Targets have been around since even before there were guns. Yes, archers used them for practice. Spearmen used them for practice.
Everybody who shot or threw something for killing used a target for practice! But in recent years, shooting targets have evolved from being just simple objects (paper sheets or melons) to a more advanced tool.
Here we’ll discuss the importance of good shooting targets, their types, and what makes a good shooting target. We will also review the best shooting targets available on the market in different applications. So, aim your eyes at this screen and don’t miss a word!
Comparison Chart of the Best Shooting Targets
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Why Would You Need New Targets?
Most of the time, we buy new stuff because we want an upgrade what we already have. The same goes for shooting targets. Different weapons and applications require you to practice with different kinds of targets.
For example, let’s say you are currently shooting .308 caliber bullets and want to switch to .22lr for some time. You’ll have to change the shooting target based upon its material, size, and durability. Since .22lr bullets tend to ricochet on heavy metal targets made for heavy caliber rifles, you'll need a suitable target.
Maybe you want a target that gives you instant and precise feedback about your shots, so you can measure your shooting skills or the performance of the ammunition. Additionally, you can use different sizes of targets to test your shooting skills under different scenarios.
Furthermore, if you are shooting too much ammunition for practice, you might run out of paper targets in a single session. So it is better to get a sturdier metal target for practice in such situations.
Types of Shooting Targets
Shooting targets can be classified into several categories, based upon different factors such as material, reactive properties, design, and cost. To keep things simple, we’ll classify them based upon these features.
A shooting target can be made of paper, metal, polymer, or clay. It might be subsequently coupled with some other materials like gels, explosives or reactive ink to upgrade its qualities. Clay targets are generally used for shotgun shooting, whereas metal targets are used for long-range shooting.
Shooting targets may have reactive properties, which notify the user about their shooting spots. Some targets change color when hit, where some targets are filled up paintballs and bleed when a bullet hits them. Similarly, some targets are made from reactive plastic, which swells up after the bullet is taken out. Some targets use Tannerite and explode when hit.
Shooting targets may have different designs. They can be a simple man-sized silhouette or a gong which produces a loud sound when hit. It can also be a target which spins upon hitting or a pop-up target which goes down upon impact and then pops back up. Some ballistic experts also prefer to use gel-filled targets for deep analysis.
The more complex a target is, the more it will cost. Clay pigeons are the cheapest, but are the most fragile and can only be hit once. Metal targets are a bit more costly but they last a lifetime. Reactive and Tannerite-based targets are fun to shoot but they are also only able to be used once.
Aspects to Consider Before Buying
Before you buy a shooting target, you must consider certain aspects. This will save you money and ensure that you get the most appropriate product for your needs.
Type of Gun
The very first thing to decide is what kind of weapon you’ll be using with the shooting target. Handgun targets tend to be bigger, whereas rifle targets are smaller. Plus, different kinds of weapons have their own range, accuracy, and expectations.
Caliber and Ammo
Make sure to check out the caliber of your weapon before choosing a shooting target. For instance, light calibers are not very effective with steel targets and heavy calibers are not very good for paper targets. Plus, be mindful of the ammo you are shooting, since steel-core bullets tend to damage steel targets.
Material, Size, and Location
The material of the shooting target must meet your expectations. Metal targets are better for long-range shooting, whereas reactive targets are good for testing your ammo, rifle accuracy, and ballistics. Additionally, the size of the target should be sufficient for you to shoot with ease. That’s a personal decision, however. Your shooting location can also be important. If you are shooting in grasslands, you need to have higher targets.
Shooting targets are as expendable as bullets on a shooting range. So it's better to choose the right one. Paper targets are cheap and get consumed quickly. Metal targets last longer and are good for mid/long-ranges. Although it doesn’t mean you have to start taking cans and pints to shoot at.
