Years ago I read about a fascinating pistol target device described by Jeff Cooper as an Apitir. I searched for it at the time and found nothing. I later forgot the name, which I knew only as an odd name starting with an A. After rediscovering Cooper’s description and searching for it just now, I still find nothing. If anyone is building them, or has build even one, they haven’t posted it on line by the name Apitir, and almost no one has been talking about it.
Cooper describes it in the sixth item on this page. It’s a great idea, Cooper wanted it to be widely embraced, and since no one else is talking bout it, at least under that name, well, there it is for you to ponder.
It shouldn’t be difficult to build, but I don’t quite understand what he meant by “actuated by the shooter…with the shooting hand.” Maybe he intended that your pistol be holstered as you pull a cord or some such, and then as the disks begin to roll you draw, aim and fire. My (apparently incorrect) memory of it was that you’d shoot a central target, which would release the two rolling disks. He did not indicate the angle, or pitch, of the sloped runners. A variable slope would allow you to experiment, or change the difficulty, as desired. Some experimentation would be in order, to find a rail design that reliably keeps the disks on track, and lets them fall off when hit.
I remember thinking that a magazine full of the disks, and a feeding mechanism, would allow for several actuations, or tries, before having to reset the thing. That would make it more complicated and expensive, but far more useful.
If I had any trust that it would remain unmolested by rifle fire for a number of years, I’d have one built and keep it at the Peterson range. Something like that would make a pretty sweet rifle target though, too.
One compromise design, or variation, would replace the steel disks with clay “jackrabbits” or similar targets.