All posts by refactor

What is a VA Funding Fee Exemption

Ah, the VA. Just like any government entity, you can always find some type of waiver or exemption to get you through the gate. Which can cause a lot of headaches, if you don’t know about them upfront, especially dealing with any department within the Great. Almighty. VA. There’s so much detail involved it can feel like someone took away your birthday, stole your puppy, ate your lunch out of the company refrigerator, poured salt in your wounds and then kicked you into a 20 ft. pool, knowing you can’t swim. On the bright side, there’s a VA funding fee exemption. So, keep reading to find out what a VA funding fee exemption is. Because you might still feel like you’re drowning, but stand-up, you’re in the shallow end.

VA Home Loans

Before we get into some of the more intricate details of the VA, let’s talk about VA Home Loans as a whole. Such as who does and doesn’t qualify. It’s not as simple as enlisting into one of the Armed Forces Components. You have to meet certain requirements. For instance, if you served four years, but got out on less than honorable terms, you do not qualify for a VA Home Loan. If you served less than 90 days, you don’t qualify for the VA Home Loan either, unless you were discharged for a service-connected disability.

Who Qualifies for a VA Home Loan?

Current or Veteran members of any US Military components serving or released on anything not titled, “less than honorable”, who have served at least 90-days or served less than 90-days due to a service-connected disability qualify. Surviving spouses also qualify if your spouse died during service or due to their service-connected disability. Spouses of service members who are MIA or a POW qualify. If you are a surviving spouse who remarried before December 6, 2003 and applied for a home loan after December 15, 2004 your application will be denied, no exceptions, no waiver. Also, you have to be at least 57-years-old.

The list of who qualifies and how they qualify is actually much more extensive than the above. But it gives you a general idea of the qualifications. There are entire sections dedicated to qualifying members who served during peacetime, during war, those who have already separated (for both officers and enlisted members—yes there’s a difference), Active Duty personnel, selected Reserve and National Guard personnel, spouses and of course there’s a section titled, “Other Eligible Beneficiaries”. If you fall into one of those categories, your best bet is to visit the VA’s website here, look up your component, status, and service dates and read that section. Otherwise, this article would look more like a novel. And we all know you’re probably not going to read past the section titled “how to get free cake for a lifetime”, let alone a novel. I’m kidding, there’s no free cake. But, you should keep reading, because there’s always a chance we’re lying.

eBenefits

If you’re ready to prove you qualify for a VA Home Loan, you can do so through eBenefits. If you haven’t heard of eBenefits, it’s basically your life source to the military and all your benefits once you’ve separated, to include filing for VA Disability. You’ll use eBenefits to get your CEO (Certificate of Eligibility), which shows the lender that you actually qualify for a VA Home Loan. You can also apply for your CEO via mail or through your lender, but ebenefits is the fastest way to get that done. After all that’s done, then you can start worrying about all the fees you’re going to pay or not pay, such as the VA Funding Fee.

What is a VA Funding Fee?

A VA Funding Fee is intended to help reduce the loan’s cost to taxpayers. Now, you might be thinking, what do taxpayers have to do with my loan cost? Last I checked no one is paying for my loan.

This is true. Taxpayers aren’t dishing out any money to help you with your loan process. The VA Funding Fee is meant to keep that from happening. By the VA not requiring taxpayers to dig a little deeper into their pockets, they can assure future homebuyers that VA Home Loans will be around for them too.

How much is a VA Funding Fee?

The VA Funding Fee isn’t just one flat rate, although that would probably make things a lot easier for those of us who have mathematics disorder—yes, that’s a real diagnosable disorder. There is, however, a flat percentage you owe at closing, and if you know how to use a calculator, there just might be hope for you after all. Or, just use this funding fee calculator found here.

In 2011, the VA updated their funding fee table, which you can see here. Based on your military status, how much you put down, and if it’s your first VA Home loan or a subsequent loan—which increases your funding fee—will determine the percentage you’ll have to pay.

If you served as a regular, active duty service member and you put no money down on your first VA home loan, you’ll pay 2.15%, or 3.3% if you’re applying for subsequent use. As a Guard or Reserve member, you’ll pay 2.4% or 3.3%.

The VA Funding Fee doesn’t have to be up to 3.3% of your loan amount though if you’re willing to put some money down. While we understand, in most cases there’s no required down payment with a VA Home Loan, there is an advantage to putting down as little as 5%. If you pay 5%, regular military members will only pay 1.5% of the home loan, no matter how many times they’ve used a VA Home Loan. Guard and Reserve members will only pay 1.75%. If you can swing 10% or more, as a regular military member, you only pay 1.25%, and 1.5% as a Guard or Reserve member.

Do I have to pay the VA Funding Fee?

Now, let’s get into the good stuff. Do you have to pay the VA Funding Fee? During normal circumstance, the answer is yes. Now, this may not seem like a good thing, but refer yourself to the tax deduction section below if you need something to make you feel a little better.

If however, you don’t fall into the normal circumstances, maybe it’s because you have a VA service-connected disability, causing your exemption of the funding fee. If you’re a surviving spouse of a veteran who died during service or as a result of their service-connected disability, you’re also exempt from paying this fee.

While it’s unfortunate that anyone leaves the service holding onto a disability rating, it does get you out of paying a VA Funding Fee.

For example, say you purchase a home for $280,000. If you met all the qualification, and for the purpose of this example, served as a regular active duty member of the military; as a first-time utilizer of a VA Home Loan, you’re going to pay 2.15%, if you don’t put any money down. That’s $6,020! A Guard or Reserve member will have to fork out $9,240! Now imagine you’re paying for a more expensive home, your VA Funding Fee may break the bank. Of course, you have the option of financing the fee or paying in cash, either way, you’re going to have to pay it at closing. But, if you’re a veteran receiving disability compensation, you don’t have to pay anything.

Disability Percentage Needed to Waive a VA Funding Fee

When it comes time to take advantage of all the opportunities that come with having a VA disability, the rate seems to float around 30% service-connected. However, a waived VA Funding Fee only requires the veteran have a 10% service-connected disability. Which makes a $0 down, $0 funding fee home loan attainably realistic.

Is the VA Funding Fee Tax Deductible?

Tax season is like Christmas. Unfortunately, depending on which side of the list you’re on, that can be either a good or bad thing. The IRS is like Santa, and they’re either bringing you a lump of coal in the form of a bill or what you’ve been hoping for all year, a big fat return check, paid in full by the US Government. Some years, however, you might have to fork out even more cash than you anticipated, and Santa seems more like the Grim Reaper, here to take your soul and sell it on the black market. Luckily, if you had to pay a funding fee when purchasing a home with your VA Home Loan, you’re funding fee is most likely tax deductible. There are some factors that could disqualify you, but for now, let’s focus on the nice side of the Christmas List.

If you qualify for the VA Funding Fee Tax Deduction, you have met the following qualifications:

You purchased your home between January 1 and December 31 of the year you’re filing for.

You have a gross income of less than $100,000

The house you purchased is listed as your primary home.

If, none of the above applies to you, still talk to your tax preparer so they can look at other deductible options, such as points.

Best VA Loan Lenders of 2018

  1. Veterans United
  2. Quicken Loans
  3. J.G. Wentworth
  4. Lending Tree
  5. NASB
  6. Cross Country
  7. Rocket Mortgage

Other VA Home Loan Fees

Fees, they’re everywhere. If you don’t believe us, try and pay a loan off early, use a credit card to pay your electric bill or for a new drivers’ license instead of cash, or even try keeping a checking account open. The ways companies find to make you pay them just a little more is astounding. I mean really, who makes you pay more for giving them all their money early? ‘You owe me $20,000 and if you give it all to me today, I’ll only charge you 2% extra’—this is a real thing.

Luckily, the VA doesn’t penalize you for using them, but they do have a few fees you need to keep in mind outside of their funding fee. Also, remember, the VA doesn’t set your interest rates, discount points, and closing costs, so these are fees you need to pay close attention to when dealing with your lender and going through the loan processes.

Fees you need to prepare yourself for using a VA loan include:

Closing Costs: There’s a difference between closing costs and money down. Keep this in mind as you’re looking to purchase a new home. If you want to buy an $80,000 home, your closing cost is likely going to be cheaper than if you decided to go for that $200,000 home. Closing costs are fees that are paid on the day you can officially call the home yours, and because lenders set closing costs and not the VA there’s a lot of room for negotiation. In some cases, the seller will pay your closing costs, but it’s not guaranteed. You can include it in your negotiation process, but again, this is not something the VA has full control over.

With that being said, the VA does have a slight hand in closing costs. The seller can’t pay for more than 4% of your loan. According to the VA, only some types of costs fall under the 4% rule, including pre-paid closing costs, VA funding fee, a payoff of credit balances or judgments for the veteran and payments for temporary “buydowns”. This simply means; while the seller can pay some of your closing costs, if you include, for instance, a payoff of your credit card or some other loan; how much they’re paying for it at closing can’t exceed 4% of your loan.

Other fees you may or may not have to pay include:

VA appraisal, credit report, state and local taxes and recording fees all fall under your closing costs. Again, closing costs are negotiable as to who pays them. So, while the seller may be willing to front the costs, it’s not guaranteed. In some cases, the seller will pay for a certain percentage of your closing costs, leaving you with the rest. But, there are also cases where you’ll be required to pay the entire closing cost without any help from the seller.

Fees the VA won’t let you pay include:

The VA won’t allow you to pay some fees. They know you’ve sacrificed a big part of yourself for the military, so they’re going to cut you a break by not making you pay all the fees a lot of lenders would require; because you’ve earned it.

Maybe it isn’t a lot of money, but in the end a little adds up, and you find yourself grateful you didn’t have to pay for the termite report—unless you’re refinancing—the commissions, broker fees or “buyer broker” fees that you might have paid for otherwise if not using the VA.

If you’re interested in learning about VA loan limits, read this.

Understanding VA Home Loans

A big thing to understand with the VA Home Loan process is how it works, not just how to apply. Never rely solely on the experts. Understanding things such as the funding fee, exemption and other fees like closing costs are all important. Knowing what is and isn’t allowed when utilizing a VA Home Loan is also key to getting through the VA loan process as smoothly as possible. Just because a lender works with VA Home Loans doesn’t mean they know everything. So, the more knowledgeable you are, the better. If you qualify for a funding fee exemption, make sure you tell your lender and then be prepared to show proof. Otherwise, you may end up paying a fee you were never required to pay.

Also, know the VA isn’t the one lending you the money. They set the rules and standards for utilizing their home loan process and they make guarantees with the lenders, but they aren’t forking out that $150,000 loan. You need an actual lender for that. So, make sure you’re looking for a lender who not only knows the ins and outs of VA Home Loans but also have some of the best interest rates and services which meet your particular needs. Because the VA doesn’t set your interest rates, you need to shop around. Some lenders will charge you more fees than others, so look out for that. Again, just because a lender works with the VA does not mean they’re the best option for you.

Best VA Loan Lenders of 2018

If you’re looking for a top lender, here are our top recommendations. You can read more about them here. If you’ve already been through the process of applying for a VA approved home loan and need to make some home improvements, visit us here for a detailed description of how that’s done.

