Product Review: Smoke ‘Em Targets Part I

Posted: October 9, 2013 in Shooting, Vendor Reviews
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Warning – This post is image intense.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to spend a couple hours at Fusion Tactical Range evaluating the new Smoke ‘Em outdoor targets.  These targets are currently available in two configurations, one that is staked into the ground and Smoke On A Rope (targets dangle from a line).

The stand-up target consists of a re-usable foam (18x24x2 inch) core with six embedded smoke canisters that measure approximately 3 3/4″ in diameter.  They are similar to Ghost Targets in the sense that there is no actual explosion and the material is safe, non-toxic, and biodegradable.

The plain version of the target has six colored rings or you can purchase an overlay that adheres to the target to provide a more themed practice experience.  Here is what the setup looks like ‘out of the box.’s-1

I received a standard target and the ‘Doris’ overlay.  Doris works in the Zombie cafeteria.  Not all Zombies get a good meal by wandering all over town, so I suppose it’s good to have the cafeteria as an alternative.  And, what better way to hunt a group of Zombies than where they are feeding?

The backing came off very easily, although it helps to have another person to position the overlay onto the target.


The package comes with refill canisters, so my number one question was how much abuse could the target as a whole endure?  And, of course, how many hits can you get from a single canister?  Inquiring minds want to know.

I headed to the range with 110 rounds of 180gr. 10mm FMJ and about 70 rounds of 240 gr. .44 magnum JSP hunting ammo.  The two pistols used in this test were my Glock 20 gen-4 with an extended barrel and a 7.5″ Ruger SRH.  I suspect that’s overkill relative to what most people bring to the range, but then overkill is my middle name.

Dillon, the Fusion RSO, was recruited to do most of the initial shooting while I took photos.  The poor guy has such a tough job 🙂  This was his first time to shoot both a Glock and 10mm.

Installing the stand-up target was easy enough that even a caveman like me could do it.  We added some bags for extra support.


Installing the Smoke On A Rope targets is even easier since they come pre-strung right out of the container.



Bright and colorful too.  Speaking of color, it’s time for Dillon to begin his journey to the 10mm side.


Another hit!


In addition to plain fun, this is what I like about smoking targets in general.  It help you focus entirely on technique and front sight.  You will clearly see hits from peripheral vision, which helps eliminate undesired movement to ‘see where you hit.’


The canister can absorb quite a few 10mm hits and still keep performing.  At this point, you can see that it started to back out of the hole.


The backout clearly depends on caliber, so you may have to push the canister back in when the range is declared cold.  After several more hits, we saw a particularly bright display.


Well, that’s it for the first yellow canister.  You can see that he blew out the back.



Well, I guess it’s onto the blue.  That looks cool too.


Again, you can see after about 8-10 10mm hits, the canister starts to back out.  You can also see how much abuse the yellow one above it took before being blown apart.


At this point, I concluded that Dillon was having entirely too much fun, so I stepped back to about 30 yards and shot the rest of the 10mm at the lower-right yellow target.  I also tried to hit the right stick to see if I could make the target fall over.  In addition to being highly visible to distances of 50 yards, the target proved to be incredibly durable.

Then, it was onto .44 magnum from about 12 yards.


I went through a couple cylinders before finally blowing out the back of the canister.


Then, Dillon had the idea of the day.  .44 magnum at point blank.  I have never had more fun with a target then walking up to this one Dirty Harry style and pumping rounds single-handed right into the canister.  It took one or two rounds to blow the canister completely out of the target.  However, NONE of them broke apart, even the one that had a few 10mm hits in it already.


The red canister at the left is the one from the top-left of the target.  It blew out with one round.  I popped it right back in and stepped back about 13 paces from the target and emptied another cylinder of .44 mag. into it.


It’s a bit hard to see because of the powder burn from the point-blank blast, but that canister took one hit point-blank, another three hits in that exact same area, then another hit to the lower-left.  It was still ready for more action.

I finished off the remainder of the revolver ammo and by the end, we pumped over 170 rounds of 10mm and .44 magnum into the target. We did not come close to using up all the smoke cylinders and the foam container looked like it could take several hundred more rounds.  And, I still had a full set of replacement cylinders.

So, when they say this target is reusable, they’re not kidding.  You could run through a small fortune in .22LR or 9mm ammo with just one of these setups.  The only thing I think they need is a simple and inexpensive means to mark over existing bullet holes.

Needless to say, I ran out of ammo before getting to the hanging targets or the Doris target, so there will be at least one more part to this review.  I let Dillon have one of the sets of hanging targets for another independent evaluation.

Smoke ‘Em is working on a tactical target that they tested with 100 rounds each of 45ACP, 9mm and .22 LR The canisters last about 50 rounds with 45 and 9mm and about 70 to 100 with .22.  Here is a video of the prototype target

I am, however, going to insist on a more formal Zombie target so that other members of the Zombie Apocalypse Neutralization team can get more appropriate practice.

You can find out more about these targets at the Smoke ‘Em Targets web site or you may contact Jos La Scola – joe [at] smokeemtargets [dot] com – for more information.

Thanks for visiting Texas Gun Show Review.

– Diligencia, Vis, Celeritas


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