Elias Mibesjö and his co-founders have experience with shooting; as hunters, sports shooters, police officers, or military personnel. Each has fired hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of shots. During their training, they’ve had time to ponder whether there might be a better way to handle the bullet remnants left over after an exercise.

There are many hunters in Sweden, and shooting is a popular sport. The military has shooting ranges, and significant societal interest is ensuring people can practice shooting. There are also civilian associations. In Sweden, there are no fewer than 6,500 civilian shooting ranges. Municipalities own some, and clubs own others.

The challenge that FlexoTrap addresses revolves around what remains after shooting; bullet remnants. Some ranges have protective barriers that catch bullet remnants. But for the most part, the bullets are not properly handled.

It’s an environmental problem.

elias mibesjö

Elias Mibesjö

–There are no good answers on how to comply with existing regulations, says Elias. Authorities have turned a blind eye for a long time. The military can afford solutions, but most civilian ranges only have protective barriers, which are inflexible.

For civilian shooting ranges, it’s more complicated. However authorities are pushing for a shift towards sustainability, and the requirements are increasing.

–The owner of the range is responsible for maintenance. Shooting ranges should be easy to maintain, says Elias, one of the founders of FlexoTrap.

Elias underlines that there should be reliable, accessible, and environmentally friendly training facilities for both civilian and military shooting

–A range should work in all temperatures, year-round, and in all weather conditions. Therefore, bullets should also be handled under the same circumstances. You should also be able to shoot sideways and at an angle.

A Smart and Eco-Friendly Approach

The major environmental challenge in shooting sports is preventing lead and heavy metals from contaminating groundwater.

–The contamination happens when projectiles are fired into sand or soil berms, says Elias. Rain carries these hazardous substances down into the groundwater.

For many years, the solution has been bullet traps made of rubber granulate, which effectively capture the projectiles. While effective, this solution is expensive and controversial, as rubber granulate and other microplastics are considered unsustainable alternatives.

–Both soil berms and rubber granulate bullet traps are difficult to use during winter in large parts of Sweden due to the risk of ricochets, leading to shooting bans, Elias explains.

bullet trap

The bullet trap

Flexotrap’s bullet trap can be used in temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees Celsius and can be easily moved to new locations.

Brainstorming a New Idea

After much deliberation, Elias and his co-founders began sketching out a potential solution. The idea is a bullet trap with angled grids.

–The grids catch the bullets. The bullet residues land in a box at the bottom. You can easily take the box for recycling and even make some money from the scrap, explains Elias.

Elias’s partner has spent many hours in front of CAD software designing and drawing up the bullet trap at home on the farm.

–Grid bullet traps have existed before but haven’t been so sophisticated, says Elias. We’ve cracked it by developing a seamless, scalable, and mobile solution.

According to Elias, the bullet trap is lightweight, compact, and cost-effective. Above all, it’s environmentally friendly. It can be easily carried and placed anywhere. This means it can be used at any shooting range. You can practice where you need to.

–The flexibility of this bullet trap allows for more training in less time and increases the frequency of training sessions. At the same time, it can increase the utilization rate of shooting ranges, says Elias. The military can train more soldiers to higher precision.

Since you can set up the traps in all directions, you can shoot in all directions. This makes it easier to decide where to shoot and avoid shooting towards the sea, for example.

Different from others

Another feature of the FlexoTrap’s trap is that it allows the shooter to shoot sideways and at an angle.

–Most providers of shooting solutions focus on the interface with the shooter, says Elias. That is, how it looks from the shooter’s perspective, with different types of targets.

–For us, it’s primarily the cycle that’s important, says Elias. It’s not enough to have a smart solution; it also needs to be sustainable.

The Environmental Code regulates how much and when shooting is allowed. It also governs how much noise can be generated. Elias and his team want to offer solutions that are favored by both the hunting association and the environmental protection agency.

–As shooters, we believe in practicing shooting skills. But we also believe in responsibly managing what remains in a way that doesn’t harm nature.

How to handle what remains

The ammunition falls into a metal box. You close it and then take the box with you. As an individual shooting club, you can take the parts to the scrapyard and get paid for the metal.

–The traps catch caliber 22, 9mm slow ammunition that doesn’t wear out the screens. However, if you shoot with a rifle, or automatic carbine – or at shorter distances with faster ammunition – the screens may wear out.

Typical customers for FlexoTrap, who work with product as a service, include associations, and shooting academies, where it makes financial sense.

–You can rent bullet traps.

FlexoTrap’s traps cannot be hacked or connected since they are low-tech. They manage without an external power supply.

–The trap itself is a mechanical lump of metal that can stand alone and is 60 cm deep. It can be placed indoors on a range or individually for bullet catching, and outdoors, for example, recessed in a container (a known and light transport format).

The traps have a resale value.

–You can move and/or sell them, says Elias. The traps also don’t require building permits but only need to be inspected by the police.

Next Steps

–We want to embrace and work with green steel. Mobility, circularity, space – are things we solve with FlexoTrap.

Many come to the Nordic tundra to practice and test their equipment. Sweden is the gateway to the subarctic tundra. Numerous shooting ranges are expanding now.

–Since we joined NATO, our part of the world has become highly interesting, says Elias. We constitute NATO’s internal market. We want to work with those who are our allies, such as the Diana Fund, etc.

 

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