Rifleshooter.com reviews the TAC II Portable Two Position Wireless Turning Target System
I direct carbine matches at my club. My matches are based of different LE qualification courses and utilize a par time. If I had to place them on the continuum of shooting sports they would fall in between highpower rifle and IPSC action rifle. You can see a sample course of fire in on rifleshooter.com’s “standards” page.
I run multiple shooters on the line at once, but had one shoot at a time so we could determine who went over par time. This proved less then ideal for a few reasons. First, we could only shoot one shooter at a time. Second, the target was always within view. Third the stimulus was always the same, wait for the beep and execute the course of fire. I really wanted a turning target system.
The turning target system at my club has seen better days, much better days. It is currently a mass of rusted steel relegated to the role of retaining wall. It does a great job helping hold up the berm but don’t try to move it. As a match director I asked the facilities director if we could get it fixed. He just looked at me, took me by the shoulder and walked me out of the room. He told me, “in the spirit of good fellowship, you must never speak of this system again”. Apparently, no one had used it when it was installed 40 years ago and it was left for dead. By the time an attempt was made to resurrect it, it was late, way to late.
After researching the TAC II system online and sending a friend to talk to the designer at the Shot Show, I decided this might be the answer to my needs. I called Elite Target Systems and spoke to the president twice. He was patient and took an extraordinary amount of time to answer my questions about the system. I ordered one up. Harry at Elite Target Systems made good on his promise and delivered the system a week in advance so I could try figure out how to operate it before my match.
The system itself is remarkably simple. In consists of an extruded aluminum folding frame that has a battery, motor and microprocessor attachments to it. The arms that turn the target are set on 18″ centers, which is slightly smaller then IPSC targets and accommodate 2×2 lumber (actual dimensions are 1.5″x1.5″). The microsporcessor is preprogrammed with 12 different predesignated exposure times (which can be customized to the specific end user, I selected 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 15, 20, 30, 45, 50, and 60 seconds) and the user can program 15 different routines into the system. Programming and control is accomplished through a four button remote control.
Each of the fifteen routines can include immediate, timed or random delay of the target, a set exposure time (one of the predesignated 12 settings, or a random exposure), automatic, random, or no redisplay, and a set or random period of time until redisplay, then a set or random redisplay time. Sounds confusing, doesn’t it? Trust me, when you use the system it makes sense. For example you could program one of the fifteen rountines to make the target system activate 3 seconds after you hit “execute” on the remote, display the targte for 5 seconds, have it redisplays again after 6 seconds for another 10 seconds. The combinations are only limited by your imagination.
You can change rountines from the firing line with a little practice. I used my system out to 200 yards and found it to work as designed. The system communicates back to the user by a series of beeps. A long beep is “5” and short beep “1”. So if I am on the firing line and tap the mode button to see what routine is currently set to run and I hear a long beep followed by two short beeps, I know I am on rountine 7.
The remote control also has an inspect button which displays the targets for 30 seconds so the shooters can see how well they shot. We liked this feature.
For a club, during actual match use, I found the system to address all of our needs. As our matches expand, I hope to increase the number of systems we have, since you can operate multiple units off of one remote.
For targets, I use two, six foot long fir 2×2 legs. I attached a cardboard QIT-99 backer to the legs and then a paper AT-99 targets to the cardboard with five 37 cent mini spring clamps I bought from the hardware store. The cardboard targets cost $1, the paper $.25, so I was happy with this system and found it to be quick and effective.
You can see the clips in this photo:
In an effort to protect our sizeable investment, the basic system is $1,500- keep in mind, you are shooting towards it. We placed our system behind a berm and in front of the obsolete target system we were replacing. You can see the set up here:
I wear double hearing protection at at our matches. Soft plugs with electric ears over them. The electric ears I was using, as well as the other two range officers, did not pick up the beeping indicator of the system very well. We were forced to remove our electronic ears and plugs from one ear in order to confirm the routine we were on. Additionally, we were unable to hear the beeping past 50 yards. The vendor makes a timer activated remote we are guessing will address these issues since you can set a par time in the timer at the firing line which will in turn activate the system. We look forward to getting one of these in the future.
Overall we thoroughly enjoy the system and see great potential in its future at our matches. I will be posting on how it holds up in the future, but for now we are more then pleased. The addition of a turning target makes our matches more interesting and moves things along faster. Shooters who do not get to shoot on turning systems also report that they enjoy the experience.
The Tac Pro II is avaiable from Elite Target Systems