Real Shooters. Real Targets. Often Copied, Never Equaled

Do I need to order additional parts for my target system to work? What comes with my order?

All you need to order is a target and a base – bases come with all the parts you need for your target to operate

How long from the time I order my target until it is shipped?

Most orders are processed & shipped the same day or within a few days, but occasionally due to custom parts or armor plate availability, other orders could take longer, possibly up to 1-3 weeks.

What Are Your Steel Targets Made Of?

High-Carbon Steel – Steel with more than 0.3% carbon. The more carbon that is dissolved in the iron, the tougher and less formidable the steel becomes. High-carbon steel’s hardness makes it suitable for severe, high-wear applications. “AR” or “Abrasion Resistant” steel is such a high-carbon steel. There is no surface treatment or chemical application that can affect the steel’s hardness. Salute Products, Inc steel “Plinger” targets are made of AR 500 steel on the Brinell hardness scale.

What is the Brinell Hardness Number?

Brinell Hardness Number (BHN) – The Brinell hardness test depends upon the resistance offered to the penetration of a carbide steel ball (1.6 mm diameter) when subjected to a weight of 12.6 kg. The resulting hardness value is computed as the ratio of the applied load to the area of the indentation produced. This test is accepted as a worldwide standard for measuring the hardness of steel.

Where does Salute Products, Inc get their steel?There are only a few plants that make this kind of heavy-duty steel, and all the target manufacturers must get their supply from one of these plants. Steel of this quality and reputation is always certified by the plant that created it, regardless of which target manufacturer the steel is shipped to. Other certifications are merely cosmetic. When all the rhetoric is boiled away, there are manufacturers who use steel that is not appropriate for targets, and there are manufacturers who use steel that is. Among the major manufacturers producing dependable, high quality steel targets, the quality of the steel itself is practically the same.

How much of a factor is design on the quality of the steel target?

Proper design is essential! Even the best steel can’t compensate for poorly designed targets. There are several unavoidable truths that must be followed to create targets that are as safe and durable as possible. Smooth and totally flat shooting surfaces are critical. There are several things manufacturers can do to ruin the smoothness and flatness of a steel target. They can use inferior steel that will crater, pock, and deform. They can put brackets, clamps, chains or bolts in the way. Remember, anything that can be shot, will be shot. A flat, uniform surface helps predict and protect against a bullet’s splatter pattern. If the steel is damaged or if anything else is in the way, all bets are off. Bullet fragmentation and ricochet are inherent and acknowledged issues when shooting on steel targets. Proper target design helps you address those issues with the highest degree of safety possible.

Why are Salute Products, Inc steel target designs superior to others?

When a bullet strikes a steel target that is completely stationary at a 90-degree angle, all the bullet’s energy goes directly to weakening that point on the steel. If the target is completely stationary but is positioned at slightly less than a 90-degree angle, a portion of the bullet’s energy at impact is deflected rather than absorbed. If the target is positioned at slightly less than a 90-degree angle AND the target is able to move on impact, a much larger portion of the bullet’s energy is deflected rather than absorbed. Steel “Plinger” targets are positioned at an angle and move when they are hit, but automatically reset using our Patent Pending spring design. Dissipating a bullet’s energy is safer and will help your targets last longer. However, every steel target including ours can be damaged. Steel hardness and proper design can both be defeated by misuse and/or abuse of the target. This is why we do not recommend the use of steel core or armor piercing ammunition on our steel “Plinger” targets.

How do bullets damage steel targets?

The basic destructive force generated by bullets striking steel targets is heat. Excessive concentrated heat alters the steel’s hardness properties and results in damage to the target’s face. The amount of heat generated is proportional to the speed of the bullet, which is why rifles cause more damage to steel targets than handguns.

What is the minimum safe distance for handgun shooting on steel targets?

Safe handgun distance on steel targets is 10 yards minimum. Splatter from the copper jacket separating from the lead core could ricochet back and injure yourself or others at closers distances.