  1. Veterans United
  2. Quicken Loans
  3. J.G. Wentworth
  4. Lending Tree
  5. NASB
  6. Cross Country
  7. Rocket Mortgage

 

 

P.S. We told you there wasn’t any free cake, but thanks for reading anyway.

RE Factor Tactical Marketing Services

In 2015, RE Factor Tactical began offering marketing to third party companies within the tactical gear/gun industry.  Our entire marketing team comes from a Special Operations background, giving us a unique ability to offer a marketing service that is authentic, engaging and organic.  We pride ourselves in creating a marketing product that stands out in an incredibly saturated industry.

Services Offered:

Design- We offer a wide variety of design services from logos to t-shirts and everything in between.  Our in house design team works to design imagery that is unique to your product, your company and the industry.

Blogging- Our in house blogging team is specialized in providing blogging content that will help drive your SEO on key search terms that pertain to your product and company.  Because our bloggers come from a military background they can easily create content that is both accurate to the tactical gear industry and perfectly optimized to help drive organic keyword traffic.

Consulting- If you’re not sure where to get started we can help!  We consult in a number of different avenues from Social Media, SEO, photography and more.

Videography- Our team of school trained videographers have an in-depth knowledge of your customer, how to market your product to the customer and how the customer would use your product in a real world setting.  By starting with the customer we are able to visualize how your products work in a real world setting and we create content that is edgy yet marketable to the end user.  We know how the end user perceives your product because we ourselves are the end users!

Photography- RE Factor Tactical’s marketing services began through photography and we’ve quickly earned ourselves a spot in the industry as one of the top content creators available.  We can offer photography for small projects to large full blown photoshoots.  Our team can show up and capture content or build your photoshoot from scratch by finding venues, equipment and models.

 

Search Engine Optimization- Our team of SEO experts will assess your company and products to find search terms that you can compete on to help drive organic traffic and beat out your competitors.  Our services vary from simple product descriptions to full on blogging campaigns and everything in between.

For more information on our marketing services or a consultation please email info@refactortactical.com

The Best Silhouette Targets

Targets come in a variety of shapes and sizes. One of the most recognized may be the human silhouette. Silhouettes also come with an array of intended purposes; therefore not all silhouettes are created equal. Here’s a list of the best silhouette targets you might consider using on your next trip to the range.

Silhouette Targets 

Silhouette targets can be found in an assortment of material, such as steel, paper, self-healing, etc. You can even find them in different shapes. Animal silhouettes, such as the doe are very common. But, that leaves a lot of questions unanswered, such as what’s the best steel silhouette I can buy? What the best paper silhouette target, and can I print them for free? Or, what’s the difference between this human silhouette and that human silhouette? If you’re purchasing a paper silhouette, is there really such thing as better quality? And so much more. We’ll start with the most common, paper silhouette targets.

Paper Silhouette Targets

Paper silhouette targets are easy to come by, which generally means you can find them at low cost—compared to buying a steel version. If you’re in the market for paper, here’s a good place to begin. You can also read about the best shooting targets overall, to include paper targets here.

1. Iceman Target

The Iceman Target is great for shooters of all levels. But, like we say, the best target is the one that makes you better. This target can help you do that. Iceman lets the shooter know the importance of shot placement. With that should come a better focus on accuracy. You can also work on your target transitions using either a pistol or rifle, which makes this another reason you should bring this target with you on your next range day.

2. Blue Man Target

The Blue Man Target is similar to the Iceman Target. It shows the importance of shot placement and makes the shooter focus on basic skills, with an intention of improving accuracy. The real difference between the two targets is the more realistic human silhouette. While neither is as realistic as a picture of say, Osama Bin Laden, there is an advantage to shooting at the Blue Man Target over the Iceman Target. The Blue man has arms and gives points of aim by importance. For example, the target has points with numbers including 0, 8, 9 and 10. If you hit 0, fatality or stopping the criminal is near impossible. Hitting a 10 location, however, is the most valuable area, which can cause the most damage.

3. ATF Transitional Target

We want you to become a more proficient shooter, which requires you to focus on your shooting fundamentals and ability. This can be done using the ATF Transitional Target. This target is similar to the Blue Man Target. It gives you a human silhouette, only this time there aren’t any numbers showing you the most valuable areas on the body. However, it does come with two extra points of aim, which can allow you to work on your target transitioning skills. This target is primarily used for the ATF Pistol Qualification Test.

4. Triple Silhouette Reactive Shooting Target

The Triple Silhouette target is another great option for shooters wanting to work on target transition. Having three silhouettes can also lead to shooters working on their level of accuracy. For instance, if you have three silhouettes on one target, and only one of them is the “shooter”, you’re not going to aim for all three. Instead, you imagine, the non-shooters are your hostages, and if you shoot them, game over. That’s why owning a gun of any kind comes with a lot of responsibility. When you shoot it, you better shoot it at the right target. This is also why it’s important to practice with multiple points of aim any time you’re out on the range. You don’t want to get the title “most likely to shoot the hostage”, so practice with accuracy in mind.

This particular paper silhouette target is also a splatter target, which means you can see where you hit instantly. This is great for shooting from a further distance, and it’s fun.

5. B-27 IMZ Human Silhouette

The IMZ Human Silhouette is another great silhouette-style target. This target was designed with self-defense in mind. It contains a human skeleton structure inside the silhouette, and with its bright, high-density ink, you can get more out of each round you send downrange. The skeletal system is definitely an added bonus and will let shooters know the impact of their hit.

Steel Silhouette Targets

Most people like steel targets, because unlike paper targets, they have a long lifespan. They also have the advantage of instant feedback. Paper targets don’t fall down when you shoot at them, if they do, you’ve probably hit the tack or staple holding it in—you’re not supposed to do that. Steel targets, however, fall down, make a heavenly sound and in most cases, popping back up or spinning around, awaiting your next round. You can learn more about steel targets here.

1. AR500 12×20 x 3/8″ Silhouette steel shooting target with full stand mount kit

If you read our blogs regularly you’ve seen us talk about this particular steel target a few times now. We like it because it considers safety. If you’re not careful, steel targets can sometimes cause rounds to ricochet. This target takes that into account and gave it a 20% incline. The incline will help prevent ricochet by deflecting it toward the ground. Keep in mind, this particular steel silhouette is AR500 with a 3/8” cut. This type of steel is rated to handle the impact from magnum handguns and rifles up to .308. It can also be used with .223/5.56, 5.45×39, 7.62×39 and other similar rounds. You can read more about this here.

2. High Caliber AR500 1/2″ Thick Animal Silhouette Targets – For precision practice

 

Animal silhouettes are often used by hunters and are even better if you can get a life-sized one. Now, we can understand why finding or even making a life-sized 1/2” thick bear silhouette would be pretty hard to do, considering the cost and weight of such a target. With that being said, it’s still good practice, just pretend it’s a small bear. This particular animal silhouette works with .300 and .338 magnum rifles. Anything beyond this, such as a .408 will require a 3/4” piece of AR500 steel. 

3. Jumping Targets Animal Steel Shooting Target Rockin’ Rabbit

Any target with the name “rockin’” in it sounds like a fun target to shoot at. This steel target is an AR500 3/8” piece of steel. It’s a great target because it moves and then resets itself after it’s been shot. So, you can both hear and see that your round landed on the target. This rockin’ rabbit includes four small targets on the ends of the rockers to help improve accuracy. We also like this target because it’s a rabbit wearing sunglass, and who doesn’t love an animal wearing glasses?

Doe Silhouettes

We gave doe silhouettes their own category, not because they’re so much more superior than other animal silhouettes, but because they might be the most popular in the category of animal silhouettes. Doe silhouettes are great for the hunter. And because it’s a popular game, a lot of hunters will choose it over others, such as a pig.

You can get doe silhouettes as either a steel or paper silhouette. The advantage to some paper silhouettes, is they show you the sweet spot on the deer—you could probably add this to a steel target yourself if you know where the sweet spot is. However, a steel target can be used over and over again. Remember, while steel is great, you should get the one rated for your caliber. You can read more about the best steel targets and their ratings here.

What is a Reactive Target?

A reactive target is what it sounds like. It’s a target that sends a reaction. For example, a steel target is a reactive target. When you hit it, you’ll hear a sound—it’s action/reaction in an instant. Some steel targets do more than make a sound. There are reactive targets, which fall when you hit them and then reset, which tends to be a lot of fun for new shooters because they give instant gratification.

Steel targets, however, are not the only reactive targets on the market. Paper targets can be reactive as well. For instance, splatter targets. When you hit a splatter target, you get instant confirmation because you can see where you hit immediately. A spatter target will show a bright ring around the point of impact. These tend to be a bright green ring, but the colors will vary from target to target.

You can also make your own reactive targets. Again, a reactive target just means you get a reaction out of your target. For instance, some people will fill balloons up with paint. When you hit the balloon it sends paint everywhere, which youth shooters generally love.

Reactive Silhouette Targets

Again, a reactive target is simply a target, which gives you immediate feedback. That feedback can come from sound, movement or splatter. Therefore, keep in mind, all steel targets are reactive targets. When you see an advertisement saying, “steel reactive target”, it’s just reiterating it’s going to make a noise when you hit it.

1. AR500 Steel Silhouette Reactive Reset Pistol & Rifle Target

This target is clearly reactive because it’s steel. However, it also has two holes cut out in the shoulders. Because of this, you can hang your target from a chain. This means, you’ll get a second reaction—it’s going to move—when you hit it. Meaning, it’s great for those of us who are hearing impaired. You no longer have to rely on a sound you can’t hear, and you can see that you hit the target when it swings back and forth.

2. Jumping Targets Animal Steel Shooting Target Rockin’ Gopher 

Jumping Targets makes a 3/8” AR500 steel target that does more than just make an auditory reaction. This particular reactive target rocks back when you hit it, and should reset for your next round. The “Rockin’ Gopher” also comes with four smaller targets on the sides so you can work on improving your precision.

3. Threat Down Silhouette CTZ Bundle

Threat Down Silhouette CTZ targets are definitely not your average paper targets. This style of reactive targets comes with small paint pouches on them. If you hit one of the key areas on the target, paint come oozing out, making it feel like a more realistic shot. It helps the shooter improve their accuracy while also giving instant feedback on shot placement.

What are IPSC Targets? 

To answer the commonly asked question, “What are IPSC Targets?” It is important to first know what IPSC stands for. IPSC is the International Practical Shooting Confederation. This confederation recognizes handguns, rifles, shotguns and action air. They are recognized at the World Shoot, as their flag passes during the closing ceremonies. During competitions, IPSC makes sure that they never have the same course of fire. This means competitors are getting a lot of diversity by shooting in these matches. It also keeps the competitor form becoming too familiarized and being able to play the system. However, a simple online search will show you variations of IPSC targets. This lets competitors practice on what could be one of the many styles of targets they could encounter. It is important however to know that IPSC uses a lot of variety. They use multiple targets, moving targets, reactive targets, penalty targets and partially covered targets. So, if you were thinking about entering a shooting competition with IPSC, make sure you’re working to become a well-rounded shooter.

Here’s a list of some targets rated for IPSC competition

1. IPSC/USPSA Practice Target

This target is an approved IPSC and USPSA practice target. It is specifically designed for training to compete in IPSC/USPSA shooting matches. If you were thinking about signing up for one of these matches, this would be a great target for you.

