If you have ever had to shoot and paste targets in the rain, you know how bad it sucks to deal with the bags. Bagged targets are crappy to shoot, and even more crappy to restore. For the majority of competitive shooters, matches are outdoors and weather is a part of the game. Sagging heads, wet targets and gummed-up pasters are just not fun, especially if you have invested time and money into traveling to a match. I can tell you that as a match director, seeing all the time and effort put into planning a match only to watch people have to deal with bags is very disappointing—to say the least.
These waterproof targets from Alpha Dynamics USA come in USPSA and IDPA styles, and waterproof pasters are also available.
There have been several attempts to find a solution to this, from spraying targets with a water repellent, using shields that mount around targets or having a waxed cardboard target to shoot. All of the efforts have had mixed results; pasters don’t like to stick to sprayed and waxed targets, and having shields are okay—except if there is wind. A better mousetrap was needed.
European IPSC matches have been using different types of material for targets with some success—including chipboard. They are a heavier material and much thicker than the standard targets we are used to. However, the cost can be prohibitive, considering both the expense of the targets and shipping. There is also the issue of pasters not sticking when the target is wet. (Pasters are small stickers that action shooters use to cover holes while scoring targets, allowing for re-use.)
The author sat one of these targets in the shower for 15 minutes and it still held a paster with the water running down it. He also poked large knife holes in the center A Zone after soaking it in the shower and then set it outside in the rain for several hours—the target was soaked, but it was still intact. It had curled on the bottom and top edges, but it would still hold up to some rounds and pasters.
The right combination is a waterproof target and paster that won’t break your match budget. Charles Hardy of CED/DAA (now Alpha Dynamics USA) has been working on just such a thing and was kind enough to send us some for testing and evaluation. We have been testing these waterproof targets now for a couple of weeks, leaving them outside in the rain to see how they hold up. One competitive shooter, Troy McManus, kept his outside for over two weeks and put over 50 rounds through the targets and has pasted up the holes. I have left them outside for a week in rain in snow here in Indianapolis as well. You can see the results in the photos above.