Category Archives: Target Systems

Blog posts on MOA Target systems, target stands, and individual targets

Field Report – 1″ AR500 on a Public Range

Historically, we haven’t actually encouraged ranges to pony up for our 1″ AR500 unless they were going to be used for 50BMG. Five years ago (summer 2014), a range in northern California requested some custom 1″ AR500 targets from us, to replace their worn out targets. So we did, so here’s the story and the current status of the targets we provided.

The worn out targets were made of 3/4″ T1 structural steel, estimated brinnel 300. AR500, by definition, is brinnel 500. Mild steel, for reference, is 100-180 brinnel, typically.

Out with the old (Spring 2014)

3/4″ T1 Crater of the moon pig target. Note void to left of swing arm near center. note lack of ear.

One of our recommendations to the client for target longevity and staff safety was to integrate the swing arm into the target. The down side is cost and it makes the target difficult to rebuild. The up side is safety. Grinding and welding on steel targets which have been shot gives unacceptable risk levels of heavy metal (primarily lead) inhalation when working on targets. After discussion, the client agreed with our recommendation.

Old 3/4″ T1 target, note penetrations and dents, and reinforced swing arm.

In with the new (Summer 2014)

The replacement targets included full scale NRA Silhouette pigs and some standard round gongs. The 1″ AR500 pigs included the integrated swing arm, as discussed above. It was decided that 1.75″ was as good a number as any to pick for the arm. Wide enough to give us enough material to avoid heat affected zone to the core (roughly 1/4″ from each cut edge is affected), narrow enough to reduce weight and impacts. This was the first time we’d done something like this in 1″ AR500, so there was scientific wild ass guessing going on.

Production 1″ AR500 targets, NRA Silhouette Pigs with integrated swing arm. Also shown, gong on edge.

Present Day (Summer 2019)

To our delight, the range contacted us this summer to request more 1″ AR500 targets. Not, as one might expect, to replace the 2014 targets, but instead to add to them. Despite pretty significant price increases we’ve had to make since 2014, the range elected to add a full size NRA Ram to their collection. They are very pleased with the field results of the 2014 NRA Pigs and gong, and sent pictures to show the current conditions.

Current condition of 1″ AR500 NRA Pig. Note the impacts to the 1.75″ arm, compared to the rest of the pig.

It was quietly suspected that some shooters might focus on the swing arm in an effort to show off their skill, and damage the target. We’ve all seen shooters do this in the field, targeting chains, bolt heads, and other non-target portions of the system. One of the first things we learned in this business was that the target was almost secondary to the stand and suspension system.

As such, we’re not surprised to see the edge of the swing arm appears to have more impacts than the edge of the pig per linear inch, by wild estimate from these photos.

1″ AR500 pig. Note edge impacts on swing arm.

It’s clear, after five years, that the 1.75″ wide swing arm is sufficient to prevent premature failure of the system.

1″ AR500 Five years of range use has left a clear impression on this target. Compared to the target it replaced, however, it appears to have plenty of life left in it, and still has a clean side.
1″ AR500 Lots of craters, and chewed up edges, but still very serviceable after five years of use.

1″ AR500 won’t be for everyone. It’s heavy and expensive, and still vulnerable to surface damage from high velocity or hardened projectiles. However, for ranges that want long service intervals, this is an option that may solve problems. Please feel free to contact us for information on in stock and custom 1″ AR500 targets.

Quick Guide to Assembling and Setup of A-Frame Starter Kits

As shown for the 40% IPSC Starter Kit

Step by step assembly guide. Takes about five minutes the first time, about 30 seconds to set up and tear down after that.

Recommended tools – First make sure you’e got all the parts

Legitimate Beverage Entry Tool (3/4″ open and box wrench with 9/16″ open, provided with this kit)

Cordless impact driver (or ratchet, or just another 3/4″ wrench) with 3/4″ socket

Pokie boi (use with caution, don’t be dumb), I like to cut a X in the firehose and shove the bolt through. You can just drive the lag bolt through without cutting

Cut X in one end of each firehose with pokie boi

Using impact, run lag screw through firehose into user provided 2×4 (washer goes between lag and firehose) I recommend doing this from the back side of the 2×4 for spall reasons

Using impact and LBET install the hex bolts through the target and firehose. Firehose goes behind target, washer goes behind firehose

You’re done with tools now, go grab your EMT legs

Slip user provided 1/2″ EMT conduit legs over bracket, bracket over user provided 2×4 with target already mounted on it

Pick up the loose 2×4 end and the same thing with the other 2×4 bracket and EMT legs

Apply aiming points, apply bullets

Remember, 12 yards minimum for pistol, 100 yards minimum for rifle.