Review of the Best Shooting Targets
Every individual shooter may have his/her own preference in a shooting target. But the best targets on the market can generally be used by all shooters. So we decided to compile a list of the best shooting targets on the market to save you from a tedious and tiring search on the internet.
Birchwood Casey Shoot-N-C 12
These feedback shooting targets from Birchwood Casey feature a color-changing surface, which turns green instantly when a bullet hits it. The target is 12 inches in diameter and black in color, with orange outlines for inner circles. This allows you to differentiate easily between the aiming spots. The black and yellow color combination of the shooting target makes it easily visible in most lighting conditions, so the target is good for both indoor and outdoor use.
The corners of the target also feature adhesive markers, which can be used to hide shot marks. This allows you to use the target repeatedly by using these replacement dots, making the target more cost-effective and simple to use.
The target can be used for both rifles and handguns at the right range, because of its appropriate sizing. The self-adhesive backing of the target lets you paste and peel it off the board with ease.
These shooting targets from Birchwood Casey can be used with all kinds of firearms and on every shooting range. The replacement dots make the target more cost-effective, making it ideal for sighting and practice.
Pro Shot Splattershot 12"x17" , 8 Pack
Need a large target for shooting? Go with this one. This silhouette shooting target from Pro-shot has been designed to teach shooters the skills of CQB and tactical shooting.
The target comes in the size of an average human torso, 17 inches in height and 12 inches in width. The target is black in color and features white-colored rings and a red bullseye. The rings have been marked with numbers, signifying points for each hit.
This is a Splattershot shooting target, which means it will change color on point of impact. The place where the bullet hits turns white and can be seen from quite a distance due to the large size and dark backdrop of the target.
It has been made from heavy paper, which allows you to use it with heavy caliber rifles. The heavy paper remains quite intact for the shooter to properly analyze the target for hits. The package includes eight shooting targets in all and gives you a good deal for your money.
This large silhouette target works well with handguns, rifles, and shotguns. It is good for both indoor and outdoor ranges. The package includes eight targets, at an inexpensive price. This means you have plenty of targets to practice on, making it worth the money.
Best for the Money:
Caldwell Orange Peel 12-In Bullseye Targets
There was no reason for us to leave Caldwell behind on this list. They are one of the most renowned manufacturers of weapon accessories and these bullseye targets are a testament to their notoriety. These peel-in shooting targets are made from paper and feature an adhesive backing which allows them to be mounted on an appropriate surface.
The target is a mix of black, yellow, and orange colors., which delivers an impeccable contrast to let you focus upon the target with precision.
The differentiating characteristic of these targets is the feedback feature. When a bullet hits the black area, it results in a small explosion of white powder. But when it hits the bullseye, it results in a neon-green explosion. This allows you to locate your hit point from quite a distance without using a spotting scope. The target has been properly marked with lines and circles to properly analyze points of impact.
These targets are available in packs of five and offer the best value for money. They can be used for medium to long-range shooting and give great feedback to help you become a better shooter.
Best for Pistols:
Splatterburst Targets - 12 x18 inch - Silhouette Reactive
Handguns are used at a close range, so they require a bigger target for practice. This reactive shooting silhouette from Splatterburst is a 12x18-inch target that allows you practice shooting your handgun. The target features one large human-shaped silhouette with a black background and yellow linings.
Along with two other circular target patches placed beside the head of the shadow, the target also has a bullseye at the head of the silhouette. The target allows you to practice real-life self-defense situations at a close range.
The splatter target changes its color from black to bright yellow upon impact. The bright yellow color is visible in all conditions and to people of all ages. The target is good for practicing both short and long-range shots. Plus, it can also be used with rifles, air rifles, BB guns, and even shotguns.
Silhouette targets are best for pistol shooting. These targets have multiple bullseyes, so you can use them to check multiple groupings. They are good for both practice and competition uses.
