Best Target Pistols of 2020 – Complete Review

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Are you looking for the best target pistols? If so, you are in the right place. Knowing which target pistol can come down to being aware of the best characteristics and features that make one better than the rest. However, you know that there are many out there that are flooding the market.

So it’s important to find one that is the best of the best (at least for you) when it comes to overall use and longevity. In order to make the search easier for you, we’ve managed to select a handful of the best target pistols that are currently on the market as of this writing.

Before getting to the list itself, we will be discussing whether or not all target pistols are the same. We will also be talking about how you can choose a target pistol for the purpose of personal use. 

Comparison of the Best Target Pistols

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • 10-round capacity
  • Best overall target pistol
  • Chambered to fire 45 ACP
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  • Chambered in 9mm
  • 17 + 1 round capacity
  • Runner-up for the best overall target pistol
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  • Chambered to fire 9mm shots
  • Best target pistol for the money
  • The barrel length of 5.31 inches
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  • Includes additional magazines
  • Best 9mm pistol for target shooting
  • Barrel length measured at 5 inches
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  • Has a capacity of 9 + 1 rounds
  • Best 1911 pistol for target shooting
  • Made from high-quality stainless steel
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  • Best air pistol for target shooting
  • Chambered to fire .22 caliber rounds
  • Designed for target shooting at short distances
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Are All Target Pistols The Same?

Target pistols are in reality not the same. Let’s explain why that is. For one, target pistols are available in different calibers. So the rounds will be larger depending on the caliber you shoot with. Secondly, you have pistols that have different functions. Some are single action and will allow you to just pull the trigger, while some others include a double-action design which includes cocking the hammer back prior to firing the pistol.

How to Choose a Target Pistol

While choosing a target pistol, it’s important to choose what the best characteristics and features are so you can make your decision an easy one. It’s also important to distinguish the best target pistols from those that are insufficient in terms of quality and performance. Here are some things to look for while you are searching for a target pistol:

Price

The price tag might matter to some of those who are on a budget. But don’t let that distract you from the fact that quality and performance will always matter more regardless of the price. It’s important that if you are looking for the best affordable target pistol, be sure that it is the best you can afford in terms of quality and performance. Believe us when we say that you can do better than “cheap and flimsy”. 

Performance

This is where you need to pay attention to the review aspects like the “pros and cons”. It’s important to know whether or not if a target pistol is actually reliable enough to get the job done when it comes to casual or competition target shooting. Not only that, you’ll want a pistol that is accurate and able to hit the rounds exactly where you need it to go. 

Choose the Best Caliber

You likely already have a caliber chosen ahead of time. However, if you’re searching for better accuracy sometimes it can make sense to practice with another (usually smaller) caliber with better projectiles. Take a moment to decide what would *really* be the best caliber for you to obtain the greatest accuracy and have the best success with your target pistol.

Quick Take - The Best Target Pistols

These are our recommendations for the best target pistols:

  1. STI International Edge
  2. CZ SP-01 SHADOW 2
  3. Glock 34 MOS Gen 4 9MM

Review of the Best Target Pistols

Below is a list of the best target pistols currently available. It is important that you pay close attention to the features and characteristics of these handguns. That way, if you are looking for what you consider to be an “ideal pistol” for target shooting, you can select one that matches your optimal description.

With that in mind, let’s start off with the “best overall” pistol on our list:

Best Overall:​
STI International Edge

Pros

  • Superior reliability
  • Fits in most holsters well
  • Solid and durable construction
  • Accurate across various distances
  • Excellent for target shooting (casual and competition)
  • Angled magwell for the fastest mag changes

Cons

  • None

What Recent Buyers Report

This pistol was very reliable for those who were using this for target shooting in a casual and competitive setting. They were also quite happy with the overall accuracy as they managed to hit their targets ranging from 25 to 40 yards out. One user said that he was able to shoot at his targets quickly without ever having to worry about missing. He added that the recoil was kind of dull right out of the box, which was a good thing considering he was able to gain total control over his pistol.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This pistol will certainly be a great one to have in the arsenal if you want something that is strictly used for the purpose of target shooting. It doesn’t matter if you are having fun for hours at the range or just tuning up for the next competition, this pistol delivers accurate, consistently tight shooting groups like no other .45 can. Not only that, it’s built to take on the stresses of competition. In short, it’s a pistol that will do no wrong and will go above and beyond the call of duty when you want it to.

