Phoenix Rising: The New Era of Competition Plate Rack

  • March 13, 2018
  • By tatargets

In Greek Mythology, the Phoenix was a fabulous bird that lived an incredibly long time. After its life it would die and re-birth from the ashes anew. We chose this name because that is exactly what we have accomplished with our new competition plate rack. We have challenged the industry norm and we have created a wholly different, completely unique system. Old plate racks be warned: your time is up. The Phoenix has risen.

The R&D process is always a labor of love. It takes a huge time and money investment and a willingness to challenge the mainstream way of thinking. Sometimes it means completely scrapping your own ideas in search of better ways to accomplish the mission. The key is being flexible and surrounding yourself with people who can think outside of the box and challenge the accepted norm. It is far too easy to get into a mindset of knowing it all. Another danger is complacency. It is evident in many industries: companies have done the same thing since the start, so they are either too scared to change, to stubborn to try something new, or too arrogant to believe their current system may be flawed. We approached the Phoenix with eyes open with anticipation that we would end somewhere totally different than where we began. This is, after all, a journey.

Our Team worked tirelessly to develop a plate rack that was as elegant as it was functional. The biggest goal we had was to create a plate rack that is user serviceable. For many people this can mean many different things. For us it meant keeping as many pieces as replaceable parts as possible. Virtually every piece is removable and able to be serviced. We understand what it takes to keep a range open, to keep a competition rolling, or to keep qualifications on track. You can’t afford down time. The Phoenix is here to keep you running.

It is obvious from first glance that the paddle assemblies are bolted onto the front shield. The paddles are then bolted to a cross bar through the side gussets. This allows the paddles to be easily rotated throughout their service life or easily replaced. The other distinct advantage of this setup is that if someone does something that isn’t very intelligent (like shooting a 50 BMG at this rack from the side, thus damaging the paddle brackets and assemblies) we can simply send replacement parts that can quickly and easily be replaced with simple hand tools. This eliminates the need to send the plate rack back to us for service. If the paddle gussets were welded directly to the front shield and a weld broke or the plate rack received damage during transit, our customer would be straight out of luck. They would either need to weld the rack themselves or ship it to us for repair. Neither of those options are ideal, especially considering most people don’t have access to a welder. We opted to create the most user serviceable and reliable system to date.

From the bottom it is obvious that we retained the round bases. We opted to go with our larger 30″ (Outside Diameter) bases for ultimate stability. These bases keep the rack from shaking or moving and offer the option to stake the entire system down if need be. Ultimate stability is incredibly important. Our customers invest a lot into their ranges and their training. They simply deserve the best, no exceptions.

One of the first things people notice is our reset mechanism. We spent the most time during R&D perfecting this reset assembly. One of our biggest frustrations with plate racks is when the reset arm is way up in the air, directly in the line of fire. This is the cheapest way to do a reset mechanism but you sacrifice longevity and functionality. In the long run it is not an acceptable solution. We wanted to stick to pulleys because we knew we could couple multiple pulleys into an assembly that cuts down on the felt load of the system. Let’s face it: you are lifting a ton of weight when you are resetting six 3/8″ AR500 paddles! Say goodbye to walking downrange and kiss the days of struggling with rickety reset mechanisms goodbye. Buttery smooth is where it is at. Everything else is simply basic. 1.) shoot the paddles down 2.) pull cable to reset 3.) repeat. The spring mounted behind the pulley assembly returns the arms back into battery, waiting for your command to reset the paddles again.

The Phoenix is designed with competitive use in mind and meets both the USPSA and Bianchi specs. The paddles are 20″ center to center, bottom of target plates are 4′ off level ground, and paddles are 8″ to meet USPSA spec standard. Each paddle has a calibration screw to fine tune their reaction and under each paddle is a spring shock absorber to mitigate vibrations through the system. If vibrations are not mitigated properly one bullet impact could knock down multiple paddles. In a competitive arena, this is less than ideal so we thought it necessary to add our own solution to this problem. The details truly matter.

The Phoenix is offered standard with a 3/8″ AR500 shield and paddles. The above paddle (right) is the standard 8 inch round paddle. We can also offer the shields and paddles in 3/8″ or 1/2″ AR550 steel for added durability, especially when using .223/5.56 NATO calibers. We can offer virtually any size or shape paddles to meet your needs, although please keep in mind that custom items will have an upcharge. This rack is designed in standard form for calibers up to 5.56 NATO and .300 blackout. Carbines coupled with our optional auto reset spring kit make for an awesome long range challenge. See below:

The Auto reset springs will be available soon on our website as an additional option when purchasing one of our Phoenix plate rack targets.

The Phoenix is a masterful work of art. A balance of elegance and function. It delivers in all areas and is completely serviceable. Transportable? Get out your impact and a 3/4″ deep socket and in only a few minutes the entire system can be broken down. Or have a few friends help you and it can be taken down fully assembled if need be. If your club, range, or department is in need of a Plate rack, reach out to us via email at info@tatargets.com or call us at (717) 733-0088 during office hours. Please keep in mind that the Phoenix plate rack ships via freight carriers. We can provide lift gate or residential delivery as needed but there is an upcharge. Whether a club, department or backyard marksman, we know the Phoenix will take your training to the next level.