Testing and Results
Testing the Equu-Pulse Target Impact Signal System is as easy as pulling the trigger and then watching for the flash, with some distance thrown in for effect. But of course, that’s now how we do things around here. I tested the TISS-III kit using three different settings: long-range slow fire, automatic rapid fire, and medium-range semi-automatic repeated fire. Each test was conducted using different calibers, which are discussed below.
The full-flash test was conducted at several long distance intervals, ending at 1.0 mile (1609 meters / 1760 yards). Using a competition rifle with custom-built ammunition in .260 Remington, a 140 grain Hornady Match BTHP bullet was fired every fifteen seconds at the target. This test is intended to confirm full recharge/discharge of the flash every 15 seconds for mode position 1.
The rapid-flash test was conducted using a fully automatic M16A2 service rifle, firing Federal XM193 ammunition at the target 50 yards away. This test is intended to confirm rapid flash every second for mode position 2.
The quick-flash test utilized a semi-automatic rifle with custom-built ammunition in .223 Remington, and repeatedly fired 68 grain Hornady Match BTHP bullets every two seconds at the target 100 yards away. This test is intended to confirm quick discharge of the flash every two seconds for mode position 3.
Full discharge (mode 1) flash tests were confirmed with impacts every 15 seconds or longer. The Bolt VS-210 flash is rated at GN 72, so it’s among the brighter strobes available. The capacitor that charges between flashes is largely dependent on the strength of AA batteries installed, so as the batteries are drained the flash recharge time may be increased.
On a bright day with the sun overhead, the TISS-III flash can be seen up to approximately 1500 yards or better. At far-reaching distances the flash begins to appear like a bright white speck against the background, so it’s ideal to place it in front of a large dark area if possible. Having the sun shining towards the strobe makes it more difficult to spot flashes, but not impossible. I discovered that a large square tin (or similar metal container) laid on its side with the Target Impact Signal System positioned inside provided excellent protection from bullet fragments, and also shaded the flash from sunshine while focusing the strobe light towards my shooting position.
Rapid-flash (mode 2) tests were confirmed with several bullet impacts per second, using a fully automatic rifle. To be honest, it was both a challenge to hit the small gong target in full-auto mode as much as it was difficult to count the rapid flashes. In the competition environment someone else will be observing for score, but it’s not realistic to expect an accurate hit count in this rapid flash mode.
Quick-flash (mode 3) testing is ideal for most recreational shooter, since the partially-charged strobe flash is still bright enough to be seen for hundreds of yards. Without the aid of optics, I was able to observe the flash to approximately 600 yards in full sunlight. At 100-200 yards, the TISS-III flash was very easy to see as impacts registered about every two seconds in quick succession.
The Target Impact Signal System was developed by a competitive shooter, for shooters, so it should surprise nobody that the TISS-III (DK8-001-III) kit performed extremely well with very few possible suggestions. At first I had doubted the small flexible tripod that comes with the kit, thinking it would be useless. As it turned out, the 20-foot sync cord allowed the flash unit to be position far away from the target which allowed a choice of unobstructed placements. If you’re willing to spend a bit more, Equu-Pulse Company replaces the sync cable with a wireless transmitter and receiver.
Positioning the TISS is important, since it becomes difficult to see a distant strobe of light when the sun is shining directly at the flash unit. Regardless of distance, the square cookie tin I used to contain the TISS-III worked to both further protect the hardware and also improve flash visibility.
While the tin box was helpful in shading the flash, the unpolished walls of the canister did only a modest job of concentrating and focusing the strobe’s light towards the observer. For most applications, a simple cardboard box will provide the shade needed in bright settings. However, for ultra long-range shooters (which I consider anything beyond 1000 yards) the polished sides of the enclosure would really help reflect the light back and improve visual feedback. Tin doesn’t take well to polishing, at least not enough to produce a mirror finish, so some experimenting may be necessary.