Marc Orvin wrote:
I understand the thing about prone shots having to hit the center of the target to make the score, but how does the target know whether you are shooting prone or offhand? Are these a simple mechanical device or are they computer controlled.
At the World Cup level most venues have electronic targets. I believe these operate on radio frequencies and can be set/reset or changed from standing size targets to prone size targets with the push of a button from behind the athletes. A "hit" or "miss" is actually calculated by the measured impact of the round. If it is above a certain threshold the flap will close indicating a hit. You will notice if you watched on the Olympics when they show a close up of the targets you can see where the bullet impacts the black paint to show where the shot was located. The flaps are actually on a short timer delay so you can see the impact before they close.
At most non-World Cup venues there will be mechanical targets. Basically an opening circle cut out on a steel faceplate. If the shot goes through the opening, it contacts a paddle behind the open, which pushes it backwards and then a white flap covers the hole from the front indicating a "hit". These type of targets are less reliable and have known to malfunction from time to time. They are reset from the firing line with a long rope. A light tug on the rope resets the flaps while a more forceful tug slides a steel aperture from behind the target that controls to size of the target - prone or standing. Pretty ingenious design actually.
It is more on the athlete to know what shooting lane to ski to for the correct sized targets. In most events the right half of the shooting lanes will be set to prone targets and the left half will be set to standing targets. For example on a typical 30 point range, lanes 1-15 are set to prone and lanes 16-30 are set to standing. It is the athletes responsibility to select the appropriate lane.