Safety Improvements and Athena ESTs

Safety Improvements and Athena ESTs

For most of the people reading this newsletter, the safety record of the shooting sports is well-known. Shooting may be the safest youth sport in the United States. The Civilian Marksmanship Program reports that not a single injury-causing incident involving gun handling safety in youth air rifle programs has occurred during the past two decades. ( Considering that there are 250,000 youth participants involved in air rifle programs, this safety record is stellar.

However, no amount of success should lead to complacency; as a sport we must continuously improve our safety standards. 

At Scopos, gun safety is an integral part of our design process. With innovation comes opportunities to make the shooting sports safer. The design of Athena electronic targets was a prime example; here are four gun safety enhancements we implemented with the design of Athena.

Red and Green Safety Lights

Athena’s Red X and Green O safety lights, fixed at the top of the NC100 and NC200 electronic scoring targets, serve as visual indicators to athletes regarding when it is safe to shoot, and when it is not safe to shoot. 


Because Athena is marketed to local and regional programs, many of the participants who will be shooting on Athena targets will be new to the sport. These same participants may not yet be familiar with verbal range commands authorizing them to shoot or to stop shooting. By adding the Red and Green Lights, athletes have an added visual reminder of these safety rules.

We even added an “Emergency Stop” feature in Orion and Athena. When the Range Officer has to stop the line outside of normal events, they now have two tools available to convey this message to the athletes. The Range Officer’s verbal “STOP STOP STOP” command can now be complemented by activating the Athena target's illuminated Red Xs. Taken together, the athletes now have audible and visual commands to put their guns down.

Visual Range Officer Commands

The Red and Green safety lights play a role in telling athletes when it is safe to shoot and when it is not. However, there are other important safety-oriented range commands such as: “load”, “is the line clear,” or “you may discharge air downrange.” 

The DoW100 Athlete Monitor is programmed to display the text of all range commands, including these and other important safety commands. This once again provides athletes on the firing line with both audible and visual instructions.


Safety Rules Shown on the Spectator Display

Gun safety is everyone’s responsibility. No matter how much experience we have in this sport, everyone of us should be constantly reminded of and adhere to gun safety rules. Because of this, Athena’s Spectator Display’s default will display the gun safety rules that were developed by the National Three-Position Air RIfle Council when the range is in practice mode.


Lead Collection Bags

Lead, when it is not managed properly, can be dangerous. Lead is not a problem that can be ignored or wished away. Athena targets have a feature that can help air gun ranges manage their lead problem.  The NC100’s pellet trap is designed to make it as easy as possible to collect spent lead pellets, minimize lead splatter, and make proper disposal of spent pellets and lead fragments possible.

When a pellet is fired at the NC100, the pellet hits the steel backstop and falls into a lead collection bag. When the bag is full, it can easily be removed and replaced with a new bag while the used bag is sealed and disposed of properly. 

Lead splatter, which occurs when the pellet hits the backstop, can be reduced if the back aiming mask is replaced regularly.  During competitions these masks should be replaced before each competition relay. With a fresh mask installed, lead splatter is minimized.



At Scopos, we are dedicated to improving gun safety.  Gun safety is a concern we consider in the design of every one of our products.  While no combination of safety measures will ever guarantee a perfect safety record, we at Scopos will continue to provide products that support efforts to achieve that goal.


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