Who Will Use This Most

If you want a great target shooting pistol that will work hard and be your best friend in the competition field (or at the range), this should be the go-to choice for you. No other 45 pistol on the market can match the performance of this.

Bottom Line

The STI International Edge is well-deserving of the best overall honors and we know why. It’s accurate, tough, and reliable regardless if you are spending the day at the range or while you are in the middle of intense competition. This pistol will amaze you regardless of how you use it. If you want a target pistol that will be hard to rival in pretty much every aspect you can think of, this is the pistol to go with.

Runner-up: 
CZ SP-01 SHADOW 2

Pros

  • Excellent finish on the grip
  • Accurate and reliable shooting
  • Construction is solid and sturdy
  • Grip allows for excellent control and stability
  • Perfect for casual and competitive target shooting.

Cons

  • None

What Recent Buyers Report

Most new buyers were looking for a pistol that would stand out as sharp in terms of performance. And sure enough, they were not disappointed when they were able to consistently knock down targets at the range from 20 to 30 yards out. Some users even think that the grip’s color made the pistol aesthetically sharp as well. One user said while he loved the performance so much, the overall look was just another good reason why he chose it.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Of course, looks don’t matter when it comes to target pistols. As long as it gets the job done consistently, you’re in good shape. Good looks can’t hit bullseyes from 20 to 30 yards out (or any distance for that matter, regardless of what gun you’re using). But nevertheless, this pistol is built to last you many years and many rounds without a single hint of malfunctioning. You can blast through at least 100 rounds without having to deal with any reliability issues at all.

Who Will Use This Most

As it stands right now, the CZ is one of the best 9mm target pistols you’ll see on the market. Make no mistake, it’s tough as nails and can definitely give you a solid amount of shooting power for all your target shooting needs. Whether you are in competition or just at the range for a few hours, this pistol will not disappoint you in the slightest. Sure, it can turn some heads at the range. But the performance is simply outstanding.

Bottom Line

The CZ SP-01 Shadow 2 is without question one of the best pistols you can find for a 9mm caliber. Keep in mind, it’s looking like it’s knocking on the door of the “best overall” position and may be a direct threat to the STI in the not so distant future. Don’t be shocked if you see this puppy top the list by the next year or two.

Best for the Money: 
Glock 34 MOS Gen 4 9MM

Pros

  • Affordable for most budgets
  • Easy to disassemble and clean
  • Perfect for casual target shooting
  • Superior accuracy at up to 30 yards
  • Excellent durability and construction

Cons

  • Sights may be a bit too small for some users
  • Trigger pull may be a bit too heavy for competition purposes

What Recent Buyers Report

Many new buyers say that this pistol was pretty solid in terms of performance. They had consistently hit their targets on or near the bullseye while situated from 20 to 30 yards out. They also were able to maintain it on a regular basis with thanks to the ability to easily take apart and also reassemble the gun once things were in tip-top shape. One user said that he uses it for strictly casual target shooting, which he does for a few hours a week at the range.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This pistol will probably be the best possible option for those who are looking for a target pistol that will deliver high-quality performance and provide excellent durability at a price that is not so murderous on the bank account. So, if affordability is what you’re looking for, you got it with this pistol (along with the qualities that make it more than what you pay for). Don’t be shocked if you end up using this and it lasts you years or even decades.

Who Will Use This Most

This pistol will likely be a great starter pistol for those who have never shot targets before. And since it’s affordable, high in quality and easy to use it fits the profile as a pistol that is newbie-friendly. It’s perhaps one of the best pistols you can invest in if you want a 9mm that will be effectively accurate and reliable when you are having fun at the range.

Bottom Line

The Glock 34 Gen 4 MOS 9mm pistol is the one target shooting pistols that will get the job done and not suck the life out of your bank account. If you want excellent quality, top-notch performance, and the ability to make your shooting abilities a lot sharper than ever, this is the pistol you’ll want to look at.

