When it comes time to switch up your training, it’s easy to try new drills, new positions, new guns, and the like. Have you ever thought about changing your targets? I do, all the time. I go from paper targets to gongs and easy ground-based reactive targets.
I view training a lot like exercise, and I like to change it up so it doesn’t get stale. New targets do that, so I my interest was piqued when I stumbled across FRED Hollowgraphic 3D targets.
FRED Hollowgraphic 3D targets are foldable, adaptable 3D targets that let you vary your training. These targets have integrated stands that allow the targets to sit at different heights along with a group of accessories.
The accessory board comes with cardboard arms, weapons, a soda, a phone, badges, and more. These allow you to set up various scenarios should you see fit.
Check out the FRED site and you’ll come across numerous packages. You can purchase the targets and stands separately, together or as part of a sampler pack. I have a sampler pack that contains two FRED targets, two stands, and an accessory board. This seemed the best way to experience the target system and its functions.
Folding, Unfolding, and Setup
The targets and stands come as flat cardboard requiring some creative folding to assemble correctly. The included instructions are good enough, but if you have trouble, a video will walk you through it.
You can assemble the target stand in two ways. One way is just a stand, and the other allows you to mix in a balloon to allow the target to drop.
I set up a stand in each configuration and bothered my wife about balloons until she reached into her magically deep memory and told me where to find some. In total, the setup process took maybe 20 minutes total. I could probably pop two up in ten minutes if I tried.
Once folded into place, you can add accessories if you so choose. A staple gun helps attach the weapons/non-weapons to the foldable arms. The FRED forms a 3D cardboard target with a head and torso. On the back sits a perforated heart and lung section that shows you the effectiveness of your shots.
It becomes hard to examine after a magazine or so of fire. So to keep your ability to see your shot effectiveness, you can attach the Vital Organ Impact Card Examinators (VOICE) printed pieces of paper that display the vital organs. You can attach these inside or outside of the FRED to display vital organs, including the lungs, heart, etc. You can purchase or print them for free from the Target Nation website.
At the Range with FRED
With two targets set up, I got to shooting. A windy day isn’t very friendly to FRED targets. The stands work well, but the wind will take them down if they aren’t secured. I used some old tent stakes to pin them down.
Once I solved the wind issue, I set up the dropping target. To do that, you shove a balloon up the torso and then install the target upon the specially made target stand. It’s ridiculously easy, and guess what? It’s simple and it works. When the balloon pops, the target drops, and it’s all kinds of fun.
I blew up four little balloons and shoved them in the torso to increase the difficulty. That meant multiple shots were necessary to make the target drop. That provides a bit of realism because sometimes it takes more than a double-tap. If you tag a partner in the setup, you can insert a random number of balloons to make the target drop.
One shot can pop multiple balloons, but not always. The target moves a bit every time a balloon pops. This tosses a degree of randomness into the mix.
Setting up the two targets in multiple scenarios isn’t difficult either. You have two bad guys, or one bad guy and one innocent, or a hostage situation, or whatever else you can imagine and arrange. Installing and removing various accessories isn’t hard, and the arms fold in several ways to configure the targets with various accessories in realistic positions.
You can make the FRED targets lean left or right and adjust the height easily. It’s pretty neat all the various things you can do with cardboard.
3D targets also offer a variety of attack angles. Paper targets offer that head-on attack style, but with a 3D target, you can train from angles you probably haven’t experienced before.
Guns and arm locations can install a different level of realism beyond shooting center mass. If a gun is being pointed at you, the arms and gun cover a portion of that center mass, so you might need to adapt as necessary to put effective lead on target. Or, at the very least, you can be reminded that you might need more lead than less.
I’ve only just begun to demolish the FRED Targets and admittedly spent most of my test time trying out different configurations and arrangements. According to the manufacturer, they can take up to 500 rounds of .45 ACP. Likely more with rifle rounds and a lot less with shotgun loads. However, I’ve put about a mix of 100 rounds of 9mm and .22LR through the two targets.
FRED targets are like the punching bags of the gun world. They provide a variety of different angles that open up your training and capabilities.
The sampler pack costs $50 which might turn some off. Admittedly they are expensive for cardboard targets, but you can also purchase just the targets in bulk for less than $7 each, which makes them the cheapest 3D targets I’m aware of.
Paper may be cheaper, but FRED’s funner.