(Note: Renaissance Steel Research is now Defense Targets. Relevant links have been updated 12/14/16.)
I’m a lucky guy… my wife buys me awesome gifts! As one example of my good fortune, last December I received a nondescript large sized USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate box in the mail.
Inside the box was a Renaissance Steel Research Ready Ship Target, a Christmas gift from my wife. I began this review by describing the shipping method because it is a key feature of this particular steel target. Steel is heavy, and therefore expensive to ship. RSR neatly circumvented this problem by designing a portable steel target that fits inside a USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate shipping box. As the name suggests, the target is in fact ready to ship. RSR includes shipping in the price of the target, so there is no shipping fee. The included shipping makes this steel target much more accessible to the average shooter. Indeed, this is my first and so far only steel target. With other steel target systems, the shipping cost can sometimes nearly equal the cost of the target itself, effectively placing them outside the realm of affordability or feasibility for many gun owners. As of this writing, the Ready Ship Target costs $175.00.
The RSR Ready Ship Target is an A/B and partial C zone IPSC steel target face made from 3/8 inch AR500 steel and is rated for both pistol and rifle calibers. The target and target stand ship unassembled and unpainted in the USPS box. I first followed the simple instructions to assemble my target, but then decided to take the time and opportunity to prime and paint the target stand and strike face before taking it to the range.
All assembly hardware is included, and the target system is easily assembled with a few hand tools. I did have to purchase and cut to length a 2×4 at my local hardware store to complete the target system, but that was easily accomplished. Since the target stand will also accommodate 1×2 supports for hanging paper targets, I purchased a couple at the same time.
The steel silhouette hangs on the top bracket with a simple hinge mechanism and allows the target to swing freely and hang at a slightly downward angle that minimizes the danger of splash back. RSR advises shooting at a minimum of 10 yards for pistol and 75 yards for rifle calibers. The target system is simple, easily portable, and robust. In short, I am impressed.
Obviously, you need an appropriate location to shoot steel, whether it’s rural private property or a range facility that allows steel targets, but if you have the means, a portable steel target is a worthwhile investment. Steel targets allow for immediate feedback (especially when incorporating movement into your drills), are especially well suited for impromptu man against man drills or competitions, and are just plain fun to shoot.
Another fringe benefit to owning a portable steel target is that it provides an excellent target and backstop for dry fire practice, as I alluded to in an earlier post. I store my target set up in my garage, and I can use it as a dry fire target that I KNOW will stop a bullet. I must also confess to shooting the steel with my airsoft pistol on occasion, and I can confirm that it is more than adequately resonant to reveal hits from airsoft pellets! Indeed, the excellent resonance of this target system is one of its key features.
I am fortunate to belong to a gun club that allows personally owned steel targets, so I have had frequent opportunities to incorporate the RSR RST into my range visits over the past few months. I find it especially fun to shoot a few of the drills that I learned in Mike Pannone’s Covert Carry class. As one example, a steel target is ideal for the rabbit drill that he uses in class. Another example, as well as Noner’s own video review of the RSR RST can be found here. As readers of the blog must know by now, Mike Pannone is one of my favorite trainers, and I must credit him with making me aware of both the shot timer I use as well as this excellent steel target.
So far, I have shot several hundred rounds at my RSR steel target, and I have no complaints with its durability, performance, or design. I would encourage shooting enthusiasts to consider incorporating a steel target system into their range visits, and I think Renaissance Steel Research offers an ideal way to do so. Further, as an indication of Renaissance Steel Research’s emerging prominence in the industry, they have recently become the official steel target sponsor for Panteao Productions.
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