In this edition of Target Tuesday, I’m going to discuss and review the Essentials Target available from RE Factor Tactical, as well as the “The Essential Shooting Guide” that the target is designed to be used in conjunction with. I first became aware of these products when Matt Devito of Downrange Firearms Training mentioned them during his interview on Civilian Carry Radio. He briefly discussed them in the context of skills development when one of the hosts asked him what he thinks people with limited time should practice at the range.
(As always, I want readers to understand that I have no affiliation with any of the above companies or individuals other than as a paying customer. The images above are Amazon Affiliate links, should you wish to order the target and book and help support the blog at no extra cost.)
So far, I have been impressed with RE Factor tactical, both in terms of customer service and products offered. When their inventory control system suffered a glitch and allowed a product I had ordered to be oversold, I received a professional e-mail from the Operations Manager apologizing for the delay and requesting clarification of my shipping preferences for the remainder of my order. They also use Facebook Messenger to communicate with customers (or at least those that use Facebook) and I knew exactly what the status of my order shipment was at all times.
As I’ve written about on the blog before, I prefer going to the range with a plan. Ammo costs money and going to the range takes time, and right now, both are in short supply for me. My time is truly my most valuable commodity, and going to the range with specific objectives in mind helps me maximize the use of my time. I hate to say it, but I rarely go to the range for fun anymore, rather, I go because I want to become a better shooter. The RE Factor Essentials Target is a useful adjunct to accomplishing that objective. As my last range trip revealed, I am at best an average shooter and need all the help I can get!
The target is specifically designed to be used with RE Factor Tactical’s “The Essential Shooting Guide.” The guide is a small book that includes instructions for shooting the Essentials Target warm-up drill, as well as chapters devoted to general fundamental marksmanship and tactical shooting drills for both pistol and carbine. Even without the target itself, the shooting guide is a worthwhile reference to keep in your range bag for those days when you may need a little ballistic inspiration. I did discover a couple of typos in round counts in the description of the warm-up drill in the guide, but it was fairly intuitive to correct them in my practice session.
The target itself has 15 numbered shapes delineated on it, as well as a bullseye target similar to an NRA B8. The warm-up drill described in the guide requires 150 rounds and is designed to assess and sustain shooting ability. The drill involves everything from pure accuracy at distance to target transitions and shot cadence. Reloads are involved in some strings, as are facing movements and timed draws from the holster. All in all, I think RE Factor Tactical has created a very comprehensive practice session for anyone who carries a gun.
I shot the warm-up drill on a hot 90° afternoon on the range. The heat definitely added a level of stress for me, as I am from the South and I sweat. I had to wipe my shooting glasses a few times, as they were fogging up and sweat was burning my eyes. I believe in practicing in adverse conditions though, as I probably won’t get to choose when and where I will have a gunfight.
So what did I learn, or assess about my shooting ability? No big surprises, but some disappointment… I need to work on my accuracy at distance, my speed, target transitions, and reloads. The authors of the shooting guide discuss modifying and scaling the drills as needed, and I plan to do so next time I go the range. Specifically, I’m going to start at 15 yards instead of 25, and I’m not going to add in the pressure of the timer. Rather, I’m going to focus on fundamentals and do my best to shoot the drill clean. In the eternal words of Wyatt Earp, “Fast is fine, but accuracy is final.” The other thing that it reinforced is that (at least for me), shooting a pistol is a very perishable skill. The past month, my shooting practice has taken a backseat to my family, as well it should. Having said that, my shooting ability is also central to my ability to protect my family. Having a guide for relevant and realistic independent practice is invaluable to me to maximize my use of limited time.
Admittedly, some of the shot strings involved in the warm-up drill would be impossible to do in a public indoor range or quite frankly, anywhere outside of a dedicated pistol pit, but nonetheless, the warm-up drill is a good use of 150 rounds. With the exception of the three facing drills, I loaded my spare magazine with the required number of rounds for the next string of fire, and used that as an opportunity to get in some additional slide lock reload practice as I worked through the 150 round warm-up drill. The guide book has pages with fill in the blank tables for shooters to record their hits/misses, times, and notes. This is yet another instance where investing in a shot timer is a good idea for the armed citizen. Using a timer can add artificial stress and it allows one to track their progress towards shooting goals. Paper doesn’t lie, and neither does the timer!
So, if like me, you find yourself with limited time but still want to practice the fundamentals required to be competent to carry a gun for self-defense, I can give the Essentials Target and “The Essential Shooting Guide” from RE Factor Tactical a thumbs up.
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