Tannerite targets are exciting, but you can only use them once. Paper targets are boring…useful, but boring. Sure they’ll tell you where your rounds hit after you look through a spotting scope or walk down range. Then, if you want a clean target, you have to wait for a range officer to announce the range is cold and trudge down with your staple gun and a fresh piece of paper. It’s not awful, but not optimal for recruiting new shooters. If you’re like me and shoot 3-gun or anything other than NRA high power, you want to know immediately if you hit something without having to stop and inspect your target. Salute Products’ Spartan Tactical steel target gives you the opportunity to improve shooting speed, accuracy, and efficiency with both visual and audible indicators . . .
The Spartan Tactical is a man-size steel reactive target that breaks down into four portable pieces. After five months it’s been through downpours, intense heat, copious amounts of spray paint, and every caliber this reviewer could sling at it. You might be thinking, “It’s just another IPSC-style steel target, what’s the big deal?” How about a more informative, safer, and enjoyable shooting experience. The Spartan features a number of improvements that blow other steel targets away.
First and foremost, the swinging portions of the target give the shooter instant visual and audible feedback and help cement defensive shooting techniques. When the swinging portions of the target are set it’s an immobilization target; aim for the head, heart, and pelvic area. When the swinging portions of the target have been hit, it becomes a hostage target; the stationary body being the hostage and the swinging portions the threat.
Some people don’t practice home defense with a rifle and steel target because you run the risk of a ricochet at close range. Normally I’d agree, but the folks at Salute put a very aggressive forward incline on their target stand, effectively angling the Spartan 30 degrees towards the shooter. That means rounds that were too powerful to use at close range are safe to use because they’re directed straight down into the dirt.
Salute has videos of their guys shooting the Spartan from sphincter-clenchingly close distances, some inside of 10 yards, with AR’s. This reviewer wasn’t quite so brave. The closest I shot the Spartan, rifle, pistol, or shotgun, was 25 yards. Still, it’s a great, versatile design at a good price for a quality steel target.
Steel: 3/8 inches AR500 armor plate steel
Target: IPSC A-C style, 23.3 inches tall by 11.81 inches wide
Height: 65 inches with optional DOD MIL base
Price: $329.95 target, $149.95 stand
Ratings (out of five stars):
Build Quality * * * * *
The Spartan is built from 30 pounds of 3/8in AR500 steel and is rated for everything under .50BMG. The swinging portions of the target continued to pivot freely even after thousands of rounds. In a word, flawless.
Durability * * * * *
Shooting this target with standard FMJ yielded no evidence of the deed other than lead splash. I was able to make tiny nicks in the edges of the target with Bulgarian silver tip 7.62x54r steel core ammo but I would have to go through five or six cases before the damage was severe enough to warrant a replacement. Also, during testing a friend accidently fired a .30-06 AP round from an M1 Garand that went clean through the shaft of the stand (see top photo)…and it hasn’t affected performance.
Practicality * * * * *
This target would probably not be a bullseye shooters first choice but there is no doubt that even they would the instant feedback. Did I mention this steel target is portable? It breaks down into four easy-to-carry pieces, and assembly/disassembly is self explanatory.
Value * * * * 1/2
I’m docking half a star because the appropriate DOD style base for the Spartan brings its price up nearly 50%. That said, buy once, cry once. Don’t skimp on the correct target stand or you’ll end up having to replace it, which is always more expensive and time consuming than purchasing the better option to begin with.
Overall * * * * *
Instant feedback is invaluable when improving accuracy and speed and it’s immensely gratifying to hear that confirming clang. As a friend once aptly stated, “If I want to hear paper tearing I’ll stay home and rip pictures of an ex-girlfriend.” For those of us fortunate enough to have a significant other, you can tell them you’re doing your part to save the environment by ditching paper targets and saving a tree.