Desert Brutality 2019 AAR, Southern Utah Practical Shooting Range, St George UT

Dear Internet,

MOA Gear and Targets
MOA Gear and Targets

Thank you for putting up with my shenanigans at the event. I like events where I get to see human suffering, failure, and lessons being learned. I personally finished towards the bottom of the pack, and had a bunch of lessons as well. I’ll be applying them as I go, to better myself for future events, and I hope you will too.

I saw a lot of great footwork, weapons manipulation, and shooting this weekend. I saw a lot of shitty things as well. The good news is no one got shot, and we can all get better at this.

NVGeologist and Sinistralrifleman on the math stage

I loved seeing the costumes and gear, cosplay and unique shit. I don’t play gun pokemon, so most of it was over my head, but it’s always interesting.

Event staff was fantastic, and I’m looking forward to working with Forgotten Weapons and SinistralRifleman, as well as the Southern Utah Practical Shooting Range (SUPSR) staff again at future events. Meeting a mess of gunnitors and arfcommers that I knew from the internet and now know IRL is awesome, as always.

two goofuses on the range
The heroes we deserve.

As MOA Targets, I sponsored Stage 2 and had targets on the vendor range for the weekend. Stage 2 had three MINIMO targets provided by me, as well as a polish plate rack, texas star, and standard plate rack owned by SUPSR. This stage crushed most people. About 85% of people parred out on it, and many never got to the rifle portion, which was the last plate rack.

I derive my life force from human suffering, and am well on my way to being immortal. I served as Range Officer at this stage Friday for the staff runs, and then watched and often filmed the competitors during the event. For those who watched the live stream, you got to see me yell generally helpful but obnoxious advice like “quit missing” “you’re low” “slow the fuck down”. For those who didn’t, you can find it on the MOA FB page. For those who don’t care, carry on.

I’ll be working on cutting video in the next few weeks. It was very cool how many people came up to me after their runs cracking up and thanking me for my advice. I always enjoy seeing people figure out what they are doing wrong mid flow and picking up and doing well. There was one guy who asked the collective peanut gallery to “SHUT THE FUCK UP” during his run, we did, he still sucked. For the record, the briefing by Karl at the start of the event made it clear that coaching, encouragement, ribbing, and peanut gallery is encouraged at this event, with the note of “shut the fuck up” if the runner asks for it.

On a technical basis, the MINIMOs worked correctly for the event, and the SUPSR guys were impressed enough to ask to buy the demo units after the match. Lucky for them, the three units on the range were my donation as Sponsor, and I cut them a pretty sweet deal on one more so they have four. Look for those targets in future matches.

LOW you're hitting LOW
Turns out the MINIMO is rated for 40MM. Neat!

I learned a lot about my gear, having run the match with a PCC as my rifle. The Colt mags I borrowed caused me some problems from overloading them (they don’t hold as many as the converted Uzi mags I usually use) which hosed my time on Stage 1, with 11 penalties. I also was carrying too much ammo (I competed in Armor +P, where you carry everything all the time) which was fucking heavy, ditto with water. My firearms worked great other than the mag related issues on my first stage. I need to practice shooting in armor and with a helmet more, the positioning is significantly different. I’m also fat and slow, so I’m working on that. Superstition Mystery Mountain 3gun is coming up in six weeks, and Cola Warrior West in seven. Time to put the pedal to the metal.

Reactive target stand options

You have been crushed by a wall of text. Take 2d6 damage.

Tl;dr Full album on Imgur with descriptions.

This post is based on a request for information from a client who objects to my haphazard way of doing my website. 😀

Standard angle iron base (BATTLEBORN)

Battle born stand
Utilizes 3” angle iron and 2×4 pockets with a set screw to build a simple H-frame with a vertical 2×4. Three sections of 2×4 approximately four foot long required. Simple, beefy. Service pistols do nothing, magnum pistol may dent it but do no damage. Rifle will zip right through. Most damage can be fixed with a die grinder (monster dremel) or file. Stable as all get out if you use four foot 2x4s, can be set up at fairly aggressive angles. If you shoot up the vertical 2×4, you can always swap it for a horizontal and keep shooting. Depending on the target you have mounted on it, you can get away with one horizontal leg. Has to ship UPS/FedEx. Recommended for people who plan to buy a base for every target.

