December 22, 2023
How many times have you shot at a distant steel target without knowing for sure whether you hit it? For me, too many times, which is why it is so helpful to have a another person monitoring the target area with a spotting scope to call hits and misses. However, even that doesn’t always work. Depending on the cartridge load, impact velocity and weight of the projectile, hits on steel can be difficult to detect. “No impact, no idea,” is something no one on a rifle likes to hear. If you’re by yourself, it can be even more frustrating. Caldwell now offers an affordable solution with its new Flash Bang Hit Indicator for 5-inch or larger AR500 steel targets. There are 10 flashing green LED lights that provide visual feedback for a hit, and they can be seen from well beyond a thousand yards.
Reactive, mechanically activated flash targets help. I’ve seen them used on ranges from Wyoming to Florida. On impact, the target’s movement helps to flicker the bright-colored flash to the shooter, signifying a hit. While Caldwell’s yellow steel targets are easy to see versus typical steel targets, even contrasting targets can be difficult to confirm at extreme distances or in diminished light. Depending on the cartridge and distance, hits may not smack a heavy piece of steel to transfer enough kinetic energy to cause a target reaction or splash. When there’s no flash, the shooter and spotter are left wondering if an adjustment needs to be made.
The advantage of a digital hit indicator such as the Flash Bang is that it’s far more visible, both in bright and diminished light conditions. It’s also more sensitive. Mechanical flash targets may register a .223 Remington’s impact out to 500 yards or so, but the Flash Bang will register a hit at 1,000 yards when hit with the same round. And these LEDs are visible at distances exceeding a mile! It even detected low-energy impacts from rimfire bullets. In my evaluation, I’ve found that small rocks thrown at the target will register a hit and trigger the LED lights. However, the Flash Bang wasn’t so sensitive that it detected wind or other non-impacts to the steel.
To use, simply attach the supplied adhesive hook-and-loop (Velcro) material to the back of a steel target. Then, affix the Flash Bang to the hook-and-loop strip. Three AA batteries (included) are estimated to last for 30,000 impacts. Chances are that the ammunition budget will run out before the batteries will need replacing.
If you’re planning to shoot steel at distance — or even at 200 yards and in — the Flash Bang is wonderful kit for your range bag. Costing $30 each, you can probably afford several. And if you need steel targets or target hangers, Caldwell has affordable options, too. Visit caldwellshooting.com for more information.
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