 15 years of international biathlon competition, a combined 4 Olympics and now in the sport of 3-gun.

My sister and I make our way back to our rifles. No words are exchanged, they don’t need to be. I know what she’s thinking. The look in her eye gives away the banter that is going on in her head, likely even complete with some name-calling. This is our version of trash talk, although it’s silent, it still creates an energy that makes you want to toe the starting line. We load our magazines and head up to the shooting line. Before us stands the Salute Gravity plate rack a piece of steel that is an engineered marvel. To any shooter, this target is a work of magic, a piece of geniuses wrapped in steel. Most plate racks are designed for you to pull a rope to reset. This target, along with all of Salute Target’s, are self resetting. You still have to reset the target, but you do so with a shot! No pulling of ropes, no stopping the firing line to go down range to reset targets. Just keep shooting! Brilliant! On the plate rack there are 5 round plates and a square reset plate. You hit the round plates and they disappear up and out of view. You hit the reset plate and they drop down back into position.

As everyone knows, shooting, like any sport, is 90% mental. Which is why we like to do a lot of head to head shooting drills to practice for 3 gun competitions. Once a shooter has mastered the basics of shooting (trigger squeeze, position, sight alignment, breathing control, and follow through), they can focus on the aspects of competition, speed & psychology. You rarely have a head to head stage in a competition for 3 gun unless you make a shoot-off, but what head to head training brings to you is the same as what the timer brings to most during a competition. The nervousness, excitement, and adrenaline, coupled with being on the clock. The clock in this case is your competitor. You have to shoot fast in order to beat your competitor. Now, not everyone has a twin sister to compete against, but often times you are your best rival, so if you have a buddy to train against, great! If not, compete against yourself. Here are some drills and how to do them against another person and also how to do them on your own to practice for competition.

Dueling Tree- 3 magazine change

2 people:
Set up the dueling tree or double tap dueling tree to have an equal number of targets on each side. Stand one yard a part from each other on the firing line. For pistol stand 10+ yards from the target depending upon your level of shooting and the difficulty you would like. For rifle stand back 25+ yards from the target, again depending upon the level of difficulty you would like. Have 3 total magazines (rifle or pistol) loaded with 10 rounds each. Load your weapon and put it on safe and either in your holster or at low ready. When the buzzer signals start to shoot the targets on your side of the dueling tree. Shoot and reload all three magazines. When you and your competitor are out of ammunition the drill is over. Whoever has the most targets on their side of the dueling tree loses the competition.

1 person:
Start with all the targets on one side of the dueling tree or double tap dueling tree. If shooting the double tap dueling tree, load 12 rounds in your magazines. If shooting the standard dueling tree load 6 rounds in your magazine. On the buzzer try to shoot one-for-one on the targets, moving them to the other side, as fast as you can. Try to first get a clean run (hitting all your targets one-for-one), then try to increase your speed until you again get a clean run, and then try to increase speed again. Record your times and number of hits.

Plate Rack- Shoot to the middle

2 people:
Stand one yard apart at whatever distance you choose from the plate rack. Load magazines with 6 rounds a piece. Load your rifle or pistol and wait for start signal. Upon start signal person on left engages targets on the left and moves towards the center of the plate rack. Person on the right engages targets on the right and moves towards the center of the plate rack. First shooter to shoot the center target, or all three of their respective targets (if plate rack has 6 plates), wins the drill. Winner gets to reset the target with a shot!

1 person:
Standing in front of the plate rack with the time and a loaded pistol or rifle mag (6 rounds only) shoot to the middle target of the plate rack, timing how long it takes you to get hits to the middle.

Vertical Spinner: Shoot to turn timed

2 people/1 person:
Stand at desired distance from target. On buzzer shoot the spinner target until you are able to get it to fully turn. Record time and number of rounds it took. Try to decrease number of rounds and time.

Horizontal Spinner:
2 people:
Stand at desired distance from target. With one loaded magazine try to keep the other person from spinning the target in your direction. If you are standing on the left, try to spin the target clockwise by successfully hitting the target on the left. If you are standing on the right, try to spin the target counter clockwise by hitting the right hand target. Whoever spins the target, or spins the target further wins the drill.

Still Waters Run Deep

In 2012 my sister and I had the opportunity to travel to Gunsite with one of our sponsors for biathlon. There we took part in a media event in which various publications tried out new products, reviewed and wrote about them. While at the event we were introduced to Salute Targets for the first time. We had shot on a certain type of steel target for biathlon for the past 15 years and loved the biathlon target in which we battled with on a daily basis, but there was something about the Salute targets that ignited a fire within us. Come to find out that fire was our interest in the highly popular and emerging sport of 3 gun. In a way you could say that Salute targets was somewhat responsible for our getting into the sport of 3 gun. We left Gunsite with a hunger for three gun, but continued on our path towards trying out for the 2014 Olympics in Russia. That fire, however, gradually grew stronger. It wasn’t until 3 years later that we came across Salute again. We were searching for some targets for our range and for the courses that we were teaching with TOP Shooting Institute. We started asking questions at the NRA show and someone told us, “you won’t find anything that is made of higher quality, and you won’t find people that are made of better stock than the guys at Salute targets.” Now we thought you could say that about almost any company or group of people in the shooting industry, but come to find out there was more to the Salute story than just a bunch of steel, in fact the Salute story is ripe with heroism, inspiration, and a whole lot of hard work.
You see the Salute story starts decades before with the families that raised the founders of Salute Targets. Both Colonel Mike Howard, US Marines (Retired) and Michael Eggiman and their families are the epitome of hard work and grit. Michael grew up working his family farm in Oregon, and went on to put himself through college to become an engineer and help to found Demarini Sports Inc., where he was pivotal in creating the Doublewall Distance Bat, which was later purchased by Wilson Brand. Michael is also a huge part of the engineering genius behind Salute Target’s seamless design and flawless function. Colonel Mike comes from a family whose determination and eagerness to never give up helped to inspire millions through the famous story of Seabiscuit. Colonel Mike is also himself an inspiration, serving his country in numerous overseas tours while commanding a number of combat engineer companies, platoons and battalions. When I think of the guys at Salute I can’t help but think about a phrase, “Still Waters Run Deep.” This phrase has all kinds of means, but to me it means there is more than what’s on the surface. After hearing the Salute story, we knew that this was the type of company that we could stand behind. Their products speak for themselves as they truly set the standard in the industry. But most importantly the people of Salute are what make this company so great. It’s hard not to be inspired by such patriotism and hard work. To the untrained eye, Salute may just seem like a bunch of steel, but to the observant that steel is forged of good old American blood, sweat & tears.