Steel targets are a thing of beauty. There’s something magical about hearing the report of a bullet slamming into steel at long range. It’s an incredible experience. Picking the right target can be tricky, though, especially if you haven’t purchased one before. That’s where the folks at BEST Targets come in. We received a generous offer from Scott Whitehead at BEST Targets to take a look at their new Gong and Flasher target system. It ships with everything you need to set up for shooting, except some pieces of cheap rebar easily purchased at any Home Depot or Lowes for less than $20 bucks. The rebar combines with the target brackets to form a four legged stand. The high quality AR500 steel target and flasher hang from the stand and react when hit with precision rifle fire. It’s an extremely slick setup at a reasonable price, if I’ve got your attention…read on for the details!
These guys at BEST Targets started their business in 2012 and after talking with one of their Co-Owners, Scott, about it…I couldn’t help but smile! I’m always pleased to hear when people jump into an industry because they feel they can offer something unique and better than what’s on the market already. It’s one thing to get into a business to make money. I think there’s more value in a product or service that’s offered because the person offering them feels they can make a contribution superior to what’s already on the market, than one that’s in it purely for profit. Make no mistake, these are some sharp people working on these targets. Several are Engineers working on the NASCAR circuit and all are experienced shooters. There’s a firm knowledgebase of experienced marksman behind these targets! They also publish after action reports on the competition events they attend which are always a great read.
Here are some bullet points regarding this target package from BEST Targets:
- All impact surfaces are 3/8″, laser cut, AR500 steel
- The super duty pivot assembly that allows the target to swing is MIG welded by the same guys working on the NASCAR circuit
- The pivot assembly is not only painted, but powder coated! Nice paint upgrade you get…for free!
- The Last Stand brackets are made from a self healing polymer, so even if you do wing one…they should continue to function!
- Flasher system is compatible with all BEST Targets 5″ bolt pattern targets
- 6″ Round
- 8″ Round
- 10″ Round
- 12″ Round
- 6″x7″ Rectangle
- 50% IPSC
- 66% IPSC
Target Gong and Flasher
The guys at BEST Targets have been making plate racks and various gong style targets for a while. New to the lineup, though, is the gong and flasher system. It’s really pretty slick. You can choose from a variety of plates that all share a 5″ hole spacing in sizes like 6″, 8″, 10″, and 12″ round gongs. They also have a 6″x7″ rectangle and 50% and 66% IPSC shapes that can all be mounted to the same flasher system. I want to point out the value here. You have a flasher system that can be utilized with a variety of plate shapes and sizes depending on the distance and difficulty you desire for that particular shooting trip. Two bolts and a wrench and the 2 minutes it takes to work them is all that’s required to change out the plate on the BEST Targets system.
The flasher itself is a bright orange piece of steel mounted to the back of the hangar, which is itself made from AR500 steel to protect the flasher and mount for the swing hangar. You can’t shoot this apart like you can with some targets. Anything exposed to rifle fire is either AR500 steel or shielded by AR500 steel. The idea here is that as the bullet impacts the gong or plate, it pushes the plate backwards. The plate swings back on the swing hangar and the bright orange “flasher” swings up over the top of the target to indicate a hit. I’m happy to say that this works extremely well and it’s very visible even at distance in heavy mirage (see the video below).
I also want to note that I’ve shot this guy with a few different calibers, both 6×47 Lapua and 308 Winchester. Even with the small 243 diameter bullets, hits are obvious and clear to the shooter through the scope. If you’re unfortunate enough to clip the edge or up high on the target where more of the energy isn’t easily transmitted into the swinging action, you can still see the flasher peek up over the top. It really is extremely obvious to anybody observing that there’s a hit or a miss. I think targets like this are supremely excellent because the 243 diameter calibers offer excellent ballistics in precision rifle competitions. However, due to lower energy when they hit, can be challenging to spot at long range. This is particularly concerning with inexperienced range officers. Targets like this make it easier for the uninitiated to determine the difference between a hit or a miss! Hence…BEST Targets!
Setup and Takedown
Setup and takedown of the BEST Targets system couldn’t be easier. Slip the two pieces of rebar into each of the “Last Stand” target stand brackets and they’re easy to lay flat in the back of the car, SUV, whatever. When ready to set it up, you pry the rebar outward and it snaps into place forming the two sets of two legs for the target stand. Then you just thread the remaining two pieces between the stand ends to form a complete target stand. Slide the swinger, flasher, and gong, onto the center rebar pieces before finishing the stand up and you’re ready to rock. This is literally about a 60 second process. The rebar legs can be pushed into the ground if on a hill or soft, muddy, earth to keep it in place. If you wanted to get really crazy you could put some tent stakes and lines on it and mount it on the side of a mountain for angle shooting!
The Last Stand target stand that comes with this package is really nice. The brackets are made from a “self healing” polymer. They know these are going to be set up downrange and they’re designed to take some abuse and still be functional. I haven’t actually shot the stand brackets yet so I can’t personally attest to it. However, if you look at the photos of the frag embedded in the brackets, and how pliable the bracket material is, it’s not a leap to believe they’ll function as advertised!
The best thing (Get it?) about the BEST Targets setup and takedown is that it’s fast, and these targets don’t consume a lot of real estate in the back of my JEEP. That leaves extra room for rifles, gear, camera equipment, etc. It’s really nice when targets are easy to assemble and break down. It’s even better when they don’t take up much space in a broken down status. In fact, the whole kit arrived in a USPS flat rate shipping box. The rebar was the only thing I sourced locally and it took me 5 minutes and about $15 bucks at Home Depot in order to do it! The gong and flasher package, with the last stand brackets, are priced competitively at $150 + flat rate shipping. That’s pretty damn good guys. I’ve spent more on steel targets and got a lot less function on my doorstep!
How does the BEST Target do?
It’s freakin’ awesome. That’s all I can say. I’ve not encountered a single problem with the target. The simple setup and takedown is a huge plus for the target system. The fact that it’s interchangeable with other plates increases the value. You can look at the purchase of the stand, swinger and flasher, as startup costs. Afterwards additional plate purchases make the system very versatile. You can use small plates at longer distances to really hone your abilities. If you plan to practice some positional shooting you can swap out a plate or gong for a larger 1.5 or 2.0 MOA size for the distance you plan to practice at. I like versatility. A product that does one thing well is a good product. A product that has multiple uses and is easily retasked for multiple objectives is an excellent product. I like this thing so much I’m planning to purchase a 66% IPSC version to replace an older reactive steel target that is more cumbersome to use and harder to set up!
I tried to include some video of this guy shooting it at two distances to show some of the versatility. The first bit of video is shot from 540yds and the spotting scope has the magnification set high. The second part of the video shows what the target looks like from 1040yds on 12x magnification. The idea here is to show you that even at long distance it’s evident when you’ve made a hit! The BEST Targets gong and flasher system is a simple, but very effective and creative solution to a problem for a lot of newer shooters. How do you make sure the shooter can see for certain that they hit the target, and how do you give them a great value for the price of the product? The guys at BEST Targets have accomplished both with this system. You can order a variety of their products through their Gunbroker store. Alternatively, you can download their entire retail price sheet in PDF Format! If you have questions about any of this or something to add, please do so in the comments!