I am excited to bring to you, Jared, the VP of Design for Tactical AR500 Targets. I have been a fan of their product for some time and in the weird ways of social media, we were able to connect and get to talking. Jared was kind enough to let me test out one of their platforms called the A-DAP system and I have to say it exceeded all of my expectations. Full review of that in the coming days. If you’re in the market for some quality steel with multiple platforms and innovative designs, Tactical AR500 Targets is the place to go. So lets dive into who Tactical AR500 Targets is and the essence of the company.
Who is TA Targets
Tactical AR500 Targets was incorporated in 2015 with a mission to become part of our customers stories by offering top tier steel targets and systems. The Three owners are Kirby Sensenig, Jared Daub, and Ethan Sensenig. The biggest difference people will immediately realize through interacting with us, whether in person, over the phone, via email, or through social media, is that we are regular people. We aren’t hiding behind a corporate face. We are husbands, fathers, sons who have a passion for interacting with our customers and most of all providing unsurpassed quality in an industry that is overwhelmed with companies marketing products that claim to do the same. As we have grown people have begun to recognize the logo “TAT” as a symbol of our commitment to quality and value.
What is the meaning behind the name ? or What is your message?
Our name is quite literally based around the products we create. The cool parts is what happens after that. When a company couples a high quality product with a desire to serve, the results are a loyal customer base and a name that resonates. The biggest driving force is the story: Our story and our customers stories. The market is flooded with targets that are made from low quality materials that are often unsafe or at the very least do not offer true value to our customers. Our customers are civilians, military, LEO, trainers, backyard marksman. They cover a wide range of people. These are protectors of their loved ones, their communities, their country. Our mission is to provide them with the tools needed to complete their mission, to train to a higher level with targets that are meant to be legacy targets.
When was it that you stumbled upon the lack of products for those that may be on somewhat of a budget? How is that TA Targets is able to provide such a great product whilst keeping the costs lower than some of its competitors and maintain a high quality system?
So this topic is where Tatargets begins to separate entirely from the competition. Many people, who I have shared our business plan with, have told me we have a flawed/crazy game plan. I remember being told that we NEED to design products that will fail, otherwise we will eventually saturate the market and lose sales/market share. We laughed at that because, that isn’t who we are. Nobody wants to buy a product that is designed to prematurely fail, so why would we risk our name and company on that idea? Our main goal isn’t price points. Don’t get us wrong, we want to price everything as low as possible while maintaining margins, however Our FIRST concern above all else is quality, building legacy targets (like our ½” AR550 systems, for example) that are designed to last most people their lives. Pricing comes second. Many companies only care about chopping prices as low as possible and they sacrifice quality at the cost of value. Tatargets believes in implementing the proper systems, people and equipment, to bring maximum efficiency while focusing on a high quality product. The result is fair prices with value that surpasses all others.
If you were to describe your company in three words what would they be?
That’s a tough one. I would probably sum it up as: Commitment, Honesty, and value.
I must say, I have been following you since the beginning and it truly is amazing to see the growth and positive contributions you and your team are doing in the gun community? How did you go about getting to this point and did you expect the response to be as great as it has?
First off, thank you for your support as well. And thank you to everyone following us and supporting us to this point. I still remember the first order we ever received. A gentleman in Florida saw us online and bought an A-DAP system. I remember being so excited because we were “live”. The process of starting this business has been incredibly stressful. The amount of work behind closed doors is immense. The biggest thing I would tell people is, we always look forward and push onward. We believe in what we are doing, so even when we don’t know the best “next step” we continue to push forward. We are husbands and fathers, so things often get hectic as we balance our family lives with our business. I personally could not have predicted the growth and the following that we have built over the last three years. Our customers are extremely loyal and they are the foundation of what we have done thus far.
What is it that makes TA Targets so unique compared to what seems to be a competitive and somewhat saturated target market out there?
This question goes back to our value based approach to our products. We take great care in designing targets that are meant to take high volume use. Our A-DAP targets, Falling Tree, Phoenix Plate Rack, Poppers all showcase this desire to innovate and create targets that are superior to what is currently on the market. The market is indeed flooded. One google search will show an overwhelming amount of steel targets on the market. So rather than sending unfinished, rough cut and fabricated targets, we are focusing on a quality product that is as elegant as it is functional. It is why we paint every complete system we sell. It is also why our targets look cool. I’d be lying if I said we didn’t spend time making stuff look cool. Function is first, but form matters as well. We want our customers to open the box and be like “wow, I don’t even want to shoot this, it’s too nice.”
