You cannot possibly know when an attacker will stop.
Jedburgh Target Systems
By: Tactical Response Staff
The issue is realism. How realistic is it to punch holes in full-size, paper targets? Perhaps for qualification. Definitely not for training. How realistic is it to shoot steel reaction targets? Sure, they are smaller than the massive paper silhouette targets and demand better marksmanship. However, they have one big drawback—they always fall over when hit and people just don’t do that. Nothing in a gunfight is predictable. Stopping power is an illusion.
How realistic are the handgun games of double-tapping everything and then moving on to the next target? That is shooting, but it is not thinking. There may be an assessment after each double tap, but that is not fighting.
Even with excellent shooting on our part, it is not the officer who determines when the offender will stop his attack. It is the offender. Sometimes they go down after a few hits. Sometimes they continue the aggression after taking a full magazine of high-performance ammo.
The officer’s job is to make good hits, and to keep delivering those good hits until the target goes down. The JTS Black teaches the officer to keep his brain engaged while shooting. It is not just marksmanship, but processing information while shooting.
The JTS Black target system by Jedburgh is an answer to the predictability of steel targets falling over when hit. It is an answer to the thinking that double-tapping solves everything. It is an answer to anything in a gunfight being predictable.
The JTS Black is a bank of six ordinary Pepper Poppers. The JTS Black targets are very familiar to most shooters, i.e., standard-size Pepper Poppers with 10-inch diameter centers. However, each of these can be programmed to take a certain number of hits before they fall. Each of these targets can be remotely reset. It is all done wirelessly using an Apple iPod Touch. The wireless router communicates with the iPod Touch out to a range of 300 feet. The mobile controller is housed in a ruggedized, waterproof carrying case.
The controller assigns a random number, within programmable limits, to determine how many hits are necessary to “win” the engagement. The instructor sets the minimum and maximum number of hits needed, but neither the instructor nor the officer knows what random number the controller has selected. The range is from one to 10 hits, but the instructor can narrow this range. For example, the instructor can set the hits to be any random number between three and six hits.
The target requires an unknown number of hits to make it fall. When the same target comes back up, it will take a different, unknown number of hits to make it fall. The officers will never see the same shooting scenario twice. The Jedburgh system randomly selects which of the six targets will pop up first, and randomly selects the order the targets will appear. The system is capable of presenting either one or two targets at a time.
This built-in uncertainty means the officer must perform an ongoing assessment during the entire exchange. Instead of teaching to shoot, the Jedburgh system teaches the officer to think, to fight.
The JTS Black six-target system, complete with controller, costs $45K. The system can be expanded to a dozen targets or reduced to four targets. At this point, they have no plans for systems with fewer than four targets. Departments wanting just one or two targets should contact Jedburgh and make the request.
Lowered, Not Knocked Down
The steel targets are not actually knocked down by the bullet. The target senses the impact and the electro-mechanical actuator lowers the target. Since the target “falls down” in less than a second, it definitely appears to fall just like an ordinary Pepper Popper. The actuator both raises and lowers the target based on controller signals.
The Jedburgh target system operates on 115-volts AC, standard household current. In addition, the JTS Black can operate off an outdoor generator. The JTS controller automatically “cleans” the power coming from a generator. It takes about 30 minutes to set up the entire JTS Black target system.
The JTS Black is primarily an impact-sensitive system, just like all steel targets. However, since it is all electronically controlled, the software can also be formatted to be timer-based along with impact-based. For example, raise Target 3 for three seconds, then lower the target if it is not hit. In this way, no-shoot targets can be built into the exercise.
Durability and Reliability
One of the questions on every rangemaster’s mind is overall durability of the entire system. The Pepper Popper targets and the actuator housings use AR-500 steel plate. This armor-rated steel can withstand impacts from both 5.56 NATO (223 Rem) and 7.62 NATO (308 Win) rifle ammo. The standard system uses 3/8-inch steel plate, while a ½-inch steel plate is available. The Jedburgh system uses electrically controlled mechanical actuators. There are no maintenance-intensive pneumatic or hydraulic cylinders or pistons, no air or oil to leak.
The control box with the system’s router, computer and switch relays needs zero maintenance. The targets themselves need no maintenance. The mechanical actuator on each target should have a short spray of light oil or WD-40 at the start of each session. At the time we shot the system, the targets had taken over 23,000 hits with no mechanical or electronic failures of any kind.
Bullets striking the electrical cords powering the target actuators are an obvious concern. In all the demos around the country, just one controller wire has been struck by a bullet. The in-field repair to the 24-volt wire is easy. Any automotive wire connector can be used to splice the wires. A bit of black electrical tape and the system is up and running. Back at the department, a soldered connection will make a semi-permanent fix until the department can contact Jedburgh. They will send a brand-new cable at no charge.
The biggest threat to the wiring is not a direct hit. Instead, it is repeated impacts from bullet fragments splashed from the targets. Landscape timber in front of the wiring completely prevents this sort of damage.
Any Rifle or Pistol Ammo
The JTS Black certainly can be used for counter-sniper training. If they are needed, exactly how fast can accurate follow-up shots be made with that bolt gun? However, the rifle-rating for the JTS system is meant to encourage CQB training with the AR-15 pattern patrol rifles. Our engagements are the length of a room; the length of a car…duty pistol or patrol rifle.
The JTS Black system will function normally even when 22 Long Rifle ammo is used, and incredibly will still work even when hit with Simunition® projectiles. This means the JTS Black can be used in nearly every kind of firearms training we do today, indoor or outdoor.
The key to the JTS Black functioning is an impact-sensitive accelerometer. The device senses when the target has been hit, and can detect hits as fast as one every 0.06 seconds. Right now, the sensor picks up any hit, anywhere on the target or target stand. Under development is the hardware-software combination that will be able to tell a target hit from a target stand hit, a center target hit from a target edge hit, and a major caliber hit from a minor caliber hit.