By Kyle Jillson | March 13 2012 08:28
Kentucky's Ethan Settlemires looks down the barrel at an electronic target on NRAblog
Kentucky's Ethan Settlemires looks down the barrel at an electronic target

Columbus, Ohio - The world of competitive shooting targets has made leaps and bounds in the past few years thanks to advances in technology.

You may have seen some fancy targets and electronic scoreboards in photos of the recent NCAA Rifle Championships or in other rifle ranges around the country. Well, what are these targets and what's so special about them?

While paper targets still reign supreme and are unlikely to be overthrown anytime soon, the adoption of electronic scoring systems is increasing all over the world. As the top rifle event for collegiate shooters in the United States, the NCAA Rifle Championships are one such adopter.

The championships feature the Megalink 4K187 target, which is specially designed for the short distances and calibers shot in smallbore and air rifle competitions.

The target system uses very precise acoustic measurements to calculate scores and can display them on screens for not only the shooter to observe, but spectators as well.

Target scoring in this fashion eliminates the need for a spotting scope and waiting for scores while targets are marked. With electronic target systems, matches run much faster and competitors can focus more on the fun part – the shooting.

Shooters receive detailed shot information on monitors at the firing line
Shooters receive detailed shot information on monitors at the firing line

This year the 50 targets at the NCAA championships were sporting an upgraded faceplate with LED light bars illuminating the target to the proper lux levels. This improvement eliminates the need to have floodlights on the target to reach the proper illumination.

Electronic target systems are widely used in Europe and the Olympics. They may eventually be the common sight at matches, but for now they are still a bit of a luxury. Thanks to electronic target systems, marking targets, and especially working the pits, will become a thing of the past.

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