Best for Rifles:
Caldwell Magnum Rifle Gong with Collapsible Design
Rifles tend to shoot more powerful rounds compared to a handgun. A rifle can be used with paper shooting targets, but we came up with a more long-term solution instead. This magnum rifle gong from Caldwell is a sturdy piece of steel hanging from a frame that can be used with rifles of almost any caliber.
The gong has been made from AR550 steel and can withstand impacts at a maximum of 100 yards at 3,000 fps and below. The gong hangs at a height of 18 inches from the ground using two metal chains.
The stand is constructed of steel tubing and can be easily assembled or disassembled. This allows you to conveniently carry and store the shooting target anywhere you want. The gong weighs 21 pounds and the entire setup weighs 25 pounds. The gong is ten inches in diameter, so you can stick reactive or simple paper targets over it for better results.
The Caldwell Rifle Gong is a long-lasting, durable shooting target that can be used with rifles of all calibers. The target is meant to be used outdoors and can be coupled with paper targets of appropriate size for better results.
Best for Long-Range Rifles:
Splatterburst Targets - 12-Inch Multi-Bullseye
These 12-inch Splatterburst targets are ideal for use with long-range rifles. This high-visibility splatter target has five red dots (one in the center and four on the sides) to give you multiple targets for long-range accuracy checking. The points of impact change color from black to fluorescent yellow when a bullet hits them. This allows you to check the point of impact from quite a distance using scopes or binoculars.
The five different bullseyes on the target let you use it for assessing multiple groups with a single target, since moving downrange and changing targets can be a tedious task over long distances. The target features good color contrast to let you properly visualize from long ranges.
The Splatterburst Long-Range rifle targets are ideal for sighting-in your rifle and practicing over longer ranges. The target doesn’t have any adhesive backing so you should arrange a method to keep it upright.
Best Battleship Shooting Targets:
EZ2C Targets 120 5 Game-Style Targets
Sink-battleship is a fun shooting game for people at the range. It allows you to test your accuracy and timing skills while competing with other shooters. These targets from EZ2C are not only battleship-targets but they include five different shooting game targets, which include poker, battleship, tic-tac-toe, dart board, and red circles. The package contains 120 targets in total with 20 poker targets and 25 each of other games.
These targets are printed on 11x17 inch white paper to improve shot visibility. The paper is thick enough to withstand a number of shots without ripping apart. The shooting target can be used both indoors and outdoors.
The red color makes a good contrast with the white background, so the shots can be easily seen within a close range. These targets work well for both pistols and rifles.
These game targets from EZ2C are a fun way to shoot and learn. These can be used for teaching kids the basics of shooting or for killing boredom at the range. The pack includes 125 targets with a variety of different games, so you’ll always have a myriad of options to choose from.
Best Turkey Targets:
Primos Shotgun Patterning Turkey Target
We didn’t want the turkey shooters to feel left out. So we decided to include a good turkey target on our list. These shotgun patterning turkey targets from Primos are useful for practicing turkey shooting. The targets come in a couple of sheets, with six targets per sheet. You have to trim them out manually to get 12 targets. Each individual target is 8.5x11 inches in size. They are of standard paper weight and realistic in size with fair detail.
You’ll have to mount them on a cardboard backing or any other appropriate surface for shooting. The target features a portrait of a turkey with a spine and a bullseye in the backdrop. These targets give you a realistic portrayal of a real turkey hunting situation. Each of the targets has some instructions and detailed blanks printed over it. So you don’t have to write messy details on it after shooting. These targets are also quite inexpensive and won't cause a huge dent in your budget.
These turkey targets are good for practice and feature good attention to details, which allows you to practice aiming at the vital organs of a turkey. The targets are quite cost-effective and worth the cost for shooters of all ages.
A good shooting target helps you improve your overall accuracy. Shooting targets can either be simple or reactive. Weapons of different calibers and sizes require shooting targets that work well with their power. However, you still have to consider factors like material, feedback, caliber, ammo type, and cost before buying one.