What is the minimum safe distance for rifle shooting on steel targets?

As recommended by the NRA, safe rifle distance on steel targets is 100 yards minimum. Splatter from the copper jacket separating from the lead core could ricochet back and injure yourself or others at closers distances. Also, shooting on bare steel with a rifle at less than 100 yards can damage your target. Even at 100 yards, the target absolutely must be mounted at an angle, and the steel must be extremely hard (AR500) like Salute Product, Inc. steel targets.

What is the minimum safe distance for shotgun shooting on steel targets?

Safe shotgun slug distance on steel targets also means 100 yards minimum. Shotgun slugs have the greatest potential for bodily harm to the shooter due to the sheer volume of lead that can be returned from damaged or poorly designed steel targets. Stay back!

What about shooting frangible ammunition on steel targets?

Frangible ammunition requires the same quality steel and design as regular ammunition. Many types of frangible ammunition, particularly for rifles, are lighter than regular lead ammunition. Remember that lighter bullets can mean greater speed, which means more heat, which can mean damage to your steel target

Is there one Salute Target that you recommend for starting out with both pistols & rifles? Which are your Top Selling?

Yes. Many of our first time customers often ask “What target do you recommend for starting out?” Often this is a loving wife or girlfriend buying on a special occasion for the man in her life. We always recommend our “bread & butter” target & base: A DOD Mil Spec Base (Standard) with ANY Large Target the customer is attracted to! This works great for any pistol and most rifles at most ranges. It serves great “double duty” as a reversible fine & course surface for close (pistol) & more distant (high velocity rifle) ranges. We still use our original Salute proto-types and they have hundreds of thousands bullet impacts on them from over the past decade! And, rain, sleet, or snow, these Salute products have remained out in the open weather with nothing but an occasional fresh flat white spray paint surface job.

DOD Mil Spec stands for "Department of Defense Military Specification".

Our Salute Base closely follows (and exceeds in design safety & quality) the US Military requirement to have an angled target that deflects most of the bullet impact splatter away from the shooter & firing line. Most of our competition use angles of 15-20 degrees. But at Salute, we have a unique Base with an upright support & ‘armored knuckle’ which serves to hold any of our Large Targets leaning toward the shooter at 30 degrees. This focuses most bullet splatter down into the ground. The deflection angle and unique Base & Target tab also enable you to use one side of the Target for short range (& extremely close range) pistol shooting on a pristine Target plate, while you can also turn the Target around later so as to shoot the rougher (and eventually more tortured reverse Target side) to higher velocity carbine & rifle fire. Not all AR500 armor plate is created equal. Beware of the cheap overseas made targets that are easily penetrated by most full metal jacket American rounds. Sadly, we at Salute have found that even some domestic AR500 does not hold up to our test standards where we routinely subject our incoming shipments of AR500 to .30-06 Armor Piercing and .50 cal Armor Piercing rounds. So beware of what we call the “discount shooter puppy mill” targets. Though they appear to be a US company, we find most of their targets & bases to be made in China out of inferior target, base and spring metals. They also literally have much looser dimensions, fit & welds. And they have yet to return our calls about repair, safety and quality issues! So … as the guys in our shop (US Army, US Marine, and US Navy combat vets & your fellow shooters) say: “Buy cheap, buy twice.”

As to which is our top selling target? For flat armor plate, static targets on our Salute DOD Mil Spec Base, the US military prefers the Practical Plinger, while Police prefer the 10-8, and Civilians prefer either of these, plus the 2/3 IPSC (International Practical Shooting Confederation). Our overall top selling targets in the reactive (moving plates when hit) category are: The Salute Spartan, The Dueling Trees, The Paddle Wheel Rotator, The Head/Heart, and The Salute Plate Rack. Each has its own unique ‘niche’ and following depending on the type of recreational, tactical or target shooting you prefer. The US Marines at 1st Marine Division, Camp Pendleton, California, love our Paddle Wheel Rotators. Whether in pistol, shotgun, carbine or rifle tactical training, they often assign two Marines to “spinning” while a third Marine is the “spoiler” trying to mess with their rotation cycle. Great hand-eye and timing coordination!