Best 9mm Pistol for Target Shooting: 
Sig Sauer P320 X-Five 9MM

Pros

  • Grip is easily removable
  • Great quality and construction
  • Reliable; jamming is extremely rare
  • Provides a lot of excellent firepower and then some
  • Extra magazines are a convenience for casual and competition shooting purposes

Cons

  • None

What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of new users had no problem using this pistol for target shooting purposes. They said that the shooting groups were consistently tight and were able to hit their targets with every shot they fired. They were happy with the additional magazines that were included, thus allowing them more time to fire off their shots in a competitive setting. One user said that the additional magazines were a time saver and were able to give him a better edge on the competition in a recent shooting contest he was taking part in.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Make no mistake, this is one good looking pistol. But don’t stop there. Its performance is pretty solid and has proven time and time again that it can hang with the big boys at the target range. Simply put, the P320 X-Five 9mm can shoot tighter shooting groups better than any 9mm pistol out there. However, you’ll also need to choose your rounds wisely. Some shooting groups will be tight with some cartridges, while they might be a bit more spaced out with others. So if you are in search of a pistol that will fire 9mm rounds no problem, this pistol just might be your cup of coffee.

Who Will Use This Most

This will be a great pistol for those who are more of the 9mm type than other calibers. You’ll enjoy all kinds of consistently accurate shooting with the tight shooting groups to prove it. Every shot will be like this. So if you really want to make every shot count, you’d be hard-pressed to find a pistol quite like this anywhere else.

Bottom Line

The SIG Sauer P320 X-Five 9mm pistol will certainly stand out as one of the better 9mm pistols that will be great for target shooting (regardless of whether you are doing it for the fun of it or if you are using it for competition purposes. Either way, you can depend on this pistol to give you a whole lot of shooting power and a lot of fun in the process.

Best 1911 Target Pistol:
Colt Combat Elite Government 9MM

Pros

  • Easy to disassemble and clean
  • Superior quality and construction
  • Accurate at distances between 20 to 40 yards
  • Easy to pull the trigger, but not as light as some assume
  • Excellent for target shooting purposes (casual and competitive)

Cons

  • Some found it a bit heavy when loaded
  • Some say the magazine may be a bit difficult to load at first

What Recent Buyers Report

Most of the new users were quite happy with the pistol. Many of them were using this for target practicing in a casual setting (while a good number of them have also utilized this pistol for the purpose of competition). Either way, they were satisfied with the overall reliability and accuracy of the pistol itself. One user even said that he was able to use it for both settings. So far, he is not disappointed with the pistol itself and is quite satisfied with the ability of the pistol to shoot quickly and accurately.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This pistol is based on government-issued sidearms that have been used by the military for many years. The US government has since switched to SIG Sauers as their service weapon, but rest assured, this pistol still has a good amount of accuracy and reliability compared to its SIG counterpart. Other than its top-notch performance, it does have the ability to handle heavy-duty applications like competitive shooting. So if timing is not your friend, it will definitely handle all the quick shooting abilities no matter what setting you are in.

Who Will Use This Most

This is a great target shooting pistol that you can have a ton of fun with whether you are in competition mode or not. It’s got power, accuracy, and a good deal of reliability that is hard to match. You’d be quite surprised how well this can stack up against the competition even after short-term use. If you want a pistol that is just all-around excellent for a target shooting application, this might be right up your alley.

Bottom Line

The Colt Combat Elite Government 9mm might have been the official sidearm of the US Government at one point in time. But this will give you the opportunity of why they have relied on it for so long. You get reliability and superior accuracy all in one complete package. And for a target pistol, that ain’t so bad to have after all.

Best Air Pistol for Target Shooting: 
Crosman 2240 Bolt Action CO2-Powered .22 Pistol

Crosman 2240 Bolt Action Single-Shot CO2-Powered .22-Caliber Air Pistol

Pros

  • Superior accuracy
  • Trigger pull is quite light
  • Decent construction and durability
  • Shoots fast and get to the target quicker than most air pistols

Cons

  • Some misfiring has been reported
  • Bolt action quality may not be the best
  • Slight trigger creep has been reported

What Recent Buyers Report

This pistol was praised as fun to use by many folks who had bought it. They managed to use it for target shooting and even pest control in a suburban environment. One user said that he bought this for his son to target practice out in the backyard. What he didn’t realize was that this pistol was scary accurate at distances up to 30 yards. The quality was decent and not as cheap as some people assumed.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This pistol may have pellets as opposed to live ammo, but regardless, it’s got a good deal of firepower to work with, making it decent enough to be a beginner pistol for target shooting. Plus, it’s kid-friendly since it uses CO2 tanks to power its shots. So, if you want something that will be perfect for target shooting for yourself or the kid in your family, you’d be insane to pass up the opportunity to give this pistol a closer look.

