BULLET TRAP COMPARISONS (PT. 1)By: Ac'on Target
For many years, bullet trap technology has beenmired in confusion, misunderstanding, andmisinforma'on. The various approaches to bulletcontainment and disposal have become as diverse asthey are numerous. The purpose of this ar'cle is toprovide accurate informa'on and valuable educa'onby examining various bullet trap theories,technologies, and applica'ons in an objec've manner.
TYPES OF BULLET TRAPS Sand or Dirt Berm
Pit and Plate Trap
Water and Plate Trap
Vene'an Blind Trap
The Escalator Trap
THE SAND OR DIRT BERMThe sand or dirt berm uses the massof the berm itself to stop and storebullets, and on outdoor ranges canliterally be the side of a mountain; onindoor ranges however, some type ofstructure or barricade is generallyused to support the berm and holdback the sand.
THE SAND OR DIRT BERMConcentra'ons of lead (called hot spots)can form behind targets causingsubsequent shots to ricochet and bounceback toward the shooter.
Sand and dirt berms are coming underincreasingly harsh environmental scru'nydue to high lead levels in the groundaround the trap and the tendency of thelead to seep into surrounding groundwater.
THE SAND OR DIRT BERMUl'mately, benets of a sand berm includelow cost, rela'vely low maintenance, andthe ability to use any kind of ammuni'on.
Weaknesses include poten'alenvironmental hazards, expensive mining,and hot spot ricochet.
THE PIT AND PLATE TRAPIn a pit and plate trap, a steel plate is usedto redirect bullets into a bed of sand.
The steel is oRen called a Smash platebecause the acute angle causes bullets tosmash into small pieces on impact beforethey are scaTered on the sand below.
Under moderate to heavy use, a thick leadbuild-up can develop in the back corner ofthe trap causing bullets to be deectedback toward the shooter.
THE PIT AND PLATE TRAPThe benets of a pit and plate trap includelower ini'al cost and simple installa'on.
Weaknesses include bullet fragmenta'onon impact, lead build-up, ricochet, andhigh maintenance.
THE WATER AND PLATE TRAPA water and plate trap is similar to the pitand plate trap, except the sand is replacedby a large trough of water; bullets s'llfragment into smaller pieces aRer impact,but bullet fragments simply splash into thewater and sink to the boTom of thetrough.
THE WATER AND PLATE TRAPLead must be shoveled or scooped fromthe water and dispose of it properly.
The water in the trough must bereplenished due to evapora'on, and theevapora'on can cause increased rangehumidity and ven'la'on system problems.
The benets of a water and plate trapinclude lower lead dust levels and noricochet o other bullets.
Weaknesses include bullet fragmenta'onon impact, maintenance of the water, andthe limita'on to indoor use only.
THE VENETIAN BLIND TRAPA Vene'an Blind trap uses a series ofangled steel smash plates to redirectbullets to the back and boTom of the trap,with some versions of this trap includingsmash plates mounted loosely to helpabsorb some of the bullets energy.
THE VENETIAN BLIND TRAPTo keep bullet splaTer from bouncing backat the shooter, rubber curtains are oRenmounted across the en're face of the trap.
Because rubber is destroyed every 'me it'sshot, these curtains must be replaced orpatched frequently to maintain theireec'veness.
THE VENETIAN BLIND TRAP The benets of a vene'an blind trapinclude the durability of steel, no sand orgranules, and a small oor spacerequirement.
Weaknesses include bullet fragmenta'onon impact, splaTer and ricochet, no close-range shoo'ng, and maintenance of therubber curtains.
THE ESCALATOR TRAPThe escalator trap is another old-fashionedsteel trap that uses steeply angled smashplates to stop bullets and direct thefragments to an open collec'on area.
THE ESCALATOR TRAPSome manufacturers recommend that theimpact plates be coated with oil to reducefragmenta'on, however, this oil can bewashed away into the surrounding soil ifthe trap is not protected from theelements in outdoor applica'ons.
The same system of protec've rubbercurtains may also be necessary with thistrap due to the acute angle of its steelsmash plates.
THE ESCALATOR TRAPBenets of an escalator trap include thedurability of steel and no sand or rubbergranules.
Weaknesses include bullet fragmenta'onon impact, no close-range shoo'ng,maintenance of the rubber curtains, andpoor lead storage and collec'on.
Although bullet trap technology has been mired inconfusion, misunderstanding, and misinforma'on,
that doesn't mean that bullet trap construc'on needsto be confusing or dicult.
Ac'on Target's range experts can help any shoo'ngrange get answers to their ques'ons, ensuring thatthe range has a cost-eec've, ecient, and - more
than anything - safe bullet trap.
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