 2. IPSC/USPSA Cardboard Targets

The IPSC/USPSA Cardboard Target is sized at 18” x 30”. It’s also reversible. One side is white, while the other is brown, as seen in the picture above. However, unlike the picture, these targets don’t actually have lines. The target is perforated, and the lines are simply pointing this out. You can use this target multiple time—depending on your shooting habits—simply use a matching colored sticker to patch the holes.

3. Target Stand Shooting Holder Base

Okay, we know this isn’t a target, but it’s a target stand holder that was made with the IPSC shooter in mind. It’s a stand made with steel and it holds both standard IPSC, USPSA and IDPA targets. It’s also a collapsible base, which makes for easy storage.

How Big Is a B-27 Target?

A B-27 is one of the most common targets out there. You can think of B-27 as a code. With that being said there are varying “codes” for different targets. These codes, like the B-27 target, are kind of like a model number for a car, except this is a model number for shooting targets. A standard B-27 full-size silhouette paper target is 24”x45”. You can get a B-27, B-27-E, B-27 PRO-G and more. Again, the code is in reference to the model of the target. A target with a man holding a gun is a different model number than a standard black silhouette target. Say you wanted a target with a man shooting a gun at you, you would be getting a B-60 target, whereas a B-27E is a simple silhouette of the human torso.

B-27 Silhouette Targets

1. Official NRA 50 Yard B-27

This official NRA B-27 target is a silhouette of a man with his arms hanging to his sides. This style of target is extremely recognizable to shooters but used mostly by different law enforcement agencies. You’re likely to see avid shooters with this target pinned up at the range. And with the 7 numbered rings, it allows the shooter to realize the importance of shot placement.

2. B-27E Economy Target

The B-27E Economy Target is a different variation of the standard B-27 target. This target comes as a silhouette human torso only. It still has 7 rings in the center of the body to help shooters work on hitting the most vital areas of the body. The only major difference is the lack of arms.

What’s the Best Target for me? 

Overall, the best target for you is the one that gives you quality training and a lot of variety. When you’re looking to purchase a target of any kind, even a silhouette make sure it’s the one that fits your needs and helps to improve your accuracy. If you want to know the best targets for rifles, click here. If you need pistol targets, check out that article here. If you’re not in the market for targets because your budget is a little tight, you can also find free, good quality, printable targets here. Just remember, no matter what target you’re looking to get, the best one is the one that makes you better.

Home Security Review

ADT has been around for a long time, almost 150 years long. It’s no surprise they’re so well known. In fact, they’re the leading company in security nationwide. If you’ve ever considered using ADT, make sure you read the following first for our home security review.

What does ADT Stand for?

ADT stands for American District Telegraph. It got its name back in 1874 from its founder, Edward Callahan. Callahan had created a telegraph-based system called a “call box”. The call box was a connection which sent a signal to the call center—a security measure dedicated to businesses. ADT would later make connections to homes. Unfortunately, this was more than a century ago, and telephone systems weren’t quite a thing yet. This meant the company had “runners”. It was the runners’ job to find out what happened and then notify the police. Luckily for us today, this style of security has been improved with advanced technology.

Click here to review ADT pricing

Over the years, ADT and been bought out by various companies. And with this came a lot of minor name changes. While ADT has always kept its primary name, it’s come with some additions. When Hawley Group, Ltd. purchased ADT; they renamed the company ADT Security Systems Inc. that was in 1987. In 1996, the company had a second minor name change, ADT Security Services, Inc. Finally, Tyco International LTD bought out ADT, where it would keep its name.

ADT History

ADT has a long history, not just in its name. While ADT took off in 1874, after a home invasion, the story behind it started much earlier. Edward Callahan was not in the business of advanced home security—which is expected, since home security in the 1800s lied in the hands of the homeowner and a good shotgun. Before Callahan got into the business he was a telegrapher. This explains why the telegraph was a base for his invention. After only a few years, there were call boxes in 50 towns, which meant by 1890, more than 500 homes were receiving services from ADT.

Once the wars began, ADT was needed more than ever. Many businesses lost manpower and ADT had the means to give security to those companies. During this time, ADT created the first automated alarm system, known as the Telewave automatic intrusion system. ADT also created the Teletherm automatic fire detection system.

In 1969, ADT finally became a publicly owned company. And when technology took off in the states, around 1970, so did ADT. They went on to create a more advanced security system and started the automated Central Station.

Throughout the years ADT advanced in the security industry. They created the Unimode fire system, introduced central station monitoring and created the wireless Safewatch System. Today they’ve created a lot of great offers, each with state of the art security technology. So you can rest easy at night, knowing someone’s watching out for you.

ADT Packages

ADT offers various packages for the potential customer to select from. You can choose the most basic package, which requires you to have a landline. You can also get a basic wireless package, which is actually quite a bit more with the same services. However, they also offer wireless services and a combination. So, if you’re worried about someone cutting your landline and disabling your system, you can always go with a wireless system and a landline. Wireless is also a great option for renters. If you rent, and can’t have some company come in a drill a bunch of holes in your walls and floors, then the wireless system might work best for you. If you’re concerned about wireless falling through, again, you could opt to do both a wireless and landline combination, giving you a peace of mind—something ADT has been doing for nearly 150 years.

When you finally decide on which package you want, know you’ll have to pay more than your monthly package fee. ADT services also come with a $99 installation fee. If you want an extended warranty, it’s an add-on, just like fire, Co2, and medical protection. As of this article, there’s not a huge price jump between the Basic Wireless package and ADT Pulse, and you get several new perks. You’re not paying extra for an extended warranty and you’re getting access to home automation and Mobile Access with Alerts. If you want to go all out, there’s the ADT Pulse +Video package. This package includes all the same things as ADT Pulse, except now you get security camera(s), live video streaming and recording.

A plus to selecting ADT over other security companies is their added pet-friendly motion detector. This comes with all packages and it doesn’t cost you any extra. With this detector, you don’t have to worry about your dog setting it off. ADT says their motion detector is rated for dogs up to 80 lbs.

If you decide to forgo a package, meaning you need more than the basic equipment included, you’re probably going to have to pay more. Going with their package options are definitely the better deal and you’re still getting a lot of protection 24/7.

Click to learn more about ADT pricing

ADT Cameras

ADT offers a few types of cameras. They offer both an indoor and outdoor camera. Even a doorbell camera. Which is actually pretty cool. If someone rings your doorbell, you can see who’s there without leaving your couch. Or, if you’re not at home, you can do the same thing using the ADT Pulse app.

ADT Indoor Security Cameras

ADT also offers Indoor Security Cameras. If you purchase ADT Pulse +Video, you get this option. Because your indoor cameras are motion activated, the pet-friendly motion sensor comes in handy. If it senses something other than your dog, it will send you a video clip automatically. If you have more than one indoor camera, you can always shift between them. You also have the option of recording.

ADT Outdoor Security Cameras

Outdoor Security Cameras are where it’s at. These cameras let you see who’s coming up to your property and when they leave. It’s also a great deterrent for burglary, both inside and outside the home. Combined with your ADT app, you can see your camera’s video footage at any time. The outdoor camera is similar to the indoor version, but with weather in mind. Outdoor cameras are snow, rain and humidity resistant. The cameras also come with a built-in heater, to guarantee function at temperatures as low as -40 degrees. They’re also built with infrared night vision, meaning you can see what’s going on no matter what time it is.

ADT Prices

ADT offers home security on the more expensive side of things. But the extra cost you’re paying might be worth it if you’re looking for a long-standing company who’s been in the game since before home security was even invented. Let’s face it, ADT has been around so long, they are the real professionals out there. Just look for the promotions. ADT offers them all the time, which could actually end up saving you a lot of money.

ADT Signs

If you were thinking, “this just costs too much for me”, we understand. The good news is, you can always pretend you have ADT. Unfortunately pretending to have ADT and actually having ADT are two different things, and pretending won’t actually provide you with that much security.

So, if you’d rather forgo you, your spouse and your child’s utmost safety, then you can always buy an ADT sign without all the ADT prices. Again, since you have to put a warning on everything these days—an ADT sign does not guarantee you or your family’s safety. So don’t be stupid and try and sue ADT after someone broke into your home, even though you put 7 signs in the yard and 26 stickers in all four corners of your windows. That’s not how these things work.

ADT APP

Yes, ADT has an app. I think most major companies these days do, so it shouldn’t come to you as a surprise. ADT’s app is called, “ADT Pulse”. If you have the ADT’s Pulse Monitoring +Video package, you can use the app for home automation. With the app, you can also manage, monitor and modify your home when you’re not there. Some of the features only come with the added video package.

The app gives you the option of viewing any video cameras on your property. You can also record and save the video to your phone. The app gives you the option of locking and unlocking your doors, changing the temperature in your home, lighting, monitoring your doorbell camera and even the option for home automation switches plugs.

Again, these functions vary on what you’ve purchased and what you’ve set-up with ADT. This means, if you don’t have a doorbell camera, you won’t be able to monitor it.

ADT Security Reviews

Overall, ADT is a great company. They provide high-quality security monitoring and you’ll always have someone watching out for you. Most people who review ADT, say they have a quick response time and have no issues with the technology. However, with any large company, there’s going to be complaints. In ADT’s case, the complaints generally come from customer service and lengthy contracts, not from the quality of security they provide.

ADT Customer Service

ADT is a large company, and like most big companies out there, they have smaller, local dealers all around the country. This can sometimes pose a problem. If you look ADT up on Better Business Bureau, you’ll find they have an A+, however, their customer service seems to take a hit when it comes to their local dealers. Meaning, depending on where you live, you could either end up with excellent or terrible customer service.

But, don’t let this be your deciding factor on choosing ADT over another company. ADT’s security services more than compensate for the local customer service some people may receive. Because at the end of the day, ADT has six monitoring centers around the nation—more than the other leading companies. This means, heaven forbid one of the centers goes down, all their calls will go to another monitoring center.

ADT Contracts

You may be turned off by ADT’s lengthy contract terms at 36-month. Three years is quite a long time. Of course, there’s always the 24-month contract option in some states. If the term agreement is more than what you’re looking for, there are other security services out there with shorter contracts. However, keep in mind, a 36-month contract isn’t really that much different from other home security services on the market. In fact, they do have a slight advantage over those other providers. In most cases, if you break your contract with a home security provider, you’ll have to pay 100% of your remaining contract off. However, with ADT, you’re only required to pay 75% of the cost back. And a 25% difference is a lot of money in your pocket.

You also have six months to test out the services, and if you’re not completely happy you can cancel your contract without having to pay that 75% back. However, that “no hassle, money back guarantee” is subject to the terms and agreements of the Residential Service Contract you made with ADT. They will refund your installation charge and your ADT Security Services.

The only major difference may be with military members who PCS or deploy. Security companies should let you out of their contract at no cost if it’s for a military obligation. This means, if you buy a house in Wyoming and get ADT, but two years later you PCS, you can break your 3-year contract. You also have the option of transferring your service to your new location. There is, however, a reactivation movers fee. So, make sure you talk with an ADT representative to discuss your particular situation.

Remember, before you sign your contract, read the fine print. Local permits are required with all activated security systems. Which usually requires only a small fee. It will depend on your local policy. Usually, this requires the homeowner to submit an application along with your local permit fee. For example, you may be required to mail or personally take your application to the local police department. This isn’t a fee you’re paying to ADT, and you can get fined for not filing a permit with your county.

