Military Tech

Tier 1 Targets: The Freq talks to Engineer and former Ranger Derek Jolly

Veterans have found themselves in all facets of business after their military service. Some of them go on to thrive in other fields; others take some of the knowledge they learned from the military and apply it creatively to a new business. Derek Jolly, former Army Ranger (3/75) with six deployments under his belt, is of the latter group. However, he’s taken to applying not only his tactical knowledge, but his experience and education as an engineer as well.

I spoke to Derek in regards to “Tier 1 Targets”, his company that produces quality targets for shooters all around the country.

He came up with the idea in engineering school: “I was a group leader of our senior design project, where we designed and made a steel target system that combined static and moving targets, and adapted the shooters’ skill level by adjusting the speed and frequency of targets being presented to the shooter.” It wasn’t long before that prototype spurred off a slew of ideas, which evolved into the company he owns today.

Day to day, Derek can be found working on his computer designing new products, or “out in my shop cutting products out on my CNC system and doing any welding required before I send them off to the paint shop.” Weekends are spent at gun shows or other opportunities where he can promote his brand and get the word out about Tier 1 Targets.

“The best part of the company is meeting so many new people, and talking with them about shooting and what shooting means to them, and what I can provide them to make the next training session more productive. When I started the company, I didn’t realize how many different disciplines there are in shooting — from IDPA, USPSA, IPSC, practice pistol precision rifle, backyard plinkers, or even the group of flint lock shooters I recently came to know. It’s mind blowing to see what and why people are shooting, and all of these people are great 2nd Amendment-loving Americans, which is awesome!”

Ultimately, Derek wants to grow and expand to the point where he’s offering a whole host of services and products for his clients. This means top of the line targets, but it also means ranges and training facilities for various government agencies. “I just think it would be awesome to have military units training on something that I have designed and built for them.” And so Derek’s goals are significant, but with his particular brand of entrepreneurship, Ranger-work ethic, tactical and engineering knowledge, it’s really only a matter of time — especially as his business is already expanding every day.

At the end of our conversation, Derek had some advice for any fellow veterans who might be interested in starting a business of their own.

“If you’re a veteran and you want to start a business, there’s no better time than now. That being said, to get your business going, nobody is going to do the hard work that needs to get done unless you pay them to do it. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, whether that’s how to start your LLC or corporation, how to help promote your brand or where you go to start government contracting … Put the time in, build your company’s brand, ask for help, and get out there and make the best of it. It will be a wild ride, you will meet some awesome people, and it will be the most rewarding, fulfilling, and stressful times of your life – but it WILL be worth it!”

Check out Derek Jolly’s Tier 1 Targets here.

Find them on Facebook here.


Images provided by Mr. Jolly.

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2 years ago

Good luck. I wish you much success.

2 years ago

Great story, Luke. Congratulations Ranger Jolly’s. What a wonderful way to marry your Ranger training and your academic education. You mentioned that there is help out there to find for other vets that would like to start or up-grade their own businesses. Could you provide a list by category of some of those helpful places to get that help? Thanks for the article, Luke, and thanks for blazing the trail Tier 1 Targets.

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