Why Shoot Steel?


Nothing like the PING of your bullet making contact with your steel target!

Thanks to the audible feedback a steel target provides, it is a highly sought training target for shooters. Military, Law Enforcement, and Sportsmen find the “Ping” saves valuable time and makes training enjoyable.

Steel targets for thermal training

Thermal Training with Steel Targets

Unfortunately, a steel target by itself will not provide the consistent temperature contrast required by your thermal scope. The contrast of the steel with its surroundings depends on several factors completely out of your control; fluctuating daily temperatures, sun position, and cloud cover. There is no guarantee the steel will be a good thermal target, especially during night shooting.

You could try sticking thermal reflective material to the steel for contrast but a bullet impact will quickly destroy it. A lot of effort goes into a do-it-yourself (DIY) version with minimal results. It is not as straightforward as one might hope.

Such was the case with several Army ranges and SWAT divisions that train with thermal scopes and steel targets. Because of our experience with thermal films and targets they reached out to us for help.

Did we have a solution to produce a thermal reflection on a steel target?

Cornelius Story

For example, this was the problem that Cornelius a member of a SWAT division, was experiencing. Cornelius and his team wanted to train on a steel target with their thermal scopes at night. They tried several DIY thermal target options that were quickly destroyed by the bullet splatters against the steel. Cornelius needed a consistent heat contrast that would be durable enough to extend training sessions into hours not minutes.

My idea is to get the steel targets heated so they show up with thermal imaging scopes, to immediately know the hits by the audible report of the steel, and not be quickly destroyed. If you have any ideas let me know.”

Cornelius Peeples, SWAT division

The Heater

Our engineer team explored the problem.

Is it possible to attach a heater to a steel target for training?

In the end, we decided to give it a try.

There were 3 challenges facing my engineers:

  • A heater unit durable and hot enough to heat through the thickness of the steel.
  • Sticking the heater to the steel so it didn’t fall off from bullet impact.
  • Protecting the heater and wires from bullet splatter.
IR Tools steel heater turns any steel target into a durable thermal target

Check! Check! Check!

After extensive research, development, and testing I am excited to announce we checked all the boxes. We sent the heater off to Cornelius and others and they found the heat penetrated the steel for a great contrast and it stayed on the steel for the length of the training sessions.

The steel target heater is incredible! I worked with it extensively today, setting it up, and shot about 100 rounds. It is perfectly bright and shot 223, 9mm, and 300 blackout and the thermal heater sustained easily over 200 rounds without difficulty. It is easily as bright as a live animal at 100 to 200 yards.

Frank, from Bull Creek Strategic provided us positive feedback also.

Just wanted to check in with you and give you an update on the steel heater. I have about 5000 rounds on that piece of steel, no issues as of yet. Still heating up and still attached to the target.

Steel Target Heater Debuts at International Special Operation Forces

So, we were requested to pack up the steel target heater and introduce it to the Army snipers at the ISOF range event in Las Vegas. And again the performance of the heater and the response from the snipers was outstanding.

The director of the ISOF event was impressed with the impact of the thermal signature.

Last year we had no thermal signature on our steel targets. The heater filled a void for our shooters and impacted the success of their training.

Heater creates a Hot aim point on steel target.

While the majority of the feedback said we had a winner, there were a few tweaks we had to consider.

So we took care of those deficiencies, and now have a durable, effective, heater ready for snipers, SWAT, and anyone shooting steel with a thermal scope.

Steel Heater Features and Benefits

  • The heater stays hot for up to 4 hours with 10Ah battery for extended training exercises.
  • A durable adhesive guarantees heater will not fall off and interrupt training.
  • Distinct aim point never fades or changes for the length of the session…just keep shooting!
  • The heater is water-resistant for training in inclement weather and outdoor storage.

Steel Target Heater is Ready for You!

Do you struggle to see a contrast on your steel target? Are your training sessions cut short because your thermal contrast is minimal or destroyed?

Transform your steel training exercises with an IR.Tools Steel Target Heater!

Enjoy hours of consistent thermal training on a steel target and sharpen your shooting skills.

Contact me with any questions.

info@ir.tools, 443 292 8885, online CHAT

The Author: Tom Boyer

Since 2006, Tom has been the driving force behind IR.Tools, dedicated to delivering top-notch infrared solutions to the military, law enforcement, and sportsmen communities.

What began with a single infrared patch has blossomed into a comprehensive store featuring hundreds of IFF patches, vehicle IFF, an extensive suite of thermal training targets, and tools for drone pilots.

Beyond his innovative products, Tom is passionate about educating users on infrared technology and showcasing how advancements in IR can enhance their operations.

Tom holds an MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maryland and an MBA from Regents University.

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