ADT Discounts

Make sure you ask your local provider about any promotions ADT is offering. ADT has offered free installation for an indoor and outdoor security camera, large cuts in their basic installation price and so much more over the years. But remember, not all deals are offered everywhere, so check with your local provider.

Click to learn more about ADT pricing

Uninstall ADT Security System

If you aren’t happy with your ADT services, you’re moving and don’t want to reinstall or you are moving to a location where ADT is not provided. You may be asking, “How do I uninstall my ADT Security System?”

Your first step is to disconnect your services. Meaning, you’re going to have to get in touch with an ADT representative to terminate your current service. Once this is done, you will be provided with a box for shipping.

You’re also going to need a couple tools: A Phillips head screwdriver and a small flathead screwdriver—not provided by ADT. Once you’ve acquired all the necessary tools to uninstall your security system, you’ll need to uninstall the base unit.

This is done by first removing the screw which holds in your transformer. You can then unplug the transformer. You should see two wires—these are your leads. Loosen the screws holding your leads down so you can remove them.

Now, onto your base unit. You’ll need to unplug the ethernet cable and the power cord. You will find another screw on the back cover of the unit—while it’s still attached to the wall, remove that screw. After you’ve loosened the screw and unplugged everything, you should be able to lift the unit directly off the mount. The back cover that’s left has screws in it as well, which you’ll need to remove. Your next step is to unplug the battery in the unit—do this by disconnecting the wires inside. There’s also a screw holding the battery in, so make sure you loosen that enough to remove the battery. Once you’ve done this, you should be able to lift the battery with the wires you unplugged. After all that’s done, simply put the unit back together the same way you took it apart. Replace the back cover and the screw to their original locations.

Your keypad is uninstalled similarly. First, you will have to disconnect your transformer—it’s exactly the same as your wall mount’s transformer. For the keypad, you’ll remove the screw holding the keypad—this should be on the bottom of the unit, depending on your model. Next, lift the unit off the mount and unplug the power cable. Remove the wall mount by taking out the screws holding it to the wall. Then, disconnect the battery and loosen the screw in the same manner as you did with the base unit. Finally, replace the back and screw it in.

If you have a table mount system, where your base unit is not plugged into the wall, you’ll simply need to unplug the system and remove the battery in the same manner as a wall mounted base unit.

After everything is uninstalled you should be able to place the system in the provided bags and boxes for shipment. Package everything neatly and then send it on its way.

ADT Careers 

ADT has been providing home security for years and now they want to provide you with job security. ADT has a huge selection of job opening all over the country. If you’re looking to get in the business of security, look to ADT. ADT offers a range of positions from Monitoring Operator, Call Center Representative (Alarm Dispatcher) and Inside Sales Call Center Representative. ADT also believes in culture, community outreach, employee benefits, learning and development, and diversity and inclusion. If this sounds like something for you, don’t be afraid to visit their Working at ADT site, here.

The Best Rifle Targets for Your Next Range Day

You’re gearing up for range day! You have your rifle, ammo, cleaning kit, safety accessories and probably a bunch of other crap you don’t actually need—which is fine, it’s probably better to be safe than sorry. But, did you truly consider the type of targets you’ll be using? If not, here’s a list of the best rifle targets.

Best Rifle Targets

1. IQ Target

By now you may have noticed the IQ Target is one of our favorites. There’s a reason it’s always number 1. It makes the shooter think. Instead of simply going out and sending a few rounds down range, you’re now doing it with purpose. What’s so awesome about this target is how great it is for any shooter’s skill level. Whether it’s your first time touching a gun or you millionth, this target is going to work for you.

The shooter now has multiple points of aim on the same target, which combined with the Dead Man’s Hand rifle shooting deck, challenges even the most skilled shooter. This target also works great in various shooting courses. The instructor can give commands such as, “shoot all the squares” or “shoot all the shapes with a ‘1’ in it”. The shooter is now forced to think about where they need to shoot and how they’re shooting. It’s no longer about shooting the same target over and over again. The shooter needs to continue focusing on the basics, to get the round on paper, while the need to think adds a new level of difficulty you can’t get on a plain silhouette target.

2. Steiner Precision Target

The Steiner Precision Target is great for the long range shooter and is meant to be used with Steiner Optics. It not only includes a standard long range bullseye, but it also comes with a “T” box for various sniper qualification schools and 1”, 2”, and 3” squares used as an MOA zero at 100, 200 and 300 yards.

3. Hitman Target

The Hitman Target was designed with the long range shooter in mind. This target was built with comprehensive zeroing and an engagement system for precision marksmanship. Shooters can work on their precision shots while seeing the impact their round is making because of the grid overlay system—which by the way is in both Metric and US/Imperial measurements. The squares have also been sized from 1-3″ to maintain a 1 MOA zero at 100, 200, and 300 yards.

4. Splatterburst Targets

Okay, Splatterburst targets are just fun and they work with just about any type of firearm. If you’re shooting from a distance, you’re able to see if you’ve hit the target or not. While it’s not necessarily ideal for making adjustments if you don’t have a decent pair of binoculars, it does give the shooter an idea as to how well they’re shooting. For example, if one round lands left or right of the bullseye, maybe you’ve jerked the trigger. After you’ve put a few rounds downrange, if they’ve group in the same location, you’ll have to make adjustments to your rifle accordingly. But at least with a splatter target, you can see immediate results without binoculars or walking downrange just to find out you’re on target.

5. Spinner Targets

Spinner targets are awesome—if you get the one rated for your rifle’s caliber. They’re generally easy to set up and you don’t have to worry about buying them as often as paper targets. They also give you immediate feedback. If it spins, you hit it, if it doesn’t, well, you suck.

Spinner targets are also great for new shooters, and youth shooters tend to love them because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as hearing and seeing the results of your perfect aim.

The Caldwell AR500 Steel Spinner Target is a great example of a spinner target that’s meant to withstand rifle use. This target is a 3/8” cut, and meant to handle a .308 Winchester at 150 yards. The target is also good for bad shooters, who tend to hit everything but the target, because everything is replaceable. If you damage the steel legs or crossbar, it can be replaced by a 1/2” re-bar.

Best Steel for Rifle Targets: AR500 Targets

AR500 is a specific type of steel, you can shoot. Unlike some steel, which is too hard, causing the round to ricochet and potentially cause life-threatening injuries—AR500, depending on its cut will withstand different calibers. With this being said, just because it’s AR500 grade steel, does not mean you can shoot whatever you want at it, from whatever distance. With rifles in mind, AR500 steel comes in three major cuts, 3/8”, 1/2” and 3/4”. If you want to shoot a rifle with a caliber up to .308, then 3/8”will work. However, if you’re thinking about shooting a .338 magnum rifle, you’ll have to invest in some 1/2” steel targets. Now, let’s talk about 3/4” steel. Because this steel is much thicker than the other AR500 steel targets mentioned above, it is also quite a bit more expensive. Of course, prices vary based on the size of steel and company you order from. The good news is; this steel can handle much higher calibers, such as .408, .416 and 50 BMG.

Something to keep in mind: When you purchase your steel target, don’t buy more than you need! This is just a really stupid idea. If you don’t plan on shooting a .50 Browning machine gun, because you only have a .308, then there’s no point in buying an AR500 3/4” steel target. All you’ll be doing is wasting your hard-earned cash, and you won’t be any better off for it.

Here’s a list of steel targets you can purchase, based on your caliber:

Highwild AR500

Highwild laser cuts a 3/8” steel target meant to withstand calibers up to a .308, including .223, 5.56, 5.54×39, 7.62×39, and other similar rounds. If you’re shooting at this target with a rifle, simply make sure you’re a minimum of 100 yards away. The 3/8” AR500 steel target is also capable of handling the impact from magnum handguns.

AR500 1 Silhouette Steel Shooting Target & Full Portable Stand

Ar500 Target Solutions makes a 1/2” steel silhouette shooting target. What’s nice about this is, it comes with a portable stand that’s easy to put together. The 1/2” steel will handle daily rifle use, including the impact from .300 and .338 magnum rifles. The target is also set at a 20% angle to deflect shrapnel.

XSteel 3/4″ AR500 12″ X 20″ Torso

When buying steel targets, remember—steel isn’t the cheapest metal. Meaning, the thicker your target is, the more money it’s going to cost. So, if you don’t need it, don’t get it.

The XSteel Torso Target is meant to stand up to a .50 BMG, .416 and a .408. Keeping safety in mind, if you’re using .50BMG, ball or solid brass ammo, you’ll need to be a minimum of 300 yards away, but 400 yards is preferred.

Targets for Sighting in Rifles

Following weapons safety, inspecting and cleaning your weapon, and doing your function checks, zeroing may be the next most important part of owning a rifle. Otherwise, who knows what you might hit. With that being said there’s a lot of tools out there to help you sight in your rifle some for boresighting or simply to hold the rifle steady in an attempt to prevent human error. There are also some pretty great targets out there you should add to your range bag for zeroing day.

1. Hitman Targets

The Hitman Target is designed to offer long range shooters a comprehensive zeroing and engagement system for precision marksmanship. If this is you, the printed grid overlay system in both Metric and US/Imperial measurements are a must. The target allows you to see the impact offset and then adjusted onto different zeroing squares. The squares have been sized 1-3″ for maintaining a 1 MOA zero at 100, 200, and 300 yards with precision aiming points at their centers. They have also been colored to contrast with red and black reticles for improved sight picture. The shooter can even rotate the target 90º for MILDOT measurements for wind call adjustments.

2. Steiner Precision Targets

The Long range target comes with a standard long range bullseye.  It also includes a “T” box, used as a sniper qualifier by many local, state and federal police agencies. Under the target are 1, 2 and 3″ squares used as an MOA zero at 100, 200 and 300 yards.  So, if you’re looking for sniper precision, this is the perfect zeroing target for you.

3. EZ2C Red Dot Optics Style 5

The EZ2C is meant to help zero in your optic sights. You can buy this style of target fairly cheap and still benefit from it. EZ2C use a bright green center for their targets so there’s contrast between your sights and sight picture.

Cheap Shooting Targets

If you’re looking for a cheap day at the range, a great place to start is with your targets. If you need more range time, but can’t swing the bill for targets—because you spent all your money on beer and bullets—then there are a few cheap alternatives to those more expensive targets.

Paper targets tend to be some of the cheaper targets on the market. Not to mention, the quality and quantity of paper targets you can purchase vary extensively. There are paper targets that let you know when you hit the target, such as splatter targets. There are paper targets for zeroing, such as the grid overlay targets. There are paper targets used for games and targets simply used to help improve your precision. They even make weatherproof targets—so you can practice for the zombie apocalypse during the next hurricane. We don’t advice this.

Simply buying paper targets vs. a steel target can save you a lot of money short-term. If you need something for right then, paper targets are great. You don’t have to worry about your round ricocheting off the steel target—though knowing what’s behind your backdrop is still a huge deal. Paper targets can also be a great option for your cheap day at the range because it’s easier to purchase paper targets in bulk.

Bulk paper targets

If you’re looking for a cheap target option, buying your favorites in bulk can help alleviate some of the cost. Here’s a list of some well-known targets, which you can buy in bulk.

