View Full Version : Advice needed for steel plate practice.

February 25, 2009, 04:59 PM
I'm setting up a day to let people practice drawing and firing from their holster, on the move and at steel plates and IDPA targets.

I'm a safety officer and instructor but just wanted to cover all bases. I'm holding this in mid March here near Seattle, Washington.

My intent was to offer a venue for good citizens with their CPL (concealed pistol license) to practice and have some fun.

What I have in mind is kinda like a mix of the good old day where as a child I went to a ditch and just shot the heck out of some cans. Draw & fire, shoot on the move, shoot at steel plates and also IDPA targets upclose.

For steel it'll be 30 feet unless their using frangibles then they can move up to about 7 feet. IDPA targets will be 7-30 feet. People can shoot as fast as they can keep it on the berm.

Background: The Seattle area doesn't really have a good area to shoot this way. Most ranges don't allow drawing and firing, shooting on the move and at steel plates. We have lots of IDPA/USPSA matches but I wanted to bridge the area for CPL and people that are interested in these sports but aren't ready for them.

Suggestions would be appreciated. This is not a commercial venture. I'm doing this as a member of the club I belong to for members and CPL holders.

James K
February 25, 2009, 05:24 PM
I'll let others more knowledgeable about those sports comment on your plans in detail, but I will say that there is a reason other ranges won't allow such things as fast draw, shooting on the move, and the like, and the reason is one word - liability. Shooting is a safe sport, but some versions may just be a tad less safe than others. With proper backstops and a good location, there would probably be no problem, but in a built up area things will be different.

Even competitors can (and will) sue the club/range even when damage is the result of their own stupidity. The guy who shoots himself in the leg doing fast draw sues because he was "encouraged" to engage in an unsafe practice. Then of course, with any shooting at a hard surface, there is the possibility of bounce back, which rarely causes any serious damage, but could.


February 25, 2009, 05:31 PM
Okay, I know that people are just waiting to sue.... everyone.

So, let's move on.

I'm going to monitor the shooter from their first step in and their last step out. This is not en mass shooting. There will be one shooter and one range officer (me).

Thanks for the legal bit but lets move on to the fun part. If you were the shooter what considerations should I make? Yes, I'll do the equipment and function check with each shooter. Observe their draw and dry fire to ensure they're not newbies to concealed shooting.

The club has a good action bay location with good backstops (berms).

February 25, 2009, 06:19 PM
Make sure your steel is angled down or away to allow for good deflection with minimal "splashback." I would offer a quick safety meeting with everyone attending before the shooting begins. Treat it as a match as far as load and make ready, unload and show clear, etc. . That way there is noone walking around the area with a round in the chamber or doing any unsupervised gun handling around the other shooters. I would recruit a few more experienced shooters that you trust to help maintain the safety level. Good luck.

February 25, 2009, 06:33 PM
Do know that I shoot IDPA and will function test everyone before they shoot. The same rules will apply to as Cold Range (no loaded firearms unless shooting). I will be right next to them while they are shooting.

The people shooting are experienced shooters, have their concealed pistol licenses.

I'm really looking for advice as to what would make it fun?

I've thought about balloons but that's too messy.

February 25, 2009, 06:46 PM
Adding some basic movement and engaging multiple targets will make it fun. Throw a timer in there if some people want to see if they are improving. Bring a card table and a chair and have them draw and shoot from a sitting position, or just stand up and shoot. Overlay some targets to simulate a "hostage" to narrow down their shot placement. Just some ideas. Good luck

February 25, 2009, 07:31 PM
How about some double tap practice, strong hand only, weak hand only,freestyle.Shooting from behind cover, 2 to the body 1 to the head.

February 25, 2009, 09:33 PM
I enrolled in a advanced pistol class, if was the most fun I ever had on a range. We shot from cover(fake doorway and fake window) kneeling and standing, shot while moving left or right, forward and back, using that funky heel toe, knees always bent walk that stops the bounce when walking, we did double and triple taps. We used silhouette and steel plates. All exercises were done both strong hand and weak hand. In a steel plate exercise, we stood with 5 different colored plates in a partial circle and the instructor stood behind us and yelled out the color, we had to double tap before he yelled another color. We were instructed to bring 300 rounds and I went home with no ammo left. 8 hour day with one break for lunch and 2 smaller breaks during the day. I will join this every year that they do it.They had alot of instructors there to keep us safe, we loaded while pistol was holstered. There was always someone standing behind you when you were on the firing line. We had to keep guns holstered at all times except when reoading and we were closely monitored at all times.

February 25, 2009, 10:42 PM
You might want to make some particle board splash deflectors for your targets. Just cut wood to the same shape as steeland space it about an inch away with garden hose then tape it in place. You could also make the wood bigger than the steel and have the steel only in the vitals, then when they make a good hit they get a clang. I have had some bad experiences with steel and backsplashes........

February 26, 2009, 12:39 AM
For steel it'll be 30 feet...For whatever it's worth, GSSF has competitors no closer than 11 yards from steel targets and MGM targets (they make a lot of steel targets) recommends 15 yards as a minimum distance to stand from steel.

I think that 15 yards may be a bit on the conservative side, but 11 yards seems to be a good number UNLESS the steel has been cratered. Then I'm not sure how far away you have to be to be safe.

February 26, 2009, 09:25 AM
We run our steel matches with steel as close as 20 feet with no major problems. As long as they are kept at a pretty good angle, are are in decent shape, you are fine. Good luck

February 26, 2009, 08:21 PM
i just picked up a 18"x12"x1" peice of scrap from work. it will be my new target. i dont think anything short of a .50 bmg with api, at close range could penetrate it.

February 27, 2009, 03:14 AM
Scrap steel is likely to be much softer than the 500 Brinnell steel used in professionally made steel targets.

Obviously you don't want your bullets to punch through because that tears up the target, but you also want to avoid cratering or significant dimpling in the steel. Craters and dimples can create a situation that will cause dangerous rebounds.

February 27, 2009, 03:22 AM
its just mild steel. its used for building oil platforms.

for free you cant beat it. i just need to get some 5/8"rebar welded to it for legs.

March 1, 2009, 12:51 AM
When I was training, we used 2, 3, and 4 steels at different distances.
First was firing from the low ready with one shot on the closest target using all the rounds in the magazine(ususlly8).
On the command, raise the gun, acquire target, fire, back to low ready. 8 shots.
Then reload and shoot the next longest steel, etc.

Evaluations after each shooter and each magazine.

Final drill was one shot on each target at each distance - timed - with only 4 rounds in the magazine
That gave us no foot movement, but a different sight picture for each target, with limited ammo.

The idea was to build muscle memory, sight acquisition and being smooth.
Holster drawing came only after everyone became consistent with their hits from the low ready.

I still do it for practice once in a while and enjoy the results very much.
Hope this helps.