For a pretty long time, I’ve been looking for a good training aid for my box goal to help me work on pin-pointing my shots. When I saw the Predator Lax R.A.T. (Reflex Automatic Target), I knew had to test it. The guys at Predator challenged me to give it a shot (awful pun alert!) and I gave the box version a full test. This is also available in a 6×6 field version, by the way. But I’m a box guy, so deal with it.
Installation of the target on my goal was pretty easy. Note: I used my cheaper Franklin goal for it instead, since I like using my better Predator goal for regular shooting (that review is coming soon). All you need to do is run the included bungie cords through the holes on the target and attach them to the goal. Starting on the top corners and then going around the goal, back and forth from side to side, it will make it even without much effort. The bungie cords do work well, though I plan on switching them out for zip ties so I could hold the R.A.T. better and tighter onto the goal than with the bungies, which are a little loose. The bottom part that goes under the net holds four flat weights which hold the bottom flap down. There is also an option for stakes to dig into the ground when using the target outdoors. I used the R.A.T. both with and without the stakes, and definitely recommend using them for the best performance, when possible.
The Predator Lax R.A.T. and box R.A.T. have plenty of different holes in it to practice shooting. On the box version, in addition to the four corners, there are also middle side pockets, a top center and a five-hole pocket. This stands apart from many other training tools that just give you the four corners, since sometimes, the corners may not have your highest likelihood of scoring. There are also lots of fun mini-games you could come up with to play with your friends and Predator actually gives you a sheet of several mini-game ideas you can play, picking targets on the R.A.T.
The R.A.T. is made of a very durable vinyl material, which should last a pretty long time. For a comparison, I think the material actually feels similar to the tonneau cover I have on my truck. The material feels very sturdy and when you miss one of the targets, the ball bangs off the R.A.T. pretty loud.
The reason behind the R.A.T. name, which stands for Reflex Automatic Target; is a key feature of the R.A.T. The whole thing has a net behind it, which is quite durable and seems to be the same as the one on my top of the line Predator goal. What this does is when you score on one of the holes, the ball just drops to the bottom of the target and rolls out the front on the flap. This is super convinient since you won’t have to tip your entire goal up or go digging in your goal for all the balls that you shoot in. The rollout feature works best when the bottom flat is staked into the ground, as the balls come right in front of the net, but it still prevents balls from going into the back of the goal regardless.
Overall the durability of the target is very good and I see it lasting a long time, but I do have to note that the first day I used my R.A.T. it tore at one of the top holes. I think this might’ve been an isolated incident on my unit and it doesn’t really effect its use, but it could happen.
Overall, even though there are a few small flaws to the R.A.T., I think these are phenomenal targets and a great way to work on your shooting. I’d recommend these to anyone who really wants to work on their accuracy, at any level of the game. In a short time, the box R.A.T. has become a staple product in my training routine.