Big Dawg Targets

Big Dawg Targets are great for shooters who enjoy using the same target—although we recommend changing it up a bit—and with 250 3” adhesive targets, you won’t run out anytime soon—at least not within the hour. This target is also a splatter target, meaning you can see where your rounds land without having to walk all the way downrange.

Champion Redfield Style Precision Sight-In Target

The Champion Redfield Style Precision Sight-In Target claims to be made of the highest quality material. It’s also a pretty recognizable target. It’s great for conforming sight-in groups and the small diamond targets can be used to test the results of various ballistic loads. It also comes in a pack of 100, which saves you a little money over buying one target at a time.

Rite in the Rain Weatherproof 25 Meter Target

If you’ve served any time in the military, you recognize this target for zeroing your rifle. Did you know it was also weatherproof? If not, now you do. This 25-meter target is great for zeroing an M16A2/A4 or M4 Carbine, and with its grid overlay, makes MOA adjustment a lot easier. This particular purchase also comes in a 100-pack sheet, again, only saving you more money.

Shooting Range Targets for Pistols or Rifles

2002 Bin Laden Army M16A1 Rifle Target Practice Poster

We really like this target, not just because you can shoot at it, but because it has a picture of Bin Laden’s face on it—violence promoted—and we really like shooting at terrorists, even if they’re already dead. This target was also an official target for the army, back in 2002. It was meant to be used with the M16A1 Rifle at 25-meters—of course, you don’t have to use a military issued rifle to use this target. The target comes with varying sized pictures of Bin Laden, to simulate him being 50-300 meters away.

You can also get a 10 pack of some of the most notorious douchebags no longer alive today here.

EZ2C Paper Targets

Any target that makes you better is a good target. It doesn’t matter if it’s a paper target, steel target or a game—if you’re getting variety and gaining valuable skills. With that being said, the more you get out of your targets, the better. That’s why we like these EZ2C Paper Targets. They’re range versions of some of your simple, favorite games you grew up with, including tic-tac-toe, darts, and battleship. This means you can have fun at the range and still improve upon your kills.

Steel Target Stands

AR500 Steel Target Full 2×4 Stand and Mount Kit

This target is meant specifically to go with AR500 Steel targets. This 2×4 stand and mount kit are portable, so you can take it anywhere and set it up, and then bring it home for safe keeping until your next range day. It’s also really easy to put together, and since you weren’t going to use the instructions anyway, it’s probably for the best. This specific target’s top mount hangs the target at a 20% downward incline, which means it’s a lot safer than your average target stand. The incline allows shrapnel to be deflected toward the ground instead of your face.

Highwild Shooting Target Stand with Chain Mounting Kit

This particular style of target is another easy to assemble target stand. So easy, it doesn’t even require tools to put it together. It’s built to be sturdier, having a boxed design and pegs to fix it to the ground. This prevents the target from moving every time you shoot at it.

DIY Target Stands

Maybe you don’t feel like buying a target stand. You can always make one. If you already have the materials lying around, it’s an even better idea. Building a target stand actually isn’t that hard either and takes few carpentry skills. Click here for the instructions and materials needed to build your very own target stand.

If you’ve made it this far, you’ve been adequately prepared to purchase a few new targets for your next day at the range—you’re welcome. If you took nothing else away from this, remember, the best target is the one that makes you better. With everyone in mind, RE Factor Tactical has a verity of targets to accommodate even the most novice shooter. So, remember, no matter what your target needs are, we have your back.

North American Savings Bank (NASB) VA Loan Review

North American Savings Bank – A Leading National Mortgage Lender

North American Savings Bank, F.S.B. (NASB) was founded in 1923 and is based in Grandview, Missouri.  It is the 10th largest bank in Missouri and, as of its most recent ranking,  it is the 415th largest bank in the country. Today, North American Savings Bank is a wholly-owned subsidiary of NASB Financial, Inc.

NASB offers its customers a comprehensive selection of commercial and retail banking products and services, including checking and savings accounts, as well as certificates of deposit. The company also offers a wide range of loan products, including home mortgage, reverse mortgage, loss mitigation, commercial real estate loans, self-directed IRA loans, and construction and development loans.

View NASB VA Loan Rates Here

Since its inception, NASB has been recognized for providing strong and stable financial management on behalf of its members. Most of their nine branch offices are located in the greater Kansas City metropolitan area, in addition to three residential loan origination offices, and one residential construction loan origination office.

Considered to be one of the top real estate lenders on the Internet, NASB also offers home mortgages in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Since 2010, NASB has made it possible for over 46,000 customers  to realize their dream of home ownership, providing loans in excess of $12 billion dollars.  Currently, the company has a total of $1.2 billion in assets under its control.

NASB is also renowned for its efficient, courteous and professional service, and for offering customers very competitive interest rates and nominal lender fees.

Whether you’re in the market for a VA, FHA or conventional loan, NASB and their experienced loan officers can help you determine which type of loan best suits your needs.

Multiple Ways to Apply for Loan

If a customer lives near a NASB branch office in the Kansas City area, applying for a mortgage loan can be conducted in person. But the company also offers the opportunity to initiate the loan application process online, or to make contact with a loan officer by phone.

NASB began its internet lending operations in 1999, making it one of the very first banks to establish an online presence. If a customer should go online to the NASB website, they have the option to fill out a very simple form and submit it to the company. An experienced loan officer will then personally contact them to facilitate next steps.

Also, the company makes it possible to establish an online account which allows customers to sign and submit loan documents electronically. In addition, with an NASB account, it is possible to make mortgage payments online with a debit or credit card.

One minor drawback is that NASB does not provide an online tracker that allows customers to track the step-by-step status of their loan application; however, that information can be provided by an NASB loan officer who will routinely update you throughout the process.

View our Top Rated VA Lenders

A VA Loan Powerhouse

NASB ranks as one of the top VA lenders in the country and the company is proud to serve the military community. Nearly 70% of NASB’s mortgages originate through their participation in the VA loan program and in the past six years,

NASB has made loans to 15,000 military and veteran customers, generating more than  $4.5 billion in mortgage loans. 

NASB makes the VA loan process efficient, easy, and economical for veterans, active-duty military, and other eligible applicants.  And whether they are interested in a purchase or refinance loan (including a cash-out refinance), NASB can fulfill their needs.

Other cost-saving advantages available to NASB’s VA customers include no origination or lender fees, and the company does not require private mortgage insurance either. The absence of these fees help prospective VA loan home owners to save thousands of dollars during the life of their loan.

NASB loan officers are also available to assist borrowers through every step of the loan process – from getting pre-qualified to closing on their VA loan.

Like most VA lenders, NASB is able to lend up to 100% of a home’s purchase price. In most areas of the country, the maximum loan amount is $424,100 but in higher cost regions of the country, the maximum loan amount is $729,750. 

Qualified veterans can borrow up to 100% of the home’s value which means no down payment is required. And as mentioned above, private mortgage insurance is also not required. Compared to the costs of obtaining a conventional loan, those borrowers who are eligible for a VA loan from NASB will save a considerable amount of money.   

NASB considers several factors when evaluating loan applications. These include:

  • Employment verification
  • 2 years of verified  income
  • A minimum credit score of 620
  • Any bankruptcy or foreclosure proceedings

When applying for a VA loan, a pending bankruptcy action may not be disqualifying. It is possible to be in the middle of Chapter 13 bankruptcy and still be approved for a loan. In addition, as part of its loan application process, NASB will conduct a home inspection to ascertain the property’s fair market value.

Typically, NASB charges an origination fee of $995 on all its loans but that fee is waived on its VA loans, saving VA borrowers even more money.

LendingTree Names NASB a Top VA Lender

Recently, LendingTree,  a leading online loan marketplace, designated NASB as a top VA lender. The basis for determining this award included NASB’s overall loan volume and quality customer service.  Specifically, LendingTree mentioned that NASB offers its VA loan customers quick and efficient loan processing, competitive interest rates, and exceptional customer service. LendingTree also acknowledged that NASB has a reputation for conducting its business in a professional manner, and for its willingness to go the extra mile in order to get the job done.

As an approved VA lender, NASB maintains the highest financial standards and practices, and the entire company works hard on behalf of veterans and military personnel to promote an efficient and positive loan experience for them.

Also, every NASB loan officer is tested and trained annually in VA lending practices and regulatory compliance, in order to maintain their eligibility to serve veteran and active duty customers.

NASB Offers IRA Non-Recourse Loans

In addition to its successful VA lending program, NASB also offers IRA non-recourse loans for use in investment properties. A Self-directed Individual Retirement Account is an IRA with fewer restrictions and permits investments in real estate. Investors can utilize funds from their IRAs to pay for a real estate  investment property. Money from an IRA account can be used to pay for all expenses related to buying and owning a home – including property taxes, maintenance costs, and insurance.

If a borrower should default and the home enters foreclosure, the investor’s IRA account is protected from creditors; the investment property itself is the only collateral. This is what defines this type of mortgage as a non-recourse loan.

These kinds of loans are for investment purposes only — the property cannot serve as the borrower’s primary residence. Also, the IRA must be self-directed; investments in real estate are not typically part of IRAs that are managed by  larger brokerage firms. 

In addition, these loans have higher interest rates than traditional mortgages and a minimum down payment of 30% is required by NASB. As with all the expenses on this kind of loan, the down payment must also come from the borrower’s IRA account.

The costs incurred in this kind of loan are not considered a distribution from the IRA account, so they are not taxed. Also, there are no limits on the amount of the loan, and IRA funds can be used to either purchase or refinance properties, and both fixed and adjustable rates are available.

If an investor owns more than four units in their name and they are experiencing obstacles due to limitations on conforming loans, then a non-recourse loan might be a suitable option for them.

NASB’s Good Neighbor Program

NASB is actively involved in a community program which they call the Good Neighbor Home Loan Program. It is a loan program which targets low-to moderate-income borrowers, and/or borrowers who live in low-to moderate-income areas in and around Kansas City, Missouri.

The Good Neighbor program makes loans available in order to purchase or refinance a home, and the loans can be used for either owner-occupied or investment properties. NASB charges no lender fees and they also provide assistance with closing costs. To qualify, a borrower must have a minimum credit score of 580.

NASB’s Sterling Reputation

NASB is a fully accredited company with the Better Business Bureau and maintains an A+ rating with that organization.

The Federal Savings Bank supervises NASB and annually conducts on-site examinations to ensure safety, soundness and compliance. These examinations also guarantee that the bank is in full compliance with all applicable law and regulations governing financial services.

In addition, all NASB loan consultants are registered under the S.A.F.E. Act and trained in VA home mortgage lending and compliance.

How to apply for a VA Home Improvement Loan

If you’ve ever worked with the VA on anything, you know, there always seems to be a lot of hoops to jump through. Either to get what you want or find the information to get there. Applying for a VA Home Improvement Loan is no different. If you own a home and you’re looking to make a few improvements, there’s a lot you need to know when going through the VA. Here’s a list of what you need to know on how to apply for a VA Home Improvement Loan

What is a VA Home Improvement Loan?

