“Tactical target series” A new route to the shooters’ reality training
A target facility is one of the main features within the shooters’ training in shooting ranges. A well-made target not only increases the training attractiveness, and thus also the motivation of present participants, but it also results in the required preciseness and awareness of the optimal placement of shots. This also helps in the creation of progressive psychological aware-ness of the image of a future adversary – it, up to a certain level, copies situations, in which an efficient and justified use of a weapon is necessary. This relates especially to the so-called photo-targets. They are the photographed armed people figures with weapons in their hands. Nobody, who wishes to organise the high quality training and create useful habits, can stay without well-made image targets. And this applies especially, when the training is focussed on situations, in which the shooters’ lives are endangered.
Generation for the new millennium
The development of such targets has been relatively long and complicated. We approached the manufacture only after the intensive around the world collection of information and long-term experimenting (in 1995, we prepared the first black and white series with glue ups and, in 2003 and 2004, we produced coloured photo-targets with anatomic zones) and progressive processing of requirements coming from within the modern way of training. The maximal utilisation of experience from real fights and of specific requirements of many units in our country, but also abroad, became the key feature in the development. In the end, the following requirements have become the main criteria for the completion of the “Tactical Target Series”:
- Colour design as close to the real images as possible,
- Two hit zones – the central vital one presenting the “deadly hit”, and the one farther from the centre - the “wounding” zone. It was also important to mark the so-called “not scoring fringe”, where any hitting would possibly cause a minor injury, but definitively not the more important impulse stopping the enemy,
- Lines marking the zones with their shading are not too distinct. They are rather less clear from a distance because we believe that they should only help in final evaluation at closer inspections,
- Anatomically designed scheme of internal organs that should provide for at least some idea of the effectiveness of hits, according to their placements. These lines are also clear only at a shorter distance, when the hits are counted and holes covered by tape
- Out of focus “blurred” background that should not “light up” at night or at dusk and allow for efficient “night” training. It should not create a clearly visible outlines of a person in the terrain, or at a longer distance.
The decision to shoot
This is a target series of the new generation, which should satisfy the most demanding requirements coming from the area of special shooters’ practice. The new targets ought to become the really good aid for the tactical shooting practice organised for common units, but also for special forces. Especially for the specialists, who prepare for missions in risky areas in Iraq and Afghanistan, there have been two sets of targets prepared as our contribution to the “fight with terrorism”. The other two sets present images of masked persons suspected of criminal activities.
The “Series” is primarily determined for the training of very key shooters’ tactical skills – the decision-making abilities. This means the practice shooting, which is not only satisfactorily precise and fast, but which is also aimed at the right person - someone, who, thanks to his or her behaviour, gives the lawful reason for the use of an arm. The training of such adequate and responsible reactions is very important for everyone, especially for the professional weapon users. They might be members of security guards, police officers, custom officers, or members of municipal Police force, but also members of elite counter-terrorist units, soldiers, or military policemen on a risky mission abroad. However, they can be also people, who wish to use their private arms for their self-defence.
All basic targets allow also for their use in four variants made up with supplementary cartons and glue ups, which serve for the training of the decision-making process. In fact, they are several other additional middle sections of the targets, which decide on the shooting necessity to shot, in case of these specific figure images (one additional weapon and three variants of “non targets” – this not only significantly prolongs the life span of the target, but creates the possibility of a large number of combinations for both targets and non targets in the training).
Target no. 1
Target no. 2
Target no. 3
Target no. 4
Target no. 5
Appearance of persons displayed on targets was also not chosen accidentally. The thing is not only that the most topical task of modern society is the fight against criminality and protection of democratic society against world extremism, but there are also important psychological aspects. Two masked men (in combination with stickers) should for example point out that a suspect person with hidden face need not mean in practice necessarily a danger that would justify legally use of weapon. Non-European clothing of other two characters has also a deeper meaning. Not only that majority of the most important international army operations at present is carried out on the territory of Iraq and and Afghanistan, since in the target complex using also central “unarmed” parts of the trainee is lead to understanding that not every local inhabitant with unidentifiable object in his hands must necessarily always be an attacking terrorist. The main task of this part of the „Series“ is therefore prevention of possible future endangering of local innocent population in these stabilising countries and thus prevention of too frequent tragic victims among civilians during confrontation security actions.
