Target Lifting Mechanism Goes Wireless

“WARNING: DO NOT Hammer on this mechanism” sounds like the start of a side quest. A quest is exactly what [CelGenStudios] started when he came upon a strange box with this message.

The military identification tag was printed “Target Holding Mechanism, M31A1”, along with some other information. It also informed the reader that the device weighed 70lbs (31.75kg). Something carrying that much mass just had to be good.

The target holding mechanism didn’t offer a lot of clues – a large box with a shaft coming out. The shaft lived inside a dust boot and linked to a second shaft. Once the box was opened, though, the function became clear. This was a device used in firearm training. If you shoot a target, it drops. This device detects the target being shot and turns on a motor, which drops the target. Later, another contact – probably connected by a long wire, commands the target to be lifted, ready for the next trainee.

The wired connection didn’t sit well with [CelGenStudios], though. So, he ordered a ruggedized remote control unit from overseas. This allowed him to wirelessly drop or raise the target from several hundred feet away. The original vibration switches still work, so a swift kick or gunshot will still drop the target.

[CelGenStudios] plans to outfit the mechanism with a cardboard cutout figure and bring it to one of the Vintage Computer Festival (VCF) events this year. We can’t wait to see Steve Jobs or Seymor Cray pop out to surprise attendees! Of course, we’ve seen a homebrew version of this, too.

6 thoughts on “Target Lifting Mechanism Goes Wireless

  1. “At the risk of blowing up this selenium rectifier which, if I can get it on camera, that’d be cool” — spoken by someone who clearly has never been in the same room with one of those when it did blow up. Not only unbelievably stinky, but also toxic.

  2. Fun video. My guess on the “L” terminal: “Light”. If the chassis is grounded, then connecting it to a light that is connected to the chassis at the target base, you would have the needed connections to light up the target for night use.

  3. I vaguely remember seeing a system on a military range that was probably of 80s vintage and could display the position of a shot as well as calculating the grouping size. I think it used microphones because it would work with cardboard targets as long as they were aligned using a frame.

    If anyone knows what I might be remembering, I’d really appreciate them sharing.

    1. Electronic target system or electronic scoring system are terms I’ve heard. I hear they’re becoming more prevalent but I don’t go to ranges these days and haven’t kept up with the competitive long range shooting scene.

      Tom Scott has a video at a range that uses a system. “The shooting range where you fire over a busy road” is the title. Their system uses 3 microphones.

    2. Most Electronic Shooting Targets (ESTs) use mircophone, laser grid, or image detection input. The 80’s style you are thinking of is probably a SIUS system, used in Ft. Benning as well as other military training bases, and used a microphone system to triangulate shot placement.

    3. Most Electronic Shooting Targets (ESTs) use micophone, laser grid, or image detection to triangulate where your shot was placed. You are most likely remembering a SIUS system used in Ft. Benning, Alabama, which does indeed use microphones. (Also I apologize if this double replies, my last comment is not appearing….)

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