A VA Home Improvement Loan is basically what it sounds like. You have a home, it needs improvements, and you need a loan to finance it all. However, it’s not nearly as easy as it sounds, and there are several qualification factors you need to consider first. Unfortunately a VA Home Improvement Loan does not come without a VA Home Loan, and if you want to use an improvement loan, your house better have been purchased using a VA Loan, otherwise, you’ll have to look elsewhere for your home improvement needs, because being a qualifying veteran just isn’t enough.

Now, if you do qualify, meaning you’ve purchased your house with a VA loan and you need to do a few improvements, I hope your improvements aren’t too involved, because chances are, you won’t qualify for the VA’s home improvement loan. Basically, don’t get too excited, because if you purchased a real fixer-upper, better not plan on using this particular loan.

View our top rated VA Home Loan Lenders here! 

Were you, however, thinking about getting a new heat pump? No problem, the loan will cover it. Were you thinking about adding thermal or storm doors and windows, the VA has you covered there too. What about a clock thermostat? You guessed it; the VA home improvement loan is your go-to! This specific loan also covers insulation, solar cooling and heating, and other various energy efficient modifications to your home, as long as it’s not more than $6,000.

If you’re thinking about doing some lavished remodeling to your home, the VA might not approve your loan. This doesn’t mean you can’t get the loan, it just means your repairs have to fit in within the community’s standards. Meaning, if you’ve purchased a standard, single-family home amongst other standard single-family homes, you won’t get approved for a home improvement loan to add in a million dollar pool.

Of course, for most of us, we’re probably not looking to install a million dollar pool, so you might not have to worry about this. However, you might still want to consider exactly what it is you want to do with your loan before you start all that paperwork. Simply put, your house has to qualify for the loan. If your house doesn’t meet the standard safety, security and habitability requirements, it better, and within 90 days of your purchase. If your home does meet the requirements, you could get approved for up to $35,000 for improvements.

What if your home doesn’t meet those standards? Well, you can still get the loan if you can meet it within those 90 days, but you can’t do the work yourself. Meaning, if your plan was to get the loan for materials and then do all the work yourself—because you’ve been watching a lot of the DIY Network and HGTV lately—you better think twice because it’s not allowed! What’s the point of this rule? Really, what’s the point of any rule—to protect you. But, don’t’ get too upset, the VA looks at it as a way to let the buyer retain their right to sue.

If all these rules don’t hurt your feelings just a little, maybe this 2% construction fee will. The VA loan requires a funding fee—unless you qualify for an exemption—but if you’re planning to purchase a loan for repairs or alterations to your home, you should plan on the possibility of paying up to 2% in construction fees on top of your 1.25-3.3% funding fee.

Who Qualifies for a VA Home Improvement Loan?

Who qualifies for a VA Home Improvement Loan is no different than who qualifies for a VA Loan, the difference isn’t who, it’s what qualifies. Therefore, as long as you are currently or where ever a part of any US Military component or a surviving spouse, you qualify to apply for the loan. Whether you actually get the loan is a completely different story.

If you qualify for VA-guaranteed financing, this is what you can do with it:

  • Buy a home
  • Buy a townhouse (if it’s in a VA approved location)
  • Buy a condominium unit (if it’s in a VA approved location)
  • Repair, alter or improve a home (that was purchased with a VA Home Loan)
  • Simultaneously purchase and improve a home
  • Energy efficient improvement
  • Buy a mobile home and/or lot
  • Buy and improve a lot where you want to place a mobile home (if you own and occupy it)

What can I get with a VA Home Improvement Loan?

While the VA is strict on what you can and can’t do with their Home Improvement Loan, there is definitely a lot you can still use it for. The VA approves roof and floor repairs, bath and kitchen remodels, and even HVAC. These all tend to be high-cost repairs, but with a VA Home Improvement Loan, you can finance each of them. Of course, this isn’t a complete list of everything you can utilize this loan for. But if it does anything to save energy, it most likely qualifies.

What if you don’t qualify?

If you don’t qualify for a VA Home Improvement loan, because you’re either planning on making extensive repairs or want to purchase more lavished materials, then you’ll be forced to look elsewhere for your loan needs. If this is the case, don’t worry; there are a lot of other great options for you out there to help you in the process, such as our top VA Home Loan Lenders.

Top VA Home Loan Lenders

  1. Veteran’s United
  2. JG Wentworth
  3. Quicken Loans
  4. Lending Tree 
  5. NASB
  6. Cross Country
  7. Rocket Mortgage

Home Improvements you can add to your VA Loan

If you’re looking for ways to save money via energy efficiency, you might just be able to add it to your VA Loan. The government loves that you want to reduce energy consumption, and if it’s Energy Star approved, then it’s government approved.

If you need to replace your appliances, such as your dishwasher, refrigerator, oven, washer, dryer, AC unit, hot water heater, etc. Chances are, you can add it to your VA loan because it’s going to save energy and in turn, your money.

Does the VA offer a Rehab Loan?

If your home needs more than a few improvements and something closer to a complete transformation, then you’ll need to look for a rehab loan. Unfortunately, this isn’t something the VA provides. The VA requires you to either buy a home that is move-in ready or will be if you’re using a construction loan. If your home needs deep, non-cosmetic repairs, you don’t qualify for the VA’s Home Improvement Loan. This means that gorgeous 1930’s Farm House you bought with foundation issues won’t be covered through the VA. If this is you, there are other options out there.

The FHA 203K loan is a government insured program. It’s perfect for any purchase that requires extensive repairs. This particular loan also covers unfinished construction, flipping (the home must be occupied), foreclosures, and condemned or abandoned property.

What’s the best loan for Home Improvements?

The loan that is best for home improvements depends on what type of improvements you want to make. If you’re planning to make a cosmetic improvement, the VA Home Improvement Loan may be perfect for you. Are you planning to make non-cosmetic repairs? Maybe the FHA 203K loan is perfect for you. The type of loan also depends on how much you need. If you’re planning to make energy efficient changes, the VA will lend you up to $6,000, but any more than that you’ll have to look elsewhere. If you want to make more general repairs or improvements, but it’s going to cost you more than $35,000, you’ll have to look for another loan option as well.

What is a VA Construction Loan?

The VA also offers something called a construction loan. This loan is meant to be used when you want to build a new home. The loan also comes with a lot of huge perks. For instance, the VA doesn’t require you to start paying on your home until the home is move-in ready. You’re also required to have a detailed plan on each step of the home’s construction, meaning you’ll have estimated dates on when every process of the home should be done.

If that’s not enough for you, you can also get your land, construction, and mortgage combined into one single payment, while still paying zero down, if you qualify.

What are the different types of VA Loans? 

Before repairing a home, or buying one, you may be wondering exactly what types of VA loans are out there. More specifically, you may want to know what you’re allowed to buy with your loan. Often, people in the market for a house want to know:

  • Can you use a VA Loan to buy land and build a house?
  • Does the VA finance land only?
  • Can you use a VA Loan to buy a foreclosure?
  • Can you use a VA Loan to buy a manufactured home?
  • Can you buy a farm with a VA Loan?

Each of these questions comes with a lot of specification, so we’ll address them individually.

  1. Can you use a VA Loan to buy land and build a house?

The VA has strict rules about buying land when using their home loan. However, if you’re planning to put a house on the land, there generally isn’t an issue. You can build a new home or put a pre-fabricated home on the land, so long as you plan to occupy it within a reasonable timeframe.

  1. Does the VA finance land only?

The big thing with the VA is occupancy. You can’t buy a home with a VA loan and not occupy it. You can’t buy a house that you can’t move into within 90 days because deep repairs are required. Therefore, you can’t generally buy land that’s going to go unoccupied indefinitely. Which unfortunately means you can’t just buy 100 acres of land to hunt on but not live on.

  1. Can you use a VA Loan to buy a foreclosure?

As long as all the VA guidelines are met, buying a foreclosed home should not be an issue with the VA. As usual, buying a foreclosed home is much more time consuming than buying a house that is buyer ready, but that doesn’t mean the VA won’t let you use their home loan to buy it.

  1. Can you use a VA Loan to buy a manufactured home?

Simple answer, yes you can use a VA Loan to buy a manufactured home. However, it’s not nearly that straightforward. If you want to buy a manufactured home, you first have to make sure your home is listed as actual property, otherwise, your home could be considered as a vehicle or personal property, which the VA does not finance.

  1. Can you buy a farm with a VA Loan?

Buying a farm is not a simple yes from the VA. According to the VA’s standards, you have to buy a farm that can also be occupied. This means you can’t have a house on one piece of property, and a mile down the road have a farm on a completely separate claim. However, if you do buy farmland you will live on, you’re not required to do any real farming on it—but what’s the point in that? If however, you do plan to farm your land and it be your primary source of income, you’ll have to prove to your lender that it’s guaranteed income—basically, you’ll have to be a successful farmer. If it won’t be your primary source of income, then you’re good and it doesn’t have to be considered in your loan application.

How to apply

You’ve finally made it through all the research; you’re basically an expert on all VA Home Loan policies. Now it’s finally time to start applying for your loan. Your first step is to find a lender who does VA Home Loans, which isn’t that hard. Most lenders have all the documentation you need in order to apply for the loan, meaning you just need to get your Certificate of Eligibility (COE). This simply confirms you’re eligible to utilize a VA Home Loan. You’ll also need copies of your employment history for the past two years, your banking information and other recently closed depts, and obligations. If you have any returned or bounced checks, or income received outside of your employment, you’ll have to provide a letter of reasoning. Applying for the loan is actually quite easy; it’s dealing with the home inspections and sellers not wanting to meet VA standards that can be frustrating.

After that’s all done, and you’ve been living in your house for some time, you may decide to apply for a VA Home Improvement Loan. Keep in mind this is a second loan. However, it will be rolled into your original VA loan, so you’ll still have only one monthly payment. If you want to get approved for this loan, you’ll have to be willing to provide some documentation. You must show proof that whatever you want to repair meets the VA’s standards. This means providing the names of contractors and how much it’s going to cost you. After it’s all said and done, the VA then sends a representative out to your house, making sure everything meets their guidelines.

VA Loan Guide

We understand buying a house using a VA loan comes with a lot of rules and regulations. But, that doesn’t mean it needs to be a difficult process. If you have any other questions in regards to the VA Home Loan process, check out our VA Loan Guide. If you have questions about fee limits, you can also read more about that here. And never be afraid to call your local lender, they usually have the resources and contacts you’ll need, answer any of your questions, and get you started with the VA Home Loan process.

What are VA Loan Limits?

What is a VA Loan Limit?

The VA can be a tricky thing, and sometimes the Internet leaves you with more questions than answers after spending way too much time trying to weed your way through all the technical details that hide within the big scary walls of VA Home Loans. That’s why we’ve decided to break things down for you, starting with what exactly a VA Loan Limit is.

VA Loan Limits 

If you’re reading this, chances are, you don’t know what a VA Loan Limit is, maybe you didn’t even know there was a limit, and now you’re wanting to know first off, what a VA loan limit is, why there’s a limit, what’s that mean for me, does that affect my current VA loan, does this mean I’m limited to how much my loan is or how many times I can use a VA loan or both? I’m sure you get the point; there are a lot of questions.

