Tom R of TFB has already written up an excellent and outstanding review on the Auto Target system several months ago, and I certainly cannot top that with my limited experience with the system. This is more of my own reflections on the system, and several updates about it.
Lisa is one of the sales representatives from the company and recently had a demonstration of the system at my local shooting range. The major updates that you should know are that the MSRP will be $850 per system (however, current price for right now is $750), they are coming out with an AR500 ballistic covering that will cover the operating box and levers of it so you don’t actually shoot it (however this is optional, you don’t have to purchase it if you don’t want to), and as of now it is only Android based but come January it will have an IOS component for all the Apple people out there.
One of the things that Tom pinged them on was the damage to the system from rounds hitting it. This isn’t a con of the system at all, but it good to see that if a customer wants to have protection of the control box, this will be available.
The best part about the whole thing is the fact that something like this is now available to the civilian market. Military, competition shooters, Law Enforcement have always enjoyed reactive target systems due to their budgets, but having this at a somewhat affordable price for the civilian market is hopefully something that will change the range landscape in our side of the house. However, because it can’t be as high quality as the Government systems, one of the disadvantages is that the targets will last from 500 to 1000 rounds, and I think the target replacement will be $25 per target, but don’t quote me on that.
I really like the CO2 paintball canisters that they’ve chosen to go with. The fact that it is a Paintball canister makes it great for resupplying, and refilling. In addition, Lisa mentioned that the canister itself doesn’t have to be right next to the target, the line can extend back to the firing line and it will still function. This means that a range or management can change out canisters without having to go downrange and declare a ceasefire or a match halt. However, I don’t know how that translates to long range shooters upwards of 100 meters and of course further out. Whether or not the air will be able to reach that distant through the tubing is something I forgot to ask her. In addition the battery on the control unit will last up to 12 hours of continuous use, and it only takes about 20 minutes to charge back up.
The log that pops up after a course of fire seems especially useful as well. Instead of it being a PACT timer, it counts the time to the actual millisecond that the round impacts the the target, through the use of a kind of metallic foil that is sandwiched in between the paper/cardboard front and back of the actual target. The only time a hit won’t be registered will be if enough rounds have been fired into the target to create a gaping hole where a bullet won’t make contact with any of the metal in the target. On that note, I asked if they could make a thin paper film of a target, that you could just paste or tape to the already shot up one, being that alot of competitions call for each shooter to be shooting at a clean target. The answer was no at this particular time, but I’m sure something will be developed along those lines as the system improves.
Obviously the amount of options using this system are pretty endless, being that it can be infinitely programmable to whatever course of fire or system. The MSRP however is a real biting point for any consumer. At the full price of $850, someone could buy a quality H&K or 1911. Hopefully, this thing gains some real traction and popularity and they figure out a way to get it down to maybe $500 or even $400, then I could see alot more interest from a typical budget. Regardless of the price point, the fact that this kind of thing exists for the average shooter, and it’s flexibility, portability, and technology is something that was probably unthinkable ten years ago or so.