Modular base (MODB)

Modular base
Utilizes 2×4” rectangular tubing and a set screw to build a simple H-frame with a vertical 2×4. Modular, additional vertical 2x4s can be added by slipping on the vertical component and 2×4. Four sections of 2×4 approximately four foot long required (assuming one vertical component). Simple, light. Service pistol may damage the pockets (dents), magnum will damage the pockets (deep dents) rifle will zip right through. Most damage can be fixed with a die grinder or file. Easily replaced components if you really mangle them. Stable as all get out if you use four foot 2x4s, can be set up at fairly aggressive angles. If you shoot up the vertical 2×4, you can always swap it for a horizontal and keep shooting. USPS Flat Rate shipping available. Recommended for people who will be setting up each time they go out and tearing down at the end, and who want to potentially have multiple targets on the same stand. May require use of shims depending on your specific 2×4 dimensions.

Formed AR base (ARMORBORN)

Formed AR armored base and upright
Utilizes formed 1/4” AR400 and 2×4 pockets to build a simple H-frame with a vertical section of formed AR 400. Two sections of 2×4 approximately four foot long required. Simple, overkill for many applications. Pistols do nothing, rifle if used as directed does nothing (occasional “JFK Magic Bullet” situations may punch the crown of the formed section, but it doesn’t affect use). table as all get out if you use four foot 2x4s, can be set up at fairly aggressive angles. Formed AR upright is held in by a set screw on the base. Has to ship UPS/FedEx.  Recommended for high volume ranges, machine gun use, and people who just really hate servicing targets and stands.

(Special order, contact MOA for this item)

A-Frame base (AFB)

MINIMO mounted on a-frame bracket
Utilizes 3/8” AR500 brackets, steel electrical conduit, and one 2×4 about four feet long. Simple, light. Stray rounds won’t hurt the brackets, but it’s a good idea to bring spare conduit. Stable as all get out, but can be jostled apart with high energy projectiles or machine gun fire. Duct taping the conduit to the bracket can solve that if need be. Great for suspending targets as well as stubbing 2x4s onto the cross bar for reactive target use. USPS Flat Rate shipping available.×4-bracket,%20target-stand

As always, good luck, have fun, don’t die.

“I made this” : A story of steel target design and meme warfare (CLAYSTAR)

Tldr The guy who has a history of getting butthurt about other companies building similar (or identical) steel target designs got called out for ripping off my new design.

Last summer I started prototyping a new version of a steel target system

Basically, I took the standard competition texas star concept and turned it on it’s head. Instead of shooting the first paddle off and then picking off the rest as it spun, you had to shoot clay targets out of the paddles. If you hit a paddle, you’d get penalized, and it would then start swinging, making it harder.

Jade Struck @ Superstition Mystery Mountain 3Gun (SMM3G) 2018

I kept the system a secret until a big 3gun match in Arizona this spring, Superstition Mystery Mountain in Mesa AZ. It went great, everyone loved (hated) it and a fine time was had by all.
One of my major competitors, Travis Gibson of MGM Targets, was at the match.

The system has been used in another major 3gun match since then, and a couple minor ones. I’ve sold a few system and the paddles. Time passed.

Here’s where things get interesting. The Lucas Oil PCC Championship was this weekend. I started getting messages yesterday from people asking if I had a Claystar at the Lucas Match. Nope.

Turns out MGM provided all the steel, including a claystar system compatible with their star, which they called a claystar (which is what I’ve been calling it).

All good, I don’t patent these things, I just want the credit. There’s a long history in the steel targets industry of not patenting things, and competing on your ability to make a solid design at a fair price backed with good customer service, and giving credit to the creator when they come up with something new. Texas Stars are generally attributed Terry Ashton of Texas, utilizing oil field scrap and pipe. Polish plate racks I’m fairly sure are the creation of North Salt Lake Welding. The first dueling tree documentation I have found involved Jeff Cooper and Seligman Shooting Products. The pepper popper is named for instructor John Popper. The claystar is my current contribution to the industry, IDGAF if other companies make it, I’d just like a crack at selling it to people along with the targets that hold it.

So, I posted up on my biz facebook, tagged him and his biz. Shit blew up reaaaaaal good.

A few hours later I got a from someone who indicated he’s with MGM, and that they had no idea that Travis had done this and that he wanted me to know what good people the are, and that they won’t be selling the claystar, and if they do they will credit me. I told him that’s fine, I just want credit. A post on their site or FB thanking me for letting them use my concept in the Lucas match would be nice, I said. I mean, calling ahead of time to ask for permission rather than forgiveness would have been better, but we can’t change the past.