Please describe the difference in steel you provide and what caliber it best suits
We are unique in the fact that we do not limit ourselves to just using AR500 steel. Here’s a fun fact: AR (Abrasion resistant) steel is rated on a brinell hardness scale. The higher the number, the harder the steel. Higher numbers, depending on the chemistry, can result in a more brittle steel. At the mill they mass produce this steel and the hardness levels can vary greatly. When we order our steel from the mills and distributors we require minimum hardness levels. When I order in trucks of AR500 I require a minimum 495 brinell hardness and I require certifications to prove that before shipping. All of our steel is sandblasted both sides of each sheet before we burn which creates a cleaner burn with a better edge and a better finished product. This is also why our paint sticks so good.
Another unique aspect about is that we are one of the few who stock and manufacture AR550 targets. Some of our best-selling targets are our ½” AR550 target systems. The AR550 steel is substantially stronger than AR500. For shooters looking to shoot closer than 100 yards, AR550 is the ONLY acceptable way to achieve this. As an example, our customers can safely enjoy our ½” AR550 A-DAP systems as close as 30 yards with 556 NATO so long as they use ammo 3,000 fps or less and do not use penetrator or armor piercing ammo. Nobody else is offering this. We are truly unique in this aspect. AR550 steel is more expensive than AR500, but the value exceeds the slight price increase. Again, our focus is building targets that a father can hand down to his son.
It is incredibly frustrating when scrolling social media and seeing the targets on the market. The quality level has been so low, for so long, that it has begun to be accepted. I see comments talking about only “slight dimpling” at 100 yards with 556 on some of our competitors targets and people seem to think that is acceptable. If your targets are dimpling at 100 yards with 556 and lead core ammo at 3000 fps or less, then you either do not have AR500 steel or it is an extremely poor design. We hope to continue to shed light on this through our marketing and our platforms.
If you don’t mind me asking, how is it that the TA Targets are made and tested?
Two of the owners of tatargets (Kirby and Ethan) are both owners of a company called Richard L. Sensenig Company, an industrial roofing and fabrication company now in its 60th year of business. Although the two companies are legally and technically separate, we work out of the same facility. This has provided us huge opportunities as we grow Tatargets and expand our team and network. It has allowed us to achieve manufacturing levels and quality control practices that the smaller target companies cannot compete with. It is also why we have competitive pricing and extremely short lead times. Most orders ship same or next day because we can house and stock much of our standard inventory with only a few exceptions like the plate racks and phantom targets.
As far as testing, we build everything and then each item before release goes through failure testing. This is where we do everything we tell people not to do and try to see if we can make systems fail. This is where a .50 BMG comes in handy. There’s nothing like 12,000 foot pounds of energy on a test target! Most systems never fail our testing phase and they continue life on our range. We have original prototype falling tree and A-DAP targets from almost three years ago on our range. They still work as designed.
Though I am sure all your target platforms are a huge hit, what would you say is a great starting platform for those that may be purchasing their first system?
I love this question. I get calls and emails every week from people wondering the exact same thing. It really depends on the shooting style and their training preferences, but I almost always recommend one of our A-DAP systems first. I would refine that further and highly recommend our 2/3 A-DAP systems. These are a reduced C zone target (measuring 8” wide x 16” tall). They offer incredible audible feedback due to our minimalistic approach to target mounting. The price points are right and they are made from either 3/8” AR550 or ½” AR550 which means they are close range carbine rated. You cannot go wrong with one of these systems to start. They are just big enough to learn on, yet small enough to keep a shooter honest. Our standard bases also allow paper in tandem with steel so rest assured the same base can be used for both
Any other events you are planning or planned events that you are attending where people can stop by and meet the team?
Absolutely! We will be attending the Knob Creek Machine Gun Shoot in April, The NRA Show in Dallas in May, Ohio Tactical Officers Show in June, and many more throughout the year!
Any people throughout this venture that you would like to thank?
Our wives first and foremost. They are putting up with long work days, even longer shows, and dealing with our stress as we build our business. Also to our friends, family members and industry friends who have had our backs and shown us support to this point: THANK YOU! We all have but one life on this earth, we hope to be able to leave an impact on this world through our business.
For those interested in purchasing a target system, what is the best way for them to reach y’all?
First check out our website (www.tatargets.com). All of our items are showcased on our site and can be ordered there.