How to Safely Shoot Steel Targets
Steel targets are hands down the best way to enjoy range time and train. With that and any type of target, safety is number one. Starting with a quality steel target made of certified AR500 steel, following the basic guidelines of distance, thickness of steel, type of ammo all tie into a safe and enjoyable experience. Just like any live fire range situation, following the procedures, keeping your eyes and ears open, and wearing safety gear like eye/ear protection are crucial to an awesome and rewarding time shooting steel.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
While shooting steel there are a few main components of protective gear needed. Quality eye and ear protection must be worn at all times. Closed toed shoes, long pants, and long sleeve shirts will help shooters stay safe from their shots and others!
Quality glasses that will not shatter are preferred while shooting steel. Usually, that means plastic lenses over glass, depending on the glasses and their safety features. Also make sure the glasses cover your entire eyes from up to down and side to side.
Quality ear protection that allows the shooter to keep them on at all times is key. This is different for everyone, but the key is comfort so they are less likely to be taken off.
Close Toed Shoes
A good pair of comfortable closed toe shoes goes a long way at the range. Outside of the pure steel target safety of a shooter being too close and catching splatter back that might damage their foot, quality comfortable shoes will keep the shooter from tripping and making a huge mistake.
To avoid ricochets, distance, quality of the target, target angle, and type of ammo are key. You can read more about reducing ricochet here.
Shooting steel targets from too close is never a good idea. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines with the caliber and type of target to keep splash back of ricochets.
Steel targets that are static (don’t move) must be pitched at an angle around 20 degrees down, forcing the splatter safest direction, downward. Reactive or spring loaded targets can sit at an upward angle because they absorb the bullet energy.
Types of Ammo
Frangible ammo is the best and FMJ/Ball is also great ammo for steel targets. Never use steel core, armor piercing, or green tip ammo with steel targets.
Steel targets are hands down the best targets. From the audible/visual feedback, the time saved from replacing targets down range, as well the fact that if taken care of they will last a lifetime of fun and training. Following the manufacturer guidelines for types of targets and distance while making sure you use the right ammo and calibers is almost as important as always wearing the best safety gear. In the end, if the basic guidelines are followed and the shooters are using their heads, steel targets are an unbeatable way to train and have fun with firearms.
At Grizzly Targets we assume that our products are going to be hammered by thousands of rounds in every imaginable condition, so our focus is safety which stems from quality steel targets designed and handmade the right way. Attention to important details like certified AR500 steel, target design, using only the best components, and overbuilding our superior target systems to last longer than the competition is who we are. We accomplish that difference on a daily basis with years of testing, not only ourselves, but with the professionals in our industry.