Let’s face it: Shooting holes in paper over and over can turn your range session to a snooze fest in short order. After all, paper targets don’t do anything other than display a small hole when shot. Steel plates offer a more exciting alternative, but they’re costly, and lugging them around is cumbersome. So how can you add some excitement to your training without a ton of cost or hassle?
Enter Pop Packs from Triumph Systems (triumph-systems.com). Co-founded by former Navy SEAL Jared Ogden, the company offers several unconventional targets. The Pop Packs come in a box of a dozen. Each pack measures about 5×3.5×1.5 inches. The top of each pack has three hanging holes, but you could simply staple the pack to a cardboard or wooden target backer.
The packs are filled with a highly visible, environmentally safe gel in one of three colors: magenta, green or yellow. Each pack also displays one of the following shapes: circle, square, triangle or the Triumph Systems’ shield-shaped logo. The packs come with nine number stickers (three 1s, three 2s, and three 3s).
When your bullet hits the Pop Pack, the colorful explosion of gel leaves no doubt that your aim was true. If you’re closer than about 10 yards, you’ll likely be adding some color to your range attire—as my fellow shooters and I discovered on Handguns & Defensive Weapons when we used these on one of our episodes last year.
Not to worry, though, because the gel is water soluble for easy clean-up of your clothing and the range itself. Oh, and as we learned at that filming shoot, consider double-stapling the packs so they stay on the target back board.
In addition to the fun factor, Pop Packs offer an important training component as well. The color, shape and numbering options are a great way to introduce the shooter to critical decision-making.
Attach several Pop Packs to the target stand in random order. Have someone call out a particular color, shape, number or combination thereof for you to engage. The fire command could be as simple as “Green!” In such a case, you could shoot any of the green targets, regardless of shape of number. To really force the shooter to scrutinize the targets, call out a specific command like “Yellow, One, Square!”
Range rules permitting, start facing uprange with a holstered gun. Only after being given the firing command, would you turn then draw and engage. This way, you aren’t able to “cheat” by staring at the Pop Packs prior to shooting. If you’re shooting with a buddy, you can set up two targets with Pop Packs and see who is able to identify and shoot the designated target first.
If you’re looking to add an element of fun to your next range day, consider these pop packs. At $10 per dozen they’re not as inexpensive as paper targets, but they are a great way to spice things up without too much of a cash outlay.