I kinda doubt that is coming.

I’ve gotten some real nasty reviews from his sponsored shooters at this point, but I also picked up a bunch of new nice reviews from people who saw what was going on and finally chimed in on their own targets they bought from me, or shot at events. It’s been interesting to see it unfold.

Ah well, at least we have the memes.

So, at the end of the day, I dunno how this will play out long term, but at least I’ve got a cool story bro to go with the target design now.

1/4″ AR400 as a Long Range Rifle Target

MOA Targets currently makes targets from four different steels. 3/8″, 1/2″, and 1″ AR500 for rifles, and 1/4″ AR400 for service pistols and rimfire. The 500 & 400 part is the Brinell hardness, where 400 is softer than 500.

We’re always working to improve our data and widen the use of steel targets. Being based in northern Nevada, we’ve got lots of wide open spaces to shoot long range. 300 yards is common and up to 1000 yards isn’t unusual for long range shooters out here. Recently, we figured out at what distances you can shoot the 1/4″ AR400 pistol targets with rifle.

The tl;dr is 556 at 300 yards, 308 at 500 yards. Limits on use are: 2500 fps at the target (as opposed to 2800 fps with AR500) and 1000 ft/lbs of energy at the target. The details of the test are below.

Our testing was primarily conducted with 5.56x45mm 55gr ammo fired from a 16″ barrel AR15 and 7.62x51mm 147gr ammo fired from a 16″ barrel AR10. The initial test was at 300 yards.

MOA AR500 steel target gong
Initial test platform. 8″ diameter 1/4″ AR400 gong, on MOA A-Frame bracket based stand.

At 300 yards, 5.56x45mm put a visible hit on the metal target but did no damage. The 7.62x51mm dented the target pretty badly.

556 at center, 308 at 4 o’clock, and 6.5CM at 2 o’clock

Deformation of edge strike by 6.5CM at 300 yards. 1/4 AR400 steel gong.

With these results in hand, we backed out to 800 yards and switched to 7.62x51mm and 270WIN. We also upped the target to a 18×12″ 1/4″ AR400 test plate, which is a standard size MOA product.

At 800 yards we got a great ring sound off this thinner than usual rifle gong and no damage. Ditto when we moved in to 600 yards. At 500 yards, the sound was excellent, and we did a careful examination for damage on the target. No damage noted at 500 yards.

12×18″ 1/4″ AR400 steel rifle gong. As engaged at 800, 600, and 500 yards with 7.52x51mm and 270WIN. No damage.

Edge view of 1/4″ AR400 steel rifle target. As engaged at 800, 600, and 500 yards with 7.62x51mm and 270WIN. No deformation of target noted.

At this point, we discontinued the test, as the math showed that if we moved in much closer we would start seeing deformation of the target. At distances less than 500 yards, long range shooters typically aren’t using a very large target, which reduces the need for a thinner (lighter) gong.

Advantages with using 1/4″ AR400 for long range rifle include: reduced weight and cost by going with the thinner material; improved sound return by going with the thinner steel; improved visibility of swinging target when struck, by reducing target mass.

Disadvantages  with using 1/4″ AR400 for long range rifle include: increased minimum engagement distance to prevent damaging the target, 300 yards for 556 instead of 100 yards with 3/8″ AR500 and 500 yards for 7.62x51mm (308WIN) instead of 100 yards with 3/8″ AR500; and explaining to your friends why you are using 1/4″ AR400 and what that means.

The minimum distances are recommendations only. These distances are based off the calibers and conditions as tested, with a result of a maximum velocity of the projectile at the target of 2500 fps and a maximum energy at the target of 1000 ft/lbs.

That means you’re gonna have to break out your ballistics charts before you go throwing rifle projectiles at pistol targets.

As a result of this testing, we have a new package deal for long range shooters. This package includes a 10×20″ 1/4″ AR400 steel rifle target, a set of A-Frame brackets, and 18″ firehose hang kit to put it all together. This package runs $100, and ships for free USPS flat rate. For another $60, you can add a second 10×20″ gong and the hardware to combine the two gongs into a 20×20″ target. Neat.

As a follow up to the new 1/4″ AR400 long range kit we did the same thing but in 3/8″ AR500, so you don’t have to worry about the increased minimum engagement distance. Same package details but in 3/8″ AR500. Out the door at $150, plus $100 for a second 10×20″ gong if you want to go big.

