Bringing a level of innovation and practicality to the everyday run at the range, the Dead Man’s Hand Shooting Deck by RE Factor is intended to challenge both the novice and professional shooter. Done in conjunction with RE Factor’s IQ Targets, or as a stand-alone challenge, the system will mentally and physically push shooters outside of their established comfort zones and into complex shooting iterations.
In a standard 52-card playing deck, the Dead Man’s Hand comes with a different shooting drill for each card (meaning there’s 52 different drills total). Drills start off simple with the lower valued cards and become more advanced as the cards approach the Ace.
Designed to work in conjunction with RE Factor’s IQ Targets, the Dead Man’s Hand comes in a sized storage tin for ease of carrying in a range bag. Users can select between a pistol specific shooting deck, or rifle.
Using a variety of shapes (circles, squares, triangles) and combinations of letters (A, B, and C) and numbers (1, 2, 3), the IQ target system shifts colors and is intended to force the shooter to think through complex stages that highlight acquisition, transition, movement and fundamentals. Variants of the rifle (5”) and pistol (3”) IQ targets are specific to those platforms, but can be substituted if needed.
- 52-card playing deck
- Protective case
- Card dimension: 2.5 (W) x 3.5 (H)
- IQ Target dimension: 23” (W) x 35” (H)
Product Evaluation Scores:
- Cost – Good (4/5): At $19.99 for a Dead Man’s Hand Shooting Deck, the associated IQ Targets vary in price depending on quantity selected, but start at $2.50 per sheet. This would be in comparison to more traditional target pages that incorporate the standard silhouette ($0.16/per), VTACs anatomical target ($0.75/per), or the LE Police Silhouette ($0.50/per) that often do little to encourage mental development of a shooter aside from “center mass”. But truth is the value of the Dead Man’s Hand and IQ Targets are in what they will impart to the shooter beyond just paper to poke holes into. In the event shooters want a challenging variety of drills they can complete themselves or as a team, then the shooting deck and targets provide a good balance between the materials and skillset for the cost.
- Comfort – Good (4/5): The cards in the Dead Man’s Hand were the size of standard playing cards and thus fit accordingly. The deck’s light weight and protective tin made it an easy add to the range bag without becoming a burden or taking up excessive space. While progressing through the various cards/stages the drills did progressively get more challenging—often incorporating movement into the higher ranked cards. But the drills did not progress to the point of being impossible to complete (although some of the rifle “bonus” drills got rather complex). The corresponding IQ Targets had enough spacing, color, and number/letter that forced the shooter to think about the course of fire and not just blindly fire away.
- Durability – Average (3/5): The cards in the Dead Man’s Hand had the same appearance and texture as current cardstock found in Hoyle or Bicycle playing cards. If so, then the material is most likely compressed layers of paper and retains the same level of durability (meaning avoid getting them wet). During selection of drills, the cards were just as flexible as standard playing cards, and using a riffle shuffle, easily mixed. The included protective tin ensured that when not in use, the cards would remain secured.
- Functionality – Good (4/5): Functionally, the drills found in the Dead Man’s Hand Shooting Deck were diverse enough to not overtax the novice shooter, but in the higher cards the drills challenge the more experienced. The core fundamentals stressed were target acquisition, sight picture, trigger squeeze, and breathing. At the higher face cards, the drills incorporated body movement to add complexity that made the drills very challenging. The cards between the rifle and pistol decks had enough of a design difference to readily identify between the two (although the tins were identical).
- Weight – Good (4/5): At 5.3 ounces per pack (with tin), the Dead Man’s Hand Shooting Deck is extremely lightweight considering the amount of drills contained within. Add into the complexity that you can either work through the drills with partners, or with a shot timer, then the savings of needing less training materials to cover the variety of instructions was even more valuable.
Overall Rating – Above Average (19/25)
I am reviewing this product as a courtesy to the manufacturer and via STL Shooting Enthusiasts, so that I can evaluate it and provide my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give positive reviews. All views are my own, and based off my personal experience with the product.
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