Making E-Type Targets Reactive For T4E Paintball Markers, UTM, Airsoft, Simunition, BB’s, Pellets and BlazePod

I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about how I make the E-Type (Plastic mil/DOD torso targets) reactive targets that I use with less-than-lethal training tools like T4E paintball markers, UTM, Airsoft, Simunition, BB’s, Pellets AND how to use them with BlazePod flash reflex and reaction lights…so I made a video 🙂

There’s a LOT going on here.

  1.  This setup lets you do better-than-live-fire training in 100X more locations than what is possible with live-fire-only training…this makes training cheaper, easier, and more likely to actually happen.  You still need to do SOME live fire, but this absolutely slashes the time and cost of building real-world skill.
  2.  The use of a polycarbonate disc and BlazePods let you train based on visual input and not an audible beep…which is way more like the real world.  Since the BlazePod responds to the impulse of your round hitting, there are times when an ineffective hit (one that hits the body, but not the 8″ circle) may turn off the light and there are other times where a peripheral hit on the 8″ circle may NOT turn off the light.  This means you must constantly be assessing the effectiveness of your hits.  WHERE you hit doesn’t matter nearly as much as the effect on the target and your ability to quickly interpret it…just like the real world.  The BlazePods can be set to turn off after 1 or multiple hits.
  3. The shift from being primed to shoot at the first input to having to needing to constantly decide whether a visual input requires you to do nothing, draw to ready, or drawing, aiming, and shooting fills a major gap in traditional training.

If you want to get the T4E, training to use with the T4E, or see how to make your own less-than-lethal reactive targets like these, you can do it by going >HERE< now.

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8 Comments

  • Phil Rosine

    Reply Reply June 11, 2021

    Got everything & put together. Works great. Thanks again. Couple of comments.

    Holes don’t need to be circles. If I was building for public training I would probably take the effort, but in reality there are no circular target areas (that I’m aware of). I used a drill and jig saw. 😉

    The hanging target does not have to hang in the hole. Much easier to hang it behind the target. It can be square or rectangular (much easier to cut).

    I hung the swinger with zip ties. I put a 3/8 piece of rubber fuel line between the main target the the swinger for offset and to hinge it. Don’t pull the zip tie too tight. Much easier than trying to line everything up in the hole. (Can you tell I’m lazy?)

    Be sure to buy polycarbonate (aka acrylic) not plexiglass. Plexiglass is not impact resistant (but it’s cheaper and easier to find). It will probably hold up for paintball or airsoft, but not BB or pellet gun. Several brand names out there. You can get polycarbonate at the big box hardware stores or glass shops (it is used for “unbreakable” windows and shields on saws, routers, etc.). 1/8th inch is probably heavy enough. Maybe 1/4 if you are using a pellet gun. Thicker is used for bullet-proof and security glass but is overkill for us.

    • Ox

      Reply Reply June 14, 2021

      Great additions! You’re absolutely right on the shape not needing to be circular…that’s my time in IDPA showing through 🙂

      A larger cutout target behind the main target (even a different shape) has some advantages for simplicity and eliminating splatter on the blazepod or phone on the back. I’m not sure if there’s any advantage to having it swing freely other than it makes my brain happier.

      I have had success with polycarbonate, but not acrylic. Everything I’ve shot at acrylic eventually cracks it. I wouldn’t say that polycarbonate is also known as acrylic…they’re quite a bit different in this application.

      I look forward to hearing how it works over the coming weeks…thanks!

    • Ray

      Reply Reply July 10, 2021

      Pluycarbonate is not acrylic. Polycarbonate is much tougher than acrylic, but not as clear or inexpensive. Plexiglass is just a brand name for acryic. If you’re looking for brand names, Lexan is a brand of polycarbonate.

      • Phil Rosine

        Reply Reply July 11, 2021

        Plastics seem to be tricky. I think the takeaway for me is to read all the detail. What I have (from 10 years ago) is Lexan brand, marked Acrylic in big letters. Pretty sure the store had it listed as polycarbonate. It was several times the price of plexiglass in the next rack. Bought it to make tool guards and it has worked well. I think if you ask for what they sell to make unbreakable window replacement you’ll get something useful. Sales people probably know less than I do (incredible!) but will know the selling point. Thanks to all for the corrections.

  • Don Hutchins

    Reply Reply June 5, 2021

    These are great fun. I have the S&W T4E and barrel laser, a 9mm 2.0 S&W and MantisX-3 and Rhino laser. Just made my type E targets with swinging cut outs.

    Thanks
    Don

    • Ox

      Reply Reply June 6, 2021

      Great, Don. Let me know if you figure out any design improvements. I’m still trying to figure out the “best” hinge for holding the cutouts. I’ve got an aluminum target from 2 years ago where I held on the cutout with duct tape…and it’s been the same piece the whole time! That doesn’t work as well for plastic. I’m still looking for a locking ring design that won’t pop open, but haven’t found the right size opening yet.

  • Eve Haney

    Reply Reply June 5, 2021

    Ox, I want to get the blaze pods….But you said you were working with the company (at A girl and a gun conference) to make them sturdy for shooting. Have you had success with this? I found the mil/dod for 10.80 I bought those. I am really enjoying training with the T4E. My grand kids are loving shooting the tree and dog house. We always like to teach them how to shoot and this was so much safer than the 22 or our other firearms. We went through over a 1000 rounds over memorial day weekend with the grands. Eve Haney

    • Ox

      Reply Reply June 6, 2021

      That’s awesome, Eve! On making the Blazepods, they are plenty sturdy with the new setup. The polycarbonate sheet in front lets the light through, transfers enough of the impulse to activate the blazepod, and spreads it out enough that the Blazepod can take the hits.

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