Four Ways to Mount an AR500 Target Gong

Phase 1: Buy an AR500 gong
Phase 2: ???
Phase 3: SHOOT

MOA Targets offers gongs in three different basic configurations: Just a bare piece of steel with no holes, tabs or whatnot; 1-3 holes; or with what we call the Universal Mounting Tab.

Bolt on, two chains, two firehose straps, or the Universal Mount.

If you chose to go with the bare piece of steel, it’s a fair guess that this isn’t your first rodeo, and that you plan to weld it to something. We don’t like welding AR steel, due to the trouble with weakening the temper of this heat treated steel, and failed welds being difficult to fix in the field. Knock  yourself out if you want to do so though.

Holes and tabs are where it’s at for us. With holes, flexibility is king. One hole is good, two holes is better, three holes can be useful but is generally overkill.

One hole hanging options.

With one hole, we recommend using a firehose strap, or two chains. You can get away with one chain, but it’ll twist and be a PITA to engage rapid fire. A single firehose will twist as well, but not nearly as bad as chain. With two chains you get away from most of the twist. Worst case, you can always just screw it to the crossbar.

Two holes gives you some redundancy as well as stability.

Two holes give you a more stable setup, and gives you some redundancy when you invariably blow out a bolt head or chain. Just like with one hole, you can always screw it to the crossbar.

Do you want to build a snowman?

With two holes, you can also do fun stuff like daisy chain targets.

KISS – just bolt the sucker to the 2×4.

The two down sides to just bolting the target to the 2×4 crossbar (or whatever) is the inability to use carriage bolts, which reduce splash, and the reduced noise from strikes. Our testing has shown that the ability to swing has virtually no effect on target life, and increases the risk of engaging while the target isn’t facing at an appropriate angle.

Three holes are generally put on a 2, 6, 10 o’clock pattern, with the 6 o’clock used to tie the target back at the optimal angle to and keep it from swinging. Neat, but often overkill.

There’s a general recommendation, especially while shooting pistols, to lean the targets with the top towards the shooter at an angle of about 15 degrees. This helps direct splash (projectile fragments) towards the ground, and not the shooter.

The MOA Universal Mounting Tab system slips over the top of the standard 2×4, and leans forward just right. This gives you a boltless mounting system that’s durable and easy to use. With a long vertical 2×4 (four foot or so), you can use the whole thing as a dropping target. A more refined version of that concept is available from MOA as the 417 Determined Attacker system.

MOA Universal Tab and mount bracket, from the front.

Universal System, from the back.

Using the dropdown options when ordering a gong from MOA, you can request that a gong be cut with a Universal Mounting Tab, for use with the MOA Universal Mounting Bracket. Brackets are specific to target material thickness, but otherwise are interchangeable.

So there ya go, four easy ways to mount  your gong target.

A-frame bracket system, a simple way to get in the field quickly.

For those who are wondering what the wonderful A-Frame is, that’s the MOA A-Frame 2×4 bracket system. Stupid simple, and made of 3/8″ AR500 for long life. Also available to take round stock instead of a 2×4.

2×4 brackets, for quickly building your own a-frame

Good luck, have fun, don’t die.

Cola Warrior East 3 – Innocence Lost

September 2015 brought fair weather, green grass, and vomit to the wild woods outside Appomattox, Virginia for the third year running. Cola Warrior East once again interrupted the quiet rural lifestyle of the remote bit of humid subtropical Piedmont, with so much history, as a band of sugar charged locals and visitors converged to test their mettle.

As in the previous two events of the year, Cola Warrior West (Kingman, AZ) and Cola Warrior 5 (Liberty, MS), the format was five obstacles, an AK-47 to field strip, a package of Peeps to consume, a half mile of dirt to run, pistol and rifle targets to shoot, and 72oz of Freedom to chug.

East had been accused of being “diet” in past events, with the feeling by some that their obstacles weren’t up to snuff. Several East Vets came out to the inaugural West event, and are often found at the Classic event in Liberty MS. The obstacles at East 3 far more resembled Classic than West, and were decidedly *not* diet.

First, a wall that had about one board you could get a toe on, if you took a running launch. Climb up and over, without grabbing the sides. There was a trick to threading a belt through the wall, about six feet up, to give a hand hold. Didn’t help me or a bunch of other people summit the wall, but a fair number made it over.

