More people have probably purchased firearms over the last eight years than any other time in our nation’s history (Thank you, Berry Obama, Gun Salesperson of the Century!). But just because one owns a firearm doesn’t mean one is a shooter. There’s a big difference.
With Trump now in office and the threat of confiscation sidelined for the foreseeable future, it’s time for all those new converts to learn how to shoot. That’s right, get out those black rifles stashed in the closet, dig into that apocalypse stash of ammo in your basement, and get to the range! It’s time to have some fun!
Things to Know When Shooting Steel
This week I chose to do a review on one of the best training tools around, the BC-C Zone steel target from MGM Targets. Before we get jiggy with why I like this particular target, let’s take a moment to talk about shooting steel in general.
Despite what your mother may have told you about shooting metal or what you witnessed on Youtube (that dude getting his ear protection blown off by a ricochet), shooting steel is perfectly safe. A major caveat, it’s safe so long as you are shooting steel that was built to be shot. I make no safety guarantees when it comes to plinking washing machines and junkyard cars.
Hardened steel, with a flat face, does a near perfect job of absorbing all of a bullet’s energy. Ideally, the bullet flattens when it hits steel and any remaining energy is pushed down and slightly to the sides.
One of the biggest reasons we shoot AR500 grade steel with a smooth face is that it doesn’t deform and is very hard to dimple. If steel is deformed to the point of being either concave or convex, things can get weird. If you shoot a lesser grade of steel that becomes pitted or dimpled, it can absolutely start tossing chunks of bullet back at you. That’s a bad reality show.
As long as the steel is flat, smooth, and preferably slightly angled forward, all the bullets and fragments will hit the ground within about 5 meters of the target. Each manufacturer has a set of guidelines for their particular target systems. Make sure you read them and follow them! That said, my personal experience goes something like this for minimum safe distances.
- 10 meters for normal pistol (9mm, 40 S&W, 45 ACP)
- 15 meters for magnum pistol (41 Mag, 10mm, 357 Mag)
- 50 meters for small rifle (5.56)
- 100 meters for medium rifle (308, 6.5 Creedmoor)
- 300 meters for magnum rifle (300 WIN MAG)
Why I Like the BC-C Zone Target
In the video above, Clay gives you and overview of the BC-C Zone Target from MGM.
Back to our BC-C zone targets. I really like this target for its versatility. They are light enough to carry with ease and are about 40 percent lighter than a full-sized USPSA torso target. Trust me, that differnce it weight matters when you are setting up the range yourself. The BC-C Zone is great for competition shooters as well as tactical shooters, as it mimics the vital area of a threat.
One of the biggest reasons we shoot steel is the instant feedback — that wonderful audible ting it gives us. But the problem with steel targets is that they sound the same whether you hit the center or the edge. You can paint your steel between every shooting evolution, but it doesn’t really change the point. Your brain processes every metallic ting as a good shot, so if you are shooting a barn door from three feet, you can very quickly develop a habit of bad sight pictures.
This is why you want an undersized target like the BC-C. It forces you to make good shots within the margin of an acceptable hit radius. When your brain processes that ting, it’s not only a good shot because you hit the steel, but it’s a potentially lethal shot in a self-defense situation.
BC-C Zone Dimensions & Pricing
- Target plate: 11-13/16″ x 23-5/8″
- Height: Adjustable with 2×4 length
- Base: 18-1/4″ x 23-3/4″
- Price: $315.34 (Target & Baseplate)
- Price: $263.58 (Target)
- Price: $51.48 (Baseplate)
I also like the fact that this target is on a 2×4 post. As a new shooter learning the ropes or an experienced shooter pushing the envelope, you are going to miss. Eventually, you are going to miss low and hit the support for the target. If your support post is steel, that means you are going to have to go back to the target manufacture for a new one.
Hopefully, you didn’t make the “magic miss” that embeds the now defunct target post into your target, requiring tools and labor to separate it. Shot through steel posts also tend to be sharp on the exit wound, which creates a hazard to your hands and your car’s interior. With a 2×4, once you shoot it enough to actually break it, you now have the kindling to start your next campfire. For $4.00 at the lumber yard, you have a replacement.
As to the use of this target, it covers a lot of bases. It is large enough for speed work with a pistol at 10 meters. It becomes a challenging shot with a pistol at around 50 meters, and at this range, it is ideal for rifle speed work as well. Like an AR-15 El Presidente drill. For rifle practice it is great at most any distance. I shoot these targets from 50m all the way to past 1000m with my precision rifles. With big boy bullets, the BC-C Zone still moves enough to see hits at long distances.
The BC-C Zone is one of the most useful targets you will ever own and has been one of my favorites for years. Ninety-nine times out of 100, that is what I bring to the range for any type of gun review. It costs a little to get started, but acquiring a few of these targets will help you on your journey from becoming just a gun owner to an actual shooter.
For more information on the BC-C Zone, check out their website.