What Makes APTS Targets Safer

We use AR500 Steel for our Target plates  :
At American Precision Target Systems (APTS), we have created some of the safest targets you will find on the market. Using U.S.A. AR500 steel that is tough enough and strong enough for shooting will prevent craters and deformations in your target. Anything less than AR500 can be a safety hazard and will not provide you the same performance. Softer steel will crater. When bullets hit craters, they will ricochet out in any direction causing a safety issue for the shooter or any other spectator. Using the highest quality AR500 steel removes this from the equation as long as you follow the proper safety guidelines.

Minimal Heat used during manufacturing :
HEAT softens AR500 steel. The heat affected, softened metal will not withstand the bullet impact as well and will easily crater or chip your target. Cratered targets allow bullets to ricochet and may cause a safety hazard for the shooter and any spectators; bullet splatter becomes unpredictable. To prevent this, it is extremely important the AR500 steel is manufactured using as little heat as possible. Plasma cutting and welding are the likely processes where excessive heat will be applied during manufacture of targets. Anyone plasma cutting or welding brackets to the AR500 steel is compromising the AR500 integrity and completely defeating the purpose you use AR500 steel in the first place. At APTS, we laser cut (using minimal heat) the AR500 steel and we DO NOT apply welds to the AR500 steel targets. Therefore, we have NO heat affected zones and you can be assured that your AR500 steel target is at the correct hardness for the safest shooting experience.

Angled Target Surfaces :
Our targets lean forward for safety reasons. At American Precision Target Systems, we manufacture most of our targets leaning at approximately a 20° angle. Shooting a target at this angle will direct bullet fragments toward the ground and not at the shooter.

Sleek, Streamlined Design :
APTS targets are designed in a way that there are minimal flat surfaces facing the shooter when assembled correctly. Lack of upright, flat surfaces drastically reduces the chance of ricochets. All surfaces from the base to the top are either angled away from the shooter or leans at an angle to deflect bullets toward the ground. Our innovative designs have reduced the amount of “extra” parts being in the way of fire. You do not assemble our targets using bolts and screws. Therefore there are no bolts and screws in the line of fire.

Guidelines & Specifications for Proper Use

Keeping the Line of Fire Clear :

Make sure nothing is in the 20° splatter zone of the target. Also check the ground for rocks and other material within the 20° splatter zone. Do this to prevent bullet fragmentation from ricocheting towards the shooter or spectator


Inspect Your Targets Before Use :

Your targets should always be checked for integrity before you shoot. You should always inspect your target for damage after the first shot and adjust your distance accordingly. If there is visible damage to the target (especially after being shot with a centerfire Rifle or Shotgun slug), the target should not be used at distances closer than 100 yards with any type of ammunition. Damaged targets can cause unpredictable splatter and create a safety hazard for the shooter and any spectator at a closer distance.

Distance to Keep & Ammunition to use on APTS’ AR500- 3/8”thick Targets :

Pistol Shooting :
American Precision Target Systems 3/8” thick targets are designed for pistol shooting at a distance of 15+ yards, using a wide range of calibers and ammunition. Splatter from the bullet could ricochet back and injure yourself or others at a closer distance, as well as cause damage to the targets.
APTS does not recommend shooting calibers larger than 45ACP and bullet weight greater than 230 grains with muzzle velocity greater than 1500 FPS. Outside of these parameters, you should always test fire a round at a safe distance. Then inspect the target for any visible damage; dimpling, denting, etc. If any damage is present, reconsider your usage and please click to read “Inspect Your Target Before Use.”

Rifle and Shotgun Shooting :
When using rifles and shotguns, the target must be further away. As the muzzle velocity increases, the harder it is on the target. The velocity of the bullet will deteriorate the target more than the weight of the bullet.

American Precision Target Systems 3/8” thick targets are designed for rifle and shotgun shooting at a distance of 125+ yards using a wide range of calibers and ammunition. Splatter from the bullet could ricochet back and injure yourself or others at a closer distance, as well as cause damage to the targets.

APTS does not recommend shooting ammunition with a bullet weight greater than 124 grains with a muzzle velocity greater than 3000 FPS. Outside of these parameters, you should always test fire a round at a safe distance. Then inspect the target for any visible damage; dimpling, denting, etc. If any damage is present, reconsider your usage and please click to read “Inspect Your Target Before Use.”

Rifles and shotguns cause more damage than handguns. Shooting rifle and shotgun rounds at AR500 targets will wear the target surface much faster than pistol rounds. APTS recommends dedicating one side of your target plate to rifle/shotgun use, and the other side to pistol use.

All Shooting :

Always check for damage when setting up, and increase your shooting distance if damage occurs.

APTS provides general rules for caliber, bullet weights and velocity suitable for shooting our targets. However, it remains the responsibility of the shooter/user to verify that ammunition being used does not damage the AR500 steel plates. It is up to the shooter/user to decide if the steel is too damaged or compromised to shoot at safely. See “Inspect Your Targets Before Use.”

MAGNUM LOADS, STEEL SHOT, STEEL CORE, SOLID COPPER BULLETS, ARMOR PIERCING, GREEN TIP AMMO or ANY PENETRATOR TYPE LOADS we do not recommend, nor cover damage.

General Safety Practices & Recommendations

Firearm Safety Rules :

Assume firearms are always loaded

Always keep firearms unloaded until ready to use

Never allow the muzzle to cover anything you are not willing to destroy

Keep your trigger finger straight along the frame until you are ready to fire.

Always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot

Be sure of your target, back stop and beyond

Always follow all instructions and warnings applicable to your firearm

Always keep your firearm pointed in a safe direction

Never hand anyone a loaded firearm

Steel Target Safety Rules :

ALWAYS wear ear and eye protection

ALWAYS inspect the target for damage, functionality and stability before using

ALWAYS have a proper backstop behind the target to stop misplaced shots

ALWAYS consider what is beyond your target and place it in a safe direction

ALL persons in the shooting area must have ear and eye protection

General :

Use our steel targets at your own risk. We have designed and manufactured our targets with safety in mind, but you ARE shooting guns. Just like anything else, shooting a steel target can be dangerous if not done properly and safely. Caution must be taken to ensure safety.