Another target has been designed in a relatively non traditional form – decently dressed attractive blond girl. It was designed on the initiative of experts from one of foreign elite units. The reason relates to the finding (verified in practice) that members of armed units can fatefully hesitate when they should use their weapons against a pretty woman. Some actions have confirmed that many men have a problem if they should shoot on an especially well designed sample of the opposite sex. It is against their time-honoured nature.
According to psychologists, the main problem relates to the well-rooted sex instinct – men get attracted first to a nice face and figure and only much later they start to notice the pretty girl as a serious threat. But even after they notice a weapon (and that can take sometimes surprisingly long time), the decision to shoot at such an opponent is difficult to make and it takes much longer. Though, this can be fateful for the policeman or the soldier.
The similarly designed targets get shooters used to the fact that even nice women and girls can be, in some situations, very dangerous enemy and any hesitation can mean a loss of their life in critical situations. And that has been verified in practice.
In addition, this target has been equipped with an unusual background – the scene of a usual street, where any not well made shot can hit an innocent and not involved person. This leads participants in the training subconsciously to the precise and responsible use of their lethal power.
Target no. 6
Target no. 8
The originally armed persons can be changed quickly, thanks to the glue ups (which replace the original weapons either with empty hands or hands holding different items of the daily use), into passing by innocent people, or hostages. The use of such new targets is both beneficial for the training of new reactions and habits, related to the shooting-tactical skills, and good undisputable feature that makes the training more attractive. It provides also for the permanent maintenance of high level motivation and interest in this special training. The total 25 variants are so difficult to memorize that even the long-term users of this kind of training, make critical mistakes quite easily (especially under an artificial pressure created by an experienced instructor). This provides for good chance to turn the attention, in a suitable way, to the fact how unbelievably easy it is to pull the trigger prematurely in real situations – and to hit something or someone, whom the shooter did not want to hit. And that can have catastrophic criminal-legal consequences, or even political impacts. Critical mistakes are progressively eliminated during the training and the decisions, adequate to the situation, become, after some time, correct and relevant to the reality, but also fast enough and automatic.
As we have already mentioned it, we put the accent on possibly the most realistic appearance. That’s why we have used for printing the targets “Series” an advanced printing technique, which in combination with high quality paper exactly fulfilled our intention. The result can hardly be compared with any kind of existing targets. In this way we have created a target utility suitable even for the most demanding users, as targets give lively impression of real persons. To express it shortly – targets in their classical paper form can certainly not be truer than this.
Examples of the use
Recommended training utilising “Series” could be as follows:
- Placement of targets on a rotary facility in the shooting range, which allows for the selection of limited time for the situation assessment and the weapon use (including, for example, the weapon draw, taking cover, etc.) for effective shooting,
- Target preparations in an indoor shooting range, where the training participants see, as soon as they enter, a group of armed and unarmed people. Consequently, there should be fast and adequate shooting at that group,
- While a shooter looks the other way, the targets are prepared (combined target and non target figures) and the shooter turns on a signal and starts shooting, as the situation requires (the consequent assessment is done with the hit coefficient in combination with the utilised time).
- Special indoor training, during which armed people must be eliminated fast among many innocent people or hostages (the so-called CQB),
- Putting targets in a forested terrain, where the team gets into contact and shoots during an offensive or retreat (the so-called “battle drills”),
- Creation of “a crowd” – the placement of different targets along the road and the consequent fighting activities taken by vehicle crews during the simulated attack on their vehicles, or on the passing by protected convoy (reactions to the so-called “ambush”).
ESP Targets – training in Iraq
ESP Targets – training in Afghanistan
ESP Targets – training in Cosovo