When it comes to steel targets, not all targets are created equal. There is a large disparity in quality and design. With that in mind, lets take a look at the Mini A-DAP Target System by TA Targets.
At the heart of it, the Mini A-DAP is a Reduced C-Zone silhouette. If you are unfamiliar with that sizing, it is based of the IPSC standard cardboard targets. They themselves measure approximately 18” wide by 30” tall. The target is then broken into zones. The C Zone being the internal shape measuring about 12” wide by 24” tall. This being a Reduced C Zone, about 30% smaller, the target measures 8” wide by 16” tall.
The targets are offered in either 3/8” or 1/2” AR550 steel (more on this later). On the back of the targets is a bracket, bolted on with Grade 8 carriage bolts. The bracket has a number of holes allowing for the steel to be hung at different angles from approximately 21 degrees to 38 degrees. This allows the shooter to adjust the target based on distance and caliber.
The target is mounted onto the top bracket which sits on top of your 2×4” post and has an arm coming off of it. No tools are required for set up. Just slide the clevis pin through the bracket on the back of the target and the mounting arm and then secure it with a clip. Fast an easy. Not to mention the the top bracket just drops onto the top of your upright 2×4” board.
Which brings us to the base. They actually offer two different styles of bases. Their original 20” round standard base as well as their Arachnid Base. The 20” round base is what it sounds like. A round circle of steel with spots for 1×2” wooden uprights for mounting cardboard and paper targets and a spot to mount a 2×4” upright. Neither of which requires any tools.
The Arachnid Base is compact base that can be stored in a much smaller footprint. The set up is minimal and takes less than a minute. And when you’re done you have a target base that will accept 1×2” wooden uprights or a 2×4” post depending on the type of shooting you plan on doing.
And if you are interested in some extras, they offer a Hostage Assembly. The Hostage Assembly bolts onto the top bracket that sits on top of your post. It then allows for a 5” paddle made of 3/8” AR550 to be mounted behind your A-DAP target. When struck, it will swing from one side of the silhouettes head to the other.
And lastly, they also offer a armored steel post. The steel post replaces the 2×4” upright. So if you are tired of changing out 2x4s as they get chewed up, you can go for a more permanent armored solution.
Having said all of this, what has been my experience. Well, I actually met the owner a few years ago at NRAAM, NRA Annual Meeting. As we got to talking, something struck me in the conversation. He had mentioned how they got a shipment of steel in and when they tested it, it wasn’t in fact to the level of hardness of AR550 and they rejected it. That is a big deal and we should probably talk steel for a minute.
The “AR” in AR400 or AR550 stands for “Abrasion Resistance.” It is high-carbon steel alloy that is incredibly tough. They often use it for things like backhoe scoops and bulldozer blades. It is not all the same though and you have different ratings of the AR. This translates over into the target world as well. You can buy AR400 targets, usually relatively inexpensive and they are really only good for shooting pistol calibers at. Anything stronger and faster will destroy them in short order. Then you have the gold standard of steel targets which most targets are made of, AR500. But you’ll notice TA Targets offers AR550…
AR550 is even stronger still. And they offer their targets in both 3/8” as well as 1/2” thicknesses. They are incredibly strong and tough. This coupled with the angle the targets sit at and how much movement the target has when struck, allows for the use of higher calibers at closer ranges. The 1/2” AR550 targets are rated at 10 yards for pistol, 30 yards for .223 with appropriate ammunition, 50 yards for .308 and 100 yards for magnum rifles.
Having used a set of these targets for the last couple years I have nothing but good things to say about them, they are incredibly robust. While I have slightly dimpled the face of my targets through use, it was me. I occasionally use them at distances not recommended. But the good news is, if you damage one side from misuse, you can undo the bolts, flip it around and you have a fresh new side.
I will say the tone on the targets is great as well. It is easy to hear your hits at distance. I’ve set these up out at 200 and 300 yards away. And speaking of distance, I think the Mini A-DAP is one of the best compromises. While TA Targets does offer a Full Size IPSC steel as well as a C Zone sized target, the Reduced C Zone is awesome. It is small enough that you can work pistol at varying distances and still have it challenging, versus a huge target at 10-20 yards. But it is still large enough to use for rifle work at distance. It is a great balance.
And lastly a note on bases. The Achilles heel of many targets is the base. I don’t care how great your target is, if it falls over because it is off balance or blows over in the wind, it is worthless. Both he standard 20” round base and the Arachnid Base are great. My personal favorite is the standard round base. Literally throw it on the ground, put a 2×4 in it, put the top bracket on the post, hang your target and start shooting. Fast setup. And I’ve not had them blow over which is a big deal. Nothing kills a range day like have to constantly go set your target back up. Especially if you are at a range with a bunch of other shooters and have to interrupt their shooting to set your target back up.
When it comes to cost, these aren’t cheap. But I view them as an investment. A good target set up will last you years. And one that doesn’t blow or fall over will save you tons in time and patience as well. The Mini A-DAP Target System starts at $195.00, this includes the 20” round base, top bracket, 3/8” Reduced C Zone Steel and all the hardware. Everything minus a 2×4 post to get you shooting.
If you are considering picking up some steel targets, I’d give TA Targets a hard look. They make quality targets and solid stands that will give you years worth of service.