Click on the photo for a gif of it in use (hosted on Imgur)

Second, a Salmon Ladder. There’s no trick to help here. It’s just torture. Lots of penalties assessed here.

Next, throw the big, ungainly chunk of wood over the cord. The cord was attached with a magnet, you could bump it, but not dislodge it. This was as close to a “gimmi” as East had, and it still racked up a lot of penalties. Incidentally, it’s the only obstacle I didn’t fail.

Apparently, there’s a trick to climbing ropes. I wouldn’t know, we don’t have any trees in Nevada.

Name one thing we’re going to need this stupid fucking rope for?

Nothing if not determined, the Cola Warrior Juniors (Soda Squirts?) run a kid scale version of the event.

Last, drag the disintegrating pallet/sled with about 900 lbs of cinder blocks on it back and forth some arbitrary distance that was farther than the 1/4″ I was able to wiggle it.

These obstacles were obscene. The diet of yesteryear was purged under a nigh unstoppable tsunami of penalties.

The AK was battle worn. The peeps were stale and warm. The run undulated along the forest dirt road.

The range portion of these events, with about eight pistol targets, and about the same rifle targets, is usually an afterthought for most experienced Cola Warriors. Calm down just enough to squeeze off the pistol rounds, you’ve got two full mags after all. After you clear the pistol and your heart rate is down, go prone, and clear the rifle, it shouldn’t even take a full mag.

Not at East 3. Rifle targets were scattered the length of the narrow ascending forest track. Heavy vegetation and constantly shifting light would bring targets in and out of visibility. Difficult, with the 300m target being a 2/3 scale IPSC Metric (equivalent to a full scale IPSC at 450m). Doable, but not easy. I cleared the rifle targets with less than a mag of 5.56 from a Colt 6940 with an ACOG TA31 optic.

The pistol targets, on the other hand, were a nightmare. Set at 25m from the line, the eight pistol targets were staggered above and below a horizontal cross bar.

At 25m, this is a tough target to hit, 8″ diameter paddles just about entirely disappear under a standard pistol front post. Unnoticeable at 25m, and in the poor light, are the two counter weights at either end. Invisible are the bearings at the center, over the single center support. As soon as a paddle is hit, it falls off, unbalancing the whole affair. At 90*, a counterweight falls off, causing the now heavier “up” end to rapidly be the down end, dumping it’s weight. Now the whole thing is spinning on the center like a propeller. Three of the Cola Warriors cleared this target system. Many failed to get more than three paddles off of it, including myself. As much as MOA has been blamed for this monstrosity, we didn’t do it. Sure, we will soon, but we didn’t do it. We do a similar target, the Red Neck Texas Star. Soon, and rifle rated to boot, we’ll be torturing people.

All in all, a fantastic event. Great location, great people, great food, amazing sponsors (listed below, check ’em out, and thank them for their support), and a good time had by all.

Top Woman prize pile


ALG Defense

SLR Rifleworks


Arson Machine

Arisaka Defense


ADW Custom Knives

Dynamik Blades

NUoSO Concealment


Nightlong Industries

Quanitico Tactical


B5 Systems

AIM Surplus

Weapon Outfitters

2A Arms


Gun Goddess

MOA Targets


Please join us at Cola Warrior West II, Reno NV March 31 – April 2

Cola Warrior West 2015 – How the West was Run

Several years ago, the Cola Warrior series of fitness, shooting, and willpower competitions were founded by RustedAce, a cyborg who lives in a swamp and fights in a desert. Cola Warrior a competition in five parts: several difficult obstacles, field strip of an AK pattern rifle while eating five marshmallow Peeps, run half a mile, shoot rifle and pistol targets from field positions, and chug 72 oz of carbonated soda.

No one in their right mind would do this. May 2015 will be the fifth consecutive year of events at RustedAce’s FEMA Compound in the Swamp (now known as CWOG). This fall will be the third CW East (CWE). Late March 2015, P2tharizo hosted the first Cola Warrior west of the Mississippi, outside Kingman, AZ (CWW). As owner/operator/Chief Guy in Charge of Stuff for MOA Targets, I sponsored the steel targets for the CWW event and also ran in the event. I would like to take this moment to reiterate- no one in their right mind would do this.


12m pistol target (spaceship) with alien hostage.

300m target, which had to be put in place way out in the desert, up hill (both ways) in the snow, barefoot. Or at least that’s what I was told.

