A few weeks back I attended a 3-day carbine course. On Day 3, we started shooting steel at distance. I happened to have 3 targets systems from TacStrike in the back of my truck (1/4 IPSC systems to be exact) and I offered them up for the class to use.
I had been using the targets for a few weeks and had probably somewhere north of 1000 rounds on them. In the world of steel, they were basically brand new. Everything that I had shot at them, from 9mm, .380, .45ACP @ 7 yards to .223 at 50yds outwards barely seemed to affect the plates at all. Quick coat of spray paint and they were back to new.
The instructor assured me that the plates would be fine at 25-30 yards for rifle rounds. I was skeptical, but I agreed to lend the systems for the good of the class. It’s not often that guys get to shoot steel in classes up by me, and I believe in the product, so why not?
Sad to say, at the end of a few high-volume drills, the plates were chewed to Hell. The students were told NOT to use 5.56 green tips, but it was obvious a few hadn’t checked their magazines.
My new target systems were ruined.
The plates looked like golf balls with very deep pitting. There was not penetration, and I could have just flipped the panels around, but I was pretty let down to now have plates that were unusable on one side.
I’m not the type of guy to complain to a manufacturer about a product, especially if I decide to use it out of spec, but I felt like this was an extreme case.
I took some pictures of the damage and wrote a quick email to Rob Tackett, owner of TacStrike, and explained the situation. My question to him was NOT “how do I get replacements” but instead, “what’s the best way to grind down the plates to make them usable and safe again”
Less than 15 minutes after I sent the email I received a call directly from Rob. Right off the bat he said we had a problem. There was no doubt that someone was using ammo that was a little too hot, but that wasn’t why he was concerned. You see, Rob pays extra to have the plates manufactured to within a certain range on the Brinell scale (at least 495) for durability.
The pitting that he could see in the plates led him to believe there may be a defect in the plates that I had, and he wanted to send them to an independent lab for testing so that he could adjust his manufacturing process if needed.
I could tell immediately that Rob takes immense pride in the quality of his products and stands by them.
Without me saying a word, he told me he would be replacing all 3 plates and a parts kit, and also pay for the return shipping for the old plates. Part of the “no bullshit guarantee” as he put it.
I was blown away.
I received my new plates yesterday and I couldn’t be happier. There was no reason for Rob to do what he did for me. I thought they best way to show my appreciation was to spread the word about TacStrike, the products he makes, and the quality of the man behind it all.
If you’re in the market for any type of target system, put TacStrike at the top of your short list. You won’t be disappointed.
UPDATE: Don’t be an asshat. Read the manual that TacStrike sends you and adhere to the guidelines for using steel. Don’t get up close with AP rounds and expect your steel to last. You doing something stupid does not entitle you to replacements.
Matt Stagliano is a photographer first, and firearms / outdoors enthusiast second. His work has appeared in countless magazines and online outlets such as RECOIL, SKILLSET, Guns & Ammo, Concealment, Breach Bang Clear, Ammoland, and others. He spends most of his time running Stonetree Creative, a full service portrait studio in Maine when he is not on assignment as Firelance Media. Learn more about Stonetree online or follow him on Instagram (@stonetreecreative). On Facebook here.