Target Hit Indicator Final Thoughts
For long-range shooters hitting targets with little to no visible register of impact, a target hit indicator like the TISS unit becomes critical. I originally discovered the Target Impact Signal System when searching for a solution for spotting impacts on a stationary hillside target located nearly 900 yards away and painted white. At that distance, it became extremely difficult to witness impacts for score… especially on bright sunny days. Now there will be little doubt, since a bright white flash will indicate target impact and supplement and bullet splatter or dust.
The TISS-III kit is ready to work in stock form, but I would advise some additional investments. First would be a replacement flash, since the Bolt VS-210 ($39.99 Amazon) is one of the very few remaining units with a sync terminal built in. The only other options I found offered a weaker Guide Number (GN) strength (less than 72 ft/100 ISO), or cost much more than a small increase would be worth. The next item would be a reflective can/box to focus the flash and improve visability, but add a level of protection to the hardware as well.
Target Impact Signal System Conclusion
RATING DISCLAIMER: Although the rating and final score mentioned in this conclusion are made to be as objective as possible, be advised that every author perceives these factors differently. While we each do our best to ensure that all aspects of the product are considered, there are often times unforeseen market conditions and manufacturer revisions that occur after publication which could render our rating obsolete. Please do not base any purchase solely on this conclusion, as it represents our rating specifically for the product tested which may differ from future versions. Benchmark Reviews begins our conclusion with a short summary for each of the areas that we rate.
The first area graded is performance. Bolt’s VS-210 flash unit is among the most powerful you’ll find, especially for it’s price range. In our field tests, a bright white flash of light from the strobe was observed without optical aid at approximately 1500 yards (0.87 miles) away. At that distance, a manhole cover looks like a grain of sand… if you’re using magnified optics. The fact that a flash could be seen with the naked eye at that range is impressive, but also reassuring that it won’t be a problem with scopes. Things get even better with a shade box or reflective enclosure for the flash unit.
Appearance is a subjective matter, especially for a product like the TISS-III. At first, I wasn’t so sure about the mini-tripod that comes bundled with the kit. After testing the kit and finding that it was all I needed, the little tripod began to grow on me. It wasn’t until I was fitting the flash unit into a reflective container that I became grateful for the compact size of the standing unit. The flash and target box are as sexy as they need to be, and I’m pleased with the overall looks of the kit.
Construction gets high marks, primarily because of how durable the Target Box sensor unit is built. I’m not going to get into proprietary details, but that sensor is not likely to ever fail in 100 years of normal operation. The flash and sync cable, on the other hand, will definitely wear down and fail at some point before then. Camera flash units do not typically last forever, although most have been rated to beyond 10,000 fully-charged strobe flashes (more with lower-power discharges). For long-range shooting, that lifespan is going to be much longer than necessary. Of course, a bullet fragment can cut down the life of the flash and sync cord in an instant.
In terms of functionality, the Target Impact Signal System III has been designed to offer something for all shooting styles: slow or fast, short or long. In fact, the unit is ready to power on and start sending hit reports right out of the box. There are wireless accessories available to expand the system, but my suggestion would be to add a square tin container to improve visibility at ultra-long distances while providing additional protection to the flash unit. The manufacturer suggests metal conduit pipe to protect the sync cable from damage.
Before researching the TISS-III kit, $170 (model DK8-001-III, direct from targetimpactsignal.com) it seemed like a really good deal, and it is, depending on your skill level with electronics. I’m a highly technical person, so it would be misleading to say that someone with above-average electronics skill couldn’t put together the same kit for around $100 and a few hours of time. But I realize that not everyone has these skills, or the spare time to research, design, and build the kit themselves. Taking this all into consideration I rate the value as good, for a solid product that comes with tech support, repair service, and a one-year warranty.
Summary: Equu-Pulse Company has a winner on their hands, for two reasons: 1) there’s no other active target impact signaling solution that compares, and 2) the TISS kit solves a lot of problems for a relatively small cost. Aside from two AA batteries the Target Impact Signal System III requires no upkeep or maintenance, and if you have a solar panel it might cost you a dime to keep some batteries charged and ready for the range. I really enjoyed testing this product, and highly recommend it to shooters wanting immediately-visible bullet hit feedback – especially long-range shooters.
+ Outstanding visible range for flash strobe
+ Three-function flash for all firing modes
+ Very sensitive yet durable target sensor
+ Plenty of cord to place flash in safe location
+ Extremely valuable tool for long-range shooters
– Flash and sync cord may require shielding
– May be built for less using standard electronics
Final Score: 9.0 out of 10.
Excellence Achievement: Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award.
COMMENT QUESTION: What kind of shooting would you use the TISS-III kit for?