The obstacles at CWW were designed to break each contestant, forcing you to use your body in new and horrible ways each time, after you were already chewed up by the previous one. Every obstacle you fail adds five minutes to your total run time in penalties. First, flip end over end a 200+ pound tire uphill about 25m, then return it to where you started. This obstacle was especially tough for those under 5′ 4″ or so, due to lack of leverage.

View post on

Next, drag two 50 lb kettle bells on a cord about 25m through the sand and return them to where they started. This obstacle didn’t penalize many, it was just hard work.

Next, push the godawful huge ATV up the road- about 15m. At about 800 pounds, this obstacle killed anyone who was under about 150 lbs, due to lack of traction and inertia.

All tuckered out from moving heavy objects uphill, both ways, and through the sand, we come to the fourth challenge. The hand-over-hand angle iron bar eliminated many the heavy guys who rocked through the first three challenges like they weren’t even there.

20′ of wobbly overhand angle iron goodness. The flex on this was pretty epic with anyone over 200 lbs, making it difficult for them to keep their grip while making forward progress. Payback for making Battle Midgets move heavy objects.

The final obstacle (of the first section of the course, this keeps going) was a low crawl through sand and rock, with rattle cans above you, and a keg to push. Despite being the physically least demanding, this obstacle accounted for more penalties than any that came before it. Most who were penalized shop in Men’s Big and Tall sections, but exhausted flailing limbs nabbed a few more normals.

Of course a geologist is chasing a beer keg.
Hit a string hard enough to rattle a can, or hit a can directly, five minute penalty. The ultimate winner of the event had nightmares about this crawl the night before.

Excellent. We’ve had a nice bit of exercise, time for a snack. The next challenge is to gobble down five marshmallow peeps while field stripping an AK-47.

Enjoy that sugar, you’re going to need it to fuel your run.

With the AK field stripped (and the dust cover beat back into shape), grab a stuffed animal and start the 1/8″ of a mile downhill run. At the end of that, swap the stuffed animal for another to prove you made it there, and start the 3/8″ of a mile uphill run, ending at the firing line. Oh yes, don’t forget this is ultimately a shooting competition.

Turns out 34 grams of sugar in a food coloring glazed marshmallow format isn’t the best way to start a 1/2 mile run in the desert.

Onto the range. Spread across the landscape were a total of seven pistol targets from 12-40 meters and eight rifle targets from 100-300 meters. Targets were designed to show bad habits. Long skinny horizontal axis targets show anticipating recoil (flinch) as well as breathing control and vertical tall skinny targets show wind drift and poor trigger control. Rifle targets also had odd shapes and color, were scattered all over the place, and were simultaneously loved and hated by all. Shooters were limited to standard capacity mags, two each pistol and rifle.


200m “angry dragonfly” target. So much hate. Available from MOA Targets to infuriate your friends and coworkers.

Field positions, run what you brung, two mag max. Everyone used an AR variant rifle, mostly AR-15 in 5.56x45mm.

Vegetation made the 12m targets even more difficult, obscuring the already small (39 square inch) targets.

I was surprised to learn during the award ceremony that I had the fastest pistol time during the event, about 38 seconds, with 11 shots fired to clear 7 targets. I was not, however, surprised that I missed a rifle target. 40 rounds of 7.62x51mm were fired to clear 7 of 8 targets. The long and skinny 100m coyote target proved to everyone that I didn’t have my dope dialed in, and it cost me a five minute penalty for one missed target.

With the easy parts of the event wrapped up, it was time for the willpower challenge. Chug 72oz of carbinated soda, your choice, with a five minute penalty for each can not finished. There was a 2L option with a 5oz chaser, and a hefty 30 minute fail penalty if you couldn’t finish. Go Big or Go Home. Although Diet Mt. Dew was popular, I chose 6 cans of Squirt, getting all of them down with no penalty.

First can, no problem.

Several cans in, considering my choices in life.

All six down (no penalty!), and here they come back up.

Final Result: 9th of 46, with a time (including five minute rifle penalty) of 36:48. For reference, first place was 15:25, 23rd was 52:22, and last was 103:20 for a night vision run with lots of penalties.

All said and done, I regret everything. I can’t wait for the next one. MOA will be hosting CWWII the first weekend of April, 2016, outside Reno, NV.


Hope to see you there.

