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The importance of having a good spotter

I recently attended Cola Warrior West V. Some of you may have heard of this event, for those who haven’t, it’s a single stage 2gun match with elements of Tough Mudder and Jackass. Whatever you do, don’t go on youtube and start searching around for it, unless you have a lot of patience for silliness and emesis.

I allow none but the best to spot for me. High Woman from Cola Warrior West III helping out here

Anyhow, West V was my 16th Cola War, as I recall. I was staff and sponsor at this even, and did a run in an inflatable trex suit for the lulz during the staff runs. We ended up having time for me to do a serious run, and I did it on Combat Class (body armor, FAK and TQ, 1L water, carry your mags on you). I ended up putting up my best raw time (16:02) of any event, and one of my best placements (6th of 103, 1st of nine in Combat Class).

I credit a lot of that to the expert spotting I received, as shown in the picture. Having a spotter you can work closely with help make sure their adjustment calls are accurate. This service is provided for both new and experienced Cola Warriors on request. Or, hell, if you didn’t specifically ask for it not to happen. Rifle is a Colt 6940 for with a TA31 (my Village Bicycle) with a Harris bipod and a B5 stock, SSA-E trigger.

A rifle rate Red Neck Texas Star at 100 yards, with custom pointy paddles in front of a Joshua Tree. That won’t lead to any confusion, right?

It took me about two minutes to clear the 13 rifle targets ranging from a 4” hostage swinger at 100 yards to a full size IPSC Metric at 520 yards. There was also a texas star, a minimo, an armored bad guy, two cazadors, and a banjo mixed in there. As usual, all targets at Cola Warrior West were provided by MOA. Pistol range included several themed targets and a new prototype system, the Irish Half Rack, built on the concept came up with by North Salt Lake Welding who graciously gave us permission to go for it.

There are some important things you can pick up from this photo.

Bipod is deployed, but still has some additional adjustment available in it. You want your bipod to be tall enough to clear vegetation if need be and provide a comfortable angle. I saw a lot of people deflecting rounds off nearby vegetation and being way off as a result. Pick your bipod based off the environment you expect to be using it in. I often shoot from off camber field positions while hunting coyotes with this rifle. I don’t however expect to ever deal with tall grass. Lots of sage brush and rocks, steep hillsides, and mountains. With body armor, I’m bulkier than usual (the beer gut doesn’t help). Too tall and you’re doing the ground squirrel neck stretch which is uncomfortable and in real life makes you a bigger target. If you have the opportunity before your time to shoot, get up to the range and figure out where the targets are, distances, and where you want to shoot from. If you can glass them, all the better. This event allowed everything short of loading the firearm as long as you weren’t in the way. So I had already prone out with my rifle, adjusted my stock and bipod, and figured out what order I wanted to shoot the targets in.

I’ve got as much of my body in contact with the ground as I can. Normally, I’d have that left arm holding the stock into my right shoulder. However, because of the time of day and layout of the range, I was basically staring into the sun for most of the shooting portion. The TA31 has a fiber optic bar on top for dot illumination. During high light times like this, it’ll wash out the whole reticule. So, the left hand is being used to block the fiber optic while still providing some support to the shooting platform.

I used about 35 round to clear the rifle portion. The manner in which I attached a hydration bladder to my Esstac ASS was janky as hell, but it worked. If you want to do it properly, you need their Daeodan unit, not the Light/ASS. Their Kiwi mag pouch systems work fantastically, I’ve never lost a mag doing stupid human tricks. They’re all I use any more. Future upgrades include dropping some weight, figuring out a better way to do a hydration bladder on my ASS, and getting matching yoga pants.

What Is M.O.A.?


What is M.O.A?


“Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything.”


                                                               -Wyatt Earp


Last post we interviewed Mitch Gerlinger, Owner of M.O.A. Targets, and titled it “Who is MOA?” This week we discussing WHAT is MOA. If you’ve never heard the term MOA and are curious, this is your lucky day. MOA stands for Minute of Angle (or minute of arc). Minute of angle is the mathematical formula used to express the measurement equal to 1/60th of a degree on a full 360 degree circle. At 100 yards, one minute of angle (so 1/60th of a degree) works out to 1.047 inches (1.047” or 0.2908 MilRad, or 2.908 cm @ 100m), which is BASICALLY one inch at 100 yards. So what does this all mean? Well, it means that if you’re shooting one MOA off at 100 yards, your bullet will hit the target almost one inch off its mark. We now have a way of measuring the angle we need to correct for when we are at the shooting range.


Have you ever been at the shooting range, maybe trying to sight in your rifle, and you look at those little dials on your scope and have no idea what you are supposed to do? This is where Minute of Angle comes in. Typically, if you have a quality scope, you should be able to look at your manual, or at the scopes top turret, and it should tell you what each click will equal in Minutes of Angle (commonly it is one click of the scope per ¼ MOA). This means that for every MOA off you are you will need to click your scope that direction four times. Since we know now what one MOA is at 100 yards and we know what each click of our scope equals in MOA, we can now accurately sight in our rifle.


Let me give you an example: If my grouping hits three inches low at 100 yards I know I need to adjust my rifle scope UP three MOA. If my rifle adjustments work out to one click per ¼ MOA I now know that I need to adjust my scope UP by 12 clicks. ( 3 inches X 1 click ¼ moa = 12 clicks for an adjustment of three MOA) Now, this is not always the case at different distances. At 200 yards you will, most likely, not simply have a two inch difference in where your bullet hits the target. This is due to the fact that all projectiles, even bullets, fall at an ever increasing rate (thanks gravity). As a general rule a standard bullet will be traveling at a high rate up to 100 yards and will be able to maintain a relatively straight trajectory. Beyond this distance the bullet will begin to drastically slow down and give gravity more time to work its magic, thus causing more drop on the bullet. Due to this drop, we cannot simply say that for every 100 yards your bullet will drop one inch, but we can use the MOA formula to figure out how many MOAs we need to adjust at different distances. Let’s say that we are now shooting at 200 yards and our bullet hits four inches low. Well, we know that one MOA at 100 yards is about one inch, so one MOA at 200 yards will be two inches. Now we need to ask ourselves “how many MOAs at 200 yards will fit into the inches the bullet dropped?” well, four inches divided by two inches= two MOA. So we need to adjust UP two MOA.