To make things a little bit easier, we’re going to start with the big question, what exactly is a VA loan limit? Many of you may be thinking, loan limit? Shouldn’t that depend on my income? The easy answer to that question is, yes. Unfortunately, the VA isn’t that simple, and the real answer is yes and no. Yes, the amount of money you borrow depends greatly on how much money you’re household is making. However, a loan limit isn’t exactly true to its name. A loan limit isn’t a cap the VA puts on how much they’ll loan you, actually, there is no general cap. The limit applies to how much they’ll loan you without you having to pay a down payment.

Still, the answer isn’t exactly one-size-fits-all. The amount of money you can borrow from the VA before paying a down payment depends on what county you live in. And depending on your location, the VA loan limit can range anywhere from $453,100 to over $679,651. Lucky for us, the VA has an interactive map so you can see exactly how much you’re allowed to barrow—without having to wait on hold for 45-minutes just for the VA representative to tell you the computer is down and they don’t have access to that information. Be advised, this price does change year to year, so make sure you reference the data within the year you’re planning to actually utilize a VA Home Loan.

Top VA Home Loan Lenders

  1. Veteran’s United
  2. JG Wentworth
  3. Quicken Loans
  4. Lending Tree 
  5. NASB
  6. Cross Country
  7. Rocket Mortgage

**While most of the country falls into the bracket of exactly $453,100 as their VA loan limit, here is a small list of counties that don’t fall into that limit.**

Counties with the highest loan limits for 2018 

Honolulu, HI-$721,050

Kauai, HI-$713,000

Bronx, NY-$679,650

Yukon-Koyukuk, AK-$679,650

Teton, WY-$679,650

Los Angeles, CA-$679,650

Several other counties have a loan limit of exactly $679,650, but this article would be quite a bit longer if I listed them all. Again, most of the country has a VA loan limit of $453,100, but make sure you check out the VA’s interactive map to see what your county’s limit is.

Just so you can see how the VA fluctuates its loan limits, here are the 2016 and 2017 limits.

VA Loan Limits 2016

$417,000-$721,050

In 2016, the majority of the country had a VA loan limit of $417,000 and Honolulu, HI had the highest loan limit of $721,050. So, if you’re looking to buy an expensive house and not pay a down payment, you should probably think about moving to Honolulu—I hear it’s really nice out there.

VA Loan Limits 2017

$424,100-$721,050

In 2017, the loan limit increased some for a majority of the country, with a $7,100 raise. Again, Honolulu, HI maintains the highest loan limit, holding at $721,050. Honolulu is looking better and better—of course, that’s not considering the cost of living.

Is there a loan limit for reusing entitlements?

If you’ve already utilized a VA Home Loan, then you’re not new to how the system works, however, you’ve decided to sell your home and relocate elsewhere. Now you have questions you didn’t need answered before. Can I use a second VA loan? As always, the answer isn’t completely black and white, and the exact answer depends on the individual. The easy answer is yes; you can use a second VA loan. For example, say you purchased a house for $120,000 and now you’re moving and looking for a second home, but you don’t want to make a down payment on that home. If the county you want to buy your house in has a loan limit of $453,100 and you have remaining entitlements left then you may be free to use those without having to pay a down payment. Again, the “no down payment” part is what the loan limit is in reference to. If the home you’re purchasing on the second loan combined with the first loan exceeds your county’s limit, then you are not guaranteed to have a no down payment loan.

Is there a fee for second use of entitlements?

Simple answer, yes. Whether it’s your first VA loan or your second, you have to pay a funding fee. However, beware, that small funding fee you paid to use your first VA loan, it increases slightly for your second loan. But, if you have a service-connected disability or are a surviving spouse that is eligible for a VA loan, you don’t have to pay the funding fee at all. If however, you and your spouse are applying for a VA loan and one of you receives compensation, and the other does not, your funding fee will be cut in half. Veterans, Active Duty, Guard, and Reserve members alike, make sure you discuss with your lender, your specific circumstances so you don’t get charged a funding fee if you qualify for the exemption.

If you do have to pay a funding fee, putting some money down, even if you don’t have to, can lower your funding fee. If you make a down payment along with the remainder of your entitlements, this could result in you receiving a larger loan amount.

VA Loan Fees

Most people know the VA for their “no down payment” home loans. However, this does not apply to everyone and there’s always an exception to the rule. Cases which require a veteran or service member to pay a down payment include:

  • The lender requires it
  • The price of the home is more than the reasonable value
  • The loan is made with graduated payment features

Other fees that come with your loan include the closing costs. While closing costs vary from lender to lender and depending if the seller will pay them, it isn’t something you should expect not to pay. In your closing costs, you may be required to pay the VA appraisal, credit report, state and local taxes, and recording fees, which could be paid in full by the buyer, seller or shared between both parties. However, there are some fees you are not allowed to pay if utilizing a VA Home Loan: termite report, commissions, broker fees or “buyer broker” fees.

How many times can I use a VA Loan?

Are you considering buying a second home? Don’t worry, you may be able to take out a second VA loan. Your VA loan entitlements last forever. Now, this doesn’t mean you can go buy seven homes and get seven guaranteed no down payment plans offered up through a VA loan. But, the good news is, if you’ve paid off your VA loan, you can fill out a form a get your entitlements restored. Whatever the case may be, the VA has different types of loans you can utilize and you can read more about them here.

Or, if you are like many service members, still in the military, but using a VA loan, there’s a chance you’re going to PCS and want to use two VA loans at once, which is completely possible. If you already own a home using a VA loan, but you haven’t used up your current entitlements, then depending on the cost of the new home and the county loan limit, you may be able to buy a second home with no down payment. If the cost of the home exceeds the county loan limits, you can still use a VA home loan, you should just be prepared to pay a down payment. JG Wentworth explains in more detail how you can calculate your own lending limit here so you can determine if you should expect a down payment or not.

If you have more questions about using a VA Home Loan, whether it’s your first time going through the process, or you consider yourself a VA Home Loan veteran, reference some of the best VA loan lenders of 2018 in our VA Loan Guide, which includes more information on how to start the VA loan process.

 

Top 7 Pistol Targets

We know you’ve been dying to find out what some of the best pistol targets on the market are, okay maybe not dying, but let’s face it, no matter what product you’re using on the range, you want it to do its job, and if some added perks come with it, then we’re game. So, to keep you from waiting any longer than you already have, here’s a list of the top 7 pistol targets, put together by yours truly, RE Factor Tactical.

Top 7 Pistol Targets

1. Kill Zone Target

The kill zone target is our favorite here because it not only provides the shooter with a target, but it also gives the shooter the image of the standard human anatomy. This is great because it gives the shooter the ability to see how their rounds would affect the body. Now, we aren’t saying blood will start splattering all over the place and bones will shatter, but it’s great for the tactical shooter who wants to know exactly what part of the body will be affected when hitting the target. This means you can train to hit the heart, along the spine, or a specific part of the face or skull. The damage you cause could mean the difference between the suspect re-engaging or you, being the badass that you are, bringing him down.

Kill Zone Target Specs

  • Measures: 23” x 35”
  • Standard Human anatomy design
  • Made in the USA

2. IQ Target


The IQ Target ranks as our number two, not because it graduated college with a 4.0 GPA, made 1600 on the SAT and has an IQ of 200, otherwise, it would have taken our number one spot. You don’t have to be that smart to use it either, but, it will help you get that much better when it comes to your shooting accuracy, and in a fun way, when combined with the Dead Man’s Hand Shooting Deck, adding 52 ways of improving your precision. This target does more than give you a single silhouette to shoot over and over again; it adds variety and purpose to your training. It may not improve your IQ score, but it could help improve your range score the next time you’re competing.

IQ Target Specs

  • Measures: 23” x 35”
  • Unlimited amount of shooting combinations
  • Pistol targets in 3” shapes
  • ** Rifle targets in 5” shapes
  • Made in the USA

3. IPSC /USPSA Target

Now the IPSC/USPSA target may not be as fancy as the Kill Zone target or as fun as the IQ target, but it holds a special place on our top 7 because of its use. The IPSC/USPSA practice target holds true to its name. This target is great for practicing because it was designed for the competitive shooter and has been approved as the official IPSC/USPSA training target. It is also used for competing in IPSC/USPSA matches. So, if you’re looking to get a heads up on the competition side of things, this is the perfect target for you. There may not be any fancy bells and whistles blowing, but it could give you a leg up, simply by practicing with the right target.

IPSC/USPSA Target Specs

  • Measures: 23” x 35”
  • IPSC/USPSA Approved Target 
  • Printed in the USA

4. Essentials Target

Okay, let’s be honest here. Sometimes we go to the range, we set up, shoot at the same boring target and go home no better, and hopefully no worse than when we arrived. So then, what’s the point of going to the range if you’re not improving or at least maintaining what proficiency you already have? Well, here’s a target that will finally help you move past that. Combined with the Essential Shooting Guide—which by the way works great with the Kill Zone Target—this target gives you an essential set of drills that will at least help you maintain your current proficiency level, it takes 150 rounds with 17 courses of fire to complete the drill and help you with your marksmanship, to include: slow aimed fire, weak and off hand shooting, target transition, trigger speed changes, pistol draw, mag reloads and controlled multiple shot groups.

Essentials Target Specs

  • Measures: 23″ x 35″
  • Unlimited amount of shooting combinations
  • Designed to maximize range time
  • Made in the USA

5. Splatter Targets

Splatter targets are great for the eager shooter, you know, the one who can’t stand but to look and see if they hit the target or not? Well maybe if you used the essentials target a little more, you wouldn’t have to worry so much about that. Either way, sometimes it’s just nice to know if you’re on target or not, whether you’re 15 yards away or further. Splatter targets also come in various styles,  from basic to more realistic, for example, a picture of a real person.

This does more than help you know where you’re hitting, it also makes the shot seem more realistic because shooting a real person and a black silhouette is very different.

 

 

 

Splatter Target Specs

  • Instantly see your SHOTS BURST BRIGHT FLUORESCENT YELLOW upon impact, spend more time shooting and less time checking your target.
  • HIGH VISIBILITY targets make it EASY to see your shots at a distance, no more wasting time walking downrange to SEE YOUR SHOTS.
  • The BRIGHT yellow bullet holes are visible in all light conditions, great for people with reduced vision. The heavy-duty non-adhesive tag board withstands shot after shot.
  • The ULTIMATE TARGET for all firearms and calibers, including; Airsoft, BB guns, pellet guns, air rifles and even shotguns. PERFECT for shooting indoors or outdoors, short range or long range. Preferred by police, military and NRA.

6. Caldwell Handgun Resetting Target

The Caldwell Handgun Resetting Target has claimed a place on our list because it’s designed to stand up to your .45. Made with heavy duty steel, it makes a nice loud sound when you hit the target—of course, that means if you don’t hit the target, your buddy standing next to you gets to make fun of you for life, or maybe you’ll be the one with all the laughing rights, either way, this target will give you that. Not to mention, this target is reusable, you don’t have to keep purchasing a new target and it resets itself, which means, no more walking all the way down to the end of the range just to reset, patch-up or change your target out. It’s a great target for the lazy man—or woman.