Full Cola Warrior West 2015 sponsor list:

2A Armament
MOA Targets
Precision 3D Targets
Dynamik Blades
Nightlong Industries LLC
GMTG Tactical
Blue Panda Arms
Geissele Automatics:
NUoSU Concealment
AIM Surplus
SLR Rifleworks
American Kami
Primary Arms
SKD Tactical
Arson Machine
Fortis Manufacturing
Arisaka Defense
Bobro Engineering
B5 Systems
Gun Goddess
V7 Weapon Systems

1″ AR500 Steel Targets – MOA Target’s Answer to 50 BMG Shooters

MOA Targets has a confession to make. We’re really, really conservative with our steel ratings. We state our minimium distances based on industry-wide standards to ensure safety (12 yards for pistols, 100 yards for rifles), and to minimize damage to the targets (distance varies by caliber and target thickness, see target descriptions on website for details).

Until a few days ago, we had not personally tested our steel with 50 BMG. As a result, we rated our 1/2″ AR500 for 1,200 yards, and our 1″ AR500 for 600 yards. After some pretty extensive testing, we’re ready to update those numbers.

Our test platforms were McMillan and Barrett bolt action 50 BMG rifles, each utilizing Hornady 750 grain A-MAX ammunition.

Our testing began at 800 yards, and the range was decreased after each stage of the test until failure of the target (pitting or denting) was noted. Pitting is caused by excessive velocity, denting is caused by excessive energy distribution. Steel core or jacket can cause premature pitting, holing, or cratering of the target. More information on pitting vs denting available in a previous blog post.

The targets were produced by MOA Targets for this test. We used a CNC plasma cut 12″ diameter 1″ thick AR500 target, with one 1.25″ mounting hole ($191, free shipping) and a 4,000W CNC laser cut 10″ diameter 1/2″ thick AR500 target, with two 0.42″ square mounting holes ($55, flat rate eligible). A well used laser cut MOA full size IPSC Metric in 3/8″ ($187) was at the line as well, so we tested it, just for drill.

Targets were mounted on a 36″ MOA Battle Born stand and top plate, using MOA chain hang kits. An old floor mat was used to stabilize the targets and reduce swing.

800 yards is a really, really long distance.

At 800 yards from the line, target results were:

1″ AR500 – no pitting of the target surface, or deformation.


<– 1″ AR500 hit at 800″ –>







Due to target hanging malfunction (I screwed it up), we failed to engage the 1/2″ AR500 at 800 yards. The 3/8″ AR500 took perceptible but minimal damage. No pitting, but there was detectable deflection of the plate, observable from both the target surface and the back of the plate.

Based on the 800 yard results, we discontinued tested the 3/8 AR500, and moved in to 400 yards to continue the test.

At 400 yards, we observed slight deformation of the 1/2″ AR500, and no pitting or deformation of the 1″ AR500. For comparison, we put one round of Singapore milsurp M33 steel core ball ammunition into the 1″ AR500. Minor (3-4mm) pitting of the plate surface was observed using the M33 ammunition at 400 yards. No denting or deflection was observed. For safety reasons, MOA does not recommend using any steel core or jacket ammunition on steel targets, ever, and considers the warranty void if magnetic ammunition is used on a MOA target.

Turns out, that Battle Born Top Plate is pretty important. Using a 2x4

At 300 yards, we changed the setup a bit, and hung each target on it’s own stand, but had run out of Battle Born Top Plates on the MOA Skunkworks range. Turns out they’re important.

At 300 yards, the 1/2″ AR500 target displayed notable deformation, and testing discontinued on 1/2″ AR500 target.

The 1″ AR500, however, was a different story.

From right to left, 300 yards, 200 yards, 100 yards.
1″ AR500 MOA Target, 12″ diameter, 1.25″ mounting hole. Tested with 50 BMG.

At 300 yards, the 1″ AR500 showed no pitting, target surface deformation, or backface deformation. So we moved in to 200 yards.

At 200 yards, the 1″ AR500 showed no pitting, target surface deformation, or backface deformation. So we moved in to 100 yards.

At 100 yards, the 1″ AR500 showed no pitting, target surface deformation, or backface deformation. So we called it a day, because we didn’t see any need to test the safety guidelines, and 100 yards is as close as rifles should ever be fired at steel.


MOA will be updating the website and flow chart  to reflect the results of these testing activities. Hence forth, 3/8″ AR500 will be rated for 1,200 yards with 50 BMG, 1/2″ AR500 will be rated for 600 yards with 50 BMG, and 1″ AR500 will be rated for 100 yards with 50 BMG. We’re still super conservative, but now we’ve got field testing to back it up.


Thanks for taking the time to read this, and I hope the information is helpful. Please keep MOA Targets in mind for all your target needs.