As you can see, this simplifies being able to adjust at many different distances. If I am shooting at 300 yards and my bullet hits 12 inches low I know that one MOA at 300 yards is thre inches. 12 inches divided by three inches = four MOA and so on…and our targets make it very easy to measure for MOA. For example, our 6 inch targets are six MOA width at 100 yards, or one MOA at 600 yards..


So why is all of this important? Well, simply put, accuracy counts. I know, I know. Sometimes it is fun to go out with the buddies with their awesome firearms and just blast lead into the landscape.We all do it from time to time, and that is perfectly fine, assuming you can get the ammo to do it. But when it comes down to good marksmanship, accuracy counts. Minute of Angle is an amazing tool to help you with your accuracy. Imagine not having to spend so much time sighting in your rifle because you don’t quite understand the process but, rather, being able to use the MOA formula to get on target and have some fun HITTING your mark. We want you on target…We want you on OUR targets.


Check out more of our targets here.

Josh L


Who is MOA Targets? (an interview)

Today we will be introducing you to Mitch Gerlinger, Founder of MOA Targets, and he will give you a little bit of insight into what makes MOA Targets a wise choice for range targets…

Hello, Mitch. First, Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where you grew up, education etc.

Howdy! I grew up in the great state of Jefferson, AKA northern California, in a family owned steel fabrication business. I went to Chico State and earned a degree in Geology, and moved to Reno, Nevada about ten years ago. I currently work in the environmental consulting industry, mostly doing hazmat stuff. I’ve been an active shooter since I moved to Nevada, having bought my first firearm, a GLOCK 26, about three months after moving here.

Being a shooter in Nevada, I’ve learned quite a few lessons on targets and shooting locations. Mostly, target stands are pretty difficult to jury rig and still keep upright, and the best shooting locations are generally either too flat, or too populated. With that in mind, my target stands are designed to be easily transported, don’t require staking down, and can be used on rough terrain.

What are MOA Targets? What do they do?

MOA is the acronym for Moment (or Minute) Of Angle. It’s a math term, which boils down to a rule of thumb. For every one hundred yards to the target, a minute of angle will be a circle approximately one inch in diameter. At 100 yards, that’s one inch, at five hundred yards, five inches, and so forth. I named my company MOA Targets as a nod to precision shooters who like to use AR500 steel targets so they can hear the impact, and not have to go mark a target or break out the spotting scope.

What makes my targets special is that they are cut on a 4,000 Watt CNC laser table out of AR500 spec steel. This steel is the industry standard for rifle targets, and is pretty much a “forever” target for pistols. I’ve spent a lot of time (and money) shooting things up over the years, and I’m applying that experience here. Wherever practicable, I use square holes for mounting, and I don’t weld on the targets. Welding can create soft spots where the temper is lost. Likewise, cutting methods such as oxy acetylene and plasma can leave soft edges due to heat soak while cutting. Using a laser minimizes the heat soak. On 3/8” targets, our flagship line, the heat soak is generally less than 1/8th of an inch from the cut edges.

What is the difference between AR500 steel and other targets? What are the advantages to using AR500?

AR500 steel is the industry standard for rifle targets, and has a Brinell hardness rating of approximately 500 . Mild steel, which is what most people have laying around, has a hardness around 120. Pistol rounds will readily dent ¼” mild steel. ¼” AR500 won’t show any effect from centerfire pistol rounds at 12 yards. Magnum may mar ¼” AR500 at 12 yards.

Dented, pockmarked, and penetrated steel can throw spall and cause ricochets. Don’t shoot damaged steel.

What kind of client are you hoping to attract?

I’m interested in the paying kind of client, mostly. That being said, I’m first and foremost a shooter and a do it yourselfer. All of my targets, stands, and accessories are designed with the do it yourselfer in mind. Any product that requires welding to use is available as both a weld kit and a finished product. All products come unpainted, as you’re just going to shoot the paint off, so there’s no point in me selling you paint and my time.

I’m also interested in talking to creative people who want to come up with new target designs.

And why should they choose you over other AR500 target manufacturers?

Well, for folks in Northern California and Northern Nevada, I’m a shoe in because I’m local, and I’ll meet you for lunch to deliver targets if need be. I can deliver by the individual piece, or by the truck load. I have access to a full freight delivery system for the West Coast, and can get you what you need in an affordable fashion.

For folks who are outside my immediate operating area, I offer multiple shipping methods, and some of the best prices in the ‘Verse.

Do you take special orders for different shapes and/or sizes? Or we get what we get?

If your desired target can fit on a five by ten foot sheet of steel, I can make it. Send over your design and let’s talk. If you don’t see something on the website that you’d like to see, let me know, and I’ll see what I can do. I was in business exactly five hours before I got my first request for a custom target system by a law enforcement agency. That system has been developed and tested, and will be going into production very shortly.

Any closing remarks? Something you want to say to potential clients out there?

It’s a little known fact that a moa is also an extinct flightless bird from the South Pacific. Since you’ve now read that, it’s a slightly little more known fact.

Thanks, Mitch, for taking the time for this interview. Please take some time to check out MOA Targets products and don’t forget to like us on facebook here


Josh L