About Acorn Traps - Company History
Acorn Target Systems was founded on the principles of superior performance at a reasonable price. We do not believe in having many different iterations of the same trap with different names as separate products, but instead offer our base chassis with the option of total customisation using modular upgrades. With Acorn you will enjoy the personal touch, with lifetime technical support for all our products and a parts and design guarantee of up to 24 months. We provide upgrades, retrofitting, advice and servicing to even discontinued models. We believe in simplicity and value for money, and we personally enjoy clay shooting as much as our clients which allows us to relate to your needs and wishes.
We greatly value and cherish feedback and criticism, as it allows us to continually evolve and refine our designs, constantly improving the engineering and functionality, but most of all the fun-potential!
If you have an idea for a modular upgrade or want to give us feedback of any kind, please do not hesitate to contact us, and we would be honoured to make your vision a reality!
Our Company Roots
Acorn Systems was founded in 1982 by talented British engineer Tony Bretton. Initially specialising in the design and manufacture of bespoke electro-mechanical automated equipment for the high tech, pharmaceutical and manufacturing industries, Acorn earned a reputation for its brilliant and ingenious solutions to some of the most challenging engineering problems of the time. The weird and wonderful machines he created are a testament to Acorn’s engineering roots, which can still be seen in their machines today. Below are examples of the kind of equipment Acorn has produced over the decades.
These devices were one-of-a-kind rigs made to order, and which fulfilled specialised tasks across various sectors of industrial production, at a time when British industry was still thriving. Among these were one of the first laser based printing rigs.
Enter Mike Bretton, Tony’s son, who joined the company after attaining his degree in mechanical engineering and now heads up the family business from its original location on the eastern coast of England.
It wasn’t until Mike was on a visit to a car parts manufacturing factory, when he was invited to go clay shooting. This was the day that Mike, while studying the manual trap launcher as any respectable engineer would, realised the huge potential demand for an automatic clay trap to fill the gap between the super deluxe and high-priced automatic carousel traps of the time, and the manually hand-cocked spring type which lay before him. Thus Acorn Target Systems was conceived, and in the years following he would go on to design and manufacture a single stack, affordable automatic clay trap that pioneered the way for a whole line of trap designs leading to the present day.
Acorn went on to produce several iterations of the single stack trap, as well as their own larger carousel trap to offer a reasonably priced version of the deluxe high-end market machines. This opened up the world of clay shooting to many enthusiastic shooters who may otherwise have never got involved. Some of these earliest models such as the ones pictured are still being bought and sold privately in full working condition to this day, one of the reasons why Acorn has earned its prestigious status as a trusted international brand.
Picture: Mike Bretton (centre) with his father Tony Bretton (right) along with family friend and employee Charles Bradley (left)
In recent times, Mike appeared on the popular Channel 4 TV show ‘Scrapheap Challenge’ as a the expert technical consultant, no less than four times during the show’s lifetime!
“….Since those initial steps of bringing something entirely new to the market over 20 years ago we are still producing entirely UK built clay traps for the worldwide market……”
Acorn now focuses entirely on the design and production of clay target launchers and has developed a new generation of machines to cater for all aspects and experience levels of the sport. From the casual or entry level shooter, to the world-class international competitor. Below is a short message from Mike Bretton himself.
“I joined my fathers business after gaining my degree in mechanical engineering and my fascination in all things automatic was born.
I have always had the ability to look at fairly complex mechanical problems and come up with a simple solution. I remember this one company which produced various car parts, and without getting too technical here their team of experts had come up with a very complicated clamp system that actually only needed a magnet - the idea for which I came up with which saved them thousands of pounds.
Another assignment that was particularly memorable was the time I went to study the assembly line for a car parts manufacturer and we were invited to a clay shoot one day and saw a manual clay trap. After giving it some thought, I came to the conclusion that the we could do something much better! After some market research we discovered a large niche in the shooting industry and we came up with something to fill the gap between the manual and large carousel trap and so the first single stack was created which was within the budget of most shooters seeking an alternative.
Since those initial steps of bringing something very new to the market over 20 years ago we are still producing entirely UK built clay traps for the worldwide market.
Our business is constantly evolving using the latest technology and materials. Our concept of modular trap building has attracted both UK and worldwide attention and our machines are in constant demand. People like the versatility and value of being able to buy one clay trap and adding modular upgrades to create the best clay trap for them and at an affordable price..”
Mike Bretton, CEO, Acorn Target Systems Ltd
Why Choose Acorn?
The Real Mccoy - Acorn Target Systems is the original affordable clay trap manufacturer which pioneered the design for the single-stack clay trap and loading mechanism in 1982 with its world-famous "Silhouette" Model - many of which are still being bought and sold privately in full working condition despite being over 20 years old - a true testament to Acorns advanced British engineering roots spanning nearly half a century.
Statistically Superior - Acorn Engineers operate on a strong ethos of offering superior machines at the same or less price than that of the best competitor. We do not bring a product to market until extensive testing and research ensures that our design performs over and above its equivalently priced counterparts, as we believe quality, ingenuity and innovation are the only true routes to success, rather than simply pumping funds into a sales campaign.
Designed & Built in Britain - Acorn Systems began during a time when British industry was thriving, and still operates with the pride and prestige of this golden era in all of its endeavours. We fundamentally resist the ever increasing pressure to manufacture and import from low-wage economies in the far East, even if this means less profit, as we believe supporting our economy and the livelihoods of our employees to be of far greater importance than our bottom line. Thankfully a strong community of like minded individuals in the shooting community allows us to continue to offer superior, British-made machines at highly competitive prices.
After-sales Service and a Genuine Passion for shooting - All Acorn products come with at least 12 months Warranty and lifetime Technical Support. We even offer servicing and repairs for discontinued models, as well as retrofitting and bespoke customisation of your trap. Your imagination is your only limit! If you have any questions or want to speak to us about anything at all please do not hesitate to contact us.