Caldwell Handgun Resetting Target Specs 

  • Resetting Handgun Target
  • Made of heavy-duty steel
  • 12″ wide x 26.8″ high x 1.8″ deep
  • Each target is 3 1/2″ diameter
  • 3 targets total
  • Each target is 3 1/2″ diameter
  • 3 targets total
  • Designed For Up To 45 Acp 44 Special – Not Intended For Magnum Velocities
  • Resets Itself
  • Portable

7.  Fluorescent Pistol Diagnostic Shooting Target


No target is worth its purchase if, at the end of the day, you haven’t actually improved anything about your shots. Missing a shot can tell you a lot, but where the round lands on the target can tell you even more. That’s why the Florescent Pistol Diagnostic Shooting Target makes it onto our list of tops 7 targets. This target comes for both the left and right-handed shooter and tells you what you’re doing wrong if you hit the target, but not the bullseye. It’s also a fluorescent target so you can see where you hit without walking downrange.

 

 

Fluorescent Pistol Diagnostic Shooting Target Specs

  • Bright florescent target easy to see down range and acquire target
  • Hits are easy to see against the bright background
  • Heavy duty paper holds up shot after shot
  • Great for use with all guns bb, airsoft, rifle, and pistol
  • Made in the USA with US materials 

Types of Pistol Targets for your caliber

We all love shooting here, and knowing how to shoot and knowing how well you shot are a must. But, every target isn’t created equal. Some targets are meant to be shot at with a smaller caliber, while others can take a .45 with no complaints. While the following list isn’t a complete list of every target available to match every caliber, we’ve listed a few just to get you thinking.

What’s the best target for a .22 pistol?

If you haven’t realized it by now, there’s about a gazillion—we’re using this jocularly, but no really—different types of targets out there, but some are too heavy, too expensive or just too complicated to deal with, and when it comes to the .22 pistol, there’s no point in buying more than you need, so long as you’re getting what you’ve paid for. That’s why we think Champion Traps and Targets are a great choice. These are targets that not only reset themselves and give you the sound of success you’ve always wanted to hear while on the range—assuming you’re using a steel target—but they’re rated specifically for the .22 pistol. And we know you want a cool target to shoot at, so why not this prairie dog? There are other options too, but prairie dogs are cool, so we’re going with that. Not to mention, there’s no assembly required, because who wants to have an IKEA built target?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do-All Outdoors Prairie Popper Steel Auto Resetting Shooting Target Rated for .22 Caliber Specs

  • RATED FOR .22 CAL PISTOL OR RIFLE: This steel target is specifically rated for soft nose lead .22 caliber ammunition only (at a minimum of 30 yards).
  • NO ASSEMBLY REQUIRED: This lifelike prairie dog silhouette comes ready to take a beating with no assembly required. It measures approximately 4 x 5x 11 inches.
  • RESET WITHOUT WALKING DOWN RANGE: After being hit with your .22, this pop-up target automatically springs back up for you to take your next shot.
  • FUN FOR EVERYONE: The automatic popping action with every direct hit makes practicing with your .22 fun and interactive experience for all to enjoy.
  • STURDY CONSTRUCTION: Both the target plate and base are made of heavy-duty steel, making this a sturdy pop-up target. Stainless steel stabilizing spikes are included to ground your target and help keep it upright.

What’s the best target for a 9mm?

When you go to the range, you need to have a plan. Don’t just go shoot to shoot, that’s like throwing dollar bills down the toilet. Shoot with a purpose, and with a target that makes sense for what you’re doing. There are plenty of targets out there rated for the 9mm, many ranging from .22 to .45 caliber. If the target you pick is rated for the 9mm, your next step is to make sure it fits your needs for where you’re shooting at. If you’re shooting indoors, then you’ll probably have to use paper targets, so pick a target that will help you or give you variety. Look at purchasing targets with multiple points of aim and give the shooter various scenarios to work with. The IQ target is great for this, it gives you several scenarios at different levels of difficulty.

What’s the best target for a .45? 

Sometimes we get a little too caught up in the details, and while we’re looking to find the product that works best for us, we forget about what we will do with that product. Just as finding a 9mm target mostly depends on what type of training you want to do on the range, so does finding the right .45 caliber target. It’s not just about, “will this target stand up to this caliber”, but it’s also about where you plan to shoot at. Are you firing at an indoor or an outdoor range? Do you want to hear the sound of a round hitting steel, or will paper targets work for you? You can fire a .45 at almost any piece of paper, and I’m sure my 90-year-old granny a has plenty of paper she can take out of the printer and give you, but that won’t do you any good, not skill wise. Again, the best target is the one that works for you.

Free Printable Targets 

Now, we know there are plenty of fancy targets out there to select from. The most expensive targets that move, reset themselves, self-healing, etc. But there’s nothing like free, especially if you want to practice or maintain your skills when the budget is tight. If that’s you, or maybe you’re like me and spent your entire budget on new guns and ammo, then free printable targets may be for you. It also gives you a chance to change things up a bit and find a little variety as to what your paper target looks like.

RE Factor Tactical offers free printable targets you can find here, that aren’t just free but also incorporate some of the aspects of our for purchase targets, like the Kill Zone, IQ, and Essentials targets, this way you can practice your skills without the same old boring target.

Steel Pistol Targets

Steel targets require a little more detail than finding a free paper printout online, lucky for you RE Factor Tactical already put together a detailed article you can find here on how to find the best steel target, for pistol or rifle.

1/4” AR500 Steel should be your go-to for pistol shooting. Why? Because this steel is rated for centerfire handguns up to 45ACP. The type of steel you use matters, because if you use the wrong stuff, you may end up with some shrapnel in an undisclosed location on your body, which is fine if you’re cool with that, but RE Factor Tactical believes weapons safety is paramount, so don’t just shoot at some random piece of steel you found in the woods behind your house. AR500 Steel can be shot at from 10 yards away, so use that instead, because no one wants to spend 8-hours in the ER with you while the Dr. picks shrapnel out of your face.

What makes a good pistol training target?

After all this information, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed right now as to which target you want to buy, don’t worry, that’s common. With all the options out there, it can be hard to pick the one that’s just right for you. Don’t worry; we’re here to help make your choice just a little bit easier because we know you have better things to worry about—like how to improve your trigger squeeze. Because what makes a good target isn’t just about how well it’s put together, but how much you can get out of it.

Cheap Targets vs. Expensive Targets

Okay, I’m sure you’ve heard it before, more expensive isn’t always better, but that doesn’t mean cheapest is better either. In many cases, expensive may just mean you’re buying the brand’s name when something half the price that isn’t name brand will do the exact same job at the exact same level of quality. This mean, when you start looking into buying a target for your pistol, don’t get too wrapped up in buying the most expensive product out there, because unless you’re making your own rounds and carving out your own weapons, let’s face it, you’re already spending enough money on what you’re shooting that high dollar target with. And unless you want your wife taking over the finances again because of all your guns and gun accessory spending habits, then make sure you’re buying quality and not just an expensive name brand.

Pistol Target Ratings

Some pistol targets can withstand some pretty powerful calibers, some hold up to rifles, some shotguns, others, just low caliber pistols. When you’re looking to buy your next target, look at a target that best suits your needs. Do you have five pistols, seven rifles, and 15 shotguns or do you simply have a few low caliber pistols? If you want to find a target for all your needs, then find the one that gives you the most bang—pun intended—for you buck (again, pun intended). For example, if you own both a .22 pistol and a .22 rifle, there are targets out there which are rated for both. If you own both a 9mm and a .45, there are targets out there rated for both. Then, there are also targets rated for all calibers, like the Do-All Outdoors Black Back Auto Resetting Steel Target, if you’re willing to pay the price.

This means, you can find targets that are rated for multiple weapons and calibers, which saves you money in the end. So, in this case, go for quantity as well as quality, because the more uses you get out of your training tools the better.

Types of Training Targets

If you’ve ever shot any weapons system on the range or watched a few YouTube videos about firing a weapon, then you’ve seen the prodigious—fancy word for a crapton—amount of training targets out there. There are targets like the Essentials Target that will help your marksmanship skills; there are targets like the Fluorescent Pistol Diagnostic Shooting Target that will help you diagnose your shooting, meaning if you jerk the trigger too hard or you anticipate the shot, the target will tell you. The next time you’re in the market for a target, look at your skills, look at what type of training you want to do. Do you simply want to put rounds downrange, then maybe a simple and free printable target will work. Do you want to train as part of a Law Enforcement group, then maybe something more realistic like the Active Shooter Target and not just a simple silhouette will work. Or, do you want to improve your skills for competition, maybe targets like the IPSC/USPSA, IQ or Essential target will work.

3 Pistol Shooting Games to take to the Range

The next time you’re out at the range, make sure you take these games with you. Now we know games and firearms don’t normally sound like a good idea, but we promise it’s not like that.

1. Dead Man’s Hand Shooting Deck

This is the number one game on the market because it requires the shooter to change things up a bit. Instead of shooting at the same target, making the same movements and practicing the same skills, this card game tells you what to do. With 52 different shooting drills, intended to work with the IQ Target, you could spend an entire day at the range and never do the same drill twice. This particular game also ranges in difficulty for the most novice shooter to the professional shooter, so no matter what your skill level is, anyone can have fun while still practicing basic and advanced shooting skills.

Description

  • 52 different shooting drills
  • Instruction guide
  • Metal case for storage

2. The Essential Shooting Guide

The Essential Shooting Guide may not sound like much of a game, but there’s more to it than just another boring guide. In fact, this guide has a ton of content inside it. With 91 pages of material, shooting drills, such as that which is intended to be used with the Essentials and Kill Zone Targets, you won’t get bored anytime soon, and you’ll improve your precision shots. This book will help you find a fun way to improve some of the most basic skills to combat focused shooting.

Of course, if you really want to sharpen your skills and get into the nitty-gritty of things, the Army has the Pistol Gold Book you can view here, and while it’s not a game, it does have valuable material you can use from range safety to dealing with malfunctions.

Description

  • Measures 4×6″
  • Multiple shooting drills
  • Designed for use in conjunction with the Essentials Target
  • Provides space for recording results
  • 91 Pages of content
  • Made in the USA

3. Tic-Tac-Toe (No this isn’t a joke)

There are also more simple games you can look to play, and if you’re good with a few programs, you can make or even find for free online. Remember all those games you played as a kid? Tic-tac-toe, battleship, and even some more adult-like games, such as darts and pool? Well, the good news is, you can take those games with you to the range, and they’re played quite similarly, only this time you’re improving your shooting skills.

Tic-tac-toe, for example, you can either make the target yourself or find free already made targets for the game. The target looks similar to a regular tic-tac-toe game, only there’s an X and an O in each box. The point of the game is to take turns with the other shooter and try to hit your designated letter in the box you chose. However, if neither you nor the other shooter hit your letter, then whoever is closest gets to claim that box. This game may sound simple, but it is a fun way to help improve your accuracy.

If you’re looking to supplement your shooting games, why not try taking an official course. Different organizations, such as the NRA offer these types of course, which can be found here, ranging from basics to even instructor level skills.

After you’ve mastered your shooting skills using some of the best targets and shooting games found on the market, take a look at testing your skills and signing up for an IDPA match, which you can look at doing from their home page, found here.

To sum things up for you, RE Factor Tactical understands, finding the target that best suits your needs can be a difficult task, but it doesn’t have to be. Instead of simply looking for “targets”, look for targets that suit your needs or the skills you’re looking to master. Look for targets that meet your skill level and then helps you boost it. And remember, no matter what your skill or desired skill level, RE Factor Tactical has a target for you.