So far we've looked at F3 Tactical and Coye Knives as part of Small Business Saturday. Now I'd like to introduce you to TacStrike Steel Target Systems of Roanoke, Virginia (I know, it's the second VA based company, don't worry we'll go further afield in future iterations). TacStrike is another family owned business. Rob Tackett, a former Marine, runs the place with the able assistance of his wife. Together they do all the accounting, marketing and design work (the latter with input from various instructors). Their methodology is to identify a hole or deficiency in available training and then try to mitigate it (or eliminate it completely) with superior target design, including target frames, reactive targets and target carriers.
"We do a lot of work with reactive targets," Rob says, "so people spend less time taping and more time shooting." TacStrike is only about 18 months along now. They've released a number of different target designs that are earning them an excellent reputation with instructors, largely because of their attempts to increase efficiency on the range. For instance, they designed their target frames to replace the old H frame targets with an eye on portability ("How can I get 24 of these stands in the back of this pickup," Rob explains) and ease of use on the ground. "To tell you the God's honest truth," Rob explains further, "most of our designs come at the end of the day over a beer and a cigar with the instructors...as they look at...what's missing, what's needed..." An example--the 2"x2" upright on all their targets. Tackett advises he has been enough different places in his career where they were "...out there with a damn knife in hand whittling down lumber to fit the target frames..." that he wanted to fix the problem. TacStrike targets feature a 2"x 2" pocket with a tension screw so you can put in whatever upright you have handy and torque it down (or add a tension strip). He has literally had students in austere locations put dead limbs or branches from trees in these upright pockets, mount their targets and go to work. You can't do that with any similar system, that I'm aware of. Among the various TacStrike targets are the self-staking, tripod design CPASS, four different field targets, three different sizes of permanent static steel, four semi-permanent target carriers, their arch-frame and a couple of different gongs. All of them leverage input and experience from various shooting instructors, including Rob Tackett himself. Rob was a Combat Engineer in the Marine Corps who studied for years under Pat Goodale of Practical Firearms Training (he is, in fact, now the lead instructor at Goodale's PFT). After 9/11 Rob took a job at Virginia Beach teaching firearms and went on to do contract work in Bosnia, Kuwait and Iraq. "Ultimately," he says, "I want to cater to the guys that are actually out there with a line full of students who need to send thousands of rounds downrange and not have their targets fail." TacStrike targets on line at: http://tacstrike.com/index.html