As a new shooter of Steel can you tell me about the origins of this sport and Salute Products Inc.?

The story of shooting steel targets is an interesting one. In the classic 1962 John Wayne film The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence (the last western The Duke made with director John Ford), a US senator, played by Jimmy Stewart, is telling a newspaper editor about a historic gunfight. The entire film is a flashback about a ruthless bad guy terrorizing a town and how he is finally confronted and gunned down by a peaceful young lawyer who eventually becomes the famous senator. The truth is told about how the gunfighter is really killed by a rugged cowboy standing in the shadows. When the senator’s truthful story concludes, the newspaper editor walks over to his young reporter, who had been dutifully writing down the story, takes up all the notes, and places them in a burning pot-belly stove. He states: “This is the West, and in the West, when the legend becomes fact, we print the legend.” So it goes with American steel target shooting. The facts probably don’t match the legend. I was first told the following origin of steel target story by a man I greatly respected, Colonel Jeff Cooper, USMC (Ret), founder of Gunsight in Paulden, Arizona, and one of the greatest advocates of advanced tactical shooting America has ever had. He was a legend to all of us who are serious shooters and .45 proponents. Over a beer in his home, he shared his version of the tale of American steel silhouette shooting. It allegedly started in Mexico, where at a festive wedding event, the men would gather to drink their tequila and mescal and talk about the adventures of life. One thing led to another, and soon the amigos were comparing their weapons and displaying their pistolero expertise by taking pot shots at the local animals: chickens, turkeys, pigs, and an occasional ram. Yes, the livestock suffered. This south of the border pastime made its way into the American southwest, where the citizenry enjoyed the sport, but realized that is was cheaper and more practical to use iron targets, facsimiles of said animals. Thus the sport grew into what is today the National Rifle Association standard steel ‘animal’ targets. Well, this legendary story was from Jeff Cooper himself, so it was good enough for me.

The scene shifts to Okinawa, Japan in the late 1980s. A group of Marines working in the Armory at 3rd Combat Engineer Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, try to convince their company commander about the joys of shooting steel targets. After looking at the NRA’s chicken, turkey, pig and ram, their captain states: “I’ll shoot steel when you give me a manly target to shoot at, not God’s poor innocent creatures.” As a joke, they cut out the small steel silhouette of a Russian T-72 tank. He is truly impressed, as is the battalion commander who also wants one. These become popular back home in the privacy of the Marine’s shooting range in Oregon.

The next scene is the Iraq War, 2003, following the capture of Baghdad. US Marines begin training of Iraqi security teams and realize that Arabs really don’t like shooting paper (too hard to confirm hits, too hard to score, and too hard to erect targets that can withstand the sandstorms and high winds). It is easier using 55 gallon drums and other pieces of metallic gear that ‘sing’ when hit.

Christmas day 2003, the birthday of Salute Targets. Colonel Mike Howard, now in between combat tours in Iraq, is home pondering all of the above: steel shooting lessons and history from a fellow Marine, Col Jeff Cooper, what he learned in Okinawa about “manly and military” steel silhouettes, the need for steel tactical training targets in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the sheer fun of plinking on a steel target which emits a resounding “pling” when hit. After the kids have opened all their stuff, he retreats to his man cave and writes his thoughts on paper. When he bounces this idea off of his wife, she recommends that he call an acquaintance, Mike Eggiman. Not only has Mike Eggiman invented the highly successful DeMarini baseball bat back in 1989, but he and his business partner Ray DeMarini have recently sold their company in 2000 to Wilson Sports. Mike holds 17 patents on his double walled aluminum bat and has a Mechanical Engineering degree from Oregon State University. Not only does he know all about metallurgy and production, but as his wife says, he “retired too early”. Marine Corps Mike calls DeMarini Mike and the two of them agree on the serious potential and eventual launch of a new, innovative steel reactive target company. Based on the crisp movement of the newly designed target in its spring loaded base, Mike Eggiman comes up with a snappy name: “Salute”. Like the targets, it is literally a hit. Organization, design, marketing, production, and sales areas are concurrently moved forward, largely based on Mike Eggiman’s ‘Lesson’s Learned’ from his DeMarini experiences.

