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About Steel

Southwest Asia

From the desk of Jerry Bolster


Types of steel

Unless you work in an industry that deals with steel, you probably don’t know about the different kinds and types of steel that are in common use.  No problem!  Here’s a quick rundown on what you should be aware of when it comes to firearms training and steel.

Mild steel vs AR500 steel

Mild steel is used for building structures because it’s softer and flexes. This makes it a versatile and commonly used grade of steel.  Because it flexes and is softer, it’s dangerous when used as a target due to a high chance of fragments and ricochets.  Common calibers will pass through ½” thick mild steel with ease.  Many people we meet at gun shows are surprised when they see our piece of mild testing steel  full of holes. It look like an impressive piece of metal that SHOULD stop bullets…but doesn’t.  Bottom line – mild steel won’t stop bullets and is a poor choice for firearms training. 

Brinnell Grade AR500 steel is our specialty at Victory Shooting Steel, LLC. The AR stands for “Abrasion Resistant.”  The “500” tells you how hard it is on the Brinnell hardness scale. This is a very hard specialty steel used for applications such as road graders and front end bucket loaders.  This is also the proper steel to manufacture targets for firearms training because it disintegrates lead rounds. It’s widely used at gun ranges and is a standard training aid for military units and police departments.  When used properly, an AR500 steel target will last for years. 

What steel do you need?

3/8” AR500 – Easily handles the majority of common rifle and pistol rounds including 9mm, 38Spcl, .40S&W, 5.56/.223, 5.45X39, 7.62X39, .300 savage, .30-06, .308, 45-70, .303

1/2 “ AR500 – Best for larger magnum rifle rounds including .300 and .338 lapua, .458 magnum, 7mm Rem Mag.

3/4 “ AR500 - .458 Win Mag

1 inch AR500 – 50 BMG, .460 Weatherby Mag.



Thousands of shooters use steel targets each week at USPSA matches, military training, and on police ranges with no issues.  However, it’s important to remember a few safety items to protect yourself:

When using rounds with a muzzle fps of over 3000 fps, never fire closer than 200 yards to avoid pitting the target.

Never use steel core, partial steel core or other armor penetrating rounds as these will pitt the target, and increase the chance of fragments returning to the shooter.

General safety recommendations are to wear safety glasses and maintain minimum distances from the target of 150 yards with rifles and 25 yards with pistols.

Shooting firearms is inherently dangerous and unpredictable.  These are general guidelines and Victory Shooting Steel, LLC makes no claims or guarantees of a shooters safety and accepts no liability for any injury, damage, or death resulting from use. 

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