Review: Rubber Dummies Targets
Major Pandemic 08.02.17
At a measly $199 for the starter kit that includes the Rubber Dummy, the stand, kill shot sample pack and a can of “preferred” high grade white primer, this is a phenomenal deal on a safer and more dynamic defensive practice target which makes more sense than steel for defensive training.
The single biggest reason is with a rubber target, there is no worry about ricochet or lead splatter at point blank distances. You cannot do this with steel or you will die (or be badly injured). Ten yards is considered absolute minimum “what are you crazy? That is pretty damn close to shoot steel” distance.
Most manufacturers recommend a minimum distance of 25 yards for safety reasons. With the RubberDummies.com target torso, you can place you muzzle right on the target if you want, because it is just rubber. Obviously, shooters should practice some safety since the dummies are a steel stand with two internal steel rods keeping the torso vertical, but when practicing center of mass and head shots at point blank ranges, I have had no issues in more than a thousand rounds of testing on this target.
How it Started
Mike Lessnick, the CEO of Rubber Dummies, was a casual shooter who owned a machine shop. Mike is quick to point out that he is not a hardcore tactical guy, just someone frustrated by the lack of good targets which indicated hits. He noted that although steel offered audible verification of a hit, most of the time you really had no idea where you were hitting. Paper targets lacked any level of realism — so he started developing the idea for the Rubber Dummy shooting target.
One of his friends was extremely supportive and said he would cast a couple prototypes for free as long as Mike could provide a suitable mold. Being a machine shop owner, that was something he was able to do and shortly thereafter the first prototype was made. One of the first prototypes was purchased by a delivery driver who used it that weekend and raved about it. At a faster and faster pace friends and word of mouth suddenly created quite a demand for the targets. Currently the company is shipping them all over the US.
Rubber Dummies are made in the USA from 100% recycled rubber and are for the most part pretty self-healing when shot. The painted hard rubber gives instant shot placement feedback, allows the shooter to shoot from any distance or angle, are realistically-sized, can wear shirts, hats and other clothing items for a more dynamic and realistic training, and can take thousands of rounds before requiring replacement.
Think about how much you actually shoot and most people will find that this target will last them years. Based on my experience I think it would take about 5000 rounds before needing a replacement, but that depends on ammo type (hollow points will cookie-cutter the dummy pretty quick).
This is very dense rubber and a couple test shots showed that hollowpoints opened up pretty quick and did produce holes, versus FMJ rounds that allowed the rubber to self-heal. In other words, Rubber Dummies will last longer when full metal jacketed bullets are used versus hollow points. Also hammering the target with 45 ACP will likely wear it out faster than with 223 Rem.
Products & Use
Rubber Dummies has made it really easy to purchase. They have the target stand only, the target only (they call it the replacement target), the target with a stand, and a three pack of targets with stands. The stands are even engineered to be user serviceable. The AR500 stand top screws into a standard plumbing pipe that any shooter can buy a 3” replacement of at a hardware store should it get hit by a round. The included pipe just screws into the top and base so it is easy to replace if needed.
Setup is easy. Place the stand on the ground and slip the Rubber Dummy on the stand and spray it down with a high quality white primer. Done. Mike recommends a high-quality primer, because cheaper primers don’t cover well and he says you will save money in the long run.
You might use a half a can of cheap primer to give the target a good coat, but a nice premium primer can do the same in just a couple passes and will provide better definition on where the impact points are. Anyone who shoots steel a lot knows that painting steel with a high quality paint is always the way to go at the range for fast and complete coverage. The white primer over the black rubber produces a “skin” which clearly marks the impact points – of note the better the primer the more prominent the impact points are shown. I found that white paint works, but not as well, white primer works better, and high quality white primer the best.
Rummer Dummies also include Kill Packets. These are essentially red dye packs which are tacked to the back of the dummies during training. I used them once and pretended I was on the set of the Walking Dead, but they are messy and unnecessary from my perspective.
Takedown is easy: grab the stand and torso and leave the range. If you want a fast, quick and clean range session, this is the way to go AND it is pretty light weight.
What I absolutely loved was that I could train with my extremely inexpensive 5.45×39 steel core armor piercing ammo on the Rubber Dummy target. I would not dare to do this with steel because I’d have to replace all my steel targets after a week of shooting. Now I can blissfully blast away without worry of poking holes through expensive steel targets.
The 3-dimensional shape of the target makes is so much more realistic than shooting paper or steel. It does get the adrenaline up a bit to shoot at a humanoid torso that is staring back at you. My wife believes it is the best training target system she has used and insists on it now when we go to the range. For her, she loves to understand and see what she is doing wrong and where the shots are going and figure out how to fix the problem.
This is a tough thing to do on a steel target when all the paint flies off of the target from the first hit and splatter of lead. With the Rubber Dummy, you can see where all the hits land. The target can also be moved and shot from different angles such as a 45-degree presentation.
For $199 this may be the best training and shooting target you can buy. In fact I am going to buy three more because they are that good. Check them out to see for yourself.
- Starter Kit – $199
- Rubber Dummy (Torso Target) – Approximately 30 pounds
- Stand – Approximately 20 pounds – AR500 steel top, ⅛” steel base, and replaceable ¾” plumbing grade pipe