Following extensive preliminary tests of various steel targets, Mike Eggiman comes up with the idea of a target that will not only react to the impact of a pistol, carbine, shotgun, or rifle shot, but will also re-set itself. A double spring loaded Small (for pistols) and Large (for rifles) Base is designed and several prototypes tested. The results are exciting. Mike Howard, an incurable history nut, mentions to Mike Eggiman about the “glacis plate” on the front of a military tank. It is at the front of the hull and the top piece deflects incoming hits upward, while the bottom plate deflects rounds downward, protecting the tank hull. Mike Eggiman takes this info and incorporates it into a similar plate which will protect the spring mechanism of the target base, while also deflecting from behind, with a smaller metal strip, the bullet impact splatter from the round striking the target above. Further refinements simplify manufacture, cost, and improve effectiveness. During some lunch break, Mike Howard recounts the historic lessons of ‘Operation Barbarossa’ during WWII, when the invading German army was shocked to encounter Russian T-34 tanks. The German Mark III & IV tanks with their vertical armor were surprisingly found to be outclassed by the sloped armor of the Russian T-34. German 37mm, 50mm, and 75mm anti-tank rounds simply bounced off the T-34 with its superior sloped armor. Mike Eggiman sat quietly but his inventive engineering wheels were turning. The result: A static target base allowing an increased angle for the target leaning forward toward the shooter. Whereas the Small and Large spring mounted Bases lean the target forward at 5 degrees, this new base (soon to be named ‘DOD Mil Spec’ short for Department of Defense Military Specification) leans the target toward the shooter at 30 degrees. This impressive piece of engineering design by Mike Eggiman will eventually cover a spectrum of Salute targets ranging in their ability to handle all calibers up through .50 caliber armor piercing!

For the first several years, Salute Targets operated out of an old airplane hangar on the Eggiman’s North Plains, Oregon property. It then grew and moved to a former horse stable in North Plains, before eventually moving to its current location in a large shop and barn on the family’s original acreage in Helvetia, Oregon. The two Mikes handled initial production and distribution, bringing in young, family members one at a time as the company grew.

Today, Salute Targets continues to grow. Its owners and all employees are shooters, bringing a no-nonsense approach to what other shooters deal with and need. We do our best to be responsive and listen to suggestions. Our customers range from US Marines, to US Army, to Navy (SEALs), to US law enforcement, the Israel Defence Force, the British Army, to all kinds of serious civilian shooters. Salute is all about teamwork, and literally, like our targets, “Leaning Forward”.

How can I pay for my targets/bases with a check instead of using a credit card?

Enclose a check and mail your order to:

Salute Products Inc.
11812 NW Rockton Dr
Hillsboro, Oregon 97124

If you cannot use a credit card to pay for your order, Salute Products will accept payments via checks or money orders, but customers are required to download, fill out and mail in the Snail Mail Order Form to the address above:

Is the checkout process secured with SSL?

Yes. We use a 3rd party ecommerce processing solution provided by ECWID. Here is a link to the detailed information about how ECWID protects your information.

A more English version of the above answer… Our eStore runs through a second website called Even thou you see the products on, the product and checkout pages are really being run on, which is a secure website. Therefore all of your personal information is encrypted and protected. No information is stored on our servers.