Who Will Use This Most

This would be perfect for young shooters (ages 10 and up) who want to target practice with an airsoft pistol before moving up to the real live ammo when they get older. These can also be used for the purpose of competitive target shooting practice. If you want an air pistol that will be perfect for target practice for either you or your child or grandchild, this might be what you’re looking for.

Bottom Line

The Crosman 2240 Bolt Action CO-2 Powered .22 Pistol is perhaps one of the best air pistols on the market for making your target shooting experience a good one. Whether if it’s for practice or warding off pests, you can depend on a pistol like this to get the job done if you live in a suburban setting.

Best .22 Pistol for Target Shooting: 
Browning Buck Mark

Pros

  • Superior durability
  • Accurate at various distances
  • Does not jam, even after firing 100+ rounds
  • Excellent heat dissipation after extended use
  • Perfect for competitive and casual target shooting

Cons

  • May be a little heavy for some users
  • Some say the ‘suppressor’ noise reduction may not be enough

What Recent Buyers Report 

A lot of users had nothing but great things to say about this pistol. They said that they managed to get the job done by accurately hitting targets that went from as far as 40 yards away. Most of new buyers were competitive shooters while some others were just using it for casual target shooting purposes. Either way, they were quite satisfied with the overall performance of the pistol itself. 

Why it Stands Out to Us 

This pistol is perhaps one of the best .22 caliber pistols in its class. Not to mention, the inclusion of the micro suppressor makes it all the better in terms of reducing as much noise as possible while constantly firing off at the range. On top of the noise reduction you get, you all are able to reduce a good amount of recoil in the process. If you want something that will give you total control over your pistol, this should be one that you consider a little further. 

Who Will Use This Most 

This would be an excellent target shooting pistol for those who are in search of a caliber that is known for making pretty tight shooting groups (and consistently for that matter). If you are a fan of the .22 caliber and want something that is proven to be accurate and reliable each time you shoot it, this pistol will definitely give you all the benefits you deserve in a target pistol (be it in competition or a casual setting). 

Bottom Line 

The Browning Buck Mark Field Target Pistol is perhaps one of the best performing .22 pistols for the purpose of target shooting. And who would want to dispute that? It’s got tighter shooting groups than pretty much any other pistol you may find on our list, plus malfunction-free reliability that will make the gun a lot more fun to fire. 

Benefits in Investing in a Quality Target Pistol

A quality target pistol might just be the perfect solution to all your target shooting needs. Bear in mind that a high-quality one will make all the difference compared to one that isn’t considered to be very good. Here are a few benefits you'll get to enjoy:

Most of Them Shoot Fast

Fast shooting matters most, especially if you are in a competition situation. Get a pistol that is not only the best in quality, get one that will give you a decent trigger pull weight so you can be able to hit your targets with speed and accuracy. 

Always Reliable

One thing is for certain, you’ll be able to enjoy excellent reliability with target pistols. Why? Because they won’t jam nor will they malfunction in the situations where you will need your pistol the most. If at all possible, find a pistol that will stand out as one of the most reliable on the market. Brands like Glock or SIG Sauer might be a good place to start. 

Better Quality Equals Longevity

If you need a pistol that will be long-lasting, then you should definitely invest in pistols made from high-quality materials. Thankfully, most of these pistols are made from polymer and stainless steel (to name a few). However, you should still clean and maintain them on a regular basis so you are able to keep it going in the long run. 

Conclusion

A target pistol is preferably what you’ll want to have for casual or competitive target shooting. You’ll want to look for a pistol that is reliable, accurate, and long-lasting so you can make the most out of every target shooting opportunity you’ve got. You'll find exactly that on our list, and we believe that one of these target pistols is bound to suit your needs. 

About Josh Lewis

Josh Lewis the managing editor at Gun Mann and when he isn't writing about guns he is more than likely tinkering with them. He also enjoys hunting, fishing and spending time outdoors. As